My 2020 Reading Round Up!

My 2020 reading journey was a ride and a half. With Lockdown coming into play in early 2020 I’d already picked up more books as a means to keep myself busy. What was even better was when my boyfriend, our friends and I decided during lockdown to get a book club going. It really varied up my reading and as we were all really interested in different types of genres it was interesting to read something different!

My reading goal for 2020 was 50 books. I ended up reading 53 books, so I was really happy to have reached my goal and then some! You can find some of the books I read this year below, as well as my top 10 books from the year. Top 10 was not easy to choose thats for sure, but it definitely made me realise every once and a while you should pick up something you’re not used to reading!

My top 10 below! Let me know if you’ve ready any of the books below in the comments and your thoughts as well!

My Top 10 from 2020!

Choosing my top 10 was the hardest thing I’ve had to do this year (so far!), but please enjoy these recommendations in no particular order! I did also throw a few series in here which were amazing but will definitely tell you the best book from the series.

The Wayward Pines Series – Blake Crouch

The most excitable series I’ve read so far, futuristic, thrilling and absolutely terrifying all in one. The best book was without a doubt Wayward #2, the second book in the series. I was gripped from start to finish and didn’t take a minute between books before I was moving onto the next.

The Lunar Chronicles – Marissa Meyer

This entire series was phenomenal from start to finish and the final book was the longest book I read all year. Winter #4 was 827 pages and I finished this book as I came into the new year for 2020. BUT the best book of the series personally for me absolutely had to be Scarlet #2. I thoroughly enjoyed learning abut Scarlet and Wolf, I remember their story, minus Cinders, more than any of the others in the book. Including Levanas story and that was pretty crazy.

A Court of Thorns & Roses Series – Sarah J. Maas

I finished this season quite recently and although I enjoyed all the entire series the best book was without a doubt the first one, A Court of Thorns & Roses #1. The way this book ended and meeting the characters and seeing how they change throughout made me so excited to see how the story was going to progress.

The Secret Race – Tyler Hamilton

This was a recommendation from our lockdown bookclub and not something I would usually read. I know absolutely nothing about the Tour De France, Lance Armstrong or doping. But this book by Ex-Cyclist Tyler Hamilton definitely changed all of that and in a really great way. Tyler Hamilton tells his story of the cycling scene in Tour De France, how the doping happens and where, and what Lance Armstrong is really like. I LOVED this book, totally addicted. Especially as this is a topic I didn’t know much about I found it so so interesting to read and learn about!

Twas the Nightshift Before Christmas – Adam Kay

A comedic and eye-opening revelation of what happens in our hospitals and the challenges faced with becoming a doctor. Another recommendation from bookclub too! I read this book in 2 days, it made me chuckle but it also made me cry with loss and heartache. So well written and incredibly well done. Not tasteless and a really insightful.

War Doctor – David Nott

Another recommendation from our glorious bookclub which I never would have thought of reading. Straight away I was sucked in. To be a doctor in a war zone sounds like carnage and I was so upset with a few of the stories and how devastating they were. It was just incredible learning what its like volunteering in a war zone, the risk of being kidnapped, murdered, tortured. But being able to save so many lives who had been involuntarily affected by the wars surrounding them must be SO rewarding.

10 Minutes & 38 Seconds in this Strange World – Elif Shafak

I picked this one up from one of the night manager at work. It was left in the hotel I work in and eventually we can take the books for ourselves if they go unclaimed. So I decided this was mine and it made me want to go to Istanbul and explore. This book also really highlights the essence of true friendship, love and traditions and really made me feel warm inside. Even if the story was based on murdering prostitutes.

The Kiss Quotent – Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotent is #1 of the series and I thoroughly enjoyed this book as it was from a perspective I had only ever once read before. The Curious incident of the Dog In the Nighttime, the main character has Aspergers. In this story the main female character is Autistic. It was so lovely but also a learning curve to see this love story come together through their difficulties. The second book was also fantastic, I am now patiently waiting for book #3!

The Choice – Dr Edith Eger

I LOVE Holocaust books, I find them so interesting and insightful and I feel this is why I also enjoy Dark Tourism as I take a lot of interesting in learning about something I could not ever imagine having to experience. The Choice is based on Dr Edith Eger, Mengeles Little Dancer, and her experience and memoir of her time in the holocaust. Moving and truly inspiring on EVERY account.

