G. Bianco, 2019
I think it’s safe to say that 2020 was a year full of challenges and change. However, it was also full of great reads! I read a mix of romance, historical fiction, young adult, graphic novels, fantasy, and many other genres that all accumulated to a whopping 125 books read this year (a record for me)! I figured I’d share my favorites (aka the five star reads) and my ultimate Top 10 Reads of 2020 that really stood out and influenced me this year. I also added in a few honorable mentions that weren’t quite five star reads, but I still really loved and keep recommending to people! So without further ado, here are my top reads of 2020:
TOP 10 (in no particular order)
1. When We Were Vikings by Andrew David Macdonald
2. You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
3. Dancing at the Pity Party by Tyler Feder
4. Beach Read by Emily Henry
5. The Jewel Thief by Jeannie Mobley
6. Super Fake Love Song by David Yoon
7. Amelia Unabridged by Ashley Schumacher (Pub Day: Feb. 16th 2021)
8. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
9. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
10. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab
Five Star Reads:
One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus
Evvie Drake Starts Over by Linda Holmes
Heartstopper: Volume 3 by Alice Oseman
To Kill a Mockingbird: A Graphic Novel by Fred Fordham
Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits by Laila Lalami
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy
Undercover Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams
One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London
My Eyes Are Up Here by Laura Zimmermann
The Lives of Edie Pritchard by Larry Watson
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
The Mall by Megan McCafferty
What You Wish For by Katherine Center
Body Talk: 37 Voices Explore Our Radical Anatomy by Kelly Jensen
Misleading a Duke by A.S. Fenichel
Check Please! Book 1: #Hockey by Ngozi Ukazu
Check Please! Book 2: Sticks and Scones by Ngozi Ukazu
Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots
Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
The Roommate by Rosie Danan
Crazy Stupid Bromance by Lyssa Kay Adams
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
Ever After Always by Chloe Liese (Pub Day 1/12/21)
home body by Rupi Kaur
Honorable Mentions (aka 4 star reads I really loved):
1. A People’s History of Heaven by Mathangi Subramanian
2. Anna K: A Love Story by Jenny Lee
3. Only When It’s Us by Chloe Liese
4. Always Only You by Chloe Liese
5. The Mountains Sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai
6. The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae
7. Ordinary Hazards by Anna Bruno
8. All This Time by Mikki Daughtry and Rachael Lippincott
9. Watch Over Me by Nina LaCour
10. Furia by Camille Saied Mendez
11. Judge’s Girls by Sharina Harris
12. In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
Thank you to everyone who has been following me and my reading journey this year! Here’s to more great reads and fun times in 2021!
Happy New Year!
In Saranna Wylde’s new rom-com, Fairy Godmothers, Inc., magic is in the air, and so is love! This first book in a new series, released on December 29th, shows how sometimes all love needs is a little nudge in the right direction via some meddling fairy godmothers.
The town of Ever After, Missouri is the epicenter of enchantment and the locals are in dire need of a reboot. At least according to resident fairy godmothers Petunia, Jonquil, and Bluebonnet. Their solution? Blow a bit of fairy dust in the direction of those in need of romance...what could possibly go wrong? Lucky Fujiki's first name is a cosmic joke. Her luck is so bad, even the number seven steers clear of her. But when her adorable godmothers ask for a favor, Lucky can't say no--even if she can already feel the bad juju waiting to strike. And her mission is even worse than she imagined: to promote Ever After as a wedding destination by faking a marriage to her first love and long-time ex, Ransom Payne--he of the Embarrassing Incident that neither of them will ever live down. Ransom Payne has spent years building an impressive new reputation for himself, and now his godmothers want him to pretend to wed the one girl he'd like most to forget? Sure, weddings in Ever After could be a huge boon for his chocolate business, but risking more up-close-and-personal time with Lucky? Considering the stakes, it's a curse he'll have to bear, at the risk of being humiliated--or perhaps, bewitched...
This was a cute romance about luck and love. I really enjoyed the fairy tale elements and how different fairy tales were represented in the town. There’s a little bit of steam in this book, but this is a more lighthearted and fun book rather than a hot and heavy one.
While I loved the concept of this fake marriage with real magic involved and meddling fairy godmothers it wasn’t as amazing as I was hoping. It just felt like there were too many moving parts: Lucky and Ransom’s romance, Lucky’s bad luck curse, Gwen’s martial issues, Roderick and Gwen’s budding romance, Lucky not knowing about magic, the town’s magic issues, and so on. It just felt like a lot got thrown into this book. While I’m sure most if it was done to prepare to continue this series, it still felt like information overload at some points.
So did I love this book? No. Did I like it? Yes. Will I continue reading this series? Probably. So take that however you want. If you’re looking for a rom-com with a touch of magic and a little silliness then this book is definitely worth a read!
