Hello again everyone! Honestly, where has the time gone?! I cannot believe it has been more than five months since my last blog post. So much has happened, and I’ve been so tangled up with life that I could not find the time and energy to finish a book or plan for a new blog post. Nonetheless! I’m back now with my annual ~favorite books of the year~ blog post, and I’m excited to share with you guys my thoughts on these amazing books! Please let me know if any of the books on this list made it as your favorite read of the year as well 🙂 Enjoy reading!
The Diviners by Libba Bray
SOMETHING DARK AND EVIL HAS AWAKENED… Evie O’Neill has been exiled from her boring old hometown and shipped off to the bustling streets of New York City—and she is pos-i-tute-ly ecstatic. It’s 1926, and New York is filled with speakeasies, Ziegfeld girls, and rakish pickpockets. The only catch is that she has to live with her uncle Will and his unhealthy obsession with the occult. Evie worries her uncle will discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer. As Evie jumps headlong into a dance with a murderer, other stories unfold in the city that never sleeps. A young man named Memphis is caught between two worlds. A chorus girl named Theta is running from her past. A student named Jericho is hiding a shocking secret. And unknown to all, something dark and evil has awakened…
I love my atmospheric books so much, and listening to The Diviners on audiobook was po-si-tutely the best decision ever! The narrator is so charismatic, I flew through the 16 hour audiobook (equivalent to 500+ pages) in just three days! The Diviners is a ghost mystery/thriller set in 1920s New York, and the audiobook was just the perfect creepy and jazzy mash! I had chills listening to this at night, yet there were times where I wanted to throw on a flapper dress and dance the night away in a speakeasy! I am soooo stoked to read the sequel soon. There was never a dull moment in this book. From the writing, the characters, the delicious burn of the romance and mystery.. everything was just absolutely brilliant!
Aurora Burning by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman
Synopsis (From the first book, Aurora Rising):
The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the Academy would touch…
A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm
A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates
A smart-ass techwiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder
An alien warrior with anger management issues
A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering
And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem—that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline-cases and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.
They’re not the heroes we deserve. They’re just the ones we could find. Nobody panic.
Aurora Burning was a very much anticipated read of 2020, and it absolutely blew my expectations out of the water! There were so many plot twists and amazing character development, I absolutely devoured the whole story. The first book ended in such a painful cliffhanger, but this one was just full-blown torture. I NEED ANSWERS (and the third book) asap!! (i’ve got a full book review of Aurora Burning here if you want to read more about it, but in short, the series is sarcastic, a little angsty, intense, and soooo much freaking fun!)
Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Synopsis (From the first book, The Shadow of The Wind):
Barcelona, 1945: A city slowly heals from its war wounds, and Daniel, an antiquarian book dealer’s son who mourns the loss of his mother, finds solace in a mysterious book entitled The Shadow of the Wind, by one Julian Carax. But when he sets out to find the author’s other works, he makes a shocking discovery: someone has been systematically destroying every copy of every book Carax has written. In fact, Daniel may have the last of Carax’s books in existence. Soon Daniel’s seemingly innocent quest opens a door into one of Barcelona’s darkest secrets–an epic story of murder, madness, and doomed love.
After finishing The Shadow of The Wind, knowing that this book existed was literally a godsend. It follows my favorite character’s history and it’s the most hauntingly beautiful story ever written. I have so much love for the author’s writing, and pairing that with a whole dedicated story of a beloved character?! An absolute masterpiece. The book is raw and provocative.. but it’s also playful and vivacious, just like the character. If you haven’t already read The Shadow of The Wind, please do. The story, writing, and characters all leave such a huge impact on the reader. (p.s. my full review of The Shadow of The Wind can be read here!)
Turtles All The Way Down by John Green
t all begins with a fugitive billionaire and the promise of a cash reward. Turtles All the Way Down is about lifelong friendship, the intimacy of an unexpected reunion, Star Wars fan fiction, and tuatara. But at its heart is Aza Holmes, a young woman navigating daily existence within the ever-tightening spiral of her own thoughts.
In his long-awaited return, John Green shares Aza’s story with shattering, unflinching clarity.
Another raw and relatable story of a girl who suffers from anxiety and OCD. The book was just impeccable, and regardless of the tangential plot-line, I was still immersed in the writing and practically devoured the whole story. I’m so grateful to know that such a book – one with a character and story that’s so relatable and hits very close to home – exists. Hats off to John Green for effortlessly putting into words how our thoughts and anxiety can make us truly feel, and for showing us that – although it might seem like it – we are all not alone. I hope to read more books like this in the future (and as always, if you guys have any similar recommendations, please leave them down below!). If you want to read my full review of this book, feel free to do so here!