The Flat Share – Beth O’Leary

I laughed and I cried and I wanted this love story SO MUCH. It was so lighthearted and constantly kept you wondering and wishing. I really really loved this book, the storyline and the way it came together. So much so that I recommended it to my boyfriend and even he enjoyed the humour it offered. I thought it was too much of a chick flick book for him but he loved it.

May Reading Round Up!

She’s done it again, I smashed my 20 books of 2020 as my reading goal so I’m absolutely going for 30 books now. This month has been really enjoyable with most of my reads but some not so much! So here is what I’ve managed to get through this month and what I would recommend!

A Map of Days / Ransom Riggs (The Miss Peregrines Series book #4)

This book was a serious let down, as was the 5th book in the series below as well. I loved the storyline in the first 3 books and was so into them. I feel Ransom Riggs really should have just stopped at the third book in the series, super disappointing.

Conference of the Birds / Ransom Riggs (The Miss Peregrines Series book #5)

Same as the above, another book which I felt was truly disappointing. I won’t say anymore on this because no one likes to start on a negative note!

The Wives / Tarryn Fisher

This was a gripping book which really made me think, with one hell of an ending. I could sense all the way through that something was going to happen, I just wasn’t sure what. Although it did drag at times it was all from the POV of the main character and sometimes I wondered if I could skip parts (obviously I didn’t) but I highly recommend this one!

Turtles All the Way Down / John Green

I’ve always wanted to read this book and I loved the storyline and friendship between the two main female characters. I learnt a lot in terms of the anxiety Aza experiences. I also love the relationship between the main girl, Aza, and the boy, it wasn’t your typical love story which I enjoyed due to the unfortunate circumstaces mixed in with murder mystery. And as a girl who used to write fanfiction, I loved how that aspect was included within the storyline and friendship between the girls!

Pines (Book #1) / Blake Crouch

THIS ENTIRE SERIES ABSOLUTELY BANGED. I was hooked from the first chapter, I hadn’t read such a good series since I read the Lunar Chronicles. The whole premise was fantastic and It just NEVER STOPPED. Something was always happening, I literally finished one book and got straight onto the other without hesitation. See the other books below in the series!

Wayward (Book #2) / Blake Crouch

The Last Town (Book #3) / Blake Crouch

The Tattooist of Auchwitz / Heather Morris

This was a book that really got me right in my heart and in my feels. I loved this book so so much I bought a physical copy. I found it fascinating learning about the german camps and Lale’s experiencer and the tattooist of those who arrived. But the ultimate killer for me was how throughout so much hardship, A love story still developed and in completely engulfed my heart. I can’t wait to read Cilka’s Journey, the next book from this one!

Normal People / Sally Rooney

I did not understand the hype for this book. Although I enjoyed the premise of the story it did only get a 3 star on Goodreads from me. It threw me how there are no speech marks in the book, so I regularly had to go back and re read passages to figure out who was talking and that really threw me off. The storyline itself was interesting and you knew that the two main characters, no matter what they did or went through, would always go back to each other. Even though maybe, just maybe, they weren’t meant to be at all.

Battle Scars / Jason Fox

A really interesting and eye-opening autobiography from Jason Fox regarding PTSD and the things he experiences at war. There was a lot of things I didn’t know about PTSD and the effects it has on those who return from war which were thoroughly interesting. It was heartbreaking how much it took for him to come forward and say he had a problem and it was destroying him from the inside out. Although learning about the outcomes of speaking out about this and providing the service needed for others to recover is heroic in itself.

The Secret Race / Tyler Hamilton

This book had me. I had absolutely NO interest in cycling at all, whatsoever. So I was a bit apprehensive picking this up. YET AGAIN, I WAS MISTAKEN. I loved this book from start to finish. A few points; Lance Armstrong is a missive dick. I did not realise that to be a top cyclist you basically had to dope. I like how it was almost a secret code back in the day for cycling that everyone did (doping) EPO or BB’s, BB’s (blood bags or blood transfusions) being actually disgusting but if it worked to make you win the Tour De France then it works. The Cycling world is actually SCANDALOUS and I had NO idea. Highly recommend this, you will be shocked at what you’re reading!

