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Handwritten Girl’s Top 12 Books Of 2020

Top 12 Books Of 2020It’s fair to say that 2020 has been a strange old year. For some of us, we either lost our reading mojo and for others, we discovered a new passion that helped us escape the chaos of the world.

For me, my reading dipped regularly. Sometimes, I couldn’t be found without a book in my hand and other times, I left a pile of half read books in my path unable to find one to catch my attention.

If you’re looking for book ideas for yourself or for others for Christmas, check out my top 12 books of 2020, for some ideas.

Click on the links to read my thoughts on the books and why these books might appeal to you.

‘The Dilemma’ by ‘B.A. Paris
‘The Minute I Saw You’ by Paige Toon
‘The Other Passenger’ by Louise Candlish
‘Grown Ups’ by Marian Keyes
‘My One True North’ by Milly Johnson
‘The Last Charm’ by Ella Allbright
‘My Dark Vanessa’ by Kate Elizabeth Russell
‘Just My Luck’ by Adele Parks
The Lockdown Diary of Tom Cooper’ by Spencer Brown
‘The Flipside’ by James Bailey
‘Invisible Girl’ by Lisa Jewell
‘After The Silence’ by Louise O’Neill.

Although these books are available on Amazon, please consider buying from an independent bookseller to help supporting local businesses during this time.

The Therapist By B.A. Paris

The Therapist‘The Therapist’ is the latest book by Sunday times bestselling author B.A. Paris.

When Alice and Leo move into a newly renovated house in The Circle, a gated community of exclusive houses, it is everything they’ve dreamed of. But appearances can be deceptive. As Alice is getting to know her neighbours, she discovers a devastating, grisly secret about her new home, and begins to feel a strong connection with Nina, the therapist who lived there before. Alice becomes obsessed with trying to piece together what happened two years before. But no one wants to talk about it. Her neighbours are keeping secrets and things are not as perfect as they seem.

B.A. Paris has rapidly become one of my favourite authors after reading her debut novel called ‘Behind Closed Doors’/

It’s now the norm for me to read her books in one sitting and ‘The Therapist’ was no different. Although, I did stupidly start the book before bed one night, intending to read only a chapter or 2 but ended reading 24 instead and unable to put it down the following day!

The story is seen through the narrative of Alice, who’s just moved into her new house with her boyfriend Leo. After months of only seeing each other at the weekends, they decided to give their relationship a proper go with buying a house together. Having left the comfort of her country cottage, Alice moves into the private, gated community, home to professional couples and families. It’s at her house warming party that she meets her neighbours and is surprised at their coolness towards her. But Alice is determined to male friends and is horrified to discover that one day, a man turns up telling her that a woman called Nina was brutally murdered in the house.

Alice is distraught that Leo had kept this information from her and so begins the breakdown of their relationship and Alice’s fascination into Nina’s death and her own quest into finding out who really killed Nina.

The story is filled with paranoia and suspense as Alice begins to discover flaws in Nina and in her new friends with the secrets that they keep. As the story develops, it’s difficult to sometimes tell the difference between what’s real and what’s not as Alice is a bit of an unreliable narrator at times and other people including Leo are seen as a potential threat.

I loved this story, it’s well written and paced with short and snappy chapters that really engage the reader. I speak from experience! Alice is a great protagonist, she’s complex and finds a connection in Nina, as she shares the same name as Alice’s sister who is also dead and hopes that with finding Nina’s killer, will give her some peace even if that means making some enemies along the way.

The story is not only seen from Alice’s perspective but there is also an unknown therapist meeting their patients for the first time.

Atmospheric and filled with paranoia and suspense throughout, ‘The Therapist’ is a gripping guessing game with unsettling moments and suspicious characters that keeps the reader on their and is another terrific roller coaster of a story from B.A. Paris.

You can pre-order ‘The Therapist’ from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 7th January 2021.

The Dilemma By B.A. Paris

The DilemmaB.A. Paris is back with a new book called ‘The Dilemma’.

It’s Livia’s fortieth birthday and tonight she’s having a party, a party she’s been planning for a long time. The only person missing will be her daughter, Marnie. But Livia has a secret, a secret she’s been keeping from Adam, her husband, until the party is over. Because how can she tell him that although she loves Marnie, she’s glad their daughter won’t be there to celebrate with her? Adam is determined everything will be just right for Livia and the party is going to be perfect… until he learns something that will leave him facing an unbearable decision. One day that will change a family forever.

Queen of suspense, BA Paris is back with a new domestic drama that I consumed in one day! Filled with twists and turns, the only time I could put the book down was when I stopped for tea.

As per BA’s previous novels, the story starts at the moment that something huge has happened and then travels back to the point leading up to it.

