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:
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!
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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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