Stars Above / Marissa Meyer

Finally, the creme de la creme. This tied up all the loose ends of the Lunar Chronicles series that had me hooked. I was so pleased to find how how Ze’ev (Wolf) was taken and became part of Levana’s Army, show Cress ended up in her satellite, the aftermath of the entire series and how Scarlett and wolf got married and so many more loose ends that were so nicely tied together. It just made my heart swell and when I finished it, yes, I absolutely did cry.

So here you have what I read in May!

You can check out my Goodreads here!

April Reading Round Up!

I am SO HAPPY to be able to do this, I’ve never been able to do a reading round up but with Quarantine hounding us all I’ve been keeping myself sane by burying myself in so many wonderful books!

So I’ve managed to read 8 Books this month! Here is what I sunk my teeth into!

The Store / James Patterson

This book is phenomenal, based on what the world would be like if Amazon took over the world that we live in. Although, cleverly, not directly naming the company as Amazon but ‘The Store’. And it would be one terrifying world. I read this book in a day and it was worth every second spent knee deep in this! It was tense and I was hooked throughout. Well worth the read and incredibly well written. The twist at the end is worth the madness, and with that I’ll say no more!

Nought Forever / Malorie Blackman

This book was a short one, I believe less than 100 pages but still brilliant. Having read all of the Noughts and Crosses series twice over, knowing there was a spin off for the memorable character Dan, I just had to know. Especially as it gives you an insight into a specific character in the most recent book released by Malorie Blackman, Crossfire. This book is one to read after Double Cross Book #4 and before Crossfire Book #5

Callum / Malorie Blackman

Another spin off from the Malorie Blackman series Noughts and Crosses! This book is to be read after Book #1 Noughts & Crosses and before Book #2 Knife Edge as it gives an insight into what would have happened had Callum chosen to take a different path. It is another short story, less than 100 pages but really gives you some more insight into the different ways in which the story could have done. I can confirm I definitely prefer the way #1 ended because if it had ended like it did in this small #1.5 in-between book, there would be no book #2.

Fairest / Marissa Meyer

This was another spin off of the Lunar Chronicles series. Book #1 Cinder, Book #2 Scarlett, Book #3 Cress and Book #4 Winter. This story Fairest interjects between book #2 and #3. I actually read this after reading the entire series and I feel I enjoyed it a lot more this way. It was incredible to learn the real reason why Levana is as bitter and full of hate as she is. She’s twisted and this book highlights why, but I still didn’t sympathise for her in any way and I think this is because I read the whole series before I read this. I highly recommend this one after the series but of course definitely read it midway through if you prefer!

Library of Souls / Ransom Riggs

I had been meaning to pick this book up after at LEAST 2 years of starting the first 2 books from the Miss Peregrines School For Peculiar Children. It’s been on my kindle just festering away. I had to give myself a re-cap of book one and two before I could confidently go into book 3 with any idea of what is going on and I am SO glad I did. Another phenomenal book to add to the series. These books just make my imagination run away with itself. I love the idea of the peculiar children, what makes them peculiar, the details of all the loops, the action throughout is endless. At no moment was I bored, and you best believe I’ve bought book #4 and book #5 (I started book 4 recently).

This Is Going To Hurt / Adam Kay

All I have to say is god damn, read this book. Recommended by SO many people this comical and eye-opening look at a Junior Doctor working in the NHS shares his diary exerts from when he was training as a junior doctor. Honestly I have never laughed out loud at a book as much as I did this one. But it also really opens your eyes to what our doctors, nurses, midwifes etc go through on the ward on a daily and regular basis. The way Adam Kay writes makes this book so light hearted and a jolly read, minus the odd harrowing and heartbreaking story, but leaves you feeling a certain way once reading it. Its incredibly relevant, especially right now.

Twas the Night Shift Before Christmas / Adam Kay

Yet another book from Adam Kay much like This Is Going To Hurt except this book is based solely on what happens in the wards on Christmas. How he himself worked Christmas for 6 years straight and yet again the festive madness that unfolds through Christmas after Christmas with the NHS on the wards. Another comedic backlog of diary entries, most happy, some devastating. Another fantastic book.

