• Selena | Beauty's Library

2020 Top 3s

A look back on the creation of my blog, Beauty's Library, and some notable reads of 2020.


Wow! Has it been a year! When I started 2020 I did not expect to get so into reading. I had wanted to do more reading compared to what I got done for 2019. My 2019 goal was 32, I know that was a weird number for some reason I guess 30 was too little and 35 was too much. That year I ended up with 37 reads. So going into 2020, I decided to go for 60 reads. At the beginning of the year, I had no intention of starting a blog. It was on my mind. But it wasn't until near the end of January that I decided, you know what? I'm going to start a blog!


I spent a few days going over names and tags. One I kept going back to was Beauty's Library. I couldn't get off that one. My best friend was absolutely no help either! He came up with the silliest names. It was hard to try to find a unique name that wasn't already taken. Not that my blog's name is original. Haha! But I'm a major fan of Beauty and The Beast and I love Belle and her love for reading. So after a long debate, I went with Beauty's Library. On January 29th, I made my Instagram account and a short while later created this website to go along with it!


Since starting this blog and definitely with the help of the unfortunate situation of the world in 2020, I got a little more reading done than I anticipated. I ended up reading a whopping 100 books! I was and still am proud of myself for reaching that high amount. You can find my full list of books read and stats on my Goodreads! Feel free to add me as well if you'd like! Here's a short summary of the stats I like to see, now I know the pages are exactly accurate but the approximate number is still nice to see.


100 books read. ~30,831 pages read Average book length: 308 pages My average rating: 3.9

Since I read 100 books just in 2020 alone, there was no possible way I could just pick a top 10, let alone top 3!! I don't know how people do it. You mean I'd have to compare horror books to romance books? That's like comparing apples to oranges! So instead I compiled a list of my top 3 for the main genres I read this year! Enjoy!


Genre List

Want to see a particular genre? Skip to them!

Horror

Fantasy

Thriller

Science Fiction

Mystery

Romance

Contemporary

Covers



Top 3 Horror Total Books Read 17/100

I'm a big fan of horror and surprisingly I didn't read as many as I thought I would. I definitely plan to read more in 2021. Despite not reading as many horror books, it was still hard to narrow 17 books down to just 3. In the end, I did here's my Top 3!


#1 ~ Mexican Gothic

Even though I only gave this 4 stars, due to its slow beginning, I felt this deserved to be my #1 for horror. "This book is fucked up on a number of levels. And honestly, I’m all for it!" This is probably the first thing I will say about this book forever. It's a truly messed up and creepy book that just made me feel uncomfortable all the way through. I felt as if I had a fixed expression of disgust stuck on my face. You can check out my full review of Mexican Gothic here.


#2 ~ Misery

Another 4 star read, but I think this one truly deserves its second place for my Top 3 Horror! If you didn't initially read my review of Misery, you can check it out here! If you had, then you might remember that this particular book disturbed me so much I had a nightmare. That's what I get for being primarily a night reader! I didn't learn after reading IT. I probably never will let's be honest. Misery is a psychological horror, that feels like a slow trudge through the mud as our main character is drugged throughout the majority of the book.


#3 ~ Carrie

I know what you're thinking, why did she give two Stephen King novels a spot on her top 3? Because I felt this one deserved it! I absolutely loved Carrie! It was a unique read that truly got under my skin. I went into Carrie not having seen the movie but knowing the main events that happened. But even knowing those main events, I was still shocked by what happened. I also loved the format of the book where we get snippets of foreshadowing by reading excerpts of articles of the event that had occurred at the end of the book. I wrote my review of Carrie back when I didn't have a website yet. So I was confined to the limited amount of characters for Instagram posts, but you can still check out my short review here if you'd like!

Go back to the genre list here.


Top 3 Fantasy Total Books Read 17/100

Like horror, I'm a major fantasy fan. This was the genre I primarily read when I was in school. I know I didn't read too many fantasy books for 2020. I think that mainly was due to the fact I was trying to read more adult books, "expanding my horizons" one might say. I realized back in 2019 when I started attending local book clubs, that my reading list primarily fell into the young adult category. I mean there's nothing wrong with that, but when you're the only 21-year-old in a room of mainly 30-40-year-old ladies, there's not much I can add to the conversation. So I went into 2020 wanting to read more adult books and so fantasy fell to the wayside.


Since starting my blog though, I've discovered so many adult fantasy books! So I definitely hope to read more fantasy throughout 2021! But here's my Top 3 for 2020!


