Discussions,  Lists,  Recommendations

MY FAVOURITE BOOKS OF 2020 // a short top 5 list ft. some honourable mentions

And… Happy New Year’s Eve my friends!

As I said last year, indeed I do wait until the last day of the year to post this. Just in case. Even though I haven’t really added a new fave to this list in a while, only a recent read to the honourable mentions. Unfortunately, my TOP FAVES is not very long at all, I tried to make it longer but I just abandoned all of my 2020 tbr, basically no YA, maybe too much adult romance and a couple of series rereads. Love that for me.

This year has been terrible, to say the least, but I think I had a couple of good reads. Would’ve loved to have many more though. Alas, not everything you wish for comes true. I hope you all have a better 2021. And hoping my list next year will be more diverse in terms of genre, but I don’t want to jinx it so shhhhhh

Related posts:

Without further ado, let’s dive right in. As mentioned, I have my top 5 list of favourites, and then a total of 9 honourable mentions (almost had one other but decided against it).


in no particular order

All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson

This book took me about a million years to finish (not to any fault of the book, I just wasn’t in the audiobook mood) but boy was it AMAZING. I’m slowly trying to venture into non-fiction, and though I haven’t read any more since, I definitely plan on doing so in 2021. And I think this was a good segway into the genre, it’s I think what you’d consider “YA coming-of-age” non-fiction. So it was easy to read as it follows a linear and chronological timeline.

This story is so impactful, especially as it’s narrated by Geroge himself. And it’s definitely a book EVERYBODY needs to read. And I mean HELLO COVER GOALS!!


Meet Me At Midnight by Jessica Pennington

I’m in no way bashing this book (obviously since it’s on this list) as it isn’t the most amazing book I’ve ever read.  But idk, I guess it has a special place in my heart and I frequently think back to it. It’s not everybody’s cup of tea, as it’s really just a cheesy YA romance, but I read it at a time where I think I just needed to smile. And it delivered.

I got to participate in the blog tour which I loved doing. I super loved the characters and the banter and it was just a really fun time. I was quite stressed at the time and it made me smile. Therefore I really wanted to add it to this list. <3<3

Click for my review

Love & Other Words by Christina Lauren

I have gone back to this book to reread my favourite scenes so many times I can’t even count. And you know, I honestly don’t understand my rating system anymore because usually that’s reserved for all-time favourites. Which this isn’t but I have a WEAKNESS. This book just has SO MANY of my favourite romance tropes and though well done, didn’t quite make the cut. I had just a ~few~ issues. Nevertheless, I still love going back to read it because I’m a trash bag.

I would give my life to friends to lovers, specifically childhood friends to lovers, as well as books about grief (ironic right?). And this book was so heartbreaking but also THE DYNAMICS were *chefs kiss*

I’ll see myself out, forever alone.

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall

No this is not the last of the adult romance you’ll be seeing on this list. You have been warned.

Ugh, lemme just tell you about my extremely giddy and delightful time with this book. It is such a TREAT. I laughed SO hard, it’s not even funny. Yes, I am aware of my pun. This is a queer adult romance, similar vibes to Red, White and Royal Blue, and I ~highly~ recommend the audiobook. I read along with it which I recommend even more because it truly just enhances the reading experience. The narrator is British and does all these hilarious voices for each of the characters. It’s just great and you should definitely read it if you haven’t. For fun times ya know?

Click for my blog tour review

How The King of Elfhame Learned To Hate Stories by Holly Black

Oof I am so dying to get my hands on a physical copy of this book because those illustrations are !!!

I kinda almost literally forgot this book was coming out but as soon as I remembered, I had to devour it all. And it was also such a treat. It’s never not going to be a great time in Cardan’s mind amirite. I can’t complain about being in that faerie’s dramatic head for 250 pages. Though I wish it were longer. Which is why it gets an honourable mention and not an official spot.

Ah, I lowkey just wish I could go back and reread this trilogy. WHAT A TIME MY FRIENDS.

From Lukov with Love by Mariana Zapata

So this is the aforementioned recent read that I just HAD to add to the list. Also one I just KEEP going back to reread my favourite scenes. I am a trash human being, this isn’t news to anyone. You’re all intelligent humans, so I seriously need to stop repeating myself.

