You didn’t really think I could manage a top ten list without further breaking this down, did you? I should mention, this list is further limited by contemporary romances released in 2020. Anyway, I’m not sure this list is going to be actually ranked, but I am going to give it a shot. My top two slots depend largely on my mood at the moment though so… It is what it is. 🙂
10. Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur
I’ve talked about how much I love Darcy and Elle and how I think this was such a well-plotted and paced debut, so there’s not really much left to say except I really did love this book so, so very much.
9. The Hitman by Katrina Jackson
This book was such a delight, which seems like the weirdest thing to say about a book that opens with a woman discovering her fiancé cheated on her the night before their wedding and leaving to go on their honeymoon solo. But, it was in fact delightful. Because in Italy, Zahra meets Giulio, a member of the mafia, and like, adventures and steamy times ensue.
8. Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall
Again, I’ve talked about Luc and Oliver a few times throughout this #Top10of2k20 challenge so I’m not going to belabor the point. I’ll just say that this book was like a warm hug with messy characters being wrapped up in love and that’s basically everything I ever want.
7. Just a Heartbeat Away by Cara Bastone
Sebastian, Via, and little Matty absolutely ripped my heart out and ran away with it. I loved this book so much. This little family and the side characters? They hurt my heart, but also served as such a great reminder of how we can think of family. It’s more than just those we’re born connected to, but also about who we choose to show up for over and over again even when things are really hard. I love this whole series and I hope Cara Bastone writes a million more books because I’m here for them.
6. 40-Love by Olivia Dade
The meet-disaster between Tess and Lucas was full of banter and the joy of that moment lasts through the entire book, even as Tess and Lucas are both grappling with the new romance between them and what they want from their future. I loved everything about this book. I wish more educators like Tess on the world too because wow, she so cares about the students under her supervision. This book is top notch and just what 2020 required.
5. The Roommate by Rosie Danan
I’ve talked about how much I love Clara, but I really want to talk about how well Danan wrote a character who is a bit repressed sexually and arguably otherwise thanks to her upbringing and challenges that without really putting down other people. I think it’s remarkably well done in the way that it handles the subject matter. But most importantly, Clara and Josh are both really well drawn characters and I loved their romance.
4. Love Hard by Nalini Singh
Nalini’s books, regardless of whether she’s writing PNR/UF or contemporary feel like coming home to me. Like, there’s something about escaping into the Bishop-Esera family that is like a warm hug where you just want to stay a while. This book was no exception. I love this series and this installment with Juliet and Jake was just… everything.
3. Beach Read by Emily Henry
This book made me feel all of the emotions and I loved it so much. I sent like five people messages telling them they had to read it immediately. I could not stop talking about it. I love this book so much. I know it’s been controversial, but for me, this book was exactly what I needed and it felt like I was seeing a part of myself on page that isn’t necessarily something I present to the public. I loved seeing January’s anger and grief and all of her messy emotions tangled up in seeing Gus again. I loved January period. I thought this book was funny and sad and sweet and angsty. It worked for me incredibly well, but I recognize that not everyone had that experience!
2. You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle
Naomi is the messiest character I think I fell in love with all year. She’s gloriously spiteful and rather than communicate about her feelings and her needs, she takes the nuclear option. I loved her so much. Maybe it’s bad to relate as much as I did to Naomi, but listen, I get it. Sometimes you just have to act like you know what you’re doing because you’re trying to prove a point! But the romance here?? Top notch excellence. I couldn’t figure out how these two could possibly come back together, but they did and I LOVED it.
And now, before we get to my top favorite (which you may have guessed), I need to interrupt myself to talk about the ones I couldn’t fit on this list, You Had Me at Hola by Alexis Daria was magnificent and I loved it for so much more than the cover. One of my favorite things was the therapy assisted HEA. And Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey was really wonderful, but I talked about it a decent amount in my OTPs post so I’ll leave it at that. And finally, Spoiler Alert by Olivia Dade was really, really wonderful and the book that I needed this year. It was like a hug holding me close and I really, really loved it. This list is fiercely competitive!
1. Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
And finally, the book that gave me so much joy this year! Another book that had me texting everyone in my life from the get go being like THIS BOOK and flailing a lot. I’m also very happy to report that I’ve gotten at least one other person hooked to the point of demanding to know when Eve’s book will be here, so my work here is done. Just kidding, I will definitely keep shoving this entire series at people until I’m dead probably. Zafir and Dani are both amazing and I love them a lot and I love Talia. Okay, that is all.
And there you have some largely incoherent rambling about why the books I love are the best. I hope you’ll tell me about your own favorites or where to find your lists because this is my favorite end/beginning of the year thing that we do. Sharing the things we love. It gives me great joy.