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Last Updated on January 4, 2021 by karissa ancell
My goal for 2020 was to read 101 books which I managed to do. Out of all those books, there were many favorites. It wasn’t easy to narrow it down. I wanted to do a top 10 list but it ended up being more. I just read so many books I really loved in 2020.
I have a lot of books I’m planning on reading in 2021 and can’t wait to keep sharing what I read in the new year. I would love to hear your favorite books of the year in the comments section.
Favorite Books of 2020
In a Holidaze by Christina Lauren
If you are looking for a fun holiday read this is the book for you! I loved this book so much.
It’s the most wonderful time of the year…but not for Maelyn Jones. She’s living with her parents, hates her going-nowhere job, and has just made a romantic error of epic proportions.
But perhaps worst of all, this is the last Christmas Mae will be at her favorite place in the world—the snowy Utah cabin where she and her family have spent every holiday since she was born, along with two other beloved families. Mentally melting down as she drives away from the cabin for the final time, Mae throws out what she thinks is a simple plea to the universe: Please. Show me what will make me happy.
The next thing she knows, tires screech and metal collides, everything goes black. But when Mae gasps awake…she’s on an airplane bound for Utah, where she begins the same holiday all over again. With one hilarious disaster after another sending her back to the plane, Mae must figure out how to break free of the strange time loop—and finally get her true love under the mistletoe.
28 Summers by Elin Hilderbrand
When Mallory Blessing’s son, Link, receives deathbed instructions from his mother to call a number on a slip of paper in her desk drawer, he’s not sure what to expect. But he certainly does not expect Jake McCloud to answer. It’s the late spring of 2020 and Jake’s wife, Ursula DeGournsey, is the frontrunner in the upcoming Presidential election.
There must be a mistake, Link thinks. How do Mallory and Jake know each other?
Flashback to the sweet summer of 1993: Mallory has just inherited a beachfront cottage on Nantucket from her aunt, and she agrees to host her brother’s bachelor party. Cooper’s friend from college, Jake McCloud, attends, and Jake and Mallory form a bond that will persevere—through marriage, children, and Ursula’s stratospheric political rise—until Mallory learns she’s dying.
I was very excited to read this new novel about a distant mother-daughter duo who are forced to reconnect. Having a teenage daughter myself I really connected to this story.
Jessica is a lawyer and single mother who prides herself on always putting her daughter’s needs first. But 16-year-old Emily wishes her mother would spend more time with her, instead of working to provide for her.
Mother and daughter are oblivious to the worries they’re both facing— Jessica may lose her job; Emily’s embroiled in a cheating scandal. But then they’re squashed into a charter bus with a dozen other students/parent duos for a weeklong college tour. The result isn’t pretty, but it sure does make for entertaining reading
The Cousins by Karen M
This was one of my last reads of 2020 and I was looking forward to it for a long time. I’m a fan of Karen McManus and her young adult thrillers. Her book One of Us is Lying is so good.
Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious.
Their parents are all clear on one point–not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious–and dark–their family’s past is.
The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over–and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.
I loved this book and recommended it to my daughter because I think teens would love it too. Plus the relationship between the two main characters is pretty innocent, just some kissing, so it is appropriate for a younger audience.
Jack and Pepper are classmates at an Upper East Side private school. Unlike their privileged peers—and unbeknownst to each other—they spend their leisure hours managing the social media accounts for their families’ respective restaurants.
Pepper’s family owns a hugely profitable burger chain; Jack’s family owns a beloved deli on the Lower East Side. When a twitter battle about a grilled cheese recipe erupts between the two businesses, Jack and Pepper are each playing to win—but they don’t know they’re fighting each other. This breezy read features snappy dialogue and a slowburn friends-to-something-more story, while closely following the beats of You’ve Got Mail
I’m Still Here by Austin Channing Brown
As an effort to learn more about and support Black authors I’m committed to reading more books about race and racial issues as well as more books by black authors.
I had to learn to love blackness,” Austin Channing Brown writes near the beginning of this searing, page-turning memoir. As a black woman whose parents gave her a white man’s name, Austin grew up attending white, Christian schools and has spent most of her life navigating the choppy waters of racial inequality, gender, assimilation, and cultural conflicts that have played out at large in stories of police violence, campus unrest, and the national conversation over Black Lives Matter.
In a time when nearly every institution (schools, churches, universities, businesses) claims to value diversity in its mission statement, Austin writes in breathtaking detail about her journey to self-worth and the pitfalls that kill our attempts at racial justice. Her stories bear witness to the complexity of America’s social fabric—from Black Cleveland neighborhoods to private schools in the middle-class suburbs, from prison walls to the boardrooms at majority-white organizations.
I’m a big fan of the show The Office so this was such a fun book for me to read and so interesting.
When did you last hang out with Jim, Pam, Dwight, Michael, and the rest of Dunder Mifflin? It might have been back in 2013, when the series finale aired . . . or it might have been last night, when you watched three episodes in a row. But either way, long after the show first aired, it’s more popular than ever, and fans have only one problem—what to watch, or read, next.
