I love looking back over the books I’ve read in a year. It’s almost like a journal of all the places I’ve been! Today, I’m sharing my top 10 favorites of 2020! (Click here to see how I review Books!)
#10 || The Land Beneath Us by Sarah Sundin
This one comes with a MAJOR disclaimer. This is not a family-friendly book. I knew it had a pro-life aspect in the story when I borrowed it, but I didn’t know precisely what aspect. It was sad, and I skipped a good portion of one chapter because of the content. I also didn’t agree with two of the marriages depicted in the story because of personal convictions. I thought that since it stated in the blurb that the couple married early in the story, there would be less romantic content. It was true to a certain extent, but it was still a bit more than I prefer. There was also talk of suicide missions, a disturbing serial killer line, and a divorce (it doesn’t happen but doesn’t show how this isn’t biblical). It was also super annoying that people kept using their childhood past and their ethnic group as a crutch for all the hard things in their life. One or two mentions would have been realistic, but this was every chapter. Way overdone.
That being said, I thought the pro-life aspects of the story were excellently depicted. The message of forgiveness and the lesson of the prodigal son’s brother was profound and well-executed. Lessons on humility, charity, and making yourself useful to society were sprinkled throughout. I also loved how they depict true love as both letting go and coming home. It was very well written.
It was a library book, but I think it would be fixable if I had my own copy. It would take a good deal of time, though.
Recommended for 21+ || Content meter: 2.5 || Quality: 10 || Personal Enjoyment: 6 || Overall: 6
#9 || Resistance by Jaye L. Knight
This is not my usual genre, but it was a good starting book for one not used to “Fantasy” (none magical; I do NOT condone anything with magic). Think persecuted church meets the world before dragons became extinct…only with a super confusing race system that just seems more like a mix of different countries/creatures. That part was weird, and I disapprove of it. Just keep it realistic, people.
The persecution was very real, reminding me of the Roman Catholic Spanish Inquisition. I fear I might have buckled. I was much impressed by the faith of the characters. It was a great encouragement to me. There is a time to be silent, a time to speak, a time to run, and a time to stand.
I was irritated that they never referred to God as God. He was called Elom. I disapprove of tricking people into reading a Christian story by disguising God under a different name. Don’t play games, don’t hide your intentions. Just be honest.
I also didn’t approve of some story insinuations (clothing, behavior, rumors, but nothing too detailed that I remember?). Personally, I was uncomfortable with how often those elements came up. I also didn’t like the alone time between a girl and boy in the story. The situation wasn’t above reproach. It’s not the girl’s place to evangelize or befriend a troubled young man; That is a man’s place. There were also mentions of kissing and hugging before marriage, but it wasn’t a heavy part of the story. Kyrin could have been made a bit more feminine, but she wasn’t your typical tomboy feminist heroine, which I appreciated. In fact, it was nice seeing her learn to give up her forced masculinity and find joy in being a lady.
But the faith of Trask, Kyrin, Kaden, and Rayad was so impressive! I think the book is worth the reading, but only if you are older and mature and don’t mind the editing.
Recommended for 18+ || Content meter: 3 || Quality: 10 || Personal Enjoyment: 9 || Overal: 7
#8 || Untitled by Jesseca Wheaton
Again, I need to start with a disclaimer. This is an excellent book. But there is some language in this book that I do NOT condone at all. My copy is set to be censored as soon as I can get to a reread. Also, this book deals with a sin that desperately needs addressing in our country. It is done well and tactfully. But because of these things, I do not recommend it for young readers.
This book hurt to read. It details the realities of PTSD and how it was viewed during WWII. It’s not a happy-feel-good book. It’s meant to make you think; to make you appreciate the life you have; to make you open your eyes to what many of our veterans face every day. Her example is on the more extreme side of the spectrum, but that doesn’t make it any less real. This is not Hollywood. This is a reality for too many people.
But this story is not without hope! The Epilogue to the story was beautiful, showing that not every story has a resolution, but not every bad thing defines the rest of your life. Y’all know how passionate I am about our troops and that PTSD is a topic that I think is grossly misunderstood and misrepresented. I can give this book a big thumbs up in how the subject is presented.
*I received access to an early edition to this book as a beta reader and happily provided my honest review*
Recommended for 18+ || Content Meter: 4 || Quality: 9 || Personal Enjoyment: 10 || Overall: 8
#7 || Dare by Tricia Mingerink
I promise, not all the books I read require a disclaimer! 😉 This on is for some violence, and a couple scenes where girls were alone with a boy, but everything was kept appropriate. The salvation scene in here was super confusing, and I wondered if it was actually Calvinism, which is heresy. I have fixed my copy to show the truth about Salvation; Everyone gets a chance to be saved, not a select few. God died for everyone!
But aside from that! WOW! This book was powerful! It covers very similar themes as Resistance and even had a heroine that I could relate to! She was nervous, unsure if she could stand up for what she believed in when faced with death. Gives one hope that maybe we could if put in her shoes. Highly recommended for a grounded reader.
