Books

What I Read in 2020: April – July

2020 has been an odd one, that’s for sure! I thought I’d spend most of it singing (badly) to my favourite bands, sipping a cocktail or two in the sun and drunk dancing with my mates in crowded bars. The reality of 2020 was very…different.

Whilst I didn’t spend my time doing that, I did spend a lot of my time reading books. I delved into the Classics Challenge I set myself as a goal for 2020 but I also read – and loved – a lot of modern books as well. If you fancy seeing what I read in January – March, you can read my other post here.

Obviously there was a bit of a shift from April to July, as we swapped swanning here, there and everywhere for staying in, staying safe and trying to stay sane however we could. Even though the first lockdown was incredibly depressing, as I thought a lot about what I’ve lost and missed out on due to Covid writing 2020 off, what I did gain from the first lockdown was valuable time to indulge in reading. I joined NetGalley in this part of the year, too, so I got my hands on some of the best upcoming releases before – well – their release…which was music to my ears!

So, without further ado (because we’ve heard enough about Covid-19, let’s be honest), here’s what I read in April – July.

April

Don’t You Forget About Me by Mhairi McFarlane

Blurb

If there’s one thing worse than getting sacked from your job, it’s coming home to find your boyfriend in bed with someone else.

Reeling from the double dumping, Georgina gets herself a job at a newly opened pub, which just so happens to be run by the boy she fell in love with at school: Lucas McCarthy.

My Thoughts

Don’t You Forget About Me is a contemporary romance about finding your feet, family and reuniting with your first love.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

How Do You Like Me Now? by Holly Bourne

Blurb

Who the f*ck is Tori Bailey?

There’s no doubt that Tori is winning the game of life. A straight-talking, bestselling author, she’s inspired millions of women around the world with her self-help memoir. And she has the perfect relationship to boot.

But Tori Bailey has been living a lie.

Her long-term boyfriend won’t even talk about marriage, but everyone around her is getting engaged and having babies. And when her best friend Dee – her plus one, the only person who understands the madness – falls in love, suddenly Tori’s in terrifying danger of being left behind.

When the world tells you to be one thing and turning thirty brings with it a loud ticking clock, it takes courage to walk your own path.

It’s time for Tori to practice what she’s preached, but the question is: is she brave enough?

My Thoughts

How Do You Like Me Now? is an honest exploration of navigating changing friendships, relationships and life in your mid-twenties/early thirties.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

Fleabag: Scriptures by Phoebe Waller-Bridge

Blurb

Fleabag: Scriptures includes new writing from Phoebe Waller-Bridge alongside the filming scripts and the never-before-seen stage directions from the award-winning series.

My Thoughts

Fleabag: Scriptures is a further look into the play and BBC show, with filming scripts, never-before-seen stage directions and insights from the writer, Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Blurb

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…
 

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

My Thoughts

The Flatshare is a contemporary romance with family, navigating past relationships and moving on from them, and some complicated living arrangements mixed in.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

Normal People by Sally Rooney

Blurb

At school, Connell and Marianne pretend not to know each other. He’s popular and well-adjusted, she’s lonely, proud and intensely private. But, when Connell comes to pick his mother up from her housekeeping job at Marianne’s house, a strange connection emerges between the two teenagers – one they’re both desperate to conceal.

A year later, they’re both studying in Dublin. Marianne has found her feet, whilst Connell is sitting on the sidelines. Throughout their years in college, the two circle each other, straying towards other people and situations but always magnetically coming back to each other. Then, as she veers towards self destruction and he begins to search for meaning elsewhere, each must confront how far they are willing to go to save the other.

My Thoughts

Normal People is a contemporary romance about coming-of-age, competing with rigid social structures and considering how far two people will go to save each other.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

It’s Not You, It’s Him by Sophie Ranald

Blurb

It’s been ten days, two hours and forty-three minutes since Tansy got dumped. Two heartbreaking weeks since Renzo, who made her weak at the knees and dizzy with excitement, found out Tansy’s secret – and ended it on the spot. 

Since then, she’s spent every evening scrolling through their old photos, drunk texted him twenty-six times (he stopped reading after five), and lost count of how many packets of Kleenex she’s cried her way through. 

That’s where Operation Get Renzo Back comes in. She ropes in a new wing-woman, maxes out her credit card and accidentally-on-purpose bumps into him at every opportunity. Oh, and she finds a fake boyfriend, as you do… 

But while she’s busy pretending, Tansy’s plan is thrown a major curveball. She has to learn the hard way that it’s not her, it’s him – and that sometimes, a break-up can end up being the making of you.

