2020 Wrap Up + Top Ten

Time to wrap up 2020! Focusing on the highs, now that it’s finally 2021, and on Monday I talked about my goals for 2021!

My 2020 successes:

  • The Queer Book Crew is something I’m unbelievably proud of this year. We started in February and now have over 150 members in our discord server. It’s a labour of love for me, and I adore hearing everyone’s ideas and book recs. It brings a lot of joy to me and I got talking to two of my closest friends through it, Andee and Alu.
  • The clearurshit readathon was Andee’s baby, and one that I was so excited to be invited to co-host. It was so much fun, a roaring success, and I had so much fun as well as reading LOADS of my unread books. I can’t wait for Clearurshit 2 this year!
  • I was invited to my first blogger event!
  • I got my first physical ARCs! This was a wild goal to me, and I was so excited to get them.
  • Hit 80% on Netgalley!
  • Bought a house, got a dog, got a promotion!

2020 Top Ten!

I actually read so many incredible books in 2020, but here are my top ten. I wish I could have listed all of my 5 star reads to be honest, but I’d never have had time!

1. Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (The Locked Tomb trilogy)

Unsurprisingly Harrow the Ninth was one of my favourite books last year. I read it far too many times in 2020, and understood it a little better every time. Gideon the Ninth is one of my favourite books of all time and this was an excellent sequel – leaving me even more hungry for Alecto the Ninth than I already was. If you like complex science fiction, disaster lesbians and skeletons, this is the series for you. Prepare to be swept away.

Goodreads | My review

2. The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling

More disaster sapphics here! I absolutely adore this dark and messy novel about all of my nightmares – being trapped in a system of caves with something in the dark. If only Gyre could trust the woman responsible for her safety, who has control over everything in her world. This novel is twisty and terrifying and I absolutely devoured it. There was even a point which made my heartrate literally spike when I was reading.


3. The Cute Mutants series by SJ Whitby

The Cute Mutants series is everything to meeeeee. Packed full of queer characters, sentient objects that are more loveable than literally anyone in the world and plots that get so progressively intense and ambitious that my critique notes on the final book in this series were mostly just caps-locked screaming. If you like voicey superheroes, Cute Mutants is an ever-recommend series for me, it’s fun and wild and will absolutely run away with your heart.


4. Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots

This book was an absolutely unexpected revelation to me. Following a bi supervillain’s henchwoman after she was injured in the course of the job and decided to ruin the life of the superhero who injured her, this book has office politics and supervillainy all tangled up in the power plays of a woman armed with spreadsheets against a superhero. I absolutely adored it, and it hurt my feelings in the best ways.


5. They Never Learn by Layne Fargo

I ended up sneaking away on Christmas day to finish the last few chapters of this book because I absolutely couldn’t stop thinking about it. A story following two POVs; a woman who hunts and murders a man every year to punish him for his behaviour on the university campus, and a girl who has to deal with the fallout of her best friend being assaulted with no consequences in her first year at university. This had me hooked and I was absolutely screaming at some of the twists in this story. And yes, it’s sapphic.


6. The Martian by Andy Weir

This really was a surprise. Someone recommended me the audiobook of The Martian, and I threw it on on my way to work one day. And then I listened to absolutely nothing else. I ended up finishing the last chapter of this in the lunch room with my head in my hands because the book was so STRESSFUL. It’s a really fun listen, with a voicey main character and a diary style narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed it and have listened to it several times since.


7. The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow

Alix E. Harrow’s prose was so good. I feel like I highlighted most of this book in my eARC, and then I ended up with two copies, one of which I defaced myself because I couldn’t stop thinking about this book. Especially Juniper, my absolute favourite character – possibly one of my favourites this year. Buddy reading this with Andee was so much fun, and had us yelling constantly. Especially at the ending.


8. The Poppy War series by R.F. Kuang

What can I say about The Poppy War that hasn’t already been said? I laughed (at Kitay) and cried and cried and cried and cried. It was so good and I loved it so much. I read the first one in one sitting, and then The Dragon Republic and The Burning God over the course of a few days afterwards. I think immediately started a reread so I could annotate my paperback of The Poppy War and ordered the Polish editions for the illustrations – I don’t speak Polish. I just want to have them.


9. The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

This was a totally unexpected favourite. The Space Between Worlds was an Illumicrate pick that I thought sounded vaguely interesting and popped on my shelves for later. It wasn’t until someone told me the narrator was good that I picked up the audio to go with it. And then I marathoned the entire thing over the course of a day. It was amazing and the characterisation is spot on. By the time I got a few chapters in I was already texting people to tell them that they needed to read this book about a universe hopping sapphic who gets into Too Much Trouble in the multiverse.


10. Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

One of the last books I read this year, and one of the best. Raybearer is every bit as good as the hype. The found family feeling is unbelievable, and it made my heart hurt too. I can’t wait for the second book in this series. The audiobook is an amazing way to experience this book, and I thoroughly enjoyed every moment of it. The magic that Jordan has created is amazing and the twists and turns in this book had me page flipping as hard as I could.


4 thoughts on “2020 Wrap Up + Top Ten

  1. celly1989

    The Space Between Worlds seems like a good read I will surely check it out. I just finished the Martian and I loved it so much, that was such a great book. Great reviews. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: REVIEW | Yellow Jessamine | Caitlin Starling – El's Book Reviews

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