Every Book I Read in 2020

It’s that time of the year again where I catalogue all the books I read in the previous year. I like to track my yearly reading list here, and then every year I make a post of all the books I read the previous year. I’m a little bit behind this year, but better late then never right?

Despite all the spare time I had, 2020 was not a good reading year for me. In fact, it was my worst reading year since 2015. But we all survived 2020 in different ways. With everything else going on I found my reading motivation low and instead turned to hiking and baking to keep my spirits up. That said, I did still read 63 books in 2020, which is still a huge success. I wrote less reviews than usual and lost my motivation to write special interest posts (I didn’t even do a top books of 2020 blog!), but I’ve still be plugging along and have been a lot more engaged to date in 2021.

So here’s the compilation list of all the books I read in 2021!

  1. Lord of the Rings Location Guidebook – Ian Brodie
  2. Bloodlust & Bonnets – Emily McGovern
  3. Flamecaster (Shattered Realms #1) – Cinda Williams Chima
  4. Shadowcaster (Shattered Realms #2) – Cinda Williams Chima
  5. Stormcaster (Shattered Realms #3) – Cinda Williams Chima
  6. Dual Citizens – Alix Ohlin
  7. The Giver of Stars – Jojo Moyes
  8. Deathcaster (Shattered Realms #4) – Cinda Williams Chima
  9. The Simple Wild (Wild #1) – K.A. Tucker
  10. Wild at Heart (Wild #2) – K.A. Tucker
  11. The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides
  12. Disappearing Earth – Julia Philips
  13. When the World Didn’t End – Caroline Kaufman
  14. Greenwood – Michael Christie
  15. Where the Crawdads Sing – Delia Owens
  16. The Glass Hotel – Emily St. John Mandel
  17. The Tattooist of Auschwitz – Heather Morris
  18. American Dirt – Jeanine Cummins
  19. The Dutch House – Ann Patchett
  20. Son of a Critch – Mark Critch
  21. Such a Fun Age – Kiley Reid
  22. Maybe in Another Life – Taylor Jenkins Reid
  23. Rick Mercer Final Report – Rick Mercer
  24. Anxious People – Fredrik Backman
  25. Cape Scott and the North Coast Trail – Maria Bremner
  26. The Beekeeper of Aleppo – Christy Lefteri
  27. Once You Go This Far (Roxane Weary #4) – Kristen Lepionka
  28. A Very Punchable Face – Colin Jost
  29. The Diviners (Diviners #1) – Libba Bray
  30. Catch and Kill – Ronan Farrow
  31. She Said – Meghan Twohey, Jodi Kantor
  32. Fence: Rivals – C.S. Pacat
  33. Migrations – Charlotte McConaghy
  34. Wade in the Water – Tracy K. Smith
  35. The Last Story of Mina Lee – Nancy Jooyoun Kim
  36. Kim JiYoung, Born 1982 – Cho Nam-Joo
  37. One by One – Ruth Ware
  38. Beyond the Trees – Adam Shoalts
  39. Solutions and other Problems – Allie Brosh
  40. The Pull of the Stars – Emma Donaghue
  41. Check Please!, Book 2: Sticks & Scones – Ngozi Ukazu
  42. The Vanishing Half – Brit Bennett
  43. Nevermoor (Nevermoor #1) – Jessica Townsend
  44. Wundersmith (Nevermoor #2) – Jessica Townsend
  45. Hollowpox (Nevermoor #3) – Jessica Townsend
  46. Transcendent Kingdom – Yaa Gyasi
  47. Conditional Citizens – Laila Lalami
  48. Punching the Air – Ibi Zoboi, Yusef Salaam
  49. Mexican Gothic – Silvia Moreno-Garcia
  50. Hood Feminism – Mikki Kendall
  51. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue – V.E. Schwab
  52. The Lifting Dress – Lauren Berry
  53. Betty – Tiffany McDaniel
  54. Tell the Wolves I’m Home – Carol Rifka Brunt
  55. Where the Forest Meets the Stars – Glendy Vanderah
  56. Happily Ever After – Debbie Tung
  57. Rock Recipes Cookies – Barry Parsons
  58. Forever Wild (Wild #2.5) – K.A. Tucker
  59. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  60. Watch Over Me – Nina Lacour
  61. Persuasion – Jane Austen
  62. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
  63. Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen

July Monthly Summary

I wrote about this in my August Monthly Challenge post as well, but I’ve been feeling like I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump this summer. I know I still managed to read a total of 25 books in May/June/July, which is right on track for my reading goals, but reading has been feeling like a bit more of a chore. I get into these spurts where I just fly through a book every 3 days and can’t wait to read the next one. But I haven’t been as excited about the books I’ve been reading since I came back from Vietnam. That said, my August Challenge is to read as many books off my bookshelf as possible, and so far it is working wonders! Getting to pick my book based on what I’m feeling in that moment is so much more enjoyable than forcing myself the read something that, even though I might really want to read it in general, might not be what I’m feeling like reading in that moment.

So that’s my little update, without further ado, here’s my July Summary:

Books read: 10
Pages read: 3,176
Main genres: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Favourite book: Not That Bad

To start, I read two ARC’s in July, Sadie by Courtney Summers, and Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood. Both were fantastic! Sadie was a really interesting combination of murder mystery and YA. I struggle to call it YA at all because I really think this fits better as adult fiction that just happens to feature teenagers. It’s a gritty book, but what I loved about it was that half of it is written in the form of a podcast. It was such a different concept and it really worked for me. Rust & Stardust is based on the true crime that inspired Lolita, and while it was disturbing, I really liked the authors voice in this novel and thought it was a really accurate time period piece.

