I’ve always loved books, but this was the year I feel like I became a reader. This was the year I stumbled onto Bookstagram, started blogging, and for the first time ever I set a goal of reading 100 books and then achieved that goal.
Over the year, I’ve found my tastes have evolved and I discovered what it really means to read for pure enjoyment.
So in the spirit of celebrating this wonderful year of reading I’m excited to share, in no particular order, my top 10 books of the year!
The Lady’s Guide to Celestial Mechanics by Olivia Waite
This was the first book I read in 2020 and it set the tone for a year of enchanting, swooning, historical romance. Astronomer Lucy Muchelney and the Countess of Moth, Catherine St Day, swept me away in their gatekeeping obliterating romance.
The novel’s exploration of the relationship between the arts and sciences spoke to my soul. I’ve always been interested in astronomy, and embroidery was my go-to craft in 2019 / early 2020. So seeing both of these interests combined with amazing characters, lovely, thoughtful themes, and truly beautiful writing was an absolute joy.
A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole
A Duke by Default is a placeholder for the entire Reluctant Royals Series, including the novellas. That might be cheating, but it’s my blog and I do what I want.
I mowed through this wonderful series in about two weeks. I tend to be very hit or miss with contemporary romance reads, but I LOVE some modern royals and this series is stellar.
These books are funny, progressive, passionate, with a wonderful cast of characters. They are the type of characters that you think of as your friends long after you’ve finished the book.
A Duke by Default is a particular standout because the heroine receives a late in life ADHD diagnosis. While I was reading this book, I was on my own personal late in life ADHD diagnosis journey. By reading bout Portia’s self-discovery, struggles, and acceptance, I felt seen, and comforted.
This book will always hold a special place in my heart because it felt like it was sent to me at just the right time.
Also, I’m holding my breath to see if anything comes of this…
Chasing Cassandra by Lisa Kleypas
Kleypas is historical romance royalty, and this was my introduction to her greatness. The Ravenels, by way of the very talented narrator Mary Jane Wells, got me through many hours of data management at my old job. The richness of the world, and the depth of these characters brought me such joy.
I had Chasing Cassandra on pre-order forever and when it finally arrived at my home, it was immediately shelved.
I just couldn’t read it. I couldn’t say goodbye to my favorite historical romance family. But over the summer I read it and loved it. There was a Christmas wedding and a poodle and my heart nearly exploded with delight.
It was sad saying goodbye to this lovely family, but I comforted myself in knowing that they would always be around and ready for a reread. Chasing Cassandra was a perfect warm hug and a lovely goodbye…
Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert
I still can’t believe this was my first Talia Hibbert novel. It feels like Talia’s writing has been in my life forever. Redford Morgan is my official first-ever romance book boyfriend. I gush plenty about this book on the blog and my enthusiasm has not wavered.
Talia Hibbert is my contemporary romance queen. No one does it better. Now, if only she’d write more paranormal!
Dear Emmie Blue by Lia Louis
I loved this book and I’m just waiting for the perfect day to pull it out and treat myself to a reread. When I think back on this book, I think about being a baby Bookstagrammer. This was the first book I purchased because of Bookstagram and it was such a smart choice.
Peace Talks by Jim Butcher
I don’t think this blog would be here if it wasn’t for this book. Which is ironic because I haven’t written about it yet. Sometimes, I find, when I’m especially enamored with a piece of media I tend to horde it close to the chest and it takes awhile for me to articulate my feelings.
Well, feelings beyond high pitched squealing noises of glee.
I waited a long time for this book and I wasn’t disappointed. I just needed time to process. While I processed I kept reading. And reading…
And now it’s a new year. Oops.
What’s funny is the next book, Battle Ground, is sitting on my shelf and I’ve been saving it for just the right moment to read.
It might be soon.
Daring and the Duke by Sarah MacLean
Because of this book, because of The Bareknuckle Bastards series, because of Sarah MacLean I found a collection of insightful, thoughtful, funny and wonderful book people. I’m so proud and happy to call them my friends. They have been my 2020 bright spot and together we’ve shared some amazing reading experiences.
