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Our Favorite and Most Disappointing Books of 2020 So Far

Hello friends! Sabrina and I went a bit back and forth about posting our favorite novels of 2020 so far, and we were kind of undecided for a while there. (Okay, that may have been mostly me – I’m really bad at making decisions.) Thankfully, two of our incredible blogger friends decided this question for us by tagging us in the Mid-Year Book Freak Out, so:

Many thanks to Abi @ Scribbles & Stories and Caro @ Book Cheshire Cat!

This means that today we’re sharing some of our favorite (and least favorite) novels, as well as a couple we haven’t yet had the chance to read.

Best book you’ve read so far in 2020?

SABRINA: There are several books I could choose for this question, but I am trying not to repeat any in this post, so for this question I’ve gone with Letters to the Lost!  I loved this YA contemporary romance that deals with grief and loss.

VERA: Ahh, this was such a difficult question – especially because I tend to feel more strongly about books I’ve read recently than about ones I read months ago. Ultimately, I picked Felix Ever After, which is an incredible novel all-around. Highly recommended!

Best sequel you’ve read so far in 2020?

VERA: The Fifth Season is one of my favorite novels ever, and The Obelisk Gate is such a fantastic sequel to it. I loved to see how certain characters changed, developed, and became even more complex and morally grey than before.

SABRINA: The Burning Shadow was such an amazing sequel – it really changes the game and has left me more invested in the series than I thought possible.

New release you haven’t read yet, but want to?

SABRINA: I read and loved Starfish by Akemi Dawn Bowman last year, so I really want to read Harley in the Sky by the same author as soon as possible!  It’s also got a circus setting and I love that aesthetic.

VERA: I’ve heard lots of excellent things about Something to Talk About, and I’m really-really excited for this F/F romance novel.

Most anticipated release for the second half of the year?

VERA: I really struggled with this question, because there are loads of exciting books being released later this year, but I ultimately chose When Villains Rise, the final Market of Monsters novel. I love this series in all its dark, morally grey glory and I can’t wait to see what surprises the finale will have for us.

SABRINA: There are so many!! books that I am excited for in the second half of the year but I would be lying if I said anything other than A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik for this question.  Uprooted and Spinning Silver by the same author are two of my favourite books ever, so I have really high hopes for this book.

Biggest disappointment?

SABRINA: Havenfall by Sara Holland was sadly a DNF for me.  Considering it had been one of my most anticipated releases, it was a huge disappointment to me.

VERA: Prior to picking it up, I’d wanted to read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott for years. Around the time the new adaptation was released it seemed like everyone was reading and loving this novel, including people who aren’t big fans of classics. So, I was excited! Unfortunately, it really didn’t live up to my expectations; I found the characters boring and/or annoying, and I just couldn’t get into the story.

Biggest surprise?

VERA: I went into Foolish Hearts expecting an adorable story – and I definitely got that, but it was so much more emotional and memorable than I thought it would be. Oh, and the plot with the school play was bloody incredible.

SABRINA: Gideon the Ninth surprised me in a few ways.  To start with, I really thought I was going to hate the humour in it (I thought it would be too dirty, lol) but I ended up smiling a lot.  And then I ended up loving almost everything else about it too – particularly the setting.

Favorite new author (Debut or new to you)?

SABRINA: Wai Chim – she really knows how to tell a story!  I recently read and adored both The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling and Freedom Swimmer.  I hope more people pick up these books in the future, because they are both incredibly powerful and enjoyable stories.

VERA: Sophie Gonzales, for sure. Only Mostly Devastated is such a beautiful, wholesome novel, and I loved every moment of reading it. All the relationships – the friendships, the family and the romance – were so well-written, and these made this one of my favorite reading experiences ever.

Newest favorite character?

VERA: Many characters could have qualified for this question but, in an attempt to shout out as many of my favorite novels as possible, I’m choosing a character from a book I haven’t yet mentioned. I adored Rob from Call It What You Want! He was such a fantastically written character and he deserved all the hugs for what went through.

