With the craziness of this year, I will admit I was happy to be able to focus so much on reading. Between finding new authors that I feel like I will continue to love, to delving into a whole new genre that is just too fun to resist, to discovering series that I cannot imagine living without now. My reading year has been an absolute treat!
Admittedly there were some disappointments - but that’s not what this post is about. Today I want to run through my top 11 reads of 2020! Because I couldn’t narrow it down any more haha.
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
Why I Loved It: This was a wonderful non-fiction about a professor who made his final lecture to be for his family and about achieving your childhood dreams. It’s raw, heartbreaking, uplifting, hopeful and just wonderful. This is one of those books that I will always recommend.
The Flight Girls by Noelle Salazar
Why I Loved It: I am a sucker for historical fiction and love to hear about the strong women and the roles they play in various world events. I feel like they do not receive as much recognition and this book educated me on a part of WWII that I never knew about. The characters are strong and memorable while the underlying romance is heart-stopping.
As You Wish by Cary Elwes
Why I Loved It: Behind-the-scenes commentary on the making of The Princess Bride… need I say more? I actually read this via audiobook and it was a delight! Cary Elwes narrated and it was so lovely to have cameos from the other actors and crew behind the making of the film. I had a smile on my face pretty much the whole time.
Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore
Why I Loved It: Remember how I said I love historical fiction that draws attention to strong women during major world events? Ya, that. Evie Dunmore brings the suffragette movement to the forefront of her stories with the perfect mix of swoony romance. I have also re-read this a few times already because the characters are so great.
North & South by Elizabeth Gaskell
Why I Loved It: Classic literature is one of my first genre loves and I was shocked I hadn’t read this one but the moment I started reading it I felt this immense sense of nostalgia. This world felt lived in and honest and it was clear the author had first hand experiences with much of the social commentary.
The Duchess Deal by Tessa Dare
Why I Loved It: To my recollection this was my first official foray into historical romance and boy was it fun! Absolutely over the top and unputdownable while managing to keep me interested in the lives of these characters. It’s smut but I enjoyed it immensely.
A Curious Beginning by Deanna Raybourn
Why I Loved It: It made me enjoy mystery books! I have discovered that I have a very specific niche of mystery books that I like and boy did this tick all of the boxes and then some. Independent, smart leading lady with a surprisingly thoughtful but rough, knowledgeable man set in Victorian England? Yes, please!
Dragonfly by Leila Meacham
Why I Loved It: A stunning epic WWII historical fiction surrounding the lives of 5 American spies living behind enemy lines. The scope of this book was amazing, the characters where layered, the slight mystery element had me guessing, my heart was in my throat most of the time reading it… just stunning.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
Why I Loved It: For the length of time that passes between the beginning of this book and the end, the pacing was perfect, the jumping back and forth in time was flawless and Addie’s life was fascinating. It broke my heart but also gave some very honest commentary that made me feel - as the kids say - ‘seen’.
The Bright and Breaking Sea by Chloe Neill
Why I Loved It: Sea-faring fantasy adventure! What’s not to love? I find this sub-genre so hard to find solid reads from but this one was pretty much perfection. Bit of magic that comes with a price, politics, pirates, romance… *chefs kiss*.
Somewhere in France by Jennifer Robson
Why I Loved It: Are we shocked by another war-based historical fiction making it onto this list? I sure hope not! Oh this book was a surprise even though I was optimistic going into it. There were a few tropes that I am not a fan of but boy did Robson make me love them in this book. It gave a whole new look at the war that I had not seen previously, gave me characters and a relationship to root for and made me question if the ending would leave me giddy, happy, depressed or heartbroken.
Honorable mention goes to the book I am currently reading - Code Name Helene by Ariel Lawhon - that I feel has the potential to have made it onto this list but I have only just started it and maybe it will move into 2021.
All that being said, this year was full of so many great reads and I am excited to see what 2021 brings my way!