Top Ten Tuesday: Favorites of 2020 AKA All my 5-star Reads of the Year

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish and now hosted by Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl, wherein each week bloggers list out their Top Ten.

When I made this list last year, there were 35 books that had 5 stars from me, and this year that number has risen to 45! Once again, I have to reiterate:

Image result for i dont have a favorite book john green gif

And nope, I am NOT GOING TO CHOOSE! Here you have all my 5-star first-reads of 2020! (Click through for reviews/links to GR)

October Daye by Seanan McGuire

  An Artificial Night (October Daye, #3) One Salt Sea (October Daye #5) Chimes at Midnight (October Daye, #7) Full of Briars (October Daye, #9.3)

The October Daye series is a new favorite – with most of the book getting 4-stars from me, and these being my favorites among them. I didn’t think I would start a 10+ books series anytime soon, but Rosemary & Rue had me hooked. It is about a half-faerie (aka changeling) who used to be private investigator, and now she solves mysteries for the faerie realm, after losing 14 years of her life, and her connection to her family while on a case. During the series, she takes on big challenges, even going up against some powerhouses of faerie, battling monsters and monarchs alike. Also, the narrator for the audiobooks (Mary Robinette Kowal) is quite good, so I enjoyed listening to them!

The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1) Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries, #2) Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries, #3) Exit Strategy (The Murderbot Diaries, #4) Network Effect (The Murderbot Diaries, #5)

The Murderbot Diaires was a series I picked up on a whim, and I was so thoroughly invested within the first book itself, I read them one after another voraciously. The space setting and futuristic sci-fi elements were exciting enough, but the main character being a misanthropic robot (human-AI mix with human-like body) who would rather watch online streams than fulfill their directive of being a heartless (literally) killer bot was too perfect! It has humor, high stakes, some pet humans, a cheeky AI, and more. I’m so looking forward to reading Fugitive Telemetry (the 6th book) as my first read of 2021!

Spy x Family by Tatsuya Endo

Spy x Family, Vol. 1 Spy x Family, Vol. 3 Spy x Family, Vol. 2

What happens when you have a high class spy, an accomplished assassin, and a tiny psychic? You get a perfect family, of course! Or at least, one that is appearing to be perfect! Said spy, Twilight, adopts the psychic, Ana, and marries the assassin, Yor, (who btw belongs to his enemy nation), without knowing about their secrets, and puts up a persona of a doctor in said enemy nation, to infiltrate the inner circles by getting his daughter in the same prestigious-but-exclusive school as his target’s son. Ana knows what is going on with both of them, but since she herself is hiding her psychic-ness, it is everybody having their own secrets in this family. It is filled with hilarious shenanigans, has excellent artwork and is my favorite manga series of the year!

Victoria Schwab’s

The Archived (The Archived, #1) The Unbound (The Archived, #2) The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue

How could at least one Schwab book not make my favorite books? I read up on the earlier Schwab books – The Near Witch & The Dark Vault series, as well as her new release this year – The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue. All were excellent reads, and these above made my top lists. The Archived & The Unbound are about a girl who is part of an afterlife organization that guards people’s dead; it is actually a library and every dead person is a book.

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue is about a 300 year old practically-immortal French girl who made a deal with a dark god to get her freedom but instead is cursed to be unable to leave a mark on the world in any way, shape of form, doomed to be forgotten by everyone she meets, until she meets the one who doesn’t forget her. There’s a delicious triangle of a romance here (I don’t say love, for REASONS).

The Locked Tomb by Tamsyn Muir

Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb #1) Harrow the Ninth (The Locked Tomb, #2)

Another awesome series I have sunk my teeth into is The Locked Tomb trilogy which has lesbian space necromancers! Yep, its sci-fi and fantasy at the same time, with the necromancy very much rooted in anatomical knowledge so its scientific.

The first book has a hilarious protagonist in the form of Gideon Nav – a himbo jock of a lesbian who wants out of the Ninth House, but her only way out remaining is by accompanying the head of her house, Harrow Nanogesimus as the latter goes for her calling to Lyctorship. The first book is sort of a locked room mystery, but only an entire palace-like building being the locked room in question. People keep dying one by one, and they still have to undergo the Lyctorhood trials, that are supposed to confer greater power on the necromancer undergoing it.

