Favorite Reads 2020 Part 1

I’ve spent days getting this organized in Word, so I can get it organized on the blog. Thankfully, I journal all the books I read so when the end of the year comes, I can reflect on what I’ve read. What a year this has been!

So far, I’ve read 259 books with a total of 64,599 pages. Because I’m sharing 37 books with you, I’ve decided to play around with the format and I’ve made the font a little smaller to accommodate all the books. Let me know if it’s too small. This will be a multi-part post so you’re not scrolling for years. Keep an eye out for part 2 tomorrow.

Romance

Shirtless military man

Mountains Wanted, Phoebe Alexander

Blurb:
He’s a mountain she can’t resist trying to climb.

Dr. Sarah Lynde loves sex and is not ashamed to admit it. The sociology professor and single mother of two is in the market for a new friend with benefits…not a relationship.

Army First Sergeant James McAllister never knows when the next deployment will come, but someday he wants to settle down with his true soulmate and have children. Sarah is just a diversion until that happens…right?

They think they’re simply meeting each other’s needs, but their undeniable connection has built a mountain with two faces: one of fiery passion and one of soul-crushing heartbreak.

They just have to decide which face to climb.

I love this whole series. This couple goes on such a journey with so many *feels* Full Review Here

Man in white t-shirt

Protecting You, Amanda Siegrist
Romantic Suspense

Blurb:
He wanted to hate her. He just might fall in love instead.
 
Zane McCord might not say it often, but he loves his brothers no matter what, even when he’s acting like a jerk, and he knows it. When his brother Jimmy dies with tension hanging between them, he turns all his hatred to the woman who deserves it—Ava Rainer, the one responsible for his death. He refuses to like her. He won’t help her. He wants her nowhere near him. Except she’s suddenly on his farm and sneaking her way into his heart with her own pain. The guilt is eating him alive, but maybe…just maybe…they can heal together.

This whole series is *so* good. I love romantic suspense because of Amanda’s books Full Review Here

Young couple, she has blonde hair, he is military, shirtless

Avenged by Love, L.J. Evans

Blurb:

“You don’t have to fight the world alone. You’ve got me.”

Travis Dayton, a.k.a. Truck, is focused on two things: his position at the Coast Guard Academy and helping his younger brother stay out of trouble. So even though the beautiful, comic loving Jersey Banner is tugging at his heartstrings in funny ways, he isn’t going to act on those emotions. Not when he’ll eventually be moving on, and she’ll be staying behind.

Jersey has been struggling to keep her family afloat ever since their dad went to jail. The pain she feels on a regular basis? It isn’t anything she can stop to think about. At least not, until she ends up at the emergency room in the protective arms of the one man who makes her pulse beat faster than the superheroes she worships.

When Jersey finds herself in desperate need of medical care she can’t afford, Truck does the only thing he can to help… he marries her.

As chaos invades their lives, their temporary deal starts to crumble. Hearts and souls are twined together, so there’s little chance of escape without permanent damage unless they just surrender to it all and let love heal them both.

I think this couple is my most favorite in the series. Jersey is just…<3 Full Review Here

Bright cover with a couple sitting on a bench, a dog nearby

The Happy Ever After Playlist, Abby Jimenez

Romantic Comedy

Blurb:

Two years after losing her fiancé, Sloan Monroe still can’t seem to get her life back on track. But one trouble-making pup with a “take me home” look in his eyes is about to change everything. With her new pet by her side, Sloan finally starts to feel more like herself. Then, after weeks of unanswered texts, Tucker’s owner reaches out. He’s a musician on tour in Australia. And bottom line: He wants Tucker back. Well, Sloan’s not about to give up her dog without a fight. But what if this Jason guy really loves Tucker? As their flirty texts turn into long calls, Sloan can’t deny a connection. Jason is hot and nice and funny. There’s no telling what could happen when they meet in person. The question is: With his music career on the rise, how long will Jason really stick around? And is it possible for Sloan to survive another heartbreak?

This one was so fun, I laughed and swooned a lot. Bring tissues Full Review Here

3 different covers portraying seasons

Four Seasons Series, Kristina Beck

Blurb from Book 1:

A sweet romance for every season!

Christmas wishes come true in New York City… or maybe not.

