Bookish Musings: Top Ten Books/Series I Read in 2020 + Some Non-Bookish Things

 
 

*Announcer voice blasts out over the speakers*: And now… it’s time for the main event! The cream of the crop! The cherry on top! The one, the only, the top ten books of the year post!

RAAAAAAHHHHHHHH (Just humor me and imagine crowd sounds here.)

Well that was fun! Maybe I should intro all my blog posts with an announcer…

Anyway, this has been a weird year. I went through phases where I couldn’t seem to super get into anything. I gave out a lot of 3-star ratings, and I still don’t know if it was because of the books themselves or because of 2020 brain. But I also found some books I loved!

All the books on this list are urban fantasy and paranormal books with romance, except for one sci-fi-ish love story (The Time Traveler’s Wife) and one book that has no romance (Highfire). What’s surprising is that there seems to be fewer series than usual. Also surprising is that one of these is a short story / novelette (Wolf Hall)—that’s never happened before!

Another thing I noticed is that I did a lot of rereading, and it went really well. I ended up liking a couple rereads about the same, but most of them I liked even more. Four even made it onto this list!

I’m also gonna include some non-bookish media I loved this year, because why not?

So without further ado, here are my 2020 faves :-)


Honorable Mentions

Highfire by Eoin ColferKrampus Hates Christmas by Andi VanThe Magpie Lord by KJ CharlesSilver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

It was hard for me to choose which books would make the top ten (I read almost 200 books and stories this year, that’s a lot of narrowing down to do!), so here are a few not on the list below that still deserve a mention for being amazing and bringing me joy:

Highfire by Eoin Colfer was sweet and a lot of fun! I loved the adorable relationship between grumpy old dragon and good-hearted teenager. And the audiobook narration was great.
[MY REVIEW]

Krampus Hates Christmas by Andi Van was absolutely adorable! Such a cute, sweet romance between two sweet characters, one of whom was Krampus.
[MY REVIEW]

The A Charm of Magpies series was really great all-around. Great characters, great plot, great romance, and great magic!
[MY REVIEW]

The Greenhollow Duology didn’t necessarily blow me away, but there was something about them. They had this wonderful fairy tale, bedtime story feel that was so comforting, especially in audiobook form with such a wonderful narrator.
[MY REVIEW]

Bang! Bang! BOOM! Vol. 2 by Melanie Schoen & Del Borovic was a fantastic continuation of one of my favorite series. I still haven’t had the chance to reread it straight through, but I’ve been loving it every time a new bit of the webcomic comes out.

Wolf Hall by Harper Fox [Audiobook]

Wolf Hall by Harper Fox

Starting off with the short story that impressed me so much! I was so immediately hooked by this, felt for the main character, loved the voice and writing style, loved the narration, loved the weirdness of the werewolf stuff—loved everything about it!

I specifically recommend the audiobook because the narrator did such an wonderful job, better than I would’ve done in my head.

[MY REVIEW]

The Usual Apocalypse by Christine Price

The Usual Apocalypse by Christine Price

This was one of my rereads, and it’s just such a great book all-around. The main character is one I felt for but who also cracked me up, the romance was sweet and sexy, the mystery was suitably mysterious, and the supernatural stuff was cool!

[MY REVIEW]

Kitto by Harper Fox

Kitto by Harper Fox

I have enjoyed all the books in this series so far, some more than others, but this is the one that especially stood out and gave me the most feels!

[MY REVIEW]

Real Vampires Don’t Sparkle Series by Amy Fecteau

Real Vampires Don't Sparkle by Amy FecteauReal Vampires Do It in the Dark by Amy FecteauReal Vampires Take No Prisoners by Amy Fecteau

This was another reread, kind of my third time reading, actually. This is an incredible series that seamlessly weaves laugh-out-loud humor and tension-filled romance with horrifying violence and emotional intensity, and it only gets more intense the deeper you go into the series. Oh, and there are also vampires, of course.

[MY REVIEW]

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

This was also a reread, a book I first read before I started blogging. And gosh, this one is… emotionally affecting. Does that make sense? Because it sure affected me emotionally. Definitely a love story, and not an easy one.

[MY REVIEW]

Fight the Tide by Keira Andrews

Fight the Tide by Keira Andrews

Though it’s both books together that make this series work, it’s the second book in particular that really got me and made me feel all the feels. It’s a unique combo of zombie apocalypse and werewolf paranormal romance, but it was all the nuance and complexity of the emotions and relationships of the characters that made this so great.

[MY REVIEW]

Timekeeper Series by Tara Sim

Timekeeper by Tara SimChainbreaker by Tara SimFirestarter by Tara Sim

I don’t read a lot of YA anymore (to be fair, this is on the older end of YA), so I was surprised by this series! The first book was kind of sweet and cute with small hints of heavier, more intense things, but each book got more intense, the characters got more complex, and the third one really hit me with the emotion.

[REVIEW COMING SOON]

How to Howl at the Moon by Eli Easton [Audiobook]

How to Howl at the Moon by Eli Easton

I’m usually not super into shifter romance and wasn’t sure how I’d feel about this when I picked it up, but I loved this! It was, by far, the cutest, most awww-worthy book I read this year. It gave me all the feels, in the absolute best way that left me feeling warm and fuzzy in the end. Just adorable!

