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Announcing the 2020 N. N. Light Book Awards - Winners #books #bestbooks2020 #bookawards #bookish

We at N. N. Light's Book Heaven read a wide variety of books every year. 2020 was no different. We read and reviewed over 1,000 books this year. As the year draws to a close, we award the best books of the year (December 2019 - November 2020). Each of these books were given a 5 star or 5+ star review by N. N. Light's Book Heaven and they are highly recommended reads. These are the winners along with our review for each book:

Action Adventure:

Demigods by J. Giambrone

I never expected to find a book that was so Avengers Civil War as this book is. The author has crafted a work that will not only resonate with Marvel and DC Universe Fans but one that deserves feature film treatment. Without a shadow of a doubt, Steve Arkin could become the next beloved Superhero around the globe.

The storyline is gripping and edge of the seat stuff. The reader is forced to try to reason with why things happen and is left guessing what will come next.

Beyond the rich majesty of a superhero book, this book is truly much more. There are a couple of underlining themes. One is the difficult path people face with dealing with extreme grief. The second is the scourge that is the world's worst evil superhero - childhood critical illness. That the author is able to tell the story of Steve in a way that shows will can overcome grief is incredible.

Wouldn't be a dream of every parent of a critically ill child to be able to transform them from near death to Supernatural in ability?

The way that Steve's life mission seems to ease the suffering of the innocent is so very touching and really may be the most important lesson in the book. The great superhero that these ill children need is a miracle cure that can give them back life.

Children’s Books/Middle Grade:

Frederick Fly-Catcher by Helen C. Johannes

Life is pretty good for Frederick the frog. He’s known as a champion fly-catcher and each day is calm in the pond. He’s good at avoiding predators like the hawk and the fox while being around his friends and family. But when he hears horses, he dives into the pond. He blinks in astonishment at a pair of blue eyes staring back at him. Danger! It’s a human! The queen has warned him about humans and knows nothing good can come of it. Or can it? He accidentally swallows a human ‘thing’ and suddenly strange things start happening. He’s forced to leave the pond and he’s frightened. It’s only when he befriends Grace does he discover what an exciting place the world is and how important it is to have friends you can depend on, no matter if they’re different. Will he make it back to the pond or will he keep exploring with his friend, Grace?

Frederick Fly-Catcher is a delightful story I read in one sitting. Children of all ages will love this one for its adventure and for the animals that talk. Frederick is an appealing main character and children will connect with him right away. There’s plenty of lessons to be learned here but it’s told in a creative way. The plot moves at a fast pace with humorous dialogue to keep the reader engaged. The writing style reminds me of the Frog and Toad series of long ago. It’s a quick read and something I can see children reading over and over again. If you’re in the mood for a feel-good story you won’t be able to put down, pick up Frederick Fly-Catcher today. Highly recommend!

Christian Fiction/Romance:

My Heart Weeps by Pamela S. Thibodeaux

Melena Rhyker's life is torn apart when her husband dies. Overcome with grief, she retreats inside herself and her home. No one can console her, not even her family, her best friend, or her faith. Months go by and it's not until she's accepted into a residency at an artist's retreat in Texas that she takes a tentative step out of her grief. She's unsure what will happen but puts her trust in the Lord. She rediscovers a part of herself she long thought dead. She emerges from the ground like a fragile flower but drowns in her grief when she returns home. A position opens up at the same retreat and she jumps at it. Two men show romantic interest in her but she feels like she's betraying her husband's memory if she pursues a relationship. Can her faith be restored and more importantly, can she open her heart to love again?

My Heart Weeps is a beautiful story about devastating loss and working through grief to embrace peace, love, and grace. My heart broke for Melena so many times while reading, I was emotionally spent partway through reading. But it's this connection with Melena's grief that makes this such an incredible story. Losing the love of your life and then rebuilding your life after such a loss is the main theme of My Heart Weeps. The characters in My Heart Weeps are fleshed out and add such depth to the story. Emotional, heartfelt narration kept me turning the pages. The ending made my heart soar and my faith was boosted simply by reading My Heart Weeps. If you're a fan of Catherine Marshall, you'll love this story. Highly recommend!

