Reviews

All The Books I Read In 2020

Hey everyone!

I decided to do a round up book list for 2020 because I didn’t publish a lot of book reviews on the blog this year. Without further ado, here’s a list of all the books I read.

They are not in any particular order in terms of favourites but I made sure to share a few insights and thoughts on the books.

Enjoy.

Fiction

Sinan and Leyla: A Heartwarming Romantic Comedy by [F. K. AMIR]

Sinan and Leyla by FK Amir

This novel follows the story of Leyla, a Muslim woman who is apprehensive about marriage and falling in love. It’s a light hearted read that will make you laugh, reflect and ultimately rethink what it means to love and be in love.

It’s also the kind of book I would love to see as a halal rom com TV series (and yes those are possible 😉).

“Although loving you makes me feel vulnerable, it also makes me whole.”

Sinan and Leyla

Throne of Glass, Crown of Midnight, Heir of Fire, Queen of Shadows, Empire of Storms, Tower of Dawn and Kingdom of Ash by Sarah J. Maas

This 7 book series (yes you heard me right 😄) is the story of an 18 year old girl named Celaena Sardothien.

Celaena is a trained assassin serving a life sentence for killing hundreds of people. One day she is offered a deal to participate in a competition to become the new royal assassin and get a new lease of freedom.

I have to say Fantasy genre has really been the highlight of my reading this year. The way they deal with themes of friendship, self discovery, love, justice is bar none.

Fair warning, this is Young Adult fiction so the love triangles are as predictable as they are incessant. Some of the middle books also felt like fillers but overall this series is a treat.

“For wherever you need to go – and then some. The world needs more healers.”

Tower of Dawn

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

Let’s talk about an exceptional debut novel. I mean the sheer talent from Jordan Ifueko in this book 🙌.

This a Western inspired fantasy novel and I read it from start to finish over a 7 hour flight.

Excellent Characters ✅
Great Plot ✅

I would rate it even higher than the Throne Of Glass series and I’m excited for the sequel.

Umansa touched my face next, wetting his fingers with my tears. “As I lean on you, Empress,” he said, smiling at the space over my head, “you may lean on me.”

Raybearer


Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

This book surprised me but in the best way! It follows the life of Queenie, a 25 year old Black woman living in South London. The first half is a fun light read but also filled with frustrating moments as Queenie’s actions crown her as the queen of self sabotage.

The character development in the second half is where the book shines. It’s ultimately about developing self love, navigating the world as a Black woman and finding healing from past traumas. I can’t recommend it enough.

“I feel a bit like for a while I’ve been carrying ten balls of wool. And one ball fell, so I dropped another to catch it, but still didn’t catch it. Then two more started to unravel, and in trying to save those, I lost another one.”

Queenie

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

A book I actually published a review for!

This is a heartbreaking read that gives an insight into incarceration and the injustice of the American legal system.

I loved that the story was told in part through letters. Those were my favourite sections in the book! But this has also got to be a first – although I enjoyed the book, I didn’t care much about the main protagonists.

“He didn’t do anything but be a black man in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

An American Marriage

Daughters of Nri by Reni K Amayo

This is a young adult fantasy fiction set in ancient Nigeria. The book follows twin sisters who, unbeknownst to them, descend from the lost gods.

It explores the discovery of their burgeoning powers and their fight against the corrupt king who seeks to destroy them.

This book wasn’t quite everything I hoped it would be but it was a good one time read.

“This is your connection with your chi, your soul—it will be different for everyone, so you and only you can learn to recognise it.”

Daughters of Nri

Zikora: A Short Story by [Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie]

Zikora by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

All I have to say is Aunty Chim where is the rest of the book? All jokes aside, Chimamanda never fails to deliver.

This short story is about Zikora, a DC lawyer abandoned by her boyfriend when she gets pregnant. For a short story it packs a punch in terms of the themes it deals with.

“You cannot nice your way into being loved.”

Zikora

Non-Fiction

Trust by Iyanla Vanzant

This book was a delight! And it’s definitely a book I would love to explore on the blog if I ever do a virtual book club. Gems after gems – I realised so much about myself reading this book. It’s in my top five reads for the year.

