My Year in Books : Top (Older) reads of 2020

Posted December 30, 2020 by Nix in Books 2020 / 1 Comment

This year, I didn’t manage to read a lot of books that were new to me. But I did read some and I’m splitting them over two posts.

I manage to read some that I have been meaning to read for a blooming age so this is the post of the older reads that I LOVED.

The Prince of Broadway (Uptown Girls, #2)

Book : The Prince of Broadway

Author : Joanna Shupe

Series Book : Yes but you don’t have to read them in order.

In the second novel in Joanna Shupe’s the Uptown Girl series, a ruthless casino owner bent on revenge finds his plans upended by a beautiful woman who proves to be more determined than he is—and too irresistible to deny.

Powerful casino owner.
Ruthless mastermind.
Destroyer of men.

He lives in the shadows…

As the owner of the city’s most exclusive casino, Clayton Madden holds the fortunes of prominent families in the palms of his hands every night. There is one particular family he burns to ruin, however, one that has escaped his grasp… until now.

She is society’s darling…

Florence Greene is no one’s fool. She knows Clayton Madden is using her to ruin her prestigious family… and she’s using him right back. She plans to learn all she can from the mysterious casino owner—then open a casino of her own just for women.

With revenge on his mind, Clay agrees to mentor Florence. However, she soon proves more adept—and more alluring—than Clay bargained for. When his plans are threatened, Clay must decide if he is willing to gamble his empire on love.

I cannot believe that I haven’t read this book prior to this year … I bloody loved it.

This book is Florence’s book for me (although I loved Clay) as it is the story of her realising her dream and doing everything to achieve it, even when others told her she couldn’t. I adored her – she is everything I love to read in a heroine. I mean, it helped that Clay was an absolute secret darling and therefore their love story left me with ALL the feels …..

The Opposite of You (Opposites Attract, #1)

Book : The Opposite of You

Author : Rachel Higginson

Series Book : Yes but you don’t have to read them in order.

I’ve sworn off men.

All men.

Famous last words, right? You’re expecting some epic tale of reluctant love and my dramatic change of heart? Well, you’re not going to get it.

I’m stubborn. And headstrong. And I’ve just survived the worst three years of my life. After escaping an abusive boyfriend to live in hostels and cheap hotels while I worked my way across Europe, I’ve come to two conclusions.

The first? Now that I’m back home, I’m going to squander my expensive culinary degree on a food truck that caters to the late night drunk crowd.

The second? I’m going to prove to the bastard across the plaza that my street food is better than his fussy five course monstrosities.

Killian Quinn might be Food and Wine’s Chef to Watch Out For. He might have a Michelin Star. He might have every food critic in the city wrapped around his too-large fingers. But he’s also pretentious and unbearably arrogant and the very opposite of me.

So he can keep his unsolicited advice and his late night visits and his cocky smiles. I want none of it. Or him.

I want the opposite.

I sent out a tweet asking for enemies to lovers recommendations. This one came back – I am so glad it did.

This is a KU title but I know own it as I love it that much.

This is a romance written in First POV from the perspective of Vera, a woman who is rebuilding her life after escaping her abusive relationship with her previous head chef.

To rebuild her dreams, she starts with a food-truck. It’s small, not a restaurant, but it’s all hers. Enter Killian. He owns the resteraunt that she parks opposite and, boy, does he not like the Food-truck outside his baby.

The more he turns up to try to get her to fold, the more he succumbs to his need to critique her food. Friction leads to tension which leads to flirting …. *fans*.

This book is the perfect enemies to lovers.

Getting Schooled (The Wright Brothers, #1)

Book : Getting Schooled

Author : Christina C Jones

Series Book : Yes but you don’t have to read them in order.

When 26 year old Reese accepts a position as a grad assistant, she has no idea an unpleasant encounter with a student will lead to the discovery of what she calls “the trifecta”: fine, intellectual, and a little bit rude – three qualities she finds irresistible in a man. She has no intention of doing anything with that discovery – nothing long term, at least. But everybody knows what happens to best laid plans.

Jason is a grown man. 28 years old, seasoned and scarred by his real-life experience in the world, he’s at Blakewood State University to finish his degree and move on. The last thing he’s interested in is the female population on campus… but sexy, infuriating Reese might be a notable exception.

This isn’t a story of opposites attract.

More like counterparts clash.

Neither of them is afraid to do battle, and neither is willing to back down.

Love and war, win or lose… somebody’s gonna end up getting schooled.

I found this book on a list of Black Romance to try. This book has started me on a journey into the backlist of Christina C Jones – I have adored each book I’ve tried so far.

This book is another enemies to lovers books (I’m not sure what it says about me that this is my most read trope this year!) featuring the Jay, the ex-vet who goes back to school and Reece, the grad assistant. They rub each up the wrong way and bring out the worst in each other. Sparks fly from page one and then, being forced to work together closer, those sparks ignite.

The dialogue in this book is the main driving force of the romance. Christina C Jones writes fabulous, witty banter which really brings the romance off the page, front and centre. I adored this book.

Her Best Worst Mistake (Elizabeth and Violet #2)

Book : Her Best Worst Mistake

Author : Sarah Mayberry

Series Book : No.

She thinks he’s stuffy. He thinks she’s spoilt. Then the gloves come off and so do their clothes!

For six years Violet Sutcliffe has known that Martin St Clair is the wrong man for her best friend. He’s stuffy, old before his time, conservative. He drives Violet nuts – and the feeling is entirely mutual. Then, out of nowhere, her friend walks out just weeks before her wedding to Martin, flying to Australia on a mission of self-discovery. Back in London, Violet finds herself feeling sorry for suddenly-single Martin. At least, she tells herself it’s pity she feels. Then he comes calling one dark, stormy night and they discover that beneath their mutual dislike there lies a fiery sexual chemistry.

It’s crazy and all-consuming – and utterly wrong. Because not only are they chalk and cheese, oil and water, but Martin once belonged to her best friend. A friend Violet is terrified of losing. What future can there be for a relationship with so many strikes against it?

Yet another enemies to lovers book (don’t judge me!!)

This novella is perfect – it is hot, sweet and feels so fully fleshed!

These two hate each other at the start. She is his fiancee’s best friend; she is brash, ovetly sexy and lives to wind him up. He is her best friends fiancee; he is stuffy, overbearing and he doesn’t hide his dislike. Then the best-friend ditches him and moves across the world and, suddenly, their lives change …

What starts as Violet checking on Martin’s well-being, morphs into something more. They say there is a thin lines between love and hate and these two jump over that line and leave it in the rear-view mirror. They know all the details about each other but they don’t know each other at all until they bother to listen and learn. It is lovely (and steamy).

One Day to Fall (One Day to Forever, #2)

Book : One Day to Fall

Author : Therese Beharrie

Series Book : Yes but no need to read in order.

Of all the taxis in all of Cape Town, Sophia Roux had to stumble into his.

She should be at her “perfect” sister’s bedside, awaiting the arrival of the newest member of her family. But the thought of spending hours at the hospital with her suffocating relatives has Sophia hailing the first taxi she sees. Only to realise too late that the man at the wheel of her getaway car is the most unpleasant one she’s ever had the misfortune to meet.

Parker Jones, the handsome yet surly driver in question, is used to dealing with baggage of the family variety. And it just so happens he’s in need of temporary escape from his own. Witty banter with a beautiful—if exasperating—woman while chauffeuring her around the city on a gorgeous spring day makes for an ideal break from reality.

But a lot can happen in twenty-four hours: babies can be born, family can reconnect. And maybe the most unlikely pair can fall in love.

This book is amazing. It is a very intense look at a romance which happens very fast – the amount of character development is astounding and makes for a gripping read.

Set in Cape Town, with a background of some very difficult family circumstances (CW for parent with a long term illness), this book was completely character driven and I fell for both of these protagonists. Both of these characters force the other to actually see how others see them and how their actions have created some of their circumstances. It was an awakening for them both …

The Thing About Love

Book : The Thing About Love

Author : Julie James

Series Read : No

Two undercover FBI agents can hide who they are from everyone but each other in the latest novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Suddenly One Summer.

FBI agents Jessica Harlow and John Shepherd have a past. The former lawyer and cocky Army ranger clashed during their training at Quantico, gladly going their separate ways after graduating from the Academy. Six years later, the last thing either of them expects is to run into each other again–assigned to work as partners in a high-profile undercover sting.

For both of them, being paired with a former rival couldn’t come at a worse time. Recently divorced from a Hollywood producer and looking for a fresh start, Jessica is eager to prove herself at her new field office. And John is just one case away from his dream assignment to the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team. In order to nail a corrupt Florida politician, they’ll have to find a way to work as a team–a task that becomes even trickier when they’re forced to hole up at a romantic, beachfront resort as part of the investigation. Suddenly, the heat behind their nonstop sparring threatens to make the job a whole lot more complicated. . .

