Wednesday 26 February 2020

My 2020 Reading Challenge - Update #1

*Books marked * were sent either via Netgalley to review or as a PR sample but all views my own
Last year after I set myself a challenge of reading 30 books on Goodreads, I documented each book I read on my blog in roundups every few months so I fully intend to do the same in 2020. As last year I aimed for 30 and ended on 102, this year I've aimed high at 100 so fingers crossed I can do just aswell with it this year. I do feel I've slowed down quite a lot over the last month but I've still managed to get through 17 books so far which I'm happy with and I've been keeping notes on all of them so I better get started.
stack of books held up in front of bookshelf

Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

My first book of 2020 and so far nothing has really topped it. In fact this is one of the only books I've rated 5 stars in this post so I think that says a lot. I loved the TV series of Big Little Lies so with reading the book afterwards, I wondered if I'd enjoy it as much but from the first page I was totally invested and just loved Liane's writing style. It was full of drama but also really relatable at times and if you want to know more, you can find my full review here.

Happy Ever After by C.C. MacDonald* - ⭐⭐

This was just incredibly far-fetched. I know thrillers often can be but this was just almost silly at times. It jumped all over the place and I didn't care for any of the characters so it was hard to feel any sort of urge to actually push through with it.

The Magpies by Mark Edwards - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mark Edwards can do no wrong. He is fast becoming one of my favourite thriller authors and everytime I see a book of his on my kindle, I grab it. He just knows exactly how to write a dark, suspenseful book that will genuinely keep you on the edge of your seat right until the very end. The Magpies felt scarily real at times as it's about neighbours from hell and let's face it, that's something we've all either experienced in our lives or could have to deal with one day. The nightmare that Jamie and Kirsty go through, could I suppose happen to anyone so that only added an extra level of tense to it!

The Places I've Cried In Public by Holly Bourne - ⭐⭐⭐

This is the first book I've read from Holly Bourne after seeing her receive so much praise online and whilst I only rated it 3 stars, I did thoroughly enjoy it. Maybe that's the wrong phrase to use as it was an uncomfortable read at times and went down a much darker path than I expected but I liked how different it was to all of the other books I'd already read. It's a young adult novel but extremely deep and not fluffy in any way so I'm not sure it's personally something I'd recommend to really young teenagers.

The Girl In The Spider's Web by David Lagercrantz - ⭐⭐⭐

I absolutely loved the film version of this in 2018 so I was keen read the book before moving onto others in the series but I just couldn't get into it. David's writing style was just not for me and I think if I'd not already seen the film and knew certain scenes, I'd have not been able to finish it.
The girl in the spider's web by david lagercrantz held up in front of bookshelf

The Chain by Adrian McKinty - ⭐⭐

I can't quite put into words how disappointed I was with this and I'm disappointed in even saying that as The Chain was such a big hit last year and all I ever saw online about it was positive. The premise of someone kidnapping your child and you having to do the same to another to get yours back sounded brilliant and I honestly thought it was going to be one of my top reads of 2020 but I just didn't get the hype. At all.

People Like Us by Louise Fein* - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

One of the most heartwrenching books I've read in a long time and whilst I didn't rate it 5 stars just because of a few minor details, it's definitely up there as one of the best I've read in 2020 so far. I've posted a review of this so I won't ramble too much but anything centered around WWII, Nazi Germany and Auschwitz really appeals to me so when I was kindly sent this, I had a feeling I was going to like it. It's such an important story but the ending was incredibly bittersweet, it made me very emotional!

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I'd never heard of this book until recently when I noticed a sudden influx of people talking about it on Twitter, a bit similar to last year with The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society so I had to buy it for myself and I'm so glad I did. Ove is a grumpy old man, pretty much done with life after the loss of his wife but then a young family move in next door and maybe they can be the ones to show him there's more left to life than he realised? It's heartbreaking in places but also a story full of hope and love. Yet another book that made me cry.
A man called ove by fredrick backman held up in front of bookshelf

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan - ⭐⭐⭐

This is another book that I'd have struggled with if I'd not watched the film beforehand. I absolutely love the film but with the book, I just didn't connect with it and couldn't get my head around the amount of characters there were to keep up with. I can't see myself reading the next two books in the series just yet.

The Wives by Tarryn Fisher* - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I was really impressed by this and the ending left me SHOOK. It was similar in a way to I Know My Name by C.J. Cooke which I read in 2019 which genuinely messed me up a little and completely blindsided me with a certain twist. It's a fast paced thriller that's really dark and gritty and you honestly can't predict where it's going to go from one chapter to the next.

