What with the libraries closing down for a large chunk of the year, you wouldn't think that I could have found all that much to read... and you'd be right, mostly. The thing is, although I generally do make a habit of going to the library quite frequently... I also do have a fair amount of books that I own that I haven't read yet, so while all that was going on, I took the opportunity to get through some of those books! Then the libraries reopened (for no-contact hold pickups, anyway) and I was able to at least get a few books at a time... But at any rate, rather than just giving you December's books, I decided to go over all the 40+ books I read this year, and give you "20 books for 2020", my Top 10 Indie Books (the Reader's Reviews from this year) and Top 10 "Standard" books--a mix of library checkouts and bookstore purchases!
In more or less "Ranked" order, they are:
#20: Song by Jesse Teller
The breakout read of the year--the book I had no "thematic context" for, I had no idea what I was in for, a book that's been sitting in the queue for a year, at least, and lo and behold: I liked it! You can follow the hyperlinked text to read my Official Reader's Review about it!
#19: Prey by Michael Crichton
#18: The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Talk about sitting on the queue for a while! This one had to wait for quite a while because of the way I felt about the ending of the first book--but as it turned out, viewing this book and its predecessor as two halves of the same book really does wonders for my mental state! Follow the hyperlinked text to read my Official Reader's Review about it!
#16: Ghostly Echoes by William Ritter
#14: The Fallen by David Baldacci
And Fortunate Son was a welcome glimpse into the pre-Paint-Rock Judah Black, before she became a federal officer, back when she was on the force in Baltimore. You can read my Official Reader's Reviews for these titles by clicking the hyperlinked text above!
#12: Blood Rites by Jim Butcher
I had one thing to say after reading this book: "HARRY DRESDEN YOU ABSOLUTE HOBGOBLIN!" Not even kidding... Much of the subject matter of the actual crime he is called in to solve is pretty cringey stuff, but it was the subplot that really got me going! I don't want to spoil it too much, but out of all the books in the series thus far, THIS is the one that you shouldn't miss!
#11: Veiled Rose by Anne Elisabeth Stengl
I read Heartless, the first book in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, on the recommendation of a friend... six years ago. I enjoyed it, moved on and forgot about it for a few years after that, and only recently have I been looking and waiting for a copy of this book to magically show up at the library, after seeing a few other books in the series. (I like to read them in order, so what??) It was just my luck that putting this book on hold meant that it was there for me at last this year--and I can confirm that it was well worth the wait. The stories don't seem to connect, other than I think they occur within the same fantasy world, but the style is just so breathtakingly beautiful that you want to read books like this really slow, to drink in all the rich and vivid detail!
#10: In Numina by Assaph Mehr
Boy! This was the year to get around to reading sequels so many years after reading the initial books, am I right? This one too... I read the first book in the series, Murder in Absentia, about four years ago. In my defense, this one didn't exist at the time, but I admit it's been out for at least a year and I'm only just now getting to it... but again, worth the wait. You'll see why when you follow the hyperlinked text to read my Official Reader's Review about it!
#9: Verona: The Complete Mermaid Tales by Pauline Creeden
Official Reader's Review by clicking the hyperlinked text!
#8: Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
This one was an impulse checkout, I'll admit. I had been interested in it most of all because of the strong suggestion of dragons on the cover, (I'm always curious about dragon books!) but I didn't really know what to expect--and I definitely didn't expect what I got! It's a rich and vivid world, with plenty of amazing lore and a variety of characters that each had their own personality... I absolutely loved it, and it was really a bright spot in the month when I read it!
#7: Ace of Clubs by Patricia Loofbourrow
Three books in, and I've loved every moment of this wildly inventive series! The Red Dog Conspiracy is prime reading for anyone who loves steampunk, murder mysteries, and clever wordplay! You can read my Official Reader's Review by clicking the hyperlinked text to find out more about it!
#5: Spinning Silver and Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik
These were very close, but in regards to the scope of the story and how much I actually loved (rather than just skimmed through), Spinning Silver is the reason these two are in my #5 spot. I absolutely adore the way Novik writes her fairy tale style, from the call-backs to tales like "Beauty and the Beast" for Uprooted, and now Spinning Silver, which smacks of classics such as "Rumplestiltskin" but also "The Snow Queen" (not the Disney-ified version! The original Hans Christian Andersen tale!)
As for Throne of Jade, I appreciated it because of the unique way she's infused dragons into an alternative version of the events surrounding the Napoleonic Wars... but at the same time, she's done so well mimicking the adventure novel style of the era that it reads rather textbookish! (Can you imagine... a textbook with dragons!)
#4: Behind The Mask by J. D. Cunegan
Oh, we're getting near the top of the list! And of course, this one is here--I absolutely love the Jill Andersen series, dare I say even more than the TV show that served as the biggest inspiration for the characters! You can read more about it in the Official Reader's Review by clicking the hyperlinked text.
#3: Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence
#2: The Masked City by Genevieve Cogman
And finally, my pick for The Number One Book Of 2020 is...
#1 They Must Be Stopped by Kelly Blanchard
Official Reader's Review by clicking the hyperlinked text.
Of course, those twenty-plus titles weren't all the books I enjoyed this year! As I said, I had to weed out quite a few to get down to the Top 10, so the main ones I still wanted to mention, I'll list down here, as "Honorable Mentions"!
In the "Standard Book" category, the runners-up were: Lethal White by Robert Galbraith; Until We Meet Again by Michael Korenblit; Anatomy of The Soul by Curt Thompson; Magnus Chase and The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan; and Final Witness by Simon Tolkien;
Out of the Reader's-Reviewed books, the ones worth checking out (by of course clicking the hyperlinked titles) are: Hugo by Pamela Poole; Anamatus by Derrick Tribble; Excelsior by George Sirois; and two novellas, Head Over Heels by S. E. Anderson (tying in to her Starstruck Saga series); and Grave Tidings by R. R. Virdi (a tie-in to his series The Grave Reports)
I hope you enjoyed this list! What are some books YOU enjoyed in 2020? Leave your recommendations in the comments!