The Top 7 Books I Read in 2020

Here are my favorite books of this year. Everyone else is doing a Top 5 or a Top 10. I’m doing a Top 7, mostly because I couldn’t narrow it down to five. Although I have them numbered, those numbers could change on any given day and I just couldn’t leave any of them out. These are all books I read in 2020. Since I’ve been doing reviews for the Historical Novel Society, I’ve found some great historical fiction. I also found an Indie book that I really loved. Below is a list of my favorites with their Amazon links and Amazon book descriptions. Three of them were read for the February issue of Historical Novels Review, so I can’t post my reviews for them until they are published in the magazine. Look for my reviews of those three books in February.

7. Set the Stars Alight

This is riveting dual timeline historical fiction. My Review

6. Doing Time

Jodi Taylor is probably my favorite author. She writes the Chronicles of St. Mary’s, a popular time travel series, and Doing Time is the first in a new spinoff series, The Time Police. My Review

5. The Milk Wagon

This is a great book from an Indie author who wrote a fantastic 80’s thriller, mostly revolving around a group of high school boys. This book has not gotten the attention it deserves and is a hidden gem, in my opinion. My review

4. The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop

I can’t post my review for this title until it is published in Historical Novels Review magazine. For a book description on Amazon, click on the cover.

3. The Edge of Belonging

This is a moving story about adoption and family.

My Review

2. Things We Didn’t Say

I cannot post my review until February, but I will say this is an epistolary historical novel, done solely in letters and written communication. You can check out a description on Amazon by clicking on the cover.

  1. No Ordinary Thing

Again I cannot post my review until February, but this is a Middle Grade Time Travel Fantasy revolving around a snow globe! Click on the cover for the Amazon link and description.

Joy to the World

Oh how I love everything written by Jodi Taylor! This short story in the Frogmorton Farm series is no exception. You will laugh and cry.

There is a serious message in this short story about online predators, but there is also love, Joy, and a golden horse. Joy feels unappreciated and unloved by her father, Russell, and she feels her mother Jenny is weak and clueless. Her only friend is Tommy, a girl she met online. And that’s where the trouble starts…

I would suggest starting with the first book in this series, The Nothing Girl, so you will know the whole story of Jenny, Thomas, Russell, and more. In The Nothing Girl, Jenny is an orphaned girl who has a pronounced stutter. She lives a loveless life with her coldhearted aunt and uncle, until the arrival of a giant golden horse. This series is heartfelt and addictive. I love it so much that I want to go live at Frogmorton Farm.

I listened to the audiobook version of this story, read by Lucy Price-Lewis, who does a great job, especially with the voice of Thomas.

Since I am a huge fan of Jodi Taylor’s, I also recommend you read The Chronicles of St. Mary’s, about an organization of hilarious time-traveling historians, and The Time Police, a spinoff of that. Everything Jodi Taylor writes is amazing.

Link to the story on Amazon

Link to Jodi Taylor’s Website

Link to my review on Goodreads

Hard Time

Another amazing book by Jodi Taylor! I truly enjoy everything she writes. Hard Time is the second book in The Time Police series, a spinoff of Taylor’s wildly popular Chronicles of St. Mary’s series. 

A prominent politician has asked the Time Police to retrieve her spoiled daughter after an illegal time jump. Enter Matthew, Jane, and Luke (Team Weird), who are once again off on a chaotic and sometimes humorous adventure. And, as usual, they find more than they bargained for.

I continue to love reading about the adventures of this trio. Matthew is the son of Max and Leon from the St Mary’s series. He is a savant when it comes to the time map, but a little awkward in every other area. Jane was a victim of a lifetime of abuse, but continues to find her own way, and a new confidence is making its appearance. Luke is the disinherited, formerly spoiled, current playboy son of a powerful businessman. He has finally found something he cares about–Matthew and Jane. Follow this trio as they travel up and down the timeline–sometimes with permission, sometimes not. And the hilarious crew from St. Mary’s always makes an appearance.

I highly recommend this series to anyone who is a fan of time travel fiction, or to anyone who just wants to read a well-written, often funny series with great characters. I also recommend that you check out the series from which it was born–The Chronicles of St. Mary’s by Jodi Taylor. The first book in the Chronicles of St. Mary’s is Just One Damn Thing After Another.

I received the novel early after ordering a signed copy from the author’s website. So far, and to the best of my knowledge, she has done this with every new release since she started her website.

Link to Jodi Taylor’s website: https://joditaylor.online

Link to the book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hard-Time-irresistible-spinoff-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B0847JM5YP/ref=sr_1_3?dchild=1&keywords=hard+time&qid=1602719155&sr=8-3

Link to Jodi Taylor’s Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Jodi-Taylor/e/B00DOSKIHU/ref=dp_byline_cont_pop_ebooks_1

Link to Jodi Taylor’s Facebook group “Fans of the Chronicles of St. Mary’s.” This is an awesome, fun group you won’t want to miss out on. https://www.facebook.com/groups/JodiTaylorFans

Doing Time

I am writing this review of Doing Time, which came out last year, because the second book in this series, Hard Time, is winging its way to me in the mail as we speak. My review of Hard Time will be along soon. I must preface this review by saying Jodi Taylor has become my favorite author. Her St. Mary’s Chronicles is an absolute must for Time Travel (Sorry Dr. Bairstow) Fiction Readers. I would be remiss if I didn’t advise you to drop whatever you are doing and buy the first book in the St. Mary’s Chronicles, entitled Just One Damn Thing After Another. You will not be sorry, and I envy you the experience of reading it for the first time.

Doing Time is a spinoff of the St. Mary’s series and revolves around Matthew, son of two St. Mary’s main characters. Now that I’ve set this up and advised you to check out everything the brilliant Jodi Taylor has ever written, on to the review!

EDIT: My copy of Hard Time (Book 2 in the series) has been received. The review will be posted on 10/13//20. Hard Time will be released on 10/15/20.

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Jodi Taylor has done it again. A spinoff of her wonderful St. Mary’s Chronicles, Doing Time is the story of Matthew, Jane, and Luke, trainees in the Time Police. Matthew is of course the son of Max and Leon from the St. Mary’s Chronicles. There is mystery, laughter, and intrigue all rolled up in one story as the trio (Team Weird) become Time Police cadets, and are faced with opposition from the Albayans. The Albayans are leftover followers of the late Colonel Albay, the former Time Police leader and unapologetic fascist, who killed first and asked questions later.

Beloved characters from St. Mary’s make an appearance and provide a lot of hilarity during some stressful times, and we learn a tiny bit about what is going on in Matthew’s head. I hope more will be revealed in subsequent books. 

If you love Time Travel, history, and well written characters, you will LOVE these books.

Amazon link to Doing Time: https://www.amazon.com/Doing-Time-Jodi-Taylor-ebook/dp/B07TF5YS7N/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=doing+time&qid=1601598336&sr=8-1

Jodi Taylor’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Jodi-Taylor/e/B00DOSKIHU?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000

Amazon Link to Jodi’s latest book: Hard Time: https://www.amazon.com/Hard-Time-irresistible-spinoff-Chronicles-ebook/dp/B0847JM5YP/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Hard+time&qid=1601598546&s=digital-text&sr=1-1