Contemporary Romance:

For The Love of You (Pacific Vista Ranch #3) by Claire Marti

Last summer, artist Dylan McNeill broke free from her shyness and had a one-night stand with soccer superstar Gabriel DuVernay. It was the best night of her life and Gabriel stole a piece of her heart. He signs a huge deal to play soccer in L.A. and they reconnect. The chemistry between them is off the charts but neither of them foresees their circumstances when a career-changing injury devastates Gabriel. When his mother suggests a fake engagement to give Gabriel a reprieve from his familial obligations, they agree. But can they pull it off? Dylan’s never lied to her close-knit family before and she wears her heart on her sleeve. The more Dylan is in close quarters with Gabriel, the stronger her heart beats for him. She knows heartbreak is imminent yet cannot help but follow her heart. Can Gabriel show her he’s in love with her and would do anything for her? Or will they walk away when the time comes?

For the Love of You is a heart-wrenching romance filled with emotional turmoil. This is book three in the Pacific Vista Ranch and in my opinion, it’s the best in the series. I connected with Dylan right away. She’s an artist and sees the world through an artistic lens. Vivid descriptive narration allows the reader to dive deep into both Dylan and Gabriel. An accurate portrayal of the daily ins and outs of a soccer star, including injuries, paparazzi, and forced retirement, make this a must-read. Claire Marti adds sublime dramatic tension between Gabriel and his father, Gabriel and Dylan, Dylan and her family as well as Dylan and Gabriel’s family. I found myself glued to my e-reader as I whipped through the story. The romance between Dylan and Gabriel is blistering hot with a fair share of misunderstandings. The ending made it all worthwhile, though. An incredible romance not to be missed. Highly recommend!

Cozy Mystery:

Murder: Double or Nothing (Southern California Mysteries, #3) by Lida Sideris

I have read some mysteries, I have watched and loved Xena and the first couple Tomb Raiders movies. Corrie is who I would want solving a mystery or battling warlords with a broadsword or would-be tomb raiders with uzis. This book was incredibly well-paced and written. I wasn't 20% into it when I was disappointed to have to stop and couldn't wait to start reading again.

Another point of acclaim is that the reader will have no idea who did it until it is exposed. This is the kind of classic whodunnit aka Agatha Christie. Of course in this book, the Marple is a high strung pretty girl who is as deadly with her wit as she is with a gun or her fists.

The plot seemed to have a daunting number of issues that had to be figured out but they were done seamlessly. At one point I thought to myself Corrie is like a Kardashian girl with little cash who solved mysteries.

The best part of this book is Corrie simply being herself. It is refreshing to read a female lead who is actually more dangerous the more danger she is in. It reminded me of a mystery-solving Buffy The Vampire Slayer. A fun and even funny read.

I laughed out loud at least three times at some of the best humor I have seen in a mystery. Superb read and highly recommend to everyone.

Crime Thriller:

Virtually Timeless (High-Tech Crime Solvers #5) by Casi McLean

When twins Sydney and Noah Monaco inherit an expansive property from an aunt they knew nothing about, they both agree it's a good idea to check it out. Noah volunteers and flies from Atlanta to Connecticut. While exploring the woods on their property he discovers a woman in trouble. What happens next sets the twins on a whirlwind adventure they never expected. Criminals are after the twins and the malnourished woman they rescued. Could this have something to do with her or the artifact Sydney discovers? The more Syd and Noah investigate, the deeper the rabbit hole they're plunged into. Can they stay one step ahead of the gang of criminals after them before it’s too late?

Virtually Timeless is a nonstop medical thriller filled with action, adventure, cutting-edge technology, fascinating characters and a pulse-pounding plot. The twins work well together and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. The medical mystery and the criminal sub-plots are so intricately laid out, I got swept into the story. Twists and turns kept me whipping through the pages until the thrilling conclusion. When I finished reading, I had to unclench my hands and slow my breathing. A gripping thriller not to be missed. If you're a fan of high-crime medical thrillers, this is a must-read. I can't wait to see what's next for these twins. Highly recommend!

Dark Romance:

Reign Of Pride (Dark Reign Book 1) by A.G. Kirkham

I swear I am not trying to be hyperbolistic here, but WOW, what a great book!

