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Squadpod Squadpod Book Club The Squadpod Year In Review

Squadpod Recommends: 22 of 22

Happy New Year’s Eve! One of my favourie parts of this community is the Squadpod, the group of wonderful bloggers I am a part of. 2022 has been a brilliant year for us and we’ve been fortunate to help promote lots of fantastic books this year including All About Evie, Nobody But Us, The Dictator’s Wife, Meredith Alone and Bad Fruit. The cake blast for All About Evie was a higlight of 2022 for me and I am delighted that I overcame my fears to take part in interviews with authors such as Freya Berry and Ellen Alpsten.

Once again we have put together our lists of favourite reads of the year. It’s an even more diverse list than last year and I loved seeing the different books we enjoyed, as well as the ones that many of us picked as a favourite. Here are our individual lists. Keep reading to the end to find out our Squadpod Book of the Year and ultimate recommendations for 2022.

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Becca at Becca Kate Blogs

  • The Christie Affair by Nina de Gramont
  • The Maid by Nita Prose
  • Three Hours by Rosamund Lupton
  • The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola
  • A Fatal Crossing by Tom Hindle
  • One Night on the Island by Josie Silver
  • Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner
  • Rock Paper Scissors by Alice Feeney
  • The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
  • Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn
  • Welcome To Your Life by Bethany Rutter
  • That Green-Eyed Girl by Julie Owen Moylan
  • The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman
  • Meredith Alone by Claire Alexander
  • Do No Harm by Jack Jordan
  • All About Evie by Matson Taylor
  • Hello, Stranger by Rachel Marks
  • The Girl on the 88 Bus by Freya Sampson
  • Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
  • It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
  • Tell Me Everything by Laura Kay

Book of the year: The Maid by Nita Prose

Beth at Beth’s Booketlist

  • One Night on the Island by Josie Silver
  • One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
  • You and Me on Vacation by Emily Henry
  • Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan
  • It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover
  • The Sight of You Holly Miller
  • The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazewood
  • Me by Elton John
  • Grown by Tiffany D. Jackson
  • The Stranding by Kate Sawyer
  • Empire of the Vampire by Jay Kristoff
  • Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly
  • Meet Me Under the Misteltoe by Jenny Bayliss
  • The Island Home by Libby Page
  • Beyond the Wand by Tom Felton
  • The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah
  • In the Dream House by Carmen Maria Machado
  • Still Me by Jojo Moyes
  • Beach Read by Emily Henry
  • The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber
  • Aristotle and Dante Dive into the Waters of the Wrold by Benjamin Alire Sanez
  • The Woman They Could Not Silence by Kate Moore

Book of the year: One Night on the Island by Josie Silver

Cara at Welsh Book Lover

  • When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins
  • The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
  • Do No Harm by Jack Jordan
  • Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover
  • The Maid by Nita Prose
  • The Castaway by Lucy Clarke
  • Nobody But Us by Laure van Rensburg
  • Reckless Girls by Rachel Hawkins
  • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
  • The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren
  • The Retreat by Sarah Pearse
  • Bad Fruit by Ella King
  • November 9 by Colleen Hoover
  • The Housemaid by Sarah A. Denzil
  • The Road Trip by Beth O’Leary
  • Beach Read by Emily Henry
  • The Wife Upstairs by Rachel Hawkins
  • The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
  • The Cove by Alice Clarke-Platts
  • The Couple by Helly Acton
  • A Stranger in the House by Shari Lapena
  • The Glass House by Eve Chase

Book of the year: When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins

Ceri at Ceri’s Lil Blog

  • Meredith Alone by Claire Alexander
  • Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
  • The Attic Child by Lola Jaye
  • The Unravelling by Polly Crosby
  • When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins
  • Welcome To The Real World by Carole Matthews
  • The First Day of Spring by Nancy Tucker
  • The Bay by Allie Reynolds
  • Oh I Do Like To Be by Rachel Canwell
  • The Set Up by Lizzy Dent
  • You Only Live Once by Maxine Morrey
  • The Murder List by Jackie Kabler
  • The Killer’s Family by Miranda Smith
  • A Wedding at Hedgehod Hollow by Jessica Redland
  • What Next? by Shari Low
  • Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner
  • Locked Away Life by Drew Davies
  • Psychopaths Anonymous by Will Carver
  • The Gingerbread Cafe by Anita Faulkner
  • The Christmas Bookshop by Jenny Colgan
  • Wendy’s Winter Gift by Debbie Viggiano