#1 ~ The Beast's Heart

Were you expecting a different answer? I came across this retelling at my local Half Price Books a while back and just bought it without question. I didn't know what it was about, all I knew was that it was a Beauty and The Beast retelling. And oh man! Who knew I could fall in love with that tale even more! This sparked a whole new love for the old tale. The Beast's Heart shows us a unique twist on the tale we know, and we get to see it all through his eyes. We get to see his thoughts and feelings, I definitely fell in love with The Beast! You can read my full review here!


#2 ~ As Old As Time

Sorry, not sorry? But honestly, this was such an amazing retelling! As Old As Time is part of the Disney Twisted Tale collection. This whole collection takes the fairytales we know and twists it, in this particular tale we have the "What if Belle's mother cursed the Beast?" The only words I can truly use to describe this is Fairytale meets Thriller. It was such an exhilarating read and so fun. Again, this review I posted before having a website, so I was confined to the limited amount of characters for Instagram posts, but you can still check out my short review here if you'd like!


#3 ~ Mother Knows Best

This was such an amazing read! I read this before I started my blog so unfortunately I never wrote down a review, sorry! Mother Knows Best is the 5th book in Serena Valentino's Villains series, this series takes all the Disney fairytales and intermingles them within the same universe. I simply adore this series! Mother Knows Best if you didn't already guess is about Rapunzel, but we see it from Gothel's point of view and we get to see her past before she steals Rapunzel. If you're interested in checking out this series, they need to be read in order! The first book is Fairest of All.

Go back to the genre list here.


Top 3 Thriller Total Books Read 27/100

Remember how I said I wanted to read more adult books? I managed to really get sucked into thrillers in 2020. This was my most read genre, by far! Oops! I didn't realize how many I read until I was going through everything I read at the end of the year. I definitely plan on reading a more diverse genre selection for 2021. Here's my Top 3 for 2020!


#1 ~ The Last Time I Lied

This was an easy choice! Out of all my thriller reads, I always came back to this one. Honestly, I'm a fan of all Riley Sager's books, though I still need to read his debut, Final Girls. I'll get to it, I promise! But so far The Last Time I Lied is not only my current Sager favorite but my #1 for Thrillers in 2020. There were so many moving parts in this one, I was constantly kept on my toes. I had numerous theories of what I thought happened. And the ending was truly shocking! You can check out my full review here!


#2 ~ In the Hills Above the Gristmill

Now, this was an unexpected favorite. This was a book that I never expected to read. This was an indie book I received as a gift from the author, Kalvin Ellis himself. When I finally got the chance to read it I was captivated by the first sentence! That never happens! First page? Sure. First chapter? Definitely. But, the first sentence? Never! Well not anymore! All I can say is, you should definitely pick this one up! And you can check out my essay review here! And yes, you read that right. I had so much to say about this amazing book.


#3 ~ The Butterfly Garden

Oh, man... That was truly something. The Butterfly Garden was a book that I probably would never have discovered if it weren't for one of the engagement groups I'm in. They did a buddy read for September and this was the book pick. This book became an easy favorite for me. "It’s so incredibly twisted and sinister. Yet, at the same time creative and in its own fucked up way, beautiful." I love butterflies, but let's just say I probably won't think of them the same way. You can check out my review here!

Go back to the genre list here.


Top 3 Science Fiction Total Books Read 8/100

Now when it comes to science fiction books, it seems like there are the science fiction books and then there are the books that have a sub-genre in science fiction. It wasn't until I started blogging that I realized some of my favorite fantasy books are actually considered more science fiction books. That was cool to learn! Here is my Top 3!


#1 ~ The Institute

Another easy choice! I picked this up for a readathon I did back in April. I had been wanting to pick it up since it came out and I was excited to pick it up. I saw people comparing it to IT. I'll just say now, no. It's nothing like IT. But I thought it was an amazing read! The entire concept of the book was completely captivating to me ~ children between the ages of 8-18 being kidnapped from their homes in the middle of the night and brought to The Institute, where their room is almost identical to their room at home minus a window. Wow! And I believe The Institute and Carrie are within the same universe! This was another review I posted before having this site, so you can check out my review here but beware of spoilers, I hadn't learned to write reviews without spoilers yet.


#2 ~ Scythe

This was another unexpected favorite. I picked this up for a book club at the beginning of the year, that being said I also don't have a review for this one. But I do for the sequel, Thunderhead if you're interested in checking it out, you can find it here. I knew this was more a sci-fi fantasy, I didn't expect to love it. But, oh man, did I love it! I was so captivated by this first book that I read it all in one weekend.


