My Twelve (Twenty) 5 Star Books of 2020 – Including Your Favorite!

My Twelve (Twenty) 5 Star  Books of 2020

It’s been an incredible year for some great books, both mine and the CE’s. However, since he tends to be a bit heavy in stars, the following will be a short compilation of my favorite five star rated books, admittedly a few authors more than once. While any book four stars or more are recommend worthy, I am going for those I feel the wider audience would truly enjoy—and it was impossible difficult to narrow the list down to only those books that stand out.

The range of genre covers fiction in categories from action adventures and cozy mysteries to family drama, historical, suspense, and thrillers in audiobooks and digital formats.

These are the big twelve out of the twenty most memorable with a shout out going to The Bookwoman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson because while I loved the book, had a few quibbles that knocked it off the top rung. These are listed in no particular order and linked to my review. 

The Lost Boys of London by Mary LawrenceThe Lost Boys of London by Mary Lawrence – This narrative retains that high standard of Renaissance fascination with the waning days of King Henry VIII and the upheaval in the deeply dividing controversy of church and state.

The Wolf in Winter by John ConnollyThe Wolf in Winter by John Connolly – One of the Charlie Parker series, the pace is frightening, barely ending one hair-raising, thought-provoking scene before it careens into the next.

Murder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen ByronMurder in the Bayou Boneyard by Ellen Byron –I thoroughly enjoy the sense of humor this author brings to her storytelling…with fully developed characters alive with Southern hospitality personality.

The Last Agent by Robert DugoniThe Last Agent by Robert Dugoni – Put it down? NOPE! The Last Agent is absolutely riveting from mesmerizing beginning to jaw-dropping conclusion. Brilliant!

Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia OwensWhere the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owen – The characters are brought vividly to life with the narration, alternately spoken by child or adult, literate or illiterate, as well as the Carolina drawl. The shocking conclusion caused a bonafide Book Hangover. For me, some five star rated books can cause that malady, while others may still qualify five stars without the accompanying downtime.)

Beneath a Blazing Sky by Amanda HughesBeneath a Blazing Sky by Amanda Hughes – I’ve followed the Bold Women series for some time and am always astonished at the unsung women and stories the author manages to pull together to create her strong female protagonists…Ms Hughes is an amazing storyteller with an easy emotive writing style…

The Incredible Key West-Caribbean Race by Michael Reisig - The Ultimate Scavenger HuntThe Incredible Key West-Caribbean Race by Michael Reisig – Another of my favorite authors who outdid himself thistime with a completely unique Key West-Caribbean action-adventure. Riveting and unputdownable!

 

Muzzled by David RosenfeltMuzzled by David Rosenfelt – Part of the Andy Carpenter series, Andy’s first love is his dog rescue, the Tara Foundation. I’ve burned through a mix of uncorrected digital galleys from NetGalley (including this one), ebooks and audiobooks from the library, and have a particular affinity for the audiobooks narrated by Grover Cleveland. Always terrific. 

Murder Ballad Blues - a Mystery Novel - Lynda McDanielMurder Ballad Blues by Lynda McDaniel –The author skillfully assumes the dialect of the Appalachians, that particular form of speech, and seamlessly added the Cockney of a visiting Englishman.

 

Leave No Trace by Sara DriscollLeave No Trace by Sara Driscoll – Releasing late December, I couldn’t resist getting a jump of one of my favorite series about the awesome dogs and their handlers who work so effectively with law enforcement.

 

What a Dog Knows by Susan WilsonWhat a Dog Knows by Susan Wilson – The storyline grows in complexity as it does in emotion, wisdom, and tension. The harder her resistance, the easier to break—now she has too much in to walk away and all roads seem to lead back.

 

Hadley & Grace by Suzanne RedfearnHadley and Grace by Suzanne Redfearn*The characters are so well developed. Concern grows for each of them with every page turn. Your heart sinks with each new development and the pages are now turning themselves.

 

Irish Car Bomb by Steven Henry

In An Instant by Suzanne Redfearn

Hawthorn Woods by Patrick Canning

The Secret of Rosalita Flats by Tim Jackson

In Her Tracks by Robert Dugoni*

The Pearl of York, Treason and Plot by Tony Morgan

Hanging Falls by Margaret Mizushima

The Highwayman by Craig Johnson (or anything in the Longmire series) – The TV Netflix version with the Longmire books by Craig Johnson here

I’ve continued to whittle away at some of my favorite series, many times choosing an audiobook.