I really enjoyed this story, the duel narratives and insights gave a clever twist to the story that really did grab my attention. Seen from the narrative of husband and wife Livia and Adam, Livia finds out something terrible about her daughter and doesn’t want to ruin or cancel her party whilst Adam also finds out something terrible and also doesn’t want to ruin the day that his wife has wished for. It makes for interesting reading as the couple try to enjoy a significant day in their lives, but both are harbouring secrets that make it unbearable for each other.

I thought Livia was an interesting character who put much thought and effort into her 40th birthday party to make up for the small wedding that she had when she was younger and how Adam supported her on this flamboyant affair. But on a day that is meant to be memorable for happy reasons, is a day that both partners find themselves battling with morals and when to do the right thing.

An unique and fast paced thriller that really got inside my head about secrets, morals and relationships, BA has produced a book that stays with the reader long after they read the last page. ‘The Dilemma’ is a clever and emotional story that was riddled with drama tension throughout and had me racing through the pages

You can buy ‘The Dilemma’ from Amazon and is available to buy from good bookshops.

Merry Christmas From Handwritten Girl

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Christmas is nearly upon us and I’ve found myself writing my annual sign off instead of wrapping presents that are still in their bags. Last minute as always!

This year was a great year for books and I’ve even listed my top ten books for 2017, just incase you are looking for a few last minute stocking fillers.

It was also a great year for Handwritten Girl, as I attended the Bord Gais Energy Book Awards for the first time and had an amazing time meeting some of Ireland’s finest literary talent ans well as spending Halloween weekend learning about the dark and interesting world of crime writing.

Before I sign off, I would like to say a huge thank you to all the lovely publishers and authors who introduced me to some of the most wonderful books this year, from intense thrillers to happy romances, there’s something for everyone to curl up with during the cold winter nights.

Most importantly, thank you to the readers of the website for taking the time to read a review, tweet, Favourite or Like a post, your support is appreciated tremendously. I hope you all have a safe and relaxing Christmas and receive loads of treats from Santa Claus, especially books as there are some great ones out there.

Have a Happy New Year and I shall see you in 2018.

Handwritten Girl’s Favourite Books of 2017.

1. The Break by Marian Keyes
2. Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
3. Final Girls By Riley Sager
4. Bring Me Back By BA Paris
5. You, Me, Everything by Catherine Issac
6. The Summer of Impossible Things By Rowan Coleman
7. The Last Piece of My Heart by Paige Toon
8. Good Me, Bad Me by Ali Land
9. A Song For Tomorrow By Alice Peterson
10. The One By John Marrs

Bring Me Back By BA Paris

Bring Me Back‘Bring Me Back’ is the latest book by BA Paris.

The Disappearance.
Twelve years ago Finn’s girlfriend disappeared.
The Suspicion.
He told the police the truth about that night. Just not quite the whole truth.
The Fear. Now Finn has moved on.
But his past won’t stay buried…

I first became aware of BA Paris, when she released her debut last year called ‘Behind Closed Doors’, a dark and gripping story about the complexities of a controlling relationship. I consumed that book in a day. I then read her next book called ‘The Breakdown’ at a hairdressers appointment where I spoke to no-one, as I was so absorbed in the story.

So. when I heard that she was back with a new book called ‘Bring Me Back’, I knew that it was going to be another great story that really hooked my attention, particularly with the hashtag #ForgetSleep.

I began to read this book late one evening and reluctantly put it down, as I had to go to work the following day. But with its short and snappy chapters and them all ending with an addictive hook, I found it impossible to put down.

The story is primarily seen through the eyes of Finn, a man who was hopelessly in love with Layla, a young woman he met on New Year’s Eve. They had an intense and passionate affair, until one day in France whilst on holiday, she disappeared. Now, twelve years later, Finn is about to marry her sister Ellen. When, suddenly he starts to find tiny Russian dolls dotted about his home and throughout his day and he begins to wonder has Layla returned, as she had a tiny Russian doll when he met her.

The tale is written in the past and present tense and gives us a great insight into Finn, his personality and how he became the man that is now. He’s a confident and successful man who’s content in his life, but never quite managed to get over the woman who suddenly left his life. As a controlling character, he has so many unanswered questions, he’s hoping that now they may finally be answered. Layla is quite an intriguing character, she’s mysterious, whilst her sister Ellen is quite boring in comparison, she’s settled in her ways and seems thankful that Finn loves her.

As well as Finn’s narrative, there’s also another unknown voice in the story adding an element of mystery to the tale.

I’ve come to the point, where I thoroughly adore BA’s writing, she’s the queen of psychological thrillers. She’s so skilled at writing psychological tales that really pull the reader in. Cleverly engaging their attention at every twist and turn and keeping them on their toes. Dark and compelling, with a bleak and atmospheric backdrop that made for bittersweet reading in parts, ‘Bring Me Back’ is a twisted tale of love and obsession and just how far we will go, to be with the one we love. You will most definitely #ForgetSleep when you start this book.

You can pre-order Bring Me Back from Amazon and will be available to buy from good bookshops from 8th March 2018.