Greenlights

Author: Matthew McConaughey

Publisher: Crown Publishing Group

Release Date: October 20, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Matthew McConaughey’s biography is “Allright, Allright, Allright!”

Matthew McConaughey is well known for several romantic comedies as well as a leading actor in multiple dramatic films.  He even won best actor for his work in Dallas Buyers Club.  But who is he?  How did he get his start?  What makes him tick and how did he get from here he was to where he is now?  In other words, how did he find his Greenlights to show him when to hit the gas and not the brake?

I’ll admit that I really didn’t know much about Matthew McConaughey before I read this book.  I had some preconceived notions of who he is, but I really had no idea.  I didn’t know he was a writer, straight A student, foreign exchange student, etc. etc.  I knew he hailed from Texas, but not where he got his start.  Needless to say, it was interesting to learn more about him.  I enjoyed getting to find out his version of himself.  I’ve seen several of his films and it is easy to put him in a certain category, but when it comes down to it, he’s not really that different from any of us.  That’s what is so great about memoirs, you really find out their true character. 

This is quite a bit of harsh language throughout the book as well as some implied sexual activity, nothing overly graphic.  I recommend this book for mature audiences that have an interest in McConaughey or enjoy personal biographies/memoirs.

What’s in Store for 2021?

As we branch out to the next year of the decade, we can only hope to find some sense of normalcy. Well, that and more great books for us to escape reality. Here is just an example of what we are looking forward to in 2021.

Releases January 5th.

Lynette Eason continues to make each new book our favorite and we have no doubt that this next one will take the number one spot!

Find out more here.

Releases February 9th.

We are thrilled for this new series by several of our favorite authors. We can’t wait to find out how it plays out!

Find out more here.

Releases March 2nd.

A year without a Lynn Blackburn goodie? Thankfully 2021 has her back in action!

Find out more here.

Releases April 6th.

Chris Fabry writes awesome stories! Maybe that’s what happened in 2020? Either way, we are super excited to have a new story by him this year!

Find out more here.

Releases April 20th.

Another Tracy Crosswhite Novel? Yes please! We can’t get enough of our favorite protagonist and her exciting yet relatable life!

Find out more here.

Releases May 4th.

If you love science fiction, then chances are you are an Andy Weir fan. We’ve loved everything he has written so far and hope this is no different.

Find out more here.

Releases June 1st

Jamie Jo Wright’s stories always have a bit of darkness that finds it way to the light. She is continually at the top of the list for a reason!

Find out more here.

Releases June 8th.

We absolutely loved Murphy Shepard’s first recorded adventure and can’t wait to see what lies in store for the second!

Find out more here.

Releases July 6th.

Kerry Lonsdale always writes an escape story and we plan on this one being one of her best yet. Just look at that cover!

Find out more here.

Expected in July.

Janice Cantore is back in 2021 and her knowledge of the police force will no doubt keep us intruded through he whole story!

Find out more here.

Top Books for 2020

Can readers ever really narrow down a list?  Although this has been a tough year for many, thankfully it has been a year filled with great stories by great authors.  We look forward to what the new year will bring and hope that you have a chance to read what we thought were the best books of 2020!

The Solid Grounds Coffee Company by Carla Laureano

This book was such a good read that we lent it out to many and everyone thought it was great. Easily made our top pick of the year.

Read the full review.

Twin Daggers by MarcyKate Connolly

Classified as YA fiction, the top notch suspense makes it an exceptional book for all readers!

Read the full review.

Airborne by Diann Mills

Our top pick for romantic suspense easily makes it to the best of the year list! It was even released early because of its eerie similarity with the COVID-19 outbreak!

Read the full review.

Nine by Rachelle Dekker

We were so happy that Rachelle Dekker found her true voice! We can’t wait to see what she has in store for the future!

Read the full review.

Collision of Lies by Tom Threadgill

We love finding a fresh voice in suspense writing and Tom Threadgill answered the call. We couldn’t put this book down and hope next years release will be more of the same!

Read the full review.

Side Trip by Kerry Lonsdale

Lonsdale creates some of the best unexpected adventures for readers and always has a bit of the supernatural involved. You’ll cry at the end, but then you’ll cheer!

Read the full review.

A Cold Trail by Robert Dugoni

Any top of the year list wouldn’t be complete with Tracy Crossswhite! As our favorite protagonist, her stories continually find their way to the top!

Read the full review.

The Haunting at Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright

This thrilling, mysterious, and moving tale of brokenness, revenge, and loss will blow readers away!

Read the full review.

The Water Keeper by Charles Martin

Martin writes stories that just makes you feel good on the inside. He has a way with words that make you enjoy whatever you’re reading!

Read the full review.

The Heart of a Hero by Susan May Warren

Pick up any Susan May Warren book and you will immediately be captivated by both the story line and the characters. It’s no surprise when you come back for more!

Read the full review.

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

A fantastic coming of age story about finding yourself in the darkest of times and learning that no matter what, everyone deserves happiness!

Read the full review.

Acceptable Risk by Lynette Eason

Each book Eason writes becomes our new favorite. The suspense keeps getting better and we just can’t wait fore more!

Read the full review.

The Love Note by Joanna Davidson Politano

It’s not often we find a new author that reads like the classics. Fans of Jane Eyre will love Politano’s writing!

Read the full review.

The Art of Deception

Author: Leonard Goldberg

Series: Daughter of Sherlock Holmes #4

Publisher: Minotaur Books

Release Date: June 16, 2020

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

Yet another fantastic installment to the Daughter of Sherlock Holmes series!