#3 ~ Dark Matter

This was another read that I never expected to like. And again, I wouldn't have probably ever picked it up if it weren't for one of my book clubs. Dark Matter is a great book for discussions, it touches on this idea of alternate universes and chances not taken. I remember how deep our book discussion got, it was such a fun chat. You can check out my full review here!

Go back to the genre list here.


Top 3 Mystery Total Books Read 12/100

Mystery was a hard one for me. I almost didn't make a top 3 for this genre. When I kept thinking of mystery, I would go, but isn't that the same thing as thriller? I've learned it's definitely not the same. I realized there were books that I considered more mystery than I did thriller. So, here is my Top 3!


#1 ~ Sharp Objects

This was such a great read. Though it is definitely not for everyone. It's a truly dark sinister book. Even I had to put the book down and take a break from reading it. But even when I wasn't reading it, all I could do was think about it. You can check out my review here!


#2 ~ Lock Every Door

This is the book I used to compare every other thriller for a long while. This was also the first book review I wrote for my blog. I did not want to put this book down. I read this on my vacation at the beginning of the year, and I finished it during my downtime on that trip. I was captivated from page one and this book also taught me to stop expecting paranormal endings. You can check out my review here!


#3 ~ Watching You

Now, this book will always hold a spot on my favorites shelf. This was my first favorite thriller. I had read Lisa Jewell's other novel, The Family Upstairs before this one and I thought that was a good read. But when I picked this I found a love for thrillers. I'd say it's because of Watching You that I went down the rabbit hole of reading so many thrillers in 2020. Again, I read this before I started writing reviews, so I don't have one to share, sorry!

Go back to the genre list here.


Top 3 Romance Total Books Read 9/100

I love reading romance, but I never read it that often. But I had enough to pick a Top 3, so here it is!


#1 ~ Five Feet Apart

This was the perfect quarantine read! I picked this up right at the beginning of the pandemic and it was such a joy to read! Even though it's more of a young adult book, I just loved it with all my heart. You can check out my short review here and I mean very short! I wouldn't really count it as a review...


#2 ~ Normal People

I honestly don't know what I can say besides I just absolutely loved this one! This book gave me all the feels and I just adored everything about it. Both of the characters felt relevant to me at different times for different reasons. You can check out my review here!


#3 ~ Regretting You

This was my first Colleen Hoover book and let me just say I'm now a forever fan of hers. I want to read everything she's written and anything she plans to write in the future. I simply loved this whole book! I will say, everything about it was predictable, but that didn't cause me to love it any less. You can check out my full review here!

Go back to the genre list here.


Top 3 Contemporary Total Books Read 14/100

Picking my favorites for this genre was hard. Most of the books that fall under contemporary also fall under other genres, mainly romance. That's apparent with my #1 pick, which was also my #1 for romance. Again, sorry, not sorry? I just really loved that one. But for my other two picks, I made sure they weren't also romance. Here's my Top 3!


#1 ~ Five Feet Apart

This was the perfect quarantine read! I picked this up right at the beginning of the pandemic and it was such a joy to read! Even though it's more of a young adult book, I just loved it with all my heart. You can check out my short review here and I mean very short! I wouldn't really count it as a review...


#2 ~ Mrs. Everything

So I had actually started this one back in 2019. I had picked it up for the Barnes and Noble book club. I usually finished those books, but that month in 2019 was busy. I can't remember what month and why it was busy. But then, I just never got around to picking it back up. I finally got around to it again, in fact, I just started over at that point I couldn't remember what I read. This book is so beautiful to read, we follow two sisters and see the many challenges women face growing up. As well as the title"Mrs. Everything" plays with the concept of "misses everything." You can check out my review here!


#3 ~ I Was Here

This book is simply an amazing read, it talks about serious topics in such a graceful manner. I had loved Gayle Forman's series If I Stay, so when I saw I Was Here at my local Half Price Books I just put it in my cart without even reading the summary. It just spoke to me and I knew I would like it. You can check out my full review here!

Go back to the genre list here.


Top 3 Covers

Now these are my Top 3 Covers for 2020! I wanted to showcase my top 3 favorite covers for 2020. I didn't pick these for the contents of their books, I picked these for what's on the cover. I definitely judged all my 2020 books by their covers! And these were the winners!


That being said, I won't go into details on what I thought about them but I will share direct links to my reviews of them!


#1 ~ Five Feet Apart

You can check out my short review here and I mean very short! I wouldn't really count it as a review...


#2 ~ The Wicked Deep

You can check out my review here!


#3 ~ Sea Witch

You can check out my review here!

Go back to the genre list here.

Thank you so much for all your support this past year! Happy reading!