Blog Feature, Thoughts/Opinions

2020 Wrap Up

So I almost didn’t do a wrap up because the amount of books I read in 2020 barely even made it into the double digits. But I figured, there’s enough for a list so here goes.

First on the list is the only book I rated ONE star in all of 2020, and that is Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Caroll.

 (I figured start with the worst and work my way up to the best, that way I can end on a positive note.)

Alice in Wonderland follows the story of Alice, a young curious girl who is easily bored with books that have no pictures in them. On one particular day, she falls asleep while her sister reads to her and she dreams up a world of adventure with a White Rabbit, a Blue Caterpillar, and a Mad Hatter among many other peculiar characters.

So yeah, I absolutely had a terrible time reading Alice in Wonderland. In part  it was that as a fan of all things Alice, I went in with high expectations and that set me up for tragedy. But then, I also just didn’t enjoy the plot or the characters very much.

I think I will stick to Alice in Wonderland retelling from now on.

The next books are those that overall I had an okay time reading but they didn’t leave much of an impression.

Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Mim is far from okay. After overhearing that her mom is sick, sixteen year old Mim sets off on her own towards Cleveland to find her. On her journey Mim discovers many harsh truths about life, her parents and their divorce, as well as some things about herself.

Like I wrote in my review, Mosquitoland was like a solid average book. I didn’t love it, didn’t hate it, and while enjoyable it doesn’t really stand out from the rest of the books I read in 2020.

Woman Hollering Creek by Sandra Cisneros

In this collection of short stories Cisneros captures the complexities of women’s relationship’s to men as well as other issues women face or have faced in the past. The topics discussed make this book a great introduction to feminism, especially for immigrant women or women of color.

On the other hand though, is Woman Hollering Creek. This book, I really wish would have ranked higher for me, but it didn’t.

The reason being that while there are some really really great short stories in the collection, I found that there was just more stories that I didn’t care for than stories that I did actually enjoy.

That said, the ones that I did enjoy hit me hard and I was even emotional reading them. Which is why this book still has a place in my heart and I will still say good things about it.

Other books in this section are Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan, Sentimental Memories by Nestor S. Garcia, and The Crucible by Arthur Miller.

Next are the books that were fun reads, but just fell a little short.

The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes by Suzanne Collins

The Tenth annual Hunger Games promise to change things up from previous years. But when those planning the games pair up the students from the Capitol’s Academy with the Tributes, no anticipated what might happen. No one anticipated that the student mentors were just in as much danger of dying as the tributes, since the students were all playing their own game and Snow was determined to lead his tribute to victory no matter the cost.

Reading The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes feels like such a long time ago. I remember liking the story a lot, I loved the concept and I think Collins did a great job in how she presented young President Snow (which I know a lot of people disagree with but I actually like it).

Another book that kind if falls in this category is Hawk by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet. The book was far from perfect and I think rather than picking the book apart I just had a good time with everything going on in it.

I stopped taking the Maximum Ride books seriously since whichever one of the books it was where the literal apocalypse happens (before that even). That’s been great for me because otherwise I would just be disappointed at least this way I can still have a good laugh at where the series has ended up at.

The Last Wish Introducing The Witcher by Anrzej Sapkowski

Geralt of Rivia is a Witcher, someone who hunts monsters that threaten the lives of humans for pay. With each job he takes Geralt is unsure if he will live long enough to tell the tale but being a Witcher is all he knows.

Reading The Witcher was a great experience because it was my first ever buddy read. I read it with my boyfriend which, bless his soul – the amount of patience he had waiting for me to finish a chapter and catch up to him so we could finish the book at the same time, amazing. He’s good stuff.

But yes, we picked it after just being blown away by the Netflix adaptation of the book (my boyfriend also really likes the video game) so we definitely will check out more books in this series in the future. The only reason it is not a favorite for me is, I wasn’t a big fan of the way the chapters were laid out, so at some point reading it turned into a chore and I hit a really long reading slump.

Also The Last Wish is like my very first high fantasy read and I gotta say, I’m a big fan!

I would also place Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer in this category.

Lastly the books I absolutely fell in love with, and there are only two.

The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter

Cassie has never felt loved by her mother. After turning 18 and being able to check herself out of the psychiatric ward her mother abandoned her in, Cassie is determined to have a normal college experience. But when her mother calls her, trying to start a relationship with her after years of abuse and neglect, Cassie doesn’t know what to do.

The First Time She Drowned was my favorite book of 2020 up until December when I read a book that stole the title right from under it. I love the story, the character. I tabbed so many parts of this book because it was just so full of beautiful quotes.

I think about the ending of this book sometimes and it just makes me smile.

My absolute favorite books of 2020 thought, goes to:

Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

After her father is publicly executed and her family is torn apart, Mia vows to destroy the men responsible. Before she can take them on, Mia must first hone her craft and The Red Church is the place to do it. Home to the believers of the goddess Niah, The Red Church promises to teach her the various ways to kill a person, or die trying.

When I first heard about Nevernight I was very excited for it. Mia’s character was exactly the type of character that I enjoy reading.

The first time I picked up the book, I feel like it just came down to the type of book I was in the mood for and sadly it wasn’t Nevernight. So I did put it down. I definitely didn’t want to wait too long to come back to it so I fit it in for December and it was amazing.

I started reading it in sessions of like 30 minutes, but then as I got more into the book, my sessions were going for like 2 hours. There are so many things I like about this book. I thought the characters were great, the plot and the world building specifically was just phenomenal.

Definitely going to try and get my hands on the next two books in 2021.

These are all the books I read in 2020 (I think I mentioned all of them). It was a good reading year. I’m glad I can add at least two books to my favorites pile, especially considering most of my favorites prior to 2020 were books I read years ago when I was a teenager in Middle School when I did most of my reading (so around 2008ish).

P.S I hope everything is in order. I threw this post together really quickly because I wanted to fit it in during 2020.

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