I just,,, yo who gave this book RIGHTS?!?! At first, I wanted to 3.5 star it, but I bumped it up to 4. And now I’m seriously wanting to push it up higher. The dynamics between the two main characters are just absolute gold and I can’t get enough of it. Mariana Zapata is just… oof so good at what she does. She’s great at the soft-ness, even though this one is enemies to lovers, and lowkey has a magical touch. I’ve picked up on a couple of her writing techniques and I’m just mad I never thought of them first tbh. Genius.

Go and read this one (and Dear Aaron) if you haven’t yet because I’m kinda obsessed.

One of Us Is Next by Karen M. McManus

I’ve talked about how surprised I was to end up really loving this book, especially considering my track record with not only YA thrillers but also this author. But I just thoroughly enjoyed my time and I have absolutely no explanation.

It was fun and entertaining, AND I really liked the mystery element of the story. I tend to find them very weak so. I liked the setting and the fact that we got to see the characters from One of Us Is Lying. It was just all-in-all really good and idk maybe we’ll get a third book. Who knows?

Click for my review

Aristotle & Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

This was my very first read of the year and I have to say that it was very much wonderful.

Honestly, I need to reread it because I guess I went in not knowing what to expect? It was just so hyped and I read it not quite understanding what it was going to be about. And I definitely think reading it again will make me love it even more. Nevertheless, it was such an amazing and beautiful story. Plus, NEED THAT SEQUEL PLEASE AND THANK YOU.

I mean it was gay and set in the 80s and I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect set-up. Did I mention that I’d like the sequel now?!?!

Imagine Me by Tahereh Mafi

Everybody who hates this book is wrong and just didn’t get it.

No, I’m kidding. We’re all entitled to our own opinions. I just really enjoyed this one and am in all the feels because I *think* the series now actually over. Which is sad, but it was time haha. Maybe it was just because I went in with low expectations, so I wasn’t disappointed with this finale’s delivery. Plus I watched the IG live where everything was explained. So to me, it all made sense.

Anyways, even though it definitely wasn’t the same as the rest of the series, my anxiety was still high and I hardcore shipped Warnette. So my life is fulfilled and I can now die in peace.

Click for my review

TOP 5 BOOKS OF 2020:

5. Chain of Gold by Cassandra Clare

Excuse this very basic entry to my list, I am a very basic human being. And to anybody asking if I’ve made my mind up about this book since I read it in March, the answer is no. It still has no star rating and I’m a terrible book reviewer. But all I know is that the ending was brutal and I did not survive my emotions.

And few books provide me with those kinds of emotions. So that has to mean something. I’m definitely going to need to reread this before the sequel comes out and hopefully post my review also.

Oh and also: Daddy Will.

That is all.

4. The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary

Oh to be Ruby back in early 2020 reading this delight for the first time. What a time to be alive.

You know, honestly, I had absolutely no interest in reading this book at all. Idk I think I just thought that I enjoyed romance movies over romance novels. But obviously, I was very wrong and this book was sort of my gate into ADORING adult romance. I think I’d read one other before this, but it wasn’t exactly my cup of tea. I’ve become very picky. But this one just gave me all the smiles.

I went in thinking it would just be a fun time, but in turn, I found that it was just unexpectedly uplifting and creative. I’m struggling to describe my feelings so bear with me, but I find a lot of romances can just about border on being unhealthy, or for instance, simply have too much drama. Which can be amazing but sometimes can be toxic. This book, however, was so incredibly healthy, in my opinion. Whilst also touching on some really serious issues, like being in a verbally abusive relationship. For me, it just ticked all the boxes. I thought it was paced really well and it was soft and tender. And just,,, why do I want to say unicorn glitter? Feel like that kinda describes it?

Just loved it loved it loved it.

3. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Random fact before I get into it, but this is like my most-liked Instagram photo and I have absolutely no idea why. But I woke up to I think 500 likes and it grew to 800. Kinda love to see it.

Anyways, it is ironic that this book simultaneously got a place on my list, yet also that I’d never read it before now. Seriously, I am forever shamed that I only read it this year. It’s definitely on-brand for me but nonetheless, I am shamed lmao.

