My Favourite books of 2020… so far!

Last year I decided to do a post about my favourite books of the year so far (as of 30 June) and whilst this year I haven’t read quite as many books as last year at this point I decided to still do it. It’s always lovely to have the chance to celebrate amazing books!

At the time of writing this post I’ve read 115 books and have 20 five star reads that I simply can’t narrow down any further. These aren’t necessarily books published this year but the books I loved most that I’ve read this year. The books are in no particular order, I loved them all!

So here are my top 20 books of 2020 so far!

It’s A Wonderful Night by Jaimie Admans

A new spin on It’s A Wonderful Life and it’s gorgeous. It doesn’t shy away from the severity of depression but manages to still be a feel-good novel. I loved this one and will re-read it again one Christmas!

dead wrong noelle holten

Dead Wrong by Noelle Holten

A brilliant crime novel that will have you on the edge of your seat. This is fast becoming a favourite new crime series!

Containment by Vanda Symon

This is the third book in the Sam Shephard series and she is now one of my most favourite characters. I love spending time with her in a new novel and I can’t wait to read more!

Dear Martin by Nic Stone

I haven’t managed to review this one as yet but I absolutely recommend it. It’s a novel about a teenage boy called Justyce who’s dealing with the racism in the society around him – from the police and from people in his school. He deals with it by writing letters to Martin Luther King. It’s a prescient novel and I still find myself thinking about it.

Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan

This is my new favourite Sarah Vaughan novel. It’s a novel about toxic friendships, about not feeling like you can be your true self with even your closest friends and what happens when suspicion sets in. I loved this book!

The Silent Treatment by Abbie Greaves

This is a stunning novel that looks at what caused a man to stop talking to his wife for six months, and what happens when she suddenly stops talking to him. We learn about what happened from both of their perspectives and it’s so moving. I adored this book and I already want to re-read it!

Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth

This is a stunning, claustrophobic novel about the immediate aftermath of a teenage girl going missing. It has a dream-like quality to it and I got swept away in this book.

Black and British by David Olusoga

I haven’t reviewed this book yet but it’s a brilliant and eye-opening non-fiction book that I recommend to everyone. It’s the forgotten history of black people in the UK and I learnt so much from this book. It helps you join the dots of the things you learnt at school and the full story of why and how things happened.

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

This book is heartbreaking but it’s a book I couldn’t stop reading (I read it in just two sittings). It follows the aftermath of an horrific car accident as the survivors come to terms what happened and the impact it’s had on their lives. I loved this book and it’s one that is really staying with me.

Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa

This is a brilliant novel that packs so much into it’s few pages (it’s only around 200 pages long). It follows a doctor as she deals with race issues in her life in South Africa. Her struggles with her periods were so relatable in a way that I’ve never found in a novel before. Later something horrific happens to her and it was hard to read and yet I couldn’t look away. This is such a powerful and compelling book.

The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman

This novel follows a disparate group of people on a normal morning but who get caught up in a hostage situation. I loved learning about the characters in this book and how they coped in the terrifying situation they found themselves in. It’s an excellent novel and I recommend it.

Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie

I’ve not reviewed this book as yet but it’s one that I read as I was trying to get out of my reading slump and I just got completely engrossed in this story. It follows a few characters who live in a tower block in London before and after a terrible event occurs. I loved these characters, and how the novel explored how the event affects them. I recommend this one and can’t wait to see what Luan Goldie writes next!

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

I read and loved The Roanoke Girls a few years back so was keen to read the author’s new novel. I devoured it! It’s such a dark, unsettling novel but one that I just couldn’t put down. I still keep finding myself thinking about this book, it’s one that haunts you. I loved it.

dear edward ann napolitano

Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

This was one of my most anticipated reads of this year and it absolutely lived up to my hopes for it. It follows Edward in the aftermath of a plane crash where he was the sole survivor. His parents and brother died in the crash so he has to live with his Aunt and Uncle. The novel also shows what happened on the day of the plane crash – you get to know, briefly, the people onboard, which makes it even more heartbreaking. I adored this novel and want to re-read it one day.

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

This is such a powerful and moving memoir, I’m so glad I read it. Chanel Miller is the young woman who was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner. This book is her telling her own story in her own words and she is such a courageous woman. I recommend that everyone read this one.

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

I had this novel on my TBR for ages before I picked it up, which I’m kicking myself about as when I did pick it up I read it in just a couple of sittings. This is such a beautiful novel, one that makes you wonder about fate and destiny, and also makes you want to live in the moment. It’s a book you need tissues for but it’s such a gorgeous read.