SABRINA: Emoni from With the Fire on High has to take this spot.  I just adore her personality and her development over the course of the book. I would read a million books about her.

Newest fictional crush or OTP?

SABRINA: Ryann and Alexandria from The Weight of the Stars!  I just love them both so much. I mean, they had me in tears so I guess that’s all I need to say.

VERA: Crier’s War is easily one of my favorite novels of 2020, and a big reason for that is Crier and Ayla, the protagonists of the novel. These girls are so well-written and complex, and I loved reading their story and the slow-burn enemies to lovers romance they had going on.

Book that made you cry?

VERA: I don’t cry on books, but if I would, The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling would have certainly made me bawl my eyes out. It’s rather heartbreaking and painful, but it also offers a lot of love and hope.

SABRINA: I did not expect a romance book to bring me to tears, but A Duke By Default did exactly that.  There were several moments related to Portia’s family life that really hit me and before I knew it, my eyes were welling up.

Book that made you happy?

SABRINA: The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee was such a fun book and I loved it so much!  The humour worked for me and I loved how fast paced it was.  I hope I can read the second book sometime soon.

VERA: The novels that make me the happiest tend to be romance novels, and Lisa Kleypas is one of my favorite romance authors. She ended her Ravenels series with Chasing Cassandra earlier this year, and it was such a satisfying conclusion to the series.

What books do you need to read by the end of the year?

SABRINA: Gosh I keep saying it, but I really have to read Ruin and Rising.  I’ll be so angry if I don’t do it!  Other than that, I still have a bunch of books on my shelves that I should be getting to.

VERA: I still have three books to read for my five star predictions, and at the top of that list is The Poppy War. I’ve heard nothing but good things about this novel, and I’m excited to join in on the hype.

Favorite review?

VERA: I’ll have to go with my review of The Diviners by Libba Bray, as I had a lot of fun discussing the series as a whole, especially as I reread the first three novels before jumping into the finale. You can read my review – with the spoilers clearly marked – by clicking here.

SABRINA: Okay, this answer is kind of by default, because I haven’t talked about this book in the post yet and it’s one of my favourites 😛  I do actually like my review for Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful though!  I can read it and remember exactly what I was talking about.


What about you? Have you had a good reading year so far? What’s the best book you’ve read so far in 2020? What’s a book that made you happy? Let us know!

37 thoughts on “Our Favorite and Most Disappointing Books of 2020 So Far

  1. So many of these books are on my TBR list, like The Poppy War, Gideon the Ninth and Harley in the Sky.
    And I think I read Little Women years ago, but remember hardly anything about it, so I was considering rereading it when the film came out. But I guess if I remember hardly anything about it I can’t have loved it that much, so I’m glad I didn’t bother!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Foolish Hearts might just be my favourite book I read in July. I’m so glad you loved it too, Veronika! It was adorable. I loved the Shakespeare elements and how well the relationships developed.

    Sabrina, I also just recently finished With the Fire on High and Emoni was such an awesome character! I loved all the food imagery too.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I really want to read Felix Ever After I have heard such great things about it! I also really loved reading Only Mostly Devastated. I hope you continue reading great books this year❤︎

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oooooh…I have Letters to the Lost on my shelf so I’m glad you loved it. On a side note, Ruin and Rising is great of course 😉 Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I loved reading this post!! I’ve been hearing good things about Felix Ever After, so I was excited to see another positive mention of it. And I hope you enjoy Harley in the Sky, Sabrina! I read it recently and the circus setting ended up being really magical and I overall enjoyed it.💗 I hope you both have a great rest of your reading year! xx

