Top 10 Books of 2020

I can't believe 2020 is over! One of the coolest things for me this year was the amount I read! I went from reading a total of 8 books in 2019 to reading [INSERT]. Many you have made comments like: "How do you read so much?" or "Man, you read really fast."


A FEW TIPS ON HOW TO READ MORE:

  • Make reading a priority. Watch a few less hours of television per night if that is normally what you choose to do.

  • If you commute to work, read instead of listening to music or watching TV on your phone.

  • If you work from home now, take that hour after work that you might have spent commuting home and take some me time and read!

  • I don't necessarily read every single word in a book. A lot of paragraphs are filled with useless filler and you can skip over it.

  • Have your next book ready to go. If you know anything about me, you know that I love Excel. I have a whole tracker of books I am planning to read and how many days it should take me to read it. It keeps me excited to dive in to my next book!

FOLLOW ME ON GOODREADS!

I track each book that I read via the Goodreads app! You can add me as a friend there if you are looking for book recommendations in real time! Be sure to also set yourself a reading goal in 2021. I plan to make mine 120 as I was just shy of reading that number in 2020.


FREE BOOKS?

I wrote a blog post a few months ago about the various ways that I get free books (both print and ebooks). This year alone, I won 29 books through one of the ways I get free books! I would definitely encourage you to check out that blog post!


WHAT ARE MY PREFERRED GENRES?

I love to read thrillers, mysteries, romance, chick lit, some historical fiction and then stand alone fiction novels. A lot of those genres were added to my preferred books in 2020 due to branching out! I used to stick just to thrillers, but I found the more I read back to back in one genre, the more burned out I felt reading in general. This year I also tried to read as many new release books as possible while also catching up with some books from my favorite authors.


HERE ARE MY TOP 10 BOOKS OF 2020

I can't tell you HOW HARD it was to choose my top 10 books. I started by looking through my "read" shelf on Goodreads and at the first pass I had 18 books I would consider some of my favorites read in 2020. It was super hard to narrow it down, but I will also leave the 8 that didn't make the top 10 as my "honorable mention" section. My top 10 books are also in no particular order. I already had a hard enough time picking my top ten out of over 100 books!


TOP 10 BOOKS OF 2020 (in no particular order)

1. Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane

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Debut author Darby Kane thrills with this twisty domestic suspense novel that asks one central question: shouldn’t a dead husband stay dead?


Lila Ridgefield lives in an idyllic college town, but not everything is what it seems. Lila isn’t what she seems. A student vanished months ago. Now, Lila’s husband, Aaron, is also missing. At first these cases are treated as horrible coincidences until it’s discovered the student is really the third of three unexplained disappearances over the last few years. The police are desperate to find the connection, if there even is one. Little do they know they might be stumbling over only part of the truth….


With the small town in an uproar, everyone is worried about the whereabouts of their beloved high school teacher. Everyone except Lila, his wife. She’s definitely confused about her missing husband but only because she was the last person to see his body, and now it’s gone.


2. Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

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Owen Pick’s life is falling apart.


In his thirties, a virgin, and living in his aunt’s spare bedroom, he has just been suspended from his job as a geography teacher after accusations of sexual misconduct, which he strongly denies. Searching for professional advice online, he is inadvertently sucked into the dark world of incel—involuntary celibate—forums, where he meets the charismatic, mysterious, and sinister Bryn.


Across the street from Owen lives the Fours family, headed by mom Cate, a physiotherapist, and dad Roan, a child psychologist. But the Fours family have a bad feeling about their neighbor Owen. He’s a bit creepy and their teenaged daughter swears he followed her home from the train station one night.


Meanwhile, young Saffyre Maddox spent three years as a patient of Roan Fours. Feeling abandoned when their therapy ends, she searches for other ways to maintain her connection with him, following him in the shadows and learning more than she wanted to know about Roan and his family. Then, on Valentine’s night, Saffyre Maddox disappears—and the last person to see her alive is Owen Pick.



3. The Night Swim by Megan Goldin

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After the first season of her true crime podcast became an overnight sensation and set an innocent man free, Rachel Krall is now a household name―and the last hope for thousands of people seeking justice. But she’s used to being recognized for her voice, not her face. Which makes it all the more unsettling when she finds a note on her car windshield, addressed to her, begging for help.


The small town of Neapolis is being torn apart by a devastating rape trial. The town’s golden boy, a swimmer destined for Olympic greatness, has been accused of raping a high school student, the beloved granddaughter of the police chief. Under pressure to make Season Three a success, Rachel throws herself into interviewing and investigating―but the mysterious letters keep showing up in unexpected places. Someone is following her, and she won’t stop until Rachel finds out what happened to her sister twenty-five years ago. Officially, Jenny Stills tragically drowned, but the letters insists she was murdered―and when Rachel starts asking questions, nobody seems to want to answer. The past and present start to collide as Rachel uncovers startling connections between the two cases that will change the course of the trial and the lives of everyone involved.


Electrifying and propulsive, The Night Swim asks: What is the price of a reputation? Can a small town ever right the wrongs of its past? And what really happened to Jenny?



4. The Girl in the Mirror by Rose Carlyle

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Twin sisters Iris and Summer are startlingly alike, but beyond what the eye can see lies a darkness that sets them apart. Cynical and insecure, Iris has long been envious of Summer’s seemingly never-ending good fortune, including her perfect husband Adam.


