Top Books of the Year

Top 20 Books of 2020

Ok…. so this year was weird. I think we can all agree with that. Not our typical year. I didn’t write as many reviews as I normally do. But give me a break. I had a baby. During a pandemic.

Anywho…. even though I may not have written a ton of reviews, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been reading my pants off in between working, momming, and wifing. A total of 73 for the year. So here’s what you’re waiting for. The top 20 of 2020 (in no particular order).

Intensity by Dean Koontz

What in the name of holy hell? I read the first chapter of this book and almost put it down.  Like for good.  Because I couldn’t take it anymore.  Read at your own risk, but if you do, make sure you have some oxygen nearby because you might stop breathing.

The Gifted School by Bruce Holsinger

Burbs. Proud parents. Academic competition.  Upper middle-class suburbia at its finest (or lowest).  You decide.

The Last Train to Key West by Chanel Cleeton

If you’ve ready any of Cleeton’s other books, you’ll know why she’s on the list again this year.  She usually screams Cuba, but this time she screamed Key West and I wasn’t mad about it.

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

SECOND. FAVORITE. BOOK. OF. ALL. TIME!  Read it right now.  You can thank me later.

American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Follow the struggles of a Mexican woman attempting to seek safety for her and her son from the cartels by making it onto American soil.  Lots of controversy surrounding this book, but it opened my eyes in a way they weren’t before.

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

This felt very Tom Sawyer.  Coming of age tale.  Epic journey.  Loved.

All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

The strangest romance novel you may ever read.  Does age matter when it comes to love?  Your answer may change after reading this one.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

All the quotes.  So much highlighting.  Every woman.  Every mother.  Every person.  Read this book and enjoy its greatness.

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain

I fell in love with these characters.  I loved this concept.  Diane is such an epic writer and this one was no exception.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

What would you do if you knew you were going to die in the next 24 hours and there was nothing you to do to stop it?  Why would somebody create that kind of technology?  Sounds awful, right?  Buckle up and enjoy.

Red, White, & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

Looking for an epic romance for Pride Month?  Royalty meets romance meets wit and humor meets LGBTQ.  F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S.

The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton

Agree with the death penalty?  Tell me how you feel after you read this book.  How did it make me feel?  Angry. Angry. Angry.

Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah

How could I get through this list without including Kristin Hannah?  She’s my girl.  Here she is with an oldie but a goodie. 

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

Book of the Year winner from BOTM.  Light skinned black twins go their separate ways.  One lives as a black woman.  One “passes” as a white woman.  Feast your eyes in fascination on how the evolution of their lives differs based on the perceived color of their skin. 

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare

I don’t know how Abi Dare even wrote this book, because the main character’s voice felt so incredibly authentic.  One of the top 5 Book of the Year finalists for BOTM and it sure deserved it.  Want to understand African poverty?  Here’s your chance.

28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand

The main character pissed me off…. because… well…. independent women and all that stuff.  But I would pick this book up again just to read the nostalgic first paragraph of every chapter. 

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

In a book rut?  Tired of reading the same old stuff?  If you’re looking for a book that is totally unique and lyrically beautiful, this is it.  Major hangover when it was over.  One of the 5 Book of the Year finalists for BOTM. 

Anxious People by Frederk Backman

Here’s what I know about Frederik Backman.  The dude’s books are hit or miss for me.  But when he hits, he’s a f*cking genius.  While I was reading this book, I can’t tell you how many times I thought, “Only a special type of brain could have put this all together this way.”  Yet another top 5 finalist for Book of the Year. 

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell by Robert Dugoni

Underrated and underrepresented throughout the bookish community, this is a hidden gem.  And it’s free on Prime Reading.  Don’t say I never gave you anything.    

One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London

This is the final rose tonight.  Where are my Bachelor/Bachelorette/Bachelor in Paradise fans at?  If you just raised your hand, this is your next read. 


There you have it. Now, we can’t afford to start 2021 on the wrong foot, so go catapult yourself into a read you already know is going to be great.

Top Books of the Year

Top 19 Books of 2019

Wow!  2019 was an incredible year of reading!  After reading 147 (mostly incredible) books, it was really difficult to narrow my list of favorites down to only 19, but somehow I managed to do it!

As always, they are not ranked from best to worst by simply by alphabetical order (I’ll let you be the judge).


The Beantown Girls by Jane Healey

WWII as told from the perspective of incredibly brave women who served the troops during wartime.  Totally fell in love with these characters.

Becoming by Michelle Obama

Not usually a huge fan of autobiography, but what an incredible story! Definitely listen on audio to hear Michelle’s voice tell it.

Daisy Jones & the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Hands down favorite book of the year!  It has won like a million awards this year and deserves every one of them. Sex, drugs and rock and roll at its finest.

Educated by Tara Westover

Another autobiography?  What’s gotten into me?  Woman escapes crazy cult family and against all odds ends up highly educated.

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

My “Top 19” list would not be complete without something by my favorite author!  Everything she touches turns to gold.  Trust me, this one is great!  Prepare the tissues!

