I’ll tell you again in case you haven’t heard: 2020 was a shit year. One for the history books. 2020 tested society in more ways than one.
I’m one of those annoying (and very fortunate) people who could easily argue that 2020 was one of the best years of my life. The Great Pause forced me to slow down and provided an opportunity to self-reflect and decide how to best spend my time. I wore sweatpants most days and became my husband’s new office buddy. And it allowed me to read over twice as much as I did the previous year.
Twenty-seven. That’s the number of books I read last year. It’s over double how many I read the previous year. Pretty good, right? I thought so until my mom, an avid romance novel reader, told me she had read over one hundred books. Say what, Mom? 😲 #goals
Most of the books I read last year were great, and I’ll share reviews of those over the next few months on my blog. But three really stood out and are worthy of making the top books to recommend.
#1 The Girl With All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
Leave your pitchforks at home because I’m about to share an unpopular opinion. Zombies are overrated and overused in storytelling–both in books and on TV. Sure, a few stories exist that surprised me. The intelligent zombies in I Am Legend freaked me out. And it wasn’t just Brad Pitt that had me at the edge of my seat in World War Z. Fast zombies who learn to create a living ladder, no thank you.
But the standard zombie story of slow, flesh-eating zombies told from the perspective of the last survivors trying to find a cure or a way to wipe them all out just isn’t creative anymore. It bores me.
It may then surprise you that I picked up The Girl With All The Gifts AND loved it.
The Girl With All The Gifts is a brilliant post-apocalyptic zombie story. It’s too tricky to review without spoiling the story. If you like science fiction stories with unique beings, then I encourage you to read this book.
#2 Stillhouse Lake Series by Rachel Caine
Two of the Stillhouse Lake books made my reading list in 2020. Clearly, I really enjoy this story. The quick series plot summary is this: Gina Royal was unknowingly married to a serial killer who killed women on tape in their garage. Revenge-hungry Internet trolls think she was either in on the murders or at least knew about them and did nothing. Gina takes her kids into hiding like any good mother would and changes their names. The story unfolds as her identity is exposed, and she has to fight for her and her children’s lives.
The first book, Stillhouse Lake, is good. However, the book was slow-moving because of involved extensive character building. But the climax and ending captivated me.
The second book, Killman Creek, is phenomenal as Caine takes us on a creative and engaging ride. Gina Royal tries to take matters into her own hands to stop the violence against her family.
The third book, Wolfhunter River, proves that once you’ve made your readers fall in love with your characters, you can take the story anywhere.
I’m excited to read the fourth and fifth books in this series this year and hope you’ll join me as a Stillhouse Lake fan.
#3 The Girl in Cabin 13 by A.J. Rivers
Have you read so many murder mystery novels that, at this point, the author rarely surprises you? Me too, which is why I loved The Girl in Cabin 13 so much. I’m often two steps ahead of the story and find myself reading to see if I’m right. Rivers, however, kept me guessing the entire book.
The story follows Emma, an undercover FBI agent. She is sent to a small town to investigate why people keep disappearing. The characters and Rivers’ writing style makes this story stand out and truly worth your time.
We’re nearing the end of the pandemic as vaccinations become available, and it’s my hope that we continue to incorporate mindful activities that fuel our souls. Reading is that activity for me. Keep checking back for more book reviews or follow me on Instagram so we can be reading buddies.
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