Updated Favourites of All Time! 2020 Edition

Last year I made a post discussing my favourite books and I decided to make this an annual thing every February just to recap on some favourites and maybe inspire one or you guys to pick it up!

As like last year, I have a teeny rule where I try to limit how many books in one series I add into my favourites list. The bigger the series, the more books I allow into my favourites but I try to keep to one book per series. So, that being you said you may see some differences between my other posts and this one as I found the later books in the series to be better. Which is definitely a good thing!

  • Title: Closed Casket
  • Author: Sophie Hannah
  • Series: New Hercule Poirot Mysteries #2
  • Genre: Murder Mystery & Historical Fiction
  • Dates read: 08.03.20 – 14.03.20

Plot: Lady Athelinda Playford has planned a house party at her mansion in Clonakilty, Co Cork, but it is no ordinary gathering. As guests arrive, Lady Playford summons her lawyer to make an urgent change to her will – one she intends to announce at dinner that night. She has decided to cut off her two children without a penny and leave her fortune to someone who only has weeks to live, and she refuses to explain why…
Among Lady Playford’s guests are two men she has never met – the famous Belgian dectective, Hercule Poirot, and Inspector Edward Catchpool of Scotland Yard. Neither knows why he has been invited…until Poirot starts to wonder if Lady Playford expects a murderer to strike. But why does she seem so determined to provoke, in the the presence of a possible killer? And why, when the crime is committed in spite of Poirot’s best efforts to stop it, does the identity of the victim make no sense at all?

In case you are new here, I read the first book in this series in 2019 and while I enjoyed it, it didn’t blow me away. But when I read this book I was so engrossed and didn’t want to do anything but read that book!

You can find my review here >>>

  • Title: The Hod King
  • Author: Josiah Bancroft
  • Series: The Books of Babel #3
  • Genre: Steampunk & Fantasy
  • Dates read: 03.04.20 – 11.04.20

Plot for Senlin Ascends (Book 1): The Tower of Babel is the greatest marvel in the world. Immense as a mountain, the ancient Tower holds unnumbered ringdoms, warring and peaceful, stacked one on the other like the layers of a cake. It is a world of geniuses and tyrants, of airships and steam engines, of unusual animals and mysterious machines. Soon after arriving for his honeymoon at the Tower, the mild-mannered headmaster of a small village school, Thomas Senlin, gets separated from his wife, Marya, in the overwhelming swarm of tourists, residents, and miscreants. Senlin is determined to find Marya, but to do so he’ll have to navigate madhouses, ballrooms, and burlesque theaters. He must survive betrayal, assassins, and the long guns of a flying fortress. But if he hopes to find his wife, he will have to do more than just endure.

I included the plot for the first book as the plot for book 3 has loads of spoilers. This is just a series that gets better and better with each book! I fell in love with this series and its crazy concoction of characters. I can’t wait for the final book to come out this November but I am also sad to be finishing the series that got me back into reading!

You can find my review here >>>

  • Title: If We Were Villains
  • Author: M.L. Rio
  • Series: Standalone
  • Genre: Contemporary Mystery
  • Dates read: 13.04.20 – 17.04.20

Plot: Oliver Marks has just served ten years for a murder he may or may not have committed. On the day of his release, he is greeted by the detective who put him in prison. Detective Colborne is retiring, and he wants to know what really happened a decade before. As a young actor at an elite conservatory, Oliver noticed that his talented classmates seem to play the same characters onstage and off – villain, hero, temptress – though he was always a supporting role. But when the teachers change the casting, a good-natured rivalry turns ugly, and the plays spill dangerously over into real life. When tragedy strikes, one of the seven friends is found dead. The rest face their greatest acting challenge yet: convincing the police, and themselves, that they are blameless…

I didn’t expect to enjoy this as much as I did. On paper it didn’t really seem like my thing, a contemporary setting with a focus on Shakespeare but I gave it a go due to it’s mystery element and I enjoyed it so so much! Such powerful writing!

You can find my review here >>>

  • Title: House of Salt and Sorrow
  • Author: Erin A. Craig
  • Series: Standalone
  • Genre: Fantasy Re-telling
  • Dates read: 26.04.20 – 30.04.20

Plot: Annaleigh lives a sheltered life at Highmoor, a manor by the sea, with her sisters, their father, and stepmother. Once they were twelve, but loneliness fills the grand halls now that four of the girls’ lives have been cut short. Each death was more tragic than the last—the plague, a plummeting fall, a drowning, a slippery plunge—and there are whispers throughout the surrounding villages that the family is cursed by the gods. Disturbed by a series of ghostly visions, Annaleigh becomes increasingly suspicious that the deaths were no accidents. Her sisters have been sneaking out every night to attend glittering balls, dancing until dawn in silk gowns and shimmering slippers, and Annaleigh isn’t sure whether to try to stop them or to join their forbidden trysts. Because who—or what—are they really dancing with?

I have mentioned this numerous times but in 2019 I had read a couple of YA fantasies and I slowly found myself getting a bit bored of them thinking maybe I have grown out of it? I wasn’t sure why so many weren’t clicking with me and then this book came along! I enjoyed this book so much, it subverted my expectations.

