the best books I’ve read this year (so far)

2020, books

Hello!

I feel like I haven’t written a book blog post in ages and I’m feeling incredibly invested in what I’m reading at the moment so I thought I’d channel that energy here! That might be the most pretentious sentence I’ve ever written.

I feel like I may have said this a million times before but some brief context; I was the kid that would sneak out of bed and stay up reading, fell out of love with it as I had to study books I didn’t like and decided a couple of years ago that I wanted to get back into it with the help of reading challenges on the ‘goodreads‘ app – made it to 9 of last year’s target of 12 and as I didn’t meet the target I set the same one-a-month target for 2020.

I’ve currently read 34 books.

So I thought I’d write a shortlist of those 34 books of the ones I’ve absolutely adored! I write mini reviews on my Instagram if you want to see what I’m reading and my ongoing thoughts but I thought I’d collate my favourites for anyone who’s in a reading rut and wants some inspiration, wants to try something new or just fancies reading something book-ish!

Mild disclaimer: I will link to all these books on Amazon however if you have a local independent bookstore or retailer I highly support seeing if they have it or ordering through them, especially in the current covid economic climate!


I love ‘fantasy realism’ as a genre, where there’s an element of fantasy but it’s so well integrated into ‘normal’ human life that it almost doesn’t feel like fantasy. So when there’s a service where someone can see their future with a person, generally a romantic relationship, the gossip, reality TV ‘realness’ of it all is just the recipe for the perfect book.

Interesting and realistic characters are something that really grabs me and is a huge factor as to why I rated all of these books at 5 stars, but the concept in The Future for Curious People is so much fun and the ending is wonderful.

I asked for this book for Christmas the year it came out and it’s taken me two years to read it. I decided to read it on a long train journey to Birmingham to meet my mum to go to a wedding fair and whilst I was very excited about the wedding fair, boy o boy all I wanted to do was get back to the book. The whole mystery, teenage drama aspect mixed with a painfully relatable depiction of mental health (and helped me understand symptoms I don’t suffer with) meant I finished this book in one day – absolutely devoured the first half on the way there and nearly finished it on the way back; I had to drive home and finish the last 60 pages before I picked up my boyfriend from work because I was so absorbed.

John Green books are a bit hit and miss for me – I loved The Fault In Our Stars like every other 20-something (though I’ve never watched the film because I don’t think it’ll be as good) but I never massively enjoyed his other books. The style is a little pretentious – all of his characters are into niche poetry and philosophy and take themselves a little bit too seriously, but I think once I accepted that it’s just how John Green characters are and I loved so many other aspects of this book more than those parts annoyed me. I still gave it 5 stars.

I avoided buying this for ages because it was everywhere and everyone was reading it and I’m that kind of hipster. But inevitably I picked it up and it was Worth! The! Hype!

Another story about mental health and the ending really gets you but the two differing perspectives on similar mental illnesses and how the characters are so opposite but so puzzle piece perfect is just magical and the kind of character writing I can only aspire to.

This book actually has a John Green feel in it’s somewhat self-important characters but it was wonderful and I devoured it in just a couple of days. Definitely worth the hype!

  • Love, Rosie (Cecelia Ahern) (originally ‘Where Rainbows End’)

I picked up the film edition of this book mostly because of Lily Collins and Sam Claflin on the cover but avoided reading it because wow it is a chunky read. But surprisingly quick to get through once you realise it’s all told in letters – from childhood to old age the main character Rosie progresses through life, love and loss with letters, emails, texts, passing notes and other forms of communication that I’ve forgotten about but it’s such an interesting narrative that never explicitly says ‘2 years later’ or ‘three months later’ but as a reader, you know that time has passed. It’s just brilliant.

I’m not sure how the original title of ‘Where Rainbows End’ really suits the book, maybe because I’ve only ever known it as ‘Love, Rosie’ I couldn’t see the connection but that is the original novel’s title so if you are struggling to find it, check ‘Where Rainbow’s End’!

I fully intended for this to be one of the only books I bought this year as a new release… then I hit my goodreads goal in three months and needed some more books to read… Regardless, I’ve been buzzing about this sequel ever since I read ‘Eve of Man‘ in approximately two days last year. I love the concept, I love the characters, I love the world building and how painfully believable a world that derelict is and the sequel didn’t disappoint.

If I’m being brutally honest, I didn’t think it was as good as the original, but not in a bad way – I still adored it – I just felt that it was a bit like ‘The Two Towers’ in Lord of the Rings; it’s there to move the story along in a trilogy so it has to be there but it’s not the most exciting part.

Eve gets a little bit bratty, everyone gets a little bit melodramatic, I loved the inclusion of the third perspective in the different chapters and the twist at the end was so obvious I saw it coming from a mile away but still made me double take for a second (I thought she might be a time lord, if you’ve read it, you know!). Eagerly anticipating the last novel in the trilogy!

