Like most of 2020, it feels like the end of the year somehow came way too quickly but also much too slowly. This was the first year that I didn’t manage to complete any of my reading challenges, despite having so much “extra” time during the lockdowns, so that was a bit frustrating, even though I’d designed my list to be a 2-year challenge. What I didn’t really factor into that was how to manage the books and challenge prompts I hadn’t got to yet by the end of the year, while also looking at a new year of challenge prompts. Like the past few years, I ended up with way too many books remaining for my “main” challenges, although to be fair, I think I actually have most prompts covered if I had counted some of the books I read differently. I had them down for specific prompts and posted them on my Facebook & Instagram for those, but realized that they could have equally applied to other prompts from my main challenges as well, if that makes sense. Either way, I was looking forward to once again wrapping up my year with the End of Year survey, which I found a few years ago on PerpetualPageTurner, and all credit goes to her for the graphics and the questions.
Number of Books You Read: 176, which was quite a bit lower than the 200 I’d expected, but still a great total overall!
Number of Re-reads: 4. I re-read the entire Hunger Games trilogy. I also read the entire Saga series, and had read only the first volume before, so that one was also a re-read.
Genre You Read the Most From: I wish I actually tracked this somehow, since I never know exactly how many! I also tend to have trouble knowing where to count books that have more than one genre. After looking at Goodreads, it seems like my most-read genres were Contemporary (62 books, including both adult and YA), Fantasy (42 books), mystery-thrillers (36 books).
1. Best Book You Read In 2019?
As usual, I had trouble picking just one, so I’ve chosen one per genre, excluding re-reads:
Best YA Romance – Tweet Cute
Best YA Contemporary (non-romance) – Harley in the Sky
Best YA Fantasy (from a series) – The Renegades series
Best Fantasy (standalone) – The Starless Sea tied with Middlegame
Best Adult Fantasy (from a series) – Ninth House tied with House of Earth and Blood
Best Graphic Novel – Bloom
Best Fiction – Young Jane Young
Best Mystery or Thriller – The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle
Best Horror – Home Before Dark (I mostly consider it a thriller, but it is technically counted as horror on Goodreads too, and I thought it was worth mentioning)
Best Adult Contemporary – Beach Read tied with The Flatshare
Best Historical Fiction – Like a Love Story
2. Book You Were Excited About & Thought You Were Going To Love More But Didn’t?
Definitely Searching for Sylvie Lee! I assumed this would be an easy 5 stars, but I was disappointed. I still gave it 4 stars in the end. There was one subplot that I found incredibly off-putting, and I thought it easily could have been given a very minor adjustment to make it less uncomfortable without really changing very much. It’s too bad, since I loved that author’s writing style in the previous book of hers that I’d read.
Also, I have to say I was a little disappointed in the Three Dark Crowns series, although my ratings don’t necessarily reflect that. I ultimately gave all four of the books either 4 or 4.5 stars, but I after waiting so long to pick them up, I was a bit disappointed that I didn’t love them quite as much as I expected. It bothered me a bit that there was a character who I’d assumed would be a side character who seemed to take such precedence in the story, to the point where she overshadowed at least one of the sisters. I also found it a bit harder to get into these than I expected, but they were still enjoyable overall.
3. Most surprising (in a good way or bad way) book you read?
I have to give this one to Beach Read. As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I went into it with very low expectations given that I didn’t love the other book I read by the same author this year, and I was completely blown away. It drew me in immediately and became an easy favourite of the year.
I was also very pleasantly surprised by how much I loved the Strange the Dreamer duology. I feel like I don’t mention it enough because I read it right at the beginning of the year, but I’d been putting it off because I was a little intimidated by it, and I ended up absolutely loving it! I expected that I would like it, but definitely didn’t expect to love it anywhere near as much as I did.
4. Book You “Pushed” The Most People To Read (And They Did)?
I have no idea if anyone has picked up any of the books upon my recommendation, but I think if there was one that I would recommend most, it would be Ninth House. It is also the only book that I can specifically remember recommending to my coworker, and she said she would like to try it, but I don’t think she has yet.
5. Best series you started in 2020? Best Sequel of 2020? Best Series Ender of 2020?
I find these questions hard to answer now when I’m binge-reading series. When I read all of the books in a row, I find it really hard to differentiate which events happened in each and I tend to think of them as a single story.
