Well, 2020 has been the year of the suck but the forced downtime has meant that I managed to get plenty of reading done. When you can’t leave the house, what else is a girl to do, amirite? 😉
2020 End of Year Book Survey
I thought it was fitting to complete this annual survey (which I’ve taken part in since 2013) at the end of 2020 to round out the year with something positive after so much awfulness.
end of year survey: 2020 reading stats
number of books you read: 120
number of re-reads: 14
genre you read the most from: contemporary
For the second year running, contemporary beats out fantasy as my go-to genre! It was pretty much double too which is huge for me because I normally read fantasy at the exclusion of nearly every other genre or there is some element of fantasy included (like urban fantasy or paranormal for example). Most of my reads would probably fall under the contemporary romance umbrella (predominantly m/m) but still, quite a surprise for me!
1. Best Book You Read In 2020?
I’ve read quite a few amazing books this year which makes it hard to narrow it down as I’m torn between Master of One by Jaida Jones and Dani Bennett or Brothersong by T.J. Klune (with Kiss the Fae by Natalia Jaster also a very strong contender) but I’m probably going to go with Master of One. It was just the book I needed to read at the right time and it really brought my spirits up.
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
I would probably have to go with Signs by Anna Martin. I’ve enjoyed every other book by the author and this one had been on my to-read list for a long time. I was expecting to love it and was disappointed when it fell into the ‘just okay’ category for me. There just didn’t seem to be any conflict. Everything was just so nice and the two main characters met and fell in love just a bit too quickly for me. It just didn’t hit the mark. This is just my opinion though (I am aware I seem to be in the minority!)
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
Fagin’s Boy by Christina E. Pilz for sure! I tried (and failed!) to read Oliver Twist in my younger years and I wasn’t 100% sure what to expect with this series which is a continuation of the story with LGBT themes. To be honest, my familarity with the story comes from the musical Oliver! I ended up really loving this series (especially Jack – the most pure-hearted pickpocket ever!)
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
Hm, I didn’t really push anyone to read anything this year though I have nudged people to check out Natalia Jaster’s books particularly the Selfish Myths series (criminally underrated) the last book of which Transcend was just out this year…
5. Best series you started in 2020? Best Sequel of 2020? Best Series Ender of 2020?
Best series I started this year was Kiss the Fae by Natalia Jaster – I already know this series is going to be a corker and I cannot wait for the next book!!
Best sequel would definitely be Starcrossed by Allie Therin. The first book surprised me (in a good way because as a rule I don’t tend to read much historical fiction). I was completely taken with the story, the characters, and the setting. I worried that the next book wouldn’t live up to the hype I had for it but it so did and much more.
Best series ender for me was Brothersong by T.J. Klune – I have adored each book in this series and the last book was a fitting end to an amazing journey for the characters and for me as a reader.
6. Favourite new author you discovered in 2020?
I recently started reading K.J. Charles and I’m mad at myself that I had gotten into their books sooner! I did buy The Magpie Lord when it first came out but for some reason sat on it until just over a month ago. I’ve pretty much devoured the series and am working my way through her other books as we speak.
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
I mentioned above that I don’t really read much in the way of historical fiction (except when it is historical fantasy) but I’ve definitely been widening my horizons this year. I read Unforgiveable by Joanna Chambers and it opened a gateway to the rest of her books which led me to seek out other historical novels.
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
I would probably say The Extraordinaries by T.J. Klune. It was his first YA novel and it definitely ticked all the boxes for me (who doesn’t love books about teenage superheroes?)
9. Book You Read In 2020 That You Would Be MOST Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I’ve already got a hankering to re-read Omake by Karin Lowachee – a collection of stories set in her Warchild universe. I was familiar with some of them from being a lurker on the author’s old forums but some were brand new and I was so happy just to get a snippet of this world again.
10. Favourite cover of a book you read in 2020?
I have to give this one to How the King of Elfhame Learned to Hate Stories by Holly Black. The illustration is amazing and it just says so much about the book. I have three copies with slightly different variations so it’s pretty obviously a favourite haha!
