Sunday, January 31, 2021

LIST: Best Books of 2020

Top Five Books of the Year

1. The Innocents - Michael Crummy
2. The Causeway: A Passage from Innocence - Linden MacIntyre
3. The Pull of the Stars - Emma Donoghue
4. Queenie - Candice Carty-Williams
5. Easy Prey - Catherine Lo

142 books read
13 nonfiction
83 audiobooks
24 ebooks

Best Mystery
Troubled Blood by Robert Galbraith
It's not even the mystery - it's Cormoran and Robin's relationship

Honourable Mentions Best Mystery (because I read a lot of mysteries)

IQ by Joe Ide
The Chestnut Man by Soren Sveistrup
The Lost Man by Jane Harper
Murder on Cold Street by Sherry Thomas
Long Bright River by Liz Moore

Best Start to a Series - Alex Morrow series
Still Midnight - Denise Mina (also read The End of the Wasp Season)

Best Historical Series
Lady Charlotte Holmes by Sherry Thomas

Best Graphic Novel
American Gods part 1 and 2

Young Adult
Easy Prey by Catherine Lo
This was a free YA Sync listen, and I just loved how it all came together, and that is was Canadian.

Best Recommended Book (won the Booker Prize and was on the Women's Prize for Fiction shortlist)
Girl, Woman, Other by Bernadine Evaristo

Favourite Characters
Evered and Ada, the orphaned brother and sister from The Innocents living on the outports of Newfoundland

Best  Book by a Tried and True Author 
Both The Last Anniversay and The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty were classic Moriarty - multiple views, a mystery and Australian. I can't even decide which I liked best.

Best Historical Fiction 
The Pull of the Stars by Emma Donoghue and
Hamnet & Judith by Maggie O'Farrell
Two plague books by two of my favourite authors. Hey, Tracy Chevalier (another great historical fiction writer - Where's your plague book?

Best Apocalyptic/Dystopian
The Testaments by Margaret Atwood

Best Book by a New to Me Author
Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy

Best Science Fiction/Fantasy
The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

Best Debut Book
Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

Best Short Story Collection 
The Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

Most Heartbreaking
Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Creepiest Novel
The Guest List by Lucy Foley

Best Re-read
In May, during lockdown times, my library offered Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone all the time to whoever wanted to read it with no waiting. It was excellent, and I was hoping they would offer the rest of the series like that as well, but alas, no. And then because so many people were re-reading the HP series, the line-ups were long for the next books.

Best Audiobook/ Rec for a Book Club
Such a Fun Age by Kiley

Most Unique Book 
This is How You Lose the Time War- Max Gladstone

Best Nonfiction : I have broken this down a little more because I can't pick one

Best Nonfiction: science/history
How We Got to Now: Six Innovations that Changed the Modern World - Steven Johnson
I count Johnson as a go-to NF author now. I like his connections, and writing, and topics. This isn't as fascinating as The Ghost Map, but it was still really good. 
(cold -refrigeration, time-clocks,  glass- eyeglass lenses,  light-lightbulbs, clean- sewer systems, sound)

Best Nonfiction: true crime
Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators by Ronan Farrow

Best Nonfiction: memoir/autobiography
Causeway by Linden MacIntyre 
My husband also read this book, and then we gave it to both our parents for Christmas after reading it. MacIntyre is a CBC reporter, and has written novels as well. This memoir was exactly what I like in a memoir - takes his personal memories and growth and sets it against a historical event and blends the two perfectly. The causeway in question is the connection between Cape Breton and Nova Scotia. Having lived through our own 'fixed link' in 1997 as PEI was connected to the mainland and the ferry done away with, it really is a turning point in memories of life. 

(Whew! Getting this posted and it is still January with 15 minutes to spare!)

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

TOP TEN TUESDAY: New-to-Me Authors I Read in 2020

I'm still working on my year-end wrap of of 2020 reading, but New-to-Me Authors is a bit of a preview of some great reads from last year. When I look at the books I read, I think I relied on tried and true authors quite a bit (shocking, in a year like last year, I know) but I did find some great new authors. My guide is - am I looking for some of their old books, or an I interested in the next one in the series?
Check out That Artsy Reading Girl for more posts from this week's Top Ten Tuesday, and to see future toics.

