Thursday, January 21, 2021

Review of My 2020 Reading Year: The Stats, The Surprises, The Disappointments and the Best of the Best

 I am finally getting around to wrapping up my 2020 reading year.  The start of the new year really snuck up on me this year and I was unprepared for both new reading goals and wrapping up the year's reading.  I did a horrible job of tracking the stats for this year but I did a quick look back and came to these stats. 

2020 Reading Stats:

In 2020 I read a total of 265 books (give or take a couple that aren't on Goodreads)
broken down that is 30,955 pages and
944:26 hours (39 days, 8 hours and 26 minutes) of audio book time

of those books:
19 earned 5 star ratings
137 earned 4 star ratings
75 earned 3 star ratings
26 earned 2 star ratings
0 earned 1 star rating
8 were DNFed

49 were Children's Books/Early Reader/First Chapter Books
27 were Middle Grade Books
45 were Young Adult Books
144 were Adult Books

19 were Graphic Novels
95 were Audio Books
60 were Print Books
91 were Ebooks

74 were Romance
55 were Fantasy
17 were Sci-Fi
11 were Mystery

Things I have discovered in 2020:

~ I took a clear turn in the favor of Adult books over Young Adult and Middle Grade compared to years passed. 
~ I read a lot more in Audio Book format from compared to previous years but not as heavily as I had expected.  I do see this trend continuing based on how busy life is for me, if I am not listening while doing tasks then I wouldn't get as much reading done.
~ I tried a new genre this year, Cozy Mystery, and was completely blown away and dove in head first. Granted I read mostly the same author so I am looking forward to seeing if I enjoy the genre even with different series and authors. 
~ My reading tastes are shifting yet again, I am making a swing back into Romance after several years spent focusing on Fantasy.  I still read the exact same amount of fantasy just added more romance.
~ With Munchkin now reading on his own, I am finding that I am reading less and less Children's books. I still plan to pick some up from the library from time to time but see those numbers continuing to dwindle. 

Biggest Disappointments:
So besides the 8 books I DNFed this last year, there were a few disappointments. It doesn't mean that these were bad books, or even that I hated them, just simply books I felt were going to be fantastic but just didn't live up to my expectations.

I don't think I am alone in my feelings with this one. The Selection is my favorite guilty read and I was so excited for something new but still somewhat similar from Cass.  I didn't connect with the characters at all, nor did the characters have any kind of chemistry between them to pull the story along.

This book sounded so magical and mystical with a bit of romance and a lot of intrigue. I was so excited to receive and ARC but I really struggled with it.  I was confused most of the time both about the characters and the world. 

Biggest Surprises:
I read some books this year that I wasn't sure about or that sucked me in far more than I ever expected. Some pulled me into new genres and others introduced me to new authors and worlds.

While I have been reading more Science Fiction in recent years, it is still a genre I am hesitant about.  This was a short novella so I thought I would give it a shot and I absolutely loved it! The isolation of a research vessel, the new and unusual worlds they travel to and the unknown being lifetimes away from the family and friends they knew. I am definitely going to make it a point to go back and read Becky Chambers series.

This was an interesting year, I never before thought I would find a Mystery I enjoy until discovering the world of Cozy Mysteries, they are a little more light hearted, a little more character focus as opposed to plot focus and oh so bingeable! I discovered Jenn McKinlay through her romance books and then found the Library Lover's Mystery series and quickly either purchased or borrowed every book in the series!

So you never really know what you are going to get with self published books, so while this one ticked all the boxes for me, I was still a bit hesitant. This book made me laugh so hard! It was quirk and funny and filled with crude language, which for some reason (maybe because I read it after being cooped up in the house, working full time and homeschooling full time for 3 months) found to be extremely relatable and comical. I can't wait for more in this series!

This book very nearly made it to my favorites of the year. I loved Neuvel's Themis Files series so was excited to try a novella. I listened to the audio book, it was very quick but so impactful that I actually had to stop what I was doing and just listen. It was terrifying and horrible but so engrossing and unique. I do understand that it has some issues that many readers found to be disrespectful and very off-putting but just based on the story itself and how much it captured my attention it was fantastic.

2020 Honorable Mentions
I don't normally do this but I read so many fantastic books this year that I just had to mention some that just barely missed out on my top books of the year.

I had to add the New Murderbot Novel to this list! After a series of Novellas, I wasn't sure how a full length book would go. I ended up really loving this book, with the addition of ART and some of the human characters from the previous book, it was such a great addition to the series! And even more exciting, there is more to come!

I feel like I waited so long for this book and it was definitely worth the wait! I loved getting back into this book and characters. It didn't capture me quite the same way as A Plague of Giants which is why it didn't end up on my favorites list but it is still so so good with some great plot development and character growth and even growth in the world as it expands even more! I am once again dying for the next book in this series!

I have heard so many other readers talking about this book but it kind of gave me YA vibes, which I am not a fan of YA Contemporary Romance, but this ended up being more of a New Adult Romance. This is a book that started off a bit rocky but you were quickly drawn into the story. You can't help but fall in love with characters and really pull for them as the story continues. This is definitely a book that stands out this year as something I keep thinking about, now I get all the hype.

and finally

The Best of the Best Books in 2020:

So here we go with my top books of 2020! I don't think a single one of these books were on my Anticipated Release List or TBR for the year, so they really came out of the woodwork and blew me away. Again, I have such a variety with my favorite picks, on which is from a genre I don't even read! 

So this was a book that was at least on my radar and I was lucky enough to win a Goodreads Giveaway for an ARC. I wasn't sure how it was going to go, not only was the character unique in the fact that she was transgender but it is also a debut book. But OMG I fell in love with Razia! She is so confident and proud of who she is, she doesn't let anyone take that away from her. The way she grows and proves herself again and again is so inspiring. Then you throw in Arjun and then the amazing setting and the zahhaks and I just loved every minute of it! I am so excited to see another book coming out this year!

This is a backlist book of Jenn McKinlay's that I picked up, it was the second book in a romance series (see above where I gush about one of her mystery series). While I enjoyed the first book I wasn't sure if it was a series I really was going to follow but picked this one up anyway.  I am so glad I did because I think I met my all time favorite book animal! I can't tell you much about the romance or the characters but I can tell you all about Ike the parrot because he totally made this book for me.  He was a bit of an unexpected inheritance, and he has a bit of a foul mouth and tends to spout off at the worst possible times. He added such a light and fun element to the story.  (on a side note: what does it say about me that 2 books on this list are here due to foul language?! LOL)

Finally a book I never expected to end up on this list, or even be read by me for that matter, due to it being a horror book, something I NEVER pick up. There was so much hype around this book and it ended up being a Book of the Month pick so I thought I would give it a try because I do love classic gothic novels.  That is one thing this book got so right, it gave me all the gothic vibes, it was dark, it was twisty and atmospheric in all the best ways. It gave great spooky vibes without absolutely terrifying me. Definitely in a way of screaming at the character 'no, don't go in there. Just leave, something bad is going to happen if you don't leave.'  It was so good and it left you thinking about all the twists and puzzling about it long after you were finished with the story. 

So what were some of your favorite books of 2020? Have you read any of mine? Will you be picking any of these up this year?

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