Top 10 Books of 2020

Top 10 Books Of 2020

What’s better for the first post of 2021 than books? One of the saving graces of 2020 was the books I fell into. At final count I read 125 books a range of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, graphic novels, audiobooks. Trying to choose from all of those books which were my favourites was not easy.

Let’s get cracking and see which books I was hopelessly in love with last year.

The Girl and the Goddess – Nikita Gill

This is kind of a poetry collection but also a novel in verse that also incorporates Hindu mythology. It was absolutely stunning and you watch the life of a young girl from before she’s born up until she’s a young woman. There are some content warnings for this too, so make sure if you have any sensitivities to look them up. I couldn’t put this down and I know a lot of people felt the same.

The Midnight Library – Matt Haig

This book has been everywhere and for good reason. From Dolly Parton tweeting about it to BookTube exploding and it is so, so deserved. This is a novel about life, death and the choices you make in life. Every now and again, there are books that come into your life at exactly the right time. Like many people I struggled with my mental health during lockdown and had too much time in my own head.

Matt Haig is an incredible author, I’ve read 3 books of his previously and loved them all. It’s the way in which he understands and see’s the world. I finished the novel and felt like I was going to be ok, like things were going to be ok eventually.

There are also trigger warnings for this novel, after all, the main character is someone who is suicidal.

The Invisible Life Of Addi LaRue – V.E. Schwab

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Victoria Schwab as an author and as a human being. Addie is a book that has been spoken about for a long time, long before I knew about her. It’s also quite possibly the best book she’s ever written. I adore Addie, so much so that I am getting an Addie LaRue tattoo in January.

It’s so brilliantly written and clever. The fact that we see Addie’s growth from a young woman who makes a desperate bargain with a god, to a woman who has lived over 300 years and experienced more than we can even imagine. Also can we talk about Henry – lovely, lovely Henry who I cared about deeply. I also want to get a cat and call it Book. You can read my review here.

The Only Plane In The Sky, The Oral History Of 9/11 – Garrett M. Graff

This is a detailed history of 9/11 from people all over the country, those with the President, those who were in the towers themselves, family members, people who watched along, pilots who were instructed to shoot down any other suspected threats. It’s an important read and something I think should be used to teach later generations.

Dear NHS 100 Stories To Say Thank You – Edited by Adam Kay

If we ever needed a year to show the importance of the NHS it’s this one. Edited by This Is Going To Hurt author Adam Kay, this is a collection by many well known names that raised money for our wonderful National Health Service. I loved it so much I bought a second copy straight away and gave it to my Nanna.

Serpent & Dove – Shelby Mahurin

So, I got this for Christmas last year and it sat on my book case. I had a piece of magic sat on my shelves and I’m so glad I got to it this year – and that I read it after the second book was released because I could move straight on to it once I finished. What happens when a secret Witch and a Witch-Hunter get forced to marry? I love this book and the ending I did not expect at all. Chef’s kiss.

Hold Still – Nina LaCour

It was really hard to pick which Nina LaCour book to make my pick for the year – I’ve read 3 of her novels this year and enjoyed all of them. Hold Still hit differently though, it’s about the grief of losing a best friend to suicide and trying to find yourself afterwards. Beautifully written and it will stay with you for a long time after reading.

Clap When You Land – Elizabeth Acevedo

I’m so glad I tried Elizabeth Acevedo again! I was one of the (very few) people who struggled with The Poet X, but I picked up With The Fire On High and loved it, so I had to get Clap When You Land and was lucky enough to get an arc.

Novels in verse are hidden gems and I thought this was spectacularly written. Both girls perspectives were a great read and, if anything, I want to know what happens next!

Good Girl, Bad Blood – Holly Jackson

This is another book where I wish I hadn’t waited so long to pick it up! I read both A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and Good Girl, Bad Blood in the summer and I can’t wait to read the third book in the series in 2021.

I had to choose between the two but this got the top spot because I found the idea so fascinating. I can’t say much about the plot and why I loved it so much – that’s one of the only things about mysteries and thrillers you can’t say anything! I’ll have a review out next year!

