As we say good riddance to the year that, at times, seemed like it would never end, we’d like to take a minute to share some of our favorite reads of 2020 and a bit of what we’re looking forward to reading in 2021.

While 2020 wasn’t the year anyone wanted to be, for the Bookish Ladies, it wasn’t a total loss since we did get to read some pretty good books.

Jennifer’s Year in Books

2020 was quite the year. I think everything happening affected my reading. Of the 140 books I read in 2020, only three of those were 5-star, including two re-reads. While there were a few books that came close to a top rating, I was shocked to discover how few actually had.

1. FORTY ACRES by Dwayne Alexander Smith was a re-read. This well-written page turner tells a unique story about slavery, but I have a love/hate relationship with the ending. I have been hoping for a sequel since I first read this book in 2014.

2. YELLOW CROCUS by Laila Ibrahim was also a re-read. I read this years ago before Goodreads and had forgotten how wonderful it was. I do not think this story will leave me this time and the ending required a number of tissues!

3. APPRENTICE IN DEATH by J.D. Robb is book 43 in Robb’s In Death series. This is my first read of the series and this is my favorite so far. The mystery is great but I just love the interaction between the main characters. They make my heart happy.

Jess’ Year of the Audiobook

As with many people, 2020 changed much of the way I work every day. As a retail employee in NY, I expect my days to be customer facing with little downtime. This year was not one for doing the expected. While my state was shut down, my store was able to act as a shipping hub for our website and I was able to keep working (a fact that I am very grateful for). What was different was that while I was packing and shipping orders, I was also not allowed to be near my coworkers or customers and lived in a little bubble that was my corner of the shop. While this was super strange and I’m very happy it’s over, it did give me a few months of all day audiobook listening time. Also, I spent my spring sewing masks. OMG SOOOOOOO many masks! Because of this, my Goodreads challenge was completed and exceeded, but I read very few new books (re-reads are easier for me while I’m answering phone calls or cursing at a seam ripper).

  1. HARRY POTTER by JK Rowling
  2. THE NAME OF THE WIND and THE WISE MAN’S FEAR by Patrick Rothfuss
  3. THE ALL SOULS TRILOGY by Deborah Harkness
  4. Parts of the IN DEATH series by JD Robb

    These are series I love and have read multiple times. They’re like old friends and help me quiet my brain when I just need to lose myself in not thinking for a while. It’s not really a surprise that I turned to them in the early days of the pandemic.
  6. REAL MEN KNIT by Kwana Jackson
  7. THE FLAT SHARE by Beth O’ Leary
  8. DECEPTION and RECKLESS by Selena Montgomery

    All new to me. All perfect for taking my mind off of the what was going on in the world. All wonderful books by wonderful authors who know how to mix a great romance with a great story. Read any of them and you won’t be disappointed.
  9. ANXIOUS PEOPLE by Fredrik Backman

    My hands down favorite book of the year. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Backman’s writing but this was knocks it out of the park. It was simple and brilliant and exactly what I needed this year. If you haven’t read it yet, add it to your TBR list NOW!

What Jennifer is Looking Forward to Reading in 2021

1. WIN by Harlan Coben – March 16, 2021. If you have read Coben’s Myron Bolitar series, then the name Windsor Horne Lockwood III means something to you. I love Win in that series and I am excited to dive deeper into his character.

2. A DISTANT SHORE by Karen Kingsbury – April 27, 2021. It has been years since Kingsbury wrote a book that did not feature the Baxter family. As someone who is over the Baxters and has been hoping for a stand alone for some time, I am eager to see if Kingsbury has the ability to capture me like she used to.

3. A DOG’S COURAGE by W. Bruce Cameron – May 4, 2021. I can not wait to catch up with Bella in this sequel to Cameron’s 2017 release, A Dog’s Way Home. Despite the fact I am a crazy cat lady, Cameron grips my heart hard with his dog stories.

What Jess Will Be Reading and Listening to in 2021

  1. INCENSE AND SENSIBILITY by Sonali Dev – June 2021. The third book in the Raje series and a must read.

2. KLARA AND THE SUN by Kazuo Ishiguro – March 2021.

3. THE MISSING SISTER by Lucinda Riley – Summer 2021? OMG I can not wait to find out what happened to Pa Salt!

4. FAITHLESS IN DEATH and IN DEATH #53 – February and September 2021. I need all the Eve and Roarke I can get *shrug*

And as always I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this year will bring the next books from Diana Gabaldon, Deborah Harkness, Kate Morton, Abigail Reynolds, and other favorite authors.

What were some of your favorite reads of 2020 and what are you looking forward to in 2021?