This book is beautifully written. Reign of Pride flows seamlessly between two POV’s. The author has the innate gift to slip back and forth from present to near past with ease. This cannot be highlighted as an accomplishment too much. So many of today's authors’ greatest pitfall is trying and failing to move a reader through time. Seriously, this author could give live video chats on how to do it for money.

The story of Nero and Felicitas is woven with the mystique that is old-school organized crime along with romance. Reign of Pride grips the reader and is a page turner by the third page. Once more, my only regret is that I finished reading this book. I loved the ending so much, I read the last 20% twice.

The author has done another great thing here...the title states Book 1 but there isn't the usual cliff hanger. This is a story that is ready for another chapter but the reader isn't forced into the standard cliff hanger, which is a common cheap trick.

The romantic scenes between husband and wife are done in a classy fashion. The simple fact is husbands and wives engage in activities that might be considered shameless, if not married. I found the sections of this beautifully written, gentle and realistic.

The entire story is brilliant. I personally can't wait for the second book to come out. Surely, Reign of Pride is a bestseller in the making. I recommend it to every fan of mob books. I recommend it to every fan of action books. A fantastic book you will thoroughly enjoy reading.


New Wave (The Islands Of Anarchy #1) by Jennifer Ann Shore

Mol, born and raised on Island Seven, has endured suffering and torment. After the deaths of her parents, she and her brother, Luca, manage to make the rations the Authority provides stretch, but it is difficult. Mol takes some initiative and sells what she can in exchange for food, coffee, and the bare essentials. On a dangerous mission to sell her mother’s beautiful necklace, Mol gets captured and thrown aboard a ship where the leaders of the Authority live. Mol gets thrust into the role of the Elite, beautiful women serving the Commander and his staff. Mol hates being a servant and yearns to escape. A chance encounter with the Commander himself offers Mol the opportunity to have her voice heard. The mutual attraction is immediate but is it real or just another illusion? There’s so much at stake and if Mol can keep her temper in check long enough, she might just change the mind of the Commander in how the Authority operates.

New Wave is an intoxicating dystopian gem that took me completely by surprise. I’m not a huge dystopian fan. I read Hunger Games and Divergent series when they first came out but soon lost interest as the market got saturated with copycats. But the New Wave premise intrigued me. Mol is an action/adventure feminist who kicks butt. She doesn’t tolerate abuse of women and speaks her mind. I loved how she protected the one woman who hated her guts on the ship from a beat-down by the unscrupulous General. I loved her tenacity for the truth, even if it meant losing the one man who she has feelings for. The hierarchy of the Authority screamed Hunger Games but with a difference: humanity. The Punisher was a complete paradox that caused me to read faster. The ending was explosive with plenty of action. By the time I got to the end, I wanted to read book two (coming soon). If you’re a fan of dystopian, you’ll love New Wave. Highly recommend!

Erotic Romance:

Until We Get It Right by Cadence Vonn

Dr. Luke Blacke has returned home and just bought a house in desperate need of restoration. When he meets Tony, his project manager, he realizes it’s Toni and the attraction he feels for her is electric. Everything about Toni checks every box for Luke, including a side of kink he didn’t know he had. As they explore their relationship in secret, out in public they are professional, especially around Toni’s egotistical brother. The more they’re together, the more Luke wants to be with her, and the harder it is to keep his mouth shut about her power-hungry brother. When the break-ins at Luke’s house being renovated amps up, he wonders what it is they’re after and worries for Toni’s safety. Can he protect Toni from the dangers closing in or will he lose the only woman he’s ever loved?

One of the things I love most about a Cadence Vonn novel is how riveting it is. No matter who the characters are, what’s going on in their lives or how steamy their love scenes get, I’m obsessed with it. I can’t put it down. The same is true for Until We Get It Right. In this story, we meet the third Blacke brother, Luke, and he’s by far, my favorite. Spending all his time studying to be a doctor and then in residency, he didn’t have time for relationships. He was too busy but once he meets Toni, he allows himself to explore the various kink she shows him. Her playroom is one of my favorite parts of the book. Trust me, you’ll want to get one for yourself.