Denise Mina - Alex Morrow series
This was a great police procedural set in Scotland. It's everything I like in my mystery/police series - dark, messed up main character, and all the intrigue within the police

Read: Still Midnight, The End of Wasp Season
next up: Gods and Beasts

Martha Wells  - The Murderbot Diaries
Very unique science fiction series narrated by a rogue 'murderbot' who just wants to watch television shows but keeps having to deal with humans

Read: All Systems Red, Artificial Condition, Rogue Protocol, Exit Strategy
next up: Network Effect

Joe Ide - Isiah 'IQ" Quintabe series
Private Investigator series set in Los Angeles with a back story that the main character is trying to figure out - who killed his brother?
Read: IQ, Righteous
next up: Wrecked

Ronan Farrow 
Catch and Kill: Lies, Spies, and a Conspiracy to Protect Predators
Investigative reporter Farrow is pretty amazing and as I probably don't read this kind of non-fiction very often, it was very compelling. Farrow was also an excellent narrator of his book.

next up: War on Peace

Julia Phillips
The Disappearing Earth (debut book)
Nice connected short stories that becomes a novel. I think it was the setting in Kamchatka Pennisula of Eastern Russia that made it so interesting. I had also just read a book called Tiger by John Vaillant set in the same region

Balli Kaur Jaswal 
Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows
 The title of this book is a bit misleading as it was not as light and chick-lit as it first appears. I liked the immigrant experience in England that was portrayed and the challenge of second generation kids pulled between their home and their parents' life. I would definitely read another by Jaswal as the character development was enjoyable.

next up: The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters

Claire Lombardo 
The Most Fun We Ever Had (debut book)
 A good family epic that traces a couple and their children over a full generation, starting with the couple getting together, then following their children growing and having their own family. I still remember a lot about the characters and plot from this one, which is a good sign. Every person in a family has their own view of what happened in the family.

Lucy Foley 
The Guest List
 The trend of suspenseful, twisty books can be hit or miss for me as many can be rather generic and predictable. The Guest List was one of the better of this genre. I keep reading these suspense books and this is why - there are some really good ones mixed in with the trendy titles.

next up: The Hunting Party

Sally Thorne 
The Hating Game
I still like the odd rom-com type book. I read a Sophie Kinsella this year and was reminded again why she is the best of those type of chick lit books, but The Hating Game was pretty good too. British couple who are not liking each other, this one has movie written all over it. Which would be okay!

next up: 99 Percent Mine

Heather Cocks 
The Royal We
This was a long listen, but it was well done, especially if you are a Will and Kate and Harry fan and think a behind the scene fictionalized account would be fun. As a huge fan of watching The Crown, I didn't mind reading a more recent version of what might have happened. And there is a sequel, so that is fun.

next up: The Heir Affair

I can't wait to see your list of new authors, because obviously I need some more books to read, but I appreciate vetted titles by all you great readers.

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I Meant to Read In 2020 but Didn’t Get To


Hello and Happy New Year! I've been working on a 2020 year end wrap-up of my reading and plan to get it posted.. sometime soon. In the mean time, here it is Monday night and I am preparing a Top Ten Tuesday post for the first time in a very long time. What are some books that I meant to read in 2020 but didn't get to? There are lots! Here are ten that are either on request or on a wish list at my online audio library. For other TTT lists, check out That Artsy Reader Girl who hosts this wonderful event every Tuesday.

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam

Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart
Just bought a kindle edition

Bowlaway by Elizabeth McCracken

One of Us is Lying by Karen M McManus

Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer
I loved her book about Moss

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
I remember reading Linda's Amazing Race and Survivor recaps back at TWoP

The Searcher by Tana French
I can't believe I missed the latest French book in 2020

The Henna Artist

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo