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Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: 2020 Top Ten Favorite Reads

Photo cred: Brenna Lee Photo
It's the last Top Ten Tuesday of the year!  Can you believe it?  I'm having trouble grasping the fact that 2020 is over as well as the idea that my oldest will be getting married on Saturday.  So surreal!  It makes sense that the final TTT of 2020 is a list of our top reads of the year.  Although I'm still hoping to sneak in another finish before January 1, as of now I've read 191 books this year.  Of those, I marked 25 with asterisks, indicating they were favorites.  Not including re-reads of past faves like A Christmas Carol, I narrowed my list down to the best of the best—my ten most loved reads of the year.  Although you can't tell from this list (which features mostly fiction by women, the majority of whom are white), I actually read a fair amount of non-fiction as well as lots of books written by men and women of various ethnicities, nationalities, and backgrounds.  These are just the books I happened to like most.  

I'd love to know what your favorite reads of 2020 are.  You should definitely make your own list and join in the TTT fun.  Hop on over to That Artsy Reader Girl for all the details.

My Top Ten Reads of 2020 (in no particular order):

1.  Fighting Words by Kimberly Brubaker BradleyThis is a devastating, but important and impactful MG novel about domestic violence.  My review.

2.  Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar—Vivid and searing, this MG novel-in-verse about a family torn apart by controversial U.S. immigration policies is heart-breaking and eye-opening.  Another gutting but essential read.  My review.

3.  The Imperfects by Amy Meyerson—Part mystery, part family drama, this is an engrossing read about a (real) famous jewel and how its (fictional) discovery impacts an ordinary family.  My review.

4.  The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper—This is an atmospheric historical novel set in Australia that also features a mysterious jewel.  My review.

5.  Beyond the Horizon by Lois Lowry—A moving memoir-in-verse, this slim book recounts the author's experiences as a young girl in Hawaii during the bombing of Pearl Harbor and in post World War II Japan.  My review

6.  Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain—Set in North Carolina in 1960, this heart-wrenching novel focuses on poverty and the routine, forced sterilization of the poor and mentally challenged that took place at that time.  My review.

7.  The Last Blue by Isla Morley—If you loved The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, give this historical novel a try.  It also features the Blue people of Kentucky and is an immersive, intriguing, and tender novel.  My review.

8.  The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson—Speaking of ... I'm not alone in loving this popular book.  It deserves all the accolades it has received.  My review.

9.  The Split by Sharon Bolton—Bolton's newest is a bit of a departure from her usual crime fiction and I loved it.  It's part mystery/suspense, part survival story.  My review.

10.  Where the Lost Wander by Amy Harmon—I love a good pioneer novel and this is exactly that.  It concerns a group of people traveling along the Overland Trail.  My review.

There you go, my ten favorite books of the year.  What were your most-loved reads of 2020?  Have you read any of mine?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave me a comment on this post and I'll gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT!    


  1. Congratulations to your oldest kid and their soon-to-be spouse. How exciting.

    The Last Blue does sound interesting.

    My post.

    1. Thank you! It's my son and he's super excited :) His fiancee is really sweet - they make a great couple.

      Thanks for coming by, Lydia!

  2. All of these sounds fabulous. I would love to read Land of the Cranes, The Imperfects, and Where the Lost Wander.

    Thanks for sharing, Wishing you a happy and healthy 2021.

    1. I hope you love those books if you read them. I sure enjoyed them :)

      Thanks for stopping by, Cheryl!

  3. Haven't read any of these, but On the Horizon and Where the Lost Wander are high on my TBR list for next year! Best Wishes to your oldest. I hope the wedding goes off well, and that you all have a very Happy New Year! :D

    1. Thank you, Lark! A wedding is a fun but stressful way to start the new year :) My son and his fiancee are so excited and happy :)

      I hope you love ON THE HORIZON and WHERE THE LOST WANDER when you get to them.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting!

  4. I still haven't read that Amy Harmon book, but I can already understand why it would make your list. Her writing is gorgeous.

    1. It really is! I need to read more books by her.

      Thanks for stopping in, Deanna!

  5. Nice list! Congrats on your oldest getting that's exciting. Happy TTT, and hope you have a good New Year filled with lots of great reads! I'm so happy I was able to find your blog.

