Talk about coming in down to the wire- as I write this I’m finishing up an audiobook, trying to finish up my last couple of reads of 2020. This year I’ve read more than ever. Of which I am referring to as ‘The Year of the Audiobook’. Thank God for the Libby app!
Thanks to all of the events that conspired this crazy year, I had my best reading year yet. Packing and moving (twice) gave me lots of time to listen to audiobooks, and quarantine and shut downs gave me plenty of time to curl up and read. Which really is an introverts dream… I had a really hard time narrowing down my favorite reads from this year. But, these were a few that left an impression.
The Best Books of 2020
Awakening Wonder by Sally Clarkson had been on my TBR all year, and I’ve been treating it as my sort of morning devotional. You can’t binge read this book- it’s best taken in small sips. But, it’s absolutely lovely. If you’re schooling your kids at home, it offers practical advice and soul-filling encouragement. I’m going to do a separate, full review later because I have so much to say. If you’re a fellow homeschooler, or just looking to bring more wonder into your children’s lives- add this one to your list.
I discovered Katherine Center this year, and she is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. All of her books are so full of hope amidst the hardest challenges. I simultaneously sob and laugh out loud when reading her books, and I’ve enjoyed every one that I’ve read so far. What You Wish For was her newest release, and it was a beautiful story. I listened to it on audio and it was an excellent way to experience this story. Highly recommend! I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.
The books I’ve read by Josie Silver are always long, but I fall in love with them anyway. The Two Lives of Lydia Bird was a heart-wrenching story full of what-ifs and what-could-bes. How would life be different if one moment could be changed? It will also make you cry, and laugh. You can feel her emotions and it’s like you’re experiencing her heartache along with her. I’m definitely going to pick up some more of Silver’s books.
I *had* to pick up The Winemaker’s Wife, because I’m a bit of a Kristin Harmel fan, and she can do no wrong in my book. Her characters are always so fleshed out to me. And her grasp of historical-fiction and the worlds she lets you step into are phenomenally well done. Again, her stories are always a little heartbreaking (am I sensing a theme in the books I love?) but you can’t help but get immersed in the world of the characters she creates. She’s an automatic-read author for me.
When I saw Me and Patsy Kickin’ Up Dust announced I knew I HAD to have it! I mean, Loretta Lynn and Pasty Cline- 2 of the OG Country QUEENS! Loretta Lynn has always been one of my favorites- I’ve watched Coal Miner’s Daughter, her life story at least 100x. Her music reminds me of my Mam, and was so ahead of its time. I still croon Patsy Cline songs in the shower and listen to her music when I’m sad. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to read about their very special friendship in the words of Loretta Lynn.
The way she talks with all her “dadgums’ and how she speaks with such love and honesty, is just so charming and endearing. What an amazing friend to still be cherishing their memories together some 50 years later. They were so very lucky to have each other, and this book is a testament to their special bond.
I have to admit, The Thursday Murder Club wasn’t on my radar, and it’s not my typical type of read. But, once I picked it up- I couldn’t put it down. These spunky retirees will have you cheering them on as they try to solve a murder in their “boring retired years” and your not-so-typical retirement community. The story is good, the characters are flawed and hilarious, and the mystery will keep you guessing. All the ingredients for a good Winter night’s read.
I’ll say it again and again, I don’t love YA. But, when I was rounding up my Horror novels in October, this one landed on my stack. House of Salt and Sorrows ended up being not only my favorite YA Horror pick, but also one of my favorite reads overall this year! Can you believe it?! It’s an atmospheric and eerie adaptation of my favorite fairy tale- The 12 Dancing Princesses. The story is hauntingly beautiful and so descriptive and has really creepy undertones. I also don’t usually reach for fantasy novels either, and I gobbled this one up.
Maybe I even went and bought a physical copy for my shelf after reading it on my Kindle so I could revisit this story again later- high praise from me! I definitely recommend if you like a good, twisted fairy tale. Or if you just need to escape to an imaginary world for awhile. It’s a debut novel done right.
Last but not least- Home Before Dark by Riler Sager. I’ve read a couple of Sager’s novels this year, but this one was by far my favorite. I stayed up late into the night to finish it and kept worrying I wouldn’t be able to sleep after it was over… Also-I will never again be able to listen to my Sound of Music record thanks to this book. A few people have complained about the dual-timeline, but I listened to it on audio. Which was perfect, because you hear the different timelines in 2 different voices- making it really easy to follow. This one gave me the chills the whole way through- and honestly I’m looking forward to reading it again with fresh eyes now that I know how it ends. But…that TBR is awfully long right now, so it may be a looooog while.
I hope my favorites help you add to your reading list for the new year. Now let me know 1 or 2 of your favorites in the comments!
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