There’s a lot going on in this story and I loved reuniting with the whole Blacke clan. There’s a wedding but don’t worry, it’s not Luke’s. There’re a few mysteries to unravel and an explosive ending. The plot moves at a fast pace with a nice blend of characters. The characterizations are impeccable, especially when Toni searches for her father. The characters are so life-life, they set up shop in my head for days. The love scenes are hot and have their fair share of kink but all tastefully executed.

If you’re looking to be taken away on a daring exploration of erotic romance with intensity and suspense, pick up Until We Get It Right today. Highly recommend!


The Lost Link (Power of Fae, #1) by Michelle Bryan

Jette has been dealing with nightmares and visions since she was little. Now in high school, she's a tough young woman who can hold her own. But all that changes when she sees a dragon appear in the skies. Frightened out of her wits, she escapes school grounds to her mentor Bishop's shop. He grabs her hand and together they enter a world she never thought existed via a portal. This magical world is filled with creatures only written in fairy tales and one sexy fae prince. She discovers she's got magical powers too, if only she can figure out how to use them. Time is running out and with an evil fae queen pursuing her, she's got to face her fears and use her wielding powers, or else the world is doomed. Can she do what everyone thinks she's capable of or will she fail, leading them all into the clutches of the power-hungry evil fae queen?

Wow, what an incredible book! From the moment Jette appears, I was hooked. The characters, Jette especially, are so well-crafted, they leaped from the pages and into my heart. The descriptive narration moves the plot with a fevered pace. The conflict, mystery, intrigue, action, adventure and ending all blend to make this an unputdownable fantasy. The world-building is exquisite while the slow-building romance between Jette and Starke is heart-melting. Fans of Kelley Armstrong and Uncanny Kingdom will love The Lost Link. I can't wait for the next book in the series. Highly Recommend!

Fantasy Romance:

Solace: Fae Warriors Book 1 by Gini Rifkin

You walk into a (book) bar and order a fantasy romance and when you taste the shot you go WOW! That is what happens to the reader who takes a chance with Solace. The fantasy world created is very approachable for every reader. This author has the gift to make a fantasy very readable and the reader is never bogged down trying to figure out terms.

The plot is well crafted, and the action is intense. The romance? Muy Caliente!

This book could be described as a sort of Charmedmeets Andromeda meets Basic Instinct - The three sisters are incredible. To quote Tanner, 'The Warrior woman I always dreamed of,”' is an apt description.

The romance of Solace and Tanner was touching and enjoyable to read. Two totally different beings, drawn together and able to overcome A LOT. The book was very well written and crafted and leaves the reader wanting to know what happens next. A recommended book to any action or romance fan, especially those who worship girl power.

Fiction/Literary Fiction:

My Name Is Danny: Tales From Danny the Dog by Andrew Joyce

As one of the many readers who clamored for an entire book by Danny The Dog, I was baying at the moon in anticipation of reading this!

Let me tell you Danny didn't let any dogs lie. This book will have you howling with laughter and your tail will wag at the anticipation of reading the next short.

Witty, entertaining, and fully tongue in cheek, this is a great read. During this time in the world filled with stress and uncertainty, a light farce is just what we all need. I recommend this book to everyone on this planet. The author deftly skewers himself in a dignified fashion through the paw print type of Danny. Simply brilliant. This book is one that will have readers panting for more.

Something Monty Python would have loved to pen in their hey day, had they the inspiration.

Historical Fiction:

Northern Wolf (Northern Wolf, #1) by Daniel Greene

I have been seriously studying the Civil War for more than two decades. I cannot say how taken aback I was to start reading this fictional account and feel like I was reading letters from real soldiers, as portrayed on the Ken Burns’ Civil War. There was more than one time when I was ready for Shelby Foote to step in and give a forward to a chapter!

This work in one word: excellent. Superb is another word. One of the finest pieces of Civil War fiction written in the last 50 years.

The author used the history of the period to bring his fictional men alive. The reader quickly feels like he is part of the 13th.

I honestly think this work will be able to sit comfortably on a book shelf next to WEB Griffin's Brotherhood of War. Honestly not since Horatio Hornblower has a fictional character been so wonderfully fit into the historical record in such a sublime fashion, you forget you are reading fiction.

Certainly, one of the greatest books I have ever read. I recommend this book to everyone who is a fan of history or a fan of the underdog. Sheer brilliance.