Book of the year: Meredith Alone by Claire Alexander

Chloe from Reviews by Chloe

  • The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh
  • Just Got Real by Jane Fallon
  • Do No Harm by Jack Jordan
  • The Girls Who Disappeared by Clare Douglas
  • Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
  • A Terrible Kindness by Jo Browning Wroe
  • Two Nights in Lisbon by Chris Pavone
  • The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell
  • The Clockwork Girl by Anna Mazzola
  • The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes
  • The Wedding Party by Tammy Cohen
  • The Promise by Lucy Diamond
  • Sparring Partners by John Grisham
  • After the Rain by Lucy Dillon
  • A White Christmas on Winter Street by Sue Moorcroft
  • The Murder at Fleet House by Lucinda Riley
  • Take Your Breath Away by Linwood Barclay
  • The Curfew by T.M. Logan
  • Insomnia by Sarah Pinborough
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
  • Merrily Ever After by Cathy Bramley
  • Breathless by Amy McCulloch

Book of the year: Do No Harm by Jack Jordan

Claire at Secret World of a Book

  • The Burning Chambers and City of Tears Series by Kate Mosse
  • Elektra by Jennifer Saint
  • Off Target by Eve Smith
  • Small Angels by Lauren Owen
  • The Dance Tree by Kiran Millwood Hargreaves
  • Wisewood by Stephanie Wrobel
  • Argo by Mark Knowles
  • Arcadian Days by John Spurling
  • Stone Blind by Natalie Haynes
  • The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper
  • Summer Fever by Kate Riordan
  • Uraveller by Frances Hardinge
  • The Sea Women by Chloe Timms
  • Widdershins and Sunwise series by Helen Steadman
  • Love and Other Human Errors by Bethany Clift
  • Black Mamba by William Friend
  • The Ruins by Phoebe Wynne
  • The Whispering Muse by Laura Purcell
  • The Ghost Woods by C.J. Cooke
  • The Butcher by Laura Kat Young
  • House of Hunger by Alexis Henderson

Book of the year: Black Mamba by William Friend

Clare at The Fallen Librarian Reviews

  • Love and Other Human Errors by Bethany Clift
  • Little Sister by Gytha Lodge
  • Young Women by Jessica Moor
  • A Little Hope by Ethan Joella
  • The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn
  • The Kitchen Front by Jennifer Ryan
  • The Library by Bella Osborne
  • Home by Penny Parks
  • Fledgeling by Hannah Bourne-Taylor
  • The Reading List by Sara Nisha Adams
  • Meredith Alone by Claire Alexander
  • The Language of Food by Annabel Abbs
  • Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Mosse
  • The Very Secret Societ of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna
  • The Keeper of the Stories by Sally Page
  • Notes on an Execution by Danya Kukafka
  • The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy
  • The People on Platform 5 by Clare Pooley
  • More Than You’ll Ever Know by Katie Guiterrez
  • Opal Country by Chris Hammer
  • Daughter of the Moon Goddess/Heart of the Sun Warrior by Sue Lyn Tan
  • Heart of Earth & Blood/House of Sky & Breath by Sarah J. Maas

Book of the year: Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Mosse

Ellie at Elspells

  • I, Mona Lisa by Natasha Solomon
  • Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead
  • This One Sky Day by Leone Ross
  • Wahala by Nikki May
  • A Net For Small Fishes by Lucy Jago
  • The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins
  • The Marsh House by Zoe Somerville
  • Nobody But Us by Laure van Rensburg
  • When I Sing, Mountains Dance by Irene Solà translated by Mara Feye Lethem
  • How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang
  • That Green-Eyed Girl by Julie Owen Moylan
  • Love and Other Dramas by Ronali Collins
  • All About Evie by Matson Taylor
  • The Promise by Damon Galgut
  • The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper
  • The Heart of Redness by Zakes Md
  • The Dust Never Settles by Karina Lickorish Quinn
  • 10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World by Elif Shafak 
  • Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin
  • Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
  • Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu
  • The Dance Tree by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Book of the Year: Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu

