TOP TEN TUESDAY: Favorite Books of 2020

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly discussion hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl (and formerly hosted by The Broke and the Bookish), and this week’s topic is “Favorite Books of 2020.” I thought it would be difficult to pick ten, but once I went through my Goodreads, the final choices weren’t too difficult. I did choose books released in 2020 and earlier as I read two due out in 2021 that I loved but I didn’t feel like they fit this list. I will list them at the end as bonuses! These are in no particular order!

  • The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow – I was so engrossed in this world, and it made me want to read more portal/historical fantasies.
  • Sin Eater by Megan Campisi – This alternate Tudor history captivated me from the get go and almost a year later, I’m still thinking about this.
  • Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson – Magical libraries? Yes, please. This also reminds me of like… Robin McKinley’s world building and style a little bit, and I think that’s one of the things that has kept me coming back to Rogerson’s work. I can’t wait for her next one!
  • Middlegame by Seanan McGuire – This was something unlike anything else I’ve really read before, and I’m intrigued by the concept of twins and their connections.
  • Little Weirds by Jenny Slate – I don’t know why this made me sob so much, but I related to a lot of things about Slate’s personal life that she’s revealed in this essays, and I eventually want to add a copy of this to my shelves since this was a library read!
  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab – I knew this would be a favorite before I even read it, and it lived up to all of my expectations!
  • Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia – I keep recommending this to people because it appeals to so many different readers. I’d been intrigued by the concept since it’s announcement, and when I got around to reading it, it just surpassed every hope I had for it. If I truly had to choose, Mexican Gothic is my second favorite read of the year.
  • Fable by Adrienne Young – I love YA pirate fantasy, and this was a delight for me to read. I don’t usually immediately run to request the sequel after reading, but I did for this one and I’m glad the release dates between the duology are not far apart!
  • Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse – My favorite book of the year, hands down.
  • Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey –  I’ve enjoyed every book by Gailey, and this was no exception! A post-apocalyptic wild west in which librarians are spies and transport contraband on the fringes of society??? YES.

BONUS!

  • Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir – This was so much fun and really evoked the fun, campy, science vibes of The Martian (which I thought was lacking in Artemis). I don’t want to spoil it too much, but the characters in this are hilarious and great.
  • The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey – I read this a few months ago and literally think about it once a week because this domestic sci-fi thriller is just that good. Gailey can do anything and I’ll read anything they write.

What are your favorite books of the year?

 

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books on My Winter TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly discussion hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl (and formerly hosted by The Broke and the Bookish), and this week’s topic is “Books on My Winter TBR” and some of these have been on some form of a TBR at some point or another, and I’m going to read them by the time the winter season is over!! It’s time to stop distracting myself and get to reading what I’ve been gravitating toward.

  • The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo – I think I read this when it first came out, or likely flipped through a lot of it. It wasn’t until I watched the show again recently that I wanted to read the book again. I know a lot of people think the book by itself isn’t necessarily helpful, but the show helps cinch it all together and make it make sense. One of the phrases I’ve really liked from the show is “do you want to take this into your future,” and I get really stuck on the sentimentality of things, so that question has helped a lot. Besides, I really want to get a handle on my life before I make a move, and there’s so much stuff I don’t want to take with me into my future.
  • My Fake Rake by Eva Leigh – I am in such a mood for historical romance, and this fake dating one with a SCHOLAR sounds right up my alley.
  • Any Rogue Will Do by Bethany Bennett – This cover is just so pretty?? I just need to read it.
  • Culture Warlords by Talia Lavin – This was sent to me by Hachette after I requested it because it’s been on my radar since I started following Talia Lavin on Twitter a while back. It seems like an infuriating, yet important read.
  • Real Life by Brandon Taylor – This has been one of my most anticipated reads because Brandon Taylor is such a delight on Twitter, and I’ve heard endless good things about this.
  • A Princess for Christmas by Jenny Holiday – Is it really Christmas if you don’t read a cute Christmas book? I grabbed this off the ARC shelf at work in October but decided to save it until December! It’s up next on my to-read list!
  • Simmer Down by Sarah Smith – This was such an impulse buy after finding out it’s a romance centering on a food truck, and it’s high time I read it!
  • Ex-Libris: 100 Books to Read and Reread by Michiko Kakutani – Books about books are some of my favorite books to read, and the illustrations in this are to die for.
  • The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab – I’ve been wanting to read this ever since Schwab mentioned it years ago, and to be honest I’ve already started it and it’s already drawn me in.
  • Persephone Station by Stina Leicht – The other day I remembered this comes out in January and it hit me that January is only a couple of weeks away. This popped up in a Netgalley email and I wanted to read it just for the cover! The description says it’s for fans of The Mandalorian and Cowboy Bebop, and those are two things I like, so this will be the next digital arc I read!

