With all that has been going on in the last few weeks or so, I have been reading much more once again. I mean I have the time, especially in the evenings. Plus, it also seems to help me to get a bit of a reprieve and escape from the current craziness happening in our world right now. So, what better time than now to update with what books from 2020, I have been reading and share some of my recent favorites here with you now.
So, how about it? Are you looking for a book to read right now while stuck at home? Then, check out the eight books that I have read in recent times (scroll down) and my thoughts on them now. Plus, feel free to sign up for BOTM (check my April 2020 BOTM YouTube video) for more information below), because many of the books below I was introduced to by them.
8 Books From 2020 That You Need to Read
1. The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren
Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.
James McCann, MIT graduate, and engineering genius were originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on a book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.
Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…
What I liked about this book: From the description, I immediately thought of Chip and Joanna Gaines (Magnolia Table). But upon further reading, the real story was that of the Tripps’s assistant, Carey, and Jame McCann. See these two are as opposite as you can imagine but thrust together to work for the Tripp’s. At first, they can’t stand each other, but as the book unfolds they begin to not only trust each other but possibly find love in the least unlikely source. A rom-com worth reading.
2. The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
Upstate New York, 1982. Viv Delaney wants to move to New York City, and to help pay for it she takes a job as the night clerk at the Sun Down Motel in Fell, New York. But something isnʼt right at the motel, something haunting and scary.
Upstate New York, 2017. Carly Kirk has never been able to let go of the story of her aunt Viv, who mysteriously disappeared from the Sun Down before she was born. She decides to move to Fell and visit the motel, where she quickly learns that nothing has changed since 1982. And she soon finds herself ensnared in the same mysteries that claimed her aunt.
What I liked about this book: Having read The Broken Girls by Simone St. James in the past, I was happy to give another of her books a chance. Glad I did like the premise, as well as the supernatural ghost story in this novel, was spin tingling and left me chilled and spooked but still wanting more.
3. You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen
Shay Miller wants to find love, but it eludes her. She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end. She wants to belong, but her life is increasingly lonely.
Until Shay meets the Moore sisters. Cassandra and Jane live a life of glamorous perfection, and always get what they desire. When they invite Shay into their circle, everything seems to get better.
Shay would die for them to like her.
She may have to.
What I liked about this book: This book was also the second one I read by these authors, having previously read The Wife Between Us, as well. So, when I realized they had a new book out, I immediately jumped at the opportunity to read it. Plus, I happen to love suspense novels, because of no matter what you are usually led to believe there is always way more to the story than meets the eye. And that is most definitely true with the story of how Shay Miller wants nothing more than to try to forget the awful incident she witnessed at the NYC Subway. But she also believes that the Moore sisters are her friends and want to help her heal. Boy, she couldn’t be more wrong and as we read we find out just how wrong she is.
4. In Five Years by Rebecca Serle
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Dannie Kohan lives her life by the numbers.
She is nothing like her lifelong best friend—the wild, whimsical, believes-in-fate Bella. Her meticulous planning seems to have paid off after she nails the most important job interview of her career and accepts her boyfriend’s marriage proposal in one fell swoop, falling asleep completely content.
But when she awakens, she’s suddenly in a different apartment, with a different ring on her finger, and besides a very different man. Dannie spends one hour exactly five years in the future before she wakes again in her own home on the brink of midnight—but it is one hour she cannot shake. In Five Years is an unforgettable love story, but it is not the one you’re expecting.
What I liked about this book: Yet again, another repeat author for me, as I read The Dinner List by Rebecca Serle, as well. As much as I enjoy thrillers and suspense novels, I am also a sucker for a good What If story. And that is just what we get here with Dannie Kohan suddenly waking up 5 years in the future and not sure of anything in her life, including the thought that she isn’t in love with her fiancé after having this experience. However, we are treated to what really transpires over the next five years and how Dannie ends up where she was when she did wake 5 years in the future during that one night’s “supposed” dream.
5. American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins
Lydia Quixano Pérez lives in the Mexican city of Acapulco. She runs a bookstore. She has a son, Luca, the love of her life, and a wonderful husband who is a journalist. And while there are cracks beginning to show in Acapulco because of the drug cartels, her life is, by and large, fairly comfortable.
Even though she knows they’ll never sell, Lydia stocks some of her all-time favorite books in her store. And then one day a man enters the shop to browse and comes up to the register with a few books he would like to buy—two of them her favorites. Javier is erudite. He is charming. And, unbeknownst to Lydia, he is the jefe of the newest drug cartel that has gruesomely taken over the city. When Lydia’s husband’s tell-all profile of Javier is published, none of their lives will ever be the same.
Forced to flee, Lydia and eight-year-old Luca soon find themselves miles and worlds away from their comfortable middle-class existence. Instantly transformed into migrants, Lydia and Luca ride la Bestia—trains that make their way north toward the United States, which is the only place Javier’s reach doesn’t extend. As they join the countless people trying to reach el norte, Lydia soon sees that everyone is running from something. But what exactly are they running to?
American Dirt will leave readers utterly changed. It is a literary achievement filled with poignancy, drama, and humanity on every page. It is one of the most important books for our time.
Already being hailed as “a Grapes of Wrath for our times” and “a new American classic,” Jeanine Cummins’s American Dirt is a rare exploration into the inner hearts of people willing to sacrifice everything for a glimmer of hope.
