Top Ten Tuesday #296


Hi everyone! I hope you all had a good Christmas, mine was very quiet, as always, my family mostly spent the day eating and watching TV (I mean what else are you supposed to do at Christmas!). Cambridge is now in Tier 4 lockdown, so we won’t really be doing anything for New Year, just staying in and waiting for 2020 to be over! 

Anyway, it’s Tuesday, which means another Top Ten Tuesday courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. It’s the last Tuesday of 2020, and as always on the last Tuesday of 2020, I’ll be sharing my Top Ten (really twelve) favourite books of 2020. 2020 has been a dumpster fire year for almost everything else but I have read some really great books this year, so it will be fun to share them with all of you:

  1. Men Who Hate Women-Laura Bates-5 stars

My only 5 star read of this year (I’m super picky so don’t read too much into that, I’ve still had a lot of books I really enjoyed this year), I will definitely be reading more of Laura Bates’ books in the future, it was a really insightful, interesting and honestly kind of terrifying read. I mean you know that men on the internet can be creeps, but I didn’t realise the full extent of a lot of these extreme misogynist groups until reading this book.

2. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue-VE Schwab-4.5 stars

Would it be an end of year favourites list without at least one entry from VE Schwab? I don’t think so, she’s appeared on every single one of these lists since I started doing them in 2016 (incidentally the same year I started reading her books). Addie LaRue is a gorgeously written story, so emotional and I can honestly say it’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before. I cannot wait for Schwab’s next adult book, she always knocks them out of the park and I’m super excited to see what she does next (I’m hoping for Threads of Power!). 

3. A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder (A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder #1)-Holly Jackson-4 stars

I’m so hard to please when it comes to thrillers, I rarely find myself being actually surprised by them? Basically Dangerous Girls set the bar way too high for truly shocking thrillers! But anyway, A Good Girl’s Guide To Murder was a really pleasant surprise for me, it was really well plotted out, the twists worked well and it was generally a fast and gripping read. I’m really looking forward to reading the sequel, hopefully next year.

4. The Gilded Wolves (The Gilded Wolves #1)-Roshani Chokshi-4 stars

Found family? Historical fantasy? Heists? This book ticked all of my boxes! The world building and the magic system were a tad confusing (which is why it’s not a 5 star) but I LOVED THE CHARACTERS SO MUCH and they had the best group dynamic. It also had a lot of humour and the plot with all the heists was really enjoyable. I’m so excited to read the sequel, it’s my #RockMyTBR challenge read for February and I’ve heard such good things already, I can’t wait to be back with Severin, Laila, Enrique, Zofia and Hypnos.

5. The City of Brass (Daevabad Trilogy #1)-S.A. Chakraborty-4 stars

I tore through all of the Daevabad books this year, but the first one was definitely my favourite, the world in this is super immersive, it definitely allowed me to forget about lockdown whilst I was reading it. The characters are also awesome, I loved Nahri and Ali so much. Also YES FOR CHARACTERS IN THEIR LATE TEENS/EARLY TWENTIES IN FANTASY, I NEED MORE OF THESE PLEASE.

6. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin (A Song of Wraiths and Ruin #1)-Roseanne A. Brown-4 stars

The characters really made this book for me. Malik and Karina were really well drawn, especially Malik and his anxiety was so well handled and such an important part of the story which I really loved. Karina was messy and complicated and I really liked how Brown handled the “bratty princess stereotype” because she was so much more than just that. The magic system and world building were a little confused, and the plot actually moved a little too fast in places, but overall it was a really engaging story and I can’t wait for the sequel next year.

7. Cinderella Is Dead-Kalynn Bayron-4 stars

I’m not usually a Cinderella fan, but I loved what Bayron did with her retelling, I liked that she created something completely new with the Cinderella tale rather than just directly telling the same story with different characters. It was a really engaging story, I flew through it in less than two weeks (that’s fast for me!) and I can’t wait to read her next book, the cover looks gorgeous!

8. The Dead Queens’ Club-Hannah Capin-4 stars

Surprise, surprise, Tudor nerd Jo loved this book! It was super funny and filled with lots of wonderful Tudor Easter eggs and nods. Transplanting Henry VIII into a high school setting worked super well since the Tudor court probably had even more drama than your average teen drama show!

9. The King of Crows (The Diviners #4)-Libba Bray-4 stars

The King of Crows was a largely satisfying series finale book, the pacing was a little off in places and I would have liked to have seen more of the whole gang together but I do love the characters a lot and I was ultimately pleased by how things turned out (and I’m seriously hoping that ending means that there will be more Diviners books in future!).