Emma at Emma’s Biblio Treasures

  • Wahala by Nikki May
  • The Language of Food by Annabel Abbs
  • Nasty Little Cuts by Tina Baker
  • Keep It In The Family by John Marrs
  • Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn
  • Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
  • The No-Show by Beth O’Leary
  • Nobody But Us by Laure van Rensburg
  • Elektra by Jennifer Saint
  • Book Lovers by Emily Henry
  • Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
  • The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper
  • Do No Harm by Jack Jordan
  • Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney
  • Isaac and the Egg by Bobby Palmer
  • The Last Girl To Die by Helen Fields
  • Shrines of Gaiety by Kate Atikinson
  • All About Evie by Matson Taylor
  • The Pain Tourist by Paul Cleave
  • End of Story by Louise Swanson
  • Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boyland
  • The Mysterious Case of the Alperton Angels by Janice Hallett

Book of the year: End of Story by Louise Swanson

Hayley at The Lotus Readers Blog

  • The Maid by Nita Prose
  • The Last Girl To Die by Helen Fields
  • Black Hearts by Doug Johnstone
  • Meredith Alone by Claire Alexander
  • The Blackhouse by Carole Johnstone
  • The Sea Women by Chloe Timms
  • That Green-Eyed Girl by Julie Owen Moylan
  • The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn
  • Memphis by Tara M. Stringfellow
  • The Flames by Sophie Haydock
  • Take My Hand by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
  • Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu
  • Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn
  • The Theatre of Marvells by Lianne Dillsworth
  • The Marsh House by Zoe Somerville
  • The Unravelling by Polly Crosby
  • The Dazzle of the Light by Georgina Clarke
  • The Skeleton Key by Erin Kelly
  • House of Fortune by Jessie Burton
  • All About Evie by Matson Taylor
  • Demon by Matt Wesolowski
  • Caged Little Birds by Lucy Banks

Hayley at Shelf Lyfe

  • Now She Is Witch by Kirsty Logan
  • Unraveller by Frances Hardinge
  • The Witches of Vardø by Anya Bergman
  • Cunning Women by Elizabeth Lee
  • Becoming Ted by Matt Cain
  • Entangled Lifeby Merlin Sheldrake
  • The Book of Gothel by Mary McMyne
  • The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper
  • Sistersong by Lucy Holland
  • A Little Hope by Ethan Joella
  • The Beauty of Impossible Things by Rachel Donohue
  •  The Green Indian Problem – Jade Leaf Willetts
  • Perimenopause Power by Maisie Hill
  • Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M Danforth
  • The Dictator’s Wife by Freya Berry
  • Duma Key by Stephen King
  •  Spooky Ambiguous – featuring Penny Ayers, Michael Bartlett, Patrick Booth, Amaris Chase, Holly Anne Crawford, Ivor Daniel, Amanda Jane Davies, Daphne Denley, J. J. Drover, Harriet Hitchen, Rebecca McDowall, Jane Phillips, Angela Reddaway, Joe Robson, Margaret Royall, with illustrations by Lorna Gray
  • Salmacis by Elizabeth Train-Brown
  • Welcome to St Hell by Lewis Hancox
  • The Marsh House by Zoe Somerville
  • Women and Love by Miriam Burke
  • The Little Library Parties by Kate Young

Book of the year: Now She Is Witch by Kirsty Logan

Jackie at Jackie’s Reading Corner

Due to ill health Jackie didn’t complete a full list, but mentioned the following three books:

  • The Coffin Club by Jacqueline Sutherland
  • All About Evie by Matson Taylor
  • The Loyal Friend by A. A. Chaudhuri

Book of the year: The Coffin Club by Jacqueline Sutherland

Jen at Travels Along My Bookshelf

  • Violetta by Isabelle Allende
  • One Night on the Island by Josie Silver
  • The Flames by Sophie Haydock
  • Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
  • Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan
  • Nobody But Us by Laure van Rensburg
  • The Midnight House by Amanda Gerard
  • The People on Platform 5 by Clare Pooley
  • The Girl on the 88 Bus by Freya Sampson
  • The Bay by Allie Reynolds
  • Meredith Alone by Clare Alexander
  • On The Scent by Paola Totaro & Robert Wainwright
  • All About Evie by Matson Taylor
  • Love and Other Human Errors by Bethany Clift
  • Starling by Kristen Cram
  • Thunderstone by Nancy Campbell
  • Tess of The D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy
  • The Last Girl To Die by Helen Fields
  • Essex Dogs by Dan Jones
  • The Hastening Storm by CF Barrington
  • Bourneville by Jonathan Coe
  • The Whalebone Theatre by Joanna Quinn

