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!
[…] that sets my soul on fire, we’re back with another bookish post. After the success of my Top 10 Reads of 2020 post at the end of last year, book related content is definitely something I’m bringing more […]
I always enjoy reading about what other people enjoyed reading because I am always on the lookout for good books to add to my reading list. For me, a book I’ll recommend from 2020 would be Jojo Moyes’ The Last Letter from Your Lover or James Patterson and Bill Clinton’s The President is Missing.
Thanks for the recommendations! I’ll check those out 🙂
You read a lot of great books this year! I have heard about Suicide Club before & it sounds so interesting! I also want to read A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder
Queenie was also one of my favourites this year! All the other books sound amazing and I have swiftly added them to my list! The Whisper Man sounds right up my street!
This is a very interesting list, Jenny! I love how you’ve included little intros! Looking forward to more!
I’ve been eyeing Queenie since it came out, but never bought it for some reason! You convinced me! Will have to add it to my TBR for next year with “They both die at the end”. Thanks for sharing xx
Hope you enjoy!
This is a great list! I have been wanting to read Queenie for a while, I guess it’s high time I pick it up.
Definitely! Hope you enjoy 🙂
Queenie is on my Top Reads list too but there’s no way I could get my list down to a Top Ten! I’m really impressed.
Thank you haha! There’s been SO many great books this year!
[…] Top 10 Reads of 2020 […]
Thanks for sharing these! Despite having plenty of time to read during 2020, I haven’t really felt like it so didn’t get much read. I have managed to get through a few audiobooks though. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get back into my reading over the Christmas break.
Awh that’s okay. Understandable too. Hope you can get some reading done over Christmas!
Some great recommendations I have put some in my reading list for next year!! Thanks for the review
Thank you 🙂 x
I had a question about one of these books. Could you help me out?
In ‘The Kingdom’ is Ana like a robot? I mean I saw the word ‘programmed’ so I got a bit confused..
Yes she’s a robot but has consciousness.
Ah I can’t wait to do my reading wrap up!
I love that 2020 has brought us more time to read x
I’ve never heard of the book Queenie until now. Nevertheless, after reading your review, I can’t wait to purchase and dig my claws into it. Thank you for the detailed review. All the best!
Hope you enjoy it!
Any time of the year is a great time to read; somehow, winter is the best time of all for books and reading by the firelight. I think we are all looking for the next great book to read. Thank you for sharing your list!
I wish I had a fire to read beside!
I haven’t read any of these – I can’t wait to post my 2020 fave books x
I love the sound of My Lovely Wife, so I think I’ll buy that x
I’d highly recommend x
Ahh I was so excited to read this post when I saw you had tweeted about it! I absolutely loved Queenie too and anything by Claire Douglas is always a winner in my eyes! I’m definitely going to check a few of these out now as I’m in need of a few new books to keep me going over Christmas xx
Tiffany x http://www.foodandotherloves.co.uk
Yay so glad to hear that! Claire is incredible!
I haven’t read any of these books, but they sound great. Queenie has been on my TBR list for a while now. I’ve really enjoyed reading Open Book by Jessica Simpson. It is so much more than just an autobiography. It details her struggle with depression and anxiety and really shows her journey through both.
Sounds like a really powerful book x
I haven’t read any of these books yet! I need to add them to my list. Thanks so much for sharing!
You’re welcome 🙂 x
Out of this list I have only read Queenie- which I really enjoyed! I have really neglected reading lately and I need to get back into it! I’m going to check some of these out thank you x
You’re welcome. Queenie was so great x
I remember seeing a couple of these books on your ‘want to read’ list a while back, so it is awesome to read your thoughts on them! Queenie, The Whisper Man, and My Lovely Wife sound like stories I need to lose myself in. Even though the murders of children always grieve me, a good story is worth it.
Thanks for sharing!
Oh totally. I mean, nobody wants to read about children getting murdered of course but if it’s fiction and done right, which is ABSOLUTELY is in The Whisper Man then it’s worth it!
Yes! I will read about anything if it is done right in the story. 🙂
These look like fabulous books, not read any of these yet but need to get them soon! Will have to get kingdom first.
The Kingdom was incredibleeee!