You can find my review here >>>

  • Title: The Honjin Murders
  • Author: Seishi Yokomizo
  • Series: Detective Kosuke Kindaichi
  • Genre: Murder Mystery & Historical Fiction
  • Dates read: 10.05.20 – 15.05.20

Plot: In the winter of 1937, the village of Okamura is abuzz with excitement over the forthcoming wedding of a son of the grand Ichiyanagi family. But amid the gossip over the approaching festivities, there is also a worrying rumour – it seems a sinister masked man has been asking questions about the Ichiyanagis around the village. Then, on the night of the wedding, the Ichiyanagi family are woken by a terrible scream, followed by the sound of eerie music – death has come to Okamura, leaving no trace but a bloody samurai sword, thrust into the pristine snow outside the house. The murder seems impossible, but amateur detective Kosuke Kindaichi is determined to get to the bottom of it.

Last year, I wanted to start reading more translated books and I was approved an ARC by Pushkin Vertigo to read this book and I am so glad I did. This plot is masterful and I really enjoyed the main character!

You can read my review here >>>

  • Title: Daughter of Night
  • Author: Laura Shepherd-Robinson
  • Series: Standalone
  • Genre: Murder Mystery & Historical Fiction
  • Dates read: 16.06.20 – 20.06.20

Plot: London, 1782. Desperate for her politician husband to return home from France, Caroline ‘Caro’ Corsham is already in a state of anxiety when she finds a well-dressed woman mortally wounded in the bowers of the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens. The Bow Street constables are swift to act, until they discover that the deceased woman was a highly-paid prostitute, at which point they cease to care entirely. But Caro has motives of her own for wanting to see justice done, and so sets out to solve the crime herself. Enlisting the help of thieftaker, Peregrine Child, their inquiry delves into the hidden corners of Georgian society, a world of artifice, deception and secret lives. But with many gentlemen refusing to speak about their dealings with the dead woman, and Caro’s own reputation under threat, finding the killer will be harder, and more treacherous than she can know . . .

Again, another ARC I was approved and this book ended up being my favourite of the year! I loved the main protagonist of this story and really enjoyed exploring the London underworld.

You can find my review here >>>

  • Title: The Winter of the Witch
  • Author: Katherine Arden
  • Series: The Winternight Trilogy
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Dates read: 12.09.20 – 18.09.20

Plot for The Bear and the Nightingale (Book 1): At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil. After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows. And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent. As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

This was a trilogy that slowly grew on me, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Book 1, but by the end of this trilogy I was sobbing as I was so connected to the characters and the story. Arden does a great job in creating a rich landscape in which novel is set!

You can find my review here >>>

  • Title: Peril at the End
  • Author: Agatha Christie
  • Series: Hercule Poirot #8
  • Genre: Classic Murder Mystery
  • Dates read: 27.09.20 – 01.10.20

Plot: Hercule Poirot is vacationing on the Cornish coast when he meets Nick Buckly. Nick is the young and reckless mistress of End House, an imposing structure perched on the rocky cliffs of St. Loo. Poirot has taken a particular interest in the young woman who has recently narrowly escaped a series of life-threatening accidents. Something tells the Belgian sleuth that these so-called accidents are more than just mere coincidences or a spate of bad luck. It seems all too clear to him that someone is trying to do away with poor Nick, but who? And, what is the motive? In his quest for answers, Poirot must delve into the dark history of End House. The deeper he gets into his investigation, the more certain he is that the killer will soon strike again. And, this time, Nick may not escape with her life.

It wouldn’t be an IndiaReads list without an Agatha Christie book now would it? I just adore Christie’s mysteries and this book was no exception. I had actually watched the TV adaptation before reading the novel and I still enjoyed it just as much despite knowing the ending!

You can read my review here >>>

  • Title: The Starless Sea
  • Author: Erin Morgenstern
  • Series: Standalone
  • Genre: Fantasy
  • Dates read: 08.12.20 – 16.12.20

Plot: When Zachary Ezra Rawlins discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is. A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. 

Another one I did not expect to enjoy as much. I decided to read this near to the end of the year as it was quite a big book and I wanted to complete my goal and I truly feel like I left best until last. This was my first Morgenstern book and I just need more from her.

You can find my review here >>>

  • Title: The Hero of Ages
  • Author: Brandon Sanderson
  • Series: Mistborn #3
  • Genre: High Fantasy
  • Dates read: 17.12.20 – 29.12.20

Plot for The Final Empire (Book 1): The mists rule the night… The lord ruler owns the world. For a thousand years the ash fell. For a thousand years, the Skaa slaved in misery and lived in fear. For a thousand years, the Lord Ruler reigned with absolute power and ultimate terror, divinely invincible. Every attempted revolt has failed miserably. Yet somehow hope survives. A new kind of uprising is being planned, one that depends on the cunning of a brilliant criminal mastermind and the courage of an unlikely heroine, a Skaa street urchin, who must learn to master Allomancy, the power of a mistborn.

Now, let me tell I CRIED!!!! so much when I finished this book and ultimately this series. Such a powerful trilogy that subvert every expectation of what a fantasy is! I cannot wait to read more Sanderson stuff!

Read my interview here >>>

2020 was a solid year and so far 2021 seems to be doing well. I haven’t found a novel that has blown me away yet but I didn’t read Closed Casket until March 2020 so plenty of time!

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