Book Recommendations, Bookish News

My Favorite Books of 2020

The end of the year is approaching and it is time to reflect on the books I read in 2020. I read a total of 105 books. I only planned to read 60. I did change my reading habits by incorporating audiobooks and I have to say it wasn’t that bad. When I finished my list there were about thirty favorites, which is a lot, so I broke them down to just my top ten to share with you.

10. The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg

This middle grade mystery entertained me especially the characters. Shelby Holmes is so much like Sherlock it is funny even though it has to be hard for her being so overly smart. I like that her best friend becomes a black kid who has issues of his own, but they take care of each other in their own kind of way. This is book one in the series and I have loved them all.

9. The Cleaner by Paul Cleave

I fell in love with Joe the main character in this thriller. It intrigued me that Joe was the narrator who was investigating a copycat of his crimes. He was actually upset someone was copying his style of killing and just had to undercover who it was.

8. Verity by Colleen Hoover

I really enjoyed this thriller. The characters drove the story for me. Verity is sneaking, manipulative and cunning. Lowen is gullible since she is trying to find employment. Both of them are in for a surprise. I would love to see this in film and hope the author writes more thrillers soon.

7. Thirteen by Steve Cavanagh

This is a legal thriller where the killer is one of the jurors. The problem (which is a go problem) is that I didn’t know who it was and the suspense in finding out kept me on the edge.

6. The Cursed Hunter by Bethany Atazadeh

This has been the best beauty and beast retelling I have read. I like that the beast is a dragon and the determination in both the beauty and beast to make things right is so heartwarming. This is book three in the Stolen Kingdom series and I look forward to the fourth book.

5. Darkwind by R. Dugan

This was a wonderful introduction to epic fantasy with action, adventure, realist issues and characters who fight hard to do what is right and to protect their own. This is book one in the Starchaser Saga.

4. Dawnstar by R. Dugan

In book two of the Starchaser Saga, the travels carry on, but there is more to be done and also more to loose. New characters are introduced and I couldn’t help caring for them as much as the ones from book two. The action and adventure is more intense in this book and the suffering will make you cringe.

3. Cinderella is Dead by Kaylnn Bayron

This has been the best retelling of Cinderella in a while for me. The darkness hidden within these pages kept me reading. The twists in the story was unsuspected but so worth it. The characters are well developed and had me captivated from page one.

2. Grown  by Tiffany D. Jackson

Tiffany D. Jackson is my favorite YA contemporary thriller author and here is another one of her books that didn’t disappoint me. I will say this book made me angry, confused, frustrated among other emotions. It deals with realistic issues happening everyday and with young girls in situation they feel there is no way out. I love the realism in her novels and that they are very thought provoking.

1. A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

This was my top book of the year mainly because of the investigative nature of the story. Pip’s determination to get answers, to clear a young boys name for his family and to make sure the right person is convicted. I love stories where a teenager becomes the detective and uncovers the evidence necessary to solve a case an adult could not. I like this author’s writing style and the way she structured the novel. I can’t wait to read it’s sequel.

 

Book Recommendations, Bookish News

Cover Reveal: Azriel by Lee James

Releases  Fall 2020

Bree Faro learns early in life that she has only herself to depend on. Due to her feisty nature and unusual ability with a sword, she is educated in every fighting style imaginable and excels at them all. When she’s sent to infiltrate the city of Azriel, she does not expect to find her place among the Watchmen of the Keep, but they welcome her as one of their own.

Little does Bree know that her new companions are in danger.

An immortal creature lies in wait for any Keeper of the Flame, the city’s water source has dried up, and they are under constant attack from the Yirtzi—former Watchmen reduced to vengeful spirits, who sold their souls for power only to realize the enemy of Yahweh does not translate to the friend of mankind. Not only that, but the Watchmen are fraying. Hostilities come to a head when a Watchman is murdered.

Only a Watchman can kill another Watchman, and all eyes shift to Bree.

Bree finds herself faced with a choice. Does she engineer the betrayal of the powerful city, or does she embrace her destiny as a true Watchman of Yahweh and find the killer before it’s too late?