Did I turn you on to a new author? Which ones have you read? Did you love it?  I’d love your comments!

* Represents a second book by the same author in the same year.

©2020 V Williams V Williams-Christmas hat

Rosepoint August Reviews Recap—Hello September!

Rosepoint Reviews Recap

There are glimmers of hope now in the fight against CoVid and hoping for a breakthrough before winter hits may not be as impossible as it seemed even a month ago.

We here in NWI are just beginning to harvest a few vegetables from our garden although many starts have been eaten by the bunnies and deer and the tomatoes have never really gotten started with just a few now beginning to ripen sufficient to eat. BUT! The squash, OMG, is the cockroach of the plant world. No water, no prob; no sun, no prob, searing daytime temps, no prob. And then the cucumbers have given us sufficient numbers to start making pickles. Mainly sticking to dill as sweet pickles can be a pain and I’m remembering all the reasons I quit doing this stuff!

I’m definitely enjoying just a little of the respite that the reviews from the CE has given me—at least enough to put up dill pickles and take a day off to celebrate our 58th Wedding Anniversary tomorrow! Doesn’t seem possible…

But in the meantime, WordPress has been warning us for some time about changing up their editor again to yet another block format, which I thought previously had gotten dumped for being a bigger pain than canning pickles. Got stuck with trying to work a review through the ever encumbersome blocks and discovered several items I routinely use are missing. That little review took over four hours and it still ended up a mess with missing links, symbols, and indents. Sorry, ya’all!

Of course, the complaint went straight to the “Happiness Engineers” who once again explained how much time it was going to save me. Where I used to write up my posts and reviews in my old Word 2003 program and then copy/paste now requires building blocks and hunting for stuff that used to be intuitive. UGH!

I did, however, manage to post fourteen reviews despite the switchover. Also posted were a number of spotlights, book tours, blitzes, non-fiction, cozy mysteries, literary fiction, animal fiction, thrillers, and military fiction.

One Night in Drake Mansion by Channing Whitaker Paws and Order by V M Burns Save Her Soul by Lisa Regan The heart beats in time - Song for a Lost Kingdom, Book III Hawthorn Woods by Patrick Canning The Night Drop by Ian D Wright An Obvious Fact by Craig Johnson a Longmire Mystery Penned In by Lynn Cahoon Walks with Sam by David W Berner Flash Point: The Final Conspiracy by Thomas A Whitmire and Jacob O Miller The Sun Down Motel by Simone St James Trick or Thief by D E Haggerty

One Night in Drake Mansion by Channing Whitaker
Flash Point by Thomas A Whitmire and Jacob D Miller (a CE 5* review)
Paw and Order by V M Burns
Save Her Soul by Lisa Regan
Finding Home by Corinne Joy Brown and Ginny McDonald (Beautifully illustrated children’s book)
Song for a Lost Kingdom by Steve Moretti (blog tour)
Hawthorn Woods by Patrick Canning (my 5* review—author request)
The Night Drop by Ian D Wright (a CE review—author request)
TV Netflix Series vs Audiobook-Walt Longmire Mysteries by Craig Johnson
Penned In by Lynn Cahoon
Front Line by Jessica James (a CE 5* review)
The Spiritual Adventures of Russell the Dog by Trisha Watson
The Sun Down Motel by Simone St James (library audiobook)
Walks with Sam by David W Berner (non-fiction-meditation)
Trick or Thief by D E Haggerty

Many of the above are from NetGalley or BookBub, author requests, and the audiobooks are from my library.

The challenges: I made my Audiobooks challenge goal–15 (Stenographer level 10-15) and achieved 10 for my Renaissance Reader level in the Historical Challenge. It would appear to me there is no longer a working challenge for Mr. Linky for either July or August. Oh well.

NetGalley: Only four giving me 62 towards my goal of 75, but I think I can manage that one.

Goodreads goals—Mercy! Three behind with 110 and at this point in serious jeopardy of failing the year’s goal of 170—yikes! I may have to give that one some edit thought.

How are you doing with your challenges? Which ones did you try? Achieving some of your goals yet? Did you also read any of those listed above? Agree with my/our assessment? I may still go back and look at the Murder Mystery Bingo challenge—there will be time during the winter months. Maybe.

In the meantime, blogger buddies, authors, and lovely readers, take care, stay safe. Once again I’m hoping that wherever you are, you and your situation has at least stabilized and that you remain successful in staying healthy. 

And, as always, thank you, I so appreciate your likes and comments!

©2020 V Williams

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