My ‘Best of’ list

Posted On 31 December 2020

Filed under Book Reviews

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Yesterday 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 excellent books released.

Firstly, my thanks to all the authors, publishers, bloggers and others who keep my life filled with books – they keep me very happy.

Secondly, it’s difficult to narrow down my reading to ten favourites but I do like to give it a try.  These are ten books that really stood out for me, it doesn’t mean that I haven’t read many many more fantastic books though.  Without further ado (and also because if I dwell on this too long I will undoubtedly change my mind many times before working my way back to the original) here they are in no particular order:

Top Ten

The God Game by Danny Tobey – This book took me by storm, I am shamelessly cutting and pasting the start of my own review to give you an idea of how it made me feel ‘It was fast paced, a little bit crazy in parts, quite scary in others, totally addictive, in fact virtually unputdownable and it took me completely by surprise because whilst I liked the blurb for the book the combination of high school, geeky nerd squad and insidious AI just really wowed me’.  I loved this, give it a try and see how you feel. I’d love to know your thoughts.


The Girl and the Stars by Mark Lawrence.  I will say, without any doubt, that Mark Lawrence is one of my favourite authors.  I would read his shopping list to be honest.  The Girl and the Stars was an excellent start to series and I am gagging to read the second instalment.  For me, Lawrence can write.  He has a magical way with words that I appreciate and his books also usually have the long game in mind.  Also, on a total fickle note I freaking love this cover (judge me if you wish):


You Let Me In by Camilla Bruce – okay, another cut and paste job is required here from my original review – ‘This book was brilliant. I loved it utterly and completely and frankly I’m flabbergasted that it’s a debut – it’s just so impressive and I can’t fault it at all’.  I loved this book so much.  I admit that sometimes I pick a book up with reservations, maybe it’s receiving lot of hype or all my blogger buddies are loving it – and, I’ll be honest – sometimes this level of love and respect from everyone I know sometimes just makes me hesitate.  Like I’m in two minds.  One half of me trusts all these people and just knows the book is going to work, the other half of me is thinking, ‘but what if’?  Do you ever have that feeling.  Almost like a stubborn resistance to picking a book up.  This book broke down all my petty resistances, it just knocked me over and then some.

you let me in

A Time of Courage by John Gwynne.  Okay, John Gwynne is a very respected author of fantasy, but one that I just hadn’t broken in to.  I mean, you literally can’t read every book – am I right?  But, this is a series that I adored.  Seriously, great world, great characters, great plot, great writing.  What an ending.  This guy can write some serious battle scenes – I don’t even like battle scenes.  And, yet, now I do.  What can I say.  If you don’t read this series – well, you’ve only got yourself to blame because I tried.

A time of courage

The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso.  When I originally picked up this book I struggled.  I couldn’t get into it and I had to put it down for a little while.  The covid concentration suck zone struck hard.  I had a palate cleanser and returned and I’m so glad I did.  This book is a testament to second chances – A murder, an investigation, a secret and dangerous magical artefact, a dark tower. There is much here to love and on top of this a bunch of diverse characters that you can really develop feelings for. You know you want to.


The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart.  This is a seriously impressive book – and a debut to boot.  The writing is polished and there’s a stunning amount of imagination and creativity at play that certainly provides plenty of food for thought.  Fantastic start to a very promising series.


The Trouble with Peace by Joe Abercrombie.  Whilst I have read a number of books within the genre over the years, I’m still fairly new to the fantasy world, and so I have never read Lord Grimdark’s earlier works.  I know this is a an absolute thing of horror and shame and I have no excuses, particularly as I bought the first three books of his First Law series at least twice (maybe three times, whoops).  But, I have got on board with his Age of Madness series and I’m absolutely loving it.  It does make me want to backtrack some and perhaps this forthcoming year will be the year for such things as catching up, reading backlist books and being organised.  Time will tell, but if like me you’re not uptodate with absolutely everything and want to try Mr Abercrombie then you could go a very long way before finding a better series than this one – and if you start now you’ll easily catch up – so this is a no brainer.


The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by VE Schwab – again, it’s difficult to believe that I’ve never read a Schwab book before.  I’ve certainly bought a couple over the years and no end of people wax lyrical about how good they are but I failed to fit one in.  On reflection perhaps I was waiting for her magnum opus – which I think this book is.  I expect to see this book on many similar lists.  This book was utterly captivating.   In fact I think I am spoiled now in terms of her backlist books because I would be constantly comparing them to this one.


Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia.  I don’t make a secret of the fact that I love books that are ‘gothic’ in nature so the very title of this book had me onboard immediately, not to mention that this is an author that I have yet to be disappointed by.  I love her books so much and Mexican Gothic is perfect in so many ways.  A fantastic MC, wonderful setting and gloriously decadent gothic horror.  A magnificent creation that I will undoubtedly return to.


Call of the Bones Ships by RJ Barker – I read the Bone Ships last year and in fact I think it was also on  a similar favourite reads of the year list and here I am again with an RJ Barker book making my list again.  This book is outstanding.  No middle book syndrome here – a book filled with emotion that made me, at times, want to laugh and cry, and a tour de force.  Barker has refashioned adventures on the high seas in the most ingenious and creative way.  I highly recommend this series and frankly book 3 can’t come quickly enough.  No pressure.