Top Ten Tuesday

This is a weekly meme now hosted by That Artsy Girl Reader.  This week’s theme is  Favorite Books of 2020. I read mostly middle-grade, so I’ve made my selection from the 134 middle-grade books I’ve read this year, and I must admit, it was NOT easy as I’ve been so lucky to read so many amazing books this year. These are in no particular order and are mostly fantasy as that is where my heart lies with reading.

What an absolutely superbly spine-tingling story!  The Haunting of Aveline Jones is a satisfyingly chilling, tension-filled and eerily atmospheric story, and is the perfect read for a cold, dark evening. I absolutely loved this story which is just a really brilliant ghost story. I can’t wait for the next in the series.

Darkwhispers is the absolutely gripping sequel to Brightstorm where we once again join the Brightstorm twins and the crew of The Aurora on another action-packed, thrilling adventure, but this time into the heart of the jungle, on a mission to rescue Ermitage Wrigglesworth, a famous explorer who has gone missing. Vashti Hardy is an absolute must-buy author for me; I can’t wait to read her next two books, Harley Hitch and the Iron Forest (out in April) and Crowfall (out in July).

I loved the first adventure to Eerie-on-Sea, Malamander and Gargantis is even better. This is a thrilling, edge-of-the-seat adventure to discover the truth of an intriguing ancient legend … a superb mystery that kept me on tenterhooks throughout, trying to second guess the ever-twisting plot, which was just as electric as the storm.  I cannot recommend this highly enough, and can’t wait for the next legend of Eerie-On-Sea to unfold. Shadowghast is being released in September, and I can’t wait to return to Eerie-on-Sea to solve another mystery with the wonderful Herbie and Violet.

Boy, Everywhere is such a powerful story that utterly captured me, broke me and opened my eyes. This tells the story of Sami and his family who become refugees in order to escape their home city of Damascus after a bombing. They lose so much in order to make a harrowing journey which is heart-breaking to read. The courage, strength and resilience shown by the family is incredible. This is a story that will stay with me for a long time.

The Midnight Guardians is an exciting, heart-warming and humorous adventure which seamlessly blends history and fantasy into an unforgettable, magical story. I adored the three Guardians who are Col’s childhood imaginary friends come to life. It has the feel of a classic and is one I will definitely want to re-read.

I have loved all of Sophie Anderson’s books and The Castle of Tangled Magic is no exception. This is an intricate, magical and truly beautifully told story that transported me to a world I didn’t want to leave, a world inspired by Slavic folklore and daring adventure where family and friendship triumph, and where the goodness in others overcomes prejudice and fear.  The ending brought the biggest smile of contentment I think I’ve ever experienced on finishing a book – sheer perfection!

I am such a huge fan of Kiran Millwood Hargrave stories, and have loved all of them and dare I say it: this one is now my favourite. The writing is exquisite and completely and utterly drew me into this richly drawn world. This story is breath-taking and took me on an incredible journey filled with danger, secrets and revelations above and beneath the city. It flows beautifully just like the hidden river within, and captured me completely. It both chilled my heart and warmed my soul. This is a story of love, of family, of forgiveness and hope. There is a perfect composition of darkness and light, played through the words of a master storyteller.

A Kind of Spark is such a powerful story which I really couldn’t put down and devoured in a single sitting. There was definitely tears, anger and frustration but also an overwhelming admiration for Addie. She is the most inspirational young autistic girl who is determined to fight for a memorial to commemorate the women who were killed as witches in her town. The Finally, on Empathy Day, I read A Kind of Spark which is such a powerful story which I really couldn’t put down. There was definitely tears. Addie is the most inspirational young autistic girl who is determined to fight for a memorial to commemorate the women who were killed as witches in her town. The parallels between how she is treated and how the witches were treated are brilliantly drawn, and I so loved that she had the inner strength and determination to fight for what she so strongly believed in.

Wundersmith is exhilarating, brimming with action, tension and some dark moments.  I loved the relationships between Morrigan and her patron, Jupiter who believes in her goodness, and with her loyal friend Hawthorne who adds some lightness to the darker tone of some of this story. This book absolutely epitomises the wonder that comes from a story that immerses the reader in an incredible reading experience, and transports them into a world which they don’t want to leave behind.  I now need to read Hollowpox!

Jungledrop is an exhilarating, magical adventure brimming with action, excitement and warmth which is set in a stunning glow-in-the-dark rainforest.  It is the second book in the Unmapped Chronicles series after the equally superb Rumblestar. This is an absolute must-read: a heart-warming magical fantasy that swept me into an incredible, action-packed adventure in a sumptuously rich world, and kept me enthralled throughout and left me, as always, in awe of Abi’s sheer story-telling brilliance!

Have you read any of these? What have been your favourite reads this year?

10 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday

  1. I want to read some or all of Kiran’s books in 2021, especially Secret Of Birds And Bone because I love the cover! I was disappointed by Aveline Jones unfortunately, but loved the cover (I just really love covers 😭) and the sequel’s cover is somehow even better than the first book.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Kiran is a must-buy author for me. I’ve read all her adult, young adult and middle-grade books and have loved them all. Her writing is incredibly powerful. So looking forward to seeing what she does next.


      1. I always struggle as I either have excellent taste in choosing books or am easy to please (I like to think the former!) because despite the struggles I have read many absolute winners this year for different reasons and my responses would be very emotional based like the book that made me think x or the book that made me cry etc

        Liked by 1 person

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