Top 10 Reads of 2020

A basic summary of 2020 for me.

I had to hop on here at least one more time this year to share one of my favorite posts to write annually: my top 10 favorite books of the year. In spite of all the craziness that 2020 threw at us, I surpassed my goal of 55 books and managed to read 57 books, exceeding the amount I read last year.

When it comes to picking these books, I take into account how well they are written, how captivated I am by the plot line, and – above all – how strongly the books made me feel. One of my reading goals this year was to go outside of my comfort zone genre-wise; based on my Goodreads list, I did a fairly good job of this tackling even some Sci-Fi reads — one of which even made my top ten!

Books & my pup are two things that helped me get through the year.

10. The Unraveling of Cassidy Holmes by Elissa R. Sloan

This was an enthralling page-turner that follows the glitz, glamour, and corruption of working as a pop group in the music industry. Cassidy Holmes first gets a taste of the limelight at 17 as a contestant on the famed tv show Sing It, America, but her rise to fame comes when she joins the group Gloss. Though a heavy, heartbreaking read, I found myself infatuated with the behind the scenes look at the music industry, and could not put this down. It definitely gave me some “Daisy Jones” vibes and took my back to growing up in the late 90s/early 2000s watching TRL and VH1.

9. Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

Riley Sager had me on the edge of my seat yet again. This is the type of book that you stay up reading until 1AM because it’s just that phenomenal. I totally got some “Haunting of Hill House” vibes throughout the book, but this story surpasses it by a landslide. I LOVE a good ghost story, and “Home Before Dark” has quickly shot to the top of my list as one of my favorites. Dare I say, this could very well be my new favorite thriller of all time😱

8. Majesty by Katharine McGee

Book 2 in the American Royals series was better than I could have imagined. Everyone is doing some growing up in this book — save for Jefferson **facepalm**. Beatrice is now queen and engaged to Teddy, while still trying to figure out herself and her role as the first female monarch. Meanwhile, Sam finds herself in a relationship with a new man as she’s learning how to properly be “the heir”, and Daphne is being the same old scheming Daphne. I’m so sad that this story is over, but I simply could not put this book down. I need book 3 ASAP!!

7. Beach Read by Emily Henry

If you know me, you know I’m not the biggest fan of romances; however Beach Read was the perfect escape I needed from the world right now and has to be one of my favorite love stories. I giggled, I scoffed at the cheesiness, and by the end, I was ugly crying.

6. Recursion by Blake Crouch

A mysterious disease known as “false memory syndrome” is driving its victims mad by giving them memories they never lived. Dark and trippy, “Recursion” left me on the edge of my seat from the very first page. I love the way Barry and Helena’s stories intertwined. I’m so glad I decided to step out of my usual book genres, and give this one a try!

5. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

In a time where Death is wreaking havoc on Nazi-occupied Germany, Liesel discovers a gravedigger’s handbook by her brother’s grave. Thus begins her streak of stealing books, and falling in love with words and literature. Wow. What a story. Books + WWII + an unlikely narrator= the perfect recipe for an outstanding book. I could have easily read this in 2 days, but I really wanted to savor this powerful story. I can’t believe it took me so long to read this

4. Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella

Cady Archer arrives at Harvard not only to follow in her schizophrenic brother Eric’s footsteps, but also to figure out what led him to his suicide his junior year. Cady struggles to find her way through the competitive academics and build a social life while trying to crack the cryptic clues her brother provided in a notebook. She eventually gets so swept up in figuring out her brother’s story that she ends up in a downward spiral in her own life – missing classes, ditching friends, and hearing voices from the ghosts that still roam the grounds of Harvard. She begins to think that the ghosts are somehow connected to her brother, but she finds that listening to them is contributing to her own demise. What she does find out about Eric is even bigger than she could have imagined.

“Ghosts of Harvard” had me hanging onto every word, and is another book I can add to my 2020 favorites. I adored the dark academia vibes with a touch of paranormal surrounding the mystery of Eric and what he got himself into. I eventually started to figure out where the story was going, but I was not expecting the final plot twist. I hope to read more from Serritella soon!

3. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab

“What is a person if not for the marks they leave behind?” What a spectacular novel from V.E. Schwab! A young French girl makes a deal with the devil for eternal life, but the catch is that no one will be able to remember her for the rest of her days. When she finally meets the one person who can remember her, she’s bound and determined to leave her mark on history. Little did she know that she would find herself in a love triangle between a human boy and the devil himself. Beautifully poetic, I’m so glad I didn’t rush this so I could appreciate Schwab’s lyrical writing so much more. I loved following Addie’s story as she lived through poignant moments in history, and was left craving more.

2. What the Wind Knows by Amy Harmon

Anna Gallagher grew up yearning to travel to Ireland with her grandfather after hearing his stories about growing up there. Unfortunately, he passes away before they can go together, but his dying wish is to have Anna spread his ashes there. When Anna goes to his childhood home
to make it his final resting place, she manages to stumble back in time to 1921 – a tumultuous time in Ireland’s history.

Harmon’s writing is exquisite and atmospheric; the story completely envelops the reader and takes them back in time to a tumultuous period of Ireland’s history. Though it has some fantastical elements, this historical fiction was exactly what I was looking for after I hit a slump in the genre. Anne’s story completely captivated me from beginning to end, and definitely had me shedding a few tears.

