Hi, everyone! How are you all?
From the title, I’m sure you have deduced that we are going to be talking about the books I’ve read in 2020. At the minute I’m averaging about three books a month but I’m hoping to increase that given that school has become somewhat less of a commitment these days. I really want something positive to come from the otherwise awful COVID-19 situation.
Let us get onto the books then!
1. The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
Rating: 5/5 stars and very well deserved!
Goodreads synopsis: In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.
I read this book because everyone was talking about it and I fell victim to the hype! I also love books with a historical setting and the fact that everyone was saying this was a book about vampires really intrigued me. I am really glad I picked this one up, especially as my first book of the year because I thoroughly enjoyed it! The lush and beautiful setting made this book hard to put down and I totally recommend reading it if you haven’t already!
2. On Midnight Beach by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
Rating: 4/5 stars
Goodreads synopsis: When a dolphin takes up residence in Carrig Cove, Emer and her best friend, Fee, feel like they have an instant connection with it. Then Dog Cullen and his sidekick, Kit, turn up, and the four friends begin to sneak out at midnight to go down to the beach, daring each other to swim closer and closer to the creature . . .
But the fame and fortune the dolphin brings to their small village builds resentment amongst their neighbours across the bay, and the summer days get longer and hotter . . . There is something wild and intense in the air. Love feels fierce, old hatreds fester, and suddenly everything feels worth fighting for.
I got an ARC of this book at DeptCon 5 and I was honestly so excited for it! It’s set in Donegal, Ireland which is a place I absolutely love (it is very rural with beautiful scenary). I also really love dolphins so I was sold on this book. Once you start this, you just want to keep on reading and it is such a unique read in YA. Out on April 2nd, please look into this book!
3. Meat Market by Juno Dawson
Rating: 3/5 stars
Goodreads synopsis: Jana Novak’s history sounds like a classic model cliché: tall and gangly, she’s uncomfortable with her androgynous looks until she’s unexpectedly scouted and catapulted to superstardom.
But the fashion industry is as grimy as it is glamorous. And there are unexpected predators at every turn.
Jana is an ordinary girl from a south London estate, lifted to unimaginable heights. But the further you rise, the more devastating your fall …
This book is so important and well worth a read. It raises a lot of important questions that translate directly into the society we are currently living in. I’m really glad I read this one even if sometimes the topics being discussed were difficult to think about.
4. Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han
Rating: 5/5 stars
Goodreads Synopsis: Lara Jean is having the best senior year.
And there’s still so much to look forward to: a class trip to New York City, prom with her boyfriend Peter, Beach Week after graduation, and her dad’s wedding to Ms. Rothschild. Then she’ll be off to college with Peter, at a school close enough for her to come home and bake chocolate chip cookies on the weekends.
Life couldn’t be more perfect!
At least, that’s what Lara Jean thinks . . . until she gets some unexpected news.
Now the girl who dreads change must rethink all her plans—but when your heart and your head are saying two different things, which one should you listen to?
This was a re-read for me. It’s the third book in the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before trilogy, a fun series and one that I’ll always enjoy!
5. This Time Will Be Different by Misa Sugiura
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
Goodreads Synopsis: Katsuyamas never quit—but seventeen-year-old CJ doesn’t even know where to start. She’s never lived up to her mom’s type A ambition, and she’s perfectly happy just helping her aunt, Hannah, at their family’s flower shop.
She doesn’t buy into Hannah’s romantic ideas about flowers and their hidden meanings, but when it comes to arranging the perfect bouquet, CJ discovers a knack she never knew she had. A skill she might even be proud of.
Then her mom decides to sell the shop—to the family who swindled CJ’s grandparents when thousands of Japanese Americans were sent to internment camps during WWII. Soon a rift threatens to splinter CJ’s family, friends, and their entire Northern California community; and for the first time, CJ has found something she wants to fight for.
