Friends, it’s my ANNUAL BOOK REVIEW!!!
I AM SO EXCITED!!
I blogged about 500 posts this year, and without a doubt, today’s will be my absolute favorite.
I love books. I love sharing book recs with you. I love your suggestions. I love your analysis of these books, and I adore your feedback. This little community means so much to me, and on days like today, my heart gets even more full of gratitude for YOU.
This year, I read 54 books…which is crazy because LAST YEAR, I read 54 books too! Isn’t that weird? So, 54 books, a lot of them I loved, several, I didn’t and today, I’ll name my TOP THREE BOOKS OF 2020 which I think you all should read.
BUT before we get to that, I need to share the TWO books I read this month with you so we can round out our year. This month, I continued the holiday book reading and read two more Christmas novels to keep me in the spirit of the season. The first book I read was…
It was alright.
I believe there is a third book in this series, and honestly, I didn’t love either of the first two enough so I doubt I read the third one.
If you did read the first one (and you really should read them in order!), this sequel is about the best friend of the main character from the first book. Same cute, small town Alaskan setting, but this time, it’s the holiday season. It’s okay. It’s cute, it’s kind of predictable, it’s a little rated R, it’s filled with yummy food references and holiday cheer…it’s all the things I love in a book…it just didn’t wow me like the second book I read this month. I know this isn’t a glowing review, but the novel was fine…not the best, but certainly cute enough and super easy to read.
Now, the second book I read this month was my FAVORITE holiday book of 2020! Thanks to YOUR suggestions, I read…
This book was ADORABLE!! If you have time to read this one before Christmas, you really should! This fictional story is about a small town girl living outside of London who signs up for a series of dates with a company called the 12 Dates of Christmas. Each evening, she goes out on a date with someone else who is a part of this sort of Match.com-like organization. I loved her little town, I loved her dad and her friends, I thought she was super cute and likeable…this novel gave me alllllll the happy feels! I wanted to go to the cafe where she frequents and enjoy tea with her and her friends. Charming. This book is super charming…and Christmas-y too!! Read it!
So, that wraps up my books from 2020! These two here at the end make 54 books for the entire year.
Here they all are…
(Just click on the month to read my review.)
The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes
Cilka’s Journey by Heather Morris
Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren
The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
Face It: A Memoir by Debbie Harry
Regretting You by Colleen Hoover
Beartown by Fredrick Backman
Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid
The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez
Know My Name by Chanel Miller
American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins
Josh & Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating by Christina Lauren
The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
On the Bright Side by Melanie Shankle
I read a lot of great books in 2020!
Every year, I name my TOP THREE, and as silly as it sounds, I think about that every single time I pick up a book. I’m always wondering if it’s “the one”, and I get so excited when the bar raises and a new book comes up into my TOP THREE.
Below is a list of all of my TOP THREE books from years past. I still stand by each and every one of these, and whichever ones you haven’t already read, please do so in 2021. These are all AMAZING books…
Here is a list of all of my other FAVORITE BOOKS of the year:
#1: What Remains by Carol Radziwill
#1: Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist
#2: The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan
#1: Cancel the Wedding by Carolyn Dingman
#2: It Ends with Us by Colleen Hoover
#3: A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams
#1: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid
#2: Unstuffed by Ruth Soukup
#3: The Secret Life of Violet Grant by Beatriz Williams
#1: My Oxford Year by Julia Whelan
#2: Castle of Water by Dane Huckelbridge
#3: The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
#1: The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer
#2: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris
#3: Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
Even though these books here didn’t make my TOP THREE, I wanted to comment again on them in my annual review…
Cilka’s Journey is the sequel to The Tattooist of Auschwitz (my second favorite book of 2019!), and I loved it so much!!! You need to read BOTH BOOKS! Andrew read both this year and loved them too, so they’re definitely not just for women.
If you have adopted or are considering it, I highly recommend you read Dancing with a Porcupine. It’s a very raw and real look at adoption…as hard as it may be to read, I think it’s so important that all of us in the adoption community see both sides of the story.
Chanel Miller, I know your name. Your story (told in her memoir, Know My Name) will forever stick with me. Chanel was the victim of rape, and her memoir here shares not only the horrific details of the attack, but the horrific details of how she was mistreated following it by people she knew, loved and should be able to trust. This story is very raw but incredibly powerful.
This year, the number one recommended book by you guys was White Fragility. You can read my entire review of it HERE, but trust me when I say, it opened my eyes and heart and hopefully, changed not only me, but my family too. I’ve thought about that book a million times since finishing it.
Speaking of opening my eyes, The Hate U Give was one that will forever stick with me too. I decided to also let my big kids read this book as well, and it prompted so many conversations within our household.
