Favourite 2020 Releases

Hey all! It’s time for my first end of year post – favourite 2020 book releases. For this post I’ll be sharing my favourite books that came out in 2020 – I’ll probably forget loads because I always do.

1) I can’t start with anything else than The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab. This one broke my heart through Henry Strauss. Captured that complete confusion about deciding what you want to do with your life in your twenties perfectly and it hit very, very close to home. You can read my review here.

2) My favourite YA release this year has to be Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez. This is a cool book following a teen with a passion for football (soccer) in Argentina. My favourite part of this book was how mature the protagonist Camila is. She is such a good role model. One of my friends got me a hardback for Christmas and I’m so happy because I can read it in physical copy now. You can check out my review of the eARC here.

3) Let’s talk about a final book in a series! The Burning God by R.F. Kuang, the end of The Poppy War trilogy. Again, I was lucky enough to receive an eARC of this book so I got to read it right after I finished The Dragon Republic. This is the series for you if you want a series that’s loosely historical, has really vivid depictions of war without sacrificing the character development and will break your heart many, many times. You can read my review here.

4) One of my favourite romances this year was Something to Talk About by Meryl Wilsner. This book had a lot of my favourite tropes (ice queen that’s really a softie, slow burn, office romance), and I love that it has women that support each other. Emma and Jo are so cute, I can’t wait to read this one again now I have a physical copy (thanks friend!!!) You can read my review here.

5) A contemporary fiction that I loved this year is Such a Fun Age by Kiley Read (it came out in early January in the UK). This one definitely gave me Little Fires Everywhere vibes – the writing is so good and the characters are the opposite of one dimensional as it delves into white saviours. I can’t wait to read this again and write a review for my blog.

6) OK, I can’t help it, I’ve got to put in another romance. I absolutely loved The Boyfriend Project by Farrah Rochon, it was everything. Samiah is one of my favourite characters – she’s a Black woman in STEM and I loved how this book highlighted her challenges at work. It also has a really awesome female friendship which is super cute. Really loved the romance between Samiah and Daniel too.

7) My favourite sci-fi release of 2020 is Honor Lost by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre. This is the final book in the Honor Among Thieves trilogy which my friends finally convinced me to read this year. This book honestly sounds completely wild but it’s amazing and cute and I want to re-read just thinking of it. Cute space whale spaceships, what a concept, and the finale definitely doesn’t disappoint.

8) Another trilogy conclusion you say? There were a lot of good finales this year, that’s for sure. This time it’s The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty. The Daevabad trilogy is fantastic and I’m so glad I read all of the books this year. The Empire of Gold is a thrilling final book from start to finish and is a fast read despite it being many, many pages long. It has characters I grew so attached to and really rich world-building, you have to pick up this series.

OK, that’s my top 8 book releases of 2020! There’s still some that I want to finish before the end of the year, like The Ever-Cruel Kingdom by Rin Chupeco. Like I said, I probably forgot some, but that’s fine.

Hope you’re all doing well, I am on holiday from work now until 4th January so hopefully I can write some more blog posts. Also I didn’t get that job I applied for, it’s been a bit of a mess to be honest so I’m looking forward to moving past it all and throwing my frustration into 2021.

Top Ten Tuesday (Books for My Younger Self)

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This is my first Top 10 Tuesday post, and this week the theme is Book for My Younger Self  (These could be books you wish you had read as a child, books younger you could have really learned something from, books that meshed with your hobbies/interests, books that could have helped you go through events/changes in your life, etc.)

1) Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu. This is such a great, feminist book for teens that I wish I had when I was growing up. It’s about a girl called Vivian who is sick of her sexist football loving school who tries to change things. Give this book to angry girls and women. It’s wonderful and profound.

2) Late to the Party by Kelly Quindlen. There definitely weren’t many YA books with a comfortable gay protagonist when I was growing up. This one felt particularly real to me with it’s exploration of growing pains and working out who you are and who you want to be, outgrowing people you’ve known your whole lives etc.