I think if I had to choose, I would probably divide it this way:
Best series started – Ninth House tied with House of Earth and Blood
Best sequel – Archenemies
Best series ender – A Conjuring of Light (with The Queen of Nothing in a close second)
5. Favourite new author you discovered in 2020
I set myself a goal this year to try out some of the authors that I’d been meaning to read for a while, so that really helped to discover some new favourites, like Lisa Jewell, Riley Sager and Peter Swanson, but I also found a few other new favourites who weren’t on my list, especially Beth O’Leary, Emma Lord and Brittany Morris!
7. Best book from a genre you don’t typically read/was out of your comfort zone?
This might be a bit of a stretch, but I would have to go with Home Before Dark. As I noted in the Best Books of the Year section above, this one is technically classified as horror, although it’s questionable whether it’s more of a horror or a mystery/thriller. Either way, it was a favourite of the year. I tend not to read a lot of horror because they freak me out very easily, but I loved this one!
8. Most action-packed/thrilling/unputdownable book of the year?
A few of the books that I remember really having a hard time putting down were: Ninth House, House of Earth and Blood, Tweet Cute, Harley in the Sky and Home Before Dark. Also, the Strange the Dreamer duology, Renegades series, and the Shades of Magic series were very action-packed and hard to put down.
9. Book You Read In 2020 That You Are Most Likely To Re-Read Next Year?
I don’t really have any plans to re-read any of the books that I read this year so soon, but if I had to choose something, I’d probably pick Call Down the Hawk so I can be ready for the sequel! I read this book right at the height of the pandemic and didn’t really feel like I gave it the attention it deserved, since I was having trouble focusing on books in general at the time.
10. Favorite cover of a book you read in 2020?
Definitely these two:
11. Most memorable character of 2020?
This is a tough one. I think I’d have to go with Alex Stern from Ninth House, or Zachary Ezra Rawlins from The Starless Sea, but that may be because I related to him so strongly.
In terms of an overall cast of characters, I think House of Earth and Blood in general was the most memorable.
12. Most beautifully written book read in 2019?
The Starless Sea or the Strange the Dreamer duology.
13. Most Thought-Provoking/ Life-Changing Book of 2019?
I don’t know if anything was particularly life-changing, but I thought Slay brought up some excellent points about race/racism and the need for safe spaces in a way that I had not really seen before.
14. Book you can’t believe you waited UNTIL 2020 to finally read?
Definitely the Strange the Dreamer duology and the Shades of Magic series!
I also had quite a few books that had been on my TBR forever that I finally got to pick up, like More Happy Than Not (which I really liked, but not quite as much as I’d expected), or books that I’d had in previous challenges but somehow kept putting off like Young Jane Young or Just What Kind of Mother Are You?
15. Favorite Passage/Quote From A Book You Read In 2020?
I’m still not great at keeping track of quotes that I like, but I’m trying to make more of an effort to save them to Goodreads when I see them. I also have two earlier posts from this year were favourite quotes (here and here), so I’ve tried not to repeat from those. These are a few that stood out to me the most:
“No one should have to sit and suffer and pretend to be someone they’re not because it’s easier, or because no one wants to help them fix it” — Seanan McGuire, Come Tumbling Down
“Stars shine their brightest in the dark. So take this opportunity, and supernova the shit out of it” — Akemi Dawn Bowman, Harley in the Sky
“My greatest wish for humanity is not for peace or comfort or joy. It is that we all still die a little inside every time we witness the death of another. For only the pain of empathy will keep us human. There’s no version of God that can help us if we ever lose that” — Neal Shusterman, Scythe
“No one owes you the benefit of the doubt when your actions have shown, repeatedly, and without reparation, that you do not deserve it” — Francesca Zappia, Now Entering Addamsville
16.Shortest & Longest Book You Read In 2019?
Shortest – Fence, Volume 2 (112 pages)
Longest – House of Earth and Blood (803 pages)
17. Book That Shocked You The Most
Honestly, I can’t remember anything too shocking, but I’d probably have to go Home Before Dark because I found it so creepy and also because of the ending, or The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle just for the overall execution of the mystery.
18. OTP OF THE YEAR (you will go down with this ship!)
Bryce and Hunt from House of Earth and Blood, although I’m a little skeptical of them just because Sarah J. Maas has a tendency to split up the first couple she puts together. I also loved the couples in several of the adult contemporary romances I read this year, but it seems a bit weird to ship them when it is obvious they will be together.
19. Favorite Non-Romantic Relationship Of The Year
Roger and Dodger from Middlegame, and also Georgia and her friends Rooney, Jason and Pip in Loveless.