Anyways, if you haven’t read this book yet, or seen Anne With An E, then I don’t know what you’re doing with your life. Because it is SO GOOD and I adore this story ever so much. I’ve loved the show for ages and had only read pieces of the book. Children’s classics are my forever favourite. You get so much out of them and to be quite honest, they’re so much easier and more… playful than adult classics. But the story of Anne Shirley is just so full of life and spirit. It’s a coming of age and I think the reason why I love it so much is because I really saw myself in Anne. I also listened to the audiobook narrated by Rachel McAdams whilst I read the book, took me like two nights, and I LOVED that experience. Ugh so so so so good and I definitely want to collect the rest of the series because it’ll never be enough.

2. Beach Read by Emily Henry

Oh, the way this book touched me in ways I didn’t think were possible. I remember reading this book was just an experience™ and that I felt A LOT of emotions.

I think I had one of Emily Henry’s YA books as an honourable mention last year which is fun. Maybe idk. And I definitely want to make it a goal to read all of Mrs Henry’s backlist. Plus I’m super excited for her upcoming adult romance out next year that I’m trying to get my hands on an ARC of. But this book,,, Wow it pulls AT THE HEARTSTRINGS. I laughed. I cried. I died inside. It was a lot.

My favourite kind of adult romance is one that has some other element alongside the romance plotline that balances it out. It gives me something else to care about,  to help the main character grow. This one deals with grief, and it was just SO well done. Emily Henry’s writing is also BEAUTIFUL, which is no surprise as she usually writes magical realism. Just so good and I loved it a whole lot. I got to participate in the blog tour too, which just always make me feel special hehe

Click for my review

and drum roll, please…

1. These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong

Behold your exclusive sneak peek of something, to which you get no clues because I want to keep a secret.

I was kinda debating what book should take this place. I went back and forth but like NOTHING has been able to top this one right here. Honestly a miracle I even read YA at all. Ms Chloe tore my heart to pieces, rebuilt it but then stomped all over it again. The ending is even MORE brutal than my number 5 spot. And just,,, I still haven’t recovered. And I honestly don’t know if I’ll survive book two, I don’t know what Ms Chloe is going to do to us. This makes me scared and gives me anxiety. Love that for me.

Here’s the deal, I ~WOULD~ give my life, jump in front of a bus, do anything, for Roma and Juliette. I’m not even exaggerating. It’s been a while since I found THE new YA OTP. I LOVE THEM WITH MY ENTIRE HEART. And, of course, I loved everything else about this book. The plot, the writing, the time period and world-building. No other book I read just had all of my favourite elements and it was SO SO SO GOOD. SEQUEL SEQUEL SEQUEL!!!!

Pray for me November 2021.

I hate it here.

And that is all I have for today. Last post of the most dreadful year. THANK THE HEAVENS.

I said this last year, but it’s true: see you on the other side!!

Peace out

us leaving 2020 like:


Happy reading




  • Ruby (Ruby Reads and Reviews)

    Great post, Ruby!! I loved These Violent Delights too. I just read it and was blown away by how amazing it was! I also need the sequel now!! I’m glad you liked Ari and Dante, it’s such a beautiful book! Also Anne of Green Gables is such a fun series and no one I know irl has read the books, but I love them so much! I actually got to go to PEI a couple of years ago and see all of the places that inspired the book. It was so beautiful!

    Anyways, wonderful post and I hope you have a great 2021!

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Ah thank you so much!!

      Yessss I AM SO SO SO GLAD you loved it. I just,,, am still not over it. That Christmas story man, DESTROYED ME. Ari and Dante are just the most beautiful souls *insert heart eyes*

      Omg glad to have found someone who loves it also. Trying to force everyone to read Anne because it’s SO GOOD. So so so excited to continue with the series <3<3 Also I am very jealous and def adding PEI to my list of travel destinations because !!!!

      Here's to a hopefully better 2021!

  • Kirsten @ The Novel Existence

    Omg I am so excited to read These Violent Delights! It’s amazing that it is Chloe’s debut novel! Also I’ve only read Shatter Me and am hesitant to continue past the first trilogy as the second gets a lot of hate. But you liking it a lot gives me a but of hope. Anyway great post Ruby! You run such a pretty blog!