3) You Should See Me in a Crown by Leah Johnson. Another f/f romance about two girls competing for the same scholarship – I wish this one had been around when I was in high school. Liz Lighty is such a great role model for girls who have big dreams doing everything they can to achieve them. I love it a lot!

4) Loveless by Alice Oseman. This one would have been great to have whilst I was at university. There is such a market gap for books set at British universities and it would have been great to read about someone who struggled with the transition too. Georgia is also asexual which is also great rep that didn’t exist when I was in my teens.

5) Radio Silence by Alice Oseman. Alice making this list again because she really does understand being a teenager. This one came out in 2016 when I was in my final year of university – but I wish it had been out 4 years earlier when I was doing my A-levels and making decisions that would affect the rest of my life. It is a very real portrayal of academic pressure, and I think it would have done me good to have it on my shelves back then.

6) Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez. This is the YA book about girls playing football that I never knew I wanted! It gave me so much nostalgia for when I was really into the sport, watching the Champions League with my Grandad before it moved off regular TV. The main character Camila is an excellent role model, particularly when it came to handling her romance with childhood best friend Diego. You can read my review here.

7) Legendborn by Tracy Deonn. I finished this one recently and it absolutely makes this list. It contains all the YA fantasy tropes that I love but is elevated by the way it handles Black history in America. It slaps in the best of ways and I highly recommend it. You can read my review right here.

8) Kicking Off by Eve Ainsworth. Another relatively recent read, this is a great book for younger audiences – again, about football. I would have a loved a story like this when I was pre-teen, especially because it has great female role models for the main character. Hettie.

9) The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. This would have been an education for clueless teenage me. When Starr’s friend is shot by a police officer right in front of her after doing nothing wrong, all her worst nightmares happen right before her eyes. This book should be taught in schools to educate on the pain that Black people experience every day. One of the best books of all time, no doubt.

10). I Wanna Be Where You Are by Kristina Forest. I’ve always been fascinated by dance and this one would have really appealed to me as a teen, as it does now. Chloe’s Mum forbids her to apply to a dance conservatory but she does so anyway. It has some really important lessons about going after your dreams and failure and I highly recommend it.

This was a really interesting Top Ten Tuesday to think about. Have you read any of the books above? Link me your Top Ten post in the comments!

Monthly Wrap-Up: August 2020

Hi everyone! Welcome to my first monthly wrap-up post. I am sure these will evolve over time, but for now I’ll include Book Coven book club, fave books you can buy now, books to look out for and books I want to read soon. August was a great month for 5 star reading – more than half of the books I read achieved this! I went on holiday too, which was a really nice break from work (fortunately we had great weather – it’s gone cold now!)

Book Club

Every month the mods of the Book Coven get us to suggest books that make up the book club bracket. We then vote all the way through to a final, and that’s the book we read together over the course of 3 weeks. Then the amazing Paragraphs and Pages asks us some super insightful questions and off we go.

This month we read Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This is a really creepy, bizarre horror novel that I definitely wouldn’t normally end up picking up, but I am really glad I did. It follows Noemi, a socialite sent to the countryside to investigate what’s happening to her cousin Catalina after receiving a concerning letter. But things at High Place are even worse than they appear, leaving both women in more danger than they could have imagined. Silvia has a great writing style that really draws you in, and I loved Noemi as a character – strong and caring, a winning combination. Meaghan asked some super great questions that made me consider things I didn’t pick up on when reading. You can read my friend Sam’s review for the blog tour right here.

Next month we will be reading The Court of Miracles by Kester Grant, a book I have already read and loved but can’t wait to read again. See you there?

Favourites

On to my favourite books this month that you can pick up in stores right now. It is really hard to choose this month because lots of them were so good!

Ace of Shades and King of Fools are sitting there waiting for you, ready for Queen of Volts that releases on September 1st! They follow Enne, a girl that grew up on an island at a finishing school for girls, who has ventured into the City of Sin to search for her adoptive mother who never returned home. There she meets Levi, the head of a gang, The Irons. Honestly I loved the concept of these books and they are so full of mystery and puzzles. You can see my review of Queen of Volts here.

