adult Books Fiction nonfiction

My Top 10 books of 2020

Wow, can you even believe that 2020 is coming to an end? For some this year has dragged on, but for myself, it has flown by.

Of course it has been a difficult and challenging year for most, but today’s post focuses on something positive. One of the good things that came out of it was that I was able to really embrace my love of reading. I started my own Bookstagram account as well as my blog.

I will be sharing my top 10 books of 2020. Now these are just books I read in 2020, not all of them were published this year. These are all books I have reviewed on my Bookstagram page and some on my blog. I have also linked them to goodreads so that you can check them out and add them to your TBR list.

This list is in no particular order. There are a few thrillers, medical non-fiction and a couple of fantasy novels as well.

1. Mermaid Fillet by Mia Arderne

I am all about supporting local authors and when the local author happens to be from my home city that’s an even better bonus. This crime novel also has a supernatural element. Based in Cape Town, which is my hometown, it was relatable, but unpredictable. Covering important topics affecting us at present.

I was absolutely blown away by Mia’s debut novel, with its complex characters, to the well thought out storyline that keeps hooked from page one. This is a must read!


The only human ever born wearing Jordans receives a DM on Twitter after a gang-related hit. The mission: Find the Tamagochi, or else! This is the story of a banggat, a main ou, a genuine ou, a malnaai and a Twitter user. A story where dark and fantastical experiences are intricately woven to tell the tale of a network of wannabe gangsters, a wife fanning herself with her husband’s money in the Northern Suburbs and a sturvey twenty-nine-year old living in Woodstock.
In Cape Town, there’s a Goddess who casts raging red storms when female bodies are abused. It’s a place where women try to redefine their space in society and highly coveted mermaid tails are traded for R4 000/kg.
Mermaid fillet is about violence, feminism and how you dala what you must.

2. Everything is Lies by Hellen Callaghan

I had read a previous novel by this author earlier in the year, which wasn’t really a favorite of mine, but because I had this one on my shelf, I decided to go into in with an open mind and boy was I glad that I did. This was one of my absolute favorite thrillers of 2020 and whenever someone asks for a thriller recommendation, this one is high up on that list. The story line is captivating and with a twist I did not see coming, this book with hold your attention up until that very last page.


Sophia knows her parents to live quiet and unsuspecting lives, until one day she returns home and finds her mother’s body hanging from a tree and her father barely alive after having sustained stab wounds.
The police are quick to rule it a murder-suicide case, but Sarah knows that her mother would never have done something like this.
She is determined to find out the truth behind what happened to her parents, but she slowly learns that all is not what it seems. 
There are family secrets to be uncovered and it turns out that….Everything Is Lies.

3. Last Time I Lied by Riley Sager

Riley has quickly become a favourite of mine and is now on my list of auto-buy authors.

Last Time I Lied is Riley’s second novel and I can tell you his writing keeps getting better. With twist after twist, I was left speechless as I turned that last page.

This is one author who knows how to write a thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the end.


During her stay at Camp Nightingale Emma is allocated to stay in a cabin for 3 older girls. Vivian, Natalie and Alison. One night the three girls sneak out while Emma watches and they are never to be seen again. 
After this tragedy, the camp closes its doors for many years.
Fast forward to a grown up Emma who is a budding artist on the New York scene. Her art catches the attention of Francesca Harris-White, the owner of camp Nightingale. She contacts Emma and tells her that she is re-opening the camp and would like her to return as a counsellor and art teacher. 
Unsure at first, Emma decides that she needs to return to find out exactly what happened so many years ago.
Secrets are uncovered and it is clear that things are not what they seem at Camp Nightgale.

4. You Can Trust Me by Emma Rowley

Before picking up this book, I had not read anything else by Emma Rowley, but I can safely say that I will definitely be on the look out for other work by this author.

For a completely thrilling and unputdownable read, you need to check out this one. True to the thriller genre and told from the perspectives of the two main characters, you really won’t know who you can trust.


Olivia Hayes is a well know Instagram influencer, also described as a ‘domestic goddess’ 
She has millions of followers online and now she will be releasing her very own book which will be written by ghostwriter Nicky Wilson. 
She lives in a gorgeous house, has a wonderful husband and a young daughter. 
She has the perfect life, or so it may seem.
What her followers don’t know is that she has a dark past filled with tragedy and secrets and will do anything to keep it out of the public’s knowledge. 
As Nicky starts finding out more about Olivia, she starts finding out secrets about her past that she would rather have left buried.
What is Olivia trying to hide and why can’t Nicky leave it alone? 

