The end of the year is near and I am so ready for it. This year has had some amazing reads and some truly magnificent reads. I also went through quite a lot of mini reading slumps? I am just glad that they were mini slumps and not month long slumps though. So, without any babbling, let’s get into the top reads of the year, shall we?
The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
One of the most beautiful books I own, outside and inside included. I think while I appreciated Morgenstern’s writing in The Night Circus, I fell hard for The Starless Sea because, I am guessing, that it was the exact kind of whimsy that I was ready for when I decided to buy it. I mean, from underground libraries to the high seas and pirates and star-crossed lovers, it had everything I wanted and more.
The Mercies by Karen Millwood Hargrave
Reading historical fiction which is also based on real events just adds a bit more heartbreak than originally intended, I guess. I truly felt so much for the women of Vardo. It is written with such a vivid imagery that we can see the desperation of the women, the poverty they are facing if nothing is done about the fishing. It is not a happy read but it is absolutely worth reading at least once because it’s hauntingly beautiful.
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson
What can I say about Brandon Sanderson that hasn’t already been said by countless readers? I might not have been able to finish reading this one the first time I picked it up because I simply wasn’t in the mood for that at the time. However once I picked it up again, I couldn’t put it down. I loved everything from Siri to Vivenna and even the gods mentioned in the book. The magic system is what truly makes this a true Sanderson experience, really. With it’s unique system of Breaths, I can’t wait to read more about this world, if I am being honest but who really knows when I will get the next book in the series.
My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell
One of the most haunting reads of the year. This book dealt with such heavy topics but also managed to get people to talk about things like conditioning, sexual abuse, grooming of young girls. It is such an important book but I am not sure when or if I will ever read it again.
The Switch by Beth O’Leary
This was a breath of fresh air as far as contemporary books go for me. I loved the relationship between the three generations of women that was depicted, how certain deaths were handled differently by each of them and how those circumstances defined them. I loved the main characters and all the secondary characters. I still haven’t picked up Beth O’Leary’s other book but I am hoping to get to it soon.
Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman
After obsessing over the show, I had to read the book and it’s been sitting on my shelves for a while. I am so glad that I picked it up because while it wasn’t the best book I read, it was certainly the most optimistic and I needed that during this year. Both authors could have gone on a whole different route with this novel but I am glad where they actually landed. Aziraphale and Crowley were such delights to read.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune
If you need something wholesome in your life then this is the book for you. A book that could also be the warmest hug you could get. Its characters are fictional but the relationships could have as real as you and I. It’s just a must-read if you are in need of a hug or a comfort read, okay? Just go and read it. Fall in love with Arthur and Linus and the all children at the orphanage.
Loveless by Alice Oseman
Give me anything by Alice Oseman and I am probably going to love it. Such was the case with Loveless. While I can totally see why some people might not be able to relate to it and I see the valid criticisms, I also see myself in Georgia and that’s a hard one to shake off. Ace-representation is so rare in any media and to see someone who struggled just as much as I did during my twenties, that was a soothing balm, if I am being honest.
Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri
Ah, where do I begin with this one? It was so soft, so quiet but so explosive. The character growth creeps up on you, the romance is the best and I wish I had read more novels like these growing up instead of some Mills and Boon I would rather not mention. Consent, adult discussions of how to resolve an issue, how to deal with things in general, how to build on relationships, it’s written so well and I am so glad I finally read it.
Never Die by Rob J. Hayes
This is not quite the lengthy fantasy you generally find in this genre but my goodness, it still manages to pack quite the punch, let me tell you. This gripped me right from the beginning when we are introduced to Itami Cho to the very end where we are just sitting trying to understand that it was leading here all along. It was going to happen like this no matter how we predict the end. Just pick it up, okay?
Vita Nostra by Marina and Sergey Dyachenko
What can I say about this one that hasn’t already been said? The weirdest book of the year award goes to this one. Despite me not really understanding certain aspects of the story (I am still not sure if I am supposed to understand everything), I was hooked to this book. Seeing Sasha lose her mind, then trying to understand (along with Sasha) and then feeling lost all over again as Sasha sort of loses her mind. So, yeah, that’s a journey and a half to be sure. I would definitely recommend it if you like weird books.
So, this is it. The top standalone books of 2020 for me, what do you think? Have you read any of them? Do you plan to if you haven’t already? Do you agree with them or do you have your own to add to the list? Tell me all about it in the comments!