Lesbian Fiction Best of 2020

2020 has been a weird year. The Pandemic negatively impacted my reading and reviewing with a general lack of concentration. I just couldn’t get into the books I was reading for awhile. Once I did, I found I was more critical than usual. So apologies to all the authors if my reviews seemed unnecessarily picky this year.

Have a Happy New Year!

Best overall AND Best in a Series 2020: Spindrift by Anna Burke

Publish Date: August 25, 2020
Publisher: Bywater Books

Review excerpt:

“This is, and will be, the best book released this year.

I don’t want to set too high of expectations for all of you, but I can’t help it. I truly enjoyed this book better than most I’ve read. It has gone directly into my favorites pile.”

Bookvark.com review – Spindrift

End of Year Comment:

It felt bold to declare this book as best of the year back in August when I reviewed it. Looking back now, it is clear that I can trust my judgement. Would it be crazy of me to make another daring prediction that the entire ‘Seal Cove’ series will be one of the best in lesfic?

My Favorite AND Best Debut: Those Who Wait by Haley Cass

Publish Date: April 3, 2020
Publisher: Self

Review excerpt:

“This is one of my favorite books of the year. I’m not saying this was without issues. It was longer than it needed to be and there were some items needing editing. But honestly, this was so good that I don’t even care and I don’t think you will either. That has to say something, right?”

Bookvark.com review – Those Who Wait

End of Year Comment:

Best new author by leaps and bounds. Haley Cass followed this up with a novella (Forever and a Day) that felt like the best long-form epilogue ever written. Then she gave us a fantastic slow burn holiday love story (When You Least Expect It). I will read anything and everything she puts out into the universe.

Biggest Surprise: Don’t Cry For Me by Rachel Lacey

Publish Date: April 20, 2020
Publisher: Self

Review Excerpt:

“..this one had me hooked and invested. It was one of those where it is really inconvenient when you have to do things like sleep, eat, or log into work…

…I could find no faults in this. It was a deeply moving love story.”

Bookvark.com review – Don’t Cry For Me

End of year Comment:

I had never heard of Rachel Lacey before. I was in a major book slump and my friend Jude randomly suggested reading this. I’ll be forever thankful. Since releasing this book, Lacey has also published the 2nd (It’s In Her Kiss) and in process of publishing the 3rd (Come Away With Me) installment of this ‘Midnight in Manhattan’ series. Productive year for the author!

Best Romance: Brooklyn Summer by Maggie Cummings

Publish Date: Feb 1, 2020
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Review Excerpt:

“The main characters really did have a strong connection and a lot of chemistry. The author did a fantastic job at making me feel it through glances and touches. It was like I was a fly on the wall as I watched these two develop feelings for one another. Even though the amount of time that passes in the story is short, it really felt like their relationship became authentically robust.”

Bookvark.com review – Brooklyn Summer

End of Year Comment:

This was just the type of romance I like to read. Where you can feel the emotions and chemistry. Not just be present as the author tells us about it. For a good time, you should listen to the Cliterary Society’s Episode 8 – Brooklyn Summer podcast afterward. So funny and full of butch appreciation.

An Honorable Mention:

Then & Now by Monica McCallan really competed in this category. The best book by McCallan yet, and it felt like an epic love story that seamlessly weaved between past and present. Go read it!

Best Horror/Paranormal: Gillette Park by Gerri Hill

Publish Date: March 12, 2020
Publisher: Bella Books

Review Excerpt:

“…I haven’t read a ton of Gerri Hill books, but this is the best one that I have read…

…First of all, I never wanted to stop reading this. It was written so well that there was some new event or clue that would keep me intrigued and consuming. Second, I loved the main characters. Both Mason and Grace were realistic characters with fractured pasts. Their histories play a part in who they are and grow to become throughout the book. Third, it had a supernatural spin that felt believable to me because of the story behind it…

…I could have read this book forever.”

Bookvark.com review – Gillette Park

End of Year Comment:

This should have been released during Halloween. It would have heightened the creep factor in this story. If you like suspenseful spookiness, this is the book for you.

Best Action: Queen of Humboldt by Tagan Shepard

Publish Date: Oct 15, 2020
Publisher: Bella Books

Review Excerpt:

“I was not expecting this book to be as good as it was. Not a fan of the cover and the blurb sounded a little out there, which is so ironic, considering the recent real-life plot to kidnap the Michigan mayor.

I loved almost everything about this book. How the two main characters met and the misunderstanding of intent. Marisol’s sad backstory that explains why she is who she is and what drives her decision making. This book was unnerving non-stop action. It reminded me of Shepard’s ‘Across the Dark Horizon’ where there was a tense countdown to survival. But this seemed like a countdown to certain death. I did not want to put the book down.”

Bookvark.com review – Queen of Humboldt

End of Year Comment:

This was a candidate for the ‘Biggest Surprise’ category. But it clearly fits snugly here as ‘Action’ because I was on the edge of my seat for the entirety of reading this book. I liked this because it was so relentlessly brutal and made me uncomfortable. It was like not being able to look away from a car crash as you drive by.

Best Adventure: Uncharted by Robyn Nyx

Publish Date: Dec 1, 2019
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books

Review Excerpt:

“I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I’m not really into history, archaeology, myths, etc. And yet there was just something that kept me interested. It was super annoying to have to do things like LIFE which interrupted my reading…

…Overall, this is exactly what you need to read if you are bored with standard lesbian romances.”

Bookvark.com review – Uncharted

End of Year Comment:

Technically, this is a book published in 2019. Realistically, I read this in 2020 so I’m adding to it to my 2020 list. Full of adventure and different than your usual lesbian romance. And every time the song ‘Nova’ by Local Natives comes on, it reminds me of this book. No idea why but it is an awesome song, nonetheless.

Best Novella: Just My Type by Lucy Bexley and Bryce Oakley

Publish Date: Oct 23, 2020
Publisher: Self

Review Excerpt:

None. I am embarrassingly behind on reviews, unfortunately.

End of Year Comment:

The best thing about this book was how the vampire would say things that were funny without knowing it.

Super cute novella to read just for fun and a bit of dry humor.

Best Holiday: Written in the Stars by Alexandria Bellefleur

Publish Date: Nov 10, 2020
Publisher: Avon

Review Excerpt:

None. Because like I said… I am outrageously and embarrassingly behind on reviews.

End of Year Comment:

Honestly, this was in competition for best book of the year for me. There was just something whimsical and endearing about it. If I had a category for best character, Elle and her planet earrings would certainly win. This felt like I was watching a movie. And if Clea Duvall opened the door for more lesbian holiday movies, this should be submitted for consideration.

Best Re-Read: Letters Never Sent by Sandra Moran

Publish Date: Sept 1, 2013
Publisher: Bedazzled Ink

Review Excerpt:

“I have considered this my favorite lesfic ever since I first read it years ago. I suggested this as a book club read with my group of friends because I was curious if it would still hold up now that there are so many high quality lesbian romances out there.

I’m happy to confirm that this is still as good as I remembered and continues to hold that all important top spot on my virtual favorites shelf.”

Bookvark.com review – Letters Never Sent

End of Year Comment:

I was so happy to get to read and talk about this with friends this year. It was an epic romance spanning many years. It was raw and gritty. And will always hold a special place in my heart because a lot of it is placed in and around where I spent several of my young adult years: Lawrence, KS.

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