Heartstopper, Volume 3 – Alice Oseman

I’ve read 1 graphic novel, 2 novellas and 1 novel by Alive Oseman this year – Nick and Charlie were in all of them so it only seemed right that they fit into my top 10. Volume 3 see’s Nick and Charlie go to Paris with their school. As well as exploring the city, this is where things also get a little more serious. You can read my review here and volume 4 comes out in 2021!

What were some of your favourite reads in 2020? Let me know in the comments below!

What I Read In October 2020

What I Read In October 2020

Is it almost December? Yes. Have I still not posted this blog, 100%. It probably hasn’t escaped your notice I haven’t been blogging much. I’ll be honest, I finally got a great work project and when I wasn’t working on that I was trying to pack up my flat or sleep. Oh and a little thing, planning for Blogmas!

But before we get into the festive fun let’s finally get around to talking about what I read in October.

After seeing that Iman Vellani has been cast at Ms Marvel for the Disney+ series I decided it was time to finally get around to reading the comic book. It was a good read as far as an introduction but I’m not in a huge rush to get to volume 2, meaning it was a 3 star read for me.

Next up was Nikita Gill’s newest collection and I have to say that I, personally, think this is the best collection she has done so far. I adored each page of The Girl And The Goddess and was blown away by the story within. It was tough to read some parts and definitely be careful if you struggle with reading about sexual violence. That said it is handled brilliantly and this is going to be in my top 10 books of the year! 5 stars without a doubt!

Another favourite of this year (October was good for that) was Serpent and Dove by Shelby Mahurin. Oh my goodness this book. This book. I actually got it for Christmas last year and hadn’t got around to it, I’m kicking myself. It’s incredible a Witch ends up marrying a Witch Hunter and I loved them both. So much so I told my Mum not to buy it for me for Christmas because I needed the sequel immediately. A 5 star read for sure.

Next up I finally picked up Vengeful by V.E. Schwab again to finish it. I ended up enjoying it although I did find the beginning slower once I got into it and was back into the EO world again. Also I don’t feel like Sydney and Mitch get enough love. This was a 4 star read for me.

Mindy Kaling is known for being hilarious and I really liked her books Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And Why Not Me? So I’ve started making my way through these short essay type books available on Kindle. I really hope there’s a bound collection at some point. Big Shot was a quick, fun read that made me think and got 4 stars from me.

I Am Not A Label written by Carrie Burnell was something I came across online and was drawn by the art style, what I didn’t expect is for it to touch me so much. I say Lady Gaga on the cover but having a book which described Fibromyalgia that’s aimed at younger people was emotional. It’s the first time I’ve seen it and it meant so, so much to be seen. A truly wonderful 5 star read.

The last two are from a duo that my and my fiancĂ© both love to read about and have met at MCM in London before – Sarah Graley & Stef Purenis. I finally picked up Our Super Adventure Vol 2 because I realised I didn’t have it. I also backed Cute! on Kickstarted and got an adorable cat pin too! Both of these were 4 star reads.

So, it was better late than never. Have you read any of these? Let me know in the comments below!

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue - V.E Schwab

Book Review: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V.E.Schwab

“France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.

Addie, Addie, Addie where do I begin. It’s no surprise to my regular readers that I have been excited for this book, it featured in my most anticipated books of the year. I’m a big Schwab fan and I think seeing how excited and nervous she was to release this only made me love it more. So you can imagine I squealed when I received an ARC.

I fell in love with Addie quickly, she’s smart and wants to see the world, she wants more than to be a man she doesn’t love’s wife. While her decision to trade her soul in exchange for freedom to a god might not have been the smartest I understand it.

We follow Addie back and forth in her life. I was wondering how it would work, she’d be forgotten by everyone, how would she survive? What would it mean? How far did it go? All of my questions were answered and in a way I could believe.

I thought I loved Addie and then we met Henry. Can I just say that he’s probably the closest I’ve come to wanting a ‘book boyfriend’. He seems like a genuinely wonderful guy who has his own hang ups, his own issues but he’s very real.

You can tell while reading this is a personal book, Scwab has recently written about coming out (you can read it here – I got emotional), there is LGBTQ rep that just naturally falls into the story. There’s discussions of loneliness, depression, dreams, joy – it’s all there.

