Fave Five 2020

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Like everyone else, I hate 2020. What a crap-crusted year this has been. BLECH.

However, one bright spot of nearly ten months of relentless sheltering in place, barely going anywhere but the grocery: a lot of time to read. I read more than 100 books this year, across practically every genre. 😮

The past few years I’ve been doing a favorite reads list. I almost decided against doing one this year (see: crap-crusted and BLECH, which describes my mood as well as the year), but then decided hey, here’s a thing I enjoyed this year. All enjoyable things that managed to happen in 2020: The Year of the Coronapocalypse should be celebrated.

Thus, my five favorite books I read in 2020, in ascending order (I’m actually ranking them this year!):

5. THE LAST EMPEROX by John Scalzi (science fiction)

This is the final book of the Interdependency trilogy, sort of a far-future space opera that manages to be very topical as well. I love the whole trilogy, but Scalzi really sticks the landing here. And snarky, foul-mouthed Kiva Lagos, one of the protagonists, is an absolute joy.

4. THE HOLLOW PLACES by T. Kingfisher (horror)

This is a horror novel, and it is, in fact, quite … disquieting, but it’s not especially gory. Much more old-school horror of the things you can’t quite see. Kingfisher is great at building that kind of tension, and once or twice I had to stop reading for fear of nighttime creepies. She’s also really great at relieving that tension, with laugh-out-loud humor and truly wonderful characters. This story is a companion to, but not precisely a sequel to, THE TWISTED ONES, published last year.

PS: Kingfisher also writes wonderful fantasy romance, which I likewise highly recommend, especially PALADIN’S GRACE and SWORDHEART.

3. THE INVISIBLE LIFE OF ADDIE LARUE by V.E. Schwab (fantasy)

Schwab is one of my few auto-buy writers. I adore her writing: the depth of her characters, the marvel of her plots, and the beautiful way she puts words together to make pictures. Addie LaRue is a thing unto itself. Full disclosure: I read this book twice this year. The first time I liked it a lot, but I didn’t love it. I read it again a couple months later, and my god. Knowing the story, I saw so much more of the beauty in the details, the little corners of the narrative. It’s a wonder.

2. BOYFRIEND MATERIAL by Alexis Hall (M/M romcom; fake relationship)

I found myself turning again and again to romantic comedies and other lighthearted romances this year. Like everyone else, I loved BEACH READ, too, and I about exhausted Christina Lauren’s catalogue (more on that in a minute). I found BOYFRIEND MATERIAL through an ecstatic tweet from someone I follow (it might even have been Christina Lauren, but idk). I’d never heard of Alexis Hall, so I didn’t know what to expect. But holy crap, this book is hilarious, and sweet, and sexy, and poignant, and I absolutely ADORE these two.

And my #1 most favorite book read this year:

JOSH & HAZEL’S GUIDE TO NOT DATING by Christina Lauren (F/M interracial romcom; friends to lovers)

Like I said, I devoured most of CL’s catalogue this year, and I’ve been delighted by every one of them. They were new-to-me authors until I read THE UNHONEYMOONERS, and that was such a joy I immediately went looking for more. There’s not one I haven’t loved.

However, I would die for Hazel. I would kill for her. I might even hug her. I read this book four times this year. It would be even more, but I don’t like the narration for Josh in the audiobook, so I’ve only listened to it once, lol.

So that’s my list of favorites for 2020. I hope I don’t have time to read 100 books in 2021 because we’ll all be back to having our lives at some point next year. Now that there’s a vaccine, that forecast is actually pretty rosy. Phew!

I hope you all have a good holiday, all things considered, and stay healthy and safe.

Here’s hoping for a rosier 2021!

(PS: if you head on over to my FB author page today, I’ve got a giveaway going on there for a $20 gift card to The Ripped Bodice).

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