I would have given this six stars out of five but am limited to 5+ stars.

Fantastic book.

Historical Mystery:

A Trace of Deceit (Victorian Mystery, #2) by Karen Odden

When painter Annabel Rowe discovers a Scotland Yard Inspector, Matthew Hallam, in her brother’s flat, she knows something is amiss but never thought she’d hear her brother’s been murdered. A valuable painting he’d been restoring is missing and Annabel knows it’s the key to finding her brother’s murderer. Teaming up with Matthew, they enter the underbelly of the art world. As they sift through lies, deception, and evasion, the investigation takes a surprising turn and puts Annabel in the crosshairs of a killer. Can she escape with her life or will she be the next victim?

I’m a huge historical mystery fan and A Trace of Deceit is a delight for the senses. Karen Odden plunges the reader into the past with historically accurate descriptive narration, colourful characters, an independent heroine, and a suspenseful mystery. The plot moves at a good pace with a few twists I didn’t see coming. The mystery itself stimulated my mind and I honestly didn’t figure it out until the very end. Well done. A Trace of Deceit is reminiscent of Anne Perry’s Victorian mysteries. Highly recommend!

Historical Romance:

A Hundred Lies by Jean M. Grant

What happens when a pretend Seer meets a real Seer in the heart of Scotland? Rosalie fibs about her 'sight', instead feeding lies to those who come to see her for a reading. In her mind, she's got a 50-50 chance of being right. But when she's dead wrong and a noblewoman runs her and her family out of England, they flee to Scotland. There, she meets Domhnall, a real Seer, and her lies start to unravel. When her dangerous past catches up with her, can she depend on Domhnall to rescue her or will her hundreds of lies be the death of her?

A Hundred Lies is truly an unforgettable historical romance, set in 14th century England and Scotland. Jean M. Grant has an uncanny ability to create characters that leap off the page. Her historical research is injected in each page as her descriptive narration is intricate down to the food and wine people eat and drink. The character Rosalie is such a fascinating heroine complete with foibles and good intentions. Her caretaking of her mother brought tears to my eyes. The romance between Rosalie and Domhnall had me whipping throughout the pages. The suspense subplot had my heart in my throat a few times. The ending made me smile. If you’re looking to escape through history, Jean M. Grant is your go-to author. Brilliantly written, A Hundred Lies is a must-read! Highly recommend!

Holiday Romance:

Mistletoe, Mobsters, & Mozzarella by Peggy Jaeger

Just when Donna thinks she’s seen everything in her family’s deli, she discovers a dead body in the walk-in freezer. It’s not a stranger on-ice but Chico, the deli’s delivery person. Who would do such a thing? Donna hasn’t a clue but she’s in for a shock when Tony Russo, the boy who stole her heart and took her virginity back in high school, walks back into her life. Only now, he's no boy but a full-grown god of a man. He’s returned home and is the lead detective on the case. Sparks reignite and before Donna can mutter ‘holy cannoli’, he’s working undercover at the deli. With her resolve melting faster than mozzarella on hot pasta, Donna finds herself falling in love with Tony, again. She steels herself against heartache but when it doesn’t come, she pushes him away. Can she see the love shining in Tony’s eyes and embrace it or will she be too late?

Mistletoe, Mobsters & Mozzarella is a yummy holiday romance. From the first page, I was hooked. Each chapter starts with some sage advice. Donna’s inner thoughts are snarky, witty, and saucy. Very authentic for New York. Her big Italian family, especially her mum and dad, add such richness to the story. I found it delightful to be ‘adopted’ into Donna’s family just by reading. As in most Italian families, there’s an overabundance of food. Peggy Jaeger incorporates lush descriptions of the food. Trust me when I tell you to read on a full stomach. There were so many times my tummy rumbled, and I craved a bowl of pasta and other Italian cuisine. The romance between Donna and Tony is classic second-chance romance but with an intriguing twist. If you’re looking for a romance that’ll make you hungry for more, pick up Mistletoe, Mobsters, & Mozzarella. One of the best romances I’ve read from Peggy Jaeger. Highly recommend!

Medieval Fiction/Romance:

A Winter Knight (Knights of Destiny Book 2) by Barbara Bettis

Sir Nicholas has lost all faith in women. So when he discovers a lady frozen in the snow, he brings her back to the crumbling manor he calls home. Questions crowd his mind but so does his protectiveness. She almost died in a blizzard without anyone to help. God knows what might have happened to her if he hadn’t gone out in a blizzard looking for her. Before he can question her, three men come looking for her. She’s frightened of Sir Rollo, her fiancée, and when he whisks her back home, Sir Nicholas must choose between love and honor. Even though he has nothing to offer her except his undying love, will she accept him and reject the lifestyle which she is accustomed to as Lady Clare?

A Winter Knight is a fervent medieval romance between a knight and a lady. She’s fleeing an arranged marriage to a man she detests, and Nicholas has nothing to offer her. No estate, no land, only his battered heart. The attraction is instant yet there are many obstacles between them, mainly Sir Rollo and Nicholas’ honor. The characterization in this romance is vibrant and the characters leap off the page. The setting is described so well, I could feel the warmth of the fire and the coolness of the snow as it falls. The plot moves at a quick pace and the twists kept me wondering what would happen next. But it’s the slow-burning romance between Nicholas and Clare which makes this a five-star read. Love conquers all but especially at Christmas.

If you love medieval romance and looking to be swept off your feet, pick up A Winter Knight. It’ll keep you toasty warm throughout the winter night. Highly recommend!

Favorite Character/Quote: Sir Nicholas. What woman doesn’t want a knight to sweep her off her feet and rescue her? He’s an honorable man with a fiery spirit and I fell for him from the moment he scoops Lady Clare out of the snow.


Walks with Sam: A Man, a Dog, and a Season of Awakening by David W. Berner

Rarely does a book talk about Thoreau and walk like Thoreau. The musings of the author as he walks his dog are really enjoyable to read. You don't know where the book is going to go as it is literally dog-driven. I am known as someone who loves the writings of Danny The Dog by Andrew Joyce. Danny really needs to meet Sam. For Sam, he is ghostwritten by David. This is Danny the Dog from Andrew's perspective.

The musings range from weather to age to mortality to politics. They include the idiosyncratic occurrences that are found within a block of one's home. This was a great read. It is possible if you are a hardline right-wing, you might be offended by this book. To be fair, you are probably offended by any life outside of 1930's Germany.

This book just flows. You have no idea what the next page will bring. I loved the random nature. The only constant is that Sam needed to walk and David wrote what he thought the walk was about. Funny, entertaining, thought-provoking, this book is the best work this author has ever done. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.

I recommend this book to every dog owner in the world. I also recommend this book to every armchair philosopher. You may be challenged by this book but in a good way. A terrific read.

Military Romance:

Home in Your Arms by Charlotte O’Shay

Retired Army 1st Sgt. Zane Blackthorne wants to visit his fallen brother-in-arms’ sweet hometown in Vermont. When he looks up Joe's sweetheart, Karla, he's unprepared for the sparks that fly. She's beautiful, smart, and incredibly heroic for all she's had to go through. He fights his feelings for her to honor his friend but it's getting harder and harder the more time they spend together. He knows she'd never love him like she loved Joe but his heart doesn't listen to him. Can he walk away from the only place he's felt at home, in her arms?

I first met Karla in Charlotte O'Shay's story, Forever in a Moment, and liked her immensely. She's a prickly woman but it's understandable, considering the loss she's had to go through. But upon closer inspection, she wants what every woman wants: to be loved. Zach is the perfect partner for Karla and I loved reading their love story. Home in Your Arms is a heartwarming romance you'll curl up to on a cold evening. The plot has perfect pacing without rushing the romance. The characters are so lovable, you'll want to spend all your time with them. I love visiting this series and Home in Your Arms is a superb addition. Fans of feel-good romances as seen on the Hallmark Channel will love this story. Highly recommend!


Hide and Seek by Jo A. Hiestand

The McLaren series is one of my fave mystery series on the market today. This is the third book of the series I have been blessed to read. Hide and Seek is one of the best mysteries I have ever read.

If you want a classic British who-dun-it then this book is for you. I have read/watched more than 100 mysteries (probably close to 500) and invariably I can know who did it within 20% of a book. Hide and Seek had me guessing all the way. I never knew who did it until it was revealed. That is the sign of a superb mystery.