The thing is that you don’t read this book, you fall into it and live alongside the characters. You love and root for them. You care deeply about their happiness and what’s going to happen to them. Also, while I won’t say much about him the God that gives Addie the deal is a truly excellent character. I’m not usually drawn to bad guys but…well.

This is probably my favourite Schwab novel and ever since I read my ARC I’ve told everyone to pre-order a copy because it is absolutely incredible. I love it so much I’ve bought myself the USA cover and the Forbidden Planet signed edition – if I can get my hands on the Waterstones exclusive edition too.

It’s not going to be a surprise that I gave this 5 stars. It’s intelligent, beautiful and breathtaking. Victoria has spoken about this book for years and it was worth the wait. I cannot thank her, Tor and Netgalley for the early copy in exchange for review.

What I Read In July & August 2020

What I Read In July & August 2020

While I was struggling to write I didn’t do my wrap ups but I was still reading a lot! So, here’s a bumper wrap up of some of the books I was reading, including a few new favourites and some that are almost certainly going to be in my top books of the year…

July

Both of these were ARCs from Netgalley. Coffee Days Whisky Nights by Cyrus Parker was a great collection of poems that I personally could relate to. Finding both the light and the dark, the hope and the pain in life is woven through the pages. Once I finished I immediately wanted to start reading again. A 5 star collection.

I’ve really enjoyed some of Sarah Crossan’s YA novels written in verse and this was her first adult novel. While it passed quickly this wasn’t the right book for me. The novel follows a woman who is having an affair and her boyfriend dies, leaving her in secret grief. I think this just wasn’t my kind of novel but I can see others liking it. A 3 star read for me.

Dear NHS 100 Stories To Say Thank You – edited by Adam Kay is incredible. Written and put together through lockdown proceeds also go towards supporting the NHS and the incredible people who care for us. Celebrities from all walks of life have contributed Emilia Clarke, Jacqueline Wilson, Sir Trevor McDonald, Jack Whitehall and so many more. After I finished I went and bought a copy for my Nanna to read too. An incredible book, 5 stars. I’d give it 50 if I could.

Music From Another World by Robin Talley was sent to me in exchange for a review. Set in the USA in the 1970s, two teenagers become penpals through a school project, but they end up getting much more from it. Dealing with homophobia in the 70s, religion and what the changes around them meant for the future. I really enjoyed this book and loved both the main characters, I also highly recommend the audiobook.

I got a copy of The Black Kids by Christina Hammonds Reed from the publisher via Netgalley. While I was excited by it, after reading I realised it wasn’t for me. I couldn’t get on with the protagonist and actually found her sister to be much more interesting. 3 stars for me.

I’m a big fan of Alice Oseman’s writing and Loveless was one I was really excited for this year – it didn’t disappoint. Set during Georgia’s first term at university not only is she trying to adapt to her new surroundings but also that she just doesn’t seem to get relationships or love. As she learns about terms such as Asexual and Aromantic she’s got even more to work out, while also trying to keep her friendships together. A 5 star read for me!

Little Moments of Love is an flick though of cute moments from Catana Comics. I enjoyed it, a 3 star read for me.

August

The Meaning of Birds by Jaye Robin Brown is a heartbreaking and also wonderful sapphic novel that I am so glad I got for myself. It deals with grief, healing and anger. Put simply I found it to be as beautiful as the cover suggests. A big 5 stars and one that is not shouted about enough!

In Real Life by Cory Doctorow and Jen Wang is one I’ve eyed for a while. A graphic novel about a gamer who realises that things might not be what they seem. A really well written and illustrated story of friendship, understanding and poverty – 4 stars from me.

I am so late to the party with theses I know! I have to say though Holly Jackson is a bit bloody brilliant. Both A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder and Good Girl, Bad Blood had me hooked. I could not put them down for the life of me, I needed to know what happened. I’ll be preordering the third book as soon as I can because these are amazing. Murder, mystery and twists that you won’t see coming – both 5 star reads.