My Thoughts

It’s Not You, it’s Him is a contemporary romance about break-ups, fake relationships and finding yourself again.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

Our Stop by Laura Jane Williams

Blurb

Nadia gets the 7.30 train every morning without fail. Well, except if she oversleeps or wakes up at her friend Emma’s after too much wine.

Daniel really does get the 7.30 train every morning, which is easy because he hasn’t been able to sleep properly since his dad died.

One morning, Nadia’s eye catches sight of a post in the daily paper:

To the cute girl with the coffee stains on her dress. I’m the guy who’s always standing near the doors… Drink sometime?

So begins a not-quite-romance of near-misses, true love, and the power of the written word.

My Thoughts

Our Stop is a contemporary romance about getting your s*** together, missed connections and near-misses.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

In Five Years by Rebecca Searle

Blurb

Where do you see yourself in five years?

When Type-A Manhattan lawyer Dannie Kohan is asked this question at the most important interview of her career, she has a meticulously crafted answer at the ready. Later, after nailing her interview and accepting her boyfriend’s marriage proposal, Dannie goes to sleep knowing she is right on track to achieve her five-year plan.

But when she wakes up, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and beside a very different man. The television news is on in the background, and she can just make out the scrolling date. It’s the same night—December 15—but 2025, five years in the future.

After a very intense, shocking hour, Dannie wakes again, at the brink of midnight, back in 2020. She can’t shake what has happened. It certainly felt much more than merely a dream, but she isn’t the kind of person who believes in visions. That nonsense is only charming coming from free-spirited types, like her lifelong best friend, Bella. Determined to ignore the odd experience, she files it away in the back of her mind.

That is, until four-and-a-half years later, when by chance Dannie meets the very same man from her long-ago vision.

My Thoughts

In Five Years is a contemporary romance about loyalty, friendship and destiny.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

May

The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff

Blurb

Everyone talks about falling in love like it’s the most miraculous, life-changing thing in the world. Something happens, they say, and you know …

That’s what happened when I met Kit Godden.

I looked into his eyes and I knew.

Only everyone else knew too. Everyone else felt exactly the same way.

This is the story of one family, one dreamy summer – the summer when everything changes. In a holiday house by the sea, our watchful narrator sees everything, including many things they shouldn’t, as their brother and sisters, parents and older cousins fill hot days with wine and games and planning a wedding. Enter two brothers – irresistible, charming, languidly sexy Kit and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there’s a serpent in this paradise – and the consequences will be devastating.

My Thoughts

The Great Godden is a story of coming-of-age, first love and figuring out things are not quite as they seem.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

Unstoppable in Stilettos by Lauren Ruotolo

Blurb

How does a girl who was originally predicted to live a wheelchair-bound existence become adventurous, self-assured, successful, and . . . unflappable? Standing 4 feet 2 inches tall in flats (which she would never be caught dead in, anyway), Lauren Ruotolo has spent her thirty-four-ish years seeing the world from a unique angle–upward facing. Lauren was born with McCune-Albright syndrome, a mysterious and rare genetic disease that researchers say occurs in anywhere between 1 in 100,000 and 1 in 1 million people. Some people with the condition tend to go the wheelchair route, but that was never a road Lauren wanted to travel. Her preferred method of transportation, instead, includes stiletto heels. Lauren has avoided the label of ‘disabled’ through uniquely discovering who she really is, and now you, too, can learn the secrets to living life in a big way. In Unstoppable in Stilettos, Lauren offers you ‘Lauren’s Lessons, ‘ in which she shares her hard-earned wisdom and life experiences to offer you a unique brand of life philosophies that you can apply to any of the rights of passages you may be experiencing as a Twenty-first Century Woman, including: Navigating social pressures Avoiding the label game Overcoming insecurities Combating career confusion Turning rejection and obstacles into triumph Dealing with toxic people Discovering true self-expression and so much more. With Unstoppable in Stilettos you will have the tools to carve out your own path to self-confidence, success, and individualism . . . and have a blast along the way.

My Thoughts

Unstoppable in Stilettos is a book about life with a disability, life lessons and learning to live every day to its fullest.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver

Blurb

Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’d been together for more than a decade, and Lydia thought their love was indestructible.

But she was wrong. On her twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.

