Best of 2020
Hi everyone! Today I’m sharing my favorite books of 2020, and I’m really excited for this post! There were a lot of good books that I read in 2020, so get your TBR lists ready. This list is in order of how I finished them, so they are NOT ranked. It would be far too hard for me to actually rank them! After this, I’ll be posting my full 2020 wrap up with statistics and a full list of all 71 books that I read in 2020.
Heart of Flames by Nicki Pau Preto
This is the second book in the Crown of Feathers series, which I don’t hear many people talking about. This is probably one of my favorite YA fantasy series! It’s surprisingly dark, and has so many plot twists your head will spin! This book had such great character development, and I’m both excited and scared to see what happens to all of these characters. The magic in this world is incredibly interesting, with there being animages and shadowmages. I love that the characters can ride phoenixes, and they all have such unique personalities. The amount of detail that is in this series is incredible, especially considering this is a debut series. This book ended on such a cliffhanger, I can’t wait until I can get my hands on the third and final book, Wings of Shadow in July 2021! If you haven’t started this series yet, you’re really missing out.
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J Maas
I would be lying if I said that this wasn’t one of my favorite books of 2020. SJM makes it so easy to fall in love with her characters, and she did it once again with this House of Earth and Blood. I was so emotional reading this book! It’s not often that I full on sob while reading, but I did with this one. In fact, I cry during quite a few of SJM’s books! Her characters in this book are what really did it for me – they’re so complex and loveable. I did like the world, however now that quite a lot of time has passed I find that I don’t remember too much about the world compared to the characters. I’m dying for more of her books though, and I’m eagerly anticipating A Court of Silver Flames even though I really don’t like the cover.
The Deal by Elle Kennedy
The Deal is the first romance to show up on my best of 2020 list, but it certainly isn’t the only one! I didn’t know what to expect going into this one, and it’s definitely a genre that I’m really just starting to dip my toes into. There were some funny moments, some serious moments, and a good bit of ~sexy times~. The real reason this made my best of list though is because of Hannah and Garrett. I felt so deeply for Hannah’s situation and what she’s been through, and Garrett was so supportive and kind to the point where it brought me to tears! It’s also got the fake dating trope, which I’m quickly learning is one of my favorite romance tropes. I quickly read the second book (which was also amazing) but I haven’t finished the third book in this series yet. Hopefully I’ll get to finish it soon!
A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
This was such a well written debut mystery, I was drawn in right at the beginning. I enjoyed how there were little bits and pieces of Pip’s research included throughout because it added visual interest and really made you feel as though you were trying to solve the case alongside her. I’ve read quite a few mysteries where the twist at the end came out of nowhere and there was no link to the clues, but that was not the case with this one. All the clues were there and everything came together so nicely at the end! I’m very curious to see where the second book goes, although I had such a hard time trying to find a kindle version of the sequel. I believe it’s now out in the US, so I think it’s time that I read it!
Related: A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder Review
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
2020 was a terrible year, but The House in the Cerulean Sea gave me a way to escape from it, even if it was just for a little bit. I picked this one up on a whim after seeing it online, and it was one of the best decisions I made. This really was a case of the right book at the right time. It was so full of hope and love and happiness! This is such a whimsical book, and the characters were so loveable and really stick with you. I loved the themes of acceptance and finding your self worth, and learning what is truly important in life. It doesn’t surprise me at all that it’s been making it’s way onto so many people’s best of 2020 lists, because it truly deserves it.
The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso
Next on my favorites list is The Obsidian Tower, which really surprised me! I had never read anything from this author before, but I had requested this as an ARC on a whim and was approved. I loved all the politics and backstabbing that happens, it was so hard to trust any of the characters and I really enjoyed how high the stakes were. I really loved Ryx and her power, and it the way that she had to interact with people while not being able to touch them was both interesting and heartbreaking. I loved every second of this book, and I can’t wait to see what happens in the second book. I’m also really excited to read The Tethered Mage, which is set in the same world.
Related: The Obsidian Tower Review
The Crow Rider by Kalyn Josephson
This is probably my favorite duology that I’ve ever read! I adored The Storm Crow, so when I was approved for an ARC of The Crow Rider I was over the moon! It’s also my very first signed AND personalized book, and I attended a (virtual) event, so it really means a lot to me. I adore Thia as a character and how realistic her depression was portrayed and it really resonated with me. And who can’t love giant, rideable, magic crows?? Res has such a big personality, and was a ray of sunshine. I also loved Kiva and Ericen and how their characters developed! Honestly, my only complaint would be that I just want to see more of this world and more of it’s history, and I hope we get that in future series.
You Should See Me In A Crown by Leah Johnson
This list doesn’t really show it, but contemporary isn’t typically a genre that I reach for. However, after hearing how amazing this book was I knew that I had to give it a try and I’m so glad that I did! Liz was such a kind, brave, and caring character, and I loved reading about her life. I loved how this book challenged stereotypes and difficult topics, all while showcasing Black joy. I loved the friendships that Liz made and rekindled, and her relationship with Mack was absolutely adorable! I ended up listening to this on audio, and it was such a wonderful experience. Leah Johnson has another book coming out mid-2021 called Rise to the Sun, and I’m so excited for it!
