Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Books of 2020

 
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

THIS WEEK'S TOPIC:
FAVORITE BOOKS OF THE YEAR

This week's prompt is pretty self-explanatory so let's just get right to it, shall we?


SARINA BOWEN & ELLE KENNEDY

It may have been short (only 78 pages), but returning to world of #Wesmie was everything I wanted.  

They're back! Epic is a novella about your favorite hockey duo!
Jamie and Wes are having a blast living and working in Toronto. Until a scout for another team swoops in to make one of them an offer that might complicate the life they've built together.




J. BENGTSSON

This audiobook that I picked up on a whim became one of my biggest surprises of the year.

Quiet and aloof rock star Jake McKallister and outspoken, vivacious college student Casey Caldwell are polar opposites: Casey is bubbly and talkative; Jake is reclusive. Casey enjoyed a picturesque childhood; Jake’s childhood could only be described as a well-publicized nightmare. Jake’s life revolves around music, and Casey can’t carry a tune.

Music saved Jake, yet he lacks the outgoing personality expected of a famous performer. After surviving an unspeakable crime as a young teen, he becomes a guarded workaholic who desperately attempts to forget the past. Career success comes easily for Jake, but he struggles to make personal connections.

Despite their differences, Casey’s light harmonizes with Jake’s darkness, a balance embodied in the unexpectedly warm and humorous dual performance. Can the sweetness of true love overcome Jake’s tragic past?

CORINNE MICHAELS

This is the book that introduced me to Corinne Michaels way back in January. I've read several others by her since but this one remains my favorite.

I’m not a one-night stand kind of woman. I’m especially not the woman who has a few drinks at a concert and ends up in bed with my childhood celebrity crush, Eli Walsh.

However, that’s exactly where I find myself.

What’s a girl to do after a drunken mistake? Run. I grab my clothes and get away from the powerful, irresistible, and best-sex-of-my-life superstar as fast as I can. His gorgeous green eyes, rock-hard body, and cocky smile have no place in my world. My life is complicated enough.

Someone forgot to tell him that.

Eli is relentless. Pushing his way into my heart, wearing me down, proving he’s nothing like I assumed, and everything I need. But when my world shatters to pieces, he holds the broken bits together. Unwillingly, I fall desperately in love with him.

He made me think we’d have forever... I should’ve listened when he said we could only own tonight.

SARINA BOWEN

Yes, another one from Sarina Bowen. Is anyone surprised? This was the first book in a trilogy and while I enjoyed them all, it was this book that gave me all the feels and stayed with me.

Once upon a time, he gave me a summer of friendship, followed by one perfect night. We shared a lot during our short time together. But he skipped a few crucial details.

I didn’t know he was a rock star.

I didn’t know his real name.

Neither of us knew I’d get pregnant.

And I sure never expected to see him again.

Five years later, his tour bus pulls up in Nest Lake, Maine. My little world is about to be shattered by loud music and the pounding of my own foolish heart.

ALEXIS HALL

This book! Boyfriend Material was the book that gave me so much joy in 2020. I adored Luc in all his pessimistic, emo glory. And Oliver was a buttoned-up, fastidious cinnamon roll. Boyfriend Material became an instant favorite.

Luc O'Donnell is tangentially--and reluctantly--famous. His rock star parents split when he was young, and the father he's never met spent the next twenty years cruising in and out of rehab. Now that his dad's making a comeback, Luc's back in the public eye, and one compromising photo is enough to ruin everything.

To clean up his image, Luc has to find a nice, normal relationship...and Oliver Blackwood is as nice and normal as they come. He's a barrister, an ethical vegetarian, and he's never inspired a moment of scandal in his life. In other words: perfect boyfriend material. Unfortunately apart from being gay, single, and really, really in need of a date for a big event, Luc and Oliver have nothing in common. So they strike a deal to be publicity-friendly (fake) boyfriends until the dust has settled. Then they can go their separate ways and pretend it never happened.

But the thing about fake-dating is that it can feel a lot like real-dating. And that's when you get used to someone. Start falling for them. Don't ever want to let them go.

JENNIFER L. ARMENTROUT

Armentrout seriously knows how to deliver the plot twists and she's a master (aka evil genius) with a cliffhanger. Rage and Ruin was the second entry in The Harbinger series and did not disappoint.

