Yes, again, I’m doing this in December and the year isn’t over yet. But no one complained when I posted my favourites of 2019 before the official end of the year so I figure I can do it again. Especially since, according to Goodreads, I’ve read 175+ books this year. That’s a lot to pick from! Although, I will happily admit, about half of those were rereads.
So, without further ado, and in no particular order (bar the first five), my top twenty favorite reads of 2020! Click on any of the covers for more detail.
THOSE THAT MADE THE TOP FIVE
These are the books I would have given six (or more) stars if I could have. In one way or another – sometimes many ways – these books all had a huge impact on my life this year.
Counted with the Stars – Connilyn Cossette
A retelling of the Hebrews’ exodus from Egypt told from a foreigner’s point of view, this book gave me a new sense of wonder for the God I’ve always loved. This is the first of the Out From Egypt series, which are all amazing. I read this series and the author’s next series over the course of two weeks (one after another) and, while I loved the characters and their stories, it was the incredible grace, love, goodness, and faithfulness of God above all the stories which had me overwhelmed with worship. So, so good.
Flight of the Raven – Morgan L Busse
It’s hard to put into words how much I love this story. I enjoyed the first book in the Ravenwood Saga but there was something about this second one which utterly captivated me. I love the journey Lady Selene takes to discovering who she is, her purpose in life and how much bigger God’s dream is for her than the one she’s been brought up to believe in. I wrote quotes from this one in my Bible and find myself constantly encouraged and challenged by it. The romance is pretty sweet too, but, in a very rare occurrence, I actually liked Selene’s journey more than the romance. Which is saying a lot!
Love and a Little White Lie – Tammy L Gray
This book I added to my TBR because it sounded a bit like another of my favorite books. It turned out to be very different, of course, but I’m so glad I read it anyway because it was absolutely amazing. There were so many things I loved about it – the humour, the depth, the characters, the romance, how relatable it was – but by far, what I loved most was how real it was. Real, broken people dealing with very real issues in a way that felt so far from fiction. It dealt with a lot of issues most Christians like to skim over because they are uncomfortable. But I loved how they were written about and the incredible grace overarching it all. Really looking forward to reading more in this series.
A Curse so Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer
I spotted this one on Instagram and, hearing it was a Beauty and the Beast retelling, immediately tracked it down at my library. I wasn’t even finished it before I went and got my own copy. Loved the way it retold the well-known fairytale in such a novel way but also the strength of Harper, the main character, and the way she proved over and over that disabilities only hold you back if you let them.
The second book in this Cursebreakers series was great too. Looking forward to the third!
Wonderscape – Jennifer Bell
This one I bought because I loved the cover and it sounded like something fun to read to/with my kids. It totally exceeded my expectations! We read a few chapters each night and it took all my willpower not to read ahead each day. It’s a story of three young teens who get pulled into a futuristic computer game, only to have to get through each level (to find their way back to their own time) by meeting and working with real-life heroes from the past to solve problems. Adventure, gaming, friendships, history, fact, imagination – this book had it all and had me captivated from first page to last.
TOP TWENTY FAVORITES OF 2020
These include the above five (obviously) plus the next fifteen. All of these were five star favorites and ones I’ll recommend to anyone and everyone who’ll stand still long enough to listen. And some people who won’t 🙂 A few of them are rereads. I make no apology for the fact that they’ve made the list again. They’re really that good.
Before I Called You Mine – Nicole Deese
I procrastinated about reading this book for months before actually diving in (as my first ever audiobook!) because I tend to avoid books that make me cry. And this one sounded like it was going to totally break my heart.
It did. But it also made me laugh, and smile, and swoon, and opened my eyes to so many things I’d never even considered before. Such a beautifully written book and one I know I’ll read again. Loved it!
Start with Me – Kara Isaac
Kara Isaac has long been an auto-buy author for me. I’ll buy any book with her name on the front without even looking at the blurb. But this one was special, for so many reasons (some that went beyond even the story itself). I really enjoyed the banter between the two main characters but also the faith they showed in each other, even before they liked each other. So much in this one but, again, a really amazing story.
Moment of Truth – Kasie West
I like how Kasie West’s books are fun, romantic and totally sweet, but also deal with some really deep issues many teens struggle with. This one was about facing fears, the pressure of expectations, and finding the confidence to be who you are inside. A really fun story (and I loved the romance!) but also one that challenged me. I’ve loved all Kasie West’s books so it didn’t surprise me that I enjoyed this one so much too.
Library of Lost Things – Laura Taylor Namey
This was another book I picked up knowing nothing about the author or book but being intrigued by the title and premise. And loved. It was a lot of fun to read but also had a surprising amount of depth in it for a YA book. I cried a couple of times – once, because the best friend was just so beautiful, and once because I could just feel how much the main character hurt. I also loved that the issues didn’t just all magically disappear by the end of the book. Made it feel very real. Again, really looking forward to reading more by this author.
