2020 RECAP | Top 5 Books!

Hello!

I have been so excited to write this post since August when I completed my 2020 Goodreads Reading Challenge! I still can’t believe I read 20+ books, and I absolutely loved it! I think my inner seven year old self was in disbelief the whole time. She would have definitely been hiding in a corner, shielding herself like it’s something poisonous or something.

After I finished with the first 20 books, I thought I had a clear-cut top five lineup but as more time went on, I was still analyzing everything that went on with two separate books and just couldn’t get them out of my head, so I took this as a sign that they should have the top spot together. This also meant I needed another book for the last bit of the countdown and thankfully, I kind of knew which one I wanted to put into the group and so, now I have SIX books in this post instead of the normal five but I’m okay with that and I have a feeling you are perfectly fine about this too!

1. Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone & The German Midwife by Mandy Robotham

This book was almost knocked off the top spot because I was really tempted to give it to another book, but Jane still has a strong hold over me, and it’s been 11 months since I finished it and I am still recommending it to random people on Twitter! Everytime I see anyone asking for books, it is the first thing to pop in my head and I certainly don’t regret it.

I think the main reason why this is my favorite book of the year is because it’s not something that I would normally read in the first place. I have never been interested in suspense thrillers, but in 2018, I watched the film What Lies Beneath for the first time and I just fell in love with it and I just wanted more of that genre and somehow it managed to spill over into what kind of books I read and from the moment I saw it on Prime Reading, I started dancing in my seat because it has been on my TBR list for little over a year and I just got this vibe that I would enjoy it, and I thoroughly happy with myself for taking the chance on it and it’s just an amazing book!

The only thing that really sucked was later in the year, I had a chance to read the sequel to it called, “Problem Child” and even though everything that I loved about Jane was still there, I just didn’t connect with it as much as the first so this really messed with me for a while, but it happens though! If Victoria is writing a third book in the series, I definitely want to read it and see if it is the same or has a completely different vibe going on, so we’ll just have to see what happens in the new year or maybe early 2022.

The German Midwife was the last book I read to finish out my reading challenge and it was the best thing I could have done, but also made me want anything–and I’m not kidding!–about World War II and the Holocaust. I have a bad weakness to women’s stories; I’m not picky whether it is fiction or nonfiction as we’ve seen with all of the books I read this year! I still think about this story, I was very upset about these women who were pregnant while being in the concertation camps, and knowing how little food they were given on a daily basis, and then if you are a history nut like I am, you could say it was like mediaeval times and childbirth was just as deadly in the late 1930’s into the 40’s.

While Jane was about seeking revenge and basically seeing how her mind worked in every scene, Anke was full of compassion and love, and she knew what was happening to these Jewish babies after she helped their mother give birth to them but still helped every pregnant woman in her care anyways. These are two different women and I just fell in love with both of them.

3. P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han

One thing that I didn’t expect to happen in general was I actually finished a book series this year!

I thought it would happen to another series I’ve read but I lost interest in it just before I started the challenge and I still find it sort of odd that it was this series because I celebrated 10 years of being a high school graduate in 2020 and while I was reading these books, I felt like I was being transported back to my high school days and dealing with my crushes. I wasn’t as lucky as Lara Jean but I definitely wouldn’t have it any other way.

I loved this book for many reasons, the one that comes to mind is Lara Jean’s friendship with Stormy. She learned and grew a lot by hanging out with Stormy. I have my nana and we have a great relationship, but I wouldn’t compare her to Stormy because she’s not as rowdy and loves her cocktails like Stormy, but she loves to chat about her past and we can get into trouble sometimes. I feel after Lara Jean’s sister Margot went overseas, having someone like Stormy became her lifeline and she was allowed to flourish into this beautiful young woman. I think back at it now, this book was more about her as an individual–away from her family and the boys, she grew a lot and I certainly did too, because I started to realize that I have changed a lot since I’d been in school and I didn’t even know about it until several weeks ago!

3. Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippinscott

This was the most anticipated stories on my list at the beginning of the year, and for good reason too, because it was so lovely! On that list, I had three books that I knew would talk about disability in some form and I figured it would be smarter on my part to get through those first before heading into the others. I knew they would make me cry so I just wanted to save myself part of the misery that comes with reading these types of books!