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Ah thank you so much, you are too kind <3<3

      READ IT NOW READ IT NOW READ IT NOW!!! You shall not regret it and Chloe will ruin you.

      I 100% recommend the first trilogy but hmmm I'm hesitant on recommending it to you because yeah it has a lot of hate. BUT if you go in knowing it's not the same, you should still enjoy it. There are still some really great moments : )

  • Sumedha

    I agree with so many books on your list!! (Except Beach Read which I highly disliked *grimace*) I keep hearing about Chain of Gold but honestly after the EXCRUCIATING experience of reading The Dark Artifices books as they came out and waiting two whole years in the middle…. I’ll just binge this trilogy at the end thanks.
    Hope you have a great reading year in 2021 as well!

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Ah thank you so much for stopping by Sumedha!!

      Omg I’m so sorry Beach Read was disappointing, I’d heard very mixed things. Omg you are kind of a genius because YES THE WAITING IS HORRIBLE.

      Here’s to a hopefully better 2021 xoxox

  • Caro @ bookcheshirecat

    I loved reading about your favorite books of 2020, especially as I haven’t read any of them yet 😄 I definitely have heard great things about Beach Read, so I’d like to maybe pick it up! I plan on reading more adult books in 2021 so this is perfect 😊

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Ah thank you for stopping by Caro <3<3 omg yes you def need to add Beach Read to your tbr and then lemme know what you think!! Also same, I want to read more adult fiction, not just romance haha

  • Ash @ Starlight Strands

    i… haven’t read any of these except for these violent delights but YES it was so good 😭😭😭 i’m not ready for chloe gong to destroy me with the sequel but at the same time i want it now because that cliffhanger :)))) i’ve heard many amazing things about ari and dante and i’m so glad you enjoyed it as well!! it sounds so good and i need to pick it up asap 💖 and yess the cover of all boys aren’t blue is so pretty and i need to read it soon too!! i love this post and u 🥰

    (ALSO 👀 is the secret project a bookish outfit or lookbook for tvd 👀👀)

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Ash omg hi LOVE YOU!!!! Also yes, my favourites list is very different than my usual so,,,

      CAN WE PLEASE SCREAM TOGETHER BECAUSE IM STILL IN PAINNNNN *cries forever* Damn Chloe, how dare she?!?!?!

      Also eeep yes read Ari & Dante (could do a buddy read if you’d like??). And OMG YES!!!! That designer deserves an award because woweeeee

      (and 👀 idk you tell me…)

  • Sophie @ Me & Ink

    I loved reading this and hearing how passionate you are for all these books. Honestly most of these are on my TBR especially now. All Boys aren’t Blue, Boyfriend Material, From Lukov with Love are probably the ones at the top so I’m so glad to hear your speak so highly of them!!
    I completely agree about The Flatshare being so healthy which I think is what I really liked about the story too. I’m excited to check out more from the author too.
    Yesss I definitely need the sequel to These Violent Delights asap !! haha !!
    Great list and I hope 2021 is full of great reads too ! 💕

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Eeeeep Sophie, thank you so much for being here. Okay you MUST definitely let me know what you think, they’re all such fun reads!!

      I would love to just read The Flatshare all over again tbh. The Road Trip sounds so brilliant omg <3<3 Did you see the sequel announcement,,,, SCREAMING ABOUT OUR VIOLENT ENDS OMGGGG

      Hope your 2021 has been going super well xoxoxoxo

  • Lais @ The Bookish Skies

    as someone who’s currently re-reading ari & dante, i highly encourage you to do so! it’s my first time listening to the audiobook and i was a bit put off because it’s narrated by liv manuel miranda, but i just love being back with these characters and this story so much. it always puts me in an introspective mood and i just start reflecting on all the things. but, yes, i NEED the sequel already!

    these violent delights was officially added to my TBR, i think it showed up in pretty much everyone’s favorites of the year post, so i’m hyped. i was a bit hesitant because even though i love romeo and juliet, fantasy is not entirely my thing as you know. but i am so glad you loved it so much & your pictures for the book were SO PRETTY!!!!!!!!!!#( i’ve already raved about them on bookstagram, but they were super creative and beautiful.