I really rated the Fletcher writers this year! This is Carrie’s first fiction novel and having struggled to read it twice before and realising this time that if I’d have read just one more chapter I’d have been hooked till the end always makes me laugh.

Another wonderful version of fantastical realism that takes you by surprise a little bit (lifting written words from a birds wings and putting them in a notebook did make me question the writing just a little bit until I remembered… fantasy). The love story that just wasn’t meant to be, I thought the characters were going to be much more ‘idyllic’ like early Disney Princess-esque where everyone is swept off their feet and everything’s too perfect but it wasn’t like that at all. It was lovely and as the story moves more into the modern day I could feel my heart being given in pieces to each character.

I can’t wait to read more of Carrie’s novels this year – I read When The Curtain Falls last year and I think I’ve got All That She Can See on my shelf to read at some point!

This book I picked up dirt cheap in a 3 for £5 sale at The Works – I wasn’t sure whether I wanted it because the whole premise of the book is based on a massive lie and I hate when characters make things difficult for themselves by not communicating openly. But it didn’t actually annoy me at all – there was a couple of really cringey moments but all round it was a sweet, heart warming book about the spontaneity of social media, the importance of family and not taking those you meet at face value.

Another one in the sale from the Works but much more sci-fi/fantasy – a meteor crash in a small town in the US (obviously, it could only be the US!) disguises an alien spaceship landing and two unidentified creatures are saved from the wreck. Another heartwarming story about family beyond blood relations and accepting people for all their quirks. Looking forward to the sequel!

One of my newer books and probably my first adult crime novel though it had very YA vibes. A 19 year old girl tries to navigate life as a college drop-out refusing to live with her mother at home following a car accident in which her friend died and she survived, but with a severe case of amnesia she remembers nothing from before she started high school, including her dad’s death. With many twists and turns and wondering if you can trust the narrative of the protagonist herself, so many things unfold about the true reason behind the crash and the real reason David died.

Genuinely amazing story – I’ve never read a book where I felt like I couldn’t quite trust the person telling the story and it was so interesting! I have another book by Jeff Abbott on my shelf but it’s the second in the series so I’m going to buy the prequel when I’ve read through all the other books on my shelf.

A book that was huge when I was in school but I read so slowly that I never got round to it. Seeing it recommended over and over again in the light of the Black Lives Matter movement, when I saw the whole series on offer in the Works (it’s such a good place for books!) I knew I had to pick it up.

Learning about the privilege of my race through fiction was always going to be the way to help me best understand – I’ve never been able to apply so much of what I’m reading to real life and feel like I’m really learning from it. It was so eye opening and heartbreaking in equal measure and I can’t wait to read the other books I picked up to continue my education on racial inequality.

Couldn’t recommend this book more highly if you find non-fiction difficult to get into but want to educate yourself – amazing characters, so eye opening, I couldn’t stop thinking about it.


Did I plan for there to be 10 books in my highlight of 2020 so far? Absolutely not but I do find it incredibly satisfying.

I’m currently reading the third book in the Noughts and Crosses series ‘Checkmate’ by Malorie Blackman so if you want to see my thoughts on that when I finish it hop on over to my Instagram!

Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!

Sophie xx

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Books for 2017!

2016, Uncategorized

Hello!

I’m trying my best to make it part of my routine that I read before I go to sleep at night (recently it’s been a lot of Pokemon, but that’s because it’s the Christmas holiday) but I really enjoyed the couple of book reviews I wrote last year, so I thought making a list of books I want to read next year will motivate me even more, so here are the books on my shelf that I got really excited to read and haven’t read yet!

I’m currently reading On The Other Side, by Carrie Hope Fletcher – I bought this book because it’s Carrie and I’ve been a fan of hers for so long and I love fiction, so I got really excited when a YouTuber was writing a fiction book (that wasn’t Girl Online). So far, On The Other Side is a bit more romantic and idealist than books I normally read but the concept is really exciting and I’m very intrigued as to where the story will go.

And then these are the books I really want to read next year:

Billy and Me: Giovanna Fletcher – similarly to Carrie, I watch Gi on YouTube and considering her main career is as a writer, I feel like I need to read one of her books! I’m not sure Billy and Me is for me but I need to read it to find out.

Where She Went: Gayle Forman – I read If I Stay in three days and absolutely adored it so I really want to reread the book and find out what Forman did with the sequel. I never saw this film either but it’s another one to add to the list!

Love, Rosie: Cecelia Ahern – this is another book which is a bit too ‘romantic drama’ for me and a little bit melodramatic I find but I do tend to really like the male characters, even if the female characters really irritate me. However, the film adaptation of this book is Sam Claflin and Lily Collins and I love Sam Claflin so I’ll use that as my reward system when I finish the book.