Half-angel Trinity and her bonded gargoyle protector, Zayne, have been working with demons to stop the apocalypse while avoiding falling in love. The Harbinger is coming…but who or what is it? All of humankind may fall if Trinity and Zayne can’t win the race against time as dark forces gather.

As tensions rise, they must stay close together and patrol the DC streets at night, seeking signs of the Harbinger, an entity that is killing Wardens and demons with no seeming rhyme or reason. Forbidden to be with each other, Zayne and Trinity fight their feelings and turn to unusual sources for help—the demon Roth and his cohorts. But as deaths pile up and they uncover a sinister plot involving the local high school and endangering someone dear to Zayne, Trin realizes she is being led…herded…played for some unknown end. As anger builds and feelings spiral out of control, it becomes clear that rage may be the ruin of them all.

LISA JEWELL

I don't often veer out of my lane (contemporary romance) and mystery/thrillers aren't usually my thing, but when I do go that route, Lisa Jewell's brand of mystery/thriller combined with domestic drama is just what I want. I listened to The Family Upstairs on audio and was pulled into the story so completely. This was one that I kept thinking about for weeks after I finished it.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

The can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

COLLEEN HOOVER

Colleen Hoover just doesn't disappoint. I loved this story of mothers and daughters, of family dynamics, grief, betrayal, and forgiveness. 

Morgan Grant and her sixteen-year-old daughter, Clara, would like nothing more than to be nothing alike.

Morgan is determined to prevent her daughter from making the same mistakes she did. By getting pregnant and married way too young, Morgan put her own dreams on hold. Clara doesn’t want to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Her predictable mother doesn’t have a spontaneous bone in her body.

With warring personalities and conflicting goals, Morgan and Clara find it increasingly difficult to coexist. The only person who can bring peace to the household is Chris—Morgan’s husband, Clara’s father, and the family anchor. But that peace is shattered when Chris is involved in a tragic and questionable accident. The heartbreaking and long-lasting consequences will reach far beyond just Morgan and Clara.

While struggling to rebuild everything that crashed around them, Morgan finds comfort in the last person she expects to, and Clara turns to the one boy she’s been forbidden to see. With each passing day, new secrets, resentment, and misunderstandings make mother and daughter fall further apart. So far apart, it might be impossible for them to ever fall back together.

AMY HARMON

Where the Lost Wander covered a time period and setting that has never interested/appealed to me. But I trust Amy Harmon and that paid off in a very big way. The story that was delivered in Where the Lost Wander was so epic, so moving, and so majestic. This was an unforgettable journey.

The Overland Trail, 1853: Naomi May never expected to be widowed at 20. Eager to leave her grief behind, she sets off with her family for a life out West. On the trail, she forms an instant connection with John Lowry, a half-Pawnee man straddling two worlds and a stranger in both.

But life in a wagon train is fraught with hardship, fear, and death. Even as John and Naomi are drawn to each other, the trials of the journey and their disparate pasts work to keep them apart. John’s heritage gains them safe passage through hostile territory only to come between them as they seek to build a life together.

When a horrific tragedy strikes, decimating Naomi’s family and separating her from John, the promises they made are all they have left. Ripped apart, they can’t turn back, they can’t go on, and they can’t let go. Both will have to make terrible sacrifices to find each other, save each other, and eventually...make peace with who they are.

STILL
KENNEDY RYAN

I read Still back in March and knew then that it would likely be my favorite book of the year. What could top this emotional, gripping story of two characters that I felt like I knew inside and out? Kennedy Ryan tackles timely, relevant issues and weaves them into her stories so deftly. Still made me think and feel and I didn't want to turn the last page.

I'll be there.
Through thick and thin.
Ride or die.
You can count on me.

The promises people make. The vows we take.
Assumptions of the heart.

Emotion tells us how we feel, but life...life has a way of plunging us in boiling water, burning away our illusions, testing our faith, trying our convictions.
Love floating is a butterfly, but love tested is an anchor.

For Grip and Bristol
Love started at the top of the world
On a Ferris wheel under the stars
But when that love is tested, will they fly or fall?



HAVE YOU READ ANY OF THESE BOOKS?
WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE BOOK OF 2020?

48 comments

  1. Loved Regretting You! Cake has captured my attention as well. :)

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    1. Regretting You was so good and I found myself so invested in their stories.

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  2. Ooh The Family Upstairs sounds good! I've read a few of her books now and always seem to like them.

