Features · TBR Thursdays

TBR Thursday – Contemporary

Hello and welcome to another ‘TBR Thursday’.

In case you’re wondering ‘TBR Thursday’ is a feature where I pick five books from my TBR to share with you. They’re generally books that I feel are lesser known (have fewer ratings on Goodreads and/or I rarely see mentioned) and it’s basically an excuse to bring some more attention to these seemingly underrated books.

If anyone wants to join in you’re more than welcome to do so. I have a list of the year’s topics here. And would love the excuse to learn more about the books that you feel deserve some more appreciation. Feel free to link back to me, comment on this post or contact me via the contact page of my blog if you do join in and want me to link to your post here.

For the next four months I’m going to focus on four different genres that I want to read more of. So starting this series off is: Contemporary. I used to read this a lot then mostly stopped and I honestly don’t know why. I absolutely adore some books within the genre so I seriously need to start picking them up more frequently again. Here are five lesser known ones that I’d love to get read this year.

A Kiss In The Dark by Cat Clarke

When Alex meets Kate the attraction is instant.

Alex is funny, good-looking, and a little shy – everything that Kate wants in a boyfriend.

Alex can’t help falling for Kate, who is pretty, charming and maybe just a little naive…

But one of them is hiding an unbelievable secret, and as their love blossoms, it threatens to ruin not just their relationship, but their lives…

Why?

Cat Clarke has written some truly amazing books and they never fail to grip me. They’re twisty, compelling and can paint a pretty vivid picture of the awful things that people are capable of doing to one another. They also tend to tear at my emotions and make me feel on various individual’s behalves. So, as I’ve loved her other books, of course I want to read this one. I’m also pretty curious about the secret; how it’ll ruin their lives and what will happen when it comes out. This is definitely one I plan to pick up as soon as possible.

Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios

Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.

Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it’s too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she’s unable to escape.

Why?

Because apparently I like reading contemporary novels that are going to put me through an emotional ringer? I don’t know; I like reading about obsessive love and seeing how it can affect people. Charming, dangerous, controlling individuals can be fascinating to read about in some ways. Plus I’m hoping that in this case Grace will break free and find herself. Hopefully. And yeah I’ll admit I’m also a sucker for a pretty cover.

All Of This Is True by Lygia Day Peñaflor

Miri Tan loved the book Undertow like it was a living being. So when she and her friends went to a book signing to meet the author, Fatima Ro, they concocted a plan to get close to her, even if her friends won’t admit it now. As for Jonah, well—Miri knows none of that was Fatima’s fault.

Soleil Johnston wanted to be a writer herself one day. When she and her friends started hanging out with her favorite author, Fatima Ro, she couldn’t believe their luck—especially when Jonah Nicholls started hanging out with them, too. Now, looking back, Soleil can’t believe she let Fatima manipulate her and Jonah like that. She can’t believe that she got used for a book.

Penny Panzarella was more than the materialistic party girl everyone at the Graham School thought she was. She desperately wanted Fatima Ro to see that, and she saw her chance when Fatima asked the girls to be transparent with her. If only she’d known what would happen when Fatima learned Jonah’s secret. If only she’d known that the line between fiction and truth was more complicated than any of them imagined. . .

Why?

This book sounds like it’ll have a lot of drama in it and I personally love drama. So that alone made me want to pick it up instantly. Then I realized it was written in a pretty usual style and I was unsure about reading it. I definitely still want to though. I want to see what secrets everybody’s hiding and how things fall apart. Plus it’s about an author; what reader doesn’t love books that feature those?

The One We Fell In Love With by Paige Toon

Phoebe is caught between a rock and a hard place. Settle down and get married, or return to the French Alps to pursue her passion?

Eliza is in love with someone who is no longer hers. In fact, he probably never was… And her dream of becoming a musician seems to be spiralling down the drain.

Rose is out of a job and out of a boyfriend. To make matters worse, she’s been forced to move back in with her mother…

But these very different girls have one thing in common. Angus. The one they fell in love with…

Why?

Paige Toon is an author who I’ve wanted to read something by for a long time. A lot of her books are on my TBR actually but this is the one that always immediately springs to mind. Three very different girls connected by Angus, the guy they fell in love with. How do the stories intertwine? What brings them together, if anything? I’m really looking forward to this one and think it has the potential to be pretty beautiful to be honest. Fingers crossed anyway.

High School Queens by Zachary Ryan

They all thought they did a masterful job of keeping their secrets close to their chest. These stupid fools thought they were the high court of this kingdom, but they had no clue who was really pulling the strings. You might wonder to yourself, who would be that heartless to make them backstab their friends, expose other’s secrets, and lose their morals? You don’t need to know who I am, but you better remember my name, The Marked Queen.

