Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. This week’s prompt is My Favorite Books of 2020.
I’m also participating in Bookending Winter hosted by by Sam @ Fictionally Sam & Clo @ Cuppa Clo. This is my third Bookending Winter post. Be sure to check out my first, Christmas Songs Book Tag Mash-Up and my second, Bookish Rave & Rant Tag!
Hello Readers! If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you had a lovely holiday. While it was very different from normal for us, we did enjoy a much slower-paced and quiet occasion. New Years will be more of the same, as well.
Trying to narrow down my 108 books read (so far) from this year into a top ten list was a bit of a challenge. I may have had to cheat a bit. But I can say, looking back at my reading from 2019, I enjoyed my 2020 reading year even more!
If you’re a follower, you know my first love is romance, so it’s no surprise that most of the books on this list are in that genre—or at least have some aspects of romance. I’ll be counting down to my favorite read of the year, but other than my number one book, most of the other books on my list are interchangeable—depending on my mood. Let’s wander in!
(Link to add on Goodreads through the book title.)
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
With her daughter to care for and her abuela to help support, high school senior Emoni Santiago has to make the tough decisions, and do what must be done. The one place she can let her responsibilities go is in the kitchen, where she adds a little something magical to everything she cooks, turning her food into straight-up goodness. Still, she knows she doesn’t have enough time for her school’s new culinary arts class, doesn’t have the money for the class’s trip to Spain — and shouldn’t still be dreaming of someday working in a real kitchen. But even with all the rules she has for her life — and all the rules everyone expects her to play by — once Emoni starts cooking, her only real choice is to let her talent break free.
This was my first book by Acevedo and it won’t be my last! I read this one back in the summer—I believe in almost one sitting—and I was consumed by Emoni’s story. Cooking is one of my least favorite things to do, but With the Fire on High made me forget that for a few hours.
Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis
When 16-year-old Emmie releases a balloon with her biggest secret hidden inside, she doesn’t expect anyone to find it. When, a few weeks later, Lucas Moreau does just that, the two teens develop an instant rapport, going from trading emails to a deep and enduring friendship. Fourteen years later, Lucas asks Emmie to be his “best woman” at his upcoming wedding. Emmie accepts the honor, but must face the fact that her long-simmering romantic feelings for Lucas can never be revealed.
Dear Emmie Blue is an ARC I read back in the summer and I’m still thinking about it! While the plot sounds predictable, this sweet romance was the best surprise. I can’t wait to read more from the author, as well.
Fable by Adrienne Young
For seventeen-year-old Fable, the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home she has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one, and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father, and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.
But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him, and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.
Getting to read Fable was a bit of a fluke for me. I happened to catch one of those Netgalley emails being invited to read it (I typically open those a day too late), and I thought it sounded intriguing. Even though I was supposed to be under a ‘No New ARCs’ rule, I decided to give it a try, and now it’s one of my favorite reads from the year. Lesson learned—sometimes we have to trust our instincts!
Enjoy the View by Sarah Morgenthaler
Former Hollywood darling River Lane’s acting career is tanking fast. Determined to start fresh behind the camera, she agrees to film a documentary about the picturesque small town of Moose Springs, Alaska. The assignment should have been easy, but the quirky locals want nothing to do with River. Well, too bad: River’s going to make this film and prove herself, no matter what it takes.
Or what (literal) mountain she has to climb.
Easton Lockett may be a gentle giant, but he knows a thing or two about survival. If he can keep everyone in line, he should be able to get River and her crew up and down Mount Veil in one piece. Turns out that’s a big if. The wildlife’s wilder than usual, the camera crew’s determined to wander off a cliff, and the gorgeous actress is fearless. Falling for River only makes Easton’s job tougher, but there’s only so long he can hold out against her brilliant smile. When bad weather strikes, putting everyone at risk, it’ll take all of Easton’s skill to get them back home safely…and convince River she should stay in his arms for good.
My Review of The Tourist Attraction (Moose Springs, #1)
My Review of Mistletoe and Mr. Right (Moose Springs, #2)
My Review of Enjoy the View (Moose Springs, #3)
This one feels a bit like cheating for various reasons. First, having a book on my top ten list that hasn’t even been released seems a bit unfair, but I did read it in 2020, so I’m going with it! And really the whole Moose Springs series—or what exists so far—could go here since I’ve read and loved all three books in 2020. But the third installment, Enjoy the View, is probably my favorite, so far.
Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare
Cordelia Carstairs is a Shadowhunter, a warrior trained since childhood to battle demons. When her father is accused of a terrible crime, she and her brother travel to London in hopes of preventing the family’s ruin. Cordelia’s mother wants to marry her off, but Cordelia is determined to be a hero rather than a bride. Soon Cordelia encounters childhood friends James and Lucie Herondale and is drawn into their world of glittering ballrooms, secret assignations, and supernatural salons, where vampires and warlocks mingle with mermaids and magicians. All the while, she must hide her secret love for James, who is sworn to marry someone else.
But Cordelia’s new life is blown apart when a shocking series of demon attacks devastate London. These monsters are nothing like those Shadowhunters have fought before—these demons walk in daylight, strike down the unwary with incurable poison, and seem impossible to kill. London is immediately quarantined. Trapped in the city, Cordelia and her friends discover that their own connection to a dark legacy has gifted them with incredible powers—and forced a brutal choice that will reveal the true cruel price of being a hero.
Chain of Gold was one of my most anticipated books for 2020. I was so very excited to be back in the Shadowhunter world with Tessa, Will, and Jem. I was so excited, I even created a Chain of Gold TBR back in February, reading (and rereading) everything that leads up to The Last Hours series. I had no idea that by the time I finished Chain of Gold, the world would seem entirely foreign. So while Chain of Gold took me longer to read—and was tinged by the real-life stress of facing isolation, it was comforting to be back in a fantasy world I’d missed. I’m excited to reread this one before the next installment, Chain of Iron!
Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer
When Edward Cullen and Bella Swan met in Twilight, an iconic love story was born. But until now, fans have heard only Bella’s side of the story. At last, readers can experience Edward’s version in the long-awaited companion novel, Midnight Sun.
This unforgettable tale as told through Edward’s eyes takes on a new and decidedly dark twist. Meeting Bella is both the most unnerving and intriguing event he has experienced in all his years as a vampire. As we learn more fascinating details about Edward’s past and the complexity of his inner thoughts, we understand why this is the defining struggle of his life. How can he justify following his heart if it means leading Bella into danger?
If I were rating my top ten reads of the year based purely on entertainment and enjoyment, this would be my number one. I didn’t know how much comfort (and much-needed distraction) I would get from reading Midnight Sun, along with my entire rereading of The Twilight Series. For almost a whole month, I was able to return to this world, and it was SO MUCH FUN!
In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.
But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.
The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.
I’m so happy a holiday read made it onto my top ten list! I love holiday romances, but sometimes they can be hit or miss. This one was a complete hit for me! I can see it becoming an annual Christmas read.
The Simple Wild (series) by K.A. Tucker
Calla Fletcher wasn’t even two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when Calla learns that Wren’s days may be numbered, she knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.
She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this rugged environment, Jonah—the unkempt, obnoxious, and proud Alaskan pilot who helps keep her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.
Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. Soon, she finds herself forming an unexpected bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago. It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.
My Review of The Simple Wild & Wild at Heart
My Review of Forever Wild (The Simple Wild, #2.5)
Here’s another one where I’m cheating a bit. I binged the first two books in this series earlier in the year, so in my mind they don’t really stand out as separate books. And I loved spending Christmas in Alaska in Forever Wild, the novella that was just released. I’m so glad I finally picked up this series!
Six of Crows (duology) by Leigh Bardugo
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . .
A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes
Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
My Random Thoughts While Binge-Reading the Six of Crows Duology
2020 was finally the year I dove into the Grishaverse! I binged the Shadow and Bone series and then the Six of Crows duology, and just like most other readers, my favorite was Six of Crows. I loved the cast, the plot, the world! Hopefully I can do a reread in 2021! I’m so happy I finally listened to you all. 😉
Beach Read by Emily Henry
Augustus Everett is an acclaimed author of literary fiction. January Andrews writes bestselling romance. When she pens a happily ever after, he kills off his entire cast.
They’re polar opposites.
In fact, the only thing they have in common is that for the next three months, they’re living in neighboring beach houses, broke, and bogged down with writer’s block.
Until, one hazy evening, one thing leads to another and they strike a deal designed to force them out of their creative ruts: Augustus will spend the summer writing something happy, and January will pen the next Great American Novel. She’ll take him on field trips worthy of any rom-com montage, and he’ll take her to interview surviving members of a backwoods death cult (obviously). Everyone will finish a book and no one will fall in love. Really.
Beach Read is all my favorite things to read wrapped up in one novel: romance, humor, depth, and heart. As soon as I finished, I wanted to unread it and read it again. And that feeling has stuck with me all year when I think about this book. Which places it at the top of my favorite reads for 2020!
Do we share any favorites? What was your favorite read of 2020? Let me know in the comments!