I found All Hail The Queen – Twenty Women Who Ruled by Jennifer Orkia Lewis & Shweta Jha on Scribd and thought it was worth a read. What I enjoyed about this book was that it focused on Queens from around the world throughout history. A quick read full of interesting women – 4 stars.

Another one I finally got to! Spinning by Tillie Walden is a graphic memoir about Tillie’s time ice skating from a child to her teens as she also begins to realise her sexuality. I gave this one 3 stars.

This book came to be at the right time. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig is about life, death and possibilities. Not only is is beautifully written but it also makes you consider what’s important and who you are. I’ve been recommending this to everyone because I love it so much. Review to come, 5 stars – go and buy it now and enrich your life.

I’ve read all of Bryony Gordon’s memoirs, so I preordered the audiobook of Glorious Rock Bottom. This one was surprising as it overlaps with some of the others in a way that I didn’t expect. Bryony bares all about her alcoholism and trying to get clean, including things that she isn’t proud of but she does share her reality. She also acknowledges her privilege that she can pay to go to rehab. A solid 4 star read.

Honor Girl by Maggie Thrash kept popping up on lists about graphic memoirs (something I’ve liked reading recently). This is about a Mormon teenager at summer camp who is working out her sexuality. While I could appreciate the story I wasn’t keen on the art style. A 3 star read for me.

I adore the Heartstopper series by Alice Oseman and so I wanted to pick up this short story she wrote about the main characters Nick and Charlie. This does have spoilers if you only read the bound editions (although if you’re up to speed then I wouldn’t say there are too many spoilers). That said it was a really sweet quick read that I loved. 5 stars

I got an ARC of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab via Netgalley and I squealed. This is one of my most anticipated reads of the year and this book. This book! Oh it’s something special. It comes out next month and I can’t WAIT to share my review with you all soon. 5 stars, obviously.

What have you been reading? Let me know below!

Livin' La Vida Lockdown: Day Twenty-Two What I Read In March 2020

Livin’ La Vida Lockdown: Day Twenty-Two What I Read In March 2020

Better late than never, right?! March was a strange month and I found myself in a slump, particularly as news about the virus started to pick up speed. That said, I managed 4 physical books, 2 ebooks and 1 audiobook. Pretty good going, huh?

First up I finished my book club read of The Near Witch by V.E Schwab. Now I have loved everything I’ve read by Schwab but because of that I put off reading it until right before. In the words of Hermione Granger what an idiot. For a first novel this was pretty amazing and it was a 4.5 star read for me.

Next up I got to Great Goddesses by Nikita Gill that I borrowed from my friend Fred. I find Nikita Gill very hit and miss and this was no different. It was a 3 star read for me, while it was good I didn’t really know enough about greek mythology and had to keep stopping to look stuff up.

I got to a highly anticipated read of mine, partly because I knew the author at university and that is The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper. Two guys move to a NASA facility as their parents have been chosen for a space mission. There’s a love story, social media and space – the last of which I didn’t realise I’d be that interested in. A 4 star read for me and there’s a review coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled.

Another LGBTQ based book which explores the world of drag – The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta. This is a novel written in verse and while it did take me a little while to get into and get a rhythm with it. Because of the breaks I took while reading it I gave it 4 stars rather than 5. It also has a review coming soon.

I finally got around to getting to one of my Sara Barnard books that I won in a Twitter giveaway. Now, fair warning I love A Quiet Kind of Thunder by Sara Barnard book a whole lot. It features a girl who has selective mutism and a guy who is deaf and it’s their story of getting to know each other in a hearing and speaking world. It was excellent and, of course, it got 5 stars from me.

I also got Scribd in this month which meant I could catch up on some poetry collections I haven’t been able to get hold of or been able to afford before. Break Your Glass Slippers by Amanda Lovelace is the start of a new collection and it was okay. Again, this is another poet I have mixed feelings about. This collection was a 3 star read for me as the collections are starting to feel quite repetitive.

And last but not least another Scribd read and a book I’ve been curious about for a long time it’s The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. This romance was excellent and I absolutely loved reading it. It’s enemies to lovers, it’s passionate without being over the top and I want to read more Christina Lauren soon.

Did you get through many books in March? Any recommendations for me? Let me know below!