Nothing to Envy will also go down as a book that will forever stay with me. This book is a compilation of stories of people who have escaped North Korea. It’s disturbing, eye-opening, horrific and so very relevant.
I’ve read a million autobiographies, but Andre Agassi’s Open is the best one I’ve ever read…and I know nothing about tennis 😉 . There is so much from his story that we can apply in our own lives. I loved it.
I know, I know, I’m the last person on Earth to read Marla Cilley books, but I read The C.H.A.O.S. Cure and LOVED it! It’s about organizing your home and your life in small incremental time blocks. Yesssss!
So, this year, my number one book found its place on the list in my head as soon as I read it and never one time budged. My number two book did the exact same thing. As soon as I read it, I thought “that book is in the top two for sure!”.
Now, my number three spot…it’s been sitting there since the beginning, but there have been several honorable mentions that I want to make sure I point out to you because they deserve the attention. The following books alllllllmost all made it into my TOP THREE this year…
Oh Beatriz Williams, I love you. Two of your books have been in my TOP THREE over the years (A Hundred Summers and The Secret Life of Violet Grant), and your latest one, Her Last Flight was very close. This fictional tale of a character very much like Amelia Earhart was just perfect. I loved every page.
Elin Hilderbrand is my very favorite author, but yet, hasn’t ever had a book in my TOP THREE…but this year, she almost made it. Her novel 28 Summers was my favorite Hilderbrand book to date! (WHOA!) It’s very much a “same time, next year” kind of a story…and I loved it.
Okay, at one point, The Two Lives of Lydia Bird was in my TOP THREE (until I read my number two book of the year and bumped it out!). This fictional tale just grabbed me from the very beginning. It’s chick-lit…but at its very best. You will love this one!!
So, those are all of my honorable mentions from 2020.
Now, are you ready to see which three books made my TOP THREE OF THE ENTIRE YEAR?!
I may have loved those books listed above, but my THIRD FAVORITE BOOK OF 2020 is…
…In Five Years by Rebecca Serle.
Oh my word, I loved this one.
Last year, The Dinner List was an honorable mention and this year, In Five Years takes the number three spot in my heart. This is a story of a young woman living her best life in New York City only to have a very vivid dream one night about her life five years from now…and everything is different. The story takes you through her life and you see how sometimes, we think we know exactly what we want…but the thing we really need (maybe five years down the road) is so very different. This is a fictional story but really made me think. I love, love, loved this book! I hope you all love it too!!
Next up, my SECOND FAVORITE BOOK OF 2020 is…
…Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano.
The minute I read this one, I loved it. This story is one of those that will keep you up at night thinking about it. It might be fiction (loosely based on real events), but you will read it like it’s an actual event. It’s the story of the soul-survivor of a plane crash, a young boy, and how his life unfolds after the crash. It’s sobering, it’s hopeful, it’s tragic, it’s candid, it’s powerful, it’s gripping…I was nervous when I read this, I was sad. I was optimistic. I was all the things…I loved every page. The minute I read this one, I knew it would be a book I would never forget and always recommend…the perfect combination for my TOP THREE.
So, those are #2 and #3.
My FAVORITE BOOK OF 2020 is…
…AMERICAN DIRT by Jeanine Cummins.
The minute I read this novel, it skyrocketed to my top spot, and I never one time considered bumping it down.
It was the number one book I recommended to people this year when they asked me what they should read. It was the book I’ll look back on 2020 and remember the most. It is one of the best books I’ve EVER READ. This story had me on the edge of my seat, it opened my eyes to many things in life, it made me question, it made me more passionate, it spoke to me as a mom, it spoke to me as a Texan, it spoke to me as an American, it just SPOKE TO ME. I get that it’s controversial, but honestly, no matter what “side” you’re on, you should read this story. It’s fiction, but the way it’s written will have you right in the middle of it. This is about a mom trying to get her and her young son over the border from Mexico into Texas as they run from the Mexican cartel. I loved this book and have thought about it numerous times over the last nine months since I finished it. I hope you all start with this book in 2021.
Okay, that’s it!
Those are my TOP THREE for 2020!
Now, I’m getting my list together of books to read the rest of this month and into January, so here’s what I want to know…WHAT IS THE BEST BOOK YOU READ IN 2020? That’s going to hopefully help me find my favorite book of 2021.
Thank you for reading with me this year! Thank you for always making these posts so much fun!! Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything! I will see you back here tomorrow for my Thursday post, but please know, from the bottom of my heart, I love this community that reads together SO DANG MUCH! I am so thankful for you all!!!
To see the complete list of books I read in 2016 (all 62 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2017 (all 62 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2018 (all 61 of them), click here.
To see the complete list of books I read in 2019 (all 54 of them), click here.