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TS’s Top 11 Books Read in 2020 So Far (1st Jan to 30th June)

TS’s Top 11 Books Read in 2020 So Far (1st Jan to 30th June)


2020 has so far been a truly strange, stressful and complicated year, but reading wise it has been pretty incredible for me.  I’ve read/listen to 73 books during this first six months of the year and quite a sizeable chunk of these garnered 4-stars and above.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve added so many books onto my favourites shelf in the same period of time.  If you’re interested, you can see my year in books for 2020 right here.

Similar to my previous list, I do not limit this to only books released this year.  There are simply too many great books that have been published prior and that I’ve yet to read, so there will always be older books included.  Below are the parameters that I’ve set for the list.

  • Rereads don’t count
  • One book per author
  • Not limited to books which are released this year.

None of these are ranked except for the top three, of which two are tied for first place.  The rest, I’ve listed them in the chronological order of when I’ve read them this year.  All of these have been reviewed by me on Novel Notions and Goodreads.

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Book Review: The Labyrinth of the Spirits (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #3) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Book Review: The Labyrinth of the Spirits (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #3) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Cover illustration by: Matt Duffin

The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

My rating: 6 of 5 stars

Series: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books (Book #4 of 4)

Genre: Historical fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Translated Edition Published: 2018 by Weidenfield & Nicholson, Orion Books (UK) & Harper (US)


The Labyrinth of the Spirits is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It has it all – evocative history, engrossing mystery, atmospheric setting, compelling characters, incredible emotional depth – wrapped up in writing so beautiful that it moves your soul.

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Book Review: The Prisoner of Heaven (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #3) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Book Review: The Prisoner of Heaven (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #3) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books (Book #3 of 4)

Genre: Historical fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Translated Edition Published: 2012 by Weidenfield & Nicholson, Orion Books (UK) & by Harper (US)


The Prisoner of Heaven was another captivating entry in The Cemetery of Forgotten Books that provided a more balanced tone of light and dark.

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Book Review: The Angel’s Game (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Book Review: The Angel’s Game (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books (Book #2 of 4)

Genre: Historical fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Translation Edition Published: 2009 by Weidenfield & Nicholson, Orion Books (UK) & 2009 by Doubleday (US)


The Angel’s Game was equally as spellbinding and bewitching as The Shadow of the Wind, but in a totally different way.

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Book Review: Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

Book Review: Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

 

Daughters of Night by Laura Shepherd-Robinson

My Rating: 5 of 5 stars

In the wrong hands a secret is a weapon.

Caroline Corsham’s life is forever altered the night she stumbles over the brutalised body of a woman she thought she knew…and hears her dying words. Caro can’t get the tortured whisper of ‘he knows’ out of her mind. Could it be about the secret she holds close? But then everything changes. It stuns her to discover that her ‘friend’ was not an Italian noblewoman, but a high-class prostitute. One with dangerous acquaintances in both high and low society. It’s clear that the police intend to brush the murder aside. After all, who cares about a dead whore? But Caro isn’t the type of lady to let things slide. Hiring the thief-taker Peregrine Child to assist her enquiries, she sets out to discover what happened in the bower of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens that evening. And it turns out that there are, in fact, a good number of people taking an interest in this murdered girl, because they all have something to hide. To bring the killer to justice, Caro is going to have to put everything she has on the line…

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Book Review: The Holdout by Graham Moore

Book Review: The Holdout by Graham Moore

 

The Holdout by Graham Moore

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Published: 20th February 2020 (Orion)

Being a juror on a high profile murder case has got to be a thrill ride and a half: looking at the bloody evidence and weighing witness statements, the savage craziness of the media interest, then finally getting to decide the fate of a man charged with murder. It’s got to be just like tv, right? Exciting. Maybe even a shot at your own fame… 15 minutes or otherwise.

But what Maya Seale got wasn’t quite fame, it was INFAMY. Not convinced of Bobby Nock’s guilt beyond reasonable doubt, she campaigned for a Not Guilty verdict and eventually persuaded, or wore down, all the other jurors. The result was spectacularly unpopular, provoking uproar in both the courtroom and the real world, and changing the jurors’ lives forever.

Now it’s 10 years later and they’re back together again. Apparently there’s new evidence to consider and more questions to be asked. Everyone wants to know if they got it wrong. But when one juror ends up dead, it looks like someone’s willing to kill to keep their secrets buried for good.

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Book Review: Safe House by Jo Jakeman

Book Review: Safe House by Jo Jakeman

 

Safe House by Jo Jakeman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Published: 31st October 2019 (Harvill Secker)

Steffi Finn was in love with her man. So when he told her that the police were trying to fit him up for something he hadn’t done, she lied for him. Said he was with her all night. Because that’s what you do, right? You protect the ones you care about. Most of all, you believe them. In cases like this, you have to believe them. Otherwise those questions about missing women mean there’s something a whole lot worse going on than you just making a mistake….

And boy was she ever wrong, with a prison sentence to prove it.

Now she’s out. New name. New life. A chance to start again.

But someone thinks she doesn’t deserve it.
They’re going to show her what it really means to be sorry.

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Book review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

Book review: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

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Dark Matter by Blake Crouch

My rating : 5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller

Published:  July 26th 2016 by Broadway Books

“Every moment, every breath, contains a choice. But life is imperfect. We make the wrong choices. So we end up living in a state of perpetual regret, and is there anything worse?

Dark Matter made for an exhilarating, unsettling, intense and thought-provoking reading experience!

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Book Review: The Institute by Stephen King

Book Review: The Institute by Stephen King


The Institute by Stephen King
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

“Great events turn on small hinges.”

I love Stephen King. This has not been a lifelong truth, and my infatuation began a mere 5 or so years ago. Since then, I’ve read a third of his body of work, and I’ve been largely impressed. While I do believe that King would benefit from a harsher editor, and that he often fails to stick that landing with his endings, Stephen King has an incredible mind. The plots he dreams up, and the characters he creates to populate those stories, are pretty spectacular and always feel original. While I’ve enjoyed everything of his I’ve read at least in part, some of his books are more successful than others. The Institute is just such a book. The plot was disturbing and vaguely supernatural without seeming implausible. The cast of characters was beautifully fleshed out and varied. And the ending didn’t suck!

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Book Review: The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger

Book Review: The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger

 

The Stranger Inside by Lisa Unger

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Published: 03 October 2019 (HQ)

Bad people win. They win all the time.

Rain Winter was outraged by the not-guilty verdict that allowed Steve Markham to get away with killing his wife and their unborn child. Her investigation of the murder had left her with no doubts about his guilt, the injustice of his freedom and the inevitable media circus that gifted him the celebrity spotlight leaving her feeling sickened and powerless. Taking time out from journalism to care for her husband and baby seemed like a welcome and necessary step, a break from all the madness. But now Markham’s dead. Butchered by the same method he used to get rid of his family. And word is that it’s not the only time this vigilante has acted. That the first was actually Eugene Kreskey, the man who tried to abduct her as a child. The man who killed one of her friends and tortured the other.

If there’s a link, a story, she needs to find it. All of a sudden, she’s right back in, bringing to light all kinds of secrets that should have stayed buried. Especially her own.

 

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