*I received an ARC from Goodreads and Kensington Books.
Hello fellow bookworms!
Since the end of 2020 is fast approaching (thank goodness!) I figured I'd do a quick review of some of the books I've read in the past few weeks! I don't really have time to do full reviews of them like I would normally do, but I'd still like to share my thoughts! So without further ado, here are some mini reviews:
A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas
The novella set after the event of Sarah J. Maas's A Court of Wings and Ruin shows what the beloved characters are up to now, while also setting the stage for A Court of Silver Flames (publishing in 2021). I loved this book! It gave me all of the holiday vibes while also giving me some Court of Dreams content to hold me over until A Court of Silver Flames! And I need 37297339 more stories like this about them. I’M JUST OBSESSED WITH THESE CHARACTERS OKAY?!!!
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
When semi-famous Luc tries to clean up his public image, he enlists the help of clean-cut Oliver to help fake a relationship for the media that totally won't result in a real romance... This novel was incredibly funny. I genuinely smiled and laughed throughout the entire book and thought Luc’s POV was very entertaining. I would’ve liked some more plot lines tied up like Jon Fleming disappearing or how Oliver will deal with his family, but I really enjoyed this fake-dating romance. The little snarky commentary and sarcasm from Luc was really entertaining and I love almost all of the characters!
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black
This book was a few short stories that offer insight into how Cardan became the person he is and where he is after the event of the Folk of the Air Series. While I enjoyed these little snippets and stories, it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I was hoping for more personal stories and not just snapshots of small moments in Cardan’s life. I was also hoping for more Jude/Cardan content. But it was still a good read and if you loved the rest of the series then this novella is definitely worth reading!
Rating: ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
The Bromance Book Club comes to the rescue again in Lyssa Kay Adams’s third installment in the hilarious romance series! Crazy Stupid Bromance follows a hacktivist and cat café owner as they try to get out of the friend zone and take their relationship to the next level.
Alexis Carlisle and her cat café, ToeBeans, have shot to fame after she came forward as a victim of a celebrity chef’s sexual harassment. When a new customer approaches to confide in her, the last thing Alexis expects is for the woman to claim they’re sisters. Unsure what to do, Alexis turns to the only man she trusts—her best friend, Noah Logan. Computer genius Noah left his rebellious teenage hacker past behind to become a computer security expert. Now he only uses his old skills for the right cause. But Noah’s got a secret: He’s madly in love with Alexis. When she asks for his help, he wonders if the timing will ever be right to confess his crush. Noah’s pals in The Bromance Book Club are more than willing to share their beloved “manuals” to help him go from bud to boyfriend. But he must decide if telling the truth is worth risking the best friendship he’s ever had.
I adored this book just as much as the other Bromance Book Club Books. This is a steamy, funny, and touching friends-to-lovers romance that will be adored by any rom-com lovers. But this book was so much more than that; it was a glimpse into family dynamics, dealing with the loss of parents, secrets being revealed, and how to forgive the ones you love. Both of our protagonists deal with grief in different ways and readers see how it can affect people’s lives. Adams deals with these issues gracefully and it really helps readers become invested in the story through their story arcs and character development.
Listen, I don’t think it’s a shock to anyone that I enjoyed this book (see my review of the first book here and second here). This series is just so well written and each book is so refreshing and new that it doesn’t feel like a repetition of the same premise over and over again.
All I can say it go read Crazy Stupid Bromance and every other Lyssa Kay Adams book out there! You won’t regret it and in the meantime I will be anxiously awaiting the next book in the series to be released in 2021!
Like many people out there, I enjoy the occasional sports-themed rom-com or YA novel. However, This Is How We Fly by Anna Meriano highlights a different kind of athletic activity: Quidditch. This young adult book, set to be released December 15th, is a great feel-good contemporary about growing up and finding a place to belong.
Seventeen-year-old vegan feminist Ellen Lopez-Rourke has one muggy Houston summer left before college. She plans to spend every last moment with her two best friends before they go off to the opposite ends of Texas for school. But when Ellen is grounded for the entire summer by her (sometimes) evil stepmother, all her plans are thrown out the window. Determined to do something with her time, Ellen (with the help of BFF Melissa) convinces her parents to let her join the local muggle Quidditch team. An all-gender, full-contact game, Quidditch isn't quite what Ellen expects. There's no flying, no magic, just a bunch of scrappy players holding PVC pipe between their legs and throwing dodgeballs. Suddenly Ellen is thrown into the very different world of sports: her life is all practices, training, and running with a group of Harry Potter fans. Even as Melissa pulls away to pursue new relationships and their other BFF Xiumiao seems more interested in moving on from high school (and from Ellen), Ellen is steadily finding a place among her teammates. Maybe Quidditch is where she belongs. But with her home life and friend troubles quickly spinning out of control--Ellen must fight for the future that she wants, now she's playing for keeps.
