Best of 2020: The Books

Posted January 4, 2021 by Casee in Features | 8 Comments

It’s that time of year again. The time where we come together and look over the books that we’ve read over the course of 2020 and list our favorites. Today’s list will include all of our favorite books that we read in 2020. Join us for a week of reflecting on our favorites and not so favorite reads, authors, heros, heroines, and series.


I tried to diversify my list a little bit, but it just didn’t happen. These two authors were what 2020 was about for me.

Rock Chick Reawakening (Rock Chick #0.5) by Kristen Ashley: This is the one of the only novellas that I read this year. Kristen Ashley can pack a lot into a novella. It felt like I read a full length book. Daisy just simply made the book. Of course Marcus was no slouch himself. Daisy was so brave and courageous. She really lived life and didn’t apologize for who she was.

Sebring (Unfinished Heroes #5) by Kristen Ashley: This book was amazing. Like probably the one of the best books I’ve read in the past five years. I enjoyed Nick & Olivia’s story. It wasn’t an easy one. I can’t say enough good things about this book and will most likely be talking about it five years from now.

Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10) by Ilona Andrews: Ah, the end of Kate & Curran. I didn’t think I would be as satisfied with end of this series as I actually was. Kate & Curran are epic. They will stay with me for a long time to come.

Sommersgate House (Ghosts and Reincarnation #1) by Kristen Ashley: This book came as a surprise to me. I read Fairytale Come Alive and decided to start the series from the beginning. This book was about sacrifice, love, loss, and finding happiness again. Douglas and Julia’s story just brought all the feels.

Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels #7) by Ilona Andrews: This was the first book in the series that I loved. Like love loved. Kate is always ready for anything life throws at her, but facing her father’s warlord was not something she thought would happen without Curran by her side. Wonderful chaos ensues.

Honorable Mentions: Rifts and Refrains by Devney Perry, All the Rage by T.M. Frazier and The Gamble by Kristen Ashley.


I was lucky enough to read some really great books this year. I read less than I normally do, but the quality of books was good, so I’m taking that as a win.

Beauty and the Clockwork Beast (Steampunk Proper Romance #1) by Nancy Campbell Allen: Nancy Campbell Allen was a new find for me this year, and this book is my favorite of hers. The heroine was independent and charming for it, and I loved the gothic setting.

The Bridge Kingdom (The Bridge Kingdom #1) by Danielle L Jensen: I started this audiobook on a whim, and ended up so enthralled I couldn’t stop listening. I really loved the strength of the main character and the intrigue. This was probably my favorite read of the year.

Beauty Tempts the Beast (Sins for All Seasons #6) by Lorraine Heath: This was my favorite of the series. Beast was such a big softie, and I loved watching Althea find herself.

Deal with the Devil (Mercenary Librarians #1) by Kit Rocha: This was a novel full of girl power. The female lead was a total badass, and I loved how self-sufficient she and her crew were.

The Perfect Rake (The Merridew Sisters #1) by Anne Gracie: This was such an entertaining read. I loved how fierce the heroine was in defense of her sisters and how fierce the hero was in defense of her. This was such a sweet romance, it stayed with me long after I finished it.

Honorable Mentions: My Darling Duke (Sinful Wallflowers #1) by Stacy Reid, Blood Heir (Aurelia Ryder #1) by Ilona Andrews, The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary.


This year was the year of Kate Daniels for me. I went into one of the biggest reading slumps since I started reading but Kate Daniels saved my reading year because if it came out in that series, I read it…and loved it. So with that said, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that more than one of my top books is from the Kate Daniels series. Here are my top reads of 2020.

Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews: This book is probably my favorite read of the year. From beginning to end, I absolutely loved this one. I laughed so much, I cried a bit and just had the best time while reading every word. I freaking love Kate Daniels, I love Curran Lennart and everyone else in her world. This book was sooo good!

The One for You by Roni Loren: This book hit me in my feels. It was such an emotional read, like all of the other books were but this book ended the series on the perfect note and I enjoyed the hell out of it. Kudos to Roni Loren on writing a great series. I adored Kincaid and Ash.

Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews: This was another book that I loved from beginning to end. This series is damn near perfection as you can see. I loved this one too!

Magic Stars by Ilona Andrews: This is a novella in the Kate Daniels world but it centers around Julie and Derek and I was so here for it all. This short story made me so thirsty for Blood Heir. I absolutely adored this one.

Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews: I was so sad when I was reading this one. I wasn’t ready to let go of this world and with the release of Blood Heir coming, I don’t have to. This was such a great read and it ended Kate’s set of books in such a great way that I’m still thinking about it all this time later. Gah, I love these guys!

Honorable Mentions: Here are the books that I loved but didn’t make the actual list for one reason or other. The first book is Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews, this doesn’t technically come out until this month so I didn’t include it in my list though it’s the bomb. It’s probably going to make my 2021 list for sure. Emerald Blaze by Ilona Andrews is another book that gets an honorable mention because I loved it, just not as much as the books that made the list. Can you guys tell that I’m straight trash for all things Ilona Andrews?

What were some of your favorite books from the year? Any books that we should add to our TBR piles in 2021? Share your favorites in the comments!

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8 responses to “Best of 2020: The Books

  1. DiscoDollyDeb

    I hope this wont be too long, but I divided my list of favorite books of 2020 into two categories: books published in 2020 and books published in a prior year but that I read for the first time in 2020. Regardless of publication date, a beautifully-written emotional-nuanced journey with angsty complications and a splash of melancholy will get me every time.

    Favorite books published in 2020:

    The MISSING PIECES Trilogy (PIECES OF YOU, PIECES OF ME, and PIECES OF US) by N.R. Walker. Lovely story of two men in a long-term relationship who have to relearn the emotional terrain of their lives when one of them experiences amnesia following an accident and has no memory of the past five years. There’s so much joy in seeing the two men fall in love all over again. My absolute favorite book(s) of 2020.

    CREDENCE by Penelope Douglas. “New-Adult/reverse-harem/enforced-proximity in an isolated house in the mountains,” while technically accurate, in no way captures the delicately painstaking way Douglas unfolds this deliciously-fraught story of a suddenly-orphaned 17-year-old girl who goes to live with her step-uncle and his two adult sons—and what happens between them over the course of a snowbound winter in the Rocky Mountains.

    FINDING HIM by Rachel Van Dyken. Two people, both struggling with loss, work through the grieving process and gradually fall in love as they write a book together about the heroine’s late fiancé. A lovely, melancholy book.

    WITHOUT YOU by Marley Valentine. Unique twist on the “man falling for his late brother’s widow” trope—the late brother was gay, so this is a case of a man (who has always identified as straight) falling for his late brother’s widower. A nuanced, bittersweet slow burn with amazing levels of sexual tension.

    LOSING IT ALL by Kati Wilde. The four-year wait for the next installment of Wilde’s Hellfire Riders MC series was totally worth it. All of Kati’s hallmarks are here: a thoughtful & intelligent heroine, an alpha hero whose kind-heart and self-awareness keep him securely outside alpha-hole territory, a propulsive plot that puts both h&h through the wringer—emotionally and physically, smoking-hot sexy-times, angsty misunderstandings, a joyful HEA, and a nice catch-up-with-everyone epilogue. Plus, I’m mentioned on the book’s dedication page. ‘Nuff said.

    THE BEST MAN by Winter Renshaw. Beautifully-written exploration of the roles chance and coincidence play in our lives. Two decent, honorable people, linked by a terrible automobile accident, try to avoid falling in love and hurting the one person who connects them both: his best friend and her former fiancé. Deeply emotional with just the faintest trace the otherworldly.

    THE ITALIAN’S PREGNANT CINDERELLA by Caitlin Crews. A standard Harlequin Presents plot (super-efficient executive heroine falls in love, then bed, with her boss, leading to unplanned pregnancy and unanticipated heartache before the joyous HEA) elevated by Crews’s excellent writing and insistent subtext about how men marginalize and ostracize women they can’t control. A good corrective for the notion that HPs are nothing but retrogressive melodramas that reinforce dated gender roles and stereotypes.