I love posts like this one! It is filled with so many incredible books I love the sound of A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder, Suicide Club and They both Die in the End. These will be getting added to my TBR in 2021.
Hope you enjoy them all!
oooh some interesting ones here Jenny! I am adding a couple to my list. Because the list of books to be read isn’t long enough LOL
Hahaha I bet! Sorry for making your list longer!
Awesome books. I will definitly will check them out. True, the lockdown is a perfect time to read more books as we at home most day.
It really has been!
Some great books here Jenny, I read Queenie also and I loved that book, such a great read! My other favourite book from this year are Flat Share and The Cactus x
Lucy | http://www.lucymary.co.uk
Oh god I have heard ENDLESS good things about The Flat Share!
I love an overview book post! A fab selection here – I’m dying to read Queenie and My lovely wife sounds up my street too xx
Thank you! 🙂 Both amazing reads!
Hmm. I don’t think I have read any of them. But several of them sound very interesting!! I better check them out.
Hope you enjoy!
I haven’t heard of most of these books but Queenie is high on my list! Sounds like you’ve read a good mix of books this year!
I have! And it’s been great. I’ve loved reading such a wide selection of genres 🙂
I’m reading Queenie at the moment and I absolutely love it! I agree with you for wanting her as a best friend!
Oh I’m so glad! It’s so good isn’t it x
Great post! I love these choices, and I’ve wanted to read Queenie for quite a while now! Thanks for sharing Jenny x
Definitely make that one a priority! Soooo good!
I really want to get into reading, but I find it’s hard to know where to start so this is super helpful! All of these sound like such great reads xx
Hannah | https://luxuryblush.co.uk/
It totally depends what genres etc you like. If you ever need any recommendations, you know where I am!
The whisper man is my next one to read! I can’t wait to get my teeth into it but I’ve learned to stick to one book at once. I have a tendancy to overload myself with reads and then get confused.
I can’t wait to see what you get into next year 😀
Oh my gosh it’s sooooo good! Creeped me out so much. I tend to stick to one book at a time as well 🙂 x
I’ve had A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder sat on my TBR for a while. I didn’t quite manage to get to it this year but hopefully 2021 will be the year I do read it along with a few other YA Crime Thrillers.
I hope you manage to read it next year, it’s so good!
I really need to read Who The F**k is Tori Bailey – I think I will find plenty for my own – just turned 30 and feel the same!!
Sounds like a great read!
Ooh I wanted to read Suicide Club and They Both Die At the End for years, but I never got down to reading either of them. I want to give some of Toni Morrison’s novels a read this December! Have you read any of her novels, and is there any you recommend? I think I have at least three of her more popular ones on my shelves including bluest eye.
I haven’t read any of her novels, as far as I’m aware actually! Suicide Club and TBDATE are incredible, would highly recommend putting them on your TBR for 2021!
These are great! I will have to look into them.
Hope you enjoy!
I really need to get back into reading, one of my favourite times of the year to read is Christmas. Sitting in front of a roaring fire with a hot chocolate with an amazing book is my favourite past time x
Sounds absolutely perfect!
Some of these have been on my TBR pile for a while, I am hoping I have been clear enough on my wishes for Rob this year!
I want to spend the Christmas break enjoying as many books as I can get away with!
BTW your pictures are gorgeous x
Thanks so much Claire! I love taking photos of books haha x
I started reading again in October and I’ve heard many times about The Kingdom but not sure what kind of book is that – after reading your review, I think that’s kind of my book 😀 Gonna add it to my TBR list! Thanks, Jen x
YA, Dystopian, Thriller. It’s amazing – enjoy!
I don’t even know where I would start with my favourite books of 2020, I’ve still got two to read to hit my Goodreads goals x
I’m sure you’ll do it x
I was doing so well with my reading in the summer but stopped in the Autumn. I find it easier to read out in the garden when it’s warm. I’ve got some time off over Christmas so I’m going to pick Queenie from your list and get cosy one afternoon!
Oh same, there’s two places I can read loads; in the bath or in the garden! That’s one thing I miss about Summer 🙂
You’ve got such an interesting books here. I must say that I haven’t read any of them. I’m trying to get more out of my reading comfort zone and these books sound just about right. I’ll definitely check some of them out.
Antonia || Sweet Passions
Hope these provide some suggestions for you!