11. Most memorable character of 2020?
Definitely Jack Dawkins from the Oliver and Jack series by Christina E. Pilz (though Lord Crane from The Magpie Lord is also particularly delicious!) Jack stole my heart away though so he is for sure the most memorable character for me.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2020?
Brothersong by T.J. Klune is definitely the most beautifully written book for me. I have always loved T.J. Klune’s prose (he can really bring both the angst and the humour) but this series in particular gets to me and I just adored the writing and the relationship between Carter and Gavin. It didn’t quite beat out Robbie and Kelly’s book (which was, incidentally, my choice in last year’s survey) but it was pretty damn close.
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2020?
Vespertine by Leta Blake and Indra Vaughn was quite a thought-provoking book for me. I rarely read books with religious overtones but I made an exception for this one and it definitely gave me loads to think about.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2020 to finally read?
Definitely The Magpie Lord by K.J. Charles! I’ve had this one sitting on a backburner since 2013 – I can’t believe I sat on it for so long (but the upside is that the author has released many books since her debut which I can now read without delay!
15. Favourite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2020?
“Stories can justify anything. It doesn’t matter if the boy with the heart of stone is a hero or a villain; it doesn’t matter if he got what he deserved or if he didn’t. No one can reward him or punish him, save the storyteller.”
16. Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2020?
Shortest: Starting from Somewhere by Lane Hayes – I’m not including any novellas or short stories only full-length novels so at 140 pages this one was my shortest read of the year.
Longest: Luna and the Lie by Mariana Zapata – I’m not really surprised at this because Zapata’s books are always pretty hefty for contemporary romance novels – this one clocks in at 628 pages.
17. Book That Shocked You The Most
I’m not easily shocked but some of the twists and turns in Disavow by Karina Halle were definitely eye-openers (though I always knew Pascal had a heart in there somewhere!)
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
This is a really close call between Oliver and Jack from Christina E. Pilz’s series of the same name or Carter and Gavin from Brothersong by T.J. Klune. In the end though, I’m going to have to give it to Carter and Gavin as I love them both equally individually (and together) and while I do like Oliver and Jack as a pairing a whole lot, Oliver sometimes gets on my nerves.
19. Favourite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
The sibling relationship between found-sisters Lark, Juniper, and Cove in Kiss the Fae by Natalia Jaster is awesome. Despite not having a lot of page-time as yet, the bond between them shines through.
20. Favourite Book You Read in 2020 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
I loved The Wrath of Wolves by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood. I’m a huge fan of the previous two books in the series (A Light in the Shadows and A Hymn in the Silence) so I knew going into it I would enjoy it but wasn’t sure that moving the POV from James and William to Preston and Benjamin would work as well. Happy to say I adored these two and the book, while not as suspenseful and scary as its predecessors, was a winner.
21. Best Book You Read In 2020 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure/Bookstagram, Etc.
I’d heard a lot of great things about Gentleman Wolf by Joanna Chambers which encouraged me to buy it and the follow-up Master Wolf. I ended up reading Unforgiveable by the same author first, but it was Gentleman Wolf that caught my eye. I’m so glad I did because I found a new favourite author!
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2020?
It’s going to have to be Envy from Transcend by Natalia Jaster (he wouldn’t allow me to pick anyone else, I swear!) I can’t help but love a vain and beautiful god of Envy!!
23. Best 2020 debut you read?
Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye was a book I kept seeing everywhere (Goodreads, Bookstagram etc.) so my interest was piqued enough to pick it up despite not knowing much about it. I ended up thoroughly enjoying it so it was a win/win.
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
It’s got to be Omake by Karin Lowachee. Her world-building skills are top-notch and so vivid you feel as though you were actually there, caught up in all the action.
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
This is an easy one: Red Heir by Lisa Henry and Sarah Honey. I was chortling away to myself more often than not with this little, silly heist caper (which still had a lot of heart, even if it continually poked fun at itself!)
