Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Reads from the First Half of 2020

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This week’s TTT topic is technically “Books That Make Me Smile” but at roughly half way through the year, I always like to pause and reflect on my favorite reads thus far. Plus, great reads generally make me smile, so it still works for the prompt, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Picking favorites and ordering them is generally hard, but I think I actually settled on an order that I’m happy with!

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

10. Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott


Such a fascinating read! In this memoir, Lamott touches on so many important subjects–body image, eating disorders, addiction, abuse, etc. She also explores Christianity from a quirky and unique perspective that I had never read before. My favorite thing about this book was her voice; her narration sounds like she’s talking directly to you, and she’s such a hoot! She reminded me of another memoirist that I love: Dawn Davies. Hoping to read Lamott’s book on writing someday!

9. Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin


I completely devoured this book in a little over a day. An enemies-to-lovers involving marriage, witches, and witch-hunters–it was such a treat to read!

8. The Tea Dragon Festival by Katie O’Neill


So! cute! and! beautifully! diverse! In a gorgeous, colorful world, O’Neill incorporates various queer rep and sign language without being flashy about it. And dragons! SO ADORABLE! I can’t stop screeching about it, and I can’t wait to read more by her!!

7. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell


I don’t know if it’s possible to do this book justice with a short paragraph, but this novel explores so many things: found families, space travel, philosophy, religion, grief–to name a few. Though it took me a bit to get into, once I got to know the characters, I was completely captivated. It’s one of those books you go in knowing the ending, but not how it came about. I highly recommend it!

6. The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien

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Y’all already know how incredible Tolkien is, so to prevent all of his books from appearing on this list, I decided to just throw the last book of the LOTR trilogy on here. I’m still drooling over Tolkien’s astounding worldbuilding and Sam’s character (aka the true hero of the book).

5. Ash by Malindo Lo


I wasn’t going to include rereads on this list, but it’s been like 9 years since I first read it, so it was basically a new read so SHHHHHH, it’s staying. This lesbian Cinderella retelling possesses such a perfect fairytale atmosphere and had me completely enchanted. Like all the books on this list, I could forever read more about this story and its characters.

4. Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust

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So glad I read this book right before the half-way point of the year so I can continue to scream about it here on my blog! A sapphic fairytale retelling/mashup with demons, monsters, and a girl whose skin is poisonous, NEED YOU KNOW MORE?!? (if you somehow need more convincing, you can read more of my praises here).

3. Let’s Talk About Love by Claire Kann


THIS BOOK IS SO CUTE! It was honestly the perfect summer rom-com to read! Plus it gets extra points in my book for being NA! Alice is a person I 100% need in my life, ahhhhhh why do fictional characters have be fictional???? So rude…

2. A Million Junes by Emily Henry


The beautiful, whimsical and fantastical atmosphere of this book took me by surprise and I want moreeee. They characters, scenery, and magical realism were all equally enthralling. This book even had me tearing up at the end, and I’m not one to cry often.

1. House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas


I’m still SJM trash, so there’s really nothing new here. Though some of the book felt a bit rushed in terms of reveals (weird thing to say about an 800 page book but ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ). Regardless, I LOVED how epic, dramatic, and captivating the story was. Though still full of those lovable SJM tropes, I adored seeing her write more of a mystery plotline with darker tones and a focus on female friendship. You can read my full review here. I am PUMPED for book 2 (anyone have any idea when it’ll be out??)

What are some of your favorite reads from the first half of 2020? Do we have any that overlap? Are there books on my list that you’ve read or hope to read?

If you participated in TTT this week, feel free to link up your post in the comments belowโ€“I would love to check them out!

17 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite Reads from the First Half of 2020”

  1. I AM SO GLAD YOU LIKED LORD OF THE RINGS. And yes, Sam is the true hero–the CHIEF hero, as Tolkien puts it–of the story.

    I’m also glad you found a lot of reads this year to make you smile. Such a good feeling! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love your switch-up for this week’s TTT! It inspires me to do the same. I have just recently looked at my mid-year goals and identified where I made good progress and where I lacked! I am so glad you are enjoying the LOTR series!


    1. Thank you! I swear this subject was a regular TTT topic but it seems it’s gotten skipped this year and last year?? ๐Ÿคทโ€โ™€๏ธ Idk, maybe not.
      But honored to hear I inspired you! And oooh, I still need to do a mid-year check-in on my goals….lol I’m a little scared to do so

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I ended up not putting all my mid-year stats in my post, so I am thinking I should make a second one! I am looking forward to seeing how you’ve done mid-year. ๐Ÿ™‚
        And yes, I remember there were mid-year TTTs like that in the past. You did not make this up.


        1. Baha, glad I am not delusional!
          And I am all for multiple posts reflecting on the first half of the year! ๐Ÿ™‚ There’s picking your fav reads, the mid-year freak-out tag, checking in on your goals…so many things to cover!

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I have read exactly NONE of these, and gosh, I feel ashamed. I checked out House of Earth and Blood, but I’ve had so much reading lately that I didn’t get a chance to get to it before I had to return it. Gonna have to check that out again soon. I’ve been curious about Girl, Serpent, Thorn and was waiting to see what others thought before deciding whether or not to read it, but it sounds like that one definitely needs to be on my list!


    1. Ooooh, that happens to me all the time, especially when the library books are more intimidating, big books like HoEaB
      And yess, def give Girl, Serpent, Thorn a chance! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Liked by 1 person

    1. House of Earth and Blood is such a fun read! I truly hope you love it when ya get a chance to pick it up! ๐Ÿ˜€
      And OMG, thank you for following me! โค โค I always love connecting with readers with similar tastes in books!


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