What I liked about this book: Not going to lie, but I heard it was on Oprah’s Book Club and was highly controversial. So, I needed to find out just why this book was not only a must-read but what ruffled so many feathers in the process. What I will say is the story of Lydia and her son, Luca migrating from Mexico to America was nothing short of eye-opening and glad I did indeed get a chance to read it, because this book is one that I can see why so many wanted to read it.
6. Two Lives of Lydia Bird, by Josie Silver
Lydia and Freddie. Freddie and Lydia. They’d been together for more than a decade and Lydia thought their love was indestructible. But she was wrong. On Lydia’s twenty-eighth birthday, Freddie died in a car accident.
So now it’s just Lydia, and all she wants is to hide indoors and sob until her eyes fall out. But Lydia knows that Freddie would want her to try to live fully, happily, even without him. So, enlisting the help of his best friend, Jonah, and her sister, Elle, she takes her first tentative steps into the world, open to life—and perhaps even love—again.
But then something inexplicable happens that gives her another chance at her old life with Freddie. A life where none of the tragic events of the past few months have happened.
Lydia is pulled again and again through the doorway to her past, living two lives, impossibly, at once. But there’s an emotional toll to returning to a world where Freddie, alive, still owns her heart. Because there’s someone in her new life, her real life, who wants her to stay.
What I liked about this book: Not to sound like I am repeating myself, but having read and absolutely loved Josie Silver’s One Day In December, which was my very first Reese Book Club of the month read, I truly wanted to give her latest novel a try. Once again, I wasn’t sorry, because the concept of Lydia getting to visit her dead fiancé by ingesting a sleeping pill to see what her life could have been was a heart-breaking occurrence and yet intoxicating story all the same. We also see how the character’s grief evolves, as well as her growth from this unique experience. So, if you have ever lost that special person and wondered what-if, I would say this book hits all the right notes.
7. Admission, by Julie Buxbaum
It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer. She’s headed off to the college of her dreams. She’s going to prom with the boy she’s had a crush on since middle school. Her best friend always has her back, and her mom, a B-list Hollywood celebrity, may finally be on her way to the B+ list. It’s good to be Chloe Wynn Berringer–at least, it was, until the FBI came knocking on her front door, guns at the ready, and her future went up in smoke. Now her mother is under arrest in a massive college admissions bribery scandal. Chloe, too, might be facing charges, and even time behind bars. The public is furious, the press is rabid, and the US attorney is out for blood.
As she loses everything she’s long taken for granted, Chloe must reckon not only with the truth of what happened but also with the examination of her own guilt. Why did her parents think the only way for her to succeed was to cheat for her? What did she know, and when did she know it? And perhaps most importantly, what does it mean to be complicit?
What I liked about this book: Still another repeat author for me as this is the author to Tell Me Three Things, which might be one of my favorite books of all time. So, I was over the moon excited to see that she had a new book out. Plus, the story of a college admissions scandal was one that is a timely subject after the recent one with Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman central to those cases. So, I was more than willing to check out Admissions to see if it lived up to the hype of Tell Me Three Things, as well as the admission’s scandals. Well, while this one isn’t nearly as heartwarming as Tell Me Three Things (I mean that book honestly is in a league of its own), Admission went back and forth from pre-scandal to after the scandal to help lead character Chloe accept and ultimately move forward from said scandal. While again this book wasn’t nearly as heartfelt as my previous read from Buxbaum, it most certainly was worthy read and do recommend it.
8. Anna K, by Jenny Lee
At seventeen, Anna K is at the top of Manhattan and Greenwich society (even if she prefers the company of her horses and dogs); she has the perfect (if perfectly boring) boyfriend, Alexander W.; and she has always made her Korean-American father proud (even if he can be a little controlling). Meanwhile, Anna’s brother, Steven, and his girlfriend, Lolly, are trying to weather a sexting scandal; Lolly’s little sister, Kimmie, is struggling to recalibrate to normal life after an injury derails her ice dancing career; and Steven’s best friend, Dustin, is madly (and one-sidedly) in love with Kimmie.
As her friends struggle with the pitfalls of ordinary teenage life, Anna always seems to be able to sail gracefully above it all. That is…until the night she meets Alexia “Count” Vronsky at Grand Central. A notorious playboy who has bounced around boarding schools and who lives for his own pleasure, Alexia is everything Anna is not. But he has never been in love until he meets Anna, and maybe she hasn’t, either. As Alexia and Anna are pulled irresistibly together, she has to decide how much of her life she is willing to let go for the chance to be with him. And when a shocking revelation threatens to shatter their relationship, she is forced to question if she has ever known herself at all.
Dazzlingly opulent and emotionally riveting, Anna K: A Love Story is a brilliant reimagining of Leo Tolstoy’s timeless love story, Anna Karenina—but above all, it is a novel about the dizzying, glorious, heart-stopping experience of first love and first heartbreak.
What I liked about this book: OK, so I have never actually read Tolstoy’s classic that this novel is loosely based upon, but still the YA modern story sounded like one I wanted to delve deeper into. That said, I was mostly impressed by Lee’s writing and how she weaved all the character’s stories together as the book unfolded. While the story sometimes seemed to drag a bit, I still enjoyed getting to see how things turned out for all the main players in this tale. Plus, I enjoyed the Gossip Girl feel to this story. Moreover, it also gave me a Cruel Intentions vibe, as well.