Tuesday, December 29, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Reads of 2020

While I haven't posted here on the blog since January, I have enjoyed some great reads this year, and I would love to share about them with you! This week's Top Ten Tuesday* topic is "Favorite Books of 2020," so I'm joining in now to share my picks. I would love to hear about your favorites of the year in the comments section!

*Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. The image above is from Jana's blog.

10 Favorite New-to-Me Reads

by Katherine Reay

This was a lovely, moving read! I really appreciated the emphasis on truth and forgiveness and living in the present. The way the narration alternates between characters is so creative, and the ending is very satisfying. I teared up a few times.

by Johanna Spyri

This is a very sweet classic! It was great to feature this one for a read-along earlier this year, between the lovely setting and the great characters and the faith elements. 

by A.G. Marshall

I snatched this up when it was available as a free Kindle ebook, and I'm so glad I did! I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed these little fairy-tale retellings. They're familiar but unique, clever and quite sweet. My favorite short stories in the volume might be "The Bruised Princess" and "The Curse of Gold," but it's hard to pick because the others were creative and entertaining too! There was either a sweet romance or the hint/possibility of one in each story, which I appreciated.

by Amanda Dykes

I loved the fictional Maine setting and the beautiful heart of this book, full of hope and light. The poetic wording and imagery and themes are lovely, as well as the way the story is puzzled together over the decades and generations. 

by Louisa May Alcott

While I wish there were more emphasis on grace in this overall lovely saga, perhaps more of a biblical balance in the portrayal of faith, I really loved the lessons for daughters, wives, and mothers in this classic. Lots of great lines and reminders, and an enjoyable story! 

by Anne Mateer

This book set during the Spanish flu pandemic totally and surprisingly captured me. The heroine is imperfect but still loving and relatable. I loved experiencing her viewpoint and seeing all the twists and turns of her story as she learned to release her dreams and plans to God. Such a great read, and I'm so glad I finally read it (as it's been on my shelf for a long time!).
by Hillary Manton Lodge

I really enjoyed this modern retelling of Sense and Sensibility! This author does a great job with food references; I loved all the talk of tea and baked goods. It's also a neat twist to have the "Marianne" character (Jane) be the main character, providing an interesting take on the plot. This story is sweet, creative, and full of great descriptions, and I appreciated how it pulled me in despite my familiarity with the general plot line.

by John Hendrix

This book provides a very compelling presentation of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's story and the historical context of Germany and World War II. The content and illustrations are understandably intense but make for a readable and immersive experience. There's a sequence at the end that is especially beautiful in how it's portrayed. A powerful book!

by Shannon Hale

Such an intense and intriguing fairy-tale retelling! I really like the diary format of this book and the ingenuity of the main character, Dashti. It's awesome how she holds on to hope and life through severe trials. Also, the romance in this story is just too sweet! 
by Arlem Hawks

Such a fun and clever little fairy-tale retelling! Who would think you could have such a cute Regency romance based on "The Gingerbread Man"? I love the way this story is told, including all the delicious gingerbread and bakery descriptions. A sweet wintertime read to savor!

Bonus: Favorite Children's Book

by Sophie Blackall

I fell in love with this children's book when reading it to my daughter. I borrowed it from the library a couple times, and I just recently ordered a copy to have in our home. It shares such a sweet portrayal of family and the time of lighthouse keepers...and the ending is full of nostalgia. 

Bonus: Favorite Audiobook 

by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

I've read this story before, but I loved hearing it performed as an audiobook with a group of narrators! They do such a great job, and the letters come to life through their accents and emotions. I was glad to revisit the story and characters in this way! 


Lydia said...

I've heard a lot of good things about The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society.

My post.

Brittaney said...

I've read several of these and enjoyed them too. My favorite audio book experience this year was Daddy Long Legs.

Jen | Book Den said...

I love Little Women. :)

Stephen said...

