My Top Ten Books from 2020!

This is supposed to be a would you rather Wednesday post… But… I doing this post yesterday and ended up changing my mind. So, here are my top 10 books from last year!

Before I get into my top 10 books I want to talk about “Stop the Rain” by Kassie Angle… Which I haven’t reviewed, have been too quiet about, and just out right had me sobbing. It is likely my very favorite book ever … because how could it not be when it is about what it is about and Harley… Dear sweet Harley! So if you check out just one of these books make it this one!

Find it here!

(Amazon links are in the book titles and the covers, and Goodreads links in the author name.)

Now for …

My Top 10 Books of 2020 (In random order)

Untitled

Jesseca Wheaton

Okinawa, 1945

Two brothers. Two Separate Paths.

A Navy corpsman assigned to the Marines, Jess Walker’s world is shaken as he struggles to aid the men around him. But the battlefield isn’t his hardest challenge. The nagging memory of how he lost his brother weighs on him, serving as a constant reminder of his failure. War has no mercy for anyone and Jess isn’t sure he can survive the war inside. As his world comes crashing down around him, he struggles to believe there is a future beyond the pain.

Clay Walker has moved on from the life he once lived. A successful Marine pilot, he wants nothing to do with his family and the God he left behind. Japan is on the brink of surrender when his unit is shipped off to Okinawa, and it’s there that Clay is forced to realize his past is not as deeply buried as he thought. Faced with heavy losses and questions without answers, Clay has a choice to make. Is he willing to step back and let God take the controls? Or is it too late for a second chance?

As WWII rages, the two brothers must face their demons — or be lost to the burning world around them.

Thoughts

I really don’t know how to review “Untitled” it is just …

Hard?

Like, I know, I’ve seen things caused by war, but Wheaton took the hard subjects she wrote about and she gave them life in a way that touched my heart more deeply than most books do. The heartbreakingness of this story, the hope of the end of the story, and the brotherhood woven throughout the pages is one you will not want to miss.

And, wow, the messages in this book, just wow! I am very pleased with how Wheaton took topics often brushed aside and brought attention to them in a God honoring way.

As the author has said this is not a book for younger readers, though the subjects in this novella are done tastefully it is just on subjects that is not good for younger readers.

I voluntarily received and reviewed a complimentary e/copy of this book which I received from the author/publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

Active Defense

(Danger Never Sleeps #3)

Lynette Eason

As a former field surgeon in Afghanistan, Heather Fontaine is used to life-or-death situations. She just didn’t expect them to follow her home. When she returns from a party to find that someone has broken into her house–and threatened her friends–she assumes it is the stalker who has been following her and creeping her out. She hopes to find safety and peace of mind by leaving the city and hiding out in a small town. But trouble has followed her even there.

Luckily, a stalker isn’t the only one watching Heather. Travis Walker has been secretly watching out for her for weeks. As owner of his own security agency, it’s what he does. Together, Travis and Heather must figure out who wants her dead–and why–before it’s too late.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lynette Eason will have you looking over your shoulder as you dive into this fast-paced, suspense-filled story about losing control and finding something even better. 

Thoughts


I can always count on Lynette Eason for a thrilling ride, “Active Defense” was no different and kept me guessing the whole time!

I wasn’t sure how I would like the book since it says it deals with a stalker, but I found the twists and turns of the plot to keep the story from being creepy and balanced with a good bit of action.

The romance and healing between Travis and Heather were darling and I love, love, love the family, brotherly/sisterly, and romantic bonds were woven throughout the whole of the novel.

I did NOT see the ending coming, it completely surprised me, I am always happy to come across a book that keeps me guessing, I had no idea who was behind the stalking as it was, and the way this was ended not what I expected.

I highly recommend this novel to suspense lovers!

And, Ryker, dear sweet boy, he needs his own story!

I voluntarily received and reviewed a complimentary e/copy of this book which I received from the author/publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

No Chance Meeting

(No Chance Love #1)

Jaye Elliot

Alex Jennings is done with life. After losing her brother in Afghanistan, everything has collapsed around her. Getting laid off from her day job and failing in her art career, she has nowhere left to turn. She once had faith to believe that all things would work together for good, but that faith died with her brother. Now she just wants the pain to end.

Riley Conrad served thirteen years in the military until three bullets sent him home. After a year and a half of physical therapy and scraping together a living, all he wants is to live a simple life and perhaps even open the coffee shop he dreams about. However, the weight of failing his parents’ expectations doesn’t make it easy, and working as a bartender isn’t getting him anywhere fast.

