THE BUZZIES!! AHHH!!!!
Wait; I’m getting ahead of myself. Hello, Hive family!
There’s no sugar coating it; it’s been an insane year. While we lived through unprecedented times, experienced once-in-a-lifetime political and social turmoil and developed a new normal in our own homes – books remained.
Books carried many of us away and through the scariest and most isolating moments, and celebrated far-0ff worlds and places when we just needed to escape our own.
And that means it wasn’t all bad. Looking at your Goodreads stats, many of you read more books than you have in YEARS. That’s amazing! Reacquainting yourselves with your love of reading is the one gift 2020 gave you. Incidentally, it also gave us two highs – Book Reviewers of the Year at OUAB and hitting the top 100 worldwide for book influence. We’re focusing on the positives. In that vein, instead of just giving you the QB’s top choices, the whole team weighed in on the best books of the year.
This decision nearly broke our Hive family apart. Asking one book dragon their favorite book is rough; try asking a whole bunch of them! But here are our top pics for 2020, in no particular order of Bee or book. Happily, this year reveals inclusion, diversity and new voices. Our list includes various genres, and we hope you find a new read to add to your list. Please let us know your favorites too, so if we missed one, we can add it to next year’s TBR. Note: not all were published in 2020 – we just read them this year 😉
So, without further adieu… our Reads of the Year!
Lord of London Town by Tillie Cole
Tillie Cole is my go-to for dark romance and Lord of London Town delivered and then some. I’ve been able to meet her twice at book signings and she is literally one of my favorite people, so am I biased in loving her book? Maybe. But am I wrong? Absolutely Not! I know when I read one of Tillie Cole’s books I’m going to get lost in an intricate new world with characters that I am fully invested in and this was no different. The main characters Arthur and Cheska are star-crossed with every obstacle in their way, but when evil rears it’s head it’s them against the world. Their love-story is not enviable, but it is epic and explosive. I will anxiously be awaiting the next in the series, and all her books in-between.
Read more here.
Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid
With Daisy Jones and The Six, Taylor Jenkins Reid gifted us a trifecta of breathtaking stories about love, strong female characters taking charge of their lives, and beautifully creative storytelling. This is a great book to share with friends. My girlfriends and I were still talking about it months later!
Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross
One of my favorites from 2020 is without a doubt Wolf Gone Wild by Juliette Cross. The first book in the Sit a Spell series, Wolf Gone Wild had me utterly entranced from the first page. Juliette Cross was a new to me author prior to this book, and since then I have devoured most of her paranormal romance books. Shifters, witches, vampires and other mystical creatures are all woven together with some truly enchanting word magic in the Sit a Spell series. The second book in the series Don’t Hex and Drive is equally as magical, and these two books will have you yearning for more!
The Forgotten Kingdom: A Novel(Lost Queen Saga Book 2) by Signe Pike
My list of finalists for the best book of 2020 was long and contained some truly outstanding books. The Forgotten Kingdom, the second book in the Lost Queen saga, by Signe Pike, walked away with the honors thanks to Pike’s devotion to history and her writing style; Signe Pike is as much a historian as she is a fiction writer. She spent over a decade researching the threads of Languareth of Cadzow, one of the most powerful Scottish queens, and her twin brother Lailoken, who became known as Merlin, in the histories and literature of the 1st century Scots of Dalriada, the Picts, and the Anglo-Saxons. The bones of the novel are a retelling of actual people and events and then fleshed out with characters that are vibrant and captivating and exude all the flaws and failings of a real person, making them that much more authentic and memorable. Additionally, she deftly weaved history and fiction through rich wordsmithing that resulted in a truly fascinating and authentic piece of historical fiction that thoroughly captivated and entertained me.
You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria
A contemporary romance featuring a full Latinx cast. It’s filled with steam, humor, female bonding, and the best part of romance, all the swoons. I felt connected to the characters culture. But felt a stronger connection to the female lead, she wears her heart on her sleeve and is learning to cope with change, and become her ultimate leading lady!!! I have so many more reasons to gush but it truly is my favorite book released this year!
Take it Back by Kia Abdullah
I wanted to pick a book that was relevant and timely, thought provoking, and satisfying. For me, Take It Back was all of those things, and more. Kia Abdullah does an excellent job of probing race relations, immigrant status and expectations, and how our society treats victims of rape (often unfairly). The book is a thrill ride from start to finish, with a last minute change up that left me breathless, but satisfied. Truly an invigorating read!
The Archive of the Forgotten by A.J. Hackwith
The Hell’s Library series is about books, characters that love and treasure books, and the mysterious libraries in after-life realms for the books unwritten and words unspoken. Characters come and go from their books like real people. Walking among angels, demons, muses, and mortals in the afterlife. A.J. Hackwith flawlessly created after-life realms that a reader would hope to visit for themselves. Every character feels complicated and flawed, yet love-able. They’re so human, even though most of them aren’t. This series is certainly one of my all time favorites, ever.
The Beginning of Everything (The Rising Book 1) by Kristen Ashley
There are so many amazing listens this year, I couldn’t pick just one. So I’m cheating a little and picking book one of The Rising Series – knowing once you listen to one, you won’t be able to stop until you listen to all four. The Rising series creates such a rich and immersive world full of love, intrigue, betrayal, hope, and more than anything it’s a perfect escape from the reality of this year. The audiobook is masterfully performed by a full cast that bring this book to life in such a brilliant way, this is one I can’t imagine reading instead of listening to. Don’t let the length intimidate you, it’s worth every second.
We Hunt the Flame (Sands of Arawiya Book 1) by Hafsah Faizal
Beautiful imagery, engaging worldbuilding and a new, unapologetically diverse voice in literature? Yes, please. Hafsah isn’t a new face to the publishing world. She’s been making author websites for years, but when she decided to write her own epic fantasy, she became an instant hit and everyone took notice, including Forbes. Zafira and Nasir are beautifully flawed, broken in such ways that they complement one another. They could be Lizzie Bennet and Darcy, if those two traded Edwardian England for fictitious ancient Arabia-esque Arawiya. Full of colorful characters, new lands and immersive prose, this book was my absolute favorite read of the year, and one of the best I have ever read. HIGHLY recommend! The sequel, We Free the Stars, releases 1/19.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE WINNERS!
Happiest Holiday season! May 2021 bring health, wealth and wisdom to you and yours!