*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 :-)
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.
Krampus Hates Christmas by Andi Van was absolutely adorable! Such a cute, sweet romance between two sweet characters, one of whom was Krampus.
The A Charm of Magpies series was really great all-around. Great characters, great plot, great romance, and great magic!
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.
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]
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.
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!
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!
Real Vampires Don’t Sparkle Series 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.
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.
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.
Timekeeper Series by Tara Sim [Audiobook]
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.
How to Howl at the Moon by Eli Easton [Audiobook]
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!
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.
The Incubus Saga 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!
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!)
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.
Dungeons & 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!