Get A Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
I’ve been really enjoying the romances that I’ve been reading lately! Get a Life, Chloe Brown was such a fun, fluffy romance and I honestly can’t wait for Act Your Age, Eve Brown which is the third book in the series. I had a huge grin on my face the entire time I was reading this. It was so refreshing to have a romance with a main character who has a chronic illness (fibromyalgia and chronic pain) that wasn’t downplayed or brushed aside. I also loved the love interest Red, and how attentive he was to Chloe, but never crossed the line into treating her like she was incapable. The romance was so steamy, yet so sweet at the same time! I’m definitely going to invest some time into Talia Hibbert’s backlist, because this was so good!
The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart
This was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020, and it did not disappoint, although it was definitely different than I was expecting it to be! I thought it would be a single POV about a girl mastering her magic, and this book is so much more than that. There are actually 5 POVs, and the characters that we follow were all so interesting. I most enjoyed following Lin while she learned about bone shard magic and the secrets her father kept. And of course I loved Mephi! I’m still not sure what kind of creature he is, but I’m a sucker for an animal companion. The world was so unique, and I’m excited to see what role it plays in the next book and how all these pieces will come together. I’m very excited to continue on, even though it’ll be a while until the next book comes out!
Related: The Bone Shard Daughter Review
Lobizona by Romina Garber
This was such an impactful story about a young undocumented immigrant and her search to find where she belongs, with a fantasy twist! The fear that Manu and her family felt about being deported was compounded by the fear that Manu’s father will find them after her mother ran away. Manu just wants to become a citizen so she doesn’t have to live in fear anymore, but eventually things catch up to her. I loved the way that this book challenged stereotypes, traditional gender roles, and a patriarchal society using magical realism. It’s definitely low on the fantasy aspects, but the themes were so powerful that I didn’t mind! I’m curious to see where the next book goes, because I think it’ll really expand on the themes present in this first book.
Blood of an Exile by Brian Naslund
If there’s one thing that I like in my fantasy, it’s dragons so it’s not really all that surprising that this book made my favorites list. I also love the group on a quest trope, and this one was a lot of fun! This follows an exiled dragonslayer, his right hand man, a royal guard, and a prisoner who go on a quest to save a princess and kill the foreign emperor who took her. I loved how brutal this world was, and the magic is really interesting and mysterious, as there aren’t really many answers about how it works. This also has multiple POVs, which is something that I enjoy as well. One thing that I enjoyed probably the most was the way the discussion around dragons and how they affect the world of Terra – the lifestyle of the people, and the environment as a whole. As someone with a conservation biology degree this is something that I’m passionate about and when I see it in books, I’m almost guaranteed to love it!
Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
This was such an incredible book! The writing was amazing, the pacing was great, and the characters were so lovable! Yadriel was so caring and kind and really came out of his shell and learned to stand up for himself, and the relationship between him and Julian was so sweet! I was sobbing the last 10 or so pages, because I could just feel the emotions. I loved the family dynamics, but I felt terrible for the way that Yadriel’s family continuously misgendered him and used his deadname. It was eye opening reading about a transgender character, especially in a society that has strict gender roles such as this one. I have pretty much nothing negative to say about this book, and I’ll be reading everything that Aiden Thomas writes in the future!
Related: Cemetery Boys Review
A Deal with the Elf King by Elise Kova
I was really getting into fantasy romance this year, and so it’s kind of no surprise that I ended up LOVING this book! This was so much fun, and the chemistry between the two characters was incredible. I ended up really shipping them together, and that’s not something that happens often when I read books. This is the first in a series, but they are all standalones in the same world and while I’m a little sad that we won’t follow these characters again, I’m excited that we’ll see more of the world and the other races. I also loved that we get an epilogue at the end to give us some closure. I love the enemies to lovers trope, and this one was really fun. I loved how strong willed the characters were, but the one thing that I wish we had gotten a little bit more of was the magic. It’s definitely a fantasy romance that’s more focused on the romance aspect than the fantasy aspect, but I didn’t mind that too much.
From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata
I had seen this book cover before, but I had never bothered to see what it was about. Then I saw someone talking about it and they compared it to Spinning Out on Netflix, which was a show that I really enjoyed about pair skating! I absolutely loved the enemies to lovers trope in this book, especially because Jasmine and Ivan were both such loveable characters who were both struggling with some problems in their lives. I loved how they supported each other and honestly they were so cute! And the romance was as slow burn as you can get, and was really satisfying. I also very much enjoyed that this book didn’t follow the typical romance story set up with a third act break up, which was a nice change from other romances. I’ve seen reviews that say that Kulti and The Wall of Winnipeg are even better than this book, so I’m really looking forward to reading them!
What I’ve learned from writing this list is that I’ve been really bad at writing reviews for the books that I enjoy, so I clearly need to do better about that! I also apologize for this being so late (not that it really matters) because life right now has been crazy busy and I haven’t had much time for reading or blogging!