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Aye-aye captain, I shall be rereading Ari and Dante, wish my tear ducts luck haha *wink wink* (yo I would’ve thought the audiobook would be good BECAUSE of his narration, is it bad??)

      TVD IS ON EVERYBODY’S LISTS FOR A REASON MY FRIEND!! And you definitely need to scream at me and send me updates when you read please!!!!! Also don’t be nervous about the fantasy aspect because it’s more historical fiction than anything.

      eeeeep love you to the moon and back Lais. Truly, your comment means so much. I was so excited to take those photos and I’m pretty chuffed with how they turned out. Tysm xoxoxo

      • Stephen Writes

        No surprise to see which was your favourite book of the year 😉❤ These Violent Delights was definitely right up there for me too. I actually struggled with One Of Us Is Next (review went up today) but overall a brilliant list, Ruby! I hope you have a special reading year in 2021 🥰

        • Ruby Rae Reads

          Heheh I mean I can be a lady of surprise but in this instance I was very predictable lmao. But also I’m SO HAPPY that you loved and that it grabbed a spot on your list xoxox

          Ah I just saw that you didn’t love. And I totally understand. I’m not sure I’d like it as much now but I remember at the time, I was just thoroughly surprised hehe

          Lots of love and here’s to a hopefully amazing 2021 reading year <3<3

  • May @ Forever and Everly

    i love that you enjoyed these violent delights so much!! it definitely was such an amazing book and i’m truly in awe of what chloe gong was able to achieve, i can’t wait for the sequel either <3 and rereading ari and dante is 100% an amazing idea!! my own personal experience with it probably affected how i viewed it the second time (the first time i read it, i thought i was straight haha) but it definitely is a wonderful book to re-experience <3 hope you find other amazing books in 2021!!

  • Dezzy @ The Thoughtful Voice

    ahh i LOVED reading this post Ruby, so fun to read!! i recently finished Boyfriend Material and oMG, it was truly one of the *funniest* books i’ve ever read – i genuinely could not stop laughing while reading it ahahaha. such an enjoyable experience and i love Luc & Oliver & Luc’s friends & Luc’s coworkers and honestly all of the characters sm hehe. definitely gave me RWRB vibes, and i feel like i hadn’t laughed this much at a book since RWRB LOL. also YEESSSS The Flatshare was such a cute & wonderful read and i loved how healthy and supportive the romance was 😭 it made my heart happy. i also finished These Violent Delights recently and i still cannot get over the ending AAHHHH, i would die for Juliette and Roma and i absolutely can’t wait to read the sequel :’) wonderful post Ruby!!

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Omg Dezzy THANK YOU for your wonderful comment, you’ve made my day!!!!

      Eeeeep yay, ugh it’s such a delight and SO SO SO FUNNY. Smiling from ear to ear right now because YES to everything. Indeed all the RW&RB vibes oof *chefs kiss*

      And a double yay for loving The Flatshare because yo I’ve been seeing quite the few rather meh reviews and I FEEL ALONE HERE ahaha

      I AM ALWAYS HERE TO SCREAM ABOUT THESE VIOLENT DELIGHTS AND I NEED A SEQUEL BUT IM ALSO NOT READY. My friend, earth has become a desolate place and it’s only light is knowing Roma and Juliette exist somewhere *cries forever*

      Lots of love!!!!!!!

  • trufflereads

    Chain of Gold is on my TBR for this year and I’m so excited! I’m really hoping to read more romance this year too, particularly Christina Lauren cause I LOVED their novel called The Honeymooners. What a great reading year Ruby <3 have an amazing 2021!

    • Ruby Rae Reads

      Ah Tracy, hope you love Chain of Gold! I’m def rereading it before the sequel hehe

      And oof adult romance has become my life, I’ve already read like 4 this year already whoops. I need to venture more into Christina Lauren, I tried The Unhoneymooners and I,,, unfortuneatly dnf’ed it

      Thank you for stopping by. Hope you’re 2021 is amazing also xoxo

Leave a Reply

Skip to content