20. Favorite Book You Read in 2019 From An Author You’ve Read Previously
Obviously both Leigh Barduo and Sarah J. Maas would be great answers for this promt since I’ve already mentioned their books repeatedly. If I exclude those two just for the sake of variety, I’d have to go with Harley in the Sky by Akemi Dawn Bowman or Yes No Maybe So by Becky Albertalli and Aisha Saeed (although only one of those authors was someone I had read before).
21. Best Book You Read In 2020 That You Read Based SOLELY On A Recommendation From Somebody Else/Peer Pressure:
It’s a toss-up between The Flatshare, Beach Read, and Tweet Cute. All of these books were on my radar but I had no active plans to pick them up this year until I started to see all the hype around them.
22. Newest fictional crush from a book you read in 2020?
I don’t really get fictional crushes, but I really liked Hunt from House of Earth and Blood and Adrian from the Renegades series.
23. Best 2020 debut you read?
It’s an obvious choice by now, but I’d have to go with Tweet Cute, partly because it was one of my favourite books of the whole year, but also partly because I didn’t read a ton of 2020 releases, and this was one of the only debuts.
24. Best Worldbuilding/Most Vivid Setting You Read This Year?
I loved the worldbuilding in the Strange the Dreamer duology and I loved how Laini Taylor brought the whole thing to life.
25. Book That Put A Smile On Your Face/Was The Most FUN To Read?
At the risk of being repetitive, I’d have to go with Tweet Cute.
26. Book That Made You Cry Or Nearly Cry in 2019?
This is always such a hard question because it’s very rare that I would literally cry from a book. I can definitely remember tearing up at one key moment in House of Earth and Blood, but other than that, I think the one that would have come closest was Only Child.
27. Hidden Gem Of The Year?
I’d say Harley in the Sky or Slay. Both very underrated.
28. Book That Crushed Your Soul?
I still don’t quite get this question, especially coming so shortly after a book that made me cry. It seems like the same thing to me. I don’t know that I had anything quite that impactful this year except maybe Clap When You Land.
29. Most Unique Book You Read In 2020?
Probably Twenty-One Truths About Love or Memoirs of An Imaginary Friend, both by Matthew Dicks. The first is written entirely in list format, and the second is narrated from the perspective of a child’s imaginary friend.
30. Book That Made You The Most Mad (doesn’t necessarily mean you didn’t like it)?
Searching for Sylvie Lee! I got so frustrated with several of the decisions made by both of the main characters.
1. New favorite book blog you discovered in 2020?
I’m not very good at keeping up with other people’s book blogs but I did subscribe to several new channels this year. I think my favourite new-to-me channel is Ashley at Bookish Realm. Even though I haven’t watched too many of her videos yet, I’ve really enjoyed the ones that I have watched and would love to see some more! I also subscribed to Jesse at Bowties & Books this year after seeing many of their tweets, and I really enjoy their videos too.
2. Favorite review that you wrote in 2019?
I don’t write many reviews in general, and I think I only wrote about three this year. I think my favourite to write was probably for the Netflix adaptation of the Baby-sitter’s Club, since that series was my childhood obsession and I was really looking forward to seeing it refreshed!
3. Best discussion/non-review post you had on your blog?
I think I only wrote one “discussion” post this year, so it doesn’t seem fair to really call that a favourite. I think my favourite new thing that I tried this year was 7 On Sunday, which I didn’t really do consistently, but I found it so helpful to have some direction for some of my weekend posts when I got stuck for topics. I think my favourites of those were the Fictional Mother Figures since it got me to branch outside of books a bit for Mother’s Day, and Book Tropes I Love because I remember really struggling to think of tropes, but ended up loving my list.
I also really liked continuing my Recent Reads series, which gives me a chance to mention some of the books that I’ve been reading, without the structure of being a true review. I was finding that I had so many books that I wanted to mention reading and loving (or being disappointed by), and I sometimes struggled to find opportunities to bring them up. I started the series in 2019 with just two posts, and did 7 more this year! I found them especially helpful for talking about some of the series or books from series I read (such as here), books I was very excited about (here, for example), or books that I read that had some similar themes (such as these).
4. Best event that you participated in (author signings, festivals, virtual events, memes, etc.)?
The only thing I really participate in is the list-making process for the Goodreads Around the Year Challenge, so I guess that would have to be my favourite. Even in a normal year, I don’t really go to signings or events anyway.
