I know that a lot of people have made it a goal to read more while there really isn’t much else to do…because you know, global pandemics. I also know that people often make it a goal to read more, but really struggle with where to start, they read a thousand and one reviews, read the backs of lot of books, and still don’t know what to read.
Well, I’m here to help!
At the start of 2020 I set a goal to read more and so far, I’m doing great! We’re a quarter of the way through the year and I’ve read 5 books! I know! I’m surprised too! I’d love to share what I’ve read this year and what I liked and didn’t like about them.
First of all, I know that I always wonder these things about people who are reading a lot of books in short time frames, so I’m going to get these things out of the way. Then buckle in for probably too much information about the books I’ve read so far in 2020.
1// How are you reading? I’m reading in both audiobook and Kindle e-book format. I have a Kindle Fire…8? and I really like reading on it. I like how easy it is to hold in one hand and I also like to read with the lights off, so I like the electronic format.
2// What app are you using to read audiobooks? I have been using Scrib’d. I like it because the subscription includes the books. It doesn’t have everything in the world, but it has a lot! I’ve been able to read several books using it that were recently published, best sellers etc. It’s $10 and so far, worth it. If you sign up use this link! It gets you 60 days free!
3// What genre are you reading? My tastes are varied. I think that if you read through my short summaries and reviews you’ll be able to tell what I’m into!
Now…For the books!
As a heads up, the links to the books are affiliate links. If you choose to purchase one of these books after clicking on my link I earn a very small commision at no extra cost to you. See my disclosure for more information!
1// Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
Dark Places is about a woman who is the only survivor of a horrific murder that her brother is currently serving life in prison for. She stumbles upon a group attempting to determine what really happened and is surprised to find that many of these people don’t believe her brother committed this crime.
The story is told in split perspective switching between Libby (the protagonist), her mother, and her supposedly murderous brother. The mother and brother’s perspectives told the story of what really happened a little at a time until of course, the full truth is revealed at the end.
Likes: The ending was difficult to guess. I had some ideas about “whodunit” and was engaged throughout the story and definitely want to learn what had really happened.
Dislikes: Libby wasn’t a very strong character. She was just a vehicle to further the plot if you ask me. There were also many very grotesque scenes detailing disgusting devil worshiping practices that I had a hard time with. If I hadn’t been reading in audio format while I washed dishes most night I might not have gotten through those parts to learn the ending.
Overall rating: 3/5 stars
2// An American Marriage by Tayari Jones
An American Marriage is about a newly married black couple who faces an impossible challenge when Roy is wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for a crime he did not commit. His young wife Celestial is forced to figure out how to be married to a man in prison while Roy learns to survive where he’s at and works to clear his name. 5 years later, his conviction is overturned and he and Celestial have to face the lives they’re living in all those years later.
This story is told in a split perspective. It’s mostly split between Roy and Celestial, describing their day to day lives and their differing perspectives and the situation at hand. There’s also a third player, Celestial’s best friend that we hear from for a few chapters.
Likes: I really enjoyed reading this book. It wasn’t extremely exciting but had some very interesting characters. It also really made me think about how horrible and racist our justice system can be for so many. I liked that while it was a fictional story, I thought a lot of the real world version that is out there somewhere and considered how I can be a better ally.
Dislikes: I didn’t love Celestial’s character. I know that she was faced with some pretty challenging things, especially early in her marriage but I just didn’t find her likeable. I tried to give her grace but still found myself repeatedly frustrated with her.
Overall rating: 4/5 stars
3// Ask Again Yes by Mary Beth Keane
Okay…I didn’t finish this one. I’m about 1/3rd…maybe a bit further into it and I just got bored. I do think I’ll come back to it and finish it eventually but I just had to put it down. I’ll come back here and update when I actually do get through it.
I will say though, this one is quite popular and a few friends have read it and loved it!
4// Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
Outlander is told in the first person perspective of Claire Randall (Beauchamp). While “honeymooning” in the Scottish Highlands shortly after the end of WWII Claire travels through the stones at Craig n’dun and finds herself still in Scottland but 200 years before her own time. She is quickly pulled into the conflicts of the era and is dragged away from the stones, leaving her to far away to simply return home on her own.
While evading the many hazards of the time period and one particularly bad actor she finds a companion in Young Jamie Fraser. The first book in the series tells the story of how Claire finds her place in the new time amidst the Jacobite rebellion that is surfacing.
Likes: If you’ve seen the TV show the book is extremely close. Lots of dialogue from the show is taken straight from the books. Of course like anything adapted for the screen, things move a bit slower in the book, but I liked it. I enjoyed how the story was told and didn’t mind the differences (I read the book after watching season 1) I also liked that while some of the subject matter was dark, it was a generally light read that didn’t require a lot of thinking or unraveling of the story.
Dislikes: I didn’t require a lot of thinking or unraveling of the story.
Overall rating: 4/5 stars (mostly just because I liked it. Comparatively the rating could be lower)
4// The Silent Patient by Alexander Michaelides
The Silent patient is an artist named Alicia who is committed to a psychiatric facility for murdering her husband then later refusing to speak. Here she meets Theo, a young psycho-therapist who is eager to help her. The story is told in a split perspective between Theo and Alicia.
I won’t say much more because it’s a psychological thriller that has several twists and turns. I’d hate to give anything away.
Likes: It was an interesting story with characters who had quite a lot of depth. I really enjoyed reading it from start to finish. I was never bored and always found myself captivated by the thought of what might come next.
Dislikes: I guessed the ending quite early. I can’t help but try and dig in and in this case, I had mostly had the mystery cracked about halfway, and would say I’d completely figured it out a few chapters for a big twist. I almost felt like someone spoiled it for me.
Overall rating: 4/5