Jane of Austin sounds like it might be fun to look in to -- and the Wings of a Dream book is probably not my sort of thing, but the Spanish flu epidemic caught my eye!

iloveheartlandX said...

I need to actually read the Guernsey book at some point, I really enjoyed the film but have never read the book.
My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2020/12/29/top-ten-tuesday-296/

Susan said...

LITTLE WOMEN is one of my favorite all-time books! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I remember loving HEIDI when I was little, but it's been a looonnnggg time since I've read it. Maybe it's time for a re-read ...

Happy TTT!

Chloe the MovieCritic said...

Amber!!! It's so good to see a post from you!! I was worried about how things were for you since I hadn't heard anything since January, before all of this craziness of 2020 started. These all look like sweet books! I've only read Heidi (of course, as the read-along was terrific!), Little Women, and TGLAPPPS. Ah, and now you have a daughter!! <3 I wish all the best to you and your family in 2021.

Hamlette (Rachel) said...

So many good books here! I love Printed Letter Bookshop and Jane of Austin and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (the audiobook is SO GOOD!), and Little Women and Heidi are old friends :-) Wonderful list!

Christopher @ Plucked from the Stacks said...

I somehow missed The Printed Letter Bookshop, but I've seen it on a lot of lists this week. Definitely adding it to my TBR pile now. Love the sound of it.

Erin @ Lavish Literature said...

Great list! I received a copy of Little Women for Christmas, so I really need to read it soon!

Lauren Stoolfire said...

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was excellent on audiobook. I just recently enjoyed the movie adaptation. Great list!

Lauren @ Always Me

Amber Holcomb said...

It’s a lovely story, and I really enjoy the epistolary/letter format! Thanks for stopping by! :)

Amber Holcomb said...

Awesome! And oooh, Daddy-Long-Legs is one of my favorites, but I haven’t listened to it in audio. Who was the narrator of the version you listened to? Thank you for your comment!

Amber Holcomb said...

It’s a great story! :)

Amber Holcomb said...

Jane of Austin really is a fun reading experience! And the time period of Wings of a Dream definitely made for an interesting and compelling read this year. Thank you for checking out my post!

Amber Holcomb said...

I enjoyed the movie too! I definitely recommend the book—it’s neat to read (or hear) the letters and experience the characters in that way!

Amber Holcomb said...

I can totally understand why Little Women would be an all-time favorite for you! It’s a great book. :) Hope you enjoy revisiting Heidi if you do pick it up again! It’s such a sweet read. Happy (belated) TTT to you too—and happy New Year!

Amber Holcomb said...

Thank you so much for your sweet comment, friend! <3 It has been a crazy year, hasn’t it? We are doing well, though—plenty of ups and downs, but God has blessed us abundantly with our little girl and His provision! Big hugs to you, and I hope you and yours are well and will have a blessed 2021! Thank you again for your thoughtfulness and friendship <3

Amber Holcomb said...

Thank you so much! The audiobook version of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society truly is wonderful. :D I love your list too!! So fun that Hillary Manton Lodge’s series made your list; I haven’t read the first book, but I greatly enjoyed the last two! Over the Moon was also a great read, and so many awesome titles/authors on your re-reads list. I need to re-read more classics! :)

Amber Holcomb said...

Yay! Hope you enjoy it; it’s a great story, cleverly told!

Amber Holcomb said...

Thank you!! And that’s awesome; hope you enjoy it! :)

Amber Holcomb said...

I so agree! I’ve loved taking in the story in its various formats—reading, listening, and watching. :) Thank you for stopping by!

Aj @ Read All The Things! said...

I read Heidi as a kid! I don’t remember it very well. I should probably reread it. Happy 2021!

Aj @ Read All The Things!

Amber Holcomb said...

Thank you, Aj, and happy 2021 to you too!! I think Heidi would be a sweet and comforting read to revisit. Hope you enjoy it again if you do! :)