Called to Thailand to help her sister sail the family yacht to the Seychelles, Iris nurtures her own secret hopes for what might happen on the journey. But when she unexpectedly finds herself alone in the middle of the Indian Ocean, everything changes. When she makes it to land, Iris allows herself to be swept up by Adam, who assumes that she is Summer.


Iris recklessly goes along with his mistake. Not only does she finally have the golden life she’s always envied, with her sister gone, she’s one step closer to the hundred-million-dollar inheritance left by her manipulative father. All Iris has to do is be the first of his seven children to produce an heir.


Iris’s “new” life lurches between glamorous dream and paranoid nightmare. On the edge of being exposed, how far will she go to ensure no one discovers the truth?


And just what did happen to Summer on the yacht?


Only Iris knows . . .



5. One by One by Ruth Ware

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Getting snowed in at a beautiful, rustic mountain chalet doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world, especially when there’s a breathtaking vista, a cozy fire, and company to keep you warm. But what happens when that company is eight of your coworkers…and you can’t trust any of them?


When an off-site company retreat meant to promote mindfulness and collaboration goes utterly wrong when an avalanche hits, the corporate food chain becomes irrelevant and survival trumps togetherness. Come Monday morning, how many members short will the team be?



6. Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert

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Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown, and an occasional roll in the hay to relieve all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. Romantic partners, whatever their gender, are a distraction at best and a drain at worst. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits—someone who knows the score and knows their way around the bedroom.


When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues Dani from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae—and Zaf is begging Dani to play along. Turns out, his sports charity for kids could really use the publicity. Lying to help children? Who on earth would refuse?


Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. The trouble is, grumpy Zaf’s secretly a hopeless romantic—and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. Before long, he’s tackling her fears into the dirt. But the former sports star has issues of his own, and the walls around his heart are as thick as his... um, thighs.


Suddenly, the easy lay Dani dreamed of is more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired? Is her focus being tested? Or is the universe just waiting for her to take a hint?



7. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

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The Silent Patient is a shocking psychological thriller of a woman’s act of violence against her husband—and of the therapist obsessed with uncovering her motive.


Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.


Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.


Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him....



8. Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens

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For years, rumors of the “Marsh Girl” haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet fishing village. Kya Clark is barefoot and wild; unfit for polite society. So in late 1969, when the popular Chase Andrews is found dead, locals immediately suspect her.


But Kya is not what they say. A born naturalist with just one day of school, she takes life's lessons from the land, learning the real ways of the world from the dishonest signals of fireflies. But while she has the skills to live in solitude forever, the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. Drawn to two young men from town, who are each intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new and startling world–until the unthinkable happens.


In Where the Crawdads Sing, Owens juxtaposes an exquisite ode to the natural world against a profound coming of age story and haunting mystery. Thought-provoking, wise, and deeply moving, Owens’s debut novel reminds us that we are forever shaped by the child within us, while also subject to the beautiful and violent secrets that nature keeps.


The story asks how isolation influences the behavior of a young woman, who like all of us, has the genetic propensity to belong to a group. The clues to the mystery are brushed into the lush habitat and natural histories of its wild creatures.



9. Little Secrets by Jennifer Hillier

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Overwhelmed by tragedy, a woman desperately tries to save her marriage in award-winning author Jennifer Hillier's Little Secrets, a riveting novel of psychological suspense.


All it takes to unravel a life is one little secret...


Marin had the perfect life. Married to her college sweetheart, she owns a chain of upscale hair salons, and Derek runs his own company. They're admired in their community and are a loving family—until their world falls apart the day their son Sebastian is taken.


A year later, Marin is a shadow of herself. The FBI search has gone cold. The publicity has faded. She and her husband rarely speak. She hires a P.I. to pick up where the police left off, but instead of finding Sebastian, she learns that Derek is having an affair with a younger woman. This discovery sparks Marin back to life. She's lost her son; she's not about to lose her husband, too. Kenzie is an enemy with a face, which means this is a problem Marin can fix.


Permanently.



10. This Tender Land by William Kent Kruger

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In the summer of 1932, on the banks of Minnesota's Gilead River, the Lincoln Indian Training School is a pitiless place where Native American children, forcibly separated from their parents, are sent to be educated. It is also home to Odie O’Banion, a lively orphan boy whose exploits constantly earn him the superintendent’s wrath. Odie and his brother, Albert, are the only white faces among the hundreds of Native American children at the school.


After committing a terrible crime, Odie and Albert are forced to flee for their lives along with their best friend, Mose, a mute young man of Sioux heritage. Out of pity, they also take with them a brokenhearted little girl named Emmy. Together, they steal away in a canoe, heading for the mighty Mississippi in search for a place to call home.


Over the course of one unforgettable summer, these four orphan vagabonds journey into the unknown, crossing paths with others who are adrift, from struggling farmers and traveling faith healers to displaced families and lost souls of all kinds. With the feel of a modern classic, This Tender Land is an en­thralling, bighearted epic that shows how the magnificent American landscape connects us all, haunts our dreams, and makes us whole.


HONORABLE MENTIONS

  • Long Bright River by Liz Moore

  • The Other Wife by Claire McGowan

  • The Weekend Away by Sarah Alderson

  • Big Lies in a Small Town by Diane Chamberlain

  • Daisy Jones & the Six

  • Crossing the Line by Maggie Cole

  • The Sun Down Hotel by Simone St. James

  • American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins


Do you have a favorite book that wasn't on my list? I would love to check it out!


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