Best Books So Far in 2020

It’s past due that I discuss the best books I’ve read so far this year.

Below are 11 of the best books I read. They are mostly listed in the order I read them. Not all of them are favorites, but I’ll certainly point out which books are as I go along.

For the most part, rereads aren’t considered, but I reread one of my favorite series in a different format and loved it so much that I had to include it on this list.

Farseer trilogy audiobooks by Robin Hobb, narr. by Paul Boehmer

★★★★★
(Favorite)

Summary: This is a fantasy trilogy about the bastard son of a prince who becomes an assassin’s apprentice. The books closely follow Fitz growing up at Buckkeep court and becoming entangled in political intrigues and taboo magic.

Why I like it: First of all, Robin Hobb is a great writer and storyteller. Her books are all amazing. I loved this book when I first read it and enjoyed it again this year when I reread by listening to the audiobook. Paul Boehmer did a great job narrating the story. I’m now listening to the Liveship Traders books. It took a while for me to get used to the narrator, Anne Flosnik, because of the accents she uses for the characters, but they are just as great too.

The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince by Robin Hobb

★★★★★

Summary: This novella is a prequel to the Realm of the Elderlings series, which begins with the Farseer trilogy. Set in Buckkeep years before Fitz and his friends’ time, The Wilful Princess and the Piebald Prince is about a headstrong princess who wants to dictate her own life. It’s also is about how the Wit, a magic system in the book, became taboo.

Why I like it: Again, amazing writing and storytelling from Robin Hobb. I was amazed at how much she managed to pack into this story that’s under 200 pages.

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

★★★★☆ ½

Summary: I consider this a sci-fi novel. It’s about two college friends who realize they can gain extraordinary abilities if they are resuscitated are a fatal experience. Their obsession with this phenomenon causes them to become enemies.

Why I like it: It’s slow-paced, especially at the beginning, but I was hooked from the start because I love how it digs deep into each character. Plus, it touches on a theme I always love to read about — what is a monster or how does one determine that a person is a monster. It was also interesting to see how certain characters devolve. I loved how character-driven the plot is.

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

★★★★★
(Favorite)

Summary: Just as the title says: It’s a picture book, but with no pictures.

Why I like it: Because it’s so funny and fun to read aloud.

Hello Lighthouse by Sophie Blackall (illus.)

★★★★★
(Favorite)

Summary: It’s a children’s picture book about a lighthouse keeper. By following him, we learn what’s required to tend a lighthouse.

Why I like it: I knew nothing about lighthouses, so I learned quite a bit reading this, and the illustrations are great. They made me want to go draw a lighthouse too, lol.

Sex Criminals, Vol. 1: One Weird Trick by Matt Fraction, illus. by Chip Zdarsky

★★★★☆ ½
(Favorite)

Summary: A sci-fi comic book about a young woman who can stop time when she has sex. She meets a guy who has the same ability and they decide to use it to rob a bank.

Why I like it: I had fun reading this. It’s funny, it’s entertaining, and, for me, a bit unexpected. This is probably the first that I mark a comic book as a favorite although I didn’t like the illustration style.

The Boys, Vol. 1: The Name of the Game by Garth Ennis, illus. by Darick Robertson

★★★★★
(Favorite)

Summary: A sci-fi comic book about superheroes behaving badly and a menacing guy who wants to create a team to police them.

Why I like it: It’s a very dark, very thrilling story that somehow appealed to me. I like the twist on the superhero trope, so instead of self-sacrificing superheroes eager to save the world, we instead get narcissistic, selfish pricks up to no good. I wasn’t crazy about the art.

First Frost by Sarah Addison Allen

★★★★★
(Favorite)

Summary: The second novel in the Waverley Family series. Set in a small town in North Carolina, First Frost is about the quirky members of the Waverley Family as they anticipate the blossoming of their apple tree that bears fruit that foretells the future.

Why I like it: It’s such a sweet, feel-good story. I believe Addison’s books will become my comfort reads. I love the characters and the setting and that the magic in this story is very subtle. Also, the writing is great. That’s what hooked me first.

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison

★★★★★
(Favorite)

Summary: A standalone fantasy novel about an outcasted half-goblin who unexpectedly becomes emperor of his father’s elvish kingdom.

Why I like it: I love character-driven stories and this one is strongly so. We are so focused on the protagonist, Maia, that I think it’s impossible not to care for him and end up liking and sympathizing with him as he gets used to life at court and navigating the politics there.

Shaman’s Crossing by Robin Hobb

★★★★★
(Favorite)

Summary: The first novel in Hobb’s Soldier Son trilogy, which is about young man who believes he’s destined to be the soldier in his family, but a major life experience he had might thwart that goal.

Why I like it: I have a hard time trying to concisely describe this book. The story and writing are so lush with details… I love it all and can’t wait to see what happens in the next books. So far, what I love are the writing, the world building, the character development, and the themes explored. So everything 🙂

Ocean Meets Sky by the Fan Brothers (illus.)

★★★★★
(Favorite)

Summary: A children’s picture book about a boy who misses his late grandfather and spends the day dreaming about a fantastical place his grandfather told him about — where ocean meets sky.

Why I like it: It’s a sweet story that lightly touches on the loss of a loved one, but it’s also a fun read because the protagonist visits several amazing places on his journey to where ocean meets sky. The illustrations are absolutely gorgeous and so stunning. It’s an overall beautiful book.

THAT’S ALL MY BEST READS FOR NOW.
LET ME KNOW BELOW WHAT’RE YOUR TOP 2 BEST READS SO FAR.

33 thoughts on “Best Books So Far in 2020

  1. So glad you are enjoying Hobb’s writing so much, Zezee. Have you read any of her books that she has written as Megan Lindholm? I love the duology The Reindeer People… And I love the sound of The Goblin Emperor – I haven’t read anything of this author and it looks a great story:))

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t but would like to. I’ve only read a couple short stories she wrote under that name. I didn’t like them much, but I would like to try the books anyway.
      Goblin Emperor is so good. The protag makes it such a lovely read.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been wanting to try Robin Hobb for quite a while now. If you were starting over, reading her work for the first time, which book or series would you tackle first?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Oh man! That’s a really good question. I would still start with Assassin’s Apprentice, the first book in the first set of books — Farseer trilogy. I love starting a series at the very beginning to see how the story builds and how the author’s writing/talent grows with each book, and I think readers see that when reading the Realm of the Elderlings series from start to finish.
      I do hope you get around to trying Hobb’s work 🙂

      Like

  3. I totally agree with you about The Book With No Pictures; it was a surprisingly good and funny read. I haven’t read a book by Robin Hobb but I do have Assassin’s Apprentice on my tbr.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Book With No Pictures is a great one to read aloud. Such fun!
      Assassin’s Apprentice is great. It has a slow build and is pretty slow-paced overall, but I think the story is worth it. And the audio book is really good.

      Like

    1. Yup, it is slower paced and more character-focused — part of why I loved it, lol! Not for everyone though. The beginning of the Liveship books are even slower, I think. I almost gave up on them. But they are great too.

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Yep, you’re right. All of the Realm of the Elderlings books are connected. It’s basically one big series separated into several trilogies and one quartet. I suggest starting with the Farseer trilogy (Assassin’s Apprentice is the first book) and then moving on to the Liveship Traders books.

          Liked by 1 person

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