Favourite Books of 2020


2020 was a rough year and reading was a struggle for me at times. I barely read 45 books this past year, the lowest number for me for the past couple of years. Despite the small number, there were some real gems among them and I have compiled them in a list with 10 favourite books of 2020. 

1. Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall. Simply the best queer romcom I have read. Funny and sweet and touching, both very real and very over the top. You can read my full review here.

2. Network Effect by Martha Wells. I binged read the Murderbot series and they basically saved may sanity during the lockdown. Never in a million years I thought I would come to care so much about a sentient murder bot and their friends. 

3. Whiteout by Adriana Anders. I really this early in 2020 and it was such a great start to what turned to be a really difficult year. The story was pure adrenaline rush with a dose of romance and I am super excited for the next book coming out in August 2021. You can read my full review here.

4. Chaos Reigning by Jessie Mihalik. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, mostly after reading the previous two book in the series, I approach this one as SFF with romantic elements, rather than as a proper romance. Two people falling in love amidst trying to save their world in some space adventures. You can read my full review here.

5. One Night with the Sexiest Man Alive by Ainslie Paton. This book is all the titles as - one sexy, tropey romance that pushed all my buttons. Strong Pretty Woman vibes (minus the sex work), movie worthy grovel scene in the end. You can read my full review here.

6. Headlines by Lucy Parker. I have loved all of Lucy's books and this one is no exception. Such great enemies to lovers romance. You can read my full review here.

7. Wolf in Sheep's Clothing by Charlie Adhara. This is book 4 in an ongoing series following the same couple (human and werewolf) investigating crimes together. It's high heat, intense suspense and an ever growing romantic relationship. You can read my full review here.

8. Alpha Night by Nalini Singh. Another winner in the Psy-Changeling series. These books were my introduction to paranormal romance and continue to be my favourtie till this day. What I love the most about this story how unique it is in the Psy-changeling world yet it fits perfectly in it.

9. Sweet On You by Carla de Guzman. It's a Christmas romance set in the Philippines and I loved it. steeped in local traditions and delicious food it was a balm to the soul to read. You can read my full review here.

10. To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters. It's a delightful regency romcom that made me laugh and swoon. You can read my full review here.

And bonus entry:

11. Division Bells by Iona Datt Sharma. I picked this on a twitter rec and was taken by surprise how gorgeous it is. It's a bit melancholy, a bit sad, a lot political and ultimately charming and hopeful and i loved it. You can read my full review here.

Historical Romance

Review: To Have and to Hoax by Martha Waters


Title: To Have and to Hoax 
Author:  Martha Waters
Date of publication: 7 Apr 2020
Genre / Themes: Historical Romance / Marriage in trouble / Romcom

Author's links: Website / Twitter / Instagram / Goodreads

My rating: 4 Stars


In this fresh and hilarious historical rom-com, an estranged husband and wife in Regency England feign accidents and illness in an attempt to gain attention—and maybe just win each other back in the process.

Five years ago, Lady Violet Grey and Lord James Audley met, fell in love, and got married. Four years ago, they had a fight to end all fights, and have barely spoken since.

Their once-passionate love match has been reduced to one of cold, detached politeness. But when Violet receives a letter that James has been thrown from his horse and rendered unconscious at their country estate, she races to be by his side—only to discover him alive and well at a tavern, and completely unaware of her concern. She’s outraged. He’s confused. And the distance between them has never been more apparent.

Wanting to teach her estranged husband a lesson, Violet decides to feign an illness of her own. James quickly sees through it, but he decides to play along in an ever-escalating game of manipulation, featuring actors masquerading as doctors, threats of Swiss sanitariums, faux mistresses—and a lot of flirtation between a husband and wife who might not hate each other as much as they thought. Will the two be able to overcome four years of hurt or will they continue to deny the spark between them?


This is a delightful historical romcom, a solid debut by Martha Waters. It's a marriage in trouble plot and the MCs have been estranged for four! years after they had a fight. There is a also ridiculous game of pretend she starts as a way to make him show his feelings for her. It is not something that should work for me on paper but in reality, it was great fun, whimsical and light-hearted but also going deep into issues of family, marriage, intimacy. 

The writing is engaging and clever, the humour worked great for me and overall the story felt rich and very atmospheric. 

The main conflict in the story, a massive row that left Violet and Audley barely speaking to each other for four! years, could have been easily resolved with an honest conversation. It felt like they have wasted four years over nothing, and all their friends agree with me but at the same time it didn't bother me as much as I expected because of them never being in denial about their feelings and then when their game of pretend began they quickly saw through it and went on pretending while admitting their feelings to themselves (and each other eventually).

Audley is the uptight, highly determined and focused, a white knight in shining armour kind of herop (my catnip basically) who is madly in love with his wife but he is really incapable to talk about his feelings, admitting he made the wrong assumption was very difficult for him. Violet is flirty and frivolous, smart and curious and energetic and absolutely loved her. 

They have a turbulent relationship, they have to work on being more open, more trusting, need to find a way to be together but I can see they both want it and ready to put in the effort, so I can see them work as a couple in the long term and that is what got me over their stubbornness and stupidity to cling to their anger for four! years.

I love their tight circles of close friends and can't wait to read more books in the series featuring them. 

I would recommend this book with the caveat that the main conflict is based on a misunderstanding that could have been easily resolved if the MCs just talked to each other. 

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Contemporary Romance

Review: The Forever Girl by Jill Shalvis


Title: The Forever Girl (Wildstone #6)
Author: Jill Shalvis
Date of publication: 12 Jan 2021
Genre / Themes: Contemporary Romance / Small town 

Author's links: Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads

My rating: 3,5 Stars


When Maze returns to Wildstone for the wedding of her estranged bff and the sister of her heart, it’s also a reunion of a once ragtag team of teenagers who had only each other until a tragedy tore them apart and scattered them wide.

Now as adults together again in the lake house, there are secrets and resentments mixed up in all the amazing childhood memories. Unexpectedly, they instantly fall back into their roles: Maze their reckless leader, Cat the den mother, Heather the beloved baby sister, and Walker, a man of mystery. 

Life has changed all four of them in immeasurable ways. Maze and Cat must decide if they can rebuild their friendship, and Maze discovers her long-held attraction to Walker hasn’t faded with the years but has only grown stronger. 


I haven't read the previous books in the series but this works perfectly as standalone. I'd say this story fall between romance and women's fiction - there is a central love story and a HEA but also a lot of time and focus is dedicated to the other characters (found family of the MCs).

I enjoyed the world Jill Shalvis, one were friendships and family matter, where people try to do their best despite the circumstances, where they make mistakes and take wrong turn along the way but are ultimately led by kindness. We get usual dose of pets and babies, mostly for comic relief without overshadowing the romance. 

On the negative side, I felt too much of the conflict was based on misunderstanding. I realise why the Maze ad Walker couldn't discuss things openly from the start. The trauma of their childhood is a serious one that has marked them and it was not easy for them to overcome their fears and to see themselves as worthy of love. 

There were some unexpected plot twists which I liked even though the story more or less went in the direction I expected it to go from the start. It's this familiarity, knowing what is coming, that makes these books comfort reads for me. 

I found this to be a comforting, hopeful story, making me buy the romance between the MCs, leaving me convinced they are right for each other and are good for each other and can make each other happy. It's this hopefulness, the promise of a better future together, that's the reason I read romance.

CW: Child abuse, neglect (in the past), fire, lost of a loved one

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