Recommended for 16+ || Content Meter: 4* || Quality: 9 || Personal Enjoyment: 9 || Overall: 9
*I would hand this to a 16-year-old, but it does require a little censoring because of the above disclaimer.
#6 || Five-Star Spy by Perry Elisabeth Kirkpatrick
Y’all know how much I love The Accidental Cases of Emily Abbott 😍 I adore these books, and right before I got married, I binge-read the series to my younger siblings. This particular book is my personal favorite! Emily and Brent are hilarious, and I loved all the details in the setting! Who doesn’t want to be an heiress for a day at a lavish hotel?? The 10,000 mystery gets more in-depth, we learn about triage medical care and that Wasabi is super hot! And that Emily is the ultimate expert at handing out insults 😆
There is a reference to alcohol that I removed from my copy.
Recommended for All Ages ||Content Meter: 4.5* || Quality: 10 || Personal Enjoyment: 10 || Overall: 9
*This is a clean book for all ages but may require minimal censoring for little readers*
*I received an ARC of this book and happily provided my honest review!*
#5 ||Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan
Finally, I have read this classic! I grew up reading children’s editions, listening to audio dramas, and watching film adaptions, but I’d never read the unabridged version! 2020 was the perfect time to indulge in this epic, and I am so glad I did! Although, I’m still confused about the author’s beliefs on suicide. It sounded like he believes suicide would automatically send you to hell, which is not true if you are born again. I am still researching this, as I know some words have changed meanings since the 1600s.
Recommended for 13+ || Content Meter: 4 || Quality: 10 || Personal Enjoyment: 10 || Overall: 9
#4 || A Touch of Purple Paint by Hailey Rose
(See my full review here!) This book. *cries* It was so beautiful! And I loved that it showcased a YouTubing couple? I’ve never seen that done in a book, and I adored that aspect! And the relationship between the main characters was heartbreakingly beautiful. The message was so needed in this day and age, and overall I can’t say enough good about this book! 💜
Recommended All Ages || Content Meter: 4* || Quality: 10 || Personal Enjoyment: 10 || Overall: 10
*This book is 100% clean, but there are references to a movie with magic, social media, and deals with intense medical sequences*
#3 || A Strand of Hope by Amanda Tero
(Read my Review Here!) This book, y’all, is a heart-tugging, soul-stirring, thought-provoking novel that every family should read. That being said, it deals with some mature content in a clean and Godly manner, so I would recommend this for older readers. But the message of this story was so profound! I love books that talk about books and reading and how they can help others, and ah! I just adore this book so much! It’s the best one in the series!
Recommended for 16+ || Content Meter: 4 || Quality: 10 || Personal Enjoyment: 10 || Overall: 10
#2 || Preacher on the Run by Jayna Baas
(Click here for my review!) Everyone here knows that I am a die-hard southerner and a proud North Carolinian. You also know I am a hard-core Patriot. I’m also a huge fan of anything about the Regulators of the 1700s. They are the ones who actually started the War for Independence, not the Sons of Liberty! So when I found out someone was writing on the subject…and asked me to be in her blog tour…how could I say no?? If you want to exactly why we went to war with England (hint, it wasn’t just about taxation 😉) and want to see it addressed from a Biblical standpoint, please get this book!
Recommended 16+ || Content Meter: 4 || Quality: 9 || Personal Enjoyment: 10 || Overall: 10
#1 || Tattered Wings and Stop the Rain by Kassie Angle
(Click here and here for my full reviews!) Yep, I couldn’t pick my favorite of the two! But y’all! These books had me bawling my eyes out! Especially Stop the Rain… I have never connected with a book character on that deep of a level. And I don’t fully understand why I did. What do me and a teenaged soldier with PTSD have in common? Why do I understand him so well? Why he does what he does? I shouldn’t be able to connect with him like I did. But regardless, I’m glad I did. Harley is probably one of my favorite book characters…
If you don’t understand how PTSD works or if you are passionate about the topic—basically, if you are alive and breathing, get this book and read it! You will not regret it! It’s super clean, but because of the honest nature of combat and PTSD, I’d rate this book 14+ for understanding.
Recommended 14+ || Content Meter: 4 || Quality: 10 || Personal Enjoyment: 10+ 😉|| Overall 10
Tattered Wing broke my heart in a completely different way. It was about wounds we can see—broken dreams. A memory itching at the back of your mind, but you don’t know why. A wounded puppy… and red ballons… it’s heart-wrenching. And being someone who enjoys a good run… yeah, it hit home pretty hard. But the ending, though… it was perfect.
Recommended All Ages || Content Meter: 5 || Quality: 10 || Personal Enjoyment: 10+ || Overall: 10
Writing Prompt: What are your Top 10 2020 reads? Have you read any of these?
Have a blessed day, and God Bless America!
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Christian. American. Southern. Author.
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