I realized I didn’t do a fall TBR, nor did I read anything off my summer TBR, and this is the moment of changes, so I’m going to be better about reading all of these.

What is on your winter TBR?

 

TOP TEN TUESDAY: Books I Want to Read Again

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly discussion hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl (and formerly hosted by The Broke and the Bookish), and this week’s topic is “Books I Want to Read Again” and even though there are so many new books to read, sometimes it’s a joy to revisit something you’ve read before and find something new in it (and be comforted because these are almost all comfort reads to some degree).

  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine – This is one of my favorite books of all time, and I try to read it about once a year. I don’t actually remember the last time I read it, so it’s definitely time for a revisit.
  • Emma by Jane Austen – Even though this is on my 2020 reads list and a challenge I’m not likely to finish any time soon, I’ve been wanting to revisit this ever since the movie came out earlier this year.
  • Good Omens by Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett – I last read this forever ago and meant to revisit after the TV series, but I’m in the mood for something funny and this should do the trick.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien – I used to read this once a year in the fall but I haven’t done that in about five years or more. With the release of these new covers, I’m ready to dive back into Middle Earth.
  • The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot – I didn’t realize any of these were getting rereleased for their TWENTIETH anniversary, but I ate these like candy when I was younger and I’m happy to see them out in print again.
  • The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald – If you don’t read Fitzgerald in the 2020s, who are you? The parallels of the two decades are interesting, and I’m curious to revisit this after seven years according to my Goodreads!
  • The Silmarillion by J.R.R. Tolkien – I last read this sometime in the midst of the film trilogy’s release and I remember nothing about it. With the extended universe series coming out at some point, I want to revisit this (and with the shiny new cover).
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – I am working on finishing series that I started, bought the books, and never finished. But I don’t really remember what happened in the first five books to truly pick up the most recent one I haven’t read. I remember these being fast, fun reads though!
  • Truthwitch by Susan Dennard – This is another one of those series where I read the first book, continued to buy the next installments in hardcover on release, and then just never read them. The next one comes out in the near future, so I want to get caught up!
  • Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel – I told myself I wouldn’t read the second book in this trilogy until the third book was announced, and the third book came out this year, so it’s time to dive back into this brilliant view of the Tudors.

What are you looking forward to rereading?

 

FIRST LINES FRIDAY: Cemetery Boys, by Aidan Thomas

Hello, Friday! First Lines Friday is a feature on my blog in which I post the first lines from a book I am interested in reading, either a new release or a backlist title! For the rest of the year, I’m going to feature books by non-white writers, partially because I just did a whole list of classics by a majority of white writers and partially because I am continually focusing on purchasing and reading books by non-white writers for a whole list of reasons. The books featured will range from “classics” to adult fiction to YA/middle grade fiction, and these are all I’ve had on my shelf for a bit that I want to read by the end of this year or within the first few months of 2021! I can’t believe it’s basically the middle of November already, but time flies when you’re in the middle of a stress-bomb called COVID-19. Stay safe, stay home, wear a mask!

Yadriel wasn’t technically trespassing because he’d lived in the cemetery his whole life. But breaking into the church was definitely crossing the moral-ambiguity line.

Still, if he was going to finally prove he was a brujo, he had to perform the rite in front of Lady Death.

And she was waiting for him inside the church.

The black Hydro Flask full of chicken blood thumped against Yadriel’s hip as he snuck past his family’s small house at the front of the cemetery. The rest of the supplies for the ceremony were tucked away inside his backpack. He and his cousin Maritza ducked under the front windows, careful not to bump their heads on the sills. Silhouettes of the brujx celebrating inside danced across the curtains. Their laughter and the sound of music filtered through the graveyard. Yadriel paused, crouching in the shadows to check the coast was clear before he jumped from the porch and took off. Maritza followed close behind, her footsteps echoing in tandem with Yadriel’s as they ran down stone paths and through puddles.