Book of the year: Starling by Kristin Cram

Karen at Book Blogging Bureau

  • Love and Other Human Errors by Bethany Clift
  • The Retreat by Sarah Pearse
  • Caged Little Birds by Lucy Banks
  • Bad Fruit by Ella King
  • Isaac and the Egg by Bobby Palmer
  • Reasons To Go Outside by Esme King
  • The Summer Fair by Heidi Swain
  • Nobody But Us by Laure van Rensburg
  • The People on Platform 5 by Clare Pooley
  • A Tidy Ending by Joanna Cannon
  • The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper
  • The Language of Food by Annabel Abbs
  • Stepping Up by Sarah Turner
  • A Murder Before Evensong by Rev Richard Coles
  • Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband? by Lizzie Damilola Taylor
  • Essex Dogs by Dan Jones
  • The Dead of Winter by Nicola Upson
  • Reputation by Sarah Vaughan
  • The House at Helgyen by Victoria Hawthorne
  • Spring Tides at The Starfish Cafe by Jessica Redland
  • The Other Guest by Helen Cooper
  • The Key in the Lock by Beth Underwood

Book of the year: The Language of Food by Annabel Abbs

Kate at Rutherford Reads

  • Good Husbands by Cate Ray
  • Hello, Stranger by Rachel Marks
  • We Are Not Like Them by Jo Piazza and Christine Pride
  • The People Before by Charlotte Northedge
  • One Last Gift by Emily Stone
  • The Blame Game by Sandie Jones
  • The Bay by Allie Reynolds
  • The Other Guest by Helen Cooper
  • Daisy Darker by Alice Feeney
  • The Party House by Lin Anderson
  • The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh
  • Such A Good Mother by Helen Monks Tar
  • The Reunion by Polly Phillips
  • The Girl Who Left by Jenny Blackburn
  • Sun Damage by Sabine Durant
  • The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh
  • One of the Girls by Lucy Clarke
  • Tell Me Your Lies by Kate Ruby
  • Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins
  • Remember Me by Charity Norman
  • The Golden Couple by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
  • Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister

Book of the year: Good Husbands by Cate Ray

Kirsty at Kirsty’s Book Buying Addiction

  • Seven Exes by Lucy Vine
  • Preloved by Lauren Bravo
  • My (extra) Ordinary Life by Rebecca Ryan
  • The Love Hypothesis by Ali Hazelwood
  • The Imperfect Art of Caring by Jessica Ryn
  • Cornish Clouds and Silver Lining Skies by Ali McNamara 
  • The Little Bookshop of Love Stories by Jaimie Admans 
  • Healing Hearts at Bumblebee Barn by Jessica Redland 
  • Never Gonna Happen by Heidi Stephens
  • The Cornish Midwife by Jo Bartlett
  • The Summer Fair by Heidi Swain
  • Last Time We Met by Emily Houghton
  • We Just Clicked by Anna Bell
  • Talk Bookish To Me by Kate Bromely
  • The Girl on the 88 Bus by Freya Sampson
  • Peony Practice by Christie Barlow
  • The Blossom Tree of Dreams by Holly Martin 
  • Sunny Skies and Summer Kisses by Eliza J Scott
  • Just Got Real by Jane Fallon
  • Summer Kisses at Mermaid Point by Sarah Bennett 
  • The Key To My Heart by Lia Louis 
  • The Cornish Cream Tea Bookshop by Cresside Mclaughlin

Book of the year: Seven Exes by Lucy Vine

Sue at Brown Flopsy’s Book Burrow

  • The Unravelling by Polly Crosby
  • Wahala by Nikki May
  • The Dictator’s Wife by Freya Berry
  • Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu
  • The Rabbit Factor by Antti Tuomainen
  • A Little Hope by Ethan Joella
  • The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper
  • The Birdcage by Eve Chase
  • The Midnight House by Amanda Gerard
  • The French House by Jacquie Bloese
  • All About Evie by Matson Taylor
  • Love and Other Human Errors by Bethany Clift
  • Housebreaking by Colleen Hubbard
  • A Hundred Million Years and a Day by Jean Baptiste Andrea
  • Double or Nothing by Kim Sherwood
  • Christmas Eve at Cranberry Cross by Kate Forster
  • The Poison Machine by Robert J LLoyd
  • The Weather Woman by Sally Gardner
  • Every Shade of Happy by Phyllida Shrimpton
  • The Measure by Nikki Erlick
  • Opal Country by Chris Hammer

Book of the year: Love and Other Human Errors by Bethany Clift

Vikkie at Little Miss Book Lover

*Vikkie read over 300 books this year so has listed her 31 favourites as 22 was too small of a number after reading that many books.