Recursion / Blake Crouch

After reading Blake Crouch’s Dark Matter the month prior it would be silly not to read his other highly rated book, Recursion. Blake Crouch has a very scientific reading style. Quantum psychics, lots of scientific terms and processes I do no understand. LUCKILY explained in the plot of this book and from it unfolds the most haywire and incredibly tense storyline I have ever dived into. I was so apprehensive as it wasn’t a book I would usually read but man am I glad I did. Anyone into Sci-fi fantasy/fiction should absolutely give this and Dark Matter a go. I rated this book a solid-.

(Read the book, then you’ll understand that last sentence).

Book Review: Winter (The Lunar Chronicles) – Marissa Meyers

WELL, WHAT A BOOK.

*Spoilers Alert*

800+ pages? Challenge accepted, I couldn’t put it down from start to finish it was a fantastic read. Hands down the best book out of the 5. It took me about a week of straight reading to get through this.

“She might be broken. She might be crazy. But she would not be defeated.”

Winter was a character I really enjoyed but really struggled to get my head around. She was quirky, unusual and almost what I would call floaty type of personality. I understand why Scarlet called her crazy so often due to the way she was portrayed.

The brilliance of this book really shows through the storyline because for 800+ pages I did wonder how quickly I would get bored. It never came! The storyline was immersive throughout the whole book, I never knew what was going to happen next and even when the next thing happened, I never expected it! It was constant excitement, the ball just kept on moving and the ending was EXACTLY what I wanted.

Everyone ended up with the right people, the right person ended up being queen, the right people got murdered (A really happy statement that one) and all is well on Luna & Earth now. It was absolutely how I wanted it to end. I know they’re all based on Disney characters and Disney stories and you can really see it throughout, but I wanted the ending to not be something half arsed and they weren’t.

Winters ‘Murder’ was incredibly well done by Jacin Clay, Although I never really grew to his character throughout any of the books.

When Cinder jumped off Levana’s balcony you best believe I thought that was the end of her, thank the lord for the squad saving her or I would have genuinely believed she was dead. I love Iko’s heroism throughout the entire series as well, she is such a prominent go getter non stop she just never fails to make me laugh and never gives in. Definitely my favourite character.

The fight to end all fights was momentous and I really did think they were going to lose, not going to sugar coat that. But they always win in the end of course, but I didn’t expect the scene between Levana and Cinder to go the direction it did. I mean, I knew Levana was going to die in some way but I didn’t think she would surrender the way she did. I am also very happy Aimery died, best death of the book. He deserved it. I have an actual hatred for his character.

I would also love to have a glamour, as twisted as Levana was with hers, I would love to go out looking like shit but to everyone else I look amazing. It is an incredibly clever concept from Marissa Meyer.

It was amazing from start to finish, I’ve given the series to my work colleague so she can read them all as they are just such great books. Just need to read Fairest, the book on Levana and it will aaaaaaall make so much more sense! For now I’ve decided to read something else so that I can give my brain a break, so now I’m reading Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.

Marissa Meyers is a talented writer and I can’t wait to read her other books about Iko And her adventures too!

Solid 5/5

Book Review: Cress – Marissa Meyer (Book 3, The Lunar Chronicles)

We are up to book number 3! *Spoilers ahead*.

HER SATELLITE MADE ONE FULL ORBIT AROUND PLANET EARTH

Some Amazing fan art depicting Cress & Thorne!

every sixteen hours. It was a prison that came with an endlessly breathtaking view— vast blue oceans and swirling clouds and sunrises that set half the world on fire.”

Yet another amazing book from Marissa Meyer in The Lunar Chronicles!

When we meet Cress she is millions of miles away from all civilization trapped and under control of Sybil and the Luna Queen Levana. Little do we know, she is a huge fangirl of Thorne and Cinder. With her multitude of netscreens she’s a pro at hacking and searching and especially stalking Carswell.

This book was really enjoyable as again this time we learn about Cress and how her life and Carswell Thorne collide, even though its safe to say she knows more than enough about Mr Thorne!

