I write book reviews frequently, both on here and in response to books I’m sent. I love them; they are, really, a book bloggers bread and butter. Now book reviews are all well and good, but sometimes what you need is absolute certainty that a book is right for you. There’s nothing wrong with not finishing a book, and goodness knows I do it myself often enough, but often there is something totally unsatisfactory in doing so.
So here are some direct recommendations. Liked this book? You’ll like that one!
Me Before You
A modern classic of love, pain, and beautiful writing, the first in the trilogy especially makes for fantastic reading, somewhere between comfort and engagement; that perfect balance. It was a huge surprise to me just how much I loved it, and I will never not be praising this book.
The Man Who Didn’t Call
One of the main reasons this is my this / that recommendation here is because this was another love based story that surprised me with how much I loved it. Just like Me Before You, the relationship has twists and turns that keep you on your toes, and you’re not sure what’s coming next. The perfect book to fill the Lou and Will sized hole in your heart.
One of the biggest appeals to the Harry Potter universe is the perfectly crafted universe. It toes the line between realistic and high fantasy, blending non-magical and magical creatures in a perfect symmetry. It has captivated millions of children and adults since the first book was released, and will go on to indefinitely.
Although the first book of the series has only recently been released, there are so many similarities in the writing style and world creation. Writing fantasy involves a whole universe being designed, and this is a skill that not everyone possesses, myself very much included. Sarah J. Maas is a magical genius, and I have fallen as much in love with her work as with that of J. K. Rowling. It is worth noting that this is very much an adult book, with mentions of sex and drugs!
The Silence of the Girls
I have praised this book before as a beautiful work of feminist, woman-focused ancient historical fiction, and that is still true today. This retelling of The Illiad is given from the perspective of Briseis, given as a gift to Achilles for his achievements. It is an essential book, needed, both in feminist works, and in those of history based fiction. It will never stop being important.
A Thousand Ships
This is one of my favourite books ever, not just of 2020, A Thousand Ships is a book from the perspectives of multiple women, before, during and after the Trojan war. It shows the ripples of damage across the generations, not to mention the generations cut short. It is powerful, infuriating, and leaves you full of a rage that is so hard to push past. And we shouldn’t.
Historical with just a wonderful touch of magic and superstition, the mystery buried underneath the layers of elegant story telling is one that grabs hold of you, staying rooted in your mind. I’ve praised Stacey Halls’s writing style more than once, and both of her novels so far are beautiful. The Familiars remains my favourite historical fiction novels, and there’s something captivating about this story.
One of my top reads so far this year, although Wakenhyrst is set in a later time period, it still has so much of value as a historical fiction novel. Just like the above, it represents the time period it is set in so very accurately, with brutal honesty, grit and representation – again – of the situations women continue to face, whatever date is on the calendar. The mystery and supernatural wrapped around the tale make it even more wonderful.
I hope this was useful, or fun at the very least! I’ll certainly be writing another one of these, if only to make me think about the books I’ve read more myself.