My Top 10 Books of 2020

I do these rankings every year and I enjoy them so much as a kind of closing ritual for the old year. I have no idea if you are even interested in my thoughts on all this stuff, especially since I am not certain I even know how to describe my thoughts sometimes, but I hope you still enjoy this series of lists and rankings in the upcoming days as well!

First things first, not all the books I will mention were 2020 releases. I managed to read 40 books, which is a great feat for me, but I don’t even know if there had been that many new releases among them to fill a list. Either way, let’s get started.

**Click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads**

10. Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy, #1)

I am fully aware that not everyone likes this series and I am perfectly fine with that. I just adored the twisted nature and the religious aspects of it. I would never claim that it is perfect, but it spoke to certain elements I enjoy in a series. Maybe it does say something though that I put the first book on this list and not its sequel Ruthless Gods … I was not happy with all developments there.

Click HERE for the review!

9. Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily by Rachel Cohn/David Levithan

Mind the Gap, Dash & Lily

The original Dash and Lily book has always been a “childhood” favourite of mine. I don’t remember when exactly I read it, but I had such good memories of it regardless. With the Netflix adaptation emerging and me enjoying it a whole lot, I finally decided to pick up the sequels. At first, I didn’t have the best of times with Twelve Days of Dash & Lily, but with this part, I really felt for the characters again. Especially the topic of being disappointed by the things you had always envisioned for yourself as well as some really good anxiety rep warmed my heart with relatability.

Click HERE for the review!

8. Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

Dear Justyce (Dear Martin, #2)

When this sequel was first announced, I wasn’t sure if it was strictly necessary? I thought Dear Martin was a perfectly fine standalone book, but with Nic Stone’s explanation for the sequel and the fact that I had the privilege of reading it ahead of its release quickly changed my mind. Dear Justyce is perfectly capable of standing on its own and was a great addition in Stone’s bibliography. Also, it will forever be just a very timely book.

Click HERE for the review!

7. Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

Get a Life, Chloe Brown (The Brown Sisters, #1)

Adult romance books were never really my kind of genre, especially not the smutty ones. I am not trying to put shade on those books at all, I just personally never really cared for the physical descriptions etc. Nevertheless, I had such a fun time and cannot wait to continue with the romantic adventures of the Brown sisters. Talia Hibbert has created an array of amazing characters here.

Click HERE for the review!

6. This Is Not a Ghost Story by Andrea Portes

This Is Not a Ghost Story

This Is Not a Ghost Story was a last minute addition to the list. Earlier this year, I had actually read a similar-ish book (Watch Over Me at least felt akin in vibes now that I had time to think about it some more – what is it with me and ghosts this year?) but this one felt like an overall better experience. It was funny, creepy and still made you think. I am still not 100% on board with the end, but that’s life.

Click HERE for the review!

5. Anna K by Jenny Lee

Anna K: A Love Story (Anna K, #1)

Me, the person who has never read or watched any Anna Karenina related content, loved this book. I really was so very tempted to seek out some more about the source material. I just do like my modern day retellings, I suppose.

Click HERE for the review!

4. Tweet Cute by Emma Lord

Tweet Cute

Tweet Cute was easily one of the cutest and sweetest books I read in 2020. I do enjoy a good online rivalry, lots of talks of food (especially grilled cheese) and the You’ve Got Mail vibes this presented. Maybe not the deepest of stories, but that’s not always what I want and/or need in a good read anyway (because it entirely depends on my mood).

Click HERE for the review!

3. The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

The Field Guide to the North American Teenager

I just love this book. I like the way you feel out of place at a new school and especially when you come from a different country. I adored the main character’s snarky personality and I liked that it was more of a snapshot of a time in their lives rather than a finite story.

While we’re at it, I just also want to give a huge shout out to the author’s 2020 release Charming as a Verb! Both books are definitely worth the read!!

Click HERE for the review!

2. Beartown by Frederik Backman

Beartown (Beartown, #1)

Sports. Community. Trauma. Grief. Struggle. Love. Family. Kinship. There are few topics that Beartown DOESN’T touch and I was an emotional wreck reading it. Definitely will go down as one of my all time favourite books.

And I want a movie of it. Like SO bad!

Click HERE for the review!

