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!

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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.

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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. 🙂

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 (3 Jun 20)! What are you reading this week?

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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

They Can’t Kill Us All by Wesley Lowery

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd I’ve been thinking about how to learn more and understand more about #BlackLivesMatter and I spotted this book on my shelves and decided to start reading it yesterday. It’s an interesting and personal look at the beginnings of the movement and also what happened in Ferguson. I’m keen to read more so if you have any recommendations on where to go next please leave them in the comments below.

Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson

I’ve been wanting to read this one since it was long listed for the Women’s Prize this year and again, as above, it called to me from my Kindle yesterday and I started reading it. The writing is beautiful and the characters are so real. I’m very much enjoying this book and am looking forward to reading more.

You and Me, Always by Jill Mansell

This is the first book that I’ve picked from my 20 Books Of Summer stack and I’m adoring it so far. It feels like such a good book to start with as it’s summery and easy to get in to. I’ve had this book on my TBR for years now and am wishing I’d picked it up sooner.

My Recent Reads

HeatStroke by Hazel Barkworth

I read this novel in one sitting yesterday whilst out in the garden and it was such a perfect way to read this book. This is one of those novels that has a strange dreamlike quality to it because of the intense heat that’s running through its pages. I really did love this book and I’ll definitely be looking out for more by this author in the future.

Little Disasters by Sarah Vaughan

This is another novel that I pretty much read in one sitting as I simply had to know what had happened and how it was all going to turn out. It’s an exploration of motherhood and friendships, and the secrets and hidden thoughts we keep from others. I found this novel very moving and so well-written, and it had me gripped from start to finish.

Blurred Lines by Hannah Begbie

I requested this one from NetGalley as the blurb really caught my attention. It’s about the decision a woman takes not to report a suspected assault, but it’s also an exploration of what happened to her when she was younger. It’s a very prescient novel and one that should be widely read.

Funny Weather: Art in an Emergency by Olivia Laing

This is an essay collection that I had an eARC of but decided to buy the audio book and listen to it. I enjoyed a lot of the essays, although some felt too short and too surface level. On the whole I would recommend this one, and I’m keen to read more by the author in the future. I’ve already reviewed this one so click the title above if you’d like to know more.

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

I’ve had a copy of this on my NetGalley shelf for over a year but for some reason hadn’t picked it up. I finally read it this week and I devoured it in a couple of sittings. I adored this book and am kicking myself for not reading it sooner. You can read my review by clicking on the title above.

Living My Best Life by Claire Frost

I also had a copy of this book for review but ended up borrowing the audio from BorrowBox and listening to it. I really enjoyed it, it was good escapist summer reading.

The Babysitter by Phoebe Morgan

When I posted my WWW Wednesdays last week I was waiting on the last stave of this from Pigeonhole so only had three or four chapters to read so most of it was read before this week. Anyway, the end was worth waiting for because it was so twisty! I very much enjoyed this novel and plan on going back and reading Phoebe Morgan’s previous novel soon.

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

This book is stunning! I read and enjoyed the author’s previous novel The Roanoke Girls but this book is even better. I can’t stop thinking about Evie and wondering how she’s doing now. If you like crime novels set in a small town then this is one for you! I’ve already reviewed this one so click the title above to know more of what I thought.

What I Might Read Next

Who Did You Tell? by Lesley Kara

This has been on my NetGalley shelf for ages and I still want to read it as much as I ever did so hope to get to it this week. I loved the author’s previous novel The Rumour so have very high hopes for this one.

Mine by Clare Empson

This is another NetGalley book and I’ve been wanting to get to this one for a while so am adding it to my TBR for this week and hopefully I’ll manage to get to it this week.

Just Like the Other Girls by Claire Douglas

I’m such a big fan of Claire Douglas so am very excited to have a NetGalley of her forthcoming book and really want to read it asap. I hope to get to it this week!

Evening Primrose by Kopano Matlwa

This is the next book that I hope to get to from my 20 Books Of Summer TBR. I’ve had a copy of this on my bookcase for around three years now and I still want to read it so hope to get to this one in the coming days.

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. 🙂

Mini Book Reviews: The Day We Met | His and Hers | The Familiar Dark | Funny Weather

Today I’m sharing another selection of mini reviews of books that I’ve read and enjoyed over the last couple of weeks.