Could a “chance” meeting between Alex and Riley set them both on the path God always intended?

Thoughts


I knew I had to read this the instant I heard about it … A veteran, a grieving sister, and a “chance” but not really a “chance” meeting. You know, the perfect romance, to me. I love military books, military romances, and Christian military fiction, each of which could describe No Chance Meeting, this was truly a wonderful book.
With veteran suicides being the highest it ever has been I have been glad to see authors bring attention to the fact that so many soldiers need help yet when it is show in fiction it can get so sadly chlich so I was slightly surprised at the fast that ***SPOILERS*** Riley was not the one near to commiting suicide, I did like the twist on the story there.
The elements of faith were perfect, I loved Riley’s sweet ways, for a soldier that is. And I loved Alex’s character growth.

As the book got to the halfway point I was so in love with the story but realized something was going to happen, something likely bad … Knowing that I read with baited breath as the sweet interactions between Riley and Alex, the lovely story, and all until something unexpected happened. No more spoilers, so I’ll just say yikes did I love and hate the last parts at times!


I was pleased by the story overall, I was not sure how much I would love it but I knew I would like it, since I’ve loved each and every one of the books by Jaye Elliot under her other author names, especially the books under Jaye L. Knight. Each of her works is spectacular, even if they are hard to read with the good and bad truths shown in a way that one can’t help but be pulled into the story.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

The Edge of Belonging

(The Edge of Belonging #1)

Amanda Cox

When Ivy Rose returns to her hometown to oversee an estate sale, she soon discovers that her grandmother left behind more than trinkets and photo frames–she provided a path to the truth behind Ivy’s adoption. Shocked, Ivy seeks clues to her past, but a key piece to the mystery is missing.

Twenty-four years earlier, Harvey James finds an abandoned newborn who gives him a sense of human connection for the first time in his life. His desire to care for the baby runs up against the stark fact that he is homeless. When he becomes entwined with two people seeking to help him find his way, Harvey knows he must keep the baby a secret or risk losing the only person he’s ever loved.

In this dual-time story from debut novelist Amanda Cox, the truth–both the search for it and the desire to keep it from others–takes center stage as Ivy and Harvey grapple with love, loss, and letting go. 

Thoughts

A powerful novel of family love.

Wow, I wanted to read this book since I first saw the cover and description, I was nervous though since this book was from a debuting author, it is a dual-timeline, and the blurb was somewhat vague on what happened in the book.

The instant I picked up The Edge of Belonging I was sucked into a story of redemption, of love, and of hope, Cox used a level of skill that is impressive in a debut author to show a touch of how God loves us through the lives of Harvey, Pearl, Ivy, and the others.

Dealing with hard topics such as suicide, abandonment, homelessness, foster care, and more The Edge of Belonging will truly have you on the edge of your seat.

I voluntarily received and reviewed a complimentary e/copy of this book which I received from the author/publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

The Love Note

Joanna Davidson Politano

Focused on a career in medicine and not on romance, Willa Duvall is thrown slightly off course during the summer of 1865 when she discovers a never-opened love letter in a crack of her old writing desk. Compelled to find the passionate soul who penned it and the person who never received it, she takes a job as a nurse at the seaside estate of Crestwicke Manor.

Everyone at Crestwicke has feelings–mostly negative ones–about the man who wrote the letter, but he seems to have disappeared. With plenty of enticing clues but few answers, Willa’s search becomes even more complicated when she misplaces the letter and it passes from person to person in the house, each finding a thrilling or disheartening message in its words.

Laced with mysteries large and small, this romantic Victorian-era tale of love lost, love deferred, and love found is sure to delight.

Thoughts

Thrilling! This was my first time reading one of Joanna Davidson Politano’s books, and wow! The Love Note is one of a kind, bittersweet, romantic, and compelling novel.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when I first started reading this story, I knew that I loved the cover, the description was interesting, and I have heard many good things about Joanna Davidson Politano’s other books, I had to give it a shot, I knew. I’m so glad I did, the lesson in love that is explored was so deep with nudges from all corners, and though it wasn’t completely a romance, yet it was, and so much more. The ending was so perfect but I do wish we could have found out more about what happened to the other characters, not just Willa and her love interest.