Cress cuts of her hair so soon on which took me by surprise although it made sense by what came next. Naturally in the Rapunzel story her prince is brought back to life by her teardrop in his eye. The take in this story was carswell hitting his head so badly his injury makes him blind, so cress has to tend to him with eye drops from Dr Erland so his sight comes back. Although it makes her afraid as she has spent so long with Carswell with no sight that he wont like her once he can see.

OH CONTRAIRE MY LOVE.

Although I felt during their trek through the desert went on for slightly longer than it should of done, I wanted nothing more than for the two of them to get together! So when they were pretending to be husband and wife I shipped it so hard.

What really threw me was the twist from Dr Erland and Cress. When he thought is daughter was dead, killed by Levana because she was a shell, when all along she had just been up in that satellite, working for her! And then at the end of the book, just like that, he died for them. He didn’t even get to share any time with his daughter and man, I cried. I was devastated. HEART SNAPPED IN 2 confidently.

I was very excited when hearing about Scarlet and how she was doing on Luna, especially because now I have started book 4 the small encounters we did face with Scarlet and her entrapment make going into the final book so much clearer. It also gave me relief knowing she was surprisingly okay, but absolute torture knowing wolf has no idea how she is doing or whether she is alive.

When they were all re-united in Africa I was so excited for their plan to come together, to ruin the wedding and retrieve Kai (kidnap really). So when it worked, I was even more ecstatic because the whole process had me tense, I was adamant something had to go wrong. BUT NO.

Each character contributed to the challenge in their own way, it was so well executed and so well written best believe when my dad called me to say dinner was ready I did not want to put my book down.

I also love how excited Iko is to get a human body! She had basically been dreaming about it from book 1.

AND I WILL CONTINUE TO SHIP KAI AND CINDER FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE. K, thanks, bye.

I have already started book number 4, Winter! I HAVE TO KNOW HOW IT ALL ENDS.

The series is over after this book! So any further/other book suggestions would be really greatly appreciated!

I give Cress a solid 5/5.

Book Review: Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles, Book #2) – Marissa Meyers

JUST WHEN YOU THINK IT CAN’T GET ANY BETTER. IT DONE DID.

*possible spoilers ahead ahoy*

“She did not know that the wolf was a wicked sort of animal, and she was not afraid of him”

This entire series has just blown my mind and I am midway through the third book, Cress, now.

Scarlet is book 2/5 of the Lunar Chronicles and it heavily attaches itself to the story of Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf, as well as keeping itself so involved with the main storyline which was my main concern as I was hoping it was stay close and stay interested and it damn DID.

It’s phenomenal to have two potential disney princesses in these dysfunctional  and action packed books come together as a team, especially with Wolf too. Once again I was hooked and could not put this book down. The story flows so smoothly and is just as intense, constantly keeping me on my toes and wanting to know what is coming next.

It is great following Scarlet and Wolf trying to figure out one adventure, and then coming across Cinder and learning how their lives intertwined and how they do indeed need each other to somehow reach their goals and justice! Its written incredibly well and great watching the storylines run alongside each other!

Scarlet’s Grandmother, much like the Little Red Riding Hood story, is another important character in which I WISH, SO MUCH, That she had had more time and more contribution. But that is the point, she had the information they were dying to find out.

‘The balance of focus on the two separate plot lines was something achieved really well and the merging of the story-lines at the very end was done in a seamless way’ – The Guardian

ALSO COMPLETELY OFF TOPIC BUT TOTALLY RELEVANT, Cinder’s ship is named Iko, before Iko was her Android before her ‘family’ destroyed Iko’s body. Cinder then program’s her into her ship and I JUST FOUND OUT MARISSA MEYERS HAS WRITTEN 2 BOOKS ABOUT IKO CALLED ‘Wires & Nerves’ AND I AM SO GASSED.

I also get more and more devastated for Kai having to get engaged to Levana for the sake of peace with every page, I almost feel like I can FEEL his frustration and upset, it upsets me! Especially with her actions and demands in this book, absolute carnage, that woman needs to calm the fUCK DOWN.

I would give this a solid 5/5.

It was phenomenal and I was gripped from start to finish jumping straight into book 3, this entire series is just messing with my emotions and I am LIVING for it.