My best books of the year is always one of my favourite posts to write. This year is particular has me mega excited because thanks to lockdown, I’ve been doing a lot of reading and therefore have managed to read so many incredible books. Narrowing it down to 10 is going to be a really hard job.
Back in October, I shared a blog post called We Need To Talk where I shared my thoughts on blogging and my own career. I won’t rehash any of that post here, you can go and read it if you’re interested but one thing that I do mention is how I am done with blogging about topics that I no longer care about nor find interesting.
Books have always been my biggest love. My first love. My saving grace. It makes me sad that I neglected talking about books for so long. So going forward into next year, I’d really like to make that change and start talking about books again on this blog.
Anyway, enough chatter, let’s get into my top 10 reads of 2020! These are in no particular order.
The Kingdom by Jess Rothenberg
Welcome to the Kingdom… where ‘Happily Ever After’ isn’t just a promise, but a rule.
Glimmering like a jewel behind its gateway, The Kingdom is an immersive fantasy theme park where guests soar on virtual dragons, castles loom like giants, and bioengineered species–formerly extinct–roam free.
Ana is one of seven Fantasists, beautiful “princesses” engineered to make dreams come true. When she meets park employee Owen, Ana begins to experience emotions beyond her programming including, for the first time… love.
But the fairytale becomes a nightmare when Ana is accused of murdering Owen, igniting the trial of the century. Through courtroom testimony, interviews, and Ana’s memories of Owen, emerges a tale of love, lies, and cruelty–and what it truly means to be human.
Although I did say these were in no particular order, whenever I think about my top reads of this year, The Kingdom always jumps out at me first. So for that reason, this is probably my favourite book I’ve read in 2002. Or at LEAST in the top 3. Think Disneyland combined with the TV show Humans; and you’ve got The Kingdom.
Gosh, I absolutely FREAKING LOVED this book. I was initially drawn to it because of the beautiful cover and although we’re not supposed to judge books by their covers, in this case, it worked really well. I was just completely hooked in this weird and wonderful world of the Fantasists and would highly recommend for YA fans.
How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne
‘Turning thirty is like playing musical chairs. The music stops, and everyone just marries whoever they happen to be sitting on.’
Who the f*ck is Tori Bailey?
There’s no doubt that Tori is winning the game of life. A straight-talking, bestselling author, she’s inspired millions of women around the world with her self-help memoir. And she has the perfect relationship to boot.
But Tori Bailey has been living a lie.
Her long-term boyfriend won’t even talk about marriage, but everyone around her is getting engaged and having babies. And when her best friend Dee – her plus one, the only person who understands the madness – falls in love, suddenly Tori’s in terrifying danger of being left behind.
When the world tells you to be one thing and turning thirty brings with it a loud ticking clock, it takes courage to walk your own path.
It’s time for Tori to practice what she’s preached, but the question is: is she brave enough?
I think I’m the last person on Earth to read How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne but I’m so glad I finally picked it up from the library this year! It wasn’t something I was desperate to read and only really did because of the hype – I’m always one to give in to the hype around certain books!
And it definitely deserves all the hype it got. As someone who lives a large majority of their lives online, I really loved the premise of this one and how damaging the portrayal of the “perfect life” can be, both to you and to others. This book really made me think a lot about my own career.
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams
Queenie Jenkins is a 25-year-old Jamaican British woman living in London, straddling two cultures and slotting neatly into neither.
She works at a national newspaper, where she’s constantly forced to compare herself to her white middle class peers. After a messy break up from her long-term white boyfriend, Queenie seeks comfort in all the wrong places…including several hazardous men who do a good job of occupying brain space and a bad job of affirming self-worth.
As Queenie careens from one questionable decision to another, she finds herself wondering, “What are you doing? Why are you doing it? Who do you want to be?”—all of the questions today’s woman must face in a world trying to answer them for her.
I actually left out the quote from the blurb comparing Queenie to Bridget Jones because it is so far from Bridget Jones, it’s almost laughable that anyone would compare the two. But ah, Queenie. I adoredddd this book. Again, another one that I read because of the hype. And yet another one that the hype totally lived up to.
Queenie, as well as being incredibly funny and real and honest, also covers some really important topics and situations. There are certain elements of this book that I don’t recall being covered in anything else I’ve read and I loved that. I want Queenie as a best friend.
The Whisper Man by Alex North
If you leave a door half-open, soon you’ll hear the whispers spoken…
Still devastated after the loss of his wife, Tom Kennedy and his young son Jake move to the sleepy village of Featherbank, looking for a fresh start.
But Featherbank has a dark past. Fifteen years ago a twisted serial killer abducted and murdered five young boys. Until he was finally caught, the killer was known as ‘The Whisper Man’.
Of course, an old crime need not trouble Tom and Jake as they try to settle in to their new home. Except that now another boy has gone missing. And then Jake begins acting strangely.
He says he hears a whispering at his window…
I used to read a LOT of Thriller / Crime novels like The Whisper Man. It used to be almost the only genre I read. And whilst I’ve always loved this genre, I’d definitely gone off reading it for a while because I wasn’t getting shocked or scared of anything anymore. And feeling something is hugely important to me when it comes to reading.
