Our Favourite Reads of 2020 and Season 1 Wrap

We’re pretty keen to say goodbye to 2020, but before that happens, we wanted to spend some quality time rambling about other books – not just those that are mental health-specific. In this special bonus episode, we discuss our Top 3 books of the year (plus some honourable mentions) and reflect on our experience putting Season 1 together. There may also be some discussions about a possible Season 2 and other exciting things!

Listen to the podcast:

Elise’s Top Books

The Folk of the Air Series by Holly Black

Jude was seven when her parents were murdered and she and her two sisters were stolen away to live in the treacherous High Court of Faerie. Ten years later, Jude wants nothing more than to belong there, despite her mortality. But many of the fey despise humans. Especially Prince Cardan, the youngest and wickedest son of the High King.

To win a place at the Court, she must defy him–and face the consequences.

As Jude becomes more deeply embroiled in palace intrigues and deceptions, she discovers her own capacity for trickery and bloodshed. But as betrayal threatens to drown the Courts of Faerie in violence, Jude will need to risk her life in a dangerous alliance to save her sisters, and Faerie itself.

Why Elise loves this book/series: I thoroughly enjoyed this dark fairytale. This series has great world-building and interesting, creative touches. Jude is a fantastic protagonist and I became very invested in the enemies-to-lovers romance that develops over the series. The beautifully illustrated novella, released in November 2020, was a great cherry-on-top and gives insight into Cardan’s history and perspective.

Amelia Westlake by Erin Gough

Two very different girls, and one giant hoax that could change – or ruin – everything.

Harriet Price has the perfect life: she’s a prefect at Rosemead Grammar, she lives in a mansion, and her gorgeous girlfriend is a future prime minister. So when she risks it all by creating a hoax to expose the school’s many problems – with help from notorious bad-girl Will Everheart, no less – Harriet tells herself it’s because she’s seeking justice. And definitely not because she finds Will oddly fascinating.

But as Will and Harriet’s campaign heats up, it gets harder for them to remain sworn enemies – and to avoid being caught. As tensions burn throughout the school, how far will they go to keep their mission – and their feelings for each other – a secret?

Why Elise loves this book: Who doesn’t love a feminist hoax? This book was a fun, easy read with dual perspective storytelling. It features a sweet queer romance and sticking it to the patriarchy. Private school-goers might recognise some of the hypocrisies present at Rosemead Grammar.

Elise’s Honourable Mentions:

Our Joint Top 3 Book:

Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

In the midst of a family crisis one late evening, white blogger Alix Chamberlain calls her African American babysitter, Emira, asking her to take toddler Briar to the local market for distraction. There, the security guard accuses Emira of kidnapping Briar, and Alix’s efforts to right the situation turn out to be good intentions selfishly mismanaged.

Why Priscilla loves this book/series: This book is so easy to read, yet it talks about some complex themes. Not a lot of excitement happens plot-wise, but the characters are grey and their motivations complex, and I found myself stopping to think about their choices.

Why Elise loves this book/series: I thought this book was an excellent, contemporary exploration of topics such as covert racism, White feminism and performative motherhood. A real page turner that surprised me along the way. I’m looking forward to reading more by Kiley Reid in the future.

Priscilla’s Top Books

It’s Been a Pleasure, Noni Blake by Claire Christian

What if you made yourself your number one priority?

Of all the women and men Noni Blake has pleased in her life, there’s one she’s often overlooked–herself. After the end of a decade-long relationship, Noni decides it’s time for that to change. She’s finally going to prioritize her wants and desires and only do things (and people) that feel good in the moment.

As she embarks on a pleasure-seeking quest that takes her halfway around the world, she discovers that maybe she can have everything, and everyone, she’s ever wanted.

Effortlessly hilarious and relatable, Claire Christian spins a fresh, feel-good tale about starting over as a thirtysomething woman who’s been living life for everyone else. A story of self-discovery for the ages, Noni’s journey serves as a sparkling reminder that life is what we make of it–so why not enjoy it?

Why Priscilla loves this book/series: It’s a lovely exploration of what life might looks like when you prioritise your values and desires and move past your fears. I also appreciate the mentions of therapy and depictions of panic attacks.

The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Tiffy and Leon share a flat
Tiffy and Leon share a bed
Tiffy and Leon have never met…

Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time.

But with obsessive ex-boyfriends, demanding clients at work, wrongly imprisoned brothers and, of course, the fact that they still haven’t met yet, they’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…

Why Priscilla loves this book: Not only is this book a fun take on the ‘there’s only one bed’ trope, it portrays gaslighting and its impacts so well. There’s also a side character who’s a counsellor, and I totally appreciate how he’s portrayed.

Priscilla’s Honourable Mentions

Reflections on Season 1

We have had great feedback and response to our first season, and we’re so grateful to everyone who’s taken the time to listen to our podcast. We’re also thankful for the kind welcome into the bookish podcasting and bookstagram communities.

There have been challenges along the way. Finding the time to plan, read each book, plan some more, record, edit, and set up the social media posts can be challenging at times, particularly as we both work/study full-time. Also, a lot of work goes into editing, especially when you’re still learning. It’s been such a learning curve, but we’ve really enjoyed the process!

Plans for Season 2

Yes, we are doing a Season 2! There will be six episodes and we are planning for a range of books including different genres, different mental health issues, and a variety of new vs ‘classic’ books.

In between Season 1 and 2, we are hoping to do a few fun bonus episodes, so keep an eye out for those! Remember to subscribe so you know when we publish a new episode.

Until then, have a wonderful holiday season, look after yourself, and we’ll see you again in 2021!

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