    MY CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONE by Leonie Mack. Lovely & lyrical story about two musicians from completely different worlds and cultures who slowly fall in love after recording a Christmas duet together. I don’t recall another romance where what music means to the main characters—and how they create it & relate to it—is so much a part of who they both are and is so central to the storyline.

    THE THREEFOLD TIE by Aster Glenn Gary. Sensitively-written novella set in New York State after the Civil War about three people (a married couple and the husband’s former lover) who decide to embark upon a “complex marriage.” Gray quietly shows how cultural shifts frequently begin as personal decisions of the heart.

    Favorite books published in a prior year:

    CARIDES’S FORGOTTEN WIFE by Maisey Yates (published in 2016): Beautifully-written and utterly-gutting portrait of a mismatched marriage where failure to process long-ago losses (cw/tw: death of a child) has resulted in an alcoholic, serial-adulterer husband and a hero-worshipping, enabling wife. With great skill and nuance, Yates presents the couple’s complicated journey to a healthier, happier, more loving relationship.

    OFFENSIVE BEHAVIOR by Ainslie Paton (published in 2016): A recently-fired tech millionaire—a genius at the technical side of things, but crap at the friendship/emotional stuff (and, perhaps not coincidentally, a virgin)—connects with a former Olympic-level gymnast who pays for her college tuition by being an exotic dancer at a rather down-at-heel club. This is no “capitalist rescue fantasy,” it’s a brilliantly-written story about friendship, love, and life that defies expectations at every turn.

    FULL MOUNTIE by Ainsley Booth & Sadie Haller (published in 2017): M/M/F erotic romance with a heroine who is dating two men, initially unaware that the men have a past romantic history; but, once she learns the truth, she is fully on-board with their simultaneous love for her and their rekindled feelings for each other. Excellent bi & poly representation and acceptance. Heat level: Molten.

    LOVE IN A SANDSTORM by Zoe York (published in 2017): A soldier and a midwife meet while working in a refugee camp and impulsively marry after a whirlwind courtship. Then the soldier sustains a combat injury that leaves him wounded physically, mentally, and emotionally. A serious book that asks a difficult question—what do we owe a loved one who, through no fault of their own, isn’t the person we fell in love with?—and answers it with honesty and grace.

    DANE’S STORM by Mia Sheridan (published in 2018): After their plane crashes in the Rockies, a long-divorced couple must work together to survive and to come to terms with the grief that tore their relationship apart years before (cw/tw: stillborn baby). Nail-biting survival scenes and one of the saddest, yet ultimately life-affirming, second-chance romances I’ve ever read. You will cry…several times.

    • Hmm, I’m curious about that Penelope Douglas book listed. I tried one of her books and couldn’t get through it because it was one of those dark, taboo romances where the hero and his friends went to jail because of the heroine and they planned to “get her” which didn’t do anything for me at all. The writing style wasn’t bad though, I just didn’t like anything that was going on so I quit the book pretty early on.

      Thanks so much for sharing your favorites list, Deb. Looks like a great reading year for you!

  2. Kareni

    I read lots of books that I enjoyed but few of them really stand out. Some I remember fondly include MY CHRISTMAS NUMBER ONE by Leonie Mack (which I read on @DDD’s recommendation; I actually gave copies to two friends) and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. E. Schwab.

  3. I’m with you on Ilona Andrews, Mercenary Librarians and Roni Loren. I just bought The Bridge Kingdom, and I’ll be picking up Beauty and the Clockwork Beast, too. I’m finding fantasy and UF a lot easier to read than straight romance these days, although I did love Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade and A Stitch in Time by Kelley Armstrong.

    • Yay, I got the second book in the Bridge Kingdom series to start tonight. I’m hooked so I hope you like it as well. Ilona Andrews never really steers us wrong, huh? <3

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