Now is also the perfect time to read The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic before The Burning God arrives in November. They follow Rin, a girl who was going to be forced into marriage who trains her way to military school to avoid that future. Honestly, these are some of the most wonderfully written heavily military books I’ve ever read. They combine detail and character growth beautifully – and The Burning God is just as wonderful. You can see my review of The Burning God here.

Finally, Record of a Spaceborn Few is the most recent book in Becky Chamber’s Wayfarers series. I loved it just as much as the others. It follows a small group of humans living on the huge space-based city of Fleet, formed of huge spaceships. It is very character driven, and the stories all connect in the best ways. There is a strong theme of being lost and finding yourself which I connected with a lot. I can’t wait for the next book in the series releasing in 2021! You can see my spotlight post on Becky Chambers here.

Books to Look Out For

I had the pleasure of reading many amazing eARCs from NetGalley this month. I’ve already mentioned Queen of Volts and The Burning God, so I’ll talk about the others.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue became my favourite book of all time. It’s out in October and I honestly feel like it is V.E. Schwab’s best work to date. Emotive and gripping, I feel like it’s her most personal story. I highly recommend it, and you can see my review here.

The Betrayals by Bridget Collins is releasing in November, so I was super glad to get an advanced copy of this. I have the Waterstones edition of pre-order, and I do not regret it! The book centres on The Grand Jeu, which we never actually learn much about, which I love because it relies on reader imagination and will have so many different interpretations! There are some things I’m still not sure about that I’ll have to think about on my re-read, but overall this is a great book.

I didn’t read that many YA books this month, but my favourite was an eARC of Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez. It’s a story set in Rosario, Argentina, and follows Camlia, a girl who longs to play football professionally but is being pressured into medicine. I love this book mostly because Camila makes such mature decisions when it comes to the romance in her life – this representation is so, so important for teenagers, particularly girls, to have. You can read my review here. I strongly recommend you check this book out!

Next month?

I am so excited for September – A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik releases which I’m very much looking forward to. I’m also re-reading Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers as I just bought Igniting Darkness.

August purchases included Chasing the Stars by Malorie Blackman, Wing Jones by Katherine Webber, Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhonielle Clayton, and Tumbling by Caela Carter. Definitely going to get to these in September, as part of the Hamilton inspired bingo by the Book Coven!

That’s all from me, hope you enjoyed this book and also had a great month of reading. Looking forward to seeing what everybody has been up to. Have you read any of the books mentioned in this post? What did you think?

ARC Review: Furia

I absolutely LOVED Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez . It’s emotional, feminist and a YA set in Argentina which I have never come across before. It is also about football, which appealed to my inner child who watched the sport with her Grandad in the evenings. Set in Rosario, it has such powerful descriptions of the setting and the food. I was totally blown away by how good this is. Here is why! (Also, I LOVE this cover)

Star rating: 5 stars

A standout for me is that Camila Hassan is such a likeable character. She is so determined, strong, but also kind, and is always fighting for what she wants. She plays football for a girls team, but always seem to be in the shadow of her brother who plays for the local men’s team, and her childhood love Diego who has made it big and plays for Juventus in Italy – he is tipped to be the next star of the national team like Messi. Camila’s father is also abusive towards his family, which broke my heart. We hate men who are jerks over here.

Camila is mature beyond her years, particularly when it comes to Diego, who she had a crush on in the past. She makes such good decisions when it comes to her future, putting herself before boys and I love how powerful that makes her. Even though she is bold, her compassionate side definitely shines through whilst she’s teaching kids English, including a bright girl called Karen.

Overall I loved this book. It gave me such a roller coaster ride of emotions and I am so glad I got to read it early. The romance is good, but the feminism is the real deal. Definitely picking this one up when it comes out!

Do you think you’ll read Furia when it releases? I hope you do because it’s a wonderful, heartwarming story.