1. The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by Lori Nelson Spielman

I’m going to try to do this book justice with my review, but I have so many feelings rushing through me. Emilia is a second-born daughter who believes in the family curse that she is unable to love or be loved. When her estranged Aunt Poppy writes to ask Emilia and her cousin Lucy on a trip to accompany her to Italy in order to break the family curse, it is an offer Emilia cannot refuse. Unfortunately, Emilia has lived under her strict Nonna’s rules her entire life, and she is livid with Emilia’s decision to travel with Poppy. Despite disobeying her grandmother’s wishes and ignoring her older sister’s advise, Emilia not only finds herself on the trip, but she learns so much more about her family history than she ever imagined.

Oh my gosh. This is my favorite book I’ve read in 2020. I simply adore Poppy with her tenacity, zest for life and love, and the wisdom. The imagery took me back to my time spent in Italy a few years ago, which was an excellent escape from reality in a time when we can’t travel. I laughed, I cried, but above all I did not want this story to end. It’s also an added bonus that the author is a fellow Michigander!

My TBR pile for 2021 is already massive, and I cannot wait to continue to share my reading list with you. To stay up to date on what I’m reading, check out my Goodreads page, or check out my Instagram stories. What was your favorite book you’ve read this year?

-K.

Week in Review, Vol. IX

WIR 9

Hello and welcome back to my blog!

I’ll be honest, during quarantine, when I should have been creating content, I found it extremely hard to focus and my creativity just was not there. However, now that I’m back to work and my routine is finally going back to normal, I’m excited to share lots of content and some BIG news coming soon!

What better way to jump back into the blog than by bringing back my Week in Review series! A quick recap of what I’ve been up to: house hunting, getting my health and fitness in check, tackling my TBR list, and getting back into the swing of things at work.

Quick Reads

I’ve been working more on my self care and getting my health in check now more than ever before. This The EveryGirl article is full of great new wellness trends to fit into your routine.

Lately, I’ve been increasing my water intake, and here is why you should too, and exactly how much you should be drinking in a day.

In honor of this being my birthday week, here is an interesting article from the Washington Post about why we maybe shouldn’t be blowing out our candles.

Whether conspiracy tiktok has you on the #FreeBritney train or you’re simply hearing the phrase everywhere, The Cut has some more information on the ordeal.

What I’m Reading

“The Shadows” by Alex North – Unfortunately I haven’t had a ton of time to dive into this one yet, but rumor has it that it’s the best thriller of the year so far! Learn more about it on its Goodreads page.

What I’m Watching

Ryan and I have been binging Designated Survivor on Netflix and we are OBSESSED!! We just finished the final season and are so sad it’s over. I’m still making my way through Handmaid’s Tale, and we recently started Unsolved Mysteries on Netflix, and it’s sooo good!

What I’m Listening To

Podcasts that make me giggle:

Absolutely Not / Heather McMahan

The Bitch Bible / Jackie Schimmel

Songs that are stuck in my head thanks to TikTok:

Wait a Minute! / WILLOW

Stunnin’ / Curtis Waters, Harm Franklin

Banana (feat. Shaggy) / Conkarah, DJ Fle

Savage Love (Laxed – Siren Beat) / Jawsh685, Jason Derulo

Watermelon Sugar / Harry Styles

Taylor Swift’s new album Folklore will be on repeat all day!

-K.

 

Week in Review, Vol. V

Happy December! It’s the most magical time of the year and, like most of you, I’ve been in full Christmas prep mode. Holiday engagements are already in full swing for me; In fact, I’m currently writing this while cooking for my annual Wine & Cheese Party with a few of my close friends and sorority sisters! Most of what’s been going on lately is solely work-related, and not much else besides holiday prep, so let’s dive right in, shall we?

Preparing for the holidays with J. Crew

Quick Reads:

What I’m Reading: The Women in the Castle by Jessica Shattuck

What I’m Watching: Madam Secretary 

What I’m Listening To:

Sundress // A$AP Rocky

Roses (with Juice WRLD ft. Brendon Urie) // benny blanco

Project Dreams // Marshmello

I Couldn’t Be More In Love // The 1975

Miracle // CHVRCHES

Recent Purchases:

  • I have been obsessed with this J. Crew crewneck sweater for a while now, and finally took the plunge during their 50% off sale. I’m really into emerald and hunter green right now, but don’t own much of it, so I purchased it in the color “old forest”. I’m beyond ecstatic to style it!
  • Continuing on the theme of J. Crew: During the same aforementioned sale, I bought this belted sheath dress in Black Watch tartan for Christmas Eve. I love the classic look of the dress, and it’s so comfortable! Plus, it’s versatile – I can wear it for dress-y events such as our Christmas Eve party, or I can pair it with a blazer and wear it to the office. 
  • I also just got into essential oils, and purchased a premium starter kit with a diffuser after attending a Young Living party and learning more about them. With my health issues, I figured it wouldn’t hurt to try the holistic approach. I’ll definitely be writing a post on my experience with them in the future when I have been able to properly test them out!

Latest Fashion Pick: Kate Middleton has recently been photographed sporting a velvet bow in her hair numerous times this season, which is giving me some serious inspiration. This next “it” accessory can be found everywhere from Target to Nordstrom.

Looking Ahead: 2018 is quickly drawing to a close, and I’ve been gearing up for Christmas! It’s my absolute favorite time of the year, but it’s also the busiest between preparing for the holidays, and wrapping up work for the year.  I’ve been working hard on both end of the year content, as well as my content calendar for Q1 of next year. I’m incredibly excited to try out some different types of content I haven’t touch yet, so stay tuned!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

-K.

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