The author gracefully brings a new reader up to date with what is going on with the main characters. This is a superb read for a fan of the series and an easy read for a newbie. The twists and turns of the investigation keep the reader on edge. The myriad possibilities keep the reader excited. Truly a terrific mystery book that I thoroughly enjoyed. I recommend this to every fan of mystery novels. A great read for everyone.


Stocks, Bonds & Taxes: A Comprehensive Handbook and Investment Guide for Everybody by Phillip B. Chute

A critically important book for these times. This is a must-have if you are a serious investor. If you are a dabbler or are yet to start your adventure in stocks, then this book may not be for you yet. The key aspect of this book is that you MUST own it if you have any significant play in the stock market. At this point, for most people with good portfolios, is they rely on an 'expert' to tell them what they need to know. This book changes that dynamic forever. This will be a must-own to every person who invests in stocks.

Phillip B. Chute has created a very readable book that is organized in an effective fashion. Each chapter lays out a clear definition of what is being discussed. The format for each chapter is similar and that allows the investor to key on the chapter that relates directly to his/her interest. This is not stock tips for dummies. This is an intelligently written book that gives the intelligent investor a chance to know what his broker is talking about...possibly for the first time.


Metallic Red (The Royally Human Vampire, #1) by Jennifer Ann Shore

Half-vampire/half-human Mina Byron has lived her life straddling two worlds. Raised in a protected vampire household, she wants to embrace her human half and pleads with her uncle, the Vampire King of the region, to allow her to enroll in high school. He agrees and she's elated. Adjusting to life as a high school senior takes its toll on Mina but soon she's fitting in. She has a bestie and even a blooming romance with Charlie, a popular soccer star. When Mina reads about the discovery of five bodies with bite marks and their blood's been drained, she fears there's a rogue vampire killing innocent humans. Enlisting the help of fellow vampire, Theo, she searches for the truth. The more she's around Theo, the more conflicted she becomes. Romance in the human world as well as the vampire world is never easy, especially when you're the future vampire Queen of Appalachia. Will Mina embrace the role and bring her two worlds together or will she splinter under the pressure?

Metallic Red is a modern young adult vampire romance with plenty of subtext. Mina is a strong heroine and I thoroughly enjoyed reading her inner dialogue. Her gnawing hunger after her first day in school was comical. The world-building Jennifer Ann Shore uses adds a whole new level to vampire lore. It's totally believable and authentic. The romance Mina deals with is technically a love triangle but it is so well done, it doesn't overshadow the rest of the plot. The mystery is one that kept me guessing until the very end. Well done. If you're looking for a fresh approach to paranormal romance, pick up Metallic Red right now. Highly recommend!

Paranormal Romance:

Hidden Gypsy Magic by Tena Stetler

The Salem Wildlife Sanctuary is at the center of Gwen's life. Her gypsy magic allows her gift for helping animals in need to thrive but sometimes she needs help. Brock is a local vet and they work so well together. Their love of animals connects them as does their instant attraction. But between their passions for animal rescue and very busy lives, it's hard to find quality time together. When the house Brock has always been drawn to comes up for sale, he and Gwen take a tour. It's an incredible home and seems to be made for him. Gwen senses magic but nothing sinister. He decides to go for it and this decision propels not only him but Gwen as well on a journey neither of them expects. Brock discovers the house is full of secrets dating back to the Salem Witch Trials. Can he and Gwen solve the mystery and use their hidden gypsy magic to right past wrongs or will the consequences be too severe?

Hidden Gypsy Magic is an addictive read, start to finish. From the very first page, I connected with Gwen. Her love for animals is so sweet and endearing with plenty of humor, I found myself chuckling as I read. "I mean, who does that?" I remember Gwen from a previous book and she is such a great character. The romance between Gwen and Brock is subtle but rang true. Why? We're all mega busy these days and sometimes it's hard to make time for a significant other. The plot moves at a great pace with plenty of minor characters to interact with. The historical parts dealing with the Salem Witch Trials were so well done, my historical heart swelled. The emotional narration had me ripping through the pages until the very end. Did I mention it’s an addictive read? Good. If you're looking for a magical romance between two animal lovers, pick up Hidden Gypsy Magic. This is, hands down, Tena Stetler's best book to date. A must-read for all romance readers! Highly recommend!

