2020’s Best Reads (Books That Made 2020 a Better Experience)

Yesterday, we went through my least favourite reads of the year, but today we’re dropping the negativity and looking at my favourite reads of 2020.

Probably the first thing you’ll notice on here is that there is a lot of non-fiction! I loved reading so much non-fiction this year and it made up a good chunk of my 2020 reads. You’ll also notice there’s a lot of adult on here! I’ve been reading the odd adult book here and there since I was about fourteen or fifteen, but this year was the first year I really got into reading adult and, surprisingly, I really enjoyed most of them!

Anyway, these are my five star, and high four star reads! Let’s get into them!

Continue reading “2020’s Best Reads (Books That Made 2020 a Better Experience)”

2020’s Terrible Reads (Books That Made my 2020 Experience Worse)

So I think we can all agree that 2020 was not the best of years. It certainly wasn’t for me. However, it wasn’t all bad and one of the things that made it better was that I read a lot of good books and a blog post of all my favourite (by that I mean five star) reads will be coming out tomorrow. One of the things that helped contribute to this was me becoming much more liberal in my DNFs. For the past few years I’ve almost religiously tried to finish books once I commit to them (for me, reading the first few pages and deciding not to continue isn’t committing to a book), but this year I finally decided that I just don’t have enough time in life to read through books I’m hating.

So I have begun down the path of Did Not Finish.

And thankfully, there’s a lot fewer books I hated this year than there has been in previous years. However, do not think for a moment that I loved every book I read. Most of the books I read were mediocre, or were fun reads that entertain in the moment but don’t stick longterm and that was ok. At no point during this year did I really feel like diving into some deep literary fiction. But there were a few books I did really strongly dislike and we’re going to get into them now!

Continue reading “2020’s Terrible Reads (Books That Made my 2020 Experience Worse)”

Wrapping Up 2019: My Favourite Reads of the Year

I hope you guys all had a lovely Christmas! I’m here today with my final reading wrap up. I decided to do it all in one post, instead of two, so it’s going to be pretty long, but I hope you enjoy hearing all about my favourite reads from 2019!

Let’s get into it 😀

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Anzac Girls: The Extraordinary Story of Our World War 1 Nurses by Peter Rees

By the end of World War 1, 45 Australian and New Zealand nurses had died on overseas service, and over 200 decorated. These were the women who left for war looking for adventure and romance, but were soon confronted with challenges for which their civilian lives could never have prepared them. Their strength and dignity were remarkable. Using diaries and letters Peter Rees takes us into the hospital camps and the wards and the tent surgeries on the edge of some of the most horrific battlefronts of human history. But he also allows the friendships and love of these courageous and compassionate women to enrich their experiences, and ours. Profoundly moving, this is a story of extraordinary courage and humanity shown by a group of woman whose contribution to the Anzac legend has barely been recognized in our history. Peter Rees has changed that understanding forever. Continue reading “Wrapping Up 2019: My Favourite Reads of the Year”

Wrapping Up 2019: Two Stars Reads Part 2

Here’s the second part of my list of least favourite books this year. If you missed the first part, you can find it here.

Also, just a disclaimer before I begin. I disliked these books for varying reasons, but I’m definitely not hating on these authors or on anyone who reads these books and likes them. They simply weren’t my taste or I found them to have problematic elements.

All right, let’s get into this.

Warcross by Marie Lu

The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

This book was super hyped and even though it’s not my usual genre (sci-fi just isn’t my thing) I decided to give it a go. Sadly, it didn’t work for me at all. I didn’t like Emika at all and Hideo was just another rich bad boy character.

Overall, there was nothing “bad” about this book, it simply didn’t appeal to me.

Enchantee by Gita Trelease

Paris in 1789 is a labyrinth of twisted streets, filled with beggars, thieves, revolutionaries—and magicians…

When smallpox kills her parents, Camille Durbonne must find a way to provide for her frail, naive sister while managing her volatile brother. Relying on petty magic—la magie ordinaire—Camille painstakingly transforms scraps of metal into money to buy the food and medicine they need. But when the coins won’t hold their shape and her brother disappears with the family’s savings, Camille must pursue a richer, more dangerous mark: the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette.

With dark magic forbidden by her mother, Camille transforms herself into the ‘Baroness de la Fontaine’ and is swept up into life at the Palace of Versailles, where aristocrats both fear and hunger for la magie. There, she gambles at cards, desperate to have enough to keep herself and her sister safe. Yet the longer she stays at court, the more difficult it becomes to reconcile her resentment of the nobles with the enchantments of Versailles. And when she returns to Paris, Camille meets a handsome young balloonist—who dares her to hope that love and liberty may both be possible.

But la magie has its costs. And when Camille loses control of her secrets, the game she’s playing turns deadly. Then revolution erupts, and she must choose—love or loyalty, democracy or aristocracy, freedom or magic—before Paris burns…

I was really sad that I didn’t like this book because I’d been looking forward to it since I first heard it was being published. Ultimately, it wasn’t a bad book, it was just incredibly long and boring and I thought the pacing was way off kilter. The pacing was the worst part to me, because it kind of read like a first draft that no one had edited the unimportant bits out of.

The concept is still brilliant though. Magic worked through sorrow, card games, the palace at Versailles, the French Revolution, hot air balloons, the general aesthetic. And Trelease’s prose is probably the most beautiful prose I’ve read this year.

But the pacing…

It was just too much for me.

Gould’s Book of Fish by Richard Flanagan

Once upon a time, when the earth was still young, before the fish in the sea and all the living things on land began to be destroyed, a man named William Buelow Gould was sentenced to life imprisonment at the most feared penal colony in the British Empire, and there ordered to paint a book of fish. He fell in love with the black mistress of the warder and discovered too late that to love is not safe; he attempted to keep a record of the strange reality he saw in prison, only to realize that history is not written by those who are ruled.

Acclaimed as a masterpiece around the world, Gould’s Book of Fish is at once a marvelously imagined epic of nineteenth-century Australia and a contemporary fable, a tale of horror, and a celebration of love, all transformed by a convict painter into pictures of fish.

This book’s primary issue is that it was incredibly disturbing. Even after finishing it months ago and thinking about it a probably unhealthy amount, I still haven’t worked out what the point of it was. I think its supposed to be an examination of human nature, but…I just don’t know?

This book contained incidents that were…yes, very unnerving.

The bottom line is that Gould’s Book of Fish was the only book I rated one star this year and it deserved it.

So that’s it, guys! The books I rated two stars or less this year. As of today, I’m four books off my goal for the year, so hopefully I’ll be able to add a few more books to my Goodreads list before next week.

I’ll be back on Boxing Day to give you guys an update on my absolute favourite books from 2019!

What were some books you didn’t like this year? Have you read any of the ones on this list? Have you completed your Goodreads goal?