So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants to do is hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life–and perhaps even love–again.

But then something inexplicable happens that gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened.

Lydia is pulled again and again across the doorway of her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there’s an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there’s someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay.

My Thoughts

The Two Lives Of Lydia Bird is a contemporary novel about loss, learning to live after loss, and loving again.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

Would Like to Meet by Rachel Winters

Blurb

After seven years as an assistant, 29-year-old Evie Summers is ready to finally get the promotion she deserves. But now the TV and film agency she’s been running behind the scenes is in trouble, and Evie will lose her job unless she can convince the agency’s biggest and most arrogant client, Ezra Chester, to finish writing the script for a Hollywood romantic comedy. 

The catch? Ezra is suffering from writer’s block–and he’ll only put pen to paper if singleton Evie can prove to him that you can fall in love like they do in the movies. With the future of the agency in jeopardy, Evie embarks on a mission to meet a man the way Sally met Harry or Hugh Grant met Julia Roberts. 

But in the course of testing out the meet-cute scenes from classic romantic comedies IRL, not only will Evie encounter one humiliating situation after another, but she’ll have to confront the romantic past that soured her on love. In a novel as hilarious as it is heartwarming, debut author Rachel Winters proves that sometimes real life is better than the movies–and that the best kind of meet-cutes happen when you least expect them.

My Thoughts

Would Like to Meet is a contemporary romance about making a name for yourself, meet-cutes and movies.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

Scenes of a Graphic Nature by Caroline O’Donoghue

Blurb

After a tough few years floundering around the British film industry, experimenting with amateur pornography and watching her father’s health rapidly decline, she and her best friend Laura journey to her ancestral home of Clipim, an island off the west coast of Ireland. Knowing this could be the last chance to connect with her dad’s history before she loses him, Charlie clings to the idea of her Irish roots offering some kind of solace. But she’ll find out her heritage is about more than clichés and clover-foamed Guinness.

When the girls arrive at Clipim, Charlie begins to question both her difficult relationship with Laura and her father’s childhood stories. Before long, she’s embroiled in a devastating conspiracy that’s been sixty years in the making . . . and it’s up to her to reveal the truth of it.

My Thoughts

Scenes of a Graphic Nature is a contemporary novel about family, friendships and figuring things out.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

Nothing Can Hurt You by Nicola May Goldberg

Blurb

On a cold day in 1997, student Sara Morgan was killed in the woods surrounding her liberal arts college in upstate New York. Her boyfriend, Blake Campbell, confessed, his plea of temporary insanity raising more questions than it answered.

In the wake of his acquittal, the case comes to haunt a strange and surprising network of community members, from the young woman who discovers Sara’s body to the junior reporter who senses its connection to convicted local serial killer John Logan. Others are looking for retribution or explanation: Sara’s half sister, stifled by her family’s bereft silence about Blake, poses as a babysitter and seeks out her own form of justice, while the teenager Sara used to babysit starts writing to Logan in prison.

My Thoughts

Nothing Can Hurt You is a story about voyeurism , obsession and murder.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

The Wicked Sister by Karen Dionne

Blurb

For a decade and a half, Rachel Cunningham has chosen to lock herself away in a psychiatric facility, tortured by gaps in her memory and the certainty that she is responsible for her parents’ deaths. But when she learns new details about their murders, Rachel returns, in a quest for answers, to the place where she once felt safest: her family’s sprawling log cabin in the remote forests of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

As Rachel begins to uncover what really happened on the day her parents were murdered, she learns—as her mother did years earlier—that home can be a place of unspeakable evil, and that the bond she shares with her sister might be the most poisonous of all.

My Thoughts

The Wicked Sister is a contemporary novel about finding out the truth, filling gaps in memory and family.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

The Sight of You by Holly Miller

Blurb

Would you choose love . . .

. . . If you knew how it would end?

Joel is afraid of the future.

Since he was a child he’s been haunted by dreams about the people he loves. Visions of what’s going to happen – the good and the bad. And the only way to prevent them is to never let anyone close to him again. 

Callie can’t let go of the past.
Since her best friend died, Callie’s been lost. She knows she needs to be more spontaneous and live a bigger life. She just doesn’t know how to find a way back to the person who used to have those dreams.

Joel and Callie both need a reason to start living for today. 
And though they’re not looking for each other, from the moment they meet it feels like the start of something life-changing. 

Until Joel has a vision of how it’s going to end . . .