The second book is in the aftermath of the first book, when Harrow has become what she wanted to  be, at great cost. But the process hasn’t been complete, and she is split within herself, and paranoid about hidden enemies. We get to see the Emperor Undying and his Saints, and what were the purpose of their mission and what is going on in the galaxy at large. If you didn’t understand how the necromancy in the previous book worked, Harrow provides a generous lesson in this one. Also there are a lot of millennial jokes here to enjoy!

The Beginnings

Witches of Ash and Ruin The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire, #1) Heaven's Design Team 1 The Priory of the Orange Tree

I started some excellent series this year and I look forward to their upcoming sequels! (Technically the Priory is a standalone at the moment but the author has expressed that she is working on further books)

American Demon (The Hollows, #14) The Fever King (Feverwake, #1)

These are not similar to the ones above, as American Demon is more a restart of a series (it was completed at book 13, but we get a new arc with this 14th book) while The Fever King was the start to a duology that ended this year.

The Ends

We Unleash the Merciless Storm (We Set the Dark on Fire, #2) The Deck of Omens (The Devouring Gray, #2) The Burning God (The Poppy War, #3) The Nemesis (Diabolic, #3) Wayward Witch (Brooklyn Brujas, #3) Night of the Dragon (Shadow of the Fox, #3) The First 7 (The Last 8, #2)

Ending a series satisfactorily is an important thing, otherwise it will just ruin your image of the series as a whole, and these books did well to fulfill my expectations for the endings of their respective series!

Mangas!

The Way of the Househusband, Vol. 3 I Had That Same Dream Again: The Complete Manga Collection Kaguya-sama: Love Is War, Vol. 15 Tokyo Ghoul: re, Vol. 15 Yona of the Dawn, Vol. 24

Amazing storylines/arc!

Webnovel

Golden Stage [黄金台]

I’ve read some webnovels this year, and while all of them were excellent, Golden Stage, was a perfect balm for all the angst endured in the other ones! So much fluff and its queer, too!

Contemporaries

Late to the Party Early Departures

These contemporary fiction novels brought out the feels! Late to the Party is about a queer teen feeling left behind on teenage milestones. Early Departures is sort of speculative science fiction, but the tone is more about the characters and concept of grieving than the science involved, so I count it here.

Novellas

When the Tiger Came Down the Mountain (The Singing Hills Cycle, #2) The Monster of Elendhaven

Is it any surprise that my favorite novellas of the year are also queer with morally grey characters involved?

Stand-alones

A Cathedral of Myth and Bone: Stories Red, White & Royal Blue The Degenerates

A Cathedral of Myth & Bone is a collection of urban fantasy short stories. Red, White & Royal Blue is a new-adult romance about the first son of the US and a prince from the British royal family. The Degenerates brings a perspective of girls institutionalized for being in some ways not the mold of a proper girl; it has disabled, physical or mental, characters, and other marginalized characters and realistic in tone to its era.

Middle Books

    Honor Bound Ruthless Gods (Something Dark and Holy, #2)

Both second books in their series, both bringing a lot to the table of my feelings.


Which books are your top books of 2020?

15 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Favorites of 2020 AKA All my 5-star Reads of the Year

  1. Oh, I’m in love with this post. It has all the things I like most – October Daye, mangas, webnovels, SFF… I did NOT know that Mary Robinette Kowal was the audiobook narrator for October Daye! I love Kowal’s voice (having listened to her for hours on the Writing Excuses podcast). Great post. 🙂
    Happy TTT and Happy 2021 in advance!
    ~My Top 10 Tuesday Post @Lexlingua

  2. Great list! Addie LaRue and The Burning God are also on mine! I just got the Bone Shard Daughter, and cannot wait to pick it up!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

  3. Oh wow, Priory is supposed to have other tome(s) ?! darn .. ;-; hopefully they won’t all be that massive of a book.. ahah!

    Late to the party, aswell a Red, White & Royal blue are some books that are on my virtual wanna read!

  4. I have the first book of The Murderbot Diaires, but never got around to reading it. Now I really want to pick it back up! Happy New Year!

  5. This is exactly how I feel about putting together a ‘favorite’ list. A ton of boos get five stars from me—I have no concept of ‘favorite’. They’re all my favorites! And it looks like you had a great year in terms of books. I’m not familiar with Late to the Party, but it’s immediately going on my TBR pile.

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