What I still find kind of eerie in a way is that I read and watched the film version two months before COVID came around, so I remember learning the importance of each of the main characters standing six feet apart from each other at all times, but it didn’t necessarily hit me how much I would hear this statement until the guidelines were plastered everywhere! I will say, I understand why Stella was so on it with her medicine and wanting to create an app to help other people with Cystic Fibrosis. And I also understood the bitterness Will carried as well, so their stories kind of carried over into what 2020 became and as strange as that sounds, this was a really good book!

4. City Of Bones by Cassandra Clare

By the time I had found this book listed on Kindle Unlimited, I had almost given up hope for it.

I mentioned in the review that I was a big fan of the film that came out in 2013, but at that time I never wanted to really read the book because I figured I would do what I did trying to read the Harry Potter books, and compare every little scene but once I saw it online, I just couldn’t take it anymore and read the whole thing in like two weeks I think .I have seen how thick these books are on YouTube, so I was a little imitated by the sheer size of it but I was so proud that I read it after I have been waiting like four years to actually get my toes on it. I was very happy that I didn’t compare the two a lot but in my defense though, it’s been a long time since I’ve watched the film so I knew it wouldn’t be too bad.

One of my favorite things about it was how detailed the author made every scene, and I guess I never paid attention to the amount of material an author goes to making every scene stand out, and I’m glad I was able to read not just one fantasy novel this year but two others that I still think brought out everything for the readers, and it was deeply appreciated too!

5. After You by JoJo Moyes

I find it kind of odd that I have both the first and last books of the challenge included in this list. There are some similarities between Lou and Anke, such as how they treat everyone around them. They both want the best out of their situations and second guess everything and neither one has the power to do things differently that could maybe better their outcomes.

When I read the first book, I was only doing it so I wouldn’t be wondering what happens in the book, so I just made it easier on myself and it was the best decision I made because I was introduced to this lovely person: Louisa. She had no experience at caring for someone with a serve physical disability and had to figure out how to cope with his wish to die. When I got this book, I was thinking we were going to see her in Paris and having the time of her year, but we didn’t. We were introduced to Lou as she was losing all of her confidence and hope for the future. However, an opportunity popped up out of the blue and directed her back to who she was after meeting and falling in love with Will.

Honestly every book I read this year was amazing in their own way. I know I probably sound like figuring out the best books was easy but it really wasn’t. It’s hard to pick out each one because they were all different and I had a personal journey with all of them. For the most part, all but maybe one or two books actually received five or four stars on Goodreads because I thought they really deserved that type of rating.

I ended out the year reading 25 books, which was more than I ever expected to and it makes so damn proud because not only did I complete my original goal but I finished a whole series too! I think this is utterly amazing and I know I have a lot of family members and school teachers who have told me that they’re proud of my accomplishments, but I have felt like my heart could burst with excitement over this feat. I still remember my childhood days of hating to read both out loud and in general. I never found it to be fun until I was practically forced into it my freshman year of high school!

By the end of January when I come back to blogging after having a couple weeks off, I will be telling more about my next books and of course, announcing what I decided on how many I choose to read in 2021. Hope you to see again for that post.

Were you able to read any books this year? Did you give yourself a goal? If so, how many did you want to complete? After reading this post, do you want to set a reading goal for the new year too?

snowflake

Book Review: “Problem Child” by Victoria Helen Stone

Hi 🙂

I wasn’t expecting to read this book so soon after I finished the first book a few months ago. I actually had it on my list for what I want for my birthday and I will say, I was prepared to wait four to five months until that day to check out the newest story of Jane. All of a sudden, my mom decided we needed Kindle Unlimited and then one night I went scrolling through the catalog and there it was; I almost shit my pants, I was so happy but shockingly, I didn’t grab it right away. and I’ll explain my reasoning for that in a minute.


46066517._SY475_She’s cold, calculating, and can deceive with a smile. Jane Doe is back in the Amazon Charts bestselling series – and this time she’s met her match.

After a brutal childhood, Jane Doe has been permanently wired to look after herself and only herself. Now, looking next to normal, Jane has a lover and a job. But she hasn’t lost her edge. It sharpens when she hears from her estranged family.