About The Author

Lee James writes stories of hope and redemption. Whether she creates fantasy, mystery, or historical fiction, her beautifully awkward characters traverse a dark labyrinth on their journey to a hopeful end. Her work is dedicated to sharing the beauty of Christ, one faith-infused project at a time.

Keep up-to-date with all of her stories at http://www.leejameswrites.com.

Book Recommendations, Book Reviews

April Wrap Up

April was a slow reading month due to me needing to get my self editing done for my second book. I only read seven books which is so not like me. I  tried to read books originally on my to-be-read stack (picture below) and I believe I did okay.

These are the ones I actually  finished. I managed four off the stack and a ebook . Three were review books (all in the front row) and the rest leisure reads.

3 Stars

No Bad Deed by Heather Chavez

4 Stars

The Essence of Perfection  by Nita Brooks

Sunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr

The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler

The Story Raider by  Lindsay A. Franklin

5 Stars

Imperfectly Happy by Sharina Harris

What Have You Done by Matthew Farrell

 

What books did you read in April? Share your titles in the comments.

Happy Reading!

Book Recommendations, Bookish News

Book Blitz: Chasing After Love by Suzette Riddick

CHASING AFTER LOVE BY SUZETTE RIDDICK

Can a desperate lie lead to crazy love?

Nancy Redmond’s professional life is on point. It’s her personal life that could use a major overhaul. Selling her business and relocating from the midwest to the east coast, Nancy is determined to get a fresh start and prove to herself that she doesn’t need a man to fulfill her.

Gabriel “Gabe” Saxton’s world is turned upside down when he catches the woman he’s to marry in a compromising position. Devastated, he’s convinced karma has finally caught up to him for breaking an old lover’s heart.

After ten years Nancy and Gabe are unexpectedly reunited and the attraction between them is just as magnetizing. As the couple overcomes previous hurts and betrayals and is on the path to forever, Gabe’s former life collides with the one he’s building with Nancy. Blindsided, Nancy retreats and releases Gabe from his commitment to their relationship. But will she regret her decision?

AVAILABLE ON

AMAZON

EXCERPT

Nancy Redmond was pissed the second her cell phone dinged, signaling an incoming text. If she wasn’t in one of Chicago’s five-star restaurants on New Year’s Eve, she would have made a scene. Bright red lips pursed, she glanced around the dimly-lit dining room at the other patrons. Their faces illuminated by flickering candles on the tables, they chatted and dug forks into succulent meats, while sipping on wine. Meanwhile, her stomach made obnoxious noises because she was so hungry.

Blindly, her hand searched the inside of the clutch on the chair beside her for her phone. A soft gust of air blew past her lips. Just as she thought, Christopher had texted to cancel their dinner date. It was the third time this month he’d bailed out on her at the last minute. The first time she understood because he forgot about a school event he was supposed to attend for his six-year-old kid. Being that her dad pretty much forgot about her after he and her mom divorced when she was four, Nancy refrained from catching an attitude. Every child needed their father in the picture. That’s what she believed and, besides, she didn’t want to be responsible for keeping a kid and his father apart.

Though she was livid, Nancy couldn’t help the smile that touched her lips. Her bestie, Daphne Turner-Collins, had praised her when she told her how mature she’d behaved and hadn’t flipped out on Christopher for ditching her.

“Look at you acting all grown up,” Daphne had teased.

Of course Nancy couldn’t resist telling her to “shut up.”

The second time he’d texted to cancel on their date to see Maxwell three hours before show time, Nancy couldn’t bite her tongue. His excuse this time had been his baby’s momma, Ebony, had an emergency and he had to go to the rescue to watch their son. The chick had four sisters. Nancy found it strange that not one of them was available to babysit. This time when Nancy told Daphne about Christopher jumping ship, she did admit his timing was suspect.

Before she could cuss Christopher out via text, the waiter walked up to the table.

“Miss, can I get you something to drink while you wait for your party to arrive?”

My Lord. Stephan the waiter was too fine for his own good. He wasn’t as tall as Nancy liked her men. But his flawless expresso complexion, heavily-lidded bedroom eyes and full lips made up for what he lacked in the height department. Her eyes discreetly, or so she thought, drifted to his feet. Nancy had to bite the inside of her cheek to keep from groaning.

