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Book Review: The One by John Marrs

Book Review: The One by John Marrs


The One by John Marrs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The concept of soul mates is not one that I believe in. I love my husband with every single fiber of my being, but I can’t fathom there only being one right person out there for anyone. There are too many things that could potentially go wrong. What if your soul mate dies of cancer before they graduate high school? What if they live halfway around the world? Those kinds of questions are just scratching the surface of what Marrs explores in The One.

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Book Review: The Helm of Midnight (The Five Penalties, #1) by Marina Lostetter

Book Review: The Helm of Midnight (The Five Penalties, #1) by Marina Lostetter

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ARC provided by the publisher—Tor Books—in exchange for an honest review.

Cover art illustrated by: Sam Weber

The Helm of Midnight by Marina J. Lostetter

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Five Penalties (Book #1 of 3)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Mystery, Thriller

Pages: 464 pages (Kindle edition)

Published: 13th April 2021 by Tor Books


This is an incredible book. Character-driven and bloody thrilling; The Helm of Midnight has pretty much confirmed its spot in one of my favorite books of 2021 list.

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TS’s Top 20 Books Read in 2020

TS’s Top 20 Books Read in 2020


2020 has been such a strange, stressful and complicated year.  I took a one-year sabbatical leave from work from mid-2019 and managed to do quite a bit of travelling for about six months before the world got completely turned upside down.  I’ve read/listen over 120 books this year, 73 of which was completed during the first half when I wasn’t working and the entire world was on lockdown.  Getting back to work during the second half in the midst of a global pandemic and a new challenging role did affect my ability to read and also write reviews on a regular basis.

Despite 2020 being such a watershed/dumpster year, it’s been an incredible one for my reading as I’ve completed a lot books ranging from great to masterpieces.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve added so many books onto my favourites shelf (many of which were from the same series).  If you’re curious/interested, you also 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 five.  The rest, I’ve listed them in the chronological order of when I’ve read them this year.  Almost all of these have been reviewed by me on Novel Notions and Goodreads, albeit some are quite brief.

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Book Review: We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

Book Review: We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

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We Begin at the End by Chris Whitaker

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Thriller, Literary fiction, Crime fiction

Pages: 344 pages (Kindle)

Published: 26th March 2020 by Zaffre


Melancholic, compelling, and so beautifully written.

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Book Review: The Captive by Fiona King Foster

Book Review: The Captive by Fiona King Foster


The Captive by Fiona King Foster
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, Ecco, via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Captive is a compelling, intriguing thriller. The plot moves along quickly. Rustic noir isn’t a subgenre I’ve come across before, and that mixed with the slightly dystopian setting kept me interested. The writing was solid. Unfortunately, it left me dissatisfied.

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Book Review: Rose Madder by Stephen King

Book Review: Rose Madder by Stephen King


Rose Madder by Stephen King
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

This is one of those King books I honestly didn’t expect much from. It’s not one commonly listed as a favorite, or even mentioned that frequently from among his works. I can’t say I would’ve thought to pick it up had I not been so invested in the extended reading list for the Dark Tower. But it was next on that list, so I found myself a copy. Now I’m incredibly glad I picked it up. Though not perfect, Rose Madder is now one of my favorite King novels outside of The Stand and the main Dark Tower series. Talk about a protagonist you can root for.

“It ain’t the blows we’re dealt that matter, but the ones we survive.”

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Book Review: Insomnia, by Stephen King

Book Review: Insomnia, by Stephen King


Insomnia by Stephen King
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

This isn’t my favorite King novel I’ve ever read, but it was a fun, very interesting ride. If you’re planning on a journey to King’s Dark Tower, this one is absolutely essential. Not only are the concepts of ka and ka-tet integral to the plot of the novel, the Tower itself makes brief appearances. And while I didn’t look it up for fear of having important future plot points spoiled for myself, I’m almost positive that two important new characters in the main series were introduced in this book.

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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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