Paranormal Suspense:

Ghost in the Machine by Katie O’Sullivan

The past 24 hours have been rough on Maggie Nelson. The break-in, getting shot at, her sister’s murder, her sister’s ghost, creepy cops coming onto her, and then there’s Jack MacDonald. He’s a state trooper and he’s investigating her sister’s murder. From the moment they meet, sparks fly. He makes her feel safe and protected. She vows to bring her sister’s murderer to justice. But when the bad guys come after her, she wonders if it’s worth getting killed for. Can Jack keep her safe with the help of her sister’s ghost or will she too wind up in a body bag?

Ghost in the Machine is a gripping paranormal thriller I couldn’t put down. I even dreamt about it. Katie O’Sullivan grabs the reader by the lapels and doesn’t let go until the last page. I love a good paranormal thriller but this one took me by surprise. It’s a well-crafted plot with multiple POV’s, a political intrigue subplot, a full cast of characters, riveting action, and romance between two lost souls. While its premise is suspense, I thoroughly enjoyed the romance between Jack and Maggie. The chemistry is off the charts but the great thing about that is the romance never felt rushed. The slow build-up had me whipping through the pages. The ending was a complete surprise. If you’re looking for a romantic suspense with paranormal elements, you’re going to love Ghost in the Machine. Highly recommend!


Harnessing Light by S.B. Goncarova

Rare is a book that can mean anything to anyone and still be a classic read. This is a rare book. With a style of prose and poetry not seen since Jim Morrison wrote his work, this is a book that dares you to explore.

It is almost impossible to define this work. That is the beauty of this book. This book is better enjoyed if the reader decides what the book means to them.

How many times do you pick up a book and are driven to an interpretation by the blurb or the jacket cover? Here the author presents thoughts, oft without clear cohesion, but all brilliantly presented.

This could be a book about longing; this could be a book about long-distance love. This could be a book about fighting injustice. This could be a clarion call for battling the climate crisis. This could be a book about dealing with parents as people. This could be a book about women's rights. This could be a book about nature.

Whatever you decide the book is about, you will be right. This is a great read if you are willing to just let each sentence take you wherever it wants to go. A book that would be a nice companion on a rainy day or on a day when you need to let yourself go.

Everyone should read this book as this book will mean something different to everyone.

Outstandingly original work, a true pleasure to peel back the layers like it's a Faberge Egg.

Regency Romance:

Courtesan's Wicked Desire (Improper Wives for Proper Lords, #4) by Clair Brett

Lady Sarrafinna Lennox is an independent woman. After losing the only man she's ever loved to her best friend, she ditched the Ton and became one of England's most famous courtesans. Wanting to retire to a life of seclusion, she agrees to house a known Italian rebel before he flees to Denmark. The money she will earn will bankroll her retirement. But when she discovers her past lover, Lord Kendrick Chase, is part of the plan, she doubles her price. He's the last man she needs under her roof. As the stakes rise and she's forced to 'pretend' to be reunited lovers with Kendrick, her heart wonders if fate is giving her a second chance at love. Can she forgive him for what he did years ago and more importantly, can she put her trust in him once more?

Courtesan's Wicked Desire is a feast for the historical romance reader. An independent woman, a spy returns home, reunited lover, danger, intrigue, murder, and plenty of sizzling romantic tension... a five-star winner. I loved Finna as a heroine. She's feisty and knows her way around the rumor mill of the Ton. Her independent spirit grabbed my heart from the very beginning and didn't let go until the final page. I love second-chance romance and there's plenty to love in Courtesan's Wicked Desire. The suspense adds a delicious layer to the plot, which moves at a good pace. The ending caught me by surprise a little but I simply adored it. Highly recommend, especially to Regency spy romance fans!

Romantic Comedy:

A Hero for Hailey (Love will OUT, #1) by D.E. Haggerty

P.I. Hailey has her camera out and is taking pictures of a cheating husband when she’s caught red-handed by none other than her high school crush, Aiden. He’s a police detective now and insists she tell him what she’s doing outside a mote