When she finally looked back up into Stephan’s handsome face, he was grinning at her and undressing her with his eyes. Heat fanned across her cheeks as she delicately cleared her throat. Somebody appreciated the effort she’d put into looking good tonight. Stephan and his fine self, for the time being, put her anger on simmer. His lingering gaze made her feel sexy and not rejected. Later for Christopher. A drink or two, something to eat and any excuse to keep Stephan coming back will keep the night from being a total bust.

“He’s not coming. I’ll be eating alone.”

Nancy hated how her voice lightly quivered the way it did right before you’re ready to cry. She wanted to jump across the table and wrap her arms and legs around Stephan when he murmured for her ears only, “He’s a damn fool. Sis, you’re beautiful. You deserve better.”

Yes, I do! “Thank you.”

By the time Nancy drank three glasses of wine, stuffed her face with savory seasoned lamb chops, grilled brussels sprouts, and red velvet cake, her mood had soured again. Couple after couple floated through the revolving glass doors, hugged up as they sought refuge from the cold.

Envy was such an ugly emotion that had taken Nancy years to combat. She could feel its familiar tentacles crawling up her insides as the couples were ushered past her table. Surrounding her like happy sharks in an ocean of sappy love, holding hands and grinning as they spoke in hushed tones. Nancy had to get out of there when the dude at the table across from her slid a ring box across the white linen tablecloth. She rolled her eyes when the young woman gasped before covering her mouth with both hands.

“Aw, crap.”

Nancy realized she was louder than she intended when dude shot her the evil eye. But she could care less about his funky proposal or the fact that she probably spoiled the mood. Her glass of red wine toppled over when she abruptly stood, spilling the contents and splattering the front of the overpriced dress she’d bought to impress Christopher.

Tucking her clutch under her arm, Nancy slightly staggered her way to the ladies’ room. Now in front of the mirror, tears stung the back of her eyes as her gaze went to the tiny spots the red wine made against the cream-colored fabric of the dress she wore. It felt like her entire life was nothing but one big stain beginning with her conception. Only two things had ever gone right in her life. Her friendship with Daphne and owning her own business.

Well, maybe three. After years of being at odds with her mother, Madeline, they were finally in a good place. Recently they were able to pick up where they left off when she was a teenager. Just as they were getting settled into a comfortable mom-daughter relationship, Madeline moved to Haddonfield, New Jersey six months ago. She’d joined a counseling practice across the bridge in Philly as a behavioral health specialist.

Nancy hustled her butt into a stall before a tear could fall and she was caught by someone coming in to use the bathroom. An overwhelming feeling of loneliness suffocated her as she wished for her mom or Daphne. Even though they were only a phone call away, they were probably off doing their own thing and could do without her drama. Daphne and her husband, Adrian, were most likely cozied up butt-naked somewhere in that huge house they lived in. And Madeline out with co-workers at some fancy club in Philly to bring in the new year. This once she would have to tough it out until the morning.

“Oh no,” Nancy mumbled under her breath as she made her way to the sink to wash her hands. Carefully, she set her clutch on the vanity next to the woman who she’d almost ruined her proposal. Turning on the water, Nancy eyeballed her reflection and then the woman. When their eyes met, Nancy smiled although she was miserable. “Congratulations.”

A brief stint of counseling taught her it was okay to show kindness even in the midst of chaos.

Blue eyes sparkled at Nancy as the woman smiled and wriggled the fingers on her left hand, displaying a sizable diamond. “Thank you! Isn’t it gorgeous?” she beamed, now holding her hand practically under Nancy’s nose.

Nancy couldn’t help laughing. Girlie was acting like they were besties. “It is.”

ABOUT SUZETTE RIDDICK

Suzette Riddick is a wife, mother and nurse practitioner who enjoys writing about flawed characters on a quest for love. She is an Amazon Best-Selling Author and was featured in USA Today ~ Happy Ever After. A native of Philadelphia, PA, Suzette loves to travel, read and is addicted to Chanel parfum. To learn more about Suzette visit her website at http://www.suzetteriddick.com.