Undine Reads

Reviews Romance, Mystery, Science Fiction & Fantasy

January 19, 2021

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I meant to read in 2020

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.

So many books to read

SO.MANY. I wanted to read so many more books than I did in 2020. Part of it is that my TBR list grows constantly. Happily, most of my favorite authors have a book a year published. Working in a library means that corkers recommend books. I’m always snagging books off the Advance Reading Copy shelf. Plus spotting books on the New Releases shelf.

Unsurprisingly, as a book nerd, my bookish friends recommend books and gift me with same. Same with my family. No complaints! Just noting that I have a lovely abundance of books.

And this year, during the lockdown, I signed up for NetGalley. It’s a service for publishers to give digital ARCs to booksellers, reviewers, bloggers, and librarians. Frequently, my clicky finger gets busy with the “Request” button. In return for receiving an ARC, I agree to write a review of the book.

So I always try to read my NetGalley books first – that gives me time to review them before they’re published. Then I try to read library books as quickly as possible so they can go to the next person in the hold queue. If I haven’t gotten to or finished a book by its due date, I usually return it anyway, figuring that I’ll just check it out later.

All of that adds up to many books on my TBR list!

10 books I meant to read

Without further adieu, my list of books I meant to read.

The Priory of the Orange Tree

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I meant to read in 2020The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
Published by Bloomsbury Publishing on February 26, 2019
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 829
Format: Paperback

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door. Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tane has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel. Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

Beneath the Rising

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I meant to read in 2020Beneath the Rising by Premee Mohamed
Published by Solaris on March 3, 2020
Genres: Science fiction
Pages: 416
Format: Paperback

Nick Prasad and Joanna “Johnny” Chambers have been friends since childhood. She’s rich, white, and a genius; he’s poor, brown, and secretly in love with her.

But when Johnny invents a clean reactor that could eliminate fossil fuels and change the world, she awakens the primal, evil Ancient Ones set on subjugating humanity.

From the oldest library in the world to the ruins of Nineveh, hunted at every turn, they need to trust each other completely to survive…

Cemetery Boys

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I meant to read in 2020Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas
Published by Swoon Reads on September 1, 2020
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his true gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie off some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

A Memory Called Empire

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I meant to read in 2020A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
Published by Tor on March 2019
Genres: Science fiction
Pages: 464
Format: Paperback

Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in the center of the multi-system Teixcalaanli Empire only to discover that her predecessor, the previous ambassador from their small but fiercely independent mining Station, has died. But no one will admit that his death wasn’t an accident—or that Mahit might be next to die, during a time of political instability in the highest echelons of the imperial court.

Now, Mahit must discover who is behind the murder, rescue herself, and save her Station from Teixcalaan’s unceasing expansion—all while navigating an alien culture that is all too seductive, engaging in intrigues of her own, and hiding a deadly technological secret—one that might spell the end of her Station and her way of life—or rescue it from annihilation.

Star Daughter

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I meant to read in 2020Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar
Published by HarperTeen on August 11, 2020
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 435
Format: Hardcover

If the night sky holds many secrets, it holds Sheetal Mistry’s secret the closest. A secret that explains why her hair is the silver of starlight, or why some nights the stars call Sheetal by name.

Stars like her mother, who returned to her place in the constellation Pushya years ago. Since that day, Sheetal has been forced to hide.

But as her seventeenth birthday draws near, the pull from the sky is growing stronger. So strong that Sheetal loses control, and a flare of starfire burns her human father—an injury only a full star’s blood can heal.

The Daughters of Foxcote Manor

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I meant to read in 2020The Daughters of Foxcote Manor by Eve Chase
Published by GP Putnam's Sons on July 21, 2020
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 376
Format: Hardcover

Outside a remote manor house in an idyllic wood, a baby girl is found.

The Harrington family takes her in and disbelief quickly turns to joy. They’re grieving a terrible tragedy of their own and the beautiful baby fills them with hope, lighting up the house’s dark, dusty corners. Desperate not to lose her to the authorities, they keep her secret, suspended in a blissful summer world where normal rules of behaviour – and the law – don’t seem to apply.

But within days a body will lie dead in the grounds. And their dreams of a perfect family will shatter like glass.

Years later, the truth will need to be put back together again, piece by piece . . .

Stillhouse Lake

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I meant to read in 2020Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine
Published by Thomas & Mercer on July 1, 2017
Genres: Mystery
Pages: 290
Format: Paperback

Gina Royal is the definition of average—a shy Midwestern housewife with a happy marriage and two adorable children. But when a car accident reveals her husband’s secret life as a serial killer, she must remake herself as Gwen Proctor—the ultimate warrior mom.

