Unexpected Favourite Reads of 2020

January 21, 2021 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | Book Recommendations, Books

Happy new year everyone! I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in seeing the back of 2020..let’s just hope that 2021 will be better. 

I thought I would do a short round-up of some of my unexpected favourite reads in 2020. This might be surprising, but I don’t actually review every single book I read, so I thought this would be a great way to highlight some of these recent reads lately. They definitely deserve it!

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

This was one of our Name of the Book Club picks for October. Gods of Jade and Shadow is a fantasy book that covers the Mayan golden age, where a teenage girl accidentally frees the Mayan God of Death. She must learn how to help Hun-Kamé, who wants the throne from his brother, and together they navigate through unchartered waters, including Mexico City and the Mayan Underworld.

While it took me a while to get used to the omnipresent writing style, I was totally hooked as I got to know more about Casiopea. Defiant, brave and determined to prove that she’s worthy of her Grandfather’s love and trust, her character arc was totally fantastic as she starts assisting Hun-Kamé. I loved seeing their relationship evolve over time as Hun-Kamé slowly shows more of his humanity. This book also offered a look into the Mayan jazz age, from how Mexico was represented as the “big smoke” and I also loved seeing the Mayan underworld. There’s also something quite feminist about this book, despite struggling against traditional cultural attitudes towards women.

Check out Gods of Jade of Shadow on The Book Depository or Booktopia!

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune

Ahhhh just thinking about this book makes me feel so warm and fuzzy! The House in the Cerulean Sea reminds me of a cross between Umbrella Academy and Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, as Linus Baker, an investigator goes to an island filled with a mysterious orphanage – and children who are supernatural beings. I just adored all of the children on the island and seeing Linus’s initial kneejerk reaction to them – turn into appreciation and then acceptance. He learns so much about himself and expanding his world view in this island, and he also falls in love with the caretaker, which was so heartwarming to see. This one had me crying happy tears towards the end!

Check out The House in the Cerulean Sea on The Book Depository or Booktopia!

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo

This is a short novella about an Empress in China, getting to know her handmaiden, Rabbit. A cleric has visited Rabbit in her old age, to document more about the historical figure. What unfolds from then on, is a third person look at Empress In-yo as she begins to trust her handmaiden Rabbit, which leads to some unexpected consequences. I loved the Asian empire setting within the book, it was so lush and fairytale like. Although I listened to this one on audiobook, I definitely want a physical copy as this is a story to be savoured again and again.

Check out The Empress of Salt and Fortune on The Book Depository or Booktopia!

Did you enjoy any of these reads? Which ones are you keen on?

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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