After a demanding career of living out of her suitcase, Sophia lands a dream job in New York City that will keep her in one place for six months. Being alone in a big city is nothing new for her but not during the holidays. When an irresistible jeweler appears in her life more than once, Christmas surprises pop up on every corner.

Drew loses his creativity and holiday spirit just when he needs it the most. Then a snowstorm blows Sophia into his jewelry store, and a surge of inspiration follows. He is used to handling precious gems but nothing as priceless as she is.

Even though they just met, their instant attraction turns into something more. But one event leads to betrayal, leaving Sophia once again alone and brokenhearted.

Can the magic of Christmas bring them back together, or will one of them be left in the cold?

These 4 novellas pack a huge punch. Kristina published all 4 books in 2020! Click for full reviews for book Snowflakes and Sapphires, Passions and Peonies, Colors and Curves, and Maple Trees and Maybes

Couple dancing

Her Bad Idea, Sagan Morrow

Poly Romance

Blurb:

Focus on the dance competition. The business opportunity. The prize money, for goodness sake. Anything except…

That smarmy attitude.

Those mocking eyes.

That chiseled jawline.

Staying focused on the task at hand might be harder than Scarlett Mitchell thought, when she’s stuck with sexy, arrogant Pete Fraser as her dance partner for the next six weeks. But she has no choice—he’s her only hope to win the big dance competition. Scarlett needs to win that prize money if she wants to save her burlesque business from bankruptcy.

…And it’s all the more complicated when she unexpectedly finds herself in a fake relationship with Pete, as an attempt to make her unrequited crush, Westley Prince, jealous…

Her Bad Idea is a forced proximity, slow burn enemies to lovers romantic comedy, can be read as a standalone, and is Book 7 in the Polyamorous Passions series. There’s a thin line between love and hate in this dance competition romance!

Scarlett is a force to be reckoned with. You’re going to love all of the characters. Full Review Here

Chain ornament that has each word of the title on it's own link

Love and Other Words, Christina Lauren

Romantic Comedy

Blurb:

The story of the heart can never be unwritten.

Macy Sorensen is settling into an ambitious if emotionally tepid routine: work hard as a new pediatrics resident, plan her wedding to an older, financially secure man, keep her head down and heart tucked away.

But when she runs into Elliot Petropoulos—the first and only love of her life—the careful bubble she’s constructed begins to dissolve. Once upon a time, Elliot was Macy’s entire world—growing from her gangly bookish friend into the man who coaxed her heart open again after the loss of her mother…only to break it on the very night he declared his love for her.

Told in alternating timelines between Then and Now, teenage Elliot and Macy grow from friends to much more—spending weekends and lazy summers together in a house outside of San Francisco devouring books, sharing favorite words, and talking through their growing pains and triumphs. As adults, they have become strangers to one another until their chance reunion. Although their memories are obscured by the agony of what happened that night so many years ago, Elliot will come to understand the truth behind Macy’s decade-long silence, and will have to overcome the past and himself to revive her faith in the possibility of an all-consuming love.

I absolutely adore this writing duo. This one is a delicious slow burn. Full Review Here

Bright cover with couple repairing house

Tools of Engagement, Tessa Bailey

Blurb:

Hair, makeup, clothing, decor… everything in Bethany Castle’s world is organized, planned, and styled to perfection. Which is why the homes she designs for her family’s real estate business are the most coveted in town. The only thing not perfect? Her track record with men. She’s on a dating hiatus and after helping her friends achieve their dreams, Bethany finally has time to focus on her own: flip a house, from framework to furnishings, all by herself. Except her older brother runs the company and refuses to take her seriously.

When a television producer gets wind of the Castle sibling rivalry, they’re invited on Flip Off, a competition to see who can do the best renovation. Bethany wants bragging rights, but she needs a crew and the only member of her brother’s construction team willing to jump ship is Wes Daniels, the new guy in town. His Texas drawl and handsome face got under Bethany’s skin on day one, and the last thing she needs is some cocky young cowboy in her way.

As the race to renovate heats up, Wes and Bethany are forced into close quarters, trading barbs and biting banter as they remodel the ugliest house on the block. It’s a labor of love, hate, and everything in between, and soon sparks are flying. But Bethany’s perfectly structured life is one kiss away from going up in smoke and she knows falling for a guy like Wes would be a flipping disaster.