I voluntarily received and reviewed a complimentary e/copy of this book which I received from the author/publisher/review company. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

Molly

(Sewing in SoCal #1)

Sarah Monzon

If there’s one thing you should know about me, it’s that I absolutely refuse to tell a lie no matter the consequences. So don’t ask me a direct question unless you’re prepared for a direct answer—that’s something my SoCal sewing girlfriends have learned the hard way.
But who would have thought my honesty policy would get me fired from my job at the preschool? Or that a desperate—and not to mention devastatingly handsome—single father of one of my (now-former) students would hire me that same day as a nanny for his daughter?
I’m an education professional. How hard can taking care of a four-year-old and her over-stressed, over-worked father be?

Thoughts


With a flare of humor, a boatload of cuteness, and a sweet romance Molly is a five-star rom-com!

Having seen the cover of Molly quite a while ago I have been looking forward to reading it, I’ve enjoyed Mrs. Monzon’s books two years now, after winning a copy of her Book Nerds and Boyfriends and was hooked!

So, I highly recommend you go order your copy … NOW!

17 up due to this being a romance and . . . Well, sometimes Molly’s always telling the truth brings her to, well, awkward conversations.

I voluntarily received and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

The Lady and the Lionheart

(The Lady and the Lionheart)

Joanne Bischof

Two worlds collide when the circus comes to Victorian-era Virginia.

Raised amid the fame and mystique of the Big Top, Charlie Lionheart holds the audience in the palm of his hand. But while his act captivates thousands, it’s away from the spotlight where his true heart lies. Here he humbly cares for his pride of lions as if they were his brothers, a skill of bravery and strength that has prepared him for his most challenging feat yet—freeing an orphaned infant from the dark bondage of a sideshow. A trade so costly, it requires his life in exchange for hers, leaving him tarnished by the price of that choice.

As the circus tents are raised on the outskirts of Roanoke, nurse Ella Beckley arrives to tend to this Gypsy girl. All under the watchful eye of a guardian who not only bears a striking resemblance to the child, but who protects the baby with a love that wraps around Ella’s own tragic past, awakening a hope that goodness may yet reign. When their forbidden friendship deepens, Charlie dares to ask for her heart, bringing her behind the curtain of his secret world to reveal the sacrifice that gave hope to one little girl—boldly showing Ella that while her tattered faith is deeply scarred, the only marks that need be permanent are his own.

Just then a child in the row behind Ella cried out, “Look, Mama!”

Charlie, dressed in his center ring finery, strode into the arena, as strong and strapping as ever. Face powdered and painted with two jagged teardrops under his eyes, he walked with stoic authority, tall boots forging a fresh trail straight toward his audience. Ella didn’t know a single man could hush a packed house with no words, but…then there was Charlie Lionheart.

Thoughts

Woah, I have no words.
I had no idea what to expect, I had seen that several online friends liked The Lady and The Lionheart, I had seen that it won several awards, and I saw that the cover was perfection. I got it along with nearly twenty other ebooks with a twenty-five dollar Amazon gift card I got for Christmas, and was under strict orders to buy ebooks only. Wonderful, right? heart eyes

And so I bought it.

Then?

Promptly forgot about it until my dad was at a doctor’s appointment, and I needed something to read, because I didn’t want to fall asleep as I had on the drive to the doctor’s. I started The Lady and The Lionheart with baited breath, it’s not often one comes across a book like this one. The amazing strength of character Charlie had, the sweetness of Holland, the brokenness of Ella, all of the other characters that were cast in this quiet little book that showed pain, love, sacrifice, grief, sin, forgiveness, and Christ’s love for his creation.

I truly do not know what to say.

This book … It is not something that I will forget soon. I was mesmerized by the descriptions, filled with love and grief for characters that were so real you would think you could touch them, and a romance that was beautiful.

This is not a book to be taken lightly, there is such pain in it; many sins are mentioned, many cruelties that could very well have happened in history. This is a raw, faith-filled historical romance that you will not be able to put down until the last page.

I now understand how so many enjoyed this book, how it won the awards it did, and why it is now a favorite historical romance.

Silent Shadows

…this book also has the longest review I have ever written…

(Harbored Secrets #3)

Natalie Walters

Pecca Gallegos moved to the tiny town of Walton, Georgia, to protect her son and escape the dangerous lifestyle that once defined her. When a series of strange circumstances evolve into threats, Pecca finds herself confiding in an unlikely ally–her stubborn patient.

Army veteran Colton Crawford is desperate to recover from the undiagnosed disorder that is ruining his life, and his instincts are on high alert when threats against his nurse and her son force him to take action. But Colton’s involvement only ramps up the danger when he uncovers a family secret revealing that whoever is after Pecca is closer–and more deadly–than they realized.