1. Normal People by Sally Rooney

Normal People

Okay, so this is my absolute strangest pick of them all, because … I did not enjoy reading this book. The style of writing was irritating. The characters weren’t even likable half the time and I was not on board with so many of their decisions and yet … it’s the ONE book this year that did not let me go. Maybe it has something to do with the show also invading my mind and me ordering the hardcover copy of the scripts, but still. Something about the story of Connell and Marianne wouldn’t let go of me and that is the sole reason it deserves to be so high up this ranking.

Click HERE for the review!

Honorable Mention

Aphrodite Made Me Do It

I don’t review poetry collections on the blog, although I quite enjoy them every now and then. I just don’t have the sophistication and words needed to describe anything that goes through my head when I read them, so, I just wanted to make sure I had a little section where I got to highlight at least one of the poetry books I enjoyed this year. Aphrodite Made Me Do It was personal and like a conversation. Not long at all, but still hard hitting in parts.

 


Have you read any of these books? What did you think of my picks and where I ranked them? What is a book you loved reading this year? Let’s chat!

My Top 10 Books of 2019

As promised, this is the first post in a series of rankings for my reading and viewing experiences during the year of 2019. I have to admit that I started with the books, because it seemed like the easiest list for me personally. I didn’t have the best of reading years, so there weren’t too many books to pick from. I also want to note that not all the books were released in 2019, that’s just the year I read them in. Enjoy!

**Click on the covers to get re-directed to Goodreads**

10. Noughts & Crosses by Malorie Blackman

Noughts & Crosses (Noughts & Crosses #1)I mainly wanted to read this, because the BBC made it into a TV show that was supposed to premiere in 2019. In my typical review fashion, I wanted to make a comparison of the TV show and the book, but then they never released it, which was also partly the reason it took me forever to finish the read. However, Noughts and Crosses is a fascinating alternate history story, where dark-skinned people are the ruling class and “colourless” folks are the underclass, who were once slaves. It mirrors our own world’s racism and doesn’t shy away from showing terrifying consequences of not following the rules. I can definitely understand why these books are read in schools and people got invested in the series.

9. The Dire King (Jackaby #4) by William Ritter

The Dire King (Jackaby, #4)I mainly read the Jackaby series due to massive cover lust, but I am very happy about the fact that it was a great series overall. There were so many supernatural creatures included that don’t always make it into stories and it ended on a hopeful and happy note, while still fulfilling my expectations of where it was supposed to end.

8. Defy Me (Shatter Me #5) by Tahereh Mafi

Defy Me (Shatter Me, #5)I wasn’t the biggest fan of the 4th installment of the series and still believe that the new “trilogy” isn’t exactly on the same level as the OG books, but Tahereh got me back with Defy Me. It felt more introspective again and while I still think some actions and decisions were out of character, I enjoyed the slow pace and inner monologues.

7. The Wicker King by K. Ancrum

The Wicker KingThis book has so much to offer. I am glad I bought it as a hardcover, because it has a beautiful aesthetic. Also, whenever someone names their character August, they already have part of my heart. I don’t make the rules, that’s just the way it is. The book is both soft and sad, but there were a couple parts that I just wish I could have connected more with.

Check out my review here!

6. A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi

A Very Large Expanse of SeaTahereh Mafi is one of my absolute favourite authors. To read her most personal book yet was an absolute joy. I could see why it meant so much to her and was surprised by how light and fast of a read it was, despite the sometimes quite serious topic. I think that lighthearted-ness was good in some parts, but it’s also why the ending didn’t impact me as much and I found myself not caring as much.

Check out my review here!

5. Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

Dumplin’I think I read the book after watching the Netflix movie and I really enjoyed it nonetheless. In fact, I think mixing the two together makes for the perfect story. It was super relatable and had a great message, it was heartbreaking and heartwarming and even though I was sort of late to the party, I am glad I picked it up.

4. Dear Evan Hansen by Val Emmich, Justin Paul, Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek

Dear Evan HansenI was not super familiar with the musical before picking up the book, but I had a lot of fun reading it. I want to point out again that the book was written AFTER the musical got popular, not the other way around. Still, it offers even more insight into the characters and I, personally, enjoyed that a lot.

Check out my review here!

3. Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo del Toro, Cornelia Funke

Pan's Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the FaunThis, too, is a book adaption of a film and not the other way around. I feel I am coming across them more and more, but I love that the director of the movie was so thoroughly involved in the book as well. It’s a very whimsical and magical story with some parts being 1:1 what was said in the books and other parts being a great addition to make the memories of the film more impactful and give them more background.

Check out my review here!

2. Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Echo NorthI was in so many massive reading slumps this year, but Echo North was one of the real highlights for me. It reminded me of why I loved Fantasy novels and fairy tales. It’s not that it’s a flawless story, the love that turned very intense very quickly was (despite the explanation at the end) not 100% my cup of tea, but it still had such a great amalgamation of familiar stories while making it their own.

Check out my review here!

1.  The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth

The Light Between WorldsThis was my favourite story of the year! Hands down, I still think about it so much and I think I cried through about 100 pages straight at some point. It sounds similar to the Wayward children series or Narnia, but when I read it, I soon forgot about it all. I love how you can interpret the ending and I choose to interpret it in a hopeful way.

Check out my review here!


So, those were my top 10 books of the year! Did you read some of those books as well? What were some of your bookish highlights? 

Top 18 Reads of 2018

Happy New Year everyone! What better way to start 2019 by looking back at some of the best books/shows/movies of the previous year. This is also my 1000th post, so it’s somewhat of a double celebration. Anyway, today I want to talk about my top 18 reads of 2018. Since I “only” read 36 books, that list might include some reads I did not love to the moon and back, but that were still enjoyable. And so I hope you will now enjoy this list (All books were rated between 3.5-5 stars):

18. Final Fall (Lock & Mori #3) by Heather W. Petty

Final Fall (Lock & Mori, #3)The entire Lock and Mori trilogy is a really interesting villain origin story of Moriarty in a contemporary setting. I’ve heard complaints that the drama is too teenager-esque, but the characters are literally teens and it is a YA book, so I had no quarrels with that. It still goes quite dark at times and the end was satisfying to me. Definitely a recommendation for Sherlock fans!

17. The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo (The Epic Crush of Genie Lo #1)While I laughed a lot during my read of Genie Lo, I also read it pretty early on in the year and have forgotten quite a bit by now, which is probably the reason it’s not higher up on the list. It was fun for sure! I am also really happy that a lot of people saw themselves and their culture represented in the book because that is always a beautiful thing!

16. Beastly Bones (Jackaby #2) by William Ritter

Beastly Bones (Jackaby, #2)This series is going to show up a couple times over the course of this list, because … well, I love it. I had so much fun getting to know the characters and I hope I will finish the fourth book before leaving for Berlin again. Anyway, this book was great, but in terms of the series my least favourite so far. Maybe it’s the second book syndrome or something?

15. Restore Me by Tahereh Mafi

Restore Me (Shatter Me, #4)To be honest, there’s a lot I’ve forgotten about the Shatter Me series. I remember loving the style of writing and the characters that Tahereh created, but the details? Blurry at best. At lot of it came back to me while reading Restore Me, but a lot of it also felt very different to the original trilogy. I love Kenji though and am way too curious not to continue with the books, but I am not afire for it the same way I used to be.

14. The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller

The Song of AchillesEveryone loved this book when they read it and I totally understand why. Personally, it was a bit too slow for me at time and I struggled to really get involved, but by the end I was as emotionally distraught as the rest of TSOA’s readership. One day, when I am less confused about my TBR, I will read Circe too.

13. Save the Date by Morgan Matson

Save the DateSo far, there hasn’t been a Morgan Matson book I haven’t enjoyed! The family-focus of this one was especially endearing. I just like reading about siblings and parents and all of them together with only a tinsy bit of romance sprinkled in. Romantic love isn’t all, you know? And somehow Matson managed to balance the two perfectly in this one.

12. Jackaby by William Ritter

Jackaby (Jackaby, #1)As promised, here it is again! Jackaby is quirky and has a main character that feels a lot like the Doctor (from Doctor Who) paired with supernatural elements such as nixies and vampires and whatnot. Totally loved it! Also, who can resist those beautiful covers?

11. Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby #3) by William Ritter

Ghostly Echoes (Jackaby, #3)This was my favourite part of the Jackaby series so far! I already told you some about it, so I am going to spare you more rambling.