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  3. I have Cake, Boyfriend Material and Where the Lost Wander... I wonder if I'll get to any of them in 2021?

    I also need to read something by Bowen... You have me convinced I'll love her books (and I own an obscene amount of them considering I've never read one!)

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  4. I finally read Colleen Hoover this year, and Regretting You was probably the second one I read - so good!

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  5. I'm glad you found so many books you liked this year!

    My post.

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  6. Ooh, lots on here that've piqued my interest! I still have to read Where the Lost Wander so I'm glad to hear you enjoyed it! I really enjoyed Lies & Lullabies too and still need to continue on with the rest of the series. Hope you enjoy the rest of the holiday season! Happy reading :)

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    1. I hope you have fun with the rest of the Hush Note series!

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  7. I've been curious about The Family Upstairs. I'm glad to see it on your favorites list.

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  8. Boyfriend Material made my favorites list as well :) Also, there is a #Wesmie novella out and I haven't read it yet? Must fix ASAP!

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    1. Yes! Epic was released about a year ago in a short story anthology. I don't think it's available any longer, but I'm pretty sure Epic was later released on its own.

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  9. I can't believe I only read two of these. I am so glad I gave Boyfriend Material another chance, because I ended up loving it.

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    1. Boyfriend Material just made me all kinds of happy. :)

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  10. I should have put EPIC on my list!!! I failed there. I love seeing Still on here and so many other books I loved. Nice list. You had a good year.

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    1. There were definitely some mediocre reads in the mix but overall it was a pretty good reading year. :)

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  11. OMG.. I can't believe I haven't read any of these. They all sound and look so good! Cake has definitely been on my TBR.
    I really need to update my TBR.. LOL!!

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    1. I hope you get to Cake one of these days... it was so good!

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  12. Great list! I haven't read anything by Jennifer L. Armentrout, but I feel like I've seen a lot of love for her work across the blogosphere this year.

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  13. The Family Upstairs sounds so good. I love a nicely done domestic thriller, and this sounds like it would make for the perfect read. Thanks for reminding me of it!

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    1. I hope you'll enjoy The Family Upstairs if/when you get to it!

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  14. I so loved Where the Lost Wander and Boyfriend Material too! Great list Tanya!

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  15. WHERE THE LOST WANDER is on my list today, too! I loved it for so many reasons. Glad I'm not the only fan :)

    Happy TTT!

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    1. I've yet to read anything by Amy Harmon that didn't become a new favorite!

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  16. I need to read Epic but I did love the other Bowen title on your list, Lies & Lullabies. I also loved Regretting You but I read that in 2019. I kind of feel like I need to read Boyfriend Material sometime soon.

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    1. I hope you'll enjoy Boyfriend Material if you decide to pick it up!

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  17. I have several of these on my kindle right now, including Boyfriend Material and that Colleen Hoover book, so I'm thrilled to see they're on your best of list.

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  18. I have Epic which I really need to read ASAP. And I LOVED Boyfriend Material. I feel like there should be a sequel - Husband Material, anyone?

    Lauren

    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. Oh my goodness, wouldn't it be awesome to get a follow-up to Boyfriend Material?! :)

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  19. What a great list you have there! I LOVE seeing Cake on your list of favorites. Such a keeper right? I can't believe we are at the end of 2020. Hope many joys come to you and yours in 2021.

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    1. Cake was so, so good! I really need to get going with the rest of the series.

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  20. Loved Cake and Epic! ♥
    I am definitely going to be picking up Jennifer L. Armentrout next year. And that Colleen Hoover book too! 😊

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    1. Epic was like a little gift from the gods. LOL I just adore Wes and Jamie. :)

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  21. I loved Where the Lost Wander too! It *almost* made my list, the cuts were hard to make! I also really want to get to The Family Upstairs, too!

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    1. Trying to narrow down a year's worth of reading to just ten is stress-inducing! LOL

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  22. I’m glad you read so many good books. Have a great 2021!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  23. I loved Rage and Ruin! And I just went and added Where the Lost Wander to my tbr. That isn't something I would normally read too, and each year I try and pick up a few books that aren't what I typically grab. Here's hoping I love it as much as you!
    Jen @ Star-Crossed Book Blog

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    1. Rage and Ruin was so great... and I can't wait to get my hands on Grace and Glory! I hope you'll love Where the Lost Wander if you decide to give it a try! Amy Harmon is really phenomenal.

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