Wild Spinning Girls by Carol Lovekin

I’m a huge fan of Carol Lovekin’s writing and this novel was another stunning book. It explores grief and the loss of a mother, and it’s so beautiful. I highlighted so many paragraphs as I was reading it and I keep thinking about it. I know I will re-visit this one of these days.

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

This is another stunning book following a teenage girl in the present whilst also filling in her back story with chapters about her mum, dad and grandparents. She knows her mum was her age when she was born and that is the catalyst for everything that happens down the line. This book is short and at times spare in the writing but it packs such an emotional punch. I recommend it.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

This is one of my most favourite books of this year so far. I wanted to read it because it’s premise is intriguing (an engaged woman dreams of a different life with a different man and five years later she bumps into this man) but the real love story in this is the one between the two women who are the best of friends. It’s an incredible book, one that made me cry but also made me smile. I adored this one!

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

If I had to pick just one book that was my favourite of 2020 so far it would have to be this one. Before reading I felt a little intimidated by it but from a couple of pages in I was gripped. I love all the interweaved stories running through this book, I love the characters and the surprises along the way. It’s a stunning novel and one I will never forget.

Okay, so I said I had a top 20 books of 2020 and I do… all of the above. I always like to sit with a book for a while before I put it on a list of favourites but I read a book on the very last day of June and it just feels like it should be on this list. So I’m adding an honourable mention at the end. I know I’m cheating but it’s my blog, my rules! So the 21st book in my Top 20 is…

The Mating Habits of Stags by Ray Robinson

This is a stunning novel, one that I’m struggling to write about as yet because I loved it so much. It’s set on the North Yorkshire Moors and follows Jake, a man on the run from a murder charge. It explores his memories of his relationship with his late wife, and his lost son. It also looks at his complicated relationship with his new love. I’m originally from this part of the country and I felt I was right back there with Jake. This novel mixes utter desolation, hardship and violence with such beautiful, poetic writing. I loved this book and I highly recommend it!

What are you favourite books of 2020 so far? I’d love to know. 🙂

Mini Book Reviews: Living My Best Life | One Split Second | In Five Years | The Babysitter

Today I’m sharing another selection of mini reviews of books that I’ve read and enjoyed recently.

Living My Best Life by Claire Frost

This is a lovely feel-good novel that follows two women in alternating chapters. Bell is struggling to move on after her long-term boyfriend dumps her. She keeps scrolling through social media and comparing other people’s perfect lives to her own. Millie is a single mum who is a successful instagram influencer and from the outside her life seems utterly perfect but the reality is she borrows the clothes she models and she filters everything to make it look sunnier and happier. Eventually the two women cross paths and find a friendship that enriches both of their lives. I found this a lovely summer read and really enjoyed it. I appreciated that both women were in their 30s, with Bell close to 40 and it felt I could really identify with them. I’d recommend this one if you are looking for a light, fun read for the summer.

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

This is a heartbreaking novel that follows five young people and their families in the aftermath of an horrific car accident. It opens with the accident and the parents all waiting to hear if their teenagers are alive or badly hurt and then follows the before and after as we see the fall out from that awful night. This was one of those books that I was thinking about whenever I wasn’t reading it. All of the characters felt real to me and I was absorbed in seeing how they all had different battles to face and how they all dealt with what had happened. This is a novel of resilience, of how people find their way through the darkest of times and eventually find a way to be okay in the new world they’ve found themselves in. I highly recommend this one!

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

I was intrigued to read this book after reading the blurb – Dannie has the most amazing night when her boyfriend finally proposes and she accepts but then later that night she has a dream of five years in the future when she’s living with a different man in a different apartment and it unnerves her. Then one day she meets that very man and it starts to unravel her life. I really enjoyed reading all about this and was really intrigued but the thing I loved most about this novel was the gorgeous friendship Dannie has with Bella. For me, they had the true love story and it was their story more than any other in this book that broke my heart and mended it again. It was so relatable and believable and I just adored it. It reminded me of my late best friend, Bella is so like her and it felt like I had her back for the time I was reading this novel. I read this book a few weeks ago now and it’s still swirling through my mind, I already want to go back and read it all over again. I can’t recommend this one highly enough!

The Babysitter by Phoebe Morgan

I read this book on the Pigeonhole app so I got one stave a day for ten days and this book was perfect for reading on there. Every time I reached the end of a stave I was practically counting the hours waiting for the next stave as I just had to know more! The Babysitter follows a cast of characters in the aftermath of Caroline Harvey being found murdered and the baby she was looking after has gone missing. The prime suspect is her married lover Callum but there is a whole list of people who have a potential motive. We follow the suspects and the police and it’s such a rollercoaster ride of a novel with twists and turns galore! I didn’t trust a single person in this book, I kept changing my mind about who could have done it and I only worked it out a few pages before it was actually revealed whodunit! I very much enjoyed this one and highly recommend it!