10. Heart of Gold (Act I) by Eli Baumgartner/Viv Tanner

Heart of Gold Act II am honestly a little surprised that there aren’t more graphic novels on the list, but at least the one that made it is absolutely worthy of it’s place in the ranking. Heart of Gold is one of the most beautiful art out there. It talks about crisis of faith, has LGBT+ representation and is just generally fascinating to divulge.

9. Obsidio (The Illuminae Files #3) by Amie Kaufman/Jay Kristoff

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)This series as a whole was really intense. I think they did great in how they tied all the loose ends together, made the books something special with the way they told it and kept the tension going throughout book #1 to #3. I was almost sad that it was over. (And to think I wasn’t even 100% on board when I first read Illuminae.)

8. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

The Hate U GiveIf this book isn’t on everyone’s top list, then I don’t even know! I am sad that the movie wasn’t released yet where I live, because I really wanted to watch it (it’s the whole Love, Simon debacle again), but I will patiently wait anyway. THUG was some really powerful and necessary story telling. I am glad it got such a wide readership!

7. Dear Martin by Nic Stone

Dear MartinI have said it before and I will say it again, I am 100% in favour of books like Dear Martin being mandatory reading exercises in schools. Just like THUG, it’s tackling the hard topics in a great way. I am so here for more of Nic Stone’s writing!

6. Iron Gold (Red Rising Saga #4) by Pierce Brown

Iron Gold (Red Rising Saga, #4)You all know me, I was CRAZY into the Red Rising trilogy, which is now a saga. I am always fascinated by the world Pierce Brown has built, by the cruelty and darkness it inhabits, while it also creates some of the most amazing heroes I can imagine. I am worried where everything will go, because it will get worse before it all can get better again, but I still love every minute of it.

5. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

To All the Boys I've Loved Before (To All the Boys I've Loved Before, #1)I have absolutely no clue whatsoever why it took me so long to read this book! I will eventually also read the sequels (especially now that Netflix confirmed they will do another movie), but this is about To All the Boys. It was so much fun, I stayed up reading all night and I haven’t pulled an all-nighter for a book in a long time.

4. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo

To Kill a KingdomSIRENS! Super badass sirens! And wannabe pirates that are really princes and a complex Fantasy world, but packed in a standalone book. This was such a refreshing change of pace, because I don’t know if I can invest in more series at the moment. (And again, sirens!!!)

3. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

Annihilation (Southern Reach #1)If you would have told me that a horror-sci-fi book would end up in the top 3 of my favourite books of 2018, I would have laughed at you … loud! But, what can you do? Annihilation was beyond amazing and scientific and creepy. I want to watch the movie but I also want to read the other books. It’s a struggle.

2. Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African ChildhoodLooking at this entire list, I am happy to see so many different genres and styles of books represented. Born a Crime, a non-fiction autobiography by Trevor Noah, was enlightening and funny and educational and intimate and so very smart. Trevor is an amazing guy and I am glad the world gets to find out more about him and his home through this book.

1. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer/Annie Barrows

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie SocietySometimes love doesn’t have to make sense. It’s the same with me and this book! Guernsey was neither the perfect read nor the most complex one. I am sure there were books on this list with a much more eloquent style of writing even, but this book touched me and I had a blast reading it. I put a gazillion sticky notes in, because there were so many quotes I wanted to remember and I absolutely fell in love with some of the characters. That’s most important, right?


Did any of my favourites make it onto your Top 2018 Reads list as well? Were there some surprises with the books I mentioned? Let’s chat!

Mid Year Freak Out Tag (2018 Version)

I guess it’s already that time of the year again where I get to freak out over books because, well … it’s June and months have passed and I have tried to read a bunch. So, thank you to The Orang-utan Librarian for tagging me to do the Mid Year Freak Out Tag!

BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ YET IN 2018

To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra ChristoI hate picking favourites so much! I just always feel like I forget something, but I looked at all the books I read on Goodreads and To Kill a Kingdom caught my eye. I really liked reading about sirens and adventure at sea, therefore it is ONE of my favourites of the year so far.