With this suspenseful new story, Natalie Walters welcomes you once more to Walton, Georgia, where everyone knows your name–but no one knows your secret.

Thoughts

After putting my copy of Silent Shadows in my closet, eh, I mean library, I told my mom I was off to write my most disappointing review of Natalie Walters’ newest release.

Let me step back a minute… before this I was walking by Mom on the way up the stairs I yelled triumphantly, “I was right! It’s Natalie’s best book.” I hurried upstairs and *groans* tossed my bag on my bed, so no, my book isn’t in the proper place it should be but I’ll fix that … After I finish my review.

You see it is the best of the series and yet it is disappointing since I can’t read another of her books FOREVER. Like so long. And I want to cry because her books are SO GOOD AND SO REAL.

All right, all right, on to my real review.

This book has been on my to be read list since the day I read the first book in the series, Living Lies, that was even before I knew what Silent Shadows was about, or even knew the title of the then unknown book. It’s funny really, I nearly didn’t request the first book for review because I thought the cover looked haunting, and the author was a new author, her debut book was about to release, Living Lies, which ended up to be a top five favorite in 2019, but back to the subject at hand … Silent Shadows!

I loved the different name that the heroine had, Pecca. It is definitely not one you hear every day! And I saw the author’s reason for using it and I liked it even more. (Ask Natalie Walters about it on Facebook/Goodreads/social media etc. because I would butcher it. ;))

Before I get to Colton I want to talk about the veteran side of the story, which was so awesome, I knew that Silent Shadows would have some military/Vet themes in it but, oh, goodness, it was even better than I expected. The men in the book were hilarious, and I loved the jabs they gave each other about being in different branches of the military. (I’M ALL FOR AIR FORCE OF COURSE…), and the love that Pecca had for the wounded warriors she cared for made her character so real.

Then there were the cute little boys who are quite daring at times (they remind me of my middle brother, honestly.) and Maceo, I absolutely loved his story. #saynomoreforspoilers

Now, Colton, after loving both of Mrs. Walters’ first two heroes, Charlie, and Ryan I wasn’t sure if I’d like Colton as much as I did them but now? After reading all three books I have to say they are tied, I can’t pick a favorite!

The suspense, oooh, I can nearly always predict what happens in a suspense. It’s not so with the Harboured Secrets series! I got until the last quarter of the book and I had a guess as to why the bad guys were after Pecca (I was right, but I was also unable to figure out why.) and I am so happy that each of Natalie Walters’ books were truly suspenseful! I was am so happy that I found a suspense that was suspenseful.

I still haven’t gotten to say anything about Colton, have I? Well, he was not quite what I was expecting, I’ve read many books with soldiers suffering from PTSD and yet they don’t always feel real or they are cliche stories, it’s not so in Silent Shadows. I understand some of PTSD (my dad’s had PTSD half of my eighteen years.) and it’s tiring to see it done over the top, or badly which was one of the reasons I’m glad that Colton didn’t have PTSD.

And I loved, loved, loved, loved Colton and Maceo’s relationship; it was so well written! (Go grab a copy and come back and we can talk about it!)

I loved the rubbing Colton got for “Hot Tamale” and all of that part of the book. The guys were all developed even though they were side characters, as I’ve seen in each of the Harboured Secrets books Natalie Walters is good at writing all of her characters, and giving them character, all of them. Even the character that only shows up in a book once, they still seem like real people in the book.

Now, let’s talk about that ending, shall we?

It was good, so good. But it was not where I wanted it to end. I wanted to know more about a certain character that came into the story, I need them to have a story! The unexpected person to come into the book was making me need more!

I would love to see that character’s backstory, it would make me so happy if it happens.

All right, I’ve said all this, but I should warn you that this is not a book for the faint of heart. It deals with a lot of tough stuff. Like …

Drugs.
Unmarried pregnancy.
PTSD.
Soldiers who were wounded.
Prison.
Murder.
Crimes.
Beatings.
Being held at gunpoint.
A sniper tries to take someone out.
Threats of killing a kid.
Threats of taking someone out just like the person had killed someone else.
So, lots of things that make this book a read for mature readers and those that like suspense that has hard topics in it.

I can’t believe I got to this point in my review without mentioning the cover! You know how I just mentioned (up there somewhere…) that I almost didn’t read Living Lies because the cover looked haunting? Well, that would have been a BIG MISTAKE (*chuckles* Read the book, you’ll want to read about the “mistakes” and apologies.), I now love the covers since they have the three main colors I love. And they are so pretty in a serious, almost scary way.

