It’s been a while since I’ve talked about the books I’ve read. Normally, in my “Month in Books” posts I cover only one month worth of books. But I haven’t done a book recap since April. Normally I talk about each book I read, the good and the bad. With this post however, I will only discuss my favorite books from May to October 2020. Keep reading to discover my favorite books!
The Girl in the Tower / Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden
One of my favorite books from May to October 2020 were the last two books from the Winternight trilogy by Katherine Arden. Not only are these some of my favorite books from the past few months, but possibly of all time. With each book in the trilogy, I was just taken aback by how beautiful and atmospheric the writing was. I can not wait for this author to put out her next YA or adult novel, because I’ll be all over it. I don’t own a lot of books (nor plan to) but these are definitely ones I’d want physical copies of.
If you don’t know, these books follow a young Russian girl called Vasya who was accused of being a witch. She has to fight beasts, both real and unreal. Everything about these books were perfect. I rated each book 5/5 stars, which is super rare for me.
Before the Devil Breaks You by Libby Bray
My next favorite book from May to October 2020 is the third installment of The Diviners series. I also really enjoyed this series. The first book and the third, this one, are my favorites. I wasn’t a huge fan of the second book and really liked the direction this book went on. It brought my right back into the series. I love so many characters in this series.
If you want a great setting, beautiful writing and touching upon social issues in a not so in-your-face way, this is it. Again, the first and third are my favorites but I highly recommend the entire series!
Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson
The next book took me by surprise. Now, I don’t go into books thinking I’ll dislike them. But, sometimes I’m not sure whether they’ll be a new love, just okay/meh. I really enjoyed this one. It had so many elements I could relate to in my personal life. I’m a huge fan of true crime and the whole plot is centered around that. They even made a nod to my favorite true crime podcast, My Favorite Murder.
Additionally, I liked the depiction of the main character’s anxiety. This one kept me interested throughout and I was surprised with how much I loved it. I rated it 5/5 stars. Unfortunately, I didn’t click with the second as much and currently don’t have plans to finish the series.
A Song of Wraiths and Ruin by Roseanne A. Brown
The premise of this book sounded interesting, but I was a little skeptical. Sometimes YA fantasy can all feel one-in-the-same. However, from the first several pages I had a feeling I would like it. Roseanne A. Brown is a debut author but I loved what she did with this West African inspired fantasy. I felt instantly transported into the world and was so excited to see where the two POV characters ended up.
The romance was not my favorite part of this book, but romance hardly ever is. I loved the characters individually and was rooting for them to succeed at their own personal journeys. Even if it meant the other one could… die. Yeah, conflicting feelings. I am looking forward to the release of the sequel.
Beach Read by Emily Henry
Talking about romance not being my favorite, my next favorite is an adult contemporary romance. I’ve come to realize if I do like romance, I definitely prefer it on the adult end of things. This read was interesting because one of my biggest gripes with romance is the characters seem to have no other purpose besides each other. While of course the romance was still central to the plot, I still got the sense that the characters had other things going on.
This book touched on a lot of hard hitting issues. I tend to like dark or issue-driven contemporary books rather than light, fluffy reads. From the cover, I wouldn’t have expected the serious issues tackled in this one. It was a nice surprise for me. I rated it 4/5 stars and it was for sure one of my favorite books from May to October 2020.
The Light Between Worlds by Laura E. Weymouth
The Light Between Worlds wasn’t on my TBR for a while. In fact, I believe I randomly heard of it through watching a YouTube video. Then I found it on a new library app I discovered and decided to give it a try. It took me by surprise just how much the writing, world and characters captivated me. It kind of surprised me, as I thought the beginning was a little slow. But eventually I was completely hooked.