A Murder Of Magpies by Mark Edwards - ⭐⭐⭐

A short story sequel to The Magpies which I spoke about earlier in the post which I really enjoyed. Not a great deal happens throughout compared to the first book but it builds nicely for the final installment in the series which I read straight after this.

The Last Of The Magpies by Mark Edwards - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Finally, the conclusion to the Magpies and I was actually a little sad to end the chapter on Jamie and Kirsty. It was just as gripping as the previous books, as tense as ever and just a really brilliant story. I do think A Murder Of Magpies and this could have been combined to make one book rather than two short stories but it was just nice to have more to The Magpies at all as it wasn't until I was browsing recently that I spotted the final two in the series which took me by surprise. I can't wait to read more from Mark soon.

The Girl You Gave Away by Jess Ryder* - ⭐⭐⭐

This had a great premise, starting with Erin receiving a birthday card from a daughter she gave up for adoption years ago. What should be a happy moment soon turns dark and Erin is left wondering if the girl really is her daughter and if so, has she got in touch for the right reasons? I did find the book quite up and down though. There were moments I couldn't put it down but then others where it just felt seemed so far fetched and the ending in particular felt rushed and like there wasn't really a conclusion to the story. Since first reading this, the author has now changed the ending and added an extra chapter which I do think improves it greatly.
The girl you gave away by jess ryder on kindle held up in front of bookshelf

Miss Cecily's Recipes For Exceptional Ladies by Vicky Zimmerman* - ⭐⭐⭐

This was very similar to The Lido in a lot of ways, mainly being that it's focused on the friendship between 40 year old Kate and 96 year old Cecily Finn which isn't something you often find in books, so much is often focused on romantic relationships so I always hunt down novels like this. That being said, it wasn't quite on the level that The Lido was for me. It was a nice read but on the whole I wasn't blown away.

They Did Bad Things by Lauren A.Forry* - ⭐⭐

From the beginning I didn't really get on with this. You know when as soon as you start a book, you can just tell it isn't gonna be one for you? I'll give any thriller a chance but every time I put it down, it took such a long time for me to want to pick it up and continue. I found there were too many characters that were similar so it was hard to keep track at times and nothing major really happened. I was always waiting for more.

The Summer Of Wishful Thinking by Eve Edwards* - ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Ahh I loved this! You can't beat a classic will they, won't they love story so from the moment I started this, I was all in. I loved the character of Gemma and really believed the chemistry between her and Sam, I was just willing for them to end up together as soon as they met.

The Five Year Plan by Carla Burgess* - ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

I just adored this! This reminded me of Paige Toon in many ways and you all know how much I love her books. Just pure romance that I didn't want to end. I think I might write up a review of this next week as it's one of those books I can't stop thinking about.
The five year plan by carla burgess on kindle held up in front of bookshelf
So that's where I'm at with my 2020 reading challenge so far. It's been a real mix and though there have been quite a few books which did unfortunately let me down after going in with high expectations, there have also been some real stand out novels that I'm already sure I'll re-read one day.

Have you set yourself a reading challenge this year?

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Heather Nixon said...

I haven't read any of these but a couple are on my list x

jennyinneverland said...

Wow, you've done brilliantly with your 2020 reading challenge so far! Soooo many books! I haven't read any of these but some of them definitely stand out to me! x

Nic said...

I have not read anything so far this year, hoepefully I shall have some to finsih :)

Nic | Nic's Adventures & Bakes

Tiffany Timms said...

Hope you enjoy any you read from the list x

Tiffany Timms said...

Thank you! I felt like I'd really slowed down with it but I'm happy with where I'm at so far xx

Tiffany Timms said...

Good luck with it! x

Hannah said...

I feel like I've commented this every time you mention Big Little Lies, but I need to read that book haha! Definitely need to pick it up. Good luck with your goal, I'm sure you'll smash it xx

Hannah |

Daisy said...

Whoa!! You've read so much already! That's amazing! I'm aiming to read 50 books this year. It's been a slow start but I'm getting there. Mind if I credit you for this post idea? ;)

Daisy xoxo | TheDeeWhoLived

Sophie said...

Great progress so far! I'm so proud of myself this year. Last year I set my goal at 30 and didn't get there until early December. This year my goal is set at 50 and I'm already on 25, such a huge improvement! I've read a couple of Mark Edwards books recently but nothing has really blown me away so far x


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