#SeasonallyBookedUp is a delightful community of amazing people and if you’d like to join in our reading fun, you’re just in time for #WinteroftheWallflower which begins Monday, January 4. Click here for more information about the reading group and how to join.
Priest by Sierra Simone
In the fall I hit a reading slump. I had the books I “should” be reading but nothing was keeping my attention. The Fated Mates podcast featured Priest by Sierra Simone in one of their interstitial episodes and on pure impulse I found it at my library and read it in a day.
It was a revelation and a delight. I’m really looking forward to reading more of Sierra Simone in 2021!
A Heart of Blood and Ashes by Milla Vane
To borrow a term from the Fated Mates podcast, this is the book that blooded me.
In a year of such important and wonderful reading, this is absolutely my book of the year. The romance was so powerful and intense. The story and themes blended perfectly with amazing worldbuilding to create a perfect storm of a novel that simply broke my brain.
I don’t really cry when I read books. I’ll mist from time to time. This book destroyed me in the best way. I feel like I’ve been waiting my whole life for this book. As a reader, I was overwhelmed with the work and nuance of this incredible fantasy romance novel. As a writer, I’m so inspired and awestruck.
Yvenne is the heroine 2020 deserved.
This is another situation in which the reading experience was so powerful that it’s taking me awhile to put my thoughts together. As we move into 2021 I’m really excited to dive deeper into fantasy romance novels and you can trust that this will not be the last time you hear about this book on this blog.
No Rest for the Wicked by Kresley Cole
In a year of significant book events, I would be remiss if I didn’t bring special attention to the Immortals After Dark series. After the #SummerofSarahMacLean a small group of us were inspired by the Fated Mates podcast to read the Immortals After Dark series as a group. I’m so glad I joined. These books and buddy reads have been such fun. The books are a wild, good time, and I am absolutely in love with the audio-book narrator, Robert Petkoff.
We’re so lucky to have such a talented reader bringing these over the top characters to life. I will, am and will forever be #RandyforRobert
If there’s one regret I have, is that I didn’t blog about my experience reading these books as I was reading them. However, you can trust that I’ve been brewing on my thoughts and you’ll be hearing about my Immortals After Dark experience in the new year.
The Right to Write by Julia Cameron
Towards the end of the year, I found myself in a writing funk. My writing funk lead me to create special series, Creative Writing with The Artist’s Way, will document my journey working through Julia Cameron’s creative recovery workbook The Artist’s Way as I work on my novel.
I thought embarking on The Artist’s Way in January would be a great way to start off a fresh year. Although my focus will be on creative writing, the program embraces a broad definition of creativity which makes it wonderfully inclusive.
In the meantime, I picked up a copy of The Right to Write and discovered an amazing resource to help pull writers out of the funk. Where The Artist’s Way is a deep dive program, The Right to Write is like opening a window to get some fresh air. Short chapters end in accessible exercises which brings pen to page and assists in the cultivation of the writing practice.
I’ve loved this little book and highly recommend it to my fellow writers. We all deserve a happy little boost and pep talk from time to time.
Happy New Year!
After such an exciting reading year, I’m so looking forward to discover what 2021 holds. Now that I’ve hit 100 books in a year, I’m excited to hit that goal again.
I’m particularly excited for the other goal I’ve set for 2021. I’m going to be blogging every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the first quarter of the year!
Mondays will be reading updates and we’re going to be busy! Wallflowers, Sierra Simone, Psy-Changeling, oh my!
Wednesday will be dedicated to book reviews.
I’m especially excited for #FantasyFriday – a special series highlighting fantasy and paranormal, and fantasy romance books.
And as a bonus, I’ll periodically feature a Stepback Saturday post for a bit of fluff and fun.
Looking forward to sharing all of the bookish fun! Wishing you many amazing books, good health and happiness in the new year.
I’d love to know what your book of the year for 2020 was. Let me know in the comments!