Adrian Thomas’s Cemetery Boys has been buzzy in my neck of the book internet, and the premise intrigued me from the get-go. Thankfully my store got copies on release day so I could buy it, and I wanted to read it around Halloween but life took a different turn than I was expecting with the death of my cat and work getting busier/more stressful. But after reading the first few pages in preparation for this post, I definitely am bumping it up to the top of my TBR because it already sounds so good and perfectly spooky.

WAITING ON WEDNESDAY: October-December 2020 Reads

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme originally hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine (though it seems as though it’s been a while since she updated that particular blog, so if you know of the current host, if there is one, please let me know) that highlights upcoming releases that we’re impatiently waiting for. This week I’m featuring October-December 2020 review copies or purchased books that I have either in physical form or digital form that I can’t wait to dive into! But now that it’s the middle of November, I really need to get in gear and get these read! The release dates are listed but are always subject to change.

  • A Golden Fury – Samathan Cohoe :: It’s about a fantasy Oxford with alchemists and curses and the looming French Revolution. I’ve been in the MOOD for historical fantasies of all flavors, and I’m really thinking I’ll enjoy this one. Releases October 13, 2020.
  • Ruinsong – Julia Ember :: Sapphic YA fantasy with kingdoms and queens and underground rebellions?? YES. And that cover?? I love it already. Releases November 24, 2020.
  • The Hollow Places – T. Kingfisher :: Up until this year, I have not been one for much horror, but after reading a few stories and Mexican Gothic, I think I can handle a little bit more. 2020 was originally going to be about broadening my own horizons, especially with different genres, so when I saw this available for download, I thought I’d give it a go. Releases October 6, 2020.
  • The Thirty Names of Night – Zeyn Joukhadar :: I loved their debut title The Map of Salt and Stars and Atria was kind enough to send me a finished copy of the novel! I’m excited to see where this goes, and I have a feeling I’ll be so moved by it. Releases November 24, 2020.
  • White Ivy – Susie Yang :: I’m kind of loving that dark academia is becoming a thing in recent releases, and this one caught my attention when I saw it on the ARC shelf at work. Releases November 3, 2020.
  • Any Rogue Will Do – Bethany Bennett :: To be honest, this is a total cover buy, but LOOK AT IT. It’s so gaussian blurry and beautiful. I don’t think it’s Christmasy, but it looks very Christmasy, so I had to have it. This also looks like it’s the first title by this author? I’m definitely into this era of regency romance, and I like that the names of these characters are pretty traditional sounding for the era in which this book is set. And it’s definitely not a list like this without some romance added to it anymore. Releases October 13, 2020.
  • How to Catch a Queen – Alyssa Cole :: I’m at risk of becoming an Alyssa Cole fanblog but THAT’S OKAY. And you should read her stuff, it’s great. I’m looking forward to this new contemporary series! Releases December 1, 2020.
  • One Writer’s Beginnings – Eudora Welty :: I don’t remember requesting this from Scribner so it came as a complete surprise in my mailbox! But I do enjoy reading about writing because I feel like it helps with so much of my own writing and enjoyment of reading. Releases November 3, 2020.
  • Plain Bad Heroines – Emily M. Danforth :: Gilded Age gothic fiction set in a SCHOOL and it’s got LESBIANS? It sounds like everything I love in a book, and it’s a chonker so I’ve been waiting for a good few days off to start reading this because I have a feeling I won’t want to put it down. Releases October 20, 2020.
  • The Best American Science Fiction and Fantasy 2020 – ed. John Joseph Adams and Diana Gabaldon :: I love love love anthologies because I get a flavor of a lot of different writers’ abilities and stories and I get to add more books to my TBR after making discoveries of writers I might not have heard of before! I don’t remember if I bought 2019’s (and I need to check because I have the others), but this series (and any anthologies put out by John Joseph Adams) has consistently been great. I also love 2020’s covers across all the Best American series; they’re incredibly striking! Releases November 3, 2020.

Are any of these on your to-read list? What one would you read first?