Danielle, Andrew, Delilah, Aman, and Jasmine all are now faced with a mysterious villain whose one goal is to ruin each of their lives. They must protect their secrets at all cost, or they’ll be the next victim on Marked Day. They know what’s at stake, and they’ll stop at nothing to continue being: the rich spoiled girl, the normal teenager, the girl who isn’t banging the principal, the straight vlogger, and the girl who isn’t her dad’s punching bag. What happens when The Marked Queen changes up the game just in time for prom? Will each of our favorite puppets survive? Or are they willing to backstab each other just to keep up their personas? The only thing lost at this prom wasn’t going to be their virginity.

Why?

This book blurb immediately gave me Pretty Little Liars vibes and I love that. I love the mixture of secrets, drama, scandal and blackmail that seems to be promised here. I adore the idea of ‘The Marked Queen’ and can’t wait to see her pulling each of these girl’s strings. I’m sorry but I just love scandalous books featuring a lot of drama and surely everyone can agree that this blurb promises A LOT of that?

Have you read any of the books that I’ve mentioned here today? Do you have any overlooked books on your TBR? Do you have any contemporary book recommendations for me? Let me know in the comments section below, I’d love to hear from you.

Features · Literary Lists

Literacy Lists: Contemporary Books (On My TBR)

Over the next few months I’ve decided to focus these lists on four different genres that I want to start reading more of. The first of those that I’d like to mention is contemporary which I used to love yet hardly seem to pick up anymore. Why? I honestly don’t know. There’s a lot of it on my TBR; I just never seem to get around to reading it. And I honestly don’t understand why as some of it sounds absolutely amazing. These aren’t necessarily the top ten contemporary novels and series that I want to read but they are all ones that are pretty high up on my TBR. So, without further ado, let’s get started.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Hand

Let’s start this list off with something that I not only constantly hear about but which also sounds like it has the potential to be seriously sweet! The drama of these letters getting mailed really appeals to me and I’m super excited to pick these books up soon. They sound fabulous and I seriously hope that we get to read some of these letters during the book?

Sadie by Courtney Summers

I just know that this book is going to be a harrowing read at times. Not only is it by Courtney Summers but it’s about two sisters; one of them dead, the other who seems to have disappeared whilst searching for her. I love unraveling mystery stories so I know that I’ll love getting some answers whilst reading this book. I also know that books by this author tend to pack one hell of an emotional punch. But I’m ready for it…I think

Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne

I’m pretty sure that this book deals with OCD and anxiety and I’ve been kind of torn about reading it for a while as a result. On the one hand I want to read books featuring these things; on the other I’m always wary that the portrayal of them will let me down. I do seriously want to read this book though to see how Evie handles her struggles and to find out what makes this series, and author, so popular.

Monday’s Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson

This one sounds amazing although, again, I have the feeling that it has the potential to be another heart-breaker of a book. Still I’m desperate to get my hands on a copy of this and finally see what the stories like. The last line of the blurb, ‘ How can a teenage girl just vanish without anyone noticing that she’s gone?’ is haunting. It’s another mystery that I want to unravel and already I feel for Claudia.

Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher

Yep it’s another book with the potential to break my heart. I think I’m sensing some kind of theme here? I’m not sure how I haven’t read this book yet as it’s been on my TBR for ages. I’d love to watch the show soon but I’m determined to read the book first as I’m fed up of my recent habit of seeing the film/television show before picking up the book. With thirteen reasons for her suicide I have a feeling that this book will put me through an emotional ringer. I’m still somewhat curious as to what pushes Hannah so far though.

Genuine Fraud by E. Lockhart

I’m honestly not sure what to expect from this book but I know that I desperately want to read it. The blurb is kind of vague – I imagine intentionally – but with it’s mentions of bad romances, intense friendship and murder I’m intrigued to say the least. Besides which how I resist a title like this one? Something about it just really appeals to me

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

You know how earlier on I said that I was fed up of seeing the film before reading the book? Yeah…I’ve seen the film but still need to read the book with this one. I didn’t want to miss my chance to see it in the cinema though and I honestly thought the film was amazing. So, considering the adaptation and people’s love of the book, I’m pretty sure that I’m going to adore this once I finally pick it up. Although it’s going to be another painful book at times. This is definitely an odd theme here.