BEST SEQUEL YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2018

Iron Gold by Pierce BrownHands down, Iron Gold! I feel like I had to wait for this book forever and then I finally got it, had a super fun buddy read and am beyond excited that we most likely get the next book this year as well!? I cannot get enough of that world and the intensity that comes with it.

NEW RELEASE YOU HAVEN’T READ YET BUT WANT TO

Only Human is the finale of the Themis Files and I cannot wait to finally read how it all ends. I have it on my shelf and it’s staring at me like it’s trying to seduce me to read it sooner.

Only Human: Themis Files Book 3

MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

As mentioned above, there’s another book coming in the Red Rising saga and it would be very strange to not say that Dark Age is the one I am most anticipating. But also, I am just not as up to date with new releases as I used to be, I am all about (or at least mostly) the backlist this year.

Dark Age (Red Rising Saga, #5)

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Sweetbitter by Stephanie DanlerI don’t even want to think back to reading Sweetbitter. I was so excited to read about a main character who works as a server and does not just use that as a means to get by until they get their dream job, but then it was just terribly toxic.

BIGGEST SURPRISE

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeerHmmm … that’s a tough one. I think I might not have expected to love Annihilation as much as I did. Seen as it is more on the creepy side, it didn’t seem like an obvious choice for me. Usually I also don’t like detached writing, but this one worked perfectly.

FAVOURITE NEW AUTHOR

I fell a little bit in love with Nic Stone‘s writing when I read Dear Martin. I can’t really describe the why or anything like that, but it just flows super nicely and made Dear Martin such an addictive read. I am already looking forward to her next book!

Image result for nic stone

NEWEST FICTIONAL CRUSH

Hands down, Dawsey Adams from the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society! He is kind, smart and patient, supported women and their independence at a time that wasn’t a sure thing and is good with kids. Where is my Dawsey??

NEWEST FAVOURITE CHARACTER

Just because I had so much fun reading Jackaby and I already mentioned To Kill a Kingdom before (cause Lira is freaking awesome), I am going with Abigail Rook. She is intelligent, great at deductions, always out for adventure and just as flustered as everyone else when she has a crush. (Seriously hoping to pick up Beastly Bones in the coming days to see where that all goes!)

Beastly Bones (Jackaby, #2)

BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY

The Hate U Give by Angie ThomasUhm … good question. I think I cried while reading The Hate U Give. Injustice just always gets to me hard and Angie Thomas did such an amazing job at making you feel really close to the characters and feeling as if you were right there with them. Tears were shed for sure.

BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY

The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. YeeI remember laughing a lot while reading The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, so I am pretty sure it’s fair to say that it made me happy?

FAVOURITE BOOK TO FILM ADAPTATION

You would guess that I have an answer to this right away, but I am actually having a really hard time coming up with one. My most anticipated book to film adaptation would probably be Love, Simon, but it’s still not released anywhere in my country (two more weeks!!) and that just means I haven’t watched it. I also think that Crazy Rich Asians is going to be awesome, but I haven’t read or watched that one yet either. I keep trying to wrap my head around the fact that I don’t think I have seen that many movies this year so far??

FAVOURITE POST YOU HAVE DONE THIS YEAR

I guess that it wasn’t really such a noteworthy post for most people, but I am so glad I did a more or less comprehensive post about my WIP titled “Let’s Talk About Arcadia“. It has been a massive help as a referral post for me whenever I talked about writing and updates of the story or did tags that related to my characters. Even if someone completely new joins the blog now, I will have a place to send them to for details on my story. Thus far, I was really always worried that my posts about Arcadia would get annoying, especially for people who didn’t have a clue what I was talking about and that’s why it’s one of my favourite posts this year.

MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU’VE BOUGHT THIS YEAR

Probably Obsidio? All the Illuminae Files books, especially since I was able to afford the hardcovers, are just gorgeous to look at.

Obsidio (The Illuminae Files, #3)

WHAT BOOKS DO YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR

I am pretty sure I have around 20 unread books on my shelf? I am such a massive mood reader, that it has really become an issue for me to have that many books at home. I will try to get to at least half of those if not all of them by the end of the year, but I am not actually going to rattle them off.

I TAG THEE

I tag whoever wants to do this tag!

What did you think about my mid year freak out? Can you relate? Do you have any questions or different answers? Let’s talk!