  • Suicide Thursday by Will Carver
  • Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins
  • All the Wicked Games by Lauren North
  • If They Knew by Sophie Flynn
  • My Big Fat Fabulous Christmas by Lyndsey Gallagher
  • Someone Like You by Rachel Dove
  • Santa Maybe by Mary Jayne Baker
  • Love Untold by Ruth Jones
  • The Pain Tourist by Paul Cleave
  • Keep It In The Family by John Marrs
  • Running Scared by Manda Sue Heller
  • Genesis by Chris Carter
  • Just Got Real by Jane Fallon
  • The Family Remains by Lisa Jewell
  • The Dictator’s Wife by Freya Berry
  • The Serial Killer’s Girl by LH Stacey
  • Your Word or Mine by Lia Middleton
  • My Husband’s Killer by Laura Marshall
  • The Botanist by M.W. Craven
  • My Other Husband by Dorothy Koomson
  • Wrong Place Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
  • That Green-Eyed Girl by Julie Owen Moylan
  • Nobody But Us by Laure van Rensburg
  • The Loyal Friend by A. A. Chaudhuri
  • Hello, Stranger by Rachel Marks
  • The Last Party by Clare Mackintosh
  • All For You by Louise Jensen
  • Open Your Eyes by Heather Fitt

Books of the year: Suicide Thursday by Will Carver and Into the Dark by Fiona Cummins

Zoe at Zoe’s Book Nook

  • Hare House by Sally Hinchcliffe
  • When I Was Ten by Fiona Cummins
  • The Gosling Girl by Jacqueline Roy
  • The Love Songs of W E B Du Bois by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers
  • The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper
  • I, Mona Lisa by Natasha Solomons
  • Booth by Karen J Fowler
  • The Paris Apartment by Lucy Foley
  • The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi 
  • The Carnival Of Ash by Tom Beckerlegge 
  • Don’t Put Yourself On Toast by Freddy Taylor
  • After Dark by Jayne Cowie
  • Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister
  • That Green-Eyed Girl by Julie Owen Moylan
  • Wahala by Nikki May
  • The Secrets of Rochester Place by Iris Costello
  • Peach Blossom Spring by Melissa Fu
  • The Sanctuary by Emma Haughton
  • The Prisoner by B. A. Paris
  • The Gifts by Liz Hayder
  • Babel by RF Kuang
  • A Magic Steeped In Poison by Judy I Lin

Books of the year: Babel by RF Kuang and The Love Songs of W E B Du Bois by Honoree Fanonne Jeffers

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Squadpod Books of the Year and Recommendations

After putting together the books featured on everyone’s lists and tallying the books, we have two books of the year: All About Evie by Matson Taylor and The House with the Golden Door by Elodie Harper.

Next up is our stack of ultimate recommendations. There were so many books that got two or three votes this year so I only counted books that got four votes or more. Even so, there are so many in the stack that I couldn’t hold it this year! So, here are the 10 books that make up our Squadpod Recommendations for 2022:

I am so happy to see that half of the books in this stack are debuts and that the Squadpod promoted and championed five of the books featured.

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What were your favourite reads of 2022? Have we inspired you to pick up any of our favourites? Let me know in the comments below. And don’t forget to follow the Squadpod on our social chanels to keep up with all the exciting things we have coming in 2023:

Thanks for reading Bibliophiles xxx

*All purchase links are affiliate links

Categories
book reviews Emma's Anticipated Treasures Year In Review

21 Favourites of 21

It’s that time of year where we look back on the books we’ve loved most this year.

In 2021 I’ve read a total of 170 books (well, I will have by the end of tomorrow lol) so you can imagine that narrowing it down to just 21 was no easy task. I went back and forth over this list for weeks, struggling to get it down from 30 and then 25.

Thirteen of these book are by new-to-me authors, eleven are debuts and two are part of a series. Three of the author, Stacey Halls, Ellen Alpsten and Jessica Ryn, have had all of their books in my list of favourites in the year each was released and were all in my list of 20 favourites of 2020.