And wowzers, The Whisper Man made me FEEL THE THINGS. Things such as needing to close my curtains because I was so creeped out and scared someone was looking through the window. There’s nothing quite like getting proper scared from a book and this one really did it for me. It’d be a fantastic movie!
A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder by Holly Jackson
The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.
But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?
The Good Girl’s Guide To Murder was a brilliant read and I’m definitely going to make a point next year of reading the sequel. I loved Pippa, she was such a loveable main character and you totally rooted for her throughout the whole thing. I loved this different take on a Crime novel.
I love YA novels and this was definitely a little different to the usual. I loved how you were totally with the main character throughout the whole thing, almost working with her whilst she tries to solve this case.
Suicide Club by Rachel Heng
In this debut set in near future NYC—where lives last 300 years and the pursuit of immortality is all-consuming—Lea must choose between her estranged father and her chance to live forever.
Lea Kirino is a “Lifer,” which means that a roll of the genetic dice has given her the potential to live forever—if she does everything right. And Lea is an overachiever. She’s a successful trader on the New York exchange—where instead of stocks, human organs are now bought and sold—she has a beautiful apartment, and a fiancé who rivals her in genetic perfection. And with the right balance of HealthTech™, rigorous juicing, and low-impact exercise, she might never die.
But Lea’s perfect life is turned upside down when she spots her estranged father on a crowded sidewalk. His return marks the beginning of her downfall as she is drawn into his mysterious world of the Suicide Club, a network of powerful individuals and rebels who reject society’s pursuit of immortality, and instead chose to live—and die—on their own terms.
In this future world, death is not only taboo; it’s also highly illegal. Soon Lea is forced to choose between a sanitized immortal existence and a short, bittersweet time with a man she has never really known, but who is the only family she has left in the world.
Suicide Club had been sitting on my bookshelf for years. Literally years. I asked for it for my birthday back in 2018 but I didn’t read it until this year and I’m not entirely sure why. I think I was a little overwhelmed by it. The concept sounded amazing and I’d heard mixed reviews.
Although arguably, Suicide Club wasn’t as explosive as I thought it was going to be, I still absolutely adored it. It was so unique and well thought out. It gave you a lot to think about but was also incredibly easy to read and I absolutely flew through it, totally invested.
photo of they both die, good girls and suicide club
They Both Die At the End by Adam Silvera
On September 5th, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news:
they’re going to die today.
Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but for different reasons, they’re both looking for a new friend on their End Day. The good news: there’s an app for that.
It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure – to live a lifetime in a single day.
Another one that I read due to the hype factor. And boy oh boy, aren’t I glad I did. I flew through this beautiful book and just couldn’t put it down. It was heart-breaking and eye-opening and just completely life affirming. I hadn’t read a book like this in so long and this one will stay with me for such a long time.
This book really does emphasis the power of friendship, love and making the most of every single moment. It makes you want to run in the rain, dance under the stars and live every moment like it’s your last. I think that’s such a powerful thing for a book to accomplish. And accomplish well.
Just Like the Other Girls by Claire Douglas
CARER/COMPANION WANTED FOR ELDERLY LADY * YOUNG FEMALE PREFERRED * COMPETITIVE SALARY *
* ROOM AND BOARD INCLUDED *
Una Richardson’s heart is broken after the death of her mother. Seeking a place to heal, she responds to an advertisement and steps into the rich, comforting world of Elspeth McKenzie.
But Elspeth’s home is not as safe as it seems.
Kathryn, her cold and bitter daughter, resents Una’s presence. But more disturbing is the realization that two girls had lived here before. Two girls who ended up dead.
Why won’t the McKenzies talk about them? What other secrets are locked inside this house? As the walls close in around her, Una starts to fear that she will end up just like the other girls…
What a surprise, a Claire Douglas book on this list. NOT. Oh my god, Claire Douglas is my go-to Thriller author. She’s my auto-buy and everything I read from her I just utterly adore. And Just Like the Others Girls was no exception at all. It reads in typical Claire Douglas fashion, is creepy and mysterious and I just bloody loved it.
I picked this up in Tesco earlier in the year because like I said, she’s an auto-buy. I didn’t even read the back. But as predicted it was fabulous. It 100% kept me hooked, I felt for the characters, I liked them, I hated them, I rooted for them. And yeah, I don’t know what else to say. Claire is just fabulous.
My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
A couple’s fifteen-year marriage has finally gotten too interesting…
Our love story is simple. I met a gorgeous woman. We fell in love. We had kids. We moved to the suburbs. We told each other our biggest dreams, and our darkest secrets. And then we got bored.
We look like a normal couple. We’re your neighbors, the parents of your kid’s friend, the acquaintances you keep meaning to get dinner with.
We all have secrets to keeping a marriage alive.
Ours just happens to be getting away with murder.
As I’m writing this, I haven’t even FINISHED this book yet but it’s already on this list because I literally can’t put it down. I think I knew from the first 50 pages or so that My Lovely Wife was going to be one of my reads of the year because it’s not often that I can spend such a long time reading and not want to put a book down!
Dark, sinister, twisty and everything I love in a book. I picked this up on a whim in the library and I’m so glad I did. As soon as I finish this one I’ll be checking out Samantha’s other books. I’m thinking she’s going to become of my new auto-buy authors!