Jane’s deeply troubled sixteen-year-old niece, Kayla, has vanished, and no one seems to care. Neither does Jane. Until she sees a picture of Kayla and recognizes herself in the young girl’s eyes. It’s the empty stare of a sociopath.

Jane knows what vengeful and desperate things Kayla is capable of. Only Jane can help her – by being drawn into Kayla’s dark world. And no one’s more aware than Jane just how dangerous that can be.

taken from Goodreads.


As I had just finished reading the first book, the author was busy promoting this one, and I saw it every day on social media for about two months and so I became very interested in what this new book could be about, but I only knew that it had to deal with a family member and the possibility that this person could be like Jane, a fellow sociopath.

I was intrigued by the idea that someone else in her family could be a sociopath in the beginning. I thought this could be really interesting to see how it developed in this person as we know how it came about with Jane. And I think this is where I began to lose interest because I quickly realized they had similar background stories, and maybe too much if I’m being honest. However, I would love to see this relationship grow and see what kind of trouble these two can get into if the author decides to continue the series.

The one thing I did enjoy was Jane’s relationship with Luke and I’m very glad it was hanging on strong in the plot. Despite the fact that Jane cannot feel love for other people, especially ones she’s close to like Luke, you do start to see a sliver of affection towards him as the story ends. She might keep spinning her wheels with him, but I do think something will happen later on where she might lose him for good and might actually regret never giving him the attention and care they both deserved in the end.

So, when I was done, I gave it a sensible rating on Goodreads, I didn’t give it five out of five stars like I had hoped I would but I did give it three stars. Now to me, since they only have five stars, I feel three is a fair choice. It wasn’t awesome nor great, it was good, so it deserved that amount of stars.

Have you read the second book of Victoria Helen Stone’s Jane Doe series yet? If you have, what were some of your thoughts you liked or disliked about it? What did you end up rating it on Goodreads?

snowflake

Mid Year Book Freak Out Tag

Hello!

After doing the little free write story I did last month, I was really itching to do something different with my blog schedule for July. Thankfully, I saw this all over YouTube and I thought this was perfect for me!

If this is your first time on here and don’t know the reading challenge I am doing this year. I had made the decision at the beginning of the year to read 20 books for 2020! This was a big decision for me to make after only reading three times in 2019, none in 2018, and five books in 2017! I love to read but I have never had enough time in the day to pick up a book and read for more than an hour. However, while I made up my mind on the year challenge, I also made the decision to only blog two weeks each month so I could have a break of blogging but also have more than enough time to read all the books I wanted to! Spoiler alert: I’ll be back next week for a special occasion!

By the time this post is go up, I should be nearing the end of the challenge.

I have thought about upping the amount once I pass it but I’m stuck in between going to 40 as my dad suggested to me or the 50 that I have been thinking about making since the end of March. What do you think?

Anyways, let’s get into the tag now!


Even though everyone on BookTube has been doing this tag, I watched one of my favorites: Catriona of Little Owl Book and I just basically copied the questions she had listed in the description box below. She had included the two people who came up with the tag, and they are Chami and Ely, so please go check out their channels after finishing with this.

Best book you’ve read so far in 2020?

The best book I’ve read this year was Jane Doe by Victoria Helen Stone. In second and third are: Always and Forever, Lara Jean by Jenny Han and Throne Of Glass by Sarah J. Maas.

There are two reasons why it’s the best in my opinion. The first is, I don’t normally like reading suspense/thriller books, but I am wanting anything that will not scare the living daylights out of me! Ever since mom told me I should watch the film, What Lies Beneath, it has changed me for the better I think. The other reason is because I enjoyed seeing the main character Jane’s mind work. I just love it! Everytime I have had a chance to recommend books to someone, including family members, this is the first book I mention to them.

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020?

I’ve read four sequels so far and that in general is crazy, but my favorite has been After You by JoJo Moyes. This was the first book to start up the challenge in January, and I still think about it every night.

As someone with a physical disability, I am still enjoying the series! Lou is such a great character and I love reading about her. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you really need to look into the series sometime. You’ll feel so many emotions, but I think end up loving it in the end too!