Tessa Bailey is the queen of steamy reads. This one was super fun. Full Review Here

Floral cover

Diary of a Submissive, Kailee Reese Samuels

Erotic Romance

Blurb:

“Trust no one.”

After the recent tragedy, The Unholy is on high alert as they deal with the increasing tensions of the mafia. Believing the latest attack to be a declaration of war, Sal attempts to strategize, aligning the pieces and players of an ever-shifting gameboard. They know who fired the shots, but who led the countdown?

The violence wasn’t just another random act of crime, but a bloody massacre armed with a message.

Welcome to your new life, Sal Raniero.

As the newest mob boss on the block, he is outraged by the assault on his turf and fiercely determined to protect his girl and his brothers. With friends and foes coming from every direction, he works the problem, analyzing the unknown variables, and inching closer to a perilous instability than ever before.

With enemies breathing down their neck, Sal and Iris suffer under the blinding glare of spotlights on their relationship. Coming clean isn’t as easy as they hoped. Confronting their families and associations, they realize everyone has an opinion on their forbidden romance and powerhouse alignment.

Feeling the pressure mounting, Sal unilaterally decides to abandon his post and take off on a cross-country adventure with the beautiful girl of his dreams. Along the way, they discover normalcy in amongst the betrayals and lies. Remembering the innocent days before they were the future of the criminal underworld, they learn the truth should never be taken for granted as they unravel the web of their years apart. He is the Dark Prince of The Mafia Commission. She is the Lotus Queen. They were never meant to fall in love.

They were raised to divide and conquer.
Even each other.

This one isn’t a standalone, but once you start the Kailee journey, you won’t ever want to stop. Such an incredible book! Full Review Here

This Time Next Year, Sophie Cousens

Contemporary

Blurb:

Their lives began together, but their worlds couldn’t be more different. After thirty years of missed connections, they’re about to meet again…

Minnie Cooper knows two things with certainty: that her New Year’s birthday is unlucky, and that it’s all because of Quinn Hamilton, a man she’s never met. Their mothers gave birth to them at the same hospital just after midnight on New Year’s Day, but Quinn was given the cash prize for being the first baby born in London in 1990–and the name Minnie was meant to have, as well. With luck like that, it’s no wonder each of her birthdays has been more of a disaster than the one before.

When Minnie unexpectedly runs into Quinn at a New Year’s party on their mutual thirtieth birthday, she sees only more evidence that fortune has continued to favor him. The gorgeous, charming business owner truly seems to have it all–while Minnie’s on the brink of losing her pie-making company and her home. But if Quinn and Minnie are from different worlds, why do they keep bumping into each other? And why is it that each fraught encounter leaves them both wanting more?

A moving, joyful love story, This Time Next Year explores the way fate leads us to the people we least expect–no matter what the odds.

Poor Minnie, she’s had it so rough. I love how this one spans decades. Full Review Here

Thriller

You Are Not Alone, Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen

Blurb:
Shay Miller wants to find love, but it eludes her. She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end. She wants to belong, but her life is increasingly lonely.

Until Shay meets the Moore sisters. Cassandra and Jane live a life of glamorous perfection, and always get what they desire. When they invite Shay into their circle, everything seems to get better.

Shay would die for them to like her.
She may have to.

This is another writing duo you don’t want to miss. I did not want to put this one down. Full Review Here

Gone by Midnight, Candice Fox

Blurb:

Crimson Lake is where people with dark pasts come to disappear—and where others vanish into thin air…

When Sara Farrow’s son goes missing from a locked hotel room, she frantically turns for help to Crimson Lake’s unlikeliest private investigators—disgraced cop Ted Conkaffey and convicted killer Amanda Pharrell.

Just the sort of twisted puzzle that gets Amanda’s blood pumping, the disappearance couldn’t have come at a worse time for Ted. He has just this one week with Lillian, the daughter he barely knows…but the clock is ticking for the lost boy.

Amanda and Ted’s search dredges up the area’s worst characters, and the danger they uncover could well put Ted’s own child in deadly peril.