I really enjoyed the concept of this book! Being a fan of Harry Potter, I knew what Quidditch was and that people actually played it in real-life, but I didn’t really know any of the logistics of it. Meriano does a fabulous job of showcasing this wonderfully wacky sport and how it has developed into a worldwide phenomenon. Additionally, to see Ellen use Quidditch as a way to express herself and find a sense of belonging was wonderful to see.
Meriano leaves references at the end of the book to real-life sources to find actual Quidditch leagues around the world which really helped showcase this diverse athletic community! There was also some great LGBTQ+ and BIPOC representation in this story which further highlighted the diversity and inclusivity of the Quidditch Community!
While I liked the plot, I did find Ellen to be a bit over dramatic at times and found it a bit hard to connect with her. I might just be getting too far removed from my own teen years to relate to her, but Ellen seemed almost too angsty at times. This book also tackles a lot of progressive issues like feminism, gender identity, gender roles, veganism, and societal standards. While I appreciated the way these issues were highlighted, it was almost overwhelming at times and I found there to be too many mentions of too many different issues.
Overall, I think this is a great YA book and I hope to see Quidditch highlighted in more stories in the future! If you're looking for a quick read that will satisfy your craving for neediness and a little bit of competition then this book is a fabulous choice!
*I received an ARC from Penguin Teen in exchange for my honest opinion.
The final battle has arrived for Feyre and her friends in Sarah J. Maas’s A Court of Wings and Ruin. In the third installment in the series, Feyre must learn to forge alliances, destroy her enemies, and protect those she cares about the most.
Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's manoeuvrings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit – and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well. As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords – and hunt for allies in unexpected places. The earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all.
Ok I don’t think I can say anything more about this series that I haven’t already, but I will try.This book was phenomenal! Maas interweaves each plot line together seamlessly and it makes the story flow beautifully. Each and every plot twist and revelation was just as shocking as the last one which only heightened the action of the story.
This novel focuses a lot on the battle with Hybern so there is a lot of strategy and action in this book. However, there is still enough fluff and steam to create an even balance to the narrative. What was really cool was that Maas gave the readers a broader scope of Prythian and the different courts to fully round out the world she’s created.
Feyre’s character continues to develop and grow as she learns to trust her newfound family, while also keeping her guard up against those who seek to harm her. This book is filled with treachery, deceit, and plot twists galore! It is quite hard to put this book down so I highly suggest you strap yourself in for a magical and chaotic ride. However, Maas leaves the ending a bit more open to allow for the plot to progress in the next book, A Court of Silver Flames, which is set to be released in the next few months.
While I liked the first two books in the series better, I still adored this book! I cannot wait for the next book to come out and to read about Nesta and Cassian! I’m very happy that the adventures in Prythian are not over yet and am eager to return to the world of faeries.
Picked as a November 2020 Book of the Month option, This Time Next Year by Sophie Cousens is all about fate and waiting for the right moment. This December 1st release shows just how the world works in mysterious ways, especially during the holidays.
When Minnie meets Quinn at a New Year’s Eve party, it’s clear that they’ve got nothing in common – except for the strange fact of their being born in the same place at the same time on New Year’s Eve. A crazy coincidence, but not a reason to pursue a friendship, and definitely not an excuse for Quinn to hope for something more. He is a privileged party boy who believes the world is his for the taking. She is a hard-working realist, whose lack of confidence tends to hold her back. Opposites don’t really attract…it’s not like this is a rom-com, right? The clock strikes midnight, their moment passes, and another year begins. But if Quinn and Minnie are from different worlds, why do they keep bumping into each other? And why is it that each frustrating interaction somehow seems to push their lives in the right direction? Could it be that instead of clashing, their different outlooks might complement each other? Perhaps now is the time for them to finally come together…
This book reminded me of a Katherine Center novel: romantic, sweet, and inspiring! This was a really quick read that really put me in the holiday mood! I can't recall ever reading a story set around New Year’s Eve so this was a super fun and unique book for me!
The chapters alternating between 2020 and New Year’s past was a fun way to connect the dots and see how Minnie and Quinn ended up where they are currently. Each chapter connects the two closer and closer together which will have readers itching for the moment when they finally connect.
While there’s not much steam in this novel, the way Minnie and Quinn try to make sense of their issues and how their pasts have caused them to be insecure, anxious, and scared of change is inspiring to see. Both of them resolve to better themselves before diving into a relationship and it’s refreshing to see.
Overall, if you're looking for a sweet, fluffy, holiday read that also handles some tough issues, this is definitely one to add to your TBR! I will definitely be on the lookout for the next book Cousens may write!
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!