Floralcars' 2020 Book Awards

Since the Hell Year of 2020 is over, it is time to longingly look back at the books of 2020 and hand over the "prestigious" floralcars' book awards for various achievements. Let's start with mine: 

2020 Reading Stats 

In 2020 I read 30 books, which quite fewer than I would have needed for my Goodreads challenge. At least I can blame the lockdowns, since I hardly seem to read outside of my commute. Once more I did not DNF a single book. The average length of my books is 277 pages, while the longest I held in my grabby hands is "All The Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr. The average rating with which I graced the literature is 4.2 stars - or rather flowers. 

According to Goodreads the most popular books I read was once more "All The Light We Cannot See". The least popular was "Through Dust And Dreams" by Roxana Valea - which is a fun re-telling of an amazing road trip through Africa, and got a better rating than the most popular one did. 

Language wise from those 30 books 7 have been in German - which is a new high given the prior years! The rest were English. On top of this I got 13 books (spooky) in exchange for an honest review.

Now the achievements for the masses. 

The Award for Top Reads

Harbinger by Olga Gibbs is the third book in the Celestial Creatures series and probably my second favourite (my number 1 was read last year). It deals with Ariel's return to Uras, and her fierce determination to protect her family. Even if it comes with consequences. It is enjoyable to read because it has very human moments and in the next scene Ariel has to be a leader again - cold and ruthless. Furthermore, the cliff-hanger made me gasp in the train - and this causes people to look but I did not care.

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab is another story that deals with grey morals and the fight for survival. This stems from a different direction as the EOs are just trying to live. At least some of them, others are hungry for power and make more noise than they should. It is filled with anti-heroes but written so well that you even feel wistful when the villain gets what they deserve ... 

How to Raise a Loaf: and fall in love with sourdough by Roly Allen is just a cute little non-fiction book in which Allen shares his love for baking bread. Something that became extremely popular last year. He shares tips and tricks, his favourite recipes and a beginner guide. I loved it because you could tell that it was written with so much love to baking bread. In fact, it is one of the few review books that I bought afterwards because recipes!

How to Raise a Loaf: and fall in love with sourdough by Roly Allen

The Award for The Biggest Disappointments 

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I can hear gasping in the audience since this goes against popular opinion. However, I expected a complicated story that deals with the aspects of the WWII. What I got was a story about a war that simply uses this one - it might as well have played in any other war. 

In fact, this is an opinion I had not ended up alone with these thoughts, since those were also reflected in German reviews. I can only assume that this comes from the fact that in Germany and Austria you are taught a lot about the WWII in schoo; about how it came to such a thing, what it was like to live in it, to be a "by-stander", and the effects it had on all sides, even afterwards. To my own surprise Doerr did not make Werner into a villain but into a victim on the machine but there was still so much lacking ... which is a shame because I felt that if Doerr had given it a go, he might have managed it. 

The Award for The Untranslated Book

This is a new award for a book that is not available in English, and it goes to .... Tod in Baden by Beate Maly.

This is a sweet crime novel which feels like Murder, She Wrote but with Austrian humour and wit - meaning showing the grumpy sides of the everyday life. What makes this special are the main characters: Ernestine and Anton, two pensioners who live in the same building, with Anton being very fond of everything sweet. Ernestine is the crime solver who sticks her nose into all kinds of business and since Anton is also fond of her, he gets dragged along. It is funny to read how he just wants to enjoy his coffee and then happens to solve a crime.

They also have a cute chemistry that is not at all awkward, and makes them even more adorable. The moment they started saying "du" to each other - highlight of the year. #RomanceInGerman. I recommend the book series to everyone, and you can start at any place either. I picked "Tod in Baden" for this award because it was the first in the series that I picked up. I loved it so much that I started reading all of them. 

Award for The Best Book Series I Finished 

Celestial Creatures by Olga Gibbs ... came to an end this year and it was one hell of a journey. The journey started in 2018 with "Heavenward" in which Ariel first discovers the other world filled with angels but also their motives when it comes to humanity. She should start out to save them all? However, Ariel is just one girl unwillingly thrown in this mess and her goal is simple: protect her sister at all costs. 

I personally love Ariel - not because she is perfect but because she is not. She struggles, does not care what is deemed right or wrong by any authority, she is not even in a position where she is allowed to worry about that anymore. As the story progresses she grows stronger, is it always in the right direction? However, one thing always remains the same: her unwavering loyalty to the people she loves. 

The world in "Celestial Creatures" is anything but simple and easy, and Ariel has to navigate it. It makes for an interesting and thrilling read. There are a lot of dark moments, and gore as well - especially the last part has more battles than any other. However, it is  successful series that protrays a fight for what you believe in in an unjust world. 

Award for My Favourite Cover 

Goes to the German (!) version of Metro 2035. I have to specifically mention that it is the German cover of the first edition because it is the only one that kept in tune with the two prior parts of the series - which have this type of cover in English as well. It was designed by Animagic in Bielefeld (which we all know does not exist). 

I like that it keeps in the tune with the prior novels - which also had an abstract outline of the Moscow metro but on a black background. I already enjoyed the prior versions because they were simple but due to the colours a bit haunting. This time the colours is reversed: black on red. Which makes it less scary but more powerful. 

Looking Forwards To 2021 

I have to admit that there is not much. I want to read the new novel with Ernestine and Anton by Beate Maly, and I also got the first part of the St. Petersburg series from the Metro Universe. Those are very high on my list. I also look forward to Gibbs' new novel - I keep seeing hints on Twitter and I can't wait to get it in by grabby hands. 

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