10. The Lady’s Guide To Petticoats and Piracy (Monatague Siblings #2)-Mackenzi Lee-4 stars

I loved Gentleman’s Guide last year and was really excited for Lady’s Guide. I did really enjoy it, though not quite as much as the first one, the pacing wasn’t quite as good and I think Monty was just more funny as a narrator. Still there was a lot that I really did love about this book, female friendship was central, internalised misogyny was explored in a really interesting way, and it was super fun to read. I’m looking forward to reading the final book next year.

11. Night Spinner (Night Spinner #1)-Addie Thorley-4 stars

I’ve never read a Hunchback of Notre Dame retelling before, in fact I’ve not read the original, only seen the Disney film, but I really liked what Thorley did with it, she definitely made the story her own. The world is super unique, a kind of arctic tundra-esque setting and I really loved the main character Enebish and her development throughout the book.

12. Circe-Madeline Miller-4 stars

I’m a massive Greek mythology fan so obviously this one was great for me, Madeline Miller’s writing style is super gorgeous, I loved how she interwove different Greek myths into Circe’s story and at its heart, this is a story about women and power which is always something I’ll love. I definitely want to read Song of Achilles at some point soon because I’ve heard such good things about it.

So that’s it, my favourite books of 2020! What were your favourite books this year? Have you read any of mine? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week for my first Top Ten Tuesday of 2021, it’s our annual Most Anticipated Releases For The First Half of 2021 which is always a fun one to start the year with.

In the meantime, I’ll have more of my annual end of year posts over the next couple of days, my End of Year Survey should be up tomorrow and I’ll be posting my End of Year Check In on New Years’ Eve. Some of the stuff I’d planned to post this year will probably be transferred into January now, but that’s okay, I needed the Christmas break!

80 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday #296

  1. lindseyhabets 29/12/2020 / 3:48 pm

    Such a great list! I’ve only read Circe and LOVED it as well, but so many others are still on my TBR, so I’m happy to hear you loved them so much! (like Addie Larue, the Daevabad Trilogy, The Gilded Wolves and the Diviners series).

    • iloveheartlandx 30/12/2020 / 3:17 pm

      Thank you! Circe was definitely brilliant. I hope you enjoy all of the ones on your TBR (you have some great books ahead of you!).

  2. lulu 29/12/2020 / 3:48 pm

    Yay for the Gilded Wolves! Found family, historical fiction, and heists all make for an AMAZING book.

    Thank you so much for sharing your list! I love hearing about people’s favorite books of the year. ❤ ❤

    • iloveheartlandx 30/12/2020 / 3:16 pm

      Yes, it was basically everything I love stuffed into one book. Ah no problem, I love hearing other people’s lists too 🙂

  3. lydiaschoch 29/12/2020 / 4:06 pm

    Men Who Hate Women does sound interesting!

    My post.

    • iloveheartlandx 30/12/2020 / 3:16 pm

      It definitely was! I’m looking forward to reading more of her books 🙂

  4. Mareli Thalwitzer 29/12/2020 / 5:28 pm

    A good girls guide to murder sounds like a lot of fun and Addie LaRue sure is the popular choice this year! Hope to read it real soon.

    Happy New Year!

    Elza Reads favorite books for 2020

    • iloveheartlandx 30/12/2020 / 3:15 pm

      It was! Ha ha it definitely seemed to be, I hope you enjoy it when you do. Happy New Year to you too 🙂

  5. amugofbooks 29/12/2020 / 6:26 pm

    Great list! The City of Brass and Circe are on my TBR. I definitely need to make time to read them both.

  6. M.T.Wilson 29/12/2020 / 6:54 pm

    Of these I’ve only read Addie LaRue which I loved, but I really want to read The Gilded Wolves and I keep hearing things about the Daevabad Trilogy so that’s on my radar now too.

    • iloveheartlandx 30/12/2020 / 3:14 pm

      Addie was amazing, glad you enjoyed it too and I hope you enjoy the other two when you read them 🙂

  7. Jess @ Jessticulates 29/12/2020 / 6:55 pm

    Great list! A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder, The Dead Queens’ Club and A Song of Wraiths and Ruin are all on my TBR, and I’m so glad to hear that you enjoyed The King of Crows. I need to get to that one soon!

  8. Hanna (@bookinginheels) 29/12/2020 / 7:42 pm

    I really enjoyed The Gilded Wolves too. I’m hoping to be able to get to the second book in 2021, but I might need to find a recap first!

    • iloveheartlandx 30/12/2020 / 3:09 pm

      It was so good! Ha ha I definitely get that, I wish recaps were a common feature in series books, publishers really expect us to remember a year or more later what happened in a previous book? Do they know how many books we read in between?!