My Thoughts

The Sight of You is a contemporary romance about knowing the future, letting go of the way, and thinking about the future.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

The Wish List by Sophia Money-Coutts

Blurb

Florence Fairfax isn’t lonely. She loves her job at the little bookshop in Chelsea and her beloved cat Marmalade keeps her company at night. She might have been single for quite a while – well, forever actually, if anyone’s asking – but she’s perfectly happy, thank you. And then Florence meets eccentric love coach Gwendolyn, and everything changes.

When Gwendolyn makes Florence write a wish list describing her perfect man, Florence refuses to take it seriously. Finding someone who likes cats, has the sexual athleticism of James Bond and can overlook her ‘counting’ habit? Impossible! Until, later that week, a handsome blond man asks for help in the bookshop…

Rory seems to fit the list perfectly. But is he “the one”, or simply too good to be true? Florence is about to find out that her criteria for Mr Right aren’t as important as she thought – and that perhaps she’s been looking for love in all the wrong places.

My Thoughts

The Wish List is a contemporary romance about fun, family and finding out that Mr Right might just have been there all along.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

Body Positive Power by Megan Jayne Crabbe

Blurb

We’ve been convinced that happiness is something that only comes once we hit that goal weight, get those washboard abs, shrink ourselves down and change every part of ourselves. We believe that our bodies are the problem, but the truth is that our bodies are not the problem. How we’ve been taught to see them is the problem… it’s time for us all to stop believing the lies, and take our power back.

Megan’s body image issues began when she was five years old. She spent her childhood chasing thinness, and at fourteen found herself spiralling into anorexia. After recovery she spent years dieting, binging, losing and gaining weight. Then she found body positivity, quit dieting, and finally escaped the cult of thin. Now she’s determined to let as many people as possible know the truth: that we are all good enough as we are. If you’re tired of being at war with your body, then this book is for you.

With her inimitable flair, whip-smart wit and kickass attitude, Megan argues for a new way of seeing ourselves, and a world where every body is celebrated. Where there is no such thing as a ‘bikini body diet’ and 97% of women don’t hate the way they look.

My Thoughts

Body Positive Power is a book about ditching diet culture, body positivity and falling in love with yourself.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

The Fallen Girls (Detective Clara Jeffries #1) by Kathryn Casey

Blurb

Detective Clara Jefferies has spent years running from her childhood in Alber, Utah. But when she hears that her baby sister Delilah has disappeared, she knows that the peaceful community will be shattered, her family vulnerable, and that that she must face up to her past and go home.

Clara returns to find that her mother, Ardeth, has isolated her family by moving to the edge of town, in the shadow of the mountains. Ardeth refuses to talk to the police and won’t let Clara through the front door, believing she and her sister-wives can protect their own. But Clara knows better than anyone that her mother isn’t always capable of protecting her children.

When Clara finds out that two more girls have disappeared, all last seen around the cornfields near her family’s home, she realizes it’s not just Delilah who’s in danger. And then she gets a call that a body has been found…

My Thoughts

The Fallen Girls is a contemporary novel about isolation, mystery and murder.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

Feminisms by Lucy Delap

Blurb

How has feminism developed? What have feminists achieved? What can we learn from the global history of feminism?

Feminism is the ongoing story of a profound historical transformation. Despite being repeatedly written off as a political movement that has achieved its aim of female liberation, it has been continually redefined as new generations of women campaign against the gender inequity of their age.

In this absorbing book, historian Lucy Delap challenges the simplistic narrative of ‘feminist waves’ – a sequence of ever more progressive updates ­- showing instead that feminists have been motivated by the specific concerns of their historical moment. Drawing on an extraordinary range of examples from Japan to Russia, Egypt to Germany, Delap explores different feminist projects to show that those who are part of this movement have not always agreed on a single programme. This diverse history of feminism, she argues, can help us better navigate current debates and controversies.

My Thoughts

Feminisms is an exploration into feminism around the world.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

Love at First Like by Hannah Orenstein

Blurb

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO FAKE THE PERFECT LOVE LIFE?

Eliza Roth and her sister Sophie co-own a jewelry shop in Brooklyn. One night, after learning of an ex’s engagement, Eliza accidentally posts a photo of herself wearing a diamond ring on that finger to her Instagram account beloved by 100,000 followers. Sales skyrocket, press rolls in, and Eliza learns that her personal life is good for business. So she has a choice: continue the ruse or clear up the misunderstanding. With mounting financial pressure, Eliza sets off to find a fake fiancé.

