My first 8 reads of 2020

In a bid to read as much as possible in 2020, and realising my head really pounds if I spend precious minutes on my phone or watching telly before bed, I’ve started a lil round up almost, of the first 8 books I’ve managed in 2020.

I think it’s so important to read. It broadens your vocabulary, a great way to relax and unwind, as well as switch off from those deadly mobile phones. And with this current, strange and rather surreal situation of being at home 99.9% of the time, there’s never been a better time to open a book and read read read.

But before we get started on my reads from 2020 so far, here’s a little low down on what get’s my pulse racing when it comes to books.

What I like

Just like my telly and podcasts, I LOVE crime and thriller reads. Last year I managed a fair few of my absolute favorites ( The couple next door, Women in the window, An Unexpected Guest ), so don’t be surprised if there’s a hella lot of those in my book roundups. I already have a lot of ‘To be Read’ thrillers sitting either on my bookshelf or in my amazon basket.

But let’s get cracking on the 8 books that have kick started my 2020 shall we?

Mindhunter

I grabbed this one back in October for my trip to Boston and only just finished it at the start of January. This one had a fair few mixed reviews over on Amazon, but I’m so glad I read it for myself. I am a huge fan of Mindhunter over on Netflix, so I was really excited to read the true account and ultimately see how it influenced the series.

The book follows FBI agent John Douglas and his high profile career talking to serial killers, and establishing what really makes them commit some of the most infamous series of murders known in the US.

To say it’s interesting is an understatement. I loved this book, especially the insight into how John managed to crack ongoing cases and ultimately how his skills and interviews with some of the most prolific serial killers, established a ‘guide’ on profiling unknown serial killers today.

I would highly recommend if you love true crime, and possibly stay away from some of the negative Nancy’s!

A Handmaid’s Tale

This is another one of the books that I have watched the adaption BEFORE the book. But that didn’t stop me a: getting excited to read it and b: not putting it down till the end!

There will be no spoilers here of course, but if you have watched the channel 4 show before picking up the book, you will be relieved to hear that there are some pretty obvious differences from the series, and I was pleasantly surprised by the enjoyment I was having from the book despite thinking I knew the complete story line thanks to that stella series.

Handmaids Tale, for those that don’t know, is a dystopian story of Ofred, a Handmaid. Set in the US, in a world plagued by infertility, women have little part to play in the world, other than bearing children, cooking or being a wife. Ofred had her own family before this new world emerged and it follows her account of being a Handmaid to senior members of society. In short terms – her new role is to bear children because she is one of the many few that can. It’s heartbreaking yet realistic – in times like these, it’s fairly believable that this could happen in the US, even today.

I am late to the party on this one. It’s a true classic and something everyone should read in their lifetime.

The Testaments

After finishing the Handmaids Tale I quickly picked the second installment – The Testaments. I love the story and the characters so I was eager as ever to know more. Once again, I can say as a watcher of all series of The Handmaids Tale, this is completely different and a real joy to read.

Only this time, we have 3 accounts of different women living in Gilliead, set almost 15 years later than the first installment, The Handmaids Tale.

I won’t deny that somethings still haven’t been cleared up even in this second installment, but I am hoping that’s due to a third installment? We can hope can’t we?

One Minute Later

This wasn’t my favorite book and honestly it took me a fair while to get into it. If you like Me before You, this is certainly a book you’ll enjoy .

This one follows two narratives : that of Vivienne – a high flyer Londoner who has to move back to her seaside childhood home following a catastrophic minute. And Shelley Raynor who’s life changes, once again in one minute, and darkness is cast over her whole life.

I wasn’t really invested in some of the characters as I like to be, and I found some of the characters to be rather frustrating – which can be tiring when the book is swapping and changing narratives. That being said, after the halfway mark it certainly picked up and I found I wasn’t reading just to get it finished.

Not my usual style and very different from what I usually read, but sometimes you really do need variety.

Nothing Can Hurt You

Confession – I quit this book after 4 chapters. And being a proof copy it’s not one you can currently enjoy yourself. But I had to mention this one as I have already heard some great things from this one and to say I was disappointed would be a understatement.

Inspired by a true story, Nothing Can Hurt You follows the narrative of various characters all exploring the aftermath of a college student’s death. A thriller title that is usually a sure winner, I found this really hard to read. Rushed and every chapter follows a different narrative, which makes it impossible to connect with characters.

I might give this one another go if I run out of reads, but currently not something I would recommend.

The Silent Patient

I will happily announce this to be my favorite book in so so so long. Following the struggle I had mid-way through One Minute Later, this was a bloody quick read, completing it in just 4 days! I was hooked!

The Silent Patient is a true page turner, following the account of Theo Faber a psychiatrist who joins a mental institution for one purpose only – to crack the Silent Patient Alicia Berenson. Only she knows why she shot her husband in the head 6 years ago – it’s time to get her talking. It is a book that fleets from time frame to time frame, and different accounts of the two main characters Alicia and Theo Faber.

I ADORED this title and hadn’t had this much enjoyment from a book since last years must read – Our House. I gasped too many times and my husband 100% got fed up with me reading it.

100% recommend if you want to get back into reading and start with a true gem.

Blood Orange

It’s a book cover I have seen across Instagram enough to make me want to buy it. And despite not reading the blurb, I gathered it would be up my street. A little different from what I am used to, Blood Orange is gripping in ways other reads haven’t been.

Our main character is Alison – someone who seems to have it all. Defending her first murder case, her career is on the rise. She has a doting hubby, cute daughter and a house many would be jealous of. But it’s all far from perfect. She drinks too much, neglects her perfect family unit and she’s having an affair with a colleague. But someone knows all her secrets, and won’t stop until she’s lost everything……And that’s not mentioning the murder case. Alison’s client doesn’t deny stabbing her husband and she wants to plead guilty. But something is amiss.

There’s lots of things to unpack from this book, including the murder trial and the car crash that is Alisons personal life. I loved this narrative, the characters and everything about this book. I was deeply invested in this one, I quickly immersed myself, not letting off until I finished.

Hugely recommend and urge many to read this pronto.

The Family Upstairs

My latest book to finish in 2020 didn’t disappoint! A real page turner and once again a thriller that kept me guessing till the end, I couldn’t recommend this one more.

For a random pick up that just looked like my cup of tea, it’s original and a story you will not be able to guess correctly in any way!

A baby is awake in her cot. Fed and cared for she’s just waiting for someone to give her attention. In the kitchen lie 3 decomposing bodies. They’ve been dead several days. Who’s been looking after the baby? Where did they go? This fashionable Chelsea home is entangled with the darkest of secrets of 2 families who once inhabited it.

I COULD NOT PUT THIS DOWN. I had to know what happened and even when following 3 narratives, there wasn’t a story I didn’t want to follow – if that makes sense. Hugely recommend and a perfect thriller read!

Talk about a varied reading collection.

The first 8 books of 2020 have certainly varied in style and genre, but it’s been a pleasant change and a great start to the reading year delving into some books that maybe I wouldn’t have before. My favorite so far has to be The Silent Patient, with The Family Upstairs coming in close second.

My upcoming ‘To Be Read‘ list includes lots of random pick ups like The Five, and Little Darlings. As well as some reads that have been stuck on my bookshelf including Lily Allen and Piranesi.

I am so happy to be back reading and enjoying books that spur me on to find more, thrill of the ride type stories. As always, be sure to share what you might be reading, your own recommendations and your feedback in the comment section below.

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