    My list:

    1. Thank you so much! 2020 has been such a weird year, but my son managed to find his true love early in the year and now they're tying the knot. We're all thrilled for the happy couple :)

      I'm glad you were able to find my blog and vice versa! I'm looking forward to more interaction in 2021.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, JadeSky!

  6. Your review of Fighting Words put it on my radar. Sounds incredible! I hope the wedding in wonderful!!

    1. It's a great book. Sad but important. The heroine's voice is funny and pitch-perfect. I'll be interested to hear what you think of it.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Sam!

  7. I hadn't heard of The Imperfects before, but I quite suddenly NEED it :)

    I hope you have a lovely time at the wedding and everything goes swimmingly.

    1. It's definitely an under-the-radar book. I'm pretty sure I heard about it from another book blogger, although I have no idea who unfortunately. I need to make better note of who recommends which books so I can go back and thank them when one of their suggestions works out well for me.

      Thanks for your well wishes and for stopping by, Hanna!

  8. I’ve read four! Fighting Words is certainly a bold book! Necessary Lies is a compelling read! Book Woman was my fav of it! So memorable and my fav on your list! Where the Lost Wander is well written but also heartbreaking in places. Congrats on the wedding! 💖💖

    1. Great minds and all that! I'm glad we have similar tastes in books :)

      Thanks for coming by!

  9. Lots of names and titles I recognise, and many I need to check out as they look like excellent reads. And why haven't I read Amy Harmon yet? ;-)

    1. She's an underrated author for sure! Her writing is beautiful. At least it was in WHERE THE LOST WANDER, which is the only book I've read by her thus far. I definitely need to read her others.

      Thanks for stopping by, Alex!

  10. A really good list! I haven't thought of my top ten books, but I realize I could pick one in many different categories to come up with a list. It's always difficult to choose favorites.

    1. Agreed. I star books that I love as I read them, but it was still hard to choose only ten out of the 25 I starred. I always have trouble deciding on favorites.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Helen!

  11. I haven't read any of these, but I'm so glad you loved all these books. I hope 2021 brings you just as good reads!

    1. Thank you! I hope so, too :) There are several 2021 releases I'm really looking forward to, so it's looking like a good reading year already.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  12. I loved Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. I loved learning about the pack horse librarians and the blue people. The Lois Lowry book sounds great, I had no idea she lived in Japan during WWII. Thanks for the recommendations!

    1. Me, too! BOOK WOMAN is a great book for so many reasons. It's informative, compelling, moving, etc.

      BEYOND THE HORIZON is a quick read but a really touching one. Lowry lived in Hawaii when Pearl Harbor was bombed and then later, after the war, lived in Japan. Her father was in the Armed Services, if I remember correctly.

      Thanks for coming by!

  13. Choosing a top 10 from ten times that amount is hard enough, but from twenty times?? Kudos to you for accepting and completing the challenge. I haven't read any of yours yet, but a few of these are books I backed hopefully in the Goodreads Choice Awards based on their promise (and was devastated to see Brubaker Bradley's knocked out before the final round. Also sad about Harmon, if less surprised), and I've heard good things about many others. I can see why you loved all of these.

    Good luck once again to your son and future daughter-in-law; I hope their day is beautiful.

    1. Right? I'm glad I starred reads as I went along so it was easy to see which I considered favorites - I just had to narrow it down, which wasn't easy.

      I love that you voted for books in the GR Awards that you haven't read. I do the same, based on how good they sound. LOL. You made a good choice with FIGHTING WORDS. It really is an impactful novel. I would have chosen it over a Rick Riordan novel any day.

      Thanks for the well wishes! We're looking forward to a fun wedding :) The reception is outside, so we're hoping for more of the beautiful weather we've been having.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, RS!

  14. I would like to read On the Horizon!!


    1. You should! It's a slim book, but it packs a big punch. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  15. I keep forgetting about On the Horizon. I really need to read that one.

    1. It will take you all of half an hour, so definitely read it! Even though it's a short book, it has really stayed with me. I hope others find it as moving and impactful.

      Thanks for coming by, Deb!

  16. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is on my TBR list -- so many people recommend it!

    Blessings on your daughter's wedding -- and may you maintain your sanity!

    1. You definitely need to read BOOK WOMAN! It's just a really good book.

      I'm actually the mother of the groom, which is interesting. My son's fiancee and her mom have really planned the whole reception. We have basically just contributed money and helped out when needed. I'm sure it will be a lot different when my girls get married!