I plan to do a stack of the books that almost made it in the coming days so keep an eye on my social media for that. But for now, here are the 21 books I loved most in 2021:

The Lamplighters by Emma Stonex

The Lamplighters is a truly accomplished debut. Haunting, mesmerising and atmospheric, it tells the story of the disappearance of three men and their warring widows. Drenched in mystery and with a hint of the paranormal, it is a vividly told and addictive read that I devoured quickly. I loved that it was based on a true story, adding even more intrigue to this already fascinating tale.

Published March 4th 2021 by Picador. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Call Me Mummy by Tina Baker

This crazy psychological thriller still vividly lives rent free in my mind almost a year after reading. Like the author herself, this is a vivacious, darkly funny and compelling debut that I loved. It tells the story of every parents’ worst nightmare come true, of how longing can become twisted into evil, and the ripple effects of trauma and pain. Mummy remains one of the most terrifying creations I’ve read, mostly because I understand her and why she became who she is. If you love a well-written thriller then read this book.

Published February 25th 2021 by Viper Books. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot

I’m a sucker for a multi-generational friendship so I was immediately on board for a story about a seventeen-year-old girl and eight-three-year-old woman. Lenni and Margot are residents of the hospital’s terminal ward and build a friendship in the art room, telling their stories through paintings that illustrate the many highs and lows of their shared one hundred years. Hypnotic, mesmerising and heart-rending, this is a book that reaches into your soul and changes you forever. A story of life, death, all the magical moments in between.

Published February 18th 2021 by Doubleday. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Asylum by Karen Coles

Claustrophobic, haunting and addictive, The Asylum is a spectacular debut that doesn’t get enough love in my opinion. Exquisitely written, it transports you to the bleak, shadowy rooms of the asylum and the anguished recesses of Maud’s mind. Fans of historical and Gothic fiction will not want to miss this book.

Published April 1st 2021 by Welbeck. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Circus of Wonders by Elizabeth Macneal

Once again Elizabeth Macneal has created a masterpiece. Captivating, illuminating and consuming, I was under the spell of this story from start to finish. This is a story about the outcasts, about finding your place in the world and what it is to be human. Circus of Wonders is dazzling piece of historical fiction that is not to be missed.

Published May 13th 2021 by Picador. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Metal Heart by Caroline Lea

Oh, my heart. When I think of this book that is my first thought. A story about love, sacrifice, fear and survival set against the backdrop of a remote Scottish island during World War II, The Metal Heart is a breathtakingly beautiful story that I will never forget.

Published April 29th by Michael Joseph. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

Atmospheric, lush and evocative, Ariadne is a rich tapestry that swept me away. In this glorious debut, Jennifer Saint brings to life many of the familiar Greek myths through a new lens, tells them from the perspective of the women who were previously relegated to the sidelines. And it is utterly spectacular, sparking my obsession with Greek mythology. I loved it so much that I not only bought the beautiful hardback, but also the Waterstones special edition. This is a book that I recommend to everyone, whether you’ve previously been interested in Greek myths or not.

Published April 29th by Wildfire. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper

If Ariadne ignited my obsession with Greek mythology, The Wolf Den solidified it. The first in an exciting new trilogy, it tells the story of Amara, a former Doctor’s daughter sold into slavery and now one of the she-wolves at Pompeii’s infamous brothel. Lush, evocative and atmospheric I was transported to the doomed city’s dusty streets and immersed in Amara’s fight for survival and freedom. I am counting down to book two in May so I can find out what happens next.

Published May 13th by Head of Zeus. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Stranding by Kate Sawyer

The Stranding is a story about the end of the world. About humanity, love, hope and survival. Imaginative, original and utterly magnificent, it surpassed all my expectations. I still find it hard to believe this is a debut. Exquisitely written and beautifully observed, this was a masterclass in storytelling. I will certainly be buying anything Ms. Sawyer writes in the future.

Published June 24th 2021 by Coronet. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

This Is How We Are Human by Louise Beech

This is the book that I always recommend when anyone asks for a 2021 book they might not have read. A truly astonishing novel from an extraordinary talent, I think this book deserves to be on everyone’s reading list. It is a story about the nuances and complexities of being human that is full of heart, warmth and wisdom. A story that is unflinchingly honest and achingly real. I have a son with autism and am so thankful to Louise for writing a book that doesn’t show us a cliché, but a real person who is as individual as anyone else. Please read this book.

Published June 24th by Orenda Books. Buy here.
Read my full review here.