I managed to fit 2 audiobooks into July as well. The first was Not That Bad, which is a compilation of essays about rape culture, edited by Roxane Gay. I love Roxane Gay, so I knew this was going to be fantastic. What really struck me about the anthology was the diversity and the refrain that no matter what has happened to you, it is “that bad” and you should be justified in feeling however you choose about it. The second audiobook was of a totally different genres, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns by Julie C. Dao. This was my first fantasy audiobook and I actually really liked it! It’s this east-asian, dark retelling of the evil queen in Snow White and I thought it was super dark and compelling.

I snuck in 2 volumes of Lumberjanes in July. It’s a graphic novel series that I originally picked up because it was by the creator of Nimona (which I am obsessed with), but Noelle Stevenson has since moved on from the project and I’m kind of over it now- it’s a fun series, but it’s just always the same – so I’ve decided to move on. I didn’t write a review about the volumes, but the short volumes helped boost my reading numbers.

I read two YA/historical type novels; My Plain Jane, which is the second book in the (non-sequential) Lady Janies series by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton, and Jodi Meadows, and Bright We Burn, which is the final book in The Conqueror’s Saga by Kiersten White. My Plain Jane was a bit of a disappointment compared to the first book, My Lady Jane, but Bright We Burn was a fantastic epic conclusion! Both are re-imagined history novels and I would definitely recommend Kiersten White’s books, as well as My lady Jane.

The Last two books I read were part of my July Monthly Challenge. I read An American Marriage by Tayari Jones and The Map of Salt and Stars by Jennifer Zeynab Joukhadar. I had a third book as well, which I picked to be Swing Time by Zadie Smith, but I admit that I haven’t finished it yet. I am about 100 pages in and I am liking it, it’s just a bit of a slower paced book that I’m slowly working my way through.

But I really liked An American Marriage. I thought it was a great look at America’s justice system and racial prejudice. I thought some parts of the book were a little problematic, but overall I liked it. Unfortunately I didn’t really like The Map of Salt and Stars. I thought it had a fantastic premise, but the writing wasn’t great, nor was the character development or plotting.

So overall still a good month and I’m hoping to get back of the swing of things in August!

January Summary

I can’t believe January is over already! Seriously, where did the time go?!

It was a bit of a mixed bag for books this month. I got off to a bit of a rough start to the year with several book duds, but things definitely picked up later in the month and I loved all three of the books that I read for my January reading challenge. Here’s my summary:

Books read: 10
Pages read: 3,797
Main genres: Young adult, historical fiction, fantasy
Favourite (new) book: Girl in Translation
Favourite re-read: On the Jellicoe Road

I started off the month with Thunderhead, the sequel to Neal Shusterman’s new series Scythe. I did like this one, but overall I don’t think Shusterman is quite my cup of tea and I found it a bit boring. He explores a lot of really interesting concepts in Scythe and in comparison, Thunderhead seemed a bit lacking.

Things only got worse though because I followed up Thunderhead with The Life She Was Given and The Star-Touched Queen, both of which I did not like at all. The Life She was Given was my book club read of the month and it ended up being our lowest rated book to date, and we’ve read over 50 books! I found the book totally lacking in depth, development, and meaning. Likewise, I thought the writing in the Star-Touched Queen was so over-the-top flowery that it completely took away from the story. I can see why some people might be into this type of writing, but it really did nothing for me and I didn’t find the story meaningful.

Things picked up after that with the first book in my January Challenge to read 3 books about immigration – Girl in Translation. This is a fantastic book about a Chinese mother and daughter who immigrate to America and the terrible conditions they put up with just to survive. It was so well written; I loved the main character Kim and her aspirations to get the very best education so that her and her mother could rise above their circumstances. it was a very moving story.

Next I read Looking for Alibrandi, which is one of the few Melina Marchetta books I hadn’t already read. It was a solid 3-star read and I thought the main character Josie had a lot of spunk, but I didn’t think it was anything that special. However, it inspired me to give On the Jellicoe Road a re-read, which is one of my favourite books of all time and still moves me to tears, even after several re-reads over the last few years. These are both relatively older YA contemporary books, but I honestly think On the Jellicoe Road is timeless and that everyone should read it!

My second January Challenge read was Pachinko, which is a slow-moving historical epic that spans 80 years of history about a Korean family that immigrates to Japan during its colonial rule over Korea and struggle to build a life for themselves and escape the stigma of being Korean. It examines the challenges of being emancipated from your homeland and finding where you fit in in a new culture. Also a wonderful read, although quite long.

I needed something light and fast-paced before I tackled my last Challenge book, so I read The Cruel Prince which has been getting an insane amount of good reviews. I liked it, but was definitely disappointed with it because I think it’s gotten a little over-hyped and the book wasn’t able to deliver on my expectations. That said, I still gave it 3 stars and I will definitely be continuing on with this series. I’m hopeful about the next book!

My last book on immigration was American Street, which was refreshing in that it was totally unlike the first two books I read. American Street focuses on 16-year old Fabiola, whose mother is detained when they try to enter America from Haiti. She is forced to go on to Detroit without her mother and struggles to navigate her new life with her 3 larger than life cousins and her sick aunt. This was my least favourite of the 3, but I still really enjoyed it and gave it 4 stars.

I thought American Street would be the last book of the month, but I managed to fit in one more with Ruined. Based on other reviews I figured I would either love or hate Ruined and I’m pleased to say I LOVED IT! It’s a fast-paced YA fantasy novel that has a lot of action and a fair bit of romance. Sometimes I dislike too much romance in my fantasy novels, but I loved it in this one. Can’t wait to get my hands on a copy of the sequel!