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2020?
A Long Way Back by Barbara Elsborg was actually pretty sad at times (but I didn’t cry – though I never really cry anymore at anything so…)
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
I would definitely go with Kiss the Fae by Natalia Jaster. I definitely wish her books were better known because they are just so fantastic.
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
I love angst (I’m a bit of a sadist that way haha!) so Torn Apart by K. Webster and Nikki Ash was my jam. So many broken characters – it was like Christmas for me. 😉
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2020?
I think Master of One by Jaida Jones and Dani Bennett was definitely the most unique. It had multiple POVs but these were collected as the story went on which was an interesting way of going about things. I rather enjoyed it as a storytelling narrative.
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
I think I’m going to have to give this to The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren. For the most part, I really enjoyed the book – it was breezy and fun with likable protagonists. There was a point in the story though where the love interest Ethan really pissed me off, almost to the point where he was irredeemable.
1. New favourite book blog/Bookstagram/Youtube channel you discovered in 2020?
I haven’t actually been following a lot of new (to me) book bloggers this year. *hangs head in shame* It’s mostly been other fandom stuff such as The Untamed (naturally, I’m a tad obsessed) or gaming forums. I have been hanging around a lot of discord groups and Facebook groups such as Book Besties UK…
2. Favourite post you wrote in 2020?
I rather liked my Sweet Valley High Cover Retrospective post (here). Any chance to wax poetical about nostalgic reads from my youth haha!
3. Favourite bookish related photo you took in 2020?
I’m kinda fond of this one and it is technically bookish since Mo Dao Zu Shi (i.e. MDZS, The Untamed etc.) did start life as a web novel… I just love that photo shoot for the two leads from The Untamed and couldn’t resist getting a custom book sleeve made up (by the awesome Book Besties UK).
4. Best bookish event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, etc.)?
I didn’t really participate in any bookish events except perhaps from being on Natalia Jaster’s ARC team (I know I used this as an example last year as well but it’s still true so…) 😉
5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2020?
I’ve been really enjoying reading again this year, not seeing it as a chore or something I have to do because of my blog. It’s been great to rediscover the love again.
6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
I have found it near impossible to keep on top of ARCs so I know I should just stop requesting them until I can get a better handle on things again.
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
The post that ‘s had the most views this year is my review of The Untamed (here). I’m pretty happy about that because I poured heart and soul into it and genuinely love this series so much.
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
I think, like most book bloggers, my actual book reviews tend to not get much love at all (ironically, but there it is…) I do wish my review for Kiss the Fae by Natalia Jaster (here) had been a bit better received.
9. Best bookish discover (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I don’t think I really discovered any new bookish sites this year (and given the circumstances, physical book shops have been a big no-no).
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I didn’t actually take part in any specific challenges (as I fail spectacularly Every. Single. Year.) but I did complete my Goodreads challenge (it was 100 but I upped it to 120 a couple of weeks back).
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2020 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2021?
I really wanted to read From Blood and Ash by Jennifer L. Armentrout but didn’t get round to it in 2020 so I’m going to try and make it a priority in the new year.
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2021 (non-debut)?
I was looking forward to Master of Restless Shadows Book Two by Ginn Hale in 2020 but the release date has been moved forward to September 2021 I guess that’s now my most anticipated book for 2021 now!
3. 2021 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
I’m really looking forward to The Sky Blues by Robbie Couch! I’m always on the look-out for new authors!
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2021?
I am giddy about Hunt the Fae by Natalia Jaster – it cannot come out soon enough for me! I adored Kiss the Fae so can’t wait to get Juniper’s story (and Cove’s after that!)
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2021?
Erm, be a bit more consistent with posting maybe…? I ended up pretty much not posting for the whole of this month. It wasn’t a planned hiatus – it just kinda happened and it isn’t the first time this year either. Definitely need to do better.
6. A 2021 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):
I haven’t actually read any 2021 releases as yet (woefully behind on my ARCs) so really need to do something about that…