  9. Bookworm Beyond Borders 29/12/2020 / 7:42 pm

    I love the Daevabad Trilogy! I read the first two books this year and I can’t wait to get my hands on the third

  10. curlygeek04 29/12/2020 / 7:52 pm

    I loved Addie LaRue, and Circe and City of Brass are also fantastic books. I started Gilded Wolves and found it a bit hard to follow, but I plan to go back to it. I love that fantasy is becoming more diverse. I’m currently reading Realm of Ash by Tasha Suri, her books are also great.

    • iloveheartlandx 30/12/2020 / 3:05 pm

      They were all really great reads. The magic system and worldbuilding in The Gilded Wolves were a little confusing, but I loved the characters so much. Me too! Ooh I’ve heard of her but never tried her books, will have to look into that one.

  11. nbiblioholic 29/12/2020 / 8:04 pm

    I loved The Gilded Wolves and The Silvered Serpents was the perfect sequel. I hope you enjoy it too 🙂 Happy New Year!

    • iloveheartlandx 30/12/2020 / 2:58 pm

      That’s great to hear, I hope so as well! Happy New Year to you too 🙂

  12. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 29/12/2020 / 9:47 pm

    I enjoyed Circe so much, and I’m eagerly awaiting Invisible Life. Unlike you, I’ve never read the Invisible Life author before, but I’ve seen so many raves about her and about this book that I can’t wait.

    • iloveheartlandx 30/12/2020 / 2:57 pm

      Glad to hear you also liked Circe. She’s one of my favourite authors, so I really hope you enjoy it and check out some of her other books 🙂

  13. Tammy 29/12/2020 / 10:20 pm

    I’m so glad we both loved Addie LaRue. Schwab usually shows up on my best of lists too! I’m also glad you mentioned Circe, because it’s a book I’ve been meaning to read.

    • iloveheartlandx 30/12/2020 / 2:56 pm

      Me too, I’m always worried when I have super high expectations for a book that I’ll hate it, so I was super relieved that I loved it. I started doing them in 2016 and she’s been on every single list since then (some of them twice!). Ooh I hope you enjoy it when you do 🙂

  14. Greg 29/12/2020 / 10:40 pm

    Good Girls Guide was one I wanted to read and never got to, for whatever reason. Thanks for reminding me of it! 🙂 I need to get to it in 2021.

    Happy New Year!

    • iloveheartlandx 30/12/2020 / 2:54 pm

      I hope you enjoy it when you do read it! Happy New Year to you too 🙂

  15. vee_bookish 29/12/2020 / 11:08 pm

    Hello from Tier 3! I’m over in Somerset, a few miles under Bristol. We spent all Christmas sitting around eating and watching TV too, I have zero regrets. 😂

    • iloveheartlandx 30/12/2020 / 2:52 pm

      Ah Tier 3…..I dream of Tier 3! We were in 2 and skipped right over into 4. Ha ha tbh, that is our usual Christmas and what we would have done regardless of any tiers, so no regrets from us either!

      • vee_bookish 30/12/2020 / 5:18 pm

        Somehow I think we’re staying in Tier 3, so many more going to Tier 4 from midnight but they don’t seem to be closing schools.

      • iloveheartlandx 30/12/2020 / 6:16 pm

        No they seem determined to keep them open and I do get why, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

  16. 1girl2manybooks 29/12/2020 / 11:11 pm

    I really enjoyed City of Brass (also Kingdom of Copper!) and A Song of Wraiths & Ruin is definitely on my TBR for 2021!

    • iloveheartlandx 30/12/2020 / 2:48 pm

      Oh I really enjoyed the other books in the trilogy too, they just didn’t quite make it onto my list. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin is great, I hope you enjoy it 🙂

      • 1girl2manybooks 30/12/2020 / 11:01 pm

        I still have Empire of Gold to go, I’m waiting until it comes out in the smaller paperback so it matches the other copies I have…..let’s see if I can actually wait, haha.

      • iloveheartlandx 01/01/2021 / 8:09 pm

        Ah that’s such a pain when that happens, I wish they’d just bring the paperback out at the same time as the hardback!

  17. Catherine 30/12/2020 / 12:32 am

    Really want to read those mackenzie lee books, heard loads of good things!

  18. bitchbookshelf 30/12/2020 / 1:16 am

    Cinderella Is Dead was a runner up for me! So good!