The Tsarina’s Daughter by Ellen Alpsten

Another masterpiece in the Tsarina series by Ellen Alpsten. Her debut novel, Tsarina, was one of my favourite books of 2020 and I am not surprised that the follow up was every bit as good. This time she tells the story of Elizabeth, daughter of Peter the Great, following her highs and lows after Russia is torn apart and her fortunes drastically change. The Tsarina’s Daughter is dazzling piece of historical fiction that I couldn’t put down and left me eagerly awaiting book three.

Published July 8th 2021 by Bloomsbury. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Before You Knew My Name by Jacqueline Bulbitz

A murder mystery with a twist, this startling debut tells the story from the perspective of the victim rather than those investigating the case. And this creative author goes even further, also highlighting what it is like to be the person who discovers the body, a person we rarely hear more than a passing sentence or two about in most thrillers. Timely, brave and thought-provoking, it stands out from the crowd of other thrillers. A must read for fans of the genre.

Published July 15th 2021 by Sphere. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Mrs England by Stacey Halls

Stacey Halls once again shows why she is a Queen of historical fiction and one of my favourite authors with this slow-burning novel. Atmospheric, eerie and full of menace, it follows Ruby, a Norlander Nurse, on her latest job caring for the four England children is West Yorkshire. But all is not quite what it seems with Mr. and Mrs. England, and secrets are slowly revealed in this haunting and twisty novel.

Published June10th by Manilla Press. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Beresford by Will Carver

Will Carver is an author with a quirky, twisted and original style that is all his own. And The Beresford is another outstanding example of his creative genius. It opens with a murder then follows the residents of The Beresford, a halfway house for the disillusioned and vulnerable that has a life of its own, living and breathing as much as the physical characters of the story. Seductive and unsettling, The Beresford is my favourite Will Carver book to date.

Published July 22nd 2021 by Orenda Books. Buy here.
Read my full review here.

The Last Library by Freya Sampson

The Last Library is my favourite uplit of 2021. A bibliophile’s dream, this is a hug in book form and is now one of my favourite books of all time. It follows a varied cast of characters as they fight to save their beloved local library from closure. It is a celebration of books and the power of stories, but also of community, friendship, kindness and courage. A charming, funny and uplifting story that I can’t recommend highly enough.

Published September 2nd by Zaffre. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Hidden Child by Louise Fein

A perfect family is fractured and torn apart when illness invades their lives and not only tests their strength, but makes them question their core beliefs and values in this extraordinary piece of historical fiction.  Powerful, moving and thought-provoking, this beautifully written story is one you won’t forget.

Published September 2nd by Head of Zeus. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Maid by Nita Prose

I was lucky to be selected as a VIP for the Tandem Collective readalong of this highly anticipated debut. A murder mystery that was also a balm for my soul, this book exceeded all expectations and was like nothing I’ve read before. I adored Molly, the heroine of this wonderful story. Quirky and endearing, the world would be a better place if we were all a little more like her. Nita Prose is an author with a bright future ahead and I have no doubt that this book will be a sensation when it’s released next year and I can’t wait to see the movie adaptation that is already in the works.

Published January 20th 2022 by Harper Collins UK. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Wish You Were Here by Jodi Picoult

A book about the pandemic doesn’t sound like something that would be on my list of top books, but Jodi Picoult has added her magical touch to make that so. A story about resilience, hope and survival that explores the fear and trauma of the pandemic and the limitless potential of the human mind. Beautiful, heartwarming and absorbing, I got lost in this book. I thought I knew what I was getting when I started reading, but I had no idea. When that twist comes it blows your mind and shakes you to the core. This is one of Ms. Picoult’s best books to date.

Published November 25th 2021 by Hodder & Stoughton. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

The Imperfect Art of Caring by Jessica Ryn

Sometimes you pick up a book and it is exactly what you need.  That was the case when I decided to read this book on a whim. Uplifting, heartwarming and hopeful, this is a beautiful story of friendship, community and forgiveness. Just as she did with her debut novel, Jessica Ryn has given us another everyday heroine to root for and I was behind Violet every step of the way. Ms. Ryn has solidified her place on my list of auto-buy authors and I can’t recommend her books highly enough.