How to Speak Boy – Tiana Smith
I’ve decided lately that I really enjoy stories where the two main characters get to know (and appreciate) each other through anonymous letters, while not particularly liking each other in real life. It makes for a really fun story with an extra level of depth/amusement/intrigue since you, as the reader, know who the letter writers are as you’re reading the letters but the characters themselves don’t. I also found the debate/public speaking aspect pretty interesting. They weren’t your typical sporty high school characters.
The Major’s Daughter – Regina Jennings
I laughed the whole way through this book, when I wasn’t trying to hold my broken heart together. It was such a beautiful blend of laugh out loud humour and witty conversation with really deep issues – like worth, purpose, value, relationship. Alongside the characters I completely fell in love with all over again (after having met them earlier in the series), it was really fascinating to learn about the Land Run as well and its part of America’s history. So good.
Under Scottish Stars – Carla Laureano
This book is absolutely beautiful! I was so excited to read the final long-awaited book in this series (after loving the first two) and it still totally exceeded my expectations. I love the wit and relationship between the two main characters and the journeys they both take. I know they’re fictional but I laughed and cried along with them all the way through, feeling their pain. It was so well written and a really beautiful reminder of how faithful God is to not only our needs but our wants and dreams too. It was funny, poignant, challenging, beautiful, captivating… Also, I totally need to visit Skye now. I’m sold!
Would Like to Meet – Rachel Winters
This one was super cute and so much fun! Based around a writer with writer’s block and the assistant who’s just trying to keep her job by getting the script for the romantic comedy he’s supposed to be writing. In an effort to inspire him, the girl embarks on a mission to prove that meet-cutes (like the ones from the movies) can totally lead to romance in real life, by testing them out herself. I think this was made more fun by the fact that I’ve seen most of the movies they used for the meet-cutes and how wacky some of them really were. The little imp of a matchmaking secondary character totally stole my heart too.
Letters to the Lost – Brigid Kemmerer
I love finding great, new (to me) authors and Brigid Kemmerer definitely made it on to that list for me this year. I loved her Cursebreakers series (see above) so started working my way through her backlist. This one took a little bit of courage to work up to (again, not a big fan of sad stories or ones that that break my heart purposely) but I’m so glad I read it. It was absolutely incredible. This was another one of two people writing letters anonymously to each other (told you I liked them!) and helping each other despite not liking each other in real life – which was done so well. What I loved most about this one though (and seems to be what I love most about all this author’s books) was how even the minor characters had a captivating story. They all added so much to the main characters and their journeys. Very real, incredibly well written.
More than We can Tell – Brigid Kemmerer
This one had me staying up late into the night because I couldn’t put it down, and then lying in bed for what felt like hours afterward processing because my brain and heart couldn’t let it go. It deals with some pretty deep issues – physical/spiritual abuse from a parent being a main one – so is very confronting at times. I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone because of that but yeah, wow. Again, I loved not only the main characters but all the different relationships they had with the other characters. One scene between Rev and his foster dad had me almost sobbing it was so powerful. Absolutely amazing book.
The Gifting series – KE Ganshert
I know, I talk about this series a lot but I just really love it. So much so that I get cravings every six months or so to read it again, and as soon as I finish, want to start all over again. Weird? Maybe 🙂 There’s just something about it that tugs at my heart and reminds me over and over of not only the power God has but the power he’s given us/me through prayer to join with what he’s doing. To fight in prayer both for those in my life and complete strangers I might never even meet. Really powerfully written. The romance is pretty sweet too 🙂
Heart of the Crown – Hannah Currie
No, this one’s not out yet (one month to go!) but, as the author, I’ve read it a few (hundred) times and I just really love this story. I love the way Wenderley loves with her whole heart, regardless of how much it might hurt. When she cares about someone, she will do anything to protect them and be their champion, even if it means breaking some (many) rules – and possibly her own heart – in the process. Can’t wait to share it with you all come January!
Then There Was You – Kara Isaac
This is my favorite of Kara Isaac’s books. No matter how many times I read it, I’m captivated all over again. I think part of it is because of how well I can relate to the big church/worship teams/events aspect of the storyline having attended and/or been part of similar events/churches/teams. But a big part is that I just really love the story and the growth both main characters go through together. Seeing Australia through the eyes of a first-time tourist always has me laughing too. Drop bears… 🙂
Royally Yours – Melissa Tagg, Betsy St. Amant, Liz Johnson & Ashley Clark
Christmas, royalty, bookworms, some of my favorite authors, and a stunning cover to boot… Ahhhh… Happy, smiley Hannah 🙂 This collection of novellas came along at just the right time this year. Short, sweet, absolutely beautiful, it wasn’t even close to Christmas yet when I started reading it but immediately had me feeling that Christmassy joy. Loved it!
A Light on the Hill – Connilyn Cossette (and the whole Cities of Refuge series)
I mentioned earlier alongside Counted with the Stars that I’d read (pretty much devoured) both the Out From Egypt series and the next one. This is the next series. Again, absolutely beautifully written and left me with such a bigger view of God and his incredible grace and love for his people.
So, there you have it. My Top Twenty of Twenty Twenty. Have you read any of these? Did any surprise you? Any you want to hear me gush about for much longer? :p
What books made it into your top twenty? (Or top five) Feel free to comment below. I’d love to hear!