Wow, 2020 was the best reading year of my life. I got to read so many books but really, I wanted to read more. Of all the books I read this year, these are my top 10 favorites!
Yes, this is a list. Not everyone can be number one but I LOVED all these books this year. They are all very good and highly recommended! From the 10th to the 1st, if you decide to try any of these books, you won’t be disappointed.
10. Doctor Sleep – Stephen King: Started with my favorite traditionally published book here, just to get it over with! This sequel to The Shining was perfectly done, respected the characters from the first book and the new characters were excellent additions to this storyline and world. There were some holes with the villain I think, but overall this book was an excellent addition to the world of the Shining.
9. Children of Hope – Michael C. Fine: I will never forget this book. Fine has done amazing work here. The biggest thing for me is that Fine took such a sensitive topic and treated it with care. He made this story palatable and the plot, although very adventurous and imaginative, was grounded in real life which gave the story an almost surreal feeling. This story was amazing!
8. Once Upon a Lane – Duncan Wilson: The thing I loved most about this book was how the setting, the Lane itself acted as a character, and it wasn’t a ham-handed, forced attempt. It felt completely natural. This book had tons of characters but Wilson strolled through each of their stories so causally, just as causal as the lane, that it was very easy to connect with each one.
7. Dexter and Sinister, Detecting Agents – Keith Dickinson: My first adventure in Steam Punk was a great one! I enjoyed the plucky characters, the gadgets and doodads, and the plot was fun and well thought out. Dickinson did a fantastic job keeping our characters mixed up in trouble, but it wasn’t too painful that I was agonized by all the hard luck. Detective stories can go really hard on their agents, but Dickinson struck an excellent balance!
6. Sweet Honesty – Lee James: The thing I loved about this book most of all was how twisted the plot was. I went in thinking this was a sweet romance about a young woman who we’d get a chance to see grow and change. It is that, but it’s also a crime story with a mystery to boot. Part one of this series was a great start to our main characters story and I can’t wait to read more.
5. Undying Love – Sam . : Sam . always leaves us with so many questions! The writing is cryptic to say the least because Sam . also often leaves puzzles for us to find in the story. Outside of the complex plot, twists and turns, the mind bending experiences of the characters, we are also challenged to really READ the text, analyze it and understand the creative mind of the author.
4. Heroes of the Carolynigan Age – Joseph S. Samaniego: These short stories are an amazing addition to the Carolynigan Age canon. Samaniego has written these original stories to introduce us to the world and the characters of his series and they astound and entertain in a big way! As usual, Samaniego’s characterization is great, his females are fierce and his war sequence is details and organized in a way that even readers who are new to the genre can follow.
3. Between Enzo and the Universe – Chase Connor: I can’t say enough about Enzo. Connor is brilliant at bringing a tear to my eye. His characters feel so real I’m laughing, crying and raging right along with them. The thing I love most about this story is the ending. I am so happy with the direction that Connor decided to go in. The way he showed humanity made this story very real to me. The love and hate that Enzo experienced was heart wrenching in a good and bad way. The ending brought everything full circle and closed the story perfectly!
2. The High Crown Chronicles – Jodi Gallegos: My goodness! One thing a book is supposed to do is to incite emotions. I have to say that Gallegos did VERY good striking emotion in me. I pulled for Malory from beginning to end and believed so much in her smarts and ingenuity. I loved this book because, first, I thought the representation of what a Kingdom would be was well done. The love and care, the lack of choices and the corruption all felt very real. Second, Gallegos made her characters feel very real. She spent a lot of time exploring their inner thoughts and desires which made them easy to connect with. Additionally, the twists and turns in this book kept me on the edge of my seat, screaming in anger at some of the low down dirty fiends and shouting triumphantly when the good guys finally got a punch in! I highly recommend this book and can’t wait to read book two this year!
1. A Shadow Stained in Blood – Ichabod Ebenezer: Of course my favorite book of the year would be Crime Fiction and a P.I. book no less! This book gave me Devil in a Blue Dress vibes, 100%. The struggling P.I. living from job to job with no sign of profit, getting thoroughly mixed up in trouble from the time he steps out the door, needing to trust everyone but no one being trust worthy: these are all the things that a real P.I. story should include. Keeping it creative however, is another matter entirely. Ebenezer does just that with a motive so strange and twisted for his villain, but yet highly entertaining for readers. Our main character works multiple cases and can barely afford his camera film, but when he gets a strange note from X, things really get turned around. I had a chance to speak to the author and talk to him about my thoughts on the book and he asked me when I figured out who X was. I was shocked to realize that as a crime fiction reader and a lover of P.I. novels that I DID NOT figure out who X was before the reveal. I think the conclusion of this book will surprise you too! Ebenezer’s writing style is easy, breezy and you will fly through this engaging story. There is no filler and no stopping our main character!
Again, it has been an amazing year for books and I hope to read even more in 2021! The Indie and Self-Published books I read this year have been so impressive and I want to thank every author who reached out to me for review services. Sharing your books with the world and getting opinions can be tough but it’s part of the process and I truly enjoyed being part of your year!