    • iloveheartlandx 30/12/2020 / 2:44 pm

      It was! Super excited for her new release next year, it sounds so good 🙂

  19. AB_likes_books 30/12/2020 / 1:22 am

    Oh there’s so many books on your list that I really want to read, but didn’t get to this year. Especially Addie Larue! Hopefully next year is better for you, on l fronts 😊

    • iloveheartlandx 30/12/2020 / 2:43 pm

      I hope you manage to read some of them next year! Thank you, same to you!

  20. Susan 30/12/2020 / 2:22 am

    I enjoyed A GOOD GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER, too. I read tons of mystery/thrillers and I still can’t always guess whodunit. I’m pretty gullible 🙂 Glad you found some great reads this year!

    Happy TTT!


    • iloveheartlandx 30/12/2020 / 2:43 pm

      See I generally find them pretty easy to work out, so I was quite pleased that I didn’t manage to figure out whodunnit till closer to the reveal in that book. Thank you!

  21. Laura Fabiani 30/12/2020 / 3:16 am

    I’ve seen The Invisible Life of Addie Larue on several blogs and now I’m dying to read it. Thanks for sharing!

  22. thebookishlibra 30/12/2020 / 3:38 am

    Great list. I really enjoyed Circe and Cinderella is Dead too.

  23. Louise 30/12/2020 / 1:03 pm

    The Dead Queens’ Club was on my TBR. I’ve went back and forth on picking up Night Spinners. You’ve swayed me though.

  24. Jess Watkins 30/12/2020 / 1:52 pm

    I read Circe and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue this year as well but was disappointed by both of them. I’m glad you liked them more than I did 🙂

    • iloveheartlandx 30/12/2020 / 2:34 pm

      Ah such a shame they disappointed you! I’m sure you had lots of other great reads though 🙂

  25. Time for tales and tea 30/12/2020 / 3:57 pm

    I totally agree about Circe, it’s beautifull written! I still want to read Song of Achilles too. A Song of Wraiths and Ruin seems well-loved by many people, so I really would like to give it a try!

    • iloveheartlandx 30/12/2020 / 6:18 pm

      It is! Yes, so many people seem to love Song of Achilles. I hope you enjoy A Song of Wraiths and Ruin 🙂

  26. Leslie 30/12/2020 / 10:08 pm

    Wow, there are so many amazing books on here! I remember loving Circe too, when I read it. I also loved A Song of Wraiths and Ruin. Just pre-ordered the sequel today!! 🙂

    • iloveheartlandx 01/01/2021 / 8:10 pm

      Thanks! They were both great books. I think I’m going to get the audiobook for the sequel again as I enjoyed the narration on the first book, so I’ll probably order it closer to the time.

      • Leslie 05/01/2021 / 12:05 am

        That’s awesome. I really wish that I could do audiobooks for fiction. I think I would get so much out of it but I just can’t pay attention! I applaud those who can!

      • iloveheartlandx 05/01/2021 / 12:31 pm

        We all read in different ways, that’s the awesome thing about books and readers!

    • iloveheartlandx 01/01/2021 / 8:08 pm

      Ah that’s a shame to hear. I’m glad you enjoyed Dead Queens Club though.

  27. Rachel 31/12/2020 / 5:17 pm

    Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates was on my list for my favorite reads of the year, I can’t wait to read her other books! Rachel x

    • iloveheartlandx 01/01/2021 / 8:07 pm

      Ah that’s great to hear! I actually have Everyday Sexism, my sister got it for me for Christmas a couple of years ago, so I definitely need to get round to it 🙂

  28. Laurie C 01/01/2021 / 12:32 pm

    There are a lot of books on your list that overlap with my TBR, but none that I’ve read yet! Happy New Year!

    • iloveheartlandx 01/01/2021 / 8:03 pm

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy the ones that are on your TBR 🙂

  29. Georgia Husselbee 01/01/2021 / 7:54 pm

    I’ve wanted to read Circe for ages and my sister is obsessed with A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder so hopefully I’ll get round to them soon!

  30. Dedra @ A Book Wanderer 02/01/2021 / 10:21 pm

    2021 needs to be the year I finally read a VE Schwab book! Circe was at the top of my 2020 tbr, but I still haven’t read it. So many books I still need to read. 😉 Happy Reading in 2021!

    • iloveheartlandx 05/01/2021 / 1:09 pm

      Ah I’m so jealous you get to discover her books for the first time! Ha ha I know the feeling, there’s always more I need to read. Thank you, you too 🙂

  31. Lois 03/01/2021 / 5:37 pm

    The City of Brass was gifted to me for Christmas and to know you loved it so much has me all the more excited to read it!!

  32. bookishequestrian07 05/01/2021 / 11:11 am

    I haven’t read any of theses, but there are a lot of them on my TBR.

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