We read a lot of books in 2020 (207 to be exact between the two of us). Now, that’s a lot of books, which means we read a lot of good ones, some meh ones, and some we’d be happy to rant about to a listening ear.
For the most part, we knew what to expect going into most of the books we read and we were happy with our experience. In some cases, some books came out of nowhere and were leagues better than we expected. Others didn’t live up to expectations and disappointed us. Now, these are not our favourite or least favourite books of 2020, these are just books that exceeded or didn’t quiet meet the expectation we had going in to it.
So, here is a list of 10 of our most surprising and disappointing reads of 2020:
Amber’s Surprising Reads
Biggest reading surprise of the year for me: I really like Neil Gaiman. I had never read any of his work until I took his MasterClass and afterwards I knew I had to to read his books. There was something about the way he talked about writing and building characters that just fascinated me. To then read his books after listening to how he wrote them was a really unique experience. Neverwhere was my favourite of the books of his I read this year and I can officially say I am a big fan of Neil Gaiman.
Samantha made me read this. I feel like this is the case with every Regency romance I read. As with most recommendations from Samantha, this book did not disappoint me. I hadn’t read any of the other books in this series, but from page one I was captivated. This book was the first of many more historical romances I read in 2020. I always knew this was a genre I would enjoy, but hadn’t really explored it until this year. I knew I would enjoy this book, but it really was amazing and I need to get started reading the rest of the series.
Amber’s Disappointing Reads
I bought this book the day it came out and then it sat on my shelf until recently collecting dust. I tried to pick it up multiple times since I bought it, but every time the book just didn’t capture my interest. I couldn’t understand why. Leigh Bardugo, dark academia, magic, and secret societies. Come on. I knew I had to love it, right? That’s like a perfect recipe for ‘How to make Amber fall in love with a book’. But it really didn’t hit the mark for me. You can read my full rant on Ninth House here to see more of why this book was disappointing for me.
I LOVE Call Me By Your Name. So, I was apprehensive about reading Find Me because some stories don’t need sequels. Call Me By Your Name was perfect in every way and I was okay with it ending where it did. When a sequel was announced I felt like it was just fan service after the success of the movie. I was right. I had low expectations for this book and I was still disappointed. Read my full review here.
I had high expectations for this book. Specifically, that I would be reading an ADULT fantasy novel. This read like a YA fantasy which is fine, but it wasn’t really how this book was marketed. So when I got YA tropes I was really disappointed. It also wasn’t as scary or witchy as I had hoped. Read the mini review here.
Samantha’s Surprising Reads
I read this book because people kept mentioning it. There really is no other reason. Oh! It’s set in the South, which I am always a sucker for. Anyways, I didn’t go into this book with high hopes or any hopes at all. Honestly, it was probably the best way to jump into it. I was blown away by the story and the writing. What an emotional rollercoaster! Please read this book. Please. I don’t know what else to say. Well, I did, read my FULL review here.
I’ve said it a million times, so I’ll say it a million and one. When it comes to romance novels, my heart belongs to regency/historical romance. Contemporary was never on the table. That is, until recently. While 2020 was garbage, it did give me a ton of time to read. So, I decided to dabble in some contemporary romance. A lot were ok, but the Winston Brothers Series by Penny Reid hit it out of the park. I love this family SO much. It’s funny and full of shenanigans. You will never want it to end. I know I didn’t. Sigh. If only I could read this for the first time again. I only put the first book up above, but I wouldn’t have put the whole series if I could!
Samantha’s Disappointing Reads
There was and is so much hype around this book. I don’t get it and probably never will. Maybe I didn’t read it at the right time in my life or something. I didn’t connect with any of the characters. In fact, I found them kind of annoying. The biggest problem with this book was probably my approach. I can admit that much. definitely went into this like it was homework. I had put off reading it for too long and felt like I was the only one in the world who hadn’t read it. For my FULL rant, click here.
So, I went into this book with incredibly high hopes. Once upon a time I stumbled upon “The Thirteenth Tale” and just LOVED it — the writing, the mystery, everything. I was hoping this book would have some of the same magic. Well, it did, but it didn’t hit right. I enjoyed the characters, but the book focuses too much on this “Black” character. I don’t know, folks. It was good, but meh-good. You know what I mean?
Ok, this author appear everywhere. It feels like anywhere romance novels are mentioned they show up. So, obviously, I took this as a clear indication of how great their books are. Well, this was my first introduction and BLAH. I did not enjoy this. Lots of angst, which is fine. Fade to black, no thanks. You can’t build up all this sexual tension and then give me nothing. NOTHING. Ugh. I was so annoyed and disappointed. For those of you who are bigs fans of Christina Lauren, there is hope yet! I have since read Roomies and Josh and Hazel, both of which I really enjoyed. However, I will not continue from here. I’m not a big contemporary romance fan to begin with, and have decided to not waste anymore time with this author. Please forgive me!! BUT, don’t hesitate to recommend others!
What books most surprised or disappointed you in 2020?