Looking Back at 2020 : The Ghost of Books Past

Today’s post is a quick reflection on the year 2020 in terms of blogging and reading. The past year has, without doubt, been a difficult year for many and I hope that 2021 brings more joy and happiness into all our lives.  Covid certainly had an impact on my reading and concentration and for a few months my blog was almost a barren wasteland – but, I don’t want to bang on about the negatives, this post is all about the positives and what has been good.

So, as I write this post I’m in the process of concluding a couple of books which will round out my total reading for the year at a nice healthy 100 books.  I like a nice round figure like that!  In fact I didn’t think I’d read 100 books this year and that would have been something practically unheard of around these parts, but, I’ve pressed ahead with some books I wanted to catch up with in the past few weeks and this brought the figures up.  I’m a little behind with blog hopping this week as I’ve been enjoying a little break and I also have quite a few reviews to write which will all be posted during the first couple of weeks in January but for now let’s look at all things bookish past.

My year of books can be found here – the page will be updated once my final reviews are written.  My stats on Goodreads are a little behind but they do show that the longest book I read this year was Empire of Gold at 766 pages compared to the shortest (ringing in at just under 10% of the former) Moontangled with a mere 71 pages – but all of them delightful.

In other stats.  54 of the books I read were ‘new to me authors’ which counts for over half of my yearly reads.  This wasn’t necessarily deliberate on my part in fact it was something of a nice surprise.  In terms of audio my numbers are also higher with 15 of my reads being audio books.  I can multi-task after all – who knew!!

In self-published news the Fifth Self-Published Fantasy Blog Off (SPFBO) competition concluded with some amazing reads.  The top ten finalists can be found here.  And the Sixth SPFBO competition began and is also now at the second stage.  The ten finalists can be found here.  Here’s a bird’s eye view of them all together – don’t they look gorgeous:

Now let’s look at some other snippets.  I’ve had a lot of good books this year and so this is my first attempt at throwing the spotlight on a few using various themes.  Tomorrow I’ll be trying to hone in on some of my favourite books of 2020.

New to Me Authors:
  1. The Phlebotomist by Chris Panatier – I loved this book, it took me by surprise and I would love to read more from this world.
  2. Deeplight by Francis Hardinge – this was my first introduction to this author and it was an impressive read – I’ve since read A Skinful of Shadows which was also an excellent read and due for forthcoming review.
  3. The Sin Eater by Megan Campisis – I like to include a few novels with a historic feel and the Sin Eater took me back to an alternate Tudor England where sin eaters are a very real, and shunned, part of society.
  4. The Southern Book Club’s Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix.  A return to the world of vampires in this almost-softly-spoken-but-shocking-deep-south-horror.
  5. The Diabolical Bones by Bella Ellis – a flight of fantasy in which the Bronte sisters use their remarkably sharp brains to solve a local murder mystery with an incredible setting that draws from their own works whilst at the same time imagining how the sisters drew inspiration from the place in which they lived.
Gothic/horror/history
  1. Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – I simply cannot get enough of this author she seems to be able to turn her hand to any topic and win me over with ease.
  2. The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry – I really enjoyed this one with it’s strange setting and even stranger sense that all the inhabitants share some form of forced amnesia.
  3. It Will Just be Us by Jo Kaplan – a lovely gothic ghost story – with very ‘in your face’ ghosts
  4. The Graves of Whitechapel by Claire Evans.  This is a dark and atmospheric return to the Victorian streets of Whitechapel.  Compelling, addictive, grim.
  5. Stoker’s Wilde by Steven Hostaken and Melissa Prusi – I simply loved this book and the way it’s written.  It follows the style of Stoker’s Dracula with letters, diary excerpts and reports being used to tell the story – but, without doubt the almost comedy pairing of Oscar Wilde and Bram Stoker is the winning element.  I’ve already read the second book (Stoker’s Wilde West) and can’t wait for more from this writing team.
Debuts
  1. Blood of Heirs by Alicia Wanstall-Burke – I loved this and for the life of me don’t know why I haven’t read the second instalment yet.  Apparently I’m afraid to be happy or something, something, something, blah, blah blah about time or more succinctly the lack of it. 
  2. You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce – this book blew my mind.  Read it. 
  3. Hollow Kingdom by Kira Jane Buxton.  A fantastic take on the post apocalyptic tale told through the eyes of a charismatic crow.
  4. Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell  – Magic, Politics, Revenge, Secrets, Lies – I very much look forward to the second instalment (The Two-Faced Queen)
  5. The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart – this book was amazing, ‘Even Better Than The Hype’
Murder Mystery Thriller
  1. The Other People by CJ Tudor – another author that I’m really enjoying.  The Other People was both thrilling and chilling in equal measure.
  2. The Glass Hotel by Emily St John Mandell – I can’t even begin to describe this book, it would just sound so dry – economics, finance, Ponzi schemes – and yet, it works so incredibly well.  A beautifully written tale with many threads that come together in the most satisfactory way imaginable.
  3. The Girl Beneath the Sea by Andrew Mayne – another favourite author.  I love his Naturalist series and I think this could be the start of another very enjoyable and easy to read set of books involving a character with sharp wits.
  4. The Guest List by Lucy Foley – no surprise that this one has been so highly acclaimed.  I’ve read both her books and highly recommend them.  I’m eager to see where this author takes us next.
  5. The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd – in my own words ‘It’s scary in the most horrible way, it’s tense, it’s gripping, it’s addictive. I read it all in one go.”
Great Conclusions
  1. Where Gods Fear to Go by Angus Watson – this author astounds me.  This series is a whole lot of crazy and I loved it.  Wootah.
  2. Crownbreaker by Sebastien DeCastell – This is another fun series with some great characters.  A series that became darker with each instalment as the main character grew both in years and experience.  I’m looking forward to the short book being released next year that focuses on one of the other characters from this world.
  3. A Time of Courage by John Gwynne – this series is absolutely everything that I love about epic fantasy.  Do I need to say anything more?
  4. Night of the Dragon by Julie Kagawa – fantastic ending, totally satisfying.
  5. Empire of Gold by SA Chakraborty – great character arcs, lush world building, a little bittersweet but ultimately satisfying.

 

11 Responses to “Looking Back at 2020 : The Ghost of Books Past”

  1. Tammy

    I love seeing Hollow Kingdom and You Let Me In side by side. I read Hollow Kingdom last year and it is still my ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOK. I can hardly wait for the sequel!

  2. waytoofantasy

    100 books is great, especially in this our year of the pandemic. May we all have a bright and happy 2021.
    I’m glad to see The Phlebotomist on here–picked that one up and added it to my TBR because you and Tammy liked it so much. Hopefully will get to that in 2021. 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I hope you love the Phlebotomist – it was a great surprise.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    I like a nice round number like 100 too and glad you hit that goal despite the craziness that was 2020!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Well, I have to go back and amend that – I never completed my final two books (although I have now) so my nice round number is shattered down to 98. Ahh, such is life, the best laid plans…

  4. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    100 books read are indeed a cause for celebration – and to forget the troubles of these past year… There are a couple of books I also enjoyed in your list, and many more I would love to read: but that’s what next year is for, isn’t it? 😉

  5. My ‘Best of’ list | Books and travelling with Lynn

    […] I took a look at some of my highlights of reading from 2020 and in spite of it being a strange year I have to say there have been some […]

  6. jessicabookworm

    With all that’s been going on you have still done some great reading and yes, here’s to a happier, healthier and easier 2021! 😊

    • @lynnsbooks

      Actually I need to amend my figures because I didn’t complete those final two books.
      Lynn 😀

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