That Was The Month That Was… May 2020!

I can’t believe that May has been and gone and now it’s June already! It’s now almost twelve weeks since I last left the house as I’m in the high risk group for Coronavirus and my last trip out of the house was a couple of weeks before lock down. It’s been okay. I feel lucky that we have a small garden so I’ve been able to get fresh air most days. My husband is still on furlough at the moment so it helps that I’ve not been on my own. We’ve been enjoying the sunshine when it’s here and we’ve caught up on a few films and TV shows when it’s been too cold to sit outside.

The biggest thing that happened in May is that my reading mojo finally returned, closely followed by my bloggging mojo! I’ve read more books than I thought I had in May so I’m really pleased. I still need to remind myself to pick up a book when I’m in the house but when I’m in the garden I only take a book or my kindle outside and that stops me wasting time on my phone.

Here is my May in Books and Blogging!

Reading

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

The Alibi Girl by C. J. Skuse

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

Just My Luck by Adele Parks

We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

One Hundred and Fifty Two Days by Giles Paley Phillips

Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

Haven’t They Grown by Sophie Hannah

The Catch by T. M. Logan

Stranger, Baby by Emily Berry

Just Mercy by Bryan A. Stevenson

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

His and Hers by Alice Feeney

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

Afraid of the light by Alex North

Living My Best Life by Claire Frost

The Babysitter by Phoebe Morgan

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency by Olivia Laing

Blurred Lines by Hannah Begbie

Blogging

I managed to post fairly regularly on my blog in May which I’m really happy about. I started with my April wrap-up where I shared how that month had been. This was followed by a book haul. Then I shared a post with four mini reviews of recent reads: Dear Edward by Anna Napolitano, Rules for Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson, What She Saw Last Night by Mason Cross and I Want You Gone by Miranda Rijks.

Mid-week that week I shared my WWW Wednesday post and on the Saturday I posted another book haul. Next up was my next mini review post with four more books featured: The Alibi Girl by CJ Skuse, The Last Flight by Julie Clark, The Guest List by Lucy Foley and The Recovery of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel. Then it was WWW Wednesdays time again!

My next post was a book haul and this was followed by another selection of mini book reviews: Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo, Made to be Broken by Rebecca Bradley, Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain, and An Almost Zero Waste Life by Megan Weldon. On the Wednesday of that week I shared my review of The Secrets of Strangers by Charity Norman and my regular WWW Wednesdays post. Then it was time to stack my shelves again with a new book haul.

On the Monday I shared another mini book review post featuring Just My Luck by Adele Parks, One Hundred and Fifty Two Days by Giles Paley-Phillips, The Catch by T. M. Logan and A Dark Matter by Doug Johnstone. Towards the end of May it was time to decide what my 20 Books of Summer TBR was going to be! Then it was WWW Wednesdays time again. And my final post in May was another book haul!

How was your May? It’s such a weird time at the moment and I hope you’re all doing as okay as you can be. I’d love to hear about the books you’ve been reading or if you have any TV/Netflix recommendations.

WWW Wednesdays (13 May 20)! What are you reading this week?

WWW pic

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

What I’m reading now: 

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan A. Stevenson

I’ve been wanting to read this book for a really long time so I was really pleased to discover the audio book on BorrowBox this week. I immediately downloaded it and started listening last night. I’ve read so many positive reviews of this book so I’m sure it’s one I’ll find interesting.

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

This is a tough read but I’m so glad I picked it up. Chanel Miller is the young woman who was raped by Brock Turner and for a long time she was anonymous until she decided to tell her own story. I’m only a few chapters in but Chanel is so open and honest in the way she’s telling her truth and I’ve found it such an emotional book.

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

I’m glad I had a sense of what this novel is and how it flips things when I started reading because I’m only on part one and at the moment it’s just a man bragging about his sex life since his divorce. The writing is good and I’m intrigued to see where the novel goes. The fact that it made the Women’s Prize longlist gives me hope that it will go somewhere worthwhile in the end!

A Fabulous Creation: How LPs Saved Lives by David Hepworth

This is another audio book that I got on BorrowBox and my husband and I are listening to it together. It’s such an interesting book about the history of the LP (it begins with Sgt Pepper and ends with Thriller). I love the social history and the way music evolved as artists took more risks after seeing what others were doing. We’re both really enjoying this one.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

Oh my goodness, I can’t believe I waited so long to read this book! It’s incredible! I’ve been reading it over the last couple of days and loved every single second of it. I feel quite sad to have finished it and already want to read it again. If you haven’t read it yet I highly recommend you do so as soon as you can.