Published November 25th by HQ. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

A Girl Made of Air by Nydia Hetherington

One of those books that is just as beautiful on the inside as it is on the outside, A Girl Made of Air is a mesmerising and magical tale. It tells the story of an nameless and unwanted protagonist, following her from the days as a neglected child living in a circus in England then all the way to New York, where she found fame as the greatest Funambulist of all time. For this dazzling debut, Nydia Hetherington merged Manx folklore, fairy tales, circus freaks and fiction to create a story about the strange and the extraordinary. My only regret is that I left it to languish on my shelf for so long. Pick it up now.

Published September 3rd 2020 by Quercus. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

Midnight in Everwood by M. A. Kuzniar

I am so glad that I saved this spellbinding story to read over Christmas as it is on Christmas Eve that most of the magic happens in Everwood. Marietta dreams of being a ballerina but her high society family have another path for her life that she must follow. As she prepares for final performance, Marietta discovers a hidden magical world full of wonder hidden in the scenery.  But this enchanting place holds magic darker than she ever imagined and Marietta soon finds herself fighting to find a way to break free of Everwood’s hold and return home.  A mesmerising debut sprinkled with magic, this is the perfect winter read.

Published October 28th 2021 by HQ. Buy here*
Read my full review here.

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BOOK OF THE YEAR

I have agonised for weeks over what book should be given the title of Book of the Year. I had two main contenders: Ariadne and This Is How We Are Human. It was only now, while writing this post and putting together my thoughts about the books, that it became clear which book would get the title. It is a book that lives in my heart and soul, one that I am passion about having other people read and that I truly believe has the power to educate and change minds. That book is This Is How We Are Human by the incomparable Louise Beech. If you’ve not read it, please do. And let me know your thoughts.

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Thanks for reading Bibliophiles Happy New Year and I will see you in 2022. Emma xxx

Categories
Year In Review

My 20 Favourites of 2020

I can’t quite believe that 2020 is over! It’s been a strange year and I think we’re all hoping that 2021 brings better things and that we can soon get back to a new normal.

It was my second full year of blogging and once again I read more than I had even hoped to. I had set my Goodreads challenge at 120 and managed to read 177. That’s 27 more than in 2019.

As you can probably imagine, reading so many books made putting together my favourite twenty books of the year a difficult task. That last spot in particular had four other books that I really wanted to include and it was a real struggle to know which should make the final spot.

Here is my list in the order that I read the books:

  1. Firewatching by Russ Thomas
  2. The Foundling by Stacey Halls
  3. Away with the Penguins by Hazel Prior
  4. Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
  5. The Switch by Beth O’Leary
  6. What’s Left Of Me Is Yours by Stephanie Scott
  7. What Lies Between Us by John Marrs
  8. Tsarina by Ellen Alpsten
  9. The Waiting Rooms by Eve Smith
  10. The Miseducation of Evie Epworth by Matson Taylor
  11. The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
  12. All The Lonely People by Mike Gayle
  13. A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
  14. Eudora Honeysett is Quite Well, Thank You by Annie Lyons
  15. The Meaning of Mariah Carey by Mariah Carey
  16. The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby
  17. The Burning Girls by C. J. Tudor
  18. The Extraordinary Hope of Dawn Brightside by Jessica Ryn
  19. The Smallest Man by Frances Quinn
  20. The Last House On Needless Street by Catriona Ward

Out of the final twenty, sixteen are by new to me authors, nine of them debuts. I found that 2020 was a strong year in terms of fantastic debuts, with others such as The Phone Box at the Edge of the World, Pine, The Memory Wood, The Wreckage, The Holdout, If I Can’t Have You, Dear Child, The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon, Shiver, The Push and The Thursday Murder Club standing out in particular.

So what almost made it? Contenders for this list included Three Hours, Pine, The Memory Wood, In Five Years, The Phone Box at the Edge of the World, If I Could Say Goodbye, The Push, Strangers, Dear Child, The Ice Cream Girls, All My Lies Are True and The Thursday Murder Club.

My favourite book of the year was not a difficult choice. Though there were many that were good enough to take the title, What’s Left Of Me Is Yours is the standout book of the year for me. I can honestly say that I’ve thought about this stunning debut every day since I read it in April. Do yourself a favour and read it if you haven’t already. I’m just hoping it’s not too long before I can read another book by the talented Stephanie Scott.

Did we have any of the same favourites? What was your book of the year? Let me know in the comments.

Keep an eye out for a post tomorrow with the top 20 lists of some other bloggers and which 2020 book we recommend most of all.

*Thank you to the tagged publishers for my #gifted ARCs.