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon

I actually really like the sound of this but whilst writing this list up the Goodreads page for it worried me a little. I thought this was popular but maybe I was wrong as there seem to be a lot of low reviews there. But anyway I still want to read this book. I love the sound of these two characters with very different attitudes towards arranged marriage. I love the idea of them meeting at a summer program for aspiring web developers. And I’m hoping that the ‘opposites clash’ line means that maybe this will give me some enemies to lovers vibes?

A Semi-Definitive List Of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland

I think this is a contemporary? Or is it magical realism? Now I’m unsure but this is staying here for now. Either way I definitely want to check this one out. It sounds like it has the potential to have a sweet side but also sounds super intriguing in other ways too. I love the idea of this deeply personal list getting taken from Esther and can’t wait to see how she tackles her fears. I also love the unusual curse that her family has. This is definitely one that I hope to read soon.

The Geography Of You And Me by Jennifer E. Smith

I started this list with a sweet sounding book so why not finish it off with one too? I absolutely adore the sound of this one! It seems like it will have the perfect ‘meet cute’ moment at the start which I’m really looking forward to. Then it’s going to contain long distance contact through postcards and emails (I love it when books include these sort of things). So basically I want this now! I hope this lives up to my expectations because at the moment they’re pretty high.


So those are ten of the contemporary books that I’d most like to read. I managed to get a few sweet sounding ones in there but I somehow still managed to include quite a few that I’m sure will try and tear my heart apart too. Oops. Do you have anymore suggestions for me? I’m always open to them; no matter how long my TBR becomes there will always be room on it for more books.

What’s a genre that you’d like to read more of? Have you read any of these books? What’s your favourite contemporary novel and/or author? Let me know in the comments section below (:

Most Anticipated Reads 2020

Most Anticipated Thrillers & Contemporary 2020

Hello and welcome to my third and final ‘most anticipated’ list for 2020 releases, this time featuring twelve of the thrillers and contemporary novels on my TBR. I ended up with so many books that I was desperate to read that I decided to include some thrillers and contemporary novels separately – particularly as they’re two genres that I want to read more of. It was going to be a top five for each but…well you can see how that went. So without further ado let’s get this list started.

Thrillers:

The Perfect Mother by Caroline Mitchell

I honestly don’t know what to expect from this one but I’m seriously intrigued. When a young, penniless woman finds out she’s pregnant she decides to give her baby up for adoption. She can’t quite believe it when she finds out that a powerful celebrity couple want her baby. But when she arrives in their home things get a bit unsettling; and then she finds out there was another woman before her… one who hasn’t been seen since. How can you read a blurb involving such information and not immediately want to pick it up?

Eight Perfect Murders by Peter Swanson

This one features Mal who, years ago, compiled a list of the mystery genre’s most unsolvable murders only to discover that now someone is committing a series of murders that are eerily similar to those on his list. There’s mentions of famous mystery novels, secrets that Mal has kept from all those around him and a killer watching his every move. Basically it’s another book with a blurb that immediately made me think ‘I want it now!’

The Recovery Of Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel

Rose Gold spent years of her life believing she was seriously ill only to find out that actually the only issue was her mother’s ability to lie. After her mother spends five years in prison everybody is surprised when Rose Gold agrees to take her in. But she’s no longer ‘her weak little darling’ and has ‘waited such a long time for her mother to come home’. And now, with that information, I need to know why! I’ve got a feeling that this ones going to be incredibly dark and twisty.

You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen

Shay is struggling to find love, stuck in a dead end job and isolated whilst the Moore sisters have an unbreakable circle of friends and live a glamorous life where they can get whatever they desire. So seeing Shay thinks she wants their life. But what they really want is hers on this book’s blurb instantly intrigued me. Why? Why do they want hers? I can’t wait to find out and see how this unfolds.

The Familiar Dark by Amy Engel

As I thought the author’s previous thriller was fantastic I immediately knew that I had to read this when I saw it. This ones about a mother who loses her daughter and goes on a search for answers over what really happened. It sounds like it’s got another twisted family dynamic at the center of it all too. So I’m pretty intrigued by this.

He Started It by Samantha Downing

When their wealthy grandfather dies Beth, Portia and Eddie are all brought together again for the first time in years to fulfill his final wish and receive their inheritance. This is one family with a lot of secrets though; a missing person, an act of revenge, a man following their car… and then at least one of them is a killer with a body in the trunk. How on earth could I read that and not want to know more?

His & Hers by Alice Feeney

There are two sides to every story: yours and mine, ours and theirs, His & Hers. Which means someone is always lying. Intrigued yet? This story follows Anna, a TV news presenter, and Jack, a detective. Both end up involved in a murder investigation but one knows much more than they’re letting on. Whose telling the truth? And what is truly happening? With two points of view – I’d imagine from that first line that they’re also contradictory of each other at times – this seems like it’ll be an incredibly interesting read. As well as one that’ll keep you guessing.

