Hard to believe but it’s that time of year again – time to take a look back on what I’ve read this past year and make my top picks! I don’t think that anyone will argue the fact that 2020 has been a bizarre year. At times it felt like it would never end yet, at the same time, seemed to fly by.
A few years ago I was averaging 170 books a year. Last year I slowed things down and ended the year with 90 books under my belt. My goal for 2020 was 75 but I only managed to get in 60. With everything going on, it was hard to even find escape in a book.
But despite all that, I did read some really great books this past year. Below is a list of my top 10 books, presented in no particular order. There’s a little bit of everything sprinkled in there and I think one of my reading goals for 2021 is to seek out even more variety in the books I select to read.
Without further ado, enjoy this look back on my top reads of 2020!
The Life Duet by Jewel E. Ann
Back in February, when I finished reading this duet, I knew that it was going to land in my top reads list. This duet was wild and will really mess you up. Jewel E. Ann was not afraid of pushing the envelope with this one. The first book sets us up with a really incredible love story between Evelyn and Ronin and begins to paint the picture of the complicated relationship between them and Evelyn’s best friends Graham and Lila. Book two take all this and just goes balls to the wall. It was addicting, mind bending, and is a story I will never forget. (I know I said this list was in no particular order but looking back, I think this duet has to take the top spot. It’s just THAT good!)
The Life That Mattered | The Life You Stole
My Favorite Souvenir by Penelope Ward & Vi Keeland
Ah, who can forget good ole Maddie and Milo Hooker!? This was such a fun book that took a surprising (and angsty) turn for the second half. The instant connection between these two, though, as they meet by chance and embark on an incredible adventure was so good. I was immediately swept up in their story and my heart took a beating as they fought for their happily ever after. Penelope Ward and Vi Keeland are a dream team combination and this book was one of my favorites from them!
Unforgettable by Melanie Harlow
This story was wonderful in its own right – I loved April and Tyler. They had amazing chemistry and their connection was just so easy and natural – even with their complicated history. They were mature and actually communicated with one another, which is not as common as you may think when it comes to romance novels! But this book is making my top 10 list because it marked the close of one of my very favorite small-town series. It was sad saying goodbye to Cloverleigh Farms but I couldn’t have asked for a better ending. Over the course of this series, these characters became like family to me and this was a great send-off!
Hell Hath No Fury by R.C Boldt
The cover was what drew me into this book but the story was one heck of a good romantic suspense! I love a strong heroine and Caitlin was an absolute bad ass. She suffered a great tragedy at the start of the story and instead of letting it beat her, she uses it to fuel her quest for revenge. I loved it! Even if there hadn’t been a romance included, I would have enjoyed this story. But we are also treated to a really wonderful love story between her and The Hunter. This one didn’t have a dull moment and with all the craziness of 2020, sometimes you just need a book where they go around taking out the bad guys! Plus again, look at that cover! Absolutely stunning.
Fortuity by Jewel E. Ann
Well Jewel E. Ann is taking another spot on my top 10 list with her follow up to her amazing Transcend duet. Ever wonder what happened to Professor Nathaniel Hunt? Well, wonder no more because this book (set 10 years after Transcend/Epoch) gives us his story and it was SOOO good! Nate was focused solely on his daughter for the past 10 years so it was really great seeing him find love again. Gracelyn was a lot of fun and they complemented each other so well. Plus, I cried my eyes out at a certain cameo from a character from the Transcend duet!
Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon
I picked up this book for two reasons – 1. it was written by Amy Harmon, who is an incredible story teller and 2. it was set on the Oregon Trail and it was like my favorite childhood computer game came to life. Amy Harmon took the black and green screen that I associate with the Oregon Trail and breathed new life into it, turning it into sweeping landscapes filled with hope, heartache, danger, tragedy, and triumph. It was a very well researched account of life on the trail and also a has a wonderful love story woven throughout. I don’t typically go for historical romances but this one had me hooked!
Review – Where the Lost Wander
That Swoony Feeling by Meghan Quinn
Port Snow, the fictional small-town where this novel is set, is another of my favorite fictional places. I loved all the novels in this series, the Knightly brothers and their cursed love lives will always hold a special place in my heart. This book was the conclusion to the series, featuring Brig Knightly, the baby of the family. And if you had read any of the other books, you were probably already in love with Brig. He was a hopeless romantic who was finally getting his chance at finding his happily ever after. It was such a fun book and full of Knightly brothers goodness. This book – and the whole series really – is not to be missed for small-town romance lovers!
When You Come Back to Me by Emma Scott
Gosh, my heart still hurts for Holden and River. I didn’t read too many M/M stories this year but this was undoubtedly my favorite. It was a breathtaking story that will give you all the feels and take you on a journey of self-discovery, healing, and first love. Both boys were broken in very different ways and getting to experience them finding healing within themselves and with each other was just a real treat!
Review – When You Come Back to Me
Fallen by Mia Sheridan
Winner of the creepiest book I’ve read this year is certainly this one! I never knew Mia Sheridan had a dark side but I’m definitely here for it. It was a very long story that takes its time building the suspense and the creepy factor of the circumstances surrounding Lilith House and all the horrors it held. It had a tightly woven, intricate plot that kept me guessing and kept throwing me curveballs but it was such a good read!
The Romantic Pact by Meghan Quinn
Last, but not least, is another offering from Meghan Quinn. I read this one just recently and it was such a magical holiday road trip that’ll make you want to plan a trip to Germany with a really sweet childhood friends-to-lovers romance. It wasn’t branded as a holiday romance but it certainly was. As much as I loved Crew and Hazel, the picturesque backdrop of Germany at Christmastime was the real star of the show for me. It also made me want to go back and read The Mother Road – which I’m still ashamed to admit that I haven’t read yet!
Well, that’s it! If you’ve made it this far – congratulations and thanks for reading! If you want more of my thoughts on any of the books included in this list, be sure to check out my spoiler-free reviews linked at the end of each section.
2020 had no shortage of challenges but, fortunately, there were still plenty of amazing books to help us escape from all the madness.
I’d love to hear what you think of my list and what some of your favorite reads were! Feel free to leave a comment or find me on social media to let me know!
And most importantly – I want to wish you all a healthy, happy, and peaceful new year!