Fellow entrepreneur Blake seems like the perfect match on paper, and in real life he shows promise too – if only Eliza didn’t feel also drawn to someone else. But Blake doesn’t know Eliza is ‘engaged’; Sophie asks Eliza for an impossible sum of money; and Eliza’s lies start to spiral out of control. Now she can either stay engaged online – or fall in love in real life.

My Thoughts

Love At First Like is a contemporary romance about financial pressures, fake engagements and finding love.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

Last Tang Standing by Lauren Ho

Blurb

Like all good Chinese children, Andrea Tang is doing her best to fulfil all her mother’s plans for her life: she’s on track to become partner at a top law firm in Singapore, she has a beautiful apartment in the right postcode and a perfect boyfriend who is practically made of husband material.

Except that those plans are unravelling fast: there’s an unfairly attractive new lawyer out to steal her promotion, she has credit-card debt up to her eyeballs, her perfect boyfriend is now her perfect ex-boyfriend and the last single cousin in her family just got engaged, leaving her exposed to romantic meddling on all sides…

My Thoughts

The Last Tang Standing is a contemporary romance about things going to plan, romantic meddling and family pressure.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

June

Just Saying by Sophie Ranald

Blurb

Alice thought she’d found Mr Right. Her blue-eyed boyfriend Joe gives her butterflies, makes her bacon sandwiches when she’s hungover, and doesn’t have a nickname for any of his body parts.

She should have known it was too good to be true. Because one day, Alice and Joe bump into Zoe. According to him, Zoe’s ‘just an old friend’. But Alice saw the way they froze, and heard the strange note in Joe’s voice when he said her name.

Then, out of the blue, Zoe needs a place to live. And Joe has the bright idea of inviting her, and her fluffy ginger cat Frazzle, to stay with them.

Alice tries her hardest not to feel threatened. But the thing is, Zoe doesn’t survive off microwave meals, or go days without washing her glossy copper-coloured hair, or accidentally get mascara in her contact lenses.

Joe’s ex might be pretty much perfect, but there’s no way that Alice will let Zoe steal him. She’s on a mission to prove that three (four, if you count the cat) is definitely a crowd…

My Thoughts

Just Saying is a contemporary romance about relationships, the other woman and other social issues.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

Meddling Kids by Edgar Cantero

Blurb

1990. The teen detectives once known as the Blyton Summer Detective Club (of Blyton Hills, a small mining town in the Zoinx River Valley in Oregon) are all grown up and haven’t seen each other since their fateful, final case in 1977. Andy, the tomboy, is twenty-five and on the run, wanted in at least two states. Kerri, one-time kid genius and budding biologist, is bartending in New York, working on a serious drinking problem. At least she’s got Tim, an excitable Weimaraner descended from the original canine member of the team. Nate, the horror nerd, has spent the last thirteen years in and out of mental health institutions, and currently resides in an asylum in Arhkam, Massachusetts. The only friend he still sees is Peter, the handsome jock turned movie star. The problem is, Peter’s been dead for years.

The time has come to uncover the source of their nightmares and return to where it all began in 1977. This time, it better not be a man in a mask. The real monsters are waiting…

My Thoughts

Meddling Kids is a contemporary novel about childhood, adulthood and overcoming- or dealing with – your demons.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

All Stirred Up by Brianne Moore

Blurb

Susan Napier’s family once lived on the success of the high-end restaurants founded by her late grandfather. But bad luck and worse management has brought the business to the edge of financial ruin. Now it’s up to Susan to save the last remaining restaurant: Elliot’s, the flagship in Edinburgh.

But what awaits Susan in the charming city of Auld Reekie is more than she bargained for. Chris Baker, her grandfather’s former protégé–and her ex-boyfriend–is also heading to the Scottish capital. After finding fame in New York as a chef and judge of a popular TV cooking competition, Chris is returning to his native Scotland to open his own restaurant. Although the storms have cleared after their intense and rocky breakup, Susan and Chris are re-drawn into each other’s orbit–and their simmering attraction inevitably boils over.

As Chris’s restaurant opens to great acclaim and Susan tries to haul Elliot’s back from the brink, the future brims with new promise. But darkness looms as they find themselves in the crosshairs of a gossip blogger eager for a juicy story–and willing to do anything to get it. Can Susan and Chris reclaim their lost love, or will the tangled past ruin their last hope for happiness?