With her ex now in prison, Gwen has finally found refuge in a new home on remote Stillhouse Lake. Though still the target of stalkers and Internet trolls who think she had something to do with her husband’s crimes, Gwen dares to think her kids can finally grow up in peace.

But just when she’s starting to feel at ease in her new identity, a body turns up in the lake—and threatening letters start arriving from an all-too-familiar address. Gwen Proctor must keep friends close and enemies at bay to avoid being exposed—or watch her kids fall victim to a killer who takes pleasure in tormenting her. One thing is certain: she’s learned how to fight evil. And she’ll never stop.

Black Sun

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I meant to read in 2020Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
Published by Saga on October 13, 2020
Genres: Science fiction
Pages: 458
Format: Hardcover

In the holy city of Tova, the winter solstice is usually a time for celebration and renewal, but this year it coincides with a solar eclipse, a rare celestial event proscribed by the Sun Priest as an unbalancing of the world.

Meanwhile, a ship launches from a distant city bound for Tova and set to arrive on the solstice. The captain of the ship, Xiala, is a disgraced Teek whose song can calm the waters around her as easily as it can warp a man’s mind. Her ship carries one passenger. Described as harmless, the passenger, Serapio, is a young man, blind, scarred, and cloaked in destiny. As Xiala well knows, when a man is described as harmless, he usually ends up being a villain.

Kingdom of the Wicked

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I meant to read in 2020Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Maniscalco
Published by Jimmy Patterson on October 27, 2020
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 372
Format: Hardcover

Emilia and her twin sister Vittoria are streghe – witches who live secretly among humans, avoiding notice and persecution. One night, Vittoria misses dinner service at the family’s renowned Sicilian restaurant. Emilia soon finds the body of her beloved twin…desecrated beyond belief. Devastated, Emilia sets out to find her sister’s killer and to seek vengeance at any cost-even if it means using dark magic that’s been long forbidden.

Then Emilia meets Wrath, one of the Wicked-princes of Hell she has been warned against in tales since she was a child. Wrath claims to be on Emilia’s side, tasked by his master with solving the series of women’s murders on the island. But when it comes to the Wicked, nothing is as it seems…

These Violent Delights

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I meant to read in 2020These Violent Delights Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books on November 17, 2020
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 464
Format: Hardcover

A blood feud between two gangs runs the streets red, leaving the city helpless in the grip of chaos. At the heart of it all is eighteen-year-old Juliette Cai, a former flapper who has returned to assume her role as the proud heir of the Scarlet Gang—a network of criminals far above the law. Their only rivals in power are the White Flowers, who have fought the Scarlets for generations. And behind every move is their heir, Roma Montagov, Juliette’s first love…and first betrayal.

But when gangsters on both sides show signs of instability culminating in clawing their own throats out, the people start to whisper. Of a contagion, a madness. Of a monster in the shadows. As the deaths stack up, Juliette and Roma must set their guns—and grudges—aside and work together, for if they can’t stop this mayhem, then there will be no city left for either to rule.

In conclusion

Have you read any of these? If you have, let me know what you in the comments below.

What book did you mean to read in 2020?

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Fun stuff 11 Replies to “Top Ten Tuesday: Books I meant to read in 2020”
Laura Eckert
I'm a lifelong book lover and voracious reader. I'm a former bookstore owner and current library marketer and book blogger.


11 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books I meant to read in 2020

      Author’s gravatar

      It looks so good that I definitely need to read it!

    Author’s gravatar

    I wanted to read The Priory of the Orange Tree but, at 800+ pages? Yikes.

      Author’s gravatar

      I know! It’s a daunting read although I’ve heard that it reads quickly.

        Author’s gravatar

        Daunting is an understatement! Ha! Ha! I may just give this one a miss.

    Author’s gravatar

    NetGalley was for sure part of my downfall last year. You know, along with everything else. Cemetery Boys was absolutely fantastic! I really need to read Black Sun, too.

    Here’s my TTT post.

      Author’s gravatar

      The siren song of Netgalley is so dangerous. And I’ll never learn to not listen lol.

    Author’s gravatar

    Stillhouse Lake is a great thriller and series! I would highly recommend for 2021 reading.

      Author’s gravatar

      Yes, it looks so good!

      Author’s gravatar

      It does! Now to find the time to read it 🙂

Tell me what you think!