      Thanks for stopping by, Rachel!

  17. Sounds like you had a great book year! I've heard such good things about The Woman of Troublesome Creek. It's on my list when I have time:-) Congrats to your daughter, that's awesome!

    1. You definitely have to read BOOK WOMAN. It's fabulous on many levels!

      Thanks for the well wishes. I'm actually the mother of the groom, but his fiancee already feels like one of mine :) They're sweet kids - I'm excited for them.

      Thanks for coming by, Tammy!

  18. I haven't read any of these either but several interest me, including The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek and Where the Lost Wander. Happy New year, Susan and I hope the wedding goes ok on Saturday.

    1. Those are both wonderful books! I hope you enjoy them when you read them.

      Thanks for the well wishes, Cath. I'm sure everything with the wedding will go just fine. The good thing is we can blame anything disastrous that happens on 2020!

  19. I haven't read any of these, but Land of the Cranes is on my list!

    1. Oooh, it's a good one! The story is just so vividly told. I hope you enjoy it.

      Thanks for coming by, Angie!

  20. I haven't read any of these, but The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek sounds awesome!

    1. It's a really good one! Definitely deserving of all the praise and hype it has received. I hope you love it when you read it.

      Thanks for stopping in, Alycia!

  21. The Imperfects and The Split are ones that have been circling around my TBR list but hadn't quite made it on before now. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek I've been resisting. I didn't like Crawdads Sing as much as everyone else seemed to, and there's so much hype around this one too!

    1. I haven't read CRAWDADS, although I did start it. I couldn't get into it so I set it aside. BOOK WOMAN is much more accessible/readable, in my opinion. I hope you like it if you do give in and read it :)

      Thanks for coming by, Laurie!

  22. I love that picture! It’s breathtaking... however I would have been scared to death up there!!

    1. Right? And T.J. doesn't love heights. I asked him if he was scared and he just acted cool and said no. Just looking at the picture makes MY heart beat faster!

  23. I love the variety in your list. I really enjoyed The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek too. I didn't get to it this year as I had hoped but will definitely be reading that Diane Chamberlain book next year after falling in love with her last two books.

    1. I've read three books by Chamberlain and I enjoyed them all. NECESSARY LIES is my favorite so far, although I also really liked BIG LIES IN A SMALL TOWN.

      Thanks for stopping in, Suzanne!

  24. Congratulations on the upcoming wedding Susan. I hope all goes well. I love your list. I have read a couple of these, but have several on my TBR. I need to move a couple of them up.

  25. The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek made it on my list too! I'm adding The Woman in the Green Dress to my TBR list. Thanks for sharing. Oh, and congrats on your oldest child's wedding!

  26. What a great collection of books! Beyond the Horizon is waiting on my TBR pile—I'm a total sucker for verse novels anyway, and this one sounds incredibly special.

  27. Wow these covers are so pretty!! I have not yet read any of these, but I will definitely check them out. It is SO IMPRESSIVE that you have read 191 books. Wow. I am in awe!

    That is so exciting that your oldest is getting married. I hope everything goes smoothly and that you all enjoy the festivities!

    I hope you have a wonderful 2021 filled with happiness, love, joy... and BOOKS! ❤️

  28. Wow, Susan, what a great family milestone. There's nothing like the marriage of a child, especially a daughter. Congratulations to you all.

    I've not read any of your Top 10 but do have a few of them on my TBR list thanks to your blog.

  29. Great list!! Many new to me titles to check!! Happy reading to you in 2021.

  30. I've heard of that Troublesome Creek one! It's supposed to be good. :)

  31. Same as you said on my list, I haven't read any of yours. But some sound completely fascinating, can't believe I haven't even heard of them. Will have to check some out.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT earlier.

  32. These sound wonderful! I would love to read the Lois Lowry, I've enjoyed many of her books and would love to know more about her life. My uncle was at Pearl Harbor and I was born in Hawaii so I have a personal connection too.

    Happy 2021, wishing you more great reading!

  33. Congratulations on your oldest getting married! It shouldn't be hard for them to remember their anniversary! Necessary Lies sounds interesting.

  34. Where the Lost Wander was one of my top faves of the year, too. Such an incredible tale!

  35. Congrats on your oldest getting married, Susan! And that's a great list you've there! I didn't read as many books this year but the good thing is, I'd enjoyed the many books I read. Happy New Year to you and your family!


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