Deadly Waters by Dot Hutchison

When a male student’s remains are found in alligator infested waters the university warns students to stay away from the reptiles, then another body is found and the link between the two is undeniable; both belonged to a fraternity with a reputation for preying on women. With every passing day those that know Ellie become increasingly convinced that she’s the vigilante killer responsible. ‘But if she is, stopping her might not be in everyone’s best interest…’ Another fantastically compelling sounding thriller. Plus the book that I’ve read by the author so far was incredibly good and disturbingly dark.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Every Riley Sager book is on my TBR right now and I can’t wait to finally start picking them up. This latest offering is about a woman returning to renovate the house that was made famous by her father’s bestselling horror memoir. The locals aren’t impressed by her father’s book and the house itself is fairly disturbing. Then the strange occurrences detailed in the book begin. Is the house truly haunted or ‘are there more earthbound—and dangerous—secrets hidden within its walls?’ I have a feeling that this one won’t just be incredibly compelling but probably pretty unnerving too.

The Perfect Guests by Emma Rous

Cover To Come

When she was growing up Beth was invited to stay with Nina and had a wonderful time until she was asked ‘to play a very strange game – and nothing was the same again.’ Now Nina appears in her life once again, needing them to play one final game. What exactly is this ‘game’? I need to know thanks to the blurb and I just… I can’t figure it out. So I’ll definitely be picking this up once it comes out.

The Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

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This ones blurb mentions three people whose lives are about to collide in a ‘shocking and unimaginable way’. Kate whose daughter comes home terrified after a strange man follows her home and who later learns that someone she knows was violently assaulted nearby. Owen whose lost his job, never had a girlfriend and stumbles into an online world full of lonely men where he meets William; a man in a similar position with a horrifying solution. And Saffyre, a troubled child whose been a patient of Roan (a child psychologist whose also Kate’s husband) for nearly two years; she’s basically dependent on him, and knows things about him that he wouldn’t want anyone, especially his wife, to know. OMG I need to read this. It sounds dark, twisted, disturbing and yet I need answers already. How on earth is this all going to come together?

Those Who Prey by Jennifer Moffett

Cover To Come

College life is nothing like Emily expected until the Kingdom finds her. With them she finds acceptance, friends, a potential boyfriend and gets the chance to spend the summer in Italy on a mission trip. But once there everything goes wrong; the passports of those involved are taken along with their money, contact with people back home is cut off and the Kingdom’s practices become increasingly manipulative and dangerous…then someone ends up dead. Yes I need this too! I’m incredibly curious and need to know more. I know this will be dark but it sounds amazing too!!

Contemporary:

What Kind Of Girl by Alyssa B. Sheinmel

I need this book! It’s about Mike Parker’s girlfriend showing up at school with a bruise on her face; a bruise she claims Mike gave her. But then why did she stay so long? And why go to the principal rather than the police? Sides are taken with some girls rallying around Mike and others crying out for his expulsion. ‘The only thing that the entire student body can agree on? Someone is lying. And the truth has to come out.’ And I need to know that truth now too! I have a feeling this is going to be one hell of a powerful book.

Moment Of Truth by Kasie West

Although I still need to read them – this year I’ll finally start! – Kasie West writes some absolutely stunning sounding books and this is no exception. It sounds like it could simultaneously be sweet and heart-wrenching as it’s central character Hadley starts learning some truths about herself. And the guy who crashes her swim meet sounds like an interesting puzzle to solve. Who is he? Why is he doing this? And, most importantly, will this be as cute as it sounds? Because, as I always say, I seriously need to start picking up more warm, fuzzy books!

The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson

From sweet to harrowing. Seriously I’d be surprised if this one isn’t a hard read but it sounds so, so good. It’s about May who feels lost, alone and angry after the school shooting that killed her twin brother and Zach whose life fell apart when his mother decided to defend the shooter. One night they meet and from there maybe they’ll both ‘figure out that surviving could be an option after all.’

Meet Me At Midnight by Jessica Pennington

And we’re back to adorable! See I do like the sound of some upbeat reads too! Anyway this one’s about two star swimmers who spend every summer trying to find the ultimate way to prank one another. Their plans are ruined when their antics get their families kicked out of their beloved lake houses. Then Sidney gets a note and everything changes; instead of pranking each other they team up to get revenge on the woman who kicked them out. A growing attraction follows… see cute, potentially funny and romantic!