My Thoughts

All Stirred Up is a contemporary romance about lost love, revisiting your past and cooking up romance.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

The Magnificent Sons by Justin Myers

Blurb

At twenty-nine, Jake D’Arcy has finally got his life just right. Job with prospects: check. Steady girlfriend: check. Keeping his exhausting, boisterous family at bay: check. So why isn’t he happier?

When his confident, much-adored younger brother Trick comes out as gay to a rapturous response, Jake realises he has questions about his own repressed bisexuality, and that he can’t wait any longer to find his answers.

As Trick begins to struggle with navigating the murky waters of adult relationships, Jake must confront himself and those closest to him. He’s beginning to believe his own life could be magnificent, if he can be brave enough to make it happen . . .

My Thoughts

The Magnificent Sons is a contemporary novel about family, sexuality and figuring out who you are.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

July

One to Watch by Kate Stayman- London

Blurb

OMBEA! Bea Schumacher is a devastatingly stylish plus-size fashion blogger with amazing friends, thousands of Insta followers – and a massively broken heart. Bea indulges in her weekly obsession: the hit reality show Main Squeeze. The fantasy dates! The kiss-off rejections! The surprising amount of guys named Ben! But Bea is sick and tired of the lack of body diversity on the show. Since whenis being a size zero a prerequisite for getting engaged on television?

Although Bea has sworn off men altogether, when Main Squeeze ask her to be its next star, she agrees on one condition: under no circumstances will she actually fall in love.

But when the cameras start rolling, Bea finds herself in a whirlwind of sumptuous couture, Twitter wars, sexy suitors, and an opportunity (or two, or five) to find messy, real-life love in the midst of a made-for-TV fairy tale. Bea has to decide whether it might just be worth trusting these men – and herself – for a chance at her own happily ever after.

My Thoughts

One to Watch is a contemporary romance about reality TV, romance and realising your worth.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

Ghosts by Dolly Alderton

Blurb

32-year-old Nina Dean is a successful food writer with a loyal online following, but a life that is falling apart. When she uses dating apps for the first time, she becomes a victim of ghosting, and by the most beguiling of men. Her beloved dad is vanishing in slow motion into dementia, and she’s starting to think about ageing and the gendered double-standard of the biological clock. On top of this she has to deal with her mother’s desire for a mid-life makeover and the fact that all her friends seem to be slipping away from her . . .

My Thoughts

Ghosts is a contemporary novel about family, figuring yourself out and finding love in your thirties.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

The Yes Factor by Erin Spencer and Emma Sable

Blurb

Liv just wants her best friend Bex to find love.

Bex just wants to stay in bed with Outlander.

With 40 just around the corner, divorced single mom Bex is too busy being a chauffeur for her teenage daughter to bother swiping for dates. 

Her best friend Liv, who is married to the supposedly perfect man, swoops in from London on a mission to get Bex out of her own bed and in to someone else’s. Liv pushes Bex into a week-long whirlwind of dates, awkward kisses and missed connections.

What could possibly go wrong when Bex agrees to Liv’s harebrained scheme of saying Yes to every possible suitor? And why is Liv so intent on fixing Bex’s love life, or lack thereof?

Just what do you find out when all of your no’s turn into The Yes Factor?

My Thoughts

The Yes Factor is a contemporary romance about friendship, figuring out dating in your thirties and finding the courage to say “Yes”.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

The Shelf by Helly Acton

Blurb

Everyone in Amy’s life seems to be getting married (or so Instagram tells her), and she feels like she’s falling behind.

So, when her boyfriend surprises her with a dream holiday to a mystery destination, she thinks this is it – he’s going to finally pop the Big Question. But the dream turns into a nightmare when she finds herself on the set of a Big Brother-style reality television show, The Shelf.

Along with five other women, Amy is dumped live on TV and must compete in a series of humiliating and obnoxious tasks in the hope of being crowned ‘The Keeper’. Will Amy’s time on the show make her realise there are worse things in life than being left on the shelf?

My Thoughts

The Shelf is a contemporary novel about falling behind, falling out of love and figuring out how to love yourself after a breakup.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

Breathless by Jennifer Niven

Blurb

You were my first. Not just sex, although that was part of it, but the first to look past everything else into me. Some of the names and places have been changed, but the story is true.

Claudine Henry was not supposed to spend her summer on this remote island off the coast of Georgia. 