This book is like a darker Narnia book that takes a look at depression in an interesting light. As I mentioned, I like darker books or issue driven ones. It is criminally underrated and I hope more people discover this book. 5/5 stars
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Have you heard of this book? Okay, it’s not secret I’m not well versed in classics. Some don’t interest me, others I simply can’t connect with the writing style. But I found this one to have that older, classic flair while still being readable. It was definitely slow-paced and character driven, two things I like but sometimes it’s hard for me to find books I love the execution of it with.
While I found some of the sisters to be more developed than others, overall I really loved them. In my own writing, I love writing about sisters and groups of friends, so I liked seeing Alcott’s take on it. Rated it 4/5 stars.
Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
Next up on my favorite books from May to October 2020 is this gothic horror book by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. This was introduction to the author, but she has other works out. I heard a lot about this one and was also enamored by the beautiful cover. I personally didn’t find it scary or overly creepily like reviewers mentioned. However, I hardly ever get scared with scary movies, so maybe it’s a me thing.
I found it to be more thrilling/suspenseful than scary, which kept me on the edge of my figurative seat. I wanted to figure out how Noemi and Catalina were going to escape and what was going on with family. The atmosphere was beautiful and it reminded me of another favorite book of mine, Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Also, I heard this will be adapted, so I can’t wait for that in the future. 5/5 stars
Normal People by Sally Rooney
I picked up this book to do more research for the querying process of my own novel. When querying, you need “comps” which are comparative titles, basically other books out in the market which might be similar to yours. This one was recommended in a “readers also liked this” list for one of my comps, so I thought I’d check it out.
I liked this one a lot. The characters were so… normal, I guess. They just felt so real and relatable and I liked reading about their dependent and slightly toxic relationship. I don’t think the book glorified any of the negative aspects of their relationship, but I liked how it highlighted both of their flaws individually and showed how it effected their relationship. After reading it, I discovered this has a Hulu adaptation. I canceled my subscription since The Handmaid’s Tale wasn’t in-season anymore, so when it comes back on, I’ll re-subscribe and check out Normal People while I’m at it. 4/5 stars
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Another underrated series. Well, not really, as this series was immensely popular and the first book came out quite a bit ago. But I still feel like this should be up there as one of the better YA fantasies out there. The magic system was interesting, the characters compelling and the audiobook narrators were fantastic. The audiobook experience definitely can add (or take away) from the reading experience! 5/5 stars
What She Left Behind by Ellen Marie Wiseman
I was in the mood for some historical fiction in the fall and came across this one. Unlike the others, I hadn’t heard any recommendations for this one online anywhere. I simply came across it through browsing my library apps and thought I’d give it a shot. It followed two girls, many years apart. One was sent to a psychiatric hospital and the other is at a new foster home and trying to make things work. I liked seeing how the stories connected and how it wrapped up neatly at the end.
The perspective with the woman at the psychiatric hospital was my favorite but also a little distressing. It really was upsetting knowing women were actually treated in that way and many sane women were sent and kept there against their will. If you’re a historical fiction fan, I highly recommend this. 5/5 stars
Know My Name by Chanel Miller
Noticing myself heading into a reading slump and not knowing what I wanted to read, I picked up this memoir by Chanel Miller. I heard a raving review by readwithcindy, a hilarious BookTuber. I figured picking up a nonfiction would be a great change of pace for my reading. Gosh, I knew this was going to be upsetting, but I also found myself hopefully.
In case you don’t know, Chanel Miller was formerly unidentified as the victim in the Stanford Rape Case. The case got lots of attention especially after the extremely lenient sentence given to the rapist. Chanel used this memoir as an opportunity to share her name, her story and be remembered as more than just Emily Doe. Besides her story being captivating, her writing was excellent and I found myself nodding along to the great points she made.
This would definitely be another book I’d want a physical copy of, as I’d love to highlight my favorite quotes and passages from it. 5/5 stars
There you have it! Those are my favorite books from May to October 2020. This year has been chaotic and hard to navigate, but books have made it a little easier. Are any of these books on your TBR list? Are any of these also favorites of yours?