All Eyes On Her by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn

This is the story of a boy and a girl who went into the woods but only the girl came back. What truly happened that day? The theories are countless. That, in itself, is enough to intrigue me but this book is told from the perspective of everyone except from the girl in question. Her best friend, her sister, her enemy and her ex-boyfriend all have their say. But what’s really the truth? I know that I want to find out.

Loveless by Alice Oseman

I’ve heard so many fantastic things about Alice Oseman’s books so this year will definitely be the year that I finally get reading them. This one sounds just as fascinating as the rest and follows Georgia who loves romance but feels loveless herself. She’s never had a relationship or even a crush but after a disastrous summer she starts to discover that maybe she doesn’t like anyone in that way; and maybe it’s okay.

More Than Maybe by Erin Hahn

Another wonderfully sweet sounding offering that I can’t wait to get my hands on. It follows Luke who wants nothing to do with fame and hides his gift, secretly hoarding songs in his bedroom at night. He also co-hosts a locally popular podcast with his twin brother and has an un-requited crush on music blogger, Vada. Vada is incredibly ambitious and has everything planned out; nowhere in her plan is Luke and yet his music knowledge makes her dizzy and when she hears him sing about a mystery girl she really wishes it was her. See, cute! And it sounds fascinating too. I get the feeling that this is the sort of contemporary I could happily curl up with and devour swiftly.

Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne

Cover To Come

It’s another upbeat, warm-hearted sounding novel! And it’s by an author who I’ve heard fantastic things about. This is about Ruthie whose worked at the front desk of a retirement villa for six years and Teddy whose spent his time partying, sleeping in late and tattooing himself whilst bored. When his father sends him to work at the villa Ruthie hatches a plan to get rid of him – offering him up as the latest personal assistant for her two wealthiest and most eccentric residents. Nobody else has lasted a whole week but somehow Teddy succeeds. Then Ruthie finds out his father, a wealthy property developer, is planning to sell the complex, leading her to question everything. To me this whole story just sounds utterly charming and as if it has the potential to be seriously hilarious as well!

Wonderland by Juno Dawson
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Whenever I go in Waterstones lately I see books by Juno Dawson among their most popular YA offerings which has led me to seriously want to check them out soon. This one is said to be ‘a searing exploration of mental health, gender and privilege’ and from the blurb it sounds like a pretty unique take on Alice In Wonderland. The central character’s best friend goes missing and in her hunt for answers Alice finds a mysterious invitation to ‘the party to end all parties’. But once there Alice is alone, miles from home, without her essential medication and unable to trust anyone, not even herself. I’m so intrigued by this one. It sounds like nothing else that I’ve ever read!

Today Tonight Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

Not only have I heard fantastic things about the author’s previous two books but I also adore the sound of them. So fingers crossed that I’ll read all three of them at some point in 2020. This one sounds like it could be the perfect contemporary YA novel for me. Firstly it’s enemies to lovers!! Which I absolutely adore. Secondly it focuses on two rival overachievers who are forced to team up when they learn that a bunch of seniors are out to get them during Howl. They plan to wait until they’re the only two left then destroy one another. It’s set over the course of one day and sounds amazing!

Influence by Sara Shepard & Lilia Buckingham

I love reading books by Sara Shepard, they tend to be so scandalous, gossipy and addictive. Once picked up I find them impossible to put down so naturally this is on my TBR. It’s also about influencers and the world of internet stars. It follows four such individuals as one of them is about to get seriously burned. I just know that I’ll love this.

The Assignment by Liza M. Wiemer

And the last book that I’m listing is another harrowing sounding one. But so, so important too. It’s the story of what happens when a favourite teacher gives out an assignment within which the students are asked to argue for ‘the final solution’ and two of them refuse to participate in the appalling debate. It shows what happens as the student body, parents and larger community are forced to deal with the issue. And I’m sure I heard that it’s based on a true story which is absolutely appalling; how could an assignment like this ever possibly be set?


If I was sure whether or not it’s out in 2020 then The Cousins would also definitely be included in this list because I’m seriously itching to get my hands on a copy of it. As I’ve seen conflicting informatiion concerning it’s release date I’ve left it off this list however.


So those are my most anticipated thrillers and contemporary novels of 2020. Are you looking forward to them? What other thrillers and contemporary novels are you counting down the days to? What genre would you like to read more of in 2020? Please do let me know in the comments section below as I’d love to hear from you.

Please note I’m currently on a semi-hiatus but I’ll be back sometime in January. After doing a lot of blog post planning I needed a bit of a break. But I’ll try to check in with comments a couple of times a week (probably after the first week in January as I would like a total blogging break over Christmas) and try to read other people’s posts fairly regularly so that I don’t totally fall behind.