best of 2020 badgeHere are Veronica’s favorite books of 2020 in no particular order…

Of Heart and Wings by Debbie McQueen—This is my fave fantasy and it’s also YA, so I love both. I’ve read the second book in the series now and the review will come out in January and I can’t express how much I’m waiting for BOOK 3. That should tell you how much I am enjoying this series about a young dragon shifter, Egan, who falls in love with Prince Raiden of the Sixth Realm. There is a prophecy that a dragon king will unite the seven realms of their world, and we are only at the beginning of this amazing and fretful journey. YA-friendly with kissing and dragons on the hunt.

Brothersong by T.J. Klune—My god. I think I need a medicine that might cure me of my intense love of all of TJ Klune’s work. Since that’s not available, I’m bound to consume whatever it is that he’s going to produce and share with the world, and the piece de resistance of the Green Creek series was not to be missed. Well, you need to read all of Green Creek to get the flavor, but you can thank me when the binge is over. I cried. I laughed. I wished I was a gay/bisexual male wolf shifter. You will too.

The Curse of the Mummy’s Heart by Julia Talbot—I am absolutely awaiting a sequel to this amazing historical M/M romance with adventurers on a collective mission to save the world from supernatural beings running rampant in the 1920s era. This one featured a very closeted American actor falling hard for a sweet young son trying to save his Egyptologist father from a mummy’s curse. Plenty of mayhem and amazing call-backs to the The Mummy movies that I adored many years ago…obviously with the gay romance twist.

Throwing Hearts by N.R. Walker—This story is so dear and sweet! An artist finds love with a young man in a pottery class he sponsors for elderly queer folk and their younger “chaperones.” It’s like a Buddy System for retired queer people and we get TWO romances for the price of one, in this NR Walker book. Both storylines are so awesome and lovely and I dare anyone to read this and not swoon.

American Fairytale by Adriana Herrera—I’m a huge fan of Adriana Herrera and love her Latinx-Black immigrant-centered stories because they feel immensely genuine and culturally relevant. I hear the voices of these characters and it echoes the young men and women of color that I teach every day. I want to hear more of these voices in literature, and I think Herrera is one of the people who bring these stories into full-throated life. This one particularly features a shelter worker who makes a huge leap at a fundraising dinner, only to learn his one-night stand is the big donor he needs to woo to expand services to untold LGBTQ people in need. It’s sweet and dirty-sexy and only one of several stories in this series that I have adored. See also my review for American Christmas, which is a delicious novella.

Date Me, Bryson Keller by Kevin van Whye—For contemporary YA this is a total hit, but I will warn that it’s a very privileged life depicted on the page. Bryson Keller is the All-American jock who doesn’t want to date anyone, but feels pressured to be available—his family life is a bit of a mess and he doesn’t believe in love. It’s wagered that he’ll find true love if only he’ll date the “right” people. So, he will accept any person’s request for a week-long “dating” scenario–until the sweet and dramatic Kai Sheridan asks him for a date. Their bond grows quickly, enough so that Bryson is finally able to acknowledge his true sexuality. Sweet coming our YA story.

Marry Him by Marina Ford—This was a non-stop romp of confusion and sweetness and love from the beginning. I loved Joe and Harry, who have romantic misadventures that begin at the beginning and end in true love and absolute happiness. The story had engaging time flips, moving from present day to several years of months into the past. The pacing and narration of the story had me laughing and crying by turns, hoping against hope that what seems to be the ultimate jilting is truly just another mishap that will be sorted and result in ultimate happiness. It’s awesome.

Out of Time by C.B. Lewis—I’ve read all the books in this series and, as it’s the end of the line, I was so happy that the final book was as awesome as this! It’s a futurescape where folks have the tech to move back in time and one of the people who knows the most about it is hoping to save both of his parents from certain death, while also staying away from the police who are bent on arresting him for crimes against time. I could not stop reading this exciting conclusion, and loved every second of the romance as it was revealed.

Unraveling by Rick R. Reed—Reed talks about this book as being close to the bone. My God. I had chills throughout, even before knowing how deeply this one might reveal the struggle of a beloved author. A married man, a devoted father, finally acknowledges his truth: he’s gay. The book opens with this man planning his own stylish suicide and ends with happiness in abundance. A marriage unravels, but a life begins anew. It’s bittersweet and real and amazing.

Boyfriend Material by Alexis Hall—Such a great story. I did not review this one for the blog here, but I did love it in my own personal readings. I’m a huge fan of Alexis Hall and this book made me giggle and laugh and think and wish I could visit England—despite the pandemic. I adore British-set stories and I imagine these comedies of manners to be all the usual there, though I’m surely deluding myself. It is a sweet story of a tangentially famous man falling hard for a barrister who is ultimately decent, but whom few consider to be admirable on account of defending bad guys. It cast such a favorable light on both the tabloid fodder peeps as well as the lawyers who struggle with the conscientiousness for the people they defend. It’s so tender and loving. I was in rapture.

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