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 (27 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!

My Current Reads

Living My Best Life by Claire Frost

This book caught my eye when I was re-organising my bookshelves recently and I knew I wanted to read it soon. It follows two women in alternating chapters as they navigate being single and trying to move on with their lives. I started it yesterday and I’m really enjoying it.

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

I started reading this book a couple of days ago and am gripped by it. It follows a woman in a small town who is trying to come to terms with her daughter’s murder. I read and loved The Roanoke Girls by this author and I think this book is going to be even better!

The Babysitter by Phoebe Morgan

I’m reading this one stave at a time on the Pigeonhole app and I’m completely engrossed. It follows multiple characters in the wake of a woman’s murder and the abduction of the baby she was looking after. There are so many people who might have done it and I don’t trust anyone. It’s a real page turner and I’m eagerly anticipating the final stave after midnight tonight!

Afraid of the Light by Alex North

I’m also reading this short story collection on the Pigeonhole app and it’s utterly brilliant. Every single story has been so good. I’m loving getting just one story a day, it’s a great way to experience a short story collection.

My Recent Reads

His and Hers by Alice Feeney

I really enjoyed this thriller, it’s a return to form for Alice Feeney. I didn’t want to put this book down, it’s full of characters to dislike and I love that. The novel is told in alternating chapters from Anna and her ex husband Jake and it really is a page turner.

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

This book is incredible! I read it in one sitting and I just adored it. It’s the story of a woman who lives with her boyfriend and has her life planned out then one night she has a very vivid dream set five years in the future where she’s living with a different man in a different apartment. For me though this is really a novel about female friendship and it’s gorgeous! This is a new favourite for me and I already want to read it again!

The Catch by T. M. Logan

I enjoyed this one and have already reviewed it so you can read my thoughts here. It’s a rollercoaster of a novel and really keeps you on your toes!

Just Mercy by Bryan A. Stevenson

This book is brilliant. It’s so eye-opening and heart-breaking and a really important book that everyone should read. It’s the story of a young black lawyer as he navigates a system that holds such awful prejudices. He fights for his clients but what people go through it so shocking, even when you know it happens it’s still shocking to read it. I highly recommend this one.

Stranger, Baby by Emily Berry

This is a poetry collection that I’ve wanted to read for ages and I’m really glad that I finally picked it up. It’s a collection that explores grief for the loss of a mother and I found it very moving. Some poems brought a lump to my throat on first reading and others took repeat readings for me to grasp them. I really appreciated this collection and I recommend it.

What I Might Read Next

Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan

I read and enjoyed the author’s previous novel Anatomy of a Scandal and so have been really looking forward to her new book. I think this one follows two women who were friends years ago but their lives have moved on and now they’re back in each other’s lives again.

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

After reading and loving In Five Years last week I’m just in the mood to read something else that is similar to it and The Day We Met sounds like it could be the perfect pick. I’ve had this on my NetGalley shelf for way too long so I really want to get to this one in the coming days.

Blurred Lines by Hannah Begbie

This sounds like a very prescient novel about Becky who sees her boss with a woman who’s not his wife and she turns a blind eye but then the woman accuses her boss of rape Becky is forced to think about what she saw and what she should do next. I think this sounds like such a compelling novel.

The Split by Sharon Bolton

I love Sharon Bolton’s writing so am always keen to read her latest novel without even needing to know what it’s about! I think this one is a cat and mouse novel about a woman who moves a long way from home to escape her past but it starts to catch up with her. It sounds like there are lots of secrets and lies. I can’t wait to read this one!

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 (20 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: 

The Catch by T. M. Logan

This is a gripping novel and I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s follows a man who is immediately suspicious of his daughter’s new boyfriend and sets out to find out more about him. I’m only about 20% into it at the moment but I’m definitely intrigued about where this is going to go!

Just Mercy by Bryan A. Stevenson

This is such a heart-wrenching look at one young lawyer’s experience of the American justice system. The cases he works are really get under your skin and are hard to read at times. It’s so well-written though and it’s such an interesting and eye-opening book.

Fleishman is in Trouble by Taffy Brodesser-Akner

I’ve only read a few pages of this one since last week and to be honest I’m struggling with it. I’m getting a bit fed up of reading about this man and his sex life and the way he talks about women. I do want to persevere for a bit longer but it may end up being a DNF. Have you read it? Is it worth continuing with?

A Fabulous Creation by David Hepworth

I haven’t listened to anymore of this one this week as it’s an audio book that my husband and I are listening to together and we just haven’t made time to listen to anymore this week. We’re both enjoying it though so will be listening to more this week.

 

What I recently finished reading:

Haven’t They Grown by Sophie Hannah

This book had my engrossed and intrigued by the end of chapter one! I was so curious to know what was going on with these children that seemingly hadn’t grown at all in twelve years. I had many suspicions as I was reading and not a single one was correct! I did feel the ending was a little bit of a let down but it didn’t spoil how much I enjoyed the rest of this rollercoaster novel!

Know My Name by Chanel Miller

This is an incredible book and I recommend it to everyone. Chanel Miller was sexually assaulted by Brock Turner and this is her story. She is so open and honest throughout this book and that makes it such a powerful read. I could really identify with a lot of what Chanel thought and felt and I admire her so much for telling her story.

 

Nightingale Point by Luan Goldie

This is another stunning book. I bought it on a whim ages ago knowing nothing about it (it’s since made the Women’s prize list this year) and finally picked it up a few days ago. I read the whole novel in one day as I just didn’t want to put it down. It’s about a disparate group of people who all live in the same tower block when one day something awful happens. The novel is told in the before and the after and I just adored the writing. I’ll definitely be looking out for more by Luan Goldie in the future.

One Hundred and Fifty-Two Days by Giles Paley-Phillips

This is a NetGalley book that I got recently and have been waiting for the right time to pick it up. It’s a novel in verse about a teenage boy whose mum was very ill and later died. I thought this would be an emotional read, and it really was in moments, but it was also a very believable book about being a teenager and all that comes with that. I really enjoyed this book and recommend it.

 

What I plan on reading next:

I’m very much reading by whim at the moment and don’t know what I’ll be in the mood to read in the coming week but these four books below are ones that have caught my eye on my Kindle. The first three are review books so I’d really like to try and read them so I can review them. The fourth book is one I treated myself to recently after reading fab reviews and I’m really keen to read it!

The Mothers by Sarah J. Naughton

Heatstroke by Hazel Barkworth

Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

In Five Years by Rebecca Serle

 

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. 🙂