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

I’ve shamefully had this book on my NetGalley shelf for over a year and I’m kicking myself for not picking it up sooner because I completely and utterly adored this book! It follows Stephanie and Jamie who meet on an art course and feel such a strong connection to each other. They swap numbers and hope to see each other in a year’s time at the next art retreat. We then follow them in alternating chapters as they navigate their lives and they see each other once a year. They know they have strong feelings but they’re married to other people and don’t know what they should do. I know infidelity is a tricky subject to cover but I couldn’t help but root for Stephanie and Jamie. The way they expressed feelings through sharing meaningful songs was so beautiful. I don’t want to say too much more about this book as I’m wary of spoilers so I’ll just say that I loved this novel and I highly recommend it.

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

I read and loved The Roanoke Girls and so had very high hopes for this novel and I can say that it easily exceeded them. I read this book in one sitting, I just couldn’t put it down even as it was breaking my heart. The novel follows Evie in the immediate aftermath of finding out that her daughter and her daughter’s best friend have been murdered. Evie is utterly broken by this news but she steels herself to go back to the darker parts of her community where she grew up because she wants answers. She is so angry and so hurt and I was rooting for her all the way through. There are twists and turns along the way but this is really a novel about the darkest elements of a community and how hard it is to escape. This is a gritty, dark novel but Evie is so real and I adored the writing. I recommend this one!

His and Hers by Alice Feeney

I loved Alice Feeney’s debut novel Sometimes I Lie and this is a return to form! His and Hers follows Anna, an ambitious TV news reporter, and her ex-husband Jack, a police detective in alternating chapters. I found this such a fun read as seeing things from each of their points of view and realising that one of them might have set the other one up made for such a fast-paced read! I kept changing my mind about who I thought was behind the murders, and ultimately whilst I did guess how it was going to end it didn’t spoilt how good of a read this was. It was such a rollercoaster ride and I very much enjoyed it. I can’t wait to read whatever Alice Feeney writes next but in the meantime I recommend this book!

Funny Weather by Olivia Laing

This my first book by Olivia Laing and I will definitely read more of her work in the future. Funny Weather is an essay collection and some of the essays I loved and found fascinating, I actually looked up some of the artists she wrote about to find out more about them and their work. Others were about people I already know about and I really connected with them, such as the essay on Freddie Mercury (he was the first famous person whose death made me cry too). There were some essays that just felt too short and too surface level though which meant I didn’t get much out of them and there wasn’t enough to pique my interest to look the artists up. Mostly I enjoyed this book though and I would recommend it.

WWW Wednesdays (27 May 20)! What are you reading this week?

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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. 🙂

A New #BookHaul as I’m Stacking the Shelves Again (26 Jan 2019)!

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Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews and Reading Reality, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week!

 

Books I Bought This week

The Woman Who Kept Everything by Jane Gilley

I’ve seen some great reviews of this book and the title appeals to me (anyone who’s read my Marie Kondo post will get why!) so I grabbed a copy this week!

My Sister, The Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

This is novel that I keep seeing everywhere I look so I simply had to treat myself to a copy! It sounds like such a good read and I can’t wait to get to it!

The Forgotten Hours by Katrin Schumann

This was my Kindle First pick for this month and it sounds like an interesting read.

Rock Needs River by Vanessa McGrady

There was the option to pick two Kindle First picks this month so this was my second choice. I do love non-fiction and this one caught my eye!

 

Books I Received for Review

Hard Pushed by Leah Hazard

I’ve seen this book being talked about on social media and as I love medical memoirs I requested it on NetGalley and am really looking forward to getting to this one.

The Day We Met by Roxie Cooper

This is another book that I keep hearing about and was undecided about reading as everyone says you need tissues as it’s a tearjerker but in the end I just really want to read it and am glad to have a copy. Hopefully I’ll get to it soon.

Don’t Turn Around by Amanda Brooke

I was thrilled to be emailed about this book and offered a copy as I’ve enjoyed previous novels by the author. This one sounds thrilling and fast-paced and I’m looking forward to reading it.

Chickens Eat Pasta by Clare Pedrick

I’m taking part in the blog tour for this in a few weeks time and am delighted to have the audio book to listen to and review. This sounds like such a lovely read.

 


 

Have you bought any new books over the last week? Please tell me below. 🙂 If you join in with Stacking the Shelves please feel free to leave your link and I’ll make sure to read and comment on your post.