I had no idea this book was even out but I found it randomly and picked it up. I loved it. It is a second chance romance filled with sparks, flirty banter and a definate enemies to lovers vibe. I love Julie James.

Sweatpants Season

Book : Sweatpants

Author : Danielle Allen

Part of a series? : No

He has a big…smile.

It was the first thing I noticed that day until he stood. His grey sweatpants hung off his hips and I didn’t want to look. I really didn’t.

I’m a feminist.

I don’t believe in objectifying men. I don’t catcall men. I don’t ogle the bodies of men. I don’t view men as objects of my affection rather than complex people with feelings, wants, and needs of their own. I don’t treat men the way society often treats women.

I treat men the way I want to be treated as a woman—with respect!

So, when Carlos ran into me while I was reviewing my interview questions in the park, it surprised me to see my photography classmate out of context. I was also surprised to see as much of him as I did.

It wasn’t just that it caught my eye. It was the fact that it held my attention.
It wasn’t just that it was large. It was the fact that it was visibly large.
It wasn’t just that it was Carlos Richmond. It was the fact that I am Akila Bishara.

And I am not seduced by anything other than intelligent conversation, witty rapport, and meaningful actions.

I am not seduced by a dick print.

I am not.

Seriously, I’m not.

I should just call this list “All the enemies to lovers books I liked in 2020”.

This is another rec and my first book by Danielle Allen. I loved it. It was full of snark, feminism and heat – It was both a a surprise and a delight. Akila is a very very opionated woman and, sometimes, her opinions were formed too fast. Carlos was the perfect man to challenge her views and what results is a fiery battle of wills, powered by pure chemistry. It is a great read.

Teach Me (There's Something About Marysburg, #1)

Title : Teach Me

Author : Olivia Dade

Part of a series? : No

Their lesson plans didn’t include love. But that’s about to change…

When Martin Krause arrives at Rose Owens’s high school, she’s determined to remain chilly with her new colleague. Unfriendly? Maybe. Understandable? Yes, since a loathsome administrator gave Rose’s beloved world history classes to Martin, knowing it would hurt her.

But keeping her distance from a man as warm and kind as Martin will prove challenging, even for a stubborn, guarded ice queen. Especially when she begins to see him for what he truly is: a man who’s never been taught his own value. Martin could use a good teacher–and luckily, Rose is the best.

Rose has her own lessons–about trust, about vulnerability, about her past–to learn. And over the course of a single school year, the two of them will find out just how hot it can get when an ice queen melts.

This year was the year I first read an Olivia Dade book – I did enjoy the first one I picked.

Teach Me is the story of two mid-40’s teachers who fall in love. It is lovely. Martin is the ulitimate cinnamon roll hero and he manages to woo Rose, even when she really doesn’t want to let him. It was uber sweet.

Wicked and the Wallflower (The Bareknuckle Bastards, #1)

Book : Wicked and the Wallflower

Author : Sarah MacLean

Series : Yes.

When Wicked Comes Calling…

When a mysterious stranger finds his way into her bedchamber and offers his help in landing a duke, Lady Felicity Faircloth agrees—on one condition. She’s seen enough of the world to believe in passion, and won’t accept a marriage without it.

The Wallflower Makes a Dangerous Bargain…

Bastard son of a duke and king of London’s dark streets, Devil has spent a lifetime wielding power and seizing opportunity, and the spinster wallflower is everything he needs to exact a revenge years in the making. All he must do is turn the plain little mouse into an irresistible temptress, set his trap, and destroy his enemy.

For the Promise of Passion…

But there’s nothing plain about Felicity Faircloth, who quickly decides she’d rather have Devil than another. Soon, Devil’s carefully laid plans are in chaos, and he must choose between everything he’s ever wanted…and the only thing he’s ever desired.

I love this series, I love this book. I can’t understand how it took me so long to read it and, in writing this post, I may go read it again.

Felicity is getting older and therefore knows she is at spinster age. When the mad Duke comes to town, she makes her play however the Devil gets to her first.

He only wants her as revenge. He doesn’t bet on falling her for real – or what a choice it may lead to. Can he sacrifice her to get back at the mad Duke?

This was a love story between two people on the outskirts. One wants to be there, the other wants to fit in. It was absolutely LOVELY.

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