I LOVED this book so much. I was actually lucky enough to meet Misa Sugiura when I was on holiday and she was so so lovely. I read this book on the flight over in one sitting and I could not put it down. It passed the time on the flight wonderfully and contained all the elements I love to see in books. I loved the family bonds and friendships formed and it taught me some interesting history I didn’t know a lot about before (and we all know how much of a history geek I am!).
6. A Throne of Swans by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr
Rating: 3/5 stars
Goodreads Synopsis: When her father dies just before her birthday, seventeen-year-old Aderyn inherits the role of Protector of Atratys, a dominion in a kingdom where nobles are able to transform at will into the bird that represents their family bloodline. Aderyn’s ancestral bird is a swan. But she has not transformed for years, not since witnessing the death of her mother – ripped apart by hawks that have supposedly been extinct since the long-ago War of the Raptors.
With the benevolent shelter of her mother and her father now lost, Aderyn is at the mercy of her brutal uncle, the King, and his royal court. Driven by revenge and love, she must venture into the malevolent heart of the Citadel in order to seek the truth about the attack that so nearly destroyed her, to fight for the only home she has ever known and for the land she has vowed to protect.
This was another ARC I got at DeptCon 5 and was a really solid fantasy read! The only reason it didn’t score higher is that for some reason I put it down for about a month before finishing it. I can’t exactly pin point why. I will definitely be giving the sequel a go when it comes out though!
7. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Rating: 5/5 stars
Goodreads Synopsis: As soon as Anne Shirley arrives at the snug white farmhouse called Green Gables, she is sure she wants to stay forever . . . but will the Cuthberts send her back to to the orphanage? Anne knows she’s not what they expected—a skinny girl with fiery red hair and a temper to match. If only she can convince them to let her stay, she’ll try very hard not to keep rushing headlong into scrapes and blurting out the first thing that comes to her mind. Anne is not like anyone else, the Cuthberts agree; she is special—a girl with an enormous imagination. This orphan girl dreams of the day when she can call herself Anne of Green Gables.
I have a lot of memories and love connected to this series. When I was younger I can remember sitting in my Granny’s house binging all the films and loving this story so much. The recent Netflix adaptation, Anne With an E brought all those memories back and I realised that I’ve never actually read the books. I’m hoping to rectify that by reading them now!
8. Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare
Rating: 5/5 stars (and I would 100% give it more stars if I could!)
Goodreads Synopsis: Welcome to Edwardian London, a time of electric lights and long shadows, the celebration of artistic beauty and the wild pursuit of pleasure, with demons waiting in the dark. For years there has been peace in the Shadowhunter world. James and Lucie Herondale, children of the famous Will and Tessa, have grown up in an idyll with their loving friends and family, listening to stories of good defeating evil and love conquering all. But everything changes when the Blackthorn and Carstairs families come to London…and so does a remorseless and inescapable plague.
James Herondale longs for a great love, and thinks he has found it in the beautiful, mysterious Grace Blackthorn. Cordelia Carstairs is desperate to become a hero, save her family from ruin, and keep her secret love for James hidden. When disaster strikes the Shadowhunters, James, Cordelia and their friends are plunged into a wild adventure which will reveal dark and incredible powers, and the true cruel price of being a hero…and falling in love.
I have been waiting for this book since I was thirteen years old and it did not disappoint. I can’t say much about this book since we are now so far into the Shadowhunter books but just know that I love all the characters….except Grace. Really don’t like her. Please read this book.
9. Theatrical by Maggie Harcourt
Rating: 3.75/5 stars
Goodreads Synopsis: Hope dreams of working backstage in a theatre, and she’s determined to make it without the help of her famous costume designer mum. So when she lands an internship on a major production, she tells no one. But with a stroppy Hollywood star and his hot young understudy upstaging Hope’s focus, she’s soon struggling to keep her cool… and her secret.
I actually read and annotated this book which is something I have never done before! My friend and I thought it would be interesting if we each annotated a book and then swap the books after. So, I annotated this for her and I hope she likes it because it was hard work! I enjoyed the book and annotating although I do feel like having to stop and annotate constantly took me out of the story a little.
That’s all from me today! Thank you for reading!
I hope you are all keeping safe and staying at home!