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Greece in the age of heroes. Patroclus, an awkward young prince, has been exiled to the court of King Peleus and his perfect son Achilles. By all rights their paths should never cross, but Achilles takes the shamed prince as his friend, and as they grow into young men skilled in the arts of war and medicine their bond blossoms into something deeper – despite the displeasure of Achilles’ mother Thetis, a cruel sea goddess. But then word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped. Torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus journeys with Achilles to Troy, little knowing that the years that follow will test everything they hold dear.
Profoundly moving and breathtakingly original, this rendering of the epic Trojan War is a dazzling feat of the imagination, a devastating love story, and an almighty battle between gods and kings, peace and glory, immortal fame and the human heart.
Painful, beautiful, and soul crushing. I’ve been putting off reading this book for the longest time because I know just how tragic it’s going to be, and yet I still finished it with my heart feeling like it’s been trampled on countless times and completed demolished. I remember just clutching the book against my chest so tightly upon reading the last page and feeling so numb, empty and sad 😦 Nonetheless, it was a beautiful book with characters that you just can’t let go of. The writing is poetic, and the story is dark and gripping from the very beginning. It was just.. absolutely amazing. If you want to read more about my thoughts on this book, feel free to check out my review here!
Dread Nation by Justina Ireland
Jane McKeene was born two days before the dead began to walk the battlefields of Gettysburg and Chancellorsville—derailing the War Between the States and changing America forever. In this new nation, safety for all depends on the work of a few, and laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act require certain children attend combat schools to learn to put down the dead. But there are also opportunities—and Jane is studying to become an Attendant, trained in both weaponry and etiquette to protect the well-to-do. It’s a chance for a better life for Negro girls like Jane. After all, not even being the daughter of a wealthy white Southern woman could save her from society’s expectations.
But that’s not a life Jane wants. Almost finished with her education at Miss Preston’s School of Combat in Baltimore, Jane is set on returning to her Kentucky home and doesn’t pay much mind to the politics of the eastern cities, with their talk of returning America to the glory of its days before the dead rose. But when families around Baltimore County begin to go missing, Jane is caught in the middle of a conspiracy, one that finds her in a desperate fight for her life against some powerful enemies. And the restless dead, it would seem, are the least of her problems.
This book was SO much fun! The main characters (duo rivals) were absolutely unmatched, and hands down one of the best pair of protagonists I’ve ever come across! The concept and writing is super refreshing, and overall everything was just so cleverly and originally done! I had a blast reading this, and it’s definitely one of the more memorable books I’ve read in 2020! I could also really see a film being made for this book. It’s just fantastic with sooo much action, wit, and spunk! ❤
Sinners of Saints/All Saints High/Boston Belles series by L. J. Shen
Synopsis (From the first book, Vicious):
They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true. The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares. He is a brilliant lawyer. A skilled criminal. A beautiful liar. A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover.
Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.
She is a starving artist. Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom. Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down. She paid the price.
Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate. That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t. So she hates me. Big fucking deal. She better get used to me.
This year I discovered a NEW new adult author and I have since been sooo obsessed with her series! If you all know me, I am an absolute sucker for a good enemies to lover story, and discovering Shen’s series was like striking a gold mine. Her books are E/L galore, and I devoured 11 of her books this year, 8 of which belong to these three series here! These books are angsty, steamy, hilaaarious, packs a punch, and just so much fun overall! The characters are complex and unique, and the stories are all impactful in their own ways. I love how relatable the issues explored were, and there’s just something for everyone in these series. We have female characters that are independent and strong-willed, and male characters that are vulnerable. There is also so much love and family dynamic weaved together in the chaotic obstacles that these characters go through. I just.. ugh! Shen is amazing, and her books are hands down one of the most well-written new adult stories of all time! A top recommendation if you’re into angsty, yet meaningful enemies to lover stories!
Aaand that concludes my favorite books of 2020! What are some of your favorite books this year? Do let me know in the comments! One of my goals this year is to put up more blog posts, so I’m excited to be talking to you guys more often on here. 🙂 I hope you all have a wonderful and safe new year! Take the time to unwind and relax with a good book, and remember to always be kind to yourself, especially at a time like this ❤ Take care!
Lots of love, Cath