31 Awesome Books That Actually Got Me Through The Strange Year of 2020!

28 December 2020Rebecca Bradley

At the beginning of 2020 I made the typical new year resolution. I aimed to read 40 books in the year. Some may think that’s so many and others may manage to get through that in a few months! But to me, it was a lot and something I wanted to aim for the end of the year.

I’ve kept count of the books I read using the Book Track app on my iPad to see if I could reach my goal. I managed to read 31 books (but bought well more than 50 through the year, I have a huge pile to get through in 2021!)

I also seem to have become a chick-lit romance fan! In April I was looking through my to-be-read pile and found ‘The Last Piece of my Heart’ by Paige Toon. I finished the book ‘If You Could Go Anywhere’ by Paige Toon and loved it so I wanted another one of her books to read. It did go in the to-be-read pile for a while. But as soon as I started reading ‘The Last Piece of my Heart’ I ended up going on a complete Paige Toon binge. The author kindly sold all her books on Amazon Kindle for 99p so I bought the lot and had lots of brilliant reading.

I always try to read all seven Harry Potter books every few years. The books always hold a special place in my heart and give me much-needed joy. This year I needed the boost of Hogwarts and began reading the series at the start of September. I still have two more to go and will finish these in early 2021.

I’ve listed below all the books I’ve read and a few sentences for each. The ones marked by * are the ones I particularly enjoyed and recommend the read.

  1. The Amber Spyglass * by Philip Pullman

I finished Northern Lights and The Subtle Knife in December 2019 so was finishing the series. I always had these books as a trilogy that my brother got for his Christmas in the 90s but never read it. I’m so glad I did. The best magical wintery read. I loved stepping into Lyra’s world. And I love the tv show too!

  1. Rebecca * by Daphne du Maurier

It’s only fitting that I read a book with the same name as me right? I always heard of the book Rebecca. I received a Waterstones voucher for Christmas so I treated myself to a lot of books and Rebecca was one of them. It’s been my book of the year. One of the best stories I have ever read and could never predict the ending. I’ll give the Netflix remake a little miss though.

  1. The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea

Another book from the Waterstones haul, The Glass Woman was all kinds of eerie. It’s set in Iceland and focuses on a young woman who marries a man to keep her sick mother safe and fed. The book takes on a few strange turns and most of the characters aren’t ones you develop feelings for and care for. I also wanted a lot more details on the scenery of Iceland but it’s still a good story to get lost in for a while.

  1. The Foundling * by Stacey Halls

I was a huge fan of Stacey Halls debut novel of The Familiars (even gifted it to my friend this Christmas). After I finished it I wanted to see if the author was bringing out anything else. I had The Foundling on a watchlist for quite a while! I loved this story. It focuses on a young woman who has to give up her child. And then does everything she can to get her child back to care and love her.

  1. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff

This was a bit of a random buy after I saw the film with Saoirse Ronan. Very strange layout for a book but I like the idea of a modern-day Britain going through another World War. Good storyline but not my favourite writing style.

  1. The Last Piece of My Heart by Paige Toon

And here my romance journey begins! I love all Paige Toon’s novels. The stories are fun with fun characters. But my most favourite thing about Paige Toon is that all her characters know each other in some way. So even if you finish one character’s story, chances are you’re going to hear about them when you pick up another novel.

Into cheesy romance fiction that’s well-written and thought out? I can’t recommend a Paige Toon novel enough. I haven’t put any further reviews below on all the Paige Toon books I read. But you can find out more about each one on her website. She also has a mailing list where she sends out snippets and short stories about the characters too!

  1. Johnny Be Good by Paige Toon
  2. Baby Be Mine by Paige Toon
  3. The Sun in Her Eyes * by Paige Toon
  4. The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon
  5. Lucy in the Sky by Paige Toon
  6. Pictures of Lily by Paige Toon
  7. Here’s Looking at You by Mhairi McFarlane

I downloaded this one because it was on Prime Reading and I felt I needed a little break from Paige Toon novels. Prime recommended it to me because of the amount of Paige Toon novels I’d downloaded! Mhairi McFarlane’s writing style is easy to follow. It feels like you’re sitting down in a café with your friend and sharing fun real-life stories.

  1. Thirteen Weddings * by Paige Toon
  2. One Perfect Summer by Paige Toon
  3. Chasing Daisy by Paige Toon
  4. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

I jumped on the bandwagon after my colleague mentioned she was reading it and recommended it to me. It was also my first physical book after having a very long few months reading only from my Kindle. I enjoyed the story and enjoyed the setting of the novel. I found it quite tough at times to get through, but all this changed at the ending. I loved the ending of the book and it ended things well for the main character.

  1. Five Years From Now by Paige Toon
  2. The Minute I Saw You by Paige Toon
  3. The Hating Game * by Sally Thorne

This was one of my favourites to read. A silly and fun story between two characters. They enjoy mocking each other every day at work and of course falling in love. Silly. Cheesy. But everything you need for a romance story.

  1. 99% Mine by Sally Thorne

After my love for The Hating Game, I had to buy Sally Thorne’s other novel. Nowhere near as good as The Hating Game. The main character was a bit of a pain but still a good story to sit and read over a few days and to enjoy.

  1. It’s Not Me, It’s You by Mhairi McFarlane

Another book I bought after enjoying one that I read by the author. This one was quite long and drawn-out but I started to love the main character. Another story again where you get frustrated at the characters and what they do. But also feel you’re sitting down with your friends and hearing their real-life situations to you.

  1. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

I definitely needed to escape to Hogwarts for a little while. The first three Harry Potter books are always my favourite. Sitting cuddled up in a blanket when it’s raining outside is the perfect atmosphere for this.

  1. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets * by J.K. Rowling
  2. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban * by J.K. Rowling
  3. Interview with the Vampire * by Anne Rice

My Halloween read! I loved this one. Okay, I have seen the film and Tom Cruise was the perfect Lestat but I wanted to read the original material. A brilliant spooky read.

  1. Wakenhyrst by Michelle Paver

Another Halloween read for me and one that was sitting in the to-be-read pile. I quite enjoyed the story of this one which looked into religion, misogynism, and religion. All with a fantasy element. And a smart resilient main character who goes against her controlling father.

  1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
  2. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
  3. One Christmas Star

To bring some much-needed festive joy I wanted to read some chick-lit Christmas books. This one was my favourite. A lovely story of a primary school teacher having a meet-cute with a musician. She also has to put on a ground-breaking nativity show too. Fun, festive and all around good!

  1. Christmas Shopaholic

I’ve never read the Shopaholic-series. I was about half-way through when I realised it was the character Isla Fisher played in Confessions of a Shopaholic. The character can be a little annoying at times. But I loved the story. It was hilarious reading through what you know is what it’s like having to shop for the ‘perfect Christmas’.

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