Fortunately, Rolling Stone writer Andy Greene has that answer. In his brand-new oral history, The Office: The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s, Greene will take readers behind the scenes of their favorite moments and characters. Greene gives us the true inside story behind the entire show, from its origins on the BBC through its impressive nine-season run in America, with in-depth research and exclusive interviews. Fans will get the inside scoop on key episodes from “The Dundies” to “Threat Level Midnight” and “Goodbye, Michael,” including behind-the-scenes details like the battle to keep it on the air when NBC wanted to pull the plug after just six episodes and the failed attempt to bring in James Gandolfini as the new boss after Steve Carell left, spotlighting the incredible, genre-redefining show created by the family-like team, who together took a quirky British import with dicey prospects and turned it into a primetime giant with true historical and cultural significance.
Hilarious, heartwarming, and revelatory, The Office gives fans and pop culture buffs a front-row seat to the phenomenal sequence of events that launched The Office into wild popularity, changing the face of television and how we all see our office lives for decades to come.
Lovely War by Julie Berry
This fun novel which was a book club pick in Modern Mrs. Darcy’s bookclub combines three unexpected elements to great effect: World War I, a love story, and Greek mythology. It begins with Aphrodite and Ares walking into a swanky Manhattan hotel, and soon enough Aphrodite’s husband Hephaestus challenges her to show him what love really looks like.
She obliges, and takes the reader back in time to meet four young lovers in 1917 Britain, showing her fellow gods how each couple fell in love, and what they mean to each other. It sounds unlikely but the interesting narrative structure totally works.
The Tourist Attraction by Sarah Morgenthaler
love this first book in a new trilogy. The first two books are out and I devoured them and am waiting for book three coming out this month.
Curl up with a quirky small-town Alaskan rom-com that’ll leave you laughing over:
- A grumpy local and the sunny tourist who turns his world upside down
- A rogue moose who threatens to steal every scene
- A vacation you’ll never forget
- And a sweet romance that doesn’t need to scald the pages to burn its way into your hear
He had a strict “no tourists” policy…until she broke all of his rules. When Graham Barnett named his diner The Tourist Trap, he meant it as a joke. Now he’s stuck slinging reindeer dogs to an endless parade of resort visitors who couldn’t interest him less. Not even the sweet, enthusiastic tourist in the corner who blushes every time he looks her way…
Two weeks in Alaska isn’t just the top item on Zoey Caldwell’s bucket list. It’s the whole bucket. One look at the mountain town of Moose Springs and she’s smitten. But when an act of kindness brings Zoey into Graham’s world, she may just find there’s more to the grumpy local than meets the eye…and more to love in Moose Springs than just the Alaskan wilderness.
This story of Alaska marries together all the things you didn’t realize you needed: a whirlwind vacation, a friendly moose, a grumpy diner owner, a quirky tourist, plenty of restaurant humor, and a happy ending that’ll take you away from it all.
I’m so glad to have found this series. I’ve read the first three books and book four comes out in July of this year.
It’s so funny and really an enjoyable and light read. Which I have found to be the perfect way to deal when life feels too overwhelming and stressful.
“The first rule of book club: You don’t talk about the book club. Nashville Legends second baseman Gavin Scott’s marriage is in major-league trouble. Welcome to the Bromance Book Club.
Distraught and desperate, Gavin finds help from an unlikely source: a secret romance book club made up of Nashville’s top alpha men. With the help of their current read, a steamy Regency titled Courting the Countess, the guys coach Gavin on saving his marriage. But it’ll take a lot more than flowery words and grand gestures for this hapless Romeo to find his inner-hero and win back the trust of his wife.”
This was the last book I read in 2020 because I wanted to figure out how to succeed with my habits in 2021. I also am a huge fan of Jen’s and love her other books. She has a great voice and I learn a ton from her books.
Badass Habits is a eureka-sparking, easy-to-digest look at how our habits make us who we are, from the measly moments that happen in private to the resolutions we loudly broadcast (and, erm, often don’t keep) on social media. Habit busting and building goes way beyond becoming a dedicated flosser or never showing up late again–our habits reveal our unmet desires, the gaps in our boundaries, our level of self-awareness, and our unconscious beliefs and fears.
Badass Habits features Jen’s trademark hilarious voice and offers a much-needed fresh take on the conventional wisdom and science that shape the optimism (or pessimism?) around the age-old topic of habits. The book includes enlightening interviews with people who’ve successfully strengthened their discipline backbones, new perspective on how to train our brains to become our best selves, and offers a simple, 21 day, step-by-step guide for ditching habits that don’t serve us and developing the habits we deem most important.
Habits shouldn’t be impossible to reset–and with healthy boundaries, knowledge of–and permission to go after–our desires, and an easy to implement plan of action, we can make any new goal a joyful habit.
Atomic Habits by James Clear
I also started the year with habits because I truly believe in the power of our habits. This book, Atomic Habits is a fantastic book about your habits that you will learn a ton from.
Atomic Habits will reshape the way you think about progress and success, and give you the tools and strategies you need to transform your habits–whether you are a team looking to win a championship, an organization hoping to redefine an industry, or simply an individual who wishes to quit smoking, lose weight, reduce stress, or achieve any other goal.
I’ve set a huge reading goal of 150 books in 2021 and am excited to get through a ton of my to be read pile. Well, it’s not really a pile because it’s digital. I’m a fan of ebooks and my kindle is full of books I want to read. I can’t wait to find my favorite books in 2021. Follow me on Goodreads so you can check out all of the books I’ve read.