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

This book was also excellent. It follows a group of teens and their parents in the aftermath of an horrific car crash. We see the parents at the hospital waiting to hear if their child was okay, and through the book we see what they were like before the accident and what the repercussions are for everyone involved. I got so invested in these characters, they felt very real to me. This is a stunning novel and I highly recommend it!

We Begin At The End by Chris Whitaker

This is another brilliant novel that I read this week. This is such a beautifully written, and also deeply emotional read. I cried a few times as I was reading. It follows a community, but two children and a police officer mainly, in the years after a terrible crime has been committed. There are repercussions rippling through time, through generations and it’s heartbreaking how things that happen to a parent can come to damage a child so much. There is such brutality in this novel but moments of such heart-aching kindness too. I loved this book and keep finding myself thinking about it and wondering how Duchess, Robin and Walk are doing. I whole-heartedly recommend it!

 

What I plan on reading next:

His and Hers by Alice Feeney

I adored Alice Feeney’s first novel Sometimes I Lie but didn’t really get on with her second book. This new one sounds so good though so I’m hoping this will be a thriller for me. It sounds very intriguing!

The Catch by T. M. Logan

I think I’ve read and enjoyed all of T. M. Logan’s previous novels but his last one The Holiday was my favourite so far. I’ve read some fab reviews of The Catch and have very high hopes for it, I feel like I’m going to love it!

One Hundred and Fifty Two Days by Giles Paley-Phillips

This sounds like a very emotional read as it explores grief and loss but it’s one I’ve very much wanted to read so I’m going to try and pick it up this week.

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂

WWW Wednesdays (6 May 20)! What are you reading this week?

WWW pic

WWW Wednesday is a meme hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words. It’s open for anyone to join in and is a great way to share what you’ve been reading! All you have to do is answer three questions and share a link to your blog in the comments section of Sam’s blog.

The three Ws are:

What are you currently reading?

What did you recently finish reading?

What do you think you’ll read next?

A similar meme is run by Lipsyy Lost and Found where bloggers share This Week in Books #TWiB.

What I’m reading now: 

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We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

I’ve been wanting to read this book since before it was published so when I spotted the audio book on BorrowBox I immediately requested it. I started listening to it yesterday and I’ve been engrossed in it. It’s one of those novels that you find yourself thinking about whenever you’re not reading it.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Just My Luck by Adele Parks

This was such a good read! I love Adele Parks’ novels and this one is my favourite of hers from recent years. It follows a family that win the lottery and the fallout from that is further reaching than anyone could have foreseen. I worked out some elements of what was going on but there were still shocks in store, it definitely kept me on my toes.

Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

I loved this book! It follows two characters in two time periods – Anna in 1939 and Morgan in 2018 as they each come to live in the same small town. I loved both timelines equally and was so keen to find out what was going to happen to both of these women and the people around them. This book was much-needed escapism and I’m so glad I read it.

The Alibi Girl by C. J. Skuse

I got a copy of this from NetGalley a while ago but decided to buy the audio book so that I could listen along to it as I read. I loved it! The story is so intriguing and gripping and I got completely absorbed in the story of this young woman who seems to enjoy pretending to be many different people. There is so much more to her than you see at first and I loved getting to know the real her. The ending was brilliant, so perfect and I have a feeling this is a novel that is really going to stay with me.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

I also got a copy of this from NetGalley and found myself racing through it. I enjoyed Lucy Foley’s previous novel The Hunting Party but this one was even better! I loved to hate quite a few of the characters, and I enjoyed the way my opinions on some of them changed as the book went along. I thought I worked out what was going on quite early but there was far more to this story that I ever predicted so I love that it shocked me. I recommend this one!

 

What I plan on reading next:

Haven’t They Grown by Sophie Hannah

I bought this last week and it’s a book I’d been curious about for a while so I think I’m going to try and get to it in the coming days. I love the series that Sophie Hannah writes so I’m intrigued to see how I get on with a standalone by her.

One Split Second by Caroline Bond

I requested this one on NetGalley as I’ve previously enjoyed another book by this author. This sounds like it could be an emotional rollercoaster but I’m just in the mood to pick it up so hopefully I can read it this week.

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

This is another NetGalley book and is one I’ve been intrigued by. I’ve seen it get quite a few mixed reviews but the plot has continued to draw me in so I’m going to try and get to it this week.

 

What have you been reading this week? I’d love to hear. And if you take part in WWW Wednesdays or This Week in Books please feel free to leave your link below and I’ll make sure to visit and comment on your post. 🙂