The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo

Where are my romance fans at?  Be prepared to cry… a lot.

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

Woman agrees to apartment-sit in exchange for a lofty (too-good-to-be-true) salary.  But is the money worth the creepy stuff that happens in the building?  Spoiler: probably not!

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

Allow me to show you my messed up side.  I mean the cover is a woman staring into the reflection of a super sharp knife.  What do you expect?

No Exit by Taylor Adams

Ever get stranded at a rest area with some shady folks and no way to escape?  Me neither.  And after reading this one, you won’t want to.

The One by John Marrs

Ancestry DNA meets  Do you think you can find your perfect match through science?  Read and find out.

Recursion by Blake Crouch

Blake Crouch always makes my head hurt (in a good way).  Total mind f*ck.  Be prepared for an absolutely crazy ride.

Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood

Major trigger warning here.  But if you’re a fan of 48 hours mysteries, this one is for you.

The Scent Keeper by Eric Bauermeister

I’ve never read a book that made me feel like smells were jumping off the pages.  Beautifully written story.

The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Here’s another one that’s winning tons of awards… because in the thriller genre, it’s hard to find something that blows your mind these days.  Be prepared for the ending.  You won’t see it coming.

The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer

Probably one of the most underrated books around!  I’ve heard the same sentiment from those who have read it.  If you’re a fan of WWII drama, please pick this one up.

This Is How It Always Is by Laurie Frankel

I cannot even start with this book.  Want to take a tiny glimpse into the mind of a transgender child?  It will open your eyes.

When All Is Said by Anne Griffin

Won this one in a giveaway and so glad I did because I probably wouldn’t have read it otherwise.  If you could raise a glass to 5 people that defined your life, who would they be?

When We Left Cuba by Chanel Cleeton

Beautifully written and culturally vibrant, Cleeton never disappoints!

The Whisper Man by Alex North

Spooky murder mystery with lots of twists and turns.  Save this one for October.  Perfect Halloween read.


Well, there you go!  Here are your first 19 reads of 2020 if you haven’t read them already.  You’re welcome!

Top Books of the Year

Top 18 Books of 2018

I had such a successful reading year in 2018, completing 120 amazing books!  I’ve shared them all along the way, but want to take a moment at the end of the year to reflect on the top 18 books I read in 2018.  They are in alphabetical order so their order does not reflect any sort of preference for one over the other.  Although, I may divulge my favorite book of the year… *cough* The Nightingale *cough.*

So without further ado, here they are:

Top 18 of 2018

The Anomaly
One of the most unique books I have ever read! If you like edge of your seat thrillers with an element of science fiction/fantasy, here you go.

A must read for every high school classroom and well… really, for everybody. Let’s talk about rape culture.

Before We Were Yours
Heartbreaking and based on a true story of an orphanage in Memphis, Tennessee. So wonderful.

Dark Matter
Want your mind to be blown? Just pick up Dark Matter. Trippy with a capital T.

The Dinner List
I ugly cried while reading this book. Love story meets fantasy? Loved it!

The Dream Daughter
Historical fiction meets time travel. Super unique and beautifully written. I read it in pretty much one sitting.

The Dreamers
A sleep-inducing virus sweeps over a small college town. Think The Walking Dead without the zombies.

The Great Alone
Be still my heart, Kristin Hannah. She’s on this list twice (for good reason). Phenomenal storytelling. You feel like you’re reading a movie. Just trust me on this one and read it.

The Hate U Give
Such an important and impactful book about racial inequality. It was eye opening and thought provoking for me.

The Last Time I Lied
Nobody does a good old-fashioned thriller like Riley Sager. Great book to read around a campfire.

Next Year in Havana
Gotta thank Reese Witherspoon for this one. Super interesting look at Cuba during and after The Cold War. I learned a ton from this book and got a love story or two along the way.

The Nightingale
Guys… I just can’t with this book.  It is officially my new favorite book of all time.  I can’t even start talking about it because I won’t stop.  Just read it.  Immediately.

Loved this cross between a science fiction space adventure and a murder mystery.  I could not put this book down.

Ready Player One
If you’ve seen the movie, forget it. Right now. The book is 1,000% better, particularly on audiobook. Take a trip back to the 80’s in this edge of your seat YA novel.

Us Against You
Sequel to Beartown.  Beartown is on the list and so is this.  Some say the sequel is better.  I tend to disagree.  But, considering it’s still on this list, let’s just say it was really good.

Evidently, this is similar to The Handmaid’s Tale.  I’ve never read it so all I can say is that if you’re a female and you’re proud of it, you should read Vox.

Where the Crawdads Sing
You can’t see me but I’m making a heart shape with my hands right now.  This one is making it’s way through my family right now because I’m recommending it to everybody I know.

The Wife Between Us
Twisty, twisty, twisty.  I love a good psychological thriller, especially one that surprises me over and over.  This one did it for me.


Needless to say, 2018 was a great year of reading.  Can’t wait to see what 2019 has in store!