Amanda is one of my most favorite literary characters. The writing is incredibly clever. Full Review Here

In the Dark, Loreth Anne White

A secluded mountain lodge. The perfect getaway. So remote no one will ever find you.

The promise of a luxury vacation at a secluded wilderness spa has brought together eight lucky guests. But nothing is what they were led to believe. As a fierce storm barrels down and all contact with the outside is cut off, the guests fear that it’s not a getaway. It’s a trap.

Each one has a secret. Each one has something to hide. And now, as darkness closes in, they all have something to fear—including one another.

Alerted to the vanished party of strangers, homicide cop Mason Deniaud and search and rescue expert Callie Sutton must brave the brutal elements of the mountains to find them. But even Mason and Callie have no idea how precious time is. Because the clock is ticking, and one by one, the guests of Forest Shadow Lodge are being hunted. For them, surviving becomes part of a diabolical game.

This has a creepy atmosphere. Things were destined to fail from the start. A seriously addicting read. Full Review Here

Suicide House, Charlie Donlea

Blurb:

Inside the walls of Indiana’s elite Westmont Preparatory High School, expectations run high and rules are strictly enforced. But in the woods beyond the manicured campus and playing fields sits an abandoned boarding house that is infamous among Westmont’s students as a late-night hangout. Here, only one rule applies: don’t let your candle go out—unless you want the Man in the Mirror to find you. . . .
 
One year ago, two students were killed there in a grisly slaughter. The case has since become the focus of a hit podcast, The Suicide House. Though a teacher was convicted of the murders, mysteries and questions remain. The most urgent among them is why so many students who survived that horrific night have returned to the boarding house—to kill themselves.
 
Rory, an expert in reconstructing cold cases, is working on The Suicide House podcast with Lane, recreating the night of the killings in order to find answers that have eluded the school, the town, and the police. But the more they learn about the troubled students, the chillingly stoic culprit, and a dangerous game gone tragically wrong, the more convinced they become that something sinister is still happening. Inside Westmont Prep, the game hasn’t ended. It thrives on secrecy and silence. And for its players, there may be no way to win—or to survive. . . .

This is the most multi-layered and dimensional, intensive plots I have ever read. This book is amazing! Full Review Here

Hawthorn Woods, Patrick Canning

Detective, Mystery

Blurb:

Summer, 1989. Reeling from a catastrophic divorce, Francine Haddix flees San Francisco for a two week stay at her sister’s house in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois. The quaint neighborhood of shady trees and friendly neighbors seems like the perfect place for her to sort through her pain and move on with her life.

But Francine quickly discovers the “idyllic” neighborhood is hiding a number of disturbing mysteries. Behind every door and window there’s marital strife, simmering grudges, and a secret so terrible, someone will kill to keep it quiet.

Francine rewrites her prescription from relaxation to investigation. If she can remember how to trust herself, she might discover what’s hidden in Hawthorn Woods. She might even be able to believe the future can be good again, assuming she stays alive long enough to be in it…

I didn’t really have to read the blurb to know I would love this book. I love Patrick’s work. This one is full of nostalgia. Full Review Here

Take it Back, Kia Abdullah

Blurb:

One victim.
Four accused.
Who is telling the truth?

Zara Kaleel, one of London’s brightest legal minds, shattered the expectations placed on her by her family and forged a brilliant legal career. But her decisions came at a high cost, and now, battling her own demons, she has exchanged her high profile career for a job at a sexual assault center, helping victims who need her the most. Victims like Jodie Wolfe.

When Jodie, a sixteen-year-old girl with facial deformities, accuses four boys in her class of an unthinkable crime, the community is torn apart. After all, these four teenage defendants are from hard-working immigrant families and they all have proven alibis. Even Jodie’s best friend doesn’t believe her.

But Zara does—and she is determined to fight for Jodie—to find the truth in the face of public outcry. And as issues of sex, race and social justice collide, the most explosive criminal trial of the year builds to a shocking conclusion.

This one had me going back and forth the entire time. A very powerful book. Full Review Here

That’s all I have for you today. I really hope all the images haven’t slowed down your browsing. Please comment if it has so I can fix this right up. Keep an eye out for the second post tomorrow with more genres of my favorite reads!

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