Twelve thousand seven hundred thirteen. That’s how many pages I read this year. I set what I thought was a tough goal and decided to try and read 20 books in 2020, but I exceeded that goal by reading 37 books. I think quarantine helped me surpass my goal, but I’m still very proud of myself! Out of all of the books, a handful stood out as the best reads of 2020.
Throughout this year, so many people have enjoyed my book recommendations on Instagram. I started sharing what I was reading to hold myself accountable to my goal, but the support and excitement it stirred up in the Chalk and Coffee community was amazing! Each book synopsis below is what you would find on the book jacket and is not my own writing.
As promised, here are my Top 10 Best Reads from 2020:
10. You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen
Shay Miller wants to find love, but it eludes her. She wants to be fulfilled, but her job is a dead end. She wants to belong, but her life is increasingly lonely.
Until Shay meets the Moore sisters. Cassandra and Jane live a life of glamorous perfection, and always get what they desire. When they invite Shay into their circle, everything seems to get better.
Shay would die for them to like her. She may have to.
9. The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides
Alicia Berenson’s life is seemingly perfect. A famous painter married to an in-demand fashion photographer, she lives in a grand house with big windows overlooking a park in one of London’s most desirable areas. One evening her husband Gabriel returns home late from a fashion shoot, and Alicia shoots him five times in the face, and then never speaks another word.
Alicia’s refusal to talk, or give any kind of explanation, turns a domestic tragedy into something far grander, a mystery that captures the public imagination and casts Alicia into notoriety. The price of her art skyrockets, and she, the silent patient, is hidden away from the tabloids and spotlight at the Grove, a secure forensic unit in North London.
Theo Faber is a criminal psychotherapist who has waited a long time for the opportunity to work with Alicia. His determination to get her to talk and unravel the mystery of why she shot her husband takes him down a twisting path into his own motivations—a search for the truth that threatens to consume him….
8. The Guest List by Lucy Foley
The bride – The plus one – The best man – The wedding planner – The bridesmaid – The body
On an island off the coast of Ireland, guests gather to celebrate two people joining their lives together as one. The groom: handsome and charming, a rising television star. The bride: smart and ambitious, a magazine publisher. It’s a wedding for a magazine, or for a celebrity: the designer dress, the remote location, the luxe party favors, the boutique whiskey. The cell phone service may be spotty and the waves may be rough, but every detail has been expertly planned and will be expertly executed.
But perfection is for plans, and people are all too human. As the champagne is popped and the festivities begin, resentments and petty jealousies begin to mingle with the reminiscences and well wishes. The groomsmen begin the drinking game from their school days. The bridesmaid not-so-accidentally ruins her dress. The bride’s oldest (male) friend gives an uncomfortably caring toast.
And then someone turns up dead. Who didn’t wish the happy couple well? And perhaps more important, why?
7. His and Hers by Alice Feeney
When a woman is murdered in Blackdown, a quintessentially British village, newsreader Anna Andrews is reluctant to cover the case. Detective Jack Harper is suspicious of her involvement, until he becomes a suspect in his own murder investigation.
Someone isn’t telling the truth, and some secrets are worth killing to keep.
6. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Lucy Hutton and Joshua Templeman hate each other. Not dislike. Not begrudgingly tolerate. Hate. And they have no problem displaying their feelings through a series of ritualistic passive aggressive maneuvers as they sit across from each other, executive assistants to co-CEOs of a publishing company. Lucy can’t understand Joshua’s joyless, uptight, meticulous approach to his job. Joshua is clearly baffled by Lucy’s overly bright clothes, quirkiness, and Pollyanna attitude.
Now up for the same promotion, their battle of wills has come to a head and Lucy refuses to back down when their latest game could cost her her dream job…But the tension between Lucy and Joshua has also reached its boiling point, and Lucy is discovering that maybe she doesn’t hate Joshua. And maybe, he doesn’t hate her either. Or maybe this is just another game.
5. Verity by Colleen Hoover
Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin. When Jeremy Crawford, husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, asks Lowen to complete the remaining books in a contract his permanently injured wife is unable to fulfill, Lowen has no choice but to accept.
Lowen arrives at the Crawford home with the intention of only staying one or two nights—long enough to sort through Verity’s chaotic home office to collect all the notes and outlines she’ll need to start writing the first novel. But the more time Lowen spends with Jeremy Crawford, the less of a hurry she is in to leave. While there, Lowen uncovers a hidden manuscript. An autobiography containing chilling admissions Verity planned to take to her grave, including the truth behind the events that turned their lives upside down. A truth that, if revealed to Jeremy, would further devastate the already grieving father.
Lowen decides to keep the manuscript a secret, allowing Jeremy to continue to believe Verity is merely an innocent, unfortunate victim of circumstance. But as Lowen’s feelings for the devoted father and husband deepen, she wonders if keeping Jeremy in the dark is in her own best interest. After all, if Jeremy were to read his wife’s autobiography, the disturbing truth would make it impossible for him to continue to love her.
4. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.
More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.
The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.
3. Lock Every Door by Riley Sager
No visitors. No nights spent away from the apartment. No disturbing the other residents, all of whom are rich or famous or both. These are the only rules for Jules Larsen’s new job as an apartment sitter at the Bartholomew, one of Manhattan’s most high-profile and mysterious buildings. Recently heartbroken and just plain broke, Jules is taken in by the splendor of her surroundings and accepts the terms, ready to leave her past life behind.
As she gets to know the residents and staff of the Bartholomew, Jules finds herself drawn to fellow apartment sitter Ingrid, who comfortingly reminds her of the sister she lost eight years ago. When Ingrid confides that the Bartholomew is not what it seems and the dark history hidden beneath its gleaming facade is starting to frighten her, Jules brushes it off as a harmless ghost story…until the next day, when Ingrid disappears.
Searching for the truth about Ingrid’s disappearance, Jules digs deeper into the Bartholomew’s sordid past and into the secrets kept within its walls. What she discovers pits Jules against the clock as she races to unmask a killer, expose the building’s hidden past, and escape the Bartholomew before her temporary status becomes permanent.
2. Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris
Everyone knows a couple like Jack and Grace. He has looks and wealth; she has charm and elegance. He’s a dedicated attorney who has never lost a case; she is a flawless homemaker, a masterful gardener and cook, and dotes on her disabled younger sister. Though they are still newlyweds, they seem to have it all. You might not want to like them, but you do. You’re hopelessly charmed by the ease and comfort of their home, by the graciousness of the dinner parties they throw. You’d like to get to know Grace better.
But it’s difficult, because you realize Jack and Grace are inseparable.
Some might call this true love. Others might wonder why Grace never answers the phone. Or why she can never meet for coffee, even though she doesn’t work. How she can cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim. Or why she never seems to take anything with her when she leaves the house, not even a pen. Or why there are such high-security metal shutters on all the downstairs windows.
Some might wonder what’s really going on once the dinner party is over, and the front door has closed.
And my absolutely FAVORITE book from 2020…
1. The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
But one day, she finds something. Something that tells a very different—and horrifying—story about the man she married.
What follows is one of the most twisted, shocking thrillers you’ll ever read.
You’ll have to grab a copy to find out why.
I can’t wait to start reading in 2021 and find some gems to share! Be on the lookout for a Chalk and Coffee Book Club coming February 1st.
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