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to

I rarely keep track of new book releases, especially since COVID-19 made its appearance earlier this year, but I have seen a few here and there. I would love to check out Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. The cover looks absolutely beautiful but I really think I’d love to get to know Noemi and the rest of characters in the story!

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year

Again, this is another one that I was a bit unsure on how to answer, but I have one book that I’ve seen all over the internet so I’ve been very curious about it, and it is Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles. According to some people it is “a combination of Moulin Rouge and The Phantom Of The Opera” and that was all I had to hear and I was sold to the concept.

Biggest disappointment

Honestly, I haven’t given any of the books I’ve read a “bad” rating or review, but there is one book that I was loving up until the last chapter and that was Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I basically became furious of the situation, but mostly felt it was just predictable and this really drove me crazy!

KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera

Biggest surprise

The biggest surprise of the challenge has been the fact that I actually hitting two goals this year. I have never finished a book series before in my life. As I’ve gotten older, I have always wanted to cross it off my bucket list but I have never really had a chance to do it.

I always thought the series I would finish first would be The Sinners On Tour series by Olivia Cunning. I started reading the first book Backstage Pass after I finished Fifty Shades Of Grey by E.L. James in 2012. I never loved Christian Grey so I gave up on the rest of the series. Fast forward, I am still on the “final” book by Olivia, but I haven’t read it since probably February.

Since 2014, I have always wanted to read Jenny Han’s series To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before but I never expected to enjoy it as much as I have and continue my journey to finish the books. I will probably be done with Always and Forever, Lara Jean and have scheduled the review to go up next week, but I think I will really be sad once I am finished reading Lara Jean’s story. However, I will feel really good for myself too, because I really didn’t think I’d even get here!

Favorite new author (Debut or new for you)

I started a lot of series this year. but there has been one that I found all on my own. Helen Susan Swift wrote a book about Women Of Scotland: A Journey Through History and the main reason why I decided to check it out is because we finally got the DNA results of my dad’s ancestry–we knew about the Welsh/Scottish but we didn’t know how much we were–and I thought this book would help me feel better about being descended through these incredible strong women!

By the way, if anyone knows of a similar book about Wales, let me know because that is also on my list!

Newest fictional crush

The two books that seem to flash at me are: Chaol from Throne Of Glass by Sarah J. Maas and Prince Maxon of Kiera Cass royal series The Selection. These characters are complete opposites but I have fallen in love with them for a reason. They both show in the later chapters that they care and are obviously protective of the main characters.

As much as I am still mad at myself for seeing King Joffrey from Game Of Thrones in my head for Chaol, I really enjoyed seeing the friendship between him and Celaena blossom as the story goes on. I actually approved of these two characters getting together instead of the prince and Celaena.

Newest favorite character

While I was reading P.S. I Still Love You by Jenny Han, I became really obsessed with Stormy. Everything about the character made me think of my own nana and I’s relationship. The only difference is that my nana doesn’t drink and has a thing for Adam Lambert…

Book that made you cry

I had five books that made me cry, but for most I knew it was going to happen! I made a point to read my disability related books at the start of the year so I could get the tears out of the way, but I didn’t plan the other two books to make me cry in the process!

Book that made you happy

The two books that made me really happy were I Am Malala by Malala Youszafai and Patricia McCormick and The Broken Circle by Enjeela Ahmadi-Miller. They are nonfiction and I really enjoyed getting to know these strong women.

Most beautiful book you’ve bought so far this year

While I was writing out the questions, the first and honestly answer that belongs here is Five Feet Apart by Rachel Lippincott. It’s odd that since the outbreak of COVID-19 and hearing everyone has to stand five feet apart at all times makes me instantly of the book and movie too! This is truly a beautiful book and yes, it works out for the two previous questions but it fits here better.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

Well, it all depends on whether or not I continue doing a reading challenge once I finish the 20 books. I doubt I’ll gave myself a reading break because I do have other books on my tablet and in my bookshelf. I might get the chance to read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott but I really don’t know yet.

If you decide to do this tag on your blog or YouTube channel, please tag me so I can see your answers! Oh, and if you are not following me on Goodreads, you should come check out the other books I’ve read this year too. Click here to become a friend of mine on there.

What have you been reading this year? 

snowflake