She was supposed to be on a road trip with her best friend, spending every last minute together before they go to college. 

But after her father makes a shock announcement, she is exiled with her shaken mother, with no phone service and no one she knows. She is completely cut off. 

Until she meets Jeremiah. Free spirited, mysterious and beautiful, their chemistry is immediate and irresistible. 

They both know that whatever they have can only last the summer, but maybe one summer is enough…

My Thoughts

Breathless is a YA novel about family, finding your feet in a new place and falling in love for the firs time.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

How It All Blew Up by Arvin Ahmadi

Blurb

Eighteen-year-old Amir Azadi always knew that coming out to his Muslim family would be messy, but he wasn’t expecting it to end in an airport interrogation room. Now, he’s telling his side of the story to the stern-faced officer.

Amir has to explain why he ran away to Rome (boys, bullies, blackmail) and what he was doing there for a month (dates in the Sistine Chapel, friends who helped him accept who he is, and, of course, drama) . . . all while his mum, dad and little sister are being interrogated in the room next door.


A nuanced take on growing up brown, Muslim and gay in today’s America, HOW IT ALL BLEW UP is the story of one boy’s struggle to come out to his family, and how that painful process exists right alongside his silly, sexy romp through Italy.

My Thoughts

How It All Blew Up is a contemporary novel about race, romance and realising who you are.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

Olive by Emma Gannon

Blurb

OLIVE is many things.

Independent.
Adrift.
Anxious.
Loyal.
Kind.
Knows her own mind.

It’s ok that she’s still figuring it all out, navigating her world without a compass. But life comes with expectations, there are choices to be made, boxes to tick and – sometimes – stereotypes to fulfil. And when her best friends’ lives start to branch away towards marriage and motherhood, leaving the path they’ve always followed together, Olive starts to question her choices – because life according to Olive looks a little bit different.

My Thoughts

Olive is a contemporary novel about finding your feet, friendships and attitudes towards fertility.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

Sisters by Michelle Frances

Blurb

Is blood really thicker than water?

Abby and Ellie were never close as children. Now in their thirties, they each harbour deep-rooted resentment for the other – Abby for her sister’s looks and her status as their mother’s favourite. Ellie meanwhile is envious of Abby’s perfect husband and picturesque home, a villa on the sun-soaked Italian island of Elba.

When Abby invites Ellie to stay, both sisters see the break as a chance to relax and put aside their differences. But with their mother Susanna there too, all the simmering tensions of the past quickly rise to the surface. And Ellie suspects that Abby and their mother are keeping a dangerous secret . . .

But after a shocking act, the sisters have only each other to rely on. Vulnerable and scared, trusting each other will be the biggest risk of all . . .

My Thoughts

The Sisters is a contemporary novel about family, secrets and shocking twists.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa

Blurb

A wedding planner left at the altar. Yeah, the irony isn’t lost on Carolina Santos, either. But despite that embarrassing blip from her past, Lina’s managed to make other people’s dreams come true as a top-tier wedding coordinator in DC. After impressing an influential guest, she’s offered an opportunity that could change her life. There’s just one hitch… she has to collaborate with the best (make that worst) man from her own failed nuptials. 

Tired of living in his older brother’s shadow, marketing expert Max Hartley is determined to make his mark with a coveted hotel client looking to expand its brand. Then he learns he’ll be working with his brother’s whip-smart, stunning—absolutely off-limits—ex-fiancée. And she loathes him. 

If they can survive the next few weeks and nail their presentation without killing each other, they’ll both come out ahead. Except Max has been public enemy number one ever since he encouraged his brother to jilt the bride, and Lina’s ready to dish out a little payback of her own. 

But even the best laid plans can go awry, and soon Lina and Max discover animosity may not be the only emotion creating sparks between them. Still, this star-crossed couple can never be more than temporary playmates because Lina isn’t interested in falling in love and Max refuses to play runner-up to his brother ever again…

My Thoughts

The Worst Best Man is a contemporary romance about wedding planning, winning a breakup and wondering if there’s something more to a relationship.

(Read my full review of this book here).

You can buy this book on Amazon | Book Depository | AbeBooks

📚 📚

So that’s it for Part 2 of my “What I Read in 2020” posts. Have you read any of these books? What did you read in 2020? I’d love to chat in the comments 😊.

For more things books, baking and everything in between, you can find me on:

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3 thoughts on “What I Read in 2020: April – July

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