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Felix ever after was truly amazing, I couldn’t agree more! And I really need to read letter’s to the lost and something by NK Jemisin as soon as I can! Only Mostly Devastated is one I want to read. I love how much Kemmerer’s contemporaries are coming up ^.^ Crier’s war! I need to read that one. Also the book about the surprising power of the good dumpling has been coming up a lot so maybe I need to check it out. I will be so curious to see what you make of the poppy war!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ahhh, there are so many books on this list that I need to read!! I’m so excited for The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling since it has ownvoices Asian rep, and With the Fire On High has been on my TBR since forever. Also, I love how both of your pics were sapphic for the OTP question. The power of f/f enemies-to-lovers 🥰 Even though The Weight of the Stars was a little disappointing, I did love how soft the romance between Ryann and Alexandria was and how they’re both space gays 🥺🥺
    I hope the second half of your reading year goes well!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hope you get to read both The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling and With the Fire On High – they’re so good!
      I didn’t even realise both out picks were f/f enemies-to-lovers! I definitely need to read more of those. I’m sorry to hear you found The Weight of the Stars disappointing, but glad you at least could appreciate the romance 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m so excited to do this tag sometime later this month! I already have my answer planned for so many of these questions because I’ve had a pretty great reading year so far!

    Oh, yes! I love Letters to the Lost! I think that book is absolutely fantastic! And I just got my copy of Felix Ever After a few days ago and I can’t wait to read it! Hopefully I’ll have the time to get to it this month! I’m just so excited for it!

    Little Women didn’t impress me either. I’ve loved so many classics, but that one just irritated me! All the decisions that the characters made just made me feel so frustrated that I didn’t enjoy myself at all!

    And I really want to read The Weight of the Stars! I’ve been hearing such amazing things about this one that I just need to pick it up! I’m hoping to get a copy for my birthday in a few months!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh I saw you posted it a few days ago and I’m looking forward to reading it asap! 😀 It’s so good to hear that you’ve had a great reading year so far.

      It truly is absolutely fantastic!

      I hope you get to read The Weight of the Stars at some point – fingers crossed that you get it for your birthday!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. So happy to see you both do the Tag ❤ I’m incredibly excited for Felix Ever After as I have seen nothing but praise for it 🥰 I also want to check out more of Brigid Kemmerer’s contemporary books, as I have just read her Fantasy ones so far! I also read Havenfall this year, but I was also a bit underwhelmed. I liked the general idea of the book but it was a bit slow for me 😔
    My favorite book of the year has got to be Jackaby, it was the first book I gave 5 stars in 2020 and I loved the world and characters so much 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have seen nothing but praise for Felix Ever After too – I need to get to it! (I think I’ve seen you’ve read and enjoyed it since this comment, right?!)
      I hope you get to read some contemporary by Brigid Kemmerer! I recently read A Curse So Dark And Lonely and while I did love it, Letters to the Lost still beats it for me! And I am sorry (but also a little relieved) to hear you were underwhelmed by Havenfall too 😦
      Ahh yess I still need to read Jackaby!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yees! I read Felix Ever After during the Reading Rush and it was such a fantastic book, I’m so happy that I read it 🧡

        I’ll definitely check out Letters to the Lost and her other contemporary books as they sound so good 🥰 Glad to hear that you liked A Curse So Dark And Lonely!!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m so glad you two had fun with this tag! There’s so many books on this list that I really want to read – Letters to the Lost, Gideon the Ninth, Foolish Hearts, Only Mostly Devastated… I could go on 😂

    Glad you’ve both found so many new favourites this year! 😄

    Liked by 1 person

  11. i relate so much to being surprised at foolish hearts, veronika! i was expecting just a cute light book as well, but there was a lot more to it and i ended up adoring it so much more than i expected 🥺 and yes to reading the poppy war before the end of the year!! i really hope you adore it ❤ and aahh i love how both of your answers for the new crush/otp question were both f/f romances, sapphic girls truly are superior 😌💖

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This is the second time today since blog hopping that I’ve seen Havenfall get a bad review. There was something about that one that stopped me from reading it, so maybe it’s good I didn’t. lol

    I want to read The Poppy War but its so longgggg. hahah I did get the audiobook so maybe I’ll get to it by the end of the year!

    Liked by 1 person

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