5. Best moment of bookish/blogging life in 2019?
Taking the time around the start of the lockdowns in March to really prioritize many of the books and longer series that I was most excited about, and I was able to finish the majority of the ones that I wanted to read most. I was also very proud of myself for picking up books like Strange The Dreamer or The Starless Sea that intimidated me a bit (let alone House of Earth and Blood, which is massive!) and really enjoyed them all!
6. Most challenging thing about blogging or your reading life this year?
I don’t know if I’d say most challenging or the most frustrating, but I was upset that I didn’t really finish any of the goals I had set for myself, despite having less time physically at work. I was working from home from March through about July, and then switched to half days in-person through the summer, and whole days full time again in October. Despite all that “extra” time, I often found myself wasting most of my day doing nothing, even though I wanted to read. I’d end up watching tons of Youtube, scrolling through Twitter, etc. and wouldn’t even pick up a book until 9 or 10 at night. For some reason, I found it easiest to focus on reading between midnight and 1 am, and it got me into the habit of staying up late to read, instead of reading in the afternoon when I actually had the time.
I also found it challenging not to have access to my library. Technically it was open for part of the year for curbside pickup, but I don’t drive and also didn’t really want to deal with the hassle of trying to arrange to pick up the books, having to quarantine/clean them, etc. It meant that there were several books that I really wanted to read that I couldn’t get or that I got too late in the year to be able to get to them, so that was a bit frustrating too.
7. Most Popular Post This Year On Your Blog (whether it be by comments or views)?
Every year, I complain that I forget how to check this, and every year, I do nothing to fix that problem! As far as I can tell, the post that got the most views overall this year was somehow a post from 2019 (my Never Have I Ever: Bookworm Edition). I have no idea how or why that one got so popular.
For posts I made this year, the one that had the most views was a Top 10 Tuesday post about Books I Wish I’d Read as a Child, followed closely by my Best Books I Read in the First Half of 2020.
I got the most comments overall this year compared to any other year. It seems that I got the most comments overall in July, most of which were on the Authors I’ve Read The Most, and surprisingly enough, the Book Festivals/Events I’d Love to Go To which was a post I really struggled with.
8. Post You Wished Got A Little More Love?
Most of them, honestly, lol! I say that mostly because of how much time I put into writing them all. If I had to pick just one, I’d probably say my Recent Reads series in general since those don’t seem to get very much attention, but they are the most fun for me to write.
9. Best bookish discovery (book related sites, book stores, etc.)?
I can’t think of anything completely brand new to me off the top of my head, other than the aforementioned Youtube channels.
10. Did you complete any reading challenges or goals that you had set for yourself at the beginning of this year?
I have another post coming soon that will go into a more detailed goals wrap-up, but the short answer is no, not really. The only thing I can safely say that I accomplished was reading more books that I own, but that’s mostly because I didn’t even have the library as an option for most of the year.
1. One Book You Didn’t Get To In 2020 But Will Be Your Number 1 Priority in 2021?
Only one? I can think of so many. I think the top priority will be Finding Jake because that has been on my TBR for way too long already. I’d hoped to squeeze it in right at the end of this year, but I ran out of time. I also really want to prioritize the Nevernight series, since those were a big priority for me this year but I didn’t get the books until late in the year and decided to push it back rather than rush it. Actually, The Kind Worth Killing is way up there too for the same reasons.
2. Book You Are Most Anticipating For 2021 (non-debut)?
I have a ton of anticipated books for 2021! I think if I had to pick just one thing, I would say The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman, because I’m very excited to see her try a new genre.
3. 2021 Debut You Are Most Anticipating?
Surprisingly enough, the majority of books that I am most anticipating seem to be by authors I’ve already tried. Many of the books mentioned as debuts are actually the author’s debut only in that genre. If I had to pick one brand new book that I’m most anticipating, it would have to be Every Last Fear by Alex Finlay.
4. Series Ending/A Sequel You Are Most Anticipating in 2021?
I would say the sequels to Ninth House or House of Earth and Blood, but as far as I know there is no known release date for either of these yet. Instead, I will go with Court of Silver Flames, which I’ve just preordered earlier this week!
5. One Thing You Hope To Accomplish Or Do In Your Reading/Blogging Life In 2021?
I feel like I say this every year, but I want to learn to prioritize my challenges properly so I can actually finish the ones that I consider my “main” challenges without having to scramble in the last two months.
6. A 2021 Release You’ve Already Read & Recommend To Everyone (if applicable):
N/A. I don’t get ARCs.