My Favourite Reads banner 2020

Another year of reading over. And what a reading year it was. According to my Goodreads tally (you can follow me on GR here), I read 107 books in 2020. A new record!

My previous best was eighty-eight in 2016 followed by an eighty total in 2019. Other years have been in the sixties and seventies, so I’m super chuffed. Probably the only thing from 2020 I’m happy about.

Enough crowing. It’s time once more to reveal all the fab books I read in December. Ooh, there were some good-uns! One not so good-un DNF (did not finish) from an author I normally adore but we won’t talk about that. Not every book is going to hit the spot.

Here are the ones that did, with my favourite being…

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig

Wanderers by Chuck Wendig coverI am honestly in awe over this book. Wanderers is monster-sized, somewhere around the eight-hundred-page mark I think, yet not once did it feel bloated. The pacing was amazing. As were the characters, the plot, the writing. Everything, really. I loved it.

It was also rather, er, prescient, given it involves an epidemic that could wipe out humankind. That wasn’t the scary part though. The terrifying bit was how believable Wendig made the breakdown of society. Now that had me feeling fretty.

Epic, in so many ways. He’s writing the sequel right now. Yippee!

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Evil Things by Katja IvarEvil Things by Katja Ivar

This author was recommended to me by a writer friend. I thought the setting – 1950s Finland – a fascinating one and it was that, combined with an intriguing sounding murder mystery, which had me clicking the buy button pronto.

Evil Things proved to be unusual and interesting, with a tough heroine who refuses to give up despite (many) compelling reasons for her to do so.

My friend assures me book two, Deep as Death, is even better!

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The Order by Daniel Silva coverThe Order by Daniel Silva

A contender for favourite read of the month.

So, so good. I love a good Vatican conspiracy story and this one’s a beauty, involving the death of a pope, no less. Naturally, Gabriel Allon – our marvellous art restoring Israeli spy chief – is on hand to get to the bottom of things.

High tension, high stakes, The Order was yet another thrilling ride from Silva. Oh, and the Afterword was enjoyable too.

As an aside, I haven’t read all in the Gabriel Allon series. Those books I have, I read out of sequence and that hasn’t diminished the pleasure at all. So if you want to give the series a go, don’t be put off by how many there are. Pick one up. They’re a blast.

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The Searcher by Tana French coverThe Searcher by Tana French

How could I not buy this after reading the gobsmacking awesomeness that was The Wych Elm, which I read in 2019 (I chat about that here)?

The Searcher is slower than that book, but it’s a nice burn and the writing is beautiful. I read this in paperback and have kept the copy near my desk so I can flick through and be inspired, especially with how French draws her characters.

Atmospheric and suspenseful. I really need to read her Dublin Murder Squad series!

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Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia coverMexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

I’m a sucker for gothic novels and this one, set in early 50s Mexico, sounded a not-to-be-missed release.

Mexican Gothic is weird, seriously weird and that makes is smack in my zone. There’s a mist-laden graveyard, a mysterious house, creepy things in the walls, even creepier characters, and a heroine who’s privileged yet gutsy.

A lot of fun. If you like weird horror. Which regular readers know I do.

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The King’s Bride by Arrangement by Annie West coverThe King’s Bride by Arrangement by Annie West

Just what I needed after the nightmarish bonkers-fest that was Mexican Gothic: a sweeping royal romance with real emotion, fabulous dresses, and well-made points about victim shaming that I thought were very cool.

I adore the glamour of these stories. They’re wonderful fantasies and Annie makes the locations feel real. I wish I could go to St Ancilla. I bet it’d be beautiful. Eva and Paul were great characters too, smart and hugely likeable, and when they sizzled, hooly-dooly did they sizzle!

Gorgeous.

Score a wonderful related short story for free by joining Annie’s newsletter. Click here to visit Annie’s website and scroll to the bottom of the page. It’s worth it!

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The Highlander’s Christmas Lassie by Anna Campbell coverThe Highlander’s Christmas Lassie by Anna Campbell

This novella was part of the multi-author Christmas anthology Have Yourself a Merry Little Scandal and is a delight.

The hero, Malcolm Innes, Laird of Dun Carron, is lovely. So big-hearted and loyal! For half his life he’s searched for his beloved Rhona and now he’s found her. Naturally, this being a Ms Anna story, things don’t go as smoothly as Malcolm hopes, but we’re in romanceland and we know it all come right in the end.

Swoony Christmas reading. Actually, swoony reading for any time.

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Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson coverSorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

Another contender for favourite read.

A book about a librarian and books and grimoires and other goodnesses? I’m so there.

Wonderfully imagined, Sorcery of Thorns is a fabulous story, loaded with action, bravery, magic, demons, skulduggery, betrayal, and a teensy touch of romance. And books. All sorts of books. Books that can turn into very bad books. Books that can be used to destroy the world.

And a FANTASTIC heroine. Bit of a sexy hero in there too.

Hugely entertaining. Loved it.

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For the writerly

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The 7 Ps of Publishing Success by Mark Leslie Lefebvre coverThe 7 Ps of Publishing Success by Mark Leslie Lefebvre

I picked this ebook up as a freebie somewhere along the line and I’m glad I did. It’s not a long book but it’s a handy one, with solid information, interesting anecdotes, and a few tips I didn’t know. Well structured too, with the 7 Ps idea. The 7 Ps being Practice, Professionalism, Patience, Progression, Persistence, Partnership, Patronage. With a bonus P at the end.

A good overview type reference for self-publishers.

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How did your 2020 reading year pan out?

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