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl: Jesse Andrews – I saw this book whenever I went into Waterstones and I wasn’t sure about it, then I saw the advert for the film and my mum asked if I’d read it and I thought I’d give it a chance – stories that cover more taboo topics, such as children dying of cancer, tend to intrigue me so I’m glad I’ve written this post to remind me why I bought these books!

We All Looked Up: Tommy Wallach – I’ll be honest, being back at home and this book is in Southampton, I can’t remember what it’s about but I remember the cover is really pretty and that’s enough for me.

Carry On: Rainbow Rowell – I loved Fangirl and it’s currently it’s got the glorified position of ‘My Favourite Book’ at the moment, so to read the fanfiction written by the protagonist Cath in a full book form based on a version of Harry Potter? Yes please!

All The Bright Places: Jennifer Niven – I saw this book around book shops and on the kindle store for ages and then I bit the bullet and actually bought it and now I need to actually read it.

I also want to read more nonfiction! This past year has really highlighted how much I used to love learning and how good (?) I was at it and how I’m really not using that now. I miss doing GCSE maths and that’s saying something, so I want to get books on aspects of history I’m interested in, space and maybe some science stuff? I don’t know, I miss learning.

I have goodreads, which is another nice motivator because it tells me what percentage through my book I am and that makes me feel accomplished. If you want to follow me there, you’re more than welcome – I’m not too sure how the website works so watch and learn with me? I don’t know, here’s my profile!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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Books from my teenage years

2016

Hello!

I used to love reading, as a child I remember sneaking out of bed after my mum had tucked me in for the night to get a book and read until like 10. My bad sleeping habits started young!

I’m trying to inspire myself to read more at the moment so I thought I’d reflect on some of the books I loved when I was younger, aged about 12 to 16 I’d say.

Maximum Ride (James Patterson) – a series about genetically engineered kids with wings and the adventure that ensues, as someone who’s always been fascinated with flying and imagining the sensation of flying, this series was pretty perfect for me. Last time I went home, I brought the first couple of books home with me so I can reread them before the new webseries comes out.

Skulduggery Pleasant (Derek Landy) – the adventures of the skeleton detective – a theme of fantasy humour is arising here! These books are witty, full of adventure and magic (literally) and I still wish they’d make a film with David Tennant because it would be incredible.

Harry Potter (JK Rowling) – who didn’t love Harry Potter though? Really?

Twilight (Stephanie Meyer) – yes, I went through that phase. Yes, I hate myself.

Gallagher Girls, I’d Tell You I Love You But Then I’d Have To Kill You (Ally Carter) – this one’s a bit different – I read the first one in school and we used to have these library lessons once every fortnight and we’d have two weeks to read a book but I couldn’t read that fast. I couldn’t finish a book every two weeks so I barely got to finish this book let alone read the rest of the series. It was a really interesting concept but I never got round to reading the rest of the series – maybe I’ll treat myself to buying it if I do get back into reading.

Kiss of Death (Malcolm Rose) – I may have read this in primary school, I can’t remember but I loved this book. It was about the Black Death and it had very interesting parallel timelines and being reminded it exists has made me want to read it again.

0.4 (Mike Lancaster) – This book I found in a warehouse discount book store and then saw full price in W.H.Smith and it made me really happy that I got it really cheap. It’s a book that I could really easily spoil here, but it’s a very interesting concept about the future of the human race. Definitely worth the read if you like sci-fi-esque books!

These last three are my favourite books to date even now.

The Innocent’s Story (Nicky Singer) – this book has such a personal place in my heart because it was the first book that I really loved and really was comfortable saying it’s my favourite book. It’s about a girl and her sister who get caught up in this bomb attack and it’s a very interesting idea about one afterlife theory. 100% would recommend it.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (Steven Chbosky) – yeah I know, how stereotypical? I’m naming this book as one of my favourites, is ‘The Fault In Our Stars’ next? (No, but I do love that book). What I love about this book is how much I identify with Charlie – I’ve not had anything as severe as he has happen to him and situationally and even personality wise I’m very different to him, but there are so many aspects of him – primarily the wallflower one – that just made me feel normal and justified how I behave sometimes. I’m very personally attached to this book and I love the writing style of it, it’s so beautifully written.

Fangirl (Rainbow Rowell) – and finally, my current favourite book – another stereotypical one I think but not as big as Chbosky’s book because it doesn’t have the film but if they ever make one I’m going to be first in line to play Cather because I’m 90% sure this book is about me. This book, in difference to Perks, is one where I found myself becoming more and more obsessed with the character because I empathise with every single aspect of who she is. I think the point of this is that a lot of girls feel this way and it’s meant to bring people together rather than use continuing to face some of our anxieties alone but I absolutely adore this book with all my heart.

If they ever make a film I want to have some part in it because jesus christ I’m in love.

I hope you enjoyed me talking about the books I loved reading as a kid! Hopefully I will be able to write another book review soon!

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

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