“Learning to trust yourself means focusing on the good you are, the good you have, and the good you desire so that the truth can heal all error thought and allow you to see the blessing hidden in all that you have been through, gone through, and grown through.”

Trust

Perennial Seller (The Art of Making and Marketing Work) that Lasts by Ryan Holiday

This book needs to be read by every one who creates (writer, artists, social media) whatever you do, the principles from this book will help you learn how to create work that filters through the noise.

Another one I’ll be discussing on the blog soon.

“If a product is going to sell forever, it must have strong word of mouth.”

Perennial Seller

Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala

Britain is notorious for not having open conversations about race. And this part biographical book does a great job of weaving Akala’s personal experiences with an examination of how race functions in British society.

I’ll definitely be reading it again in 2021 and this is not the book for you if you’re looking for a quick read.

“No one colonises another group of people out of love for them.”

Natives

Slay In Your Lane by Yomi Adegoke and Elizabeth Uviebinené

A book like this is always a great read because it captures so much of what you may have struggled to articulate. But you also get to walk away with lots of practical information.

I took a lot of notes when I was reading on topics like negotiating a salary, positioning yourself to get a mentor and steps to creating a business plan.

It’s not quite written in the style that I expected. It’s a dense read filled with facts and statistics throughout the chapters so you’ll have to take your time reading it.

Black women’s voices are wanted, but not if they come from our own mouths.

Slay In Your Lane

The One Thing (The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results) by Gary Keller

As the title implies, the biggest takeaway from this book is getting clear on your goal and directing your focus, energy and resources towards achieving it by time blocking.

I’ve had this book on my Kindle for a long time and I finally read it on a twelve hour road trip in Nigeria. It’s quite an easy read, there won’t be too many ah ah moments but it’s practical and does the job.

“It is not that we have too little time to do all the things we need to do , it is that we feel the need to do too many things in the time we have.”

The One Thing

On Writing (A Memoir of the Craft) by Stephen King

A book written by a master at the craft. I will definitely be reading a second time in 2021.

If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot. There’s no way around these two things that I’m aware of, no shortcut.

On Writing

Are We The Turning Point Generation?: How Africa's Youth Can Drive Its Urgently Needed Revolution by [Chude Jideonwo]

Are We The Turning Point Generation? How Africa’s Youth Can Drive Its Urgently Needed By Chude Jideonwo

This is another book I’ve had on my Kindle for more than four years but I finally read it in the aftermath of EndSARS which happened whilst I was in Nigeria.

It’s a good book to read if you want to understand how the past organising influences the present and the machine that is the Nigerian government. I have a lot of respect for Chude and his company has come under a lot of fire for helping President Buhari to get into power.

Reading this book, it’s obvious his thoughts and opinions on certain issues will have evolved.

“Pick your spot and start digging.”

Are We The Turning Point Generation

Soldiers of Fortune: A History of Nigeria (1983-1993) by [Max Siollun]

Soldiers of Fortune, A History of Nigeria (1983-1993) by Max Siolun

Brilliantly researched and there are times where this book reads more like a thriller than an historical book. This is one of the best books to understand military rule in Nigeria and the impact it still has on government and leadership today.

“Large scale corruption was made possible by the Nigerian public’s worship of money without questioning the moral basis of its acquisition. There is no moral consensus in Nigeria that corruption is necessarily negative.”

Soldiers of Fortune

Boko Haram (Inside Nigeria’s Unholy War) by Mike Smith

This book does a great job of giving a historical account of the beginnings of Boko Haram and laying out factors that facilitated the growth of the terrorist group.

“Nigeria’s do or die politics, with so much corrupt money at stake, had led certain politicians over the years to govern as if they were running at organised crime racket.”

Boko Haram (Inside Nigeria’s Unholy War)

The Strange Death of Europe( Immigration, Identity, Islam) by Douglas Murray

Let’s say it together, curiosity killed the cat! I wanted to get an insight into the mind of right wing thinkers and this book was an absolute let down.

The only thought running through my mind as I read it was, ‘White Privilege must be nice’ because surely without it this intellectual laziness disguised as a book would have been spruced up a bit.

Not worth the read.

If you’ve read any of the books on this list, let me know in the comments section and what were your favourite books this year? Subscribe via email for exclusive content and new post notifications. Listen to my podcast Bookversations here.

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