I also specifically recommend the audiobook for this one because, although I’m sure it’s just as great in other formats, this narrator was just so fantastic at performing all the emotion!

[MY REVIEW]

The Henchmen of Zenda by KJ Charles

The Henchmen of Zenda by KJ Charles

This retelling of The Prisoner of Zenda was so much fun! I loved seeing the henchmen’s side of events, as this author wrote them, and she really brought these characters to life! Even if you haven’t read the original, this is still just a super fun story and unique sort of romance.

[MY REVIEW]

The Incubus Saga by Amanda Meuwissen

Incubus by Amanda MeuwissenChangeling by Amanda MeuwissenSidhe by Amanda Meuwissen

This was another reread (another 3rd-ish time read) and my favorite of the year! I didn’t think I could love this series any more than I already did, but, upon rereading, I was proven wrong. These books have lovable characters, swoon-worthy romance, intense action, cool supernatural powers, and so much incredible, sweet, touching emotion that it makes me feel like my heart is going to burst, and I absolutely adore them!

[MY REVIEW]

Favorite Show:
Eastsiders

Eastsiders

I mentioned this in my 2018 post, but I rewatched S1-3 and then finally watched the final season this year, and guess what? It was just as amazing! It starts off a little rough in some ways because it was originally a web series, but it gets better and better as it goes on. It’s emotional and angsty but also funny, touching, and sweet. It’s wild sometimes, but relatable in other ways. It’s the perfect example of how to write characters who make a lot of mistakes and are sometimes shitty people, but you care about them and root for them anyway. Plus, everyone’s gay, and no one dies! It’s a hidden gem of a show! (Available on Netflix!)

Favorite Game:
Overland

Overland

I played so many fantastic games this year, which is why I already did a whole post about them. But just because it deserves another mention, I’ll say again that Overland really blew me away. I loved it so much. The gameplay is fun and challenging, and the art style is simplistic and beautiful, but it’s the heart and attention to detail that made me care so much about these little people and dogs and really hooked me.

[MY REVIEW]

Favorite Podcast:
Dungeons & Daddies

Dungeons and Daddies

This is a D&D podcast about four dads who end up in the Forgotten Realms and have to find their sons, and it is a blast. It’s a fast-paced, ridiculous, hilarious real play podcast, and I’m loving it!

In Case You Missed It:

Check out my other end of the year posts!
Best Book Covers from Books I Read in 2020
Top Ten Characters from Books I Read in 2020

 
 
 
 

Talk to me!

Have you read or are you interested in any of these?
What was your favorite book or series this year?

 

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18 thoughts on “Bookish Musings: Top Ten Books/Series I Read in 2020 + Some Non-Bookish Things

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  1. Amanda Meuwissen

    Well, now I really have to return to Incubus someday. I have big plans in 2021 to write more, re-cover my Lovesick series, and work on plans for rapid releases in the future for new series. I think 2022 might be perfect for re-covering Incubus (though maybe only mild tweaks, because damn I love those covers) for new editions, and then a new trilogy to continue the story with side characters, new characters, and a return to the main cast too. Thank you for keeping the love for this series alive. ^_^

    1. Kristen Burns

      I do think the Incubus covers are nice, but if you decide to redo them, I’ll look forward to seeing them! And if you write any more about characters from the series, I will definitely want to read it!

  2. Roberta R.

    “I ended up liking a couple rereads about the same, but most of them I liked even more.”
    It happens to me a lot with rereads!

    I used to have The Time-Traveler’s Wife on my list, but then I was put off by the idea that he meets his “future” wife at a young age…it sounded gross to me…I don’t know. Then again, even one of the incarnations of Doctor Who meets his “future” wife when she’s just born and even gets to hold her once…

    I’m glad you ended up having such a good reading year!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Rereads are great!

      I mean, he meets her for the first time when they’re both adults. And then, after falling in love, starts traveling back in time to when she was a kid. So she meets him for the first time when she’s a kid. (Just explaining in case you were unclear, cuz I was so confused by the description lol.) I thought it was interesting though!

      Thanks!

  3. Greg

    The Time Traveler’s Wife sounds really good. did they make a show out of that? That sounds really familiar. anyway, I love the sound of the podcast too, and of course Overland sounds fun. I need to play more games…

    Happy NY!!!

  4. E.M.

    You just sold me on “Highfire” and the Dungeons and Daddies podcast. I looked up more information on those and I could not stop laughing.

  5. ShootingStarsMag

    Happy New Year!! I really loved Timekeeper. I have the second book – need to get on that. I do want to read Highfire. Sounds like a cute/fun read.

    Glad to hear you enjoyed Eastsiders. I saw that on Netflix and was curious.

    -Lauren

    1. Kristen Burns

      You definitely need to keep reading the series, it only gets better! And Highfire is so much fun! Eastsiders is such a hidden gem. I’ve never seen anyone else talk about it, but I loved it so much.