While I loved the Harboured Secrets series I am slightly sad that it has ended but look forward to what Natalie Walters publishes next, she is a favorite suspense author as of the first chapter of her first book.

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

The Land Beneath Us

(Sunrise at Normandy #3)

Sarah Sundin

In 1943, Private Clay Paxton trains hard with the U.S. Army Rangers at Camp Forrest, Tennessee, determined to do his best in the upcoming Allied invasion of France. With his future stolen by his brothers’ betrayal, Clay has only one thing to live for—fulfilling the recurring dream of his death.

Leah Jones works as a librarian at Camp Forrest, longing to rise above her orphanage upbringing and belong to the community, even as she uses her spare time to search for her real family—the baby sisters she was separated from so long ago.

After Clay saves Leah’s life from a brutal attack, he saves her virtue with a marriage of convenience. When he ships out to train in England for D-day, their letters bind them together over the distance. But can a love strong enough to overcome death grow between them before Clay’s recurring dream comes true?

Thoughts

My Review Of The Land Beneath Us by Sarah Sundin: Five stars.

I was not prepared for this book. I knew I needed to read it, I knew I would enjoy it, yet I did not know how much The Land Beneath Us would touch my heart. After reading the first two books in the series, The Sea Before Us and The Sky Above Us, — both of which I loved and even plan to reread in order — I was waiting in suspense for my copy of The Land Beneath Us.

What had me unprepared for this book was not the first books, rather the depth of The Land Beneath Us, the realness of the characters, reading about all what had happened to Clay at his brothers’ hands in the first books was sad, much like Joseph’s brothers treated him, made me think that Clay would have a simple and perhaps boring story of forgiveness where I would see forgiveness in the last pages but no true fruits, I could not have been more wrong. I am still unsure of what to say after a few days waiting to write my review and I just want to sigh in pleasure with the feelings I’m still reeling from caused by this book.

Sarah Sundin’s skill in weaving this breathtaking conclusion to the Sunrise At Normandy series shows that her works only get better and that readers should be on the lookout for her next book, read this one, and check to see if they have read her previous books.

I fell in love with Clay and Leah’s romance that was not the normal trope you would find in War World Two fiction rather westerns, Regencys, or such that quite commonly have marriages of convenience, the slow love, first of friends, until it softly grows into something much more.

Both of the lead characters are wonderful to read about and it’s sad to leave them especially after seeing them through such tragedy and into a Biblical growth of character.

The ending brings to mind Genesis 50:20 which I love, seeing as Joseph is something of a favorite in the Old Testament, and I love finding stories that have the same lessons and are their own story without being too close to the true story of Joseph, his brothers, and God’s goodness.

This book was provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group/Revell.

Duty

(Rhynan #1)

Rachel Rossano

Duty to King

Tomas Dyrease, the newly made Earl of Irvaine and the village of Wisenvale, owes his good fortune to his king and the recent civil war. When his benefactor demands Tomas marry the cousin of a noble, he obeys. However, no one warned him that she wasn’t a typical noblewoman.

Duty to Others

Brielle Solarius struggles to keep her village from starvation under the new Lord Wisten, her cousin. The men rode off to war and never returned. The remaining women and children face a dire winter if they do not find a solution soon. When she learns her cousin sold her into marriage to save his life, she isn’t surprised. However, she is taken aback by Lord Irvaine’s unpolished ways. Was this man a noble or a foot soldier?

Duty to Each Other

Bound by the words of their vows, they face a rough future. They must forge a marriage while battling betrayal, accusations of treason, and villains from the past. Survival depends on their precarious trust in each other. Failure could mean death.

Thoughts

I’ve wanted to read this series for a good while now. And I came across them again, the author had said she’d be willing to send me an ecopy of her books, making my day since I was on a long drive and I had lots of time to read. Reading while wrapped in a cozy blanket, my brother and sister closest in age to me each asleep on my shoulders, and sucked into the story of Duty.
Having one of my favorite tropes (unwilling/grudged/and marriages of convenience) in it, I was thrilled as I followed along with the characters. A novel of bravery, love, war, and overcoming betrayal, Duty is a medieval story not to be missed by lovers of pure, caring couples, knights and ladies, and most of all sweet true romance.

I voluntarily received and reviewed a complimentary e/copy of this book which I received from the author/publisher/review company. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.


What were your 10 top books for 2020?! Do you know of a book or author that I need to check out?!

2 thoughts on “My Top Ten Books from 2020!

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