5. Sweet Pea and In Bloom by C.J. Skuse

Ok, so technically these two make my list top 11 and not top 10 of 2020, but I couldn’t mention the one without the other. With a psychopath protagonist who has you rooting for her all the way, this gives me “YOU” vibes, but in a completely original way. CJ Skuse knows how to keep the reader hooked,

Rhiannon is a complete definition of psychopath. She is foul-mouthed, dark and devious, but you can’t help finding yourself liking her. I cannot wait for the third book in the series.

About this book:

Rhiannon Lewis, seems like your average young woman, she’s unassuming, has a mundane job, a steady boyfriend. Pretending everyday to be someone she is not so that she can fit in without arousing any suspicion. No one would guess that she’s got a kill list and is hungry for blood🩸 
Do not get on her bad side, you will regret it.

6. This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay

This was probably the most relatable book I have read all year. Being a doctor and working in general medicine myself, I felt like I was reliving my years as a junior doctor while reading this book. Written in the form of diary entries with footnotes that will having you giggling to yourself like a small child, you will end up flying through this book. And no, you do not need to be in the medical field to enjoy this book.

About this book:

Adam Kay writes about his time spent working as a junior doctor for the NHLS, the hard truths with some of the most bizarre and entertaining stories to heartbreaking moments he has faced while working in the medical field.

7. Autopsy by Ryan Blumenthal

This book absolutely blew my mind. It had me hooked from the beginning. Straight forward, no beating around the bush. There is a bit of medical jargon, but they are explained the back of the book. There are so many lessons that we can learn from the dead. It is an extremely gripping read, so you better clear your schedule before you start reading this one because you won’t want to go anywhere or do anything else until you’ve read the last sentence.

About this book:

The author is a senior forensic pathologist working at a well known South African university. He has been working as a forensic pathologist for many years and therefore has so much experience and amazing advice that he shares with us in this book. 
We learn about how he got into forensic pathology and why. As well as what keeps him motivated as he says ‘after the 9000th autopsy’.
From veld fires and lightning strikes to gunshot wounds and stabbings, we learn how resilient, yet fragile the human body can be.

8. Unnatural Causes by Dr Richard Shepherd

This book will always be special to me, not only because it is about forensic pathology and beautifully written, but also because it was my first buddy read that I had ever done. The writing style is descriptive and at times reads like a novel. At times I would often forget that I was actually reading non-fiction. Highly recommended for fans of medical non-fiction, especially those who enjoy reading about forensic pathology.

About this book:

Dr Shepherd describes his life from the moment he decided he wanted to be a forensic pathologist when he was just a young boy, up until after qualifies as a well known and established expert in his field. He talks about the work itself as well as how it affected his personal life and emotional and mental well-being. 

9. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke

There is one book completely surpassed my expectations this year that book my friends is Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.

Clarke’s descriptive writing style, storyline and memorable characters will have you thinking about this book long after you have finished it and put it back onto your shelf. I was so drawn in that I actually watched the series online after finishing the book. Another reason that this book is so special to me is because it was part of my very first read along that I not only took part in, but co-hosted with some amazing bookstagrammers.

If you’re looking for a modern classic fantasy combined with historical fiction, then look no further and grab yourselves a copy now!


In the early 19th century it has been many years since magic has been practiced in England. Now magicians are gentlemen who only write and read about magic and no longer practice it themselves
Except for a reclusive Mr Norrell who is the only known practical magician left in England. When he is sought out by two theoretical magicians to answer the question of why there was no more magic done in England, a series of interesting events unfold. 
And when a new, charming young magician Jonathan Strange emerges, Mr Norrell is challenged and his ways beliefs are put to the test. Norrell decides to take Strange under his wing as an apprentice, but they have differing ideas of how magic should be practiced and this threatens their partnership with potentially unpleasant consequences. 
All the while discovering that the history and practice of magic is much more complex than it seems

10. Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

Piranesi is Susanna Clarke’s latest release and it was also read as part of the second read along that I hosted with some amazing bookstagrammers. Fantasy is not always my first choice, but I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read one of the most anticipated books of 2020.

This book was like nothing I had ever read before, the story is completely captivating and draws you in with the descriptive writing and unique storyline. You will struggle to put this one down.


Piranesi lives alone in the House. We do not know when he arrived or for how long he has lived there.
It is labyrinth with never ending corridors, infinite halls and there’s always more the explore. Where there is an abundance of statues and an ocean contained within its walls.
The Other, Piranesi’s only friend and only other person alive that he is knows of, comes to visit every Tuesday and Friday. 
Suddenly writing starts to appear on pavements within the house. 
Someone else is in the house, but is this person a friend or dangerous like The Other says? And what do they want?

So there you have it, my top 10 (ok, 11 😜) of 2020. I hope I have helped you to add onto your 2021 TBRs.

Wishing everyone a happy and safe New Year! 🎉

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