To be visited by Scotland Yard to consult on a case is not out of the ordinary for the Watsons, but a case involving vandalism of fine art seems a bit low on the docket for them.  But as Joanna Watson knows, nothing is really as it seems until you truly observe.  As the Watsons visit the crime scenes, it becomes apparent that the vandal isn’t simply vandalizing the paintings, but the manner he is doing it shows that he is looking for something hidden behind the canvas.  As they begin to unravel the mystery, more than just art begins to arise, including murders.  Will they be able to determine who is behind the vandalism before he finds what he is looking for?

As always, Leonard Goldberg has crafted yet another thrilling tale for readers to devour and try to match wits with Joanna Watson, the daughter of Sherlock Holmes and Irene Adler.  These books are just good, clean reads and this was no exception.  I love that Goldberg has developed a new line of mysteries that readers are able to enjoy and try to see if they can figure out the culprits before Joanna does.  And true to form, there is usually an unexpected twist or two at the end that will keep your mind whirling to keep up!

2020 Top Suspense/Thriller

Another favorite genre of ours is suspense/thriller. Nothing like books that keep you up late at night trying to find out what is going to happen! There were several more fantastic authors this year that narrowing it down was almost impossible. Here are our top recommendations for the year!

Collision of Lies by TomThreadgill

Tom Threadgill is a fresh new voice in suspense writing. Collision of Lies started with a bang only to pick up speed and not stop until the final pages. Readers that love to see a book play out in their minds will find this a welcome addition to their shelf.

Read the full review.

A Cold Trail by Robert Dugoni

The top suspense/thriller list wouldn’t be complete with a new Tracy Crosswhite novel. As one of the best crime novelists in the market, Dugoni has crafted an awesome protagonist that readers can’t help but fall in love with as she moves across books. All seven books in this series are phenomenal and this is an excellent addition!

Read the full review.

Nine by Rachelle Dekker

This is the book we have been waiting for Rachelle Dekker to write: her own voice and her own story! We loved the story, the style and everything about it. The one thing we didn’t love was not having enough time to sit and read it all at once.

Read the full review.

The Jerusalem Assassin by Joel C. Rosenberg

This has become one of our favorite series by Rosenberg.  Each series has a unique set of characters with a very flawed protagonist who takes on multiple antagonists across several books.  This particular book focused on development of the main character, Marcus Ryker, and strengthening his faith. We can’t wait for the next book!

Read the full review.

Hide Away by Jason Pinter

The action, drama and suspense were all top notch and exactly what a great suspense thriller is all about. It takes a very talented writer to be able to craft out a story that ties everything together so well and is also entertaining.

Read the full review.

2020 Top Romantic Suspense

Quite possibly the hardest category to narrow down because there are so many talented authors! Several of our favorite authors made it on the list this year and we hope you see one or two you enjoy as well!

Airborne by Diann Mills

Airborne is by far the best book Mills has written and one of the very best we read all year. The suspense was top notch and the plot concerning a virus outbreak was rather timely. This was an easy choice for our top pick!

Read the full review.

Acceptable Risk by Lynette Eason

Eason continues to get better at giving readers the story they want! This is likely the best book she has written and we seem to think that every time she releases another book. The connection we felt with the characters made this one of our top books for the year!

Read the full review.

The Escape by Lisa Harris

Action packed with tension at all the right moments that kept us on the edge of our seat until the very last page. There was just the right amount of romance at the right times to keep the story moving and not slow down the pace with the suspense and action. With relatable characters and a story line that keeps readers on the edge of their seat, The Escape was an easy choice!

Read the full review.

The Way of the Brave & The Heart of a Hero by Susan May Warren

Susan May Warren really is in a league of her own when it comes to romantic suspense! The Global Search and Rescue series proves that with a shadow of a doubt. Both of these books are packed with action and adventure with the right amount of romance sprinkled in for good measure. Readers will be aching for more!

Read the full review for The Way of the Brave.

Read the full review for The Heart of a Hero.

The Crushing Depths by Dani Pettrey

The second book in the Coastal Guardians series will have readers so deeply invested in the characters it will be difficult to come up for air! It also sets up a new storyline for book three that we can’t wait to read!

Read the full review.

Backlash

Author: Rachel Dylan

Series: Capital Intrigue #2

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: October 6, 2020

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Reviewer: Jessica Higgins

The second installment in the Capital Intrigue series gives readers all the thrills, chills, and heart stopping moments I’ve come to expect from Rachel Dylan.

Layla Karam joined the CIA as an analyst, she never wanted anything more, especially after she was thrust into a dangerous operation with the DEA against a major drug cartel that puts a target on her back. When one of her team members ends up murdered, she and the rest of the team scramble to stay safe. Along with staying alive there is now an internal investigation against her causing Layla to turn to the one person she never wanted to see again for help, her ex-boyfriend Hunter McCoy. Hunter is a private investigator and uses his skills to try and find out who is trying to sabotage Layla’s career. Together they discover a mole inside the DEA that has given information to the cartel on the team. Layla must do the hardest thing imaginable, put her trust in the man she used to love to keep her alive and keep her heart safe from him.

This is the second book in the Capital Intrigue series and is just as enjoyable as the first. With all the characters in high risk positions, the story starts with a bang and doesn’t stop until the very end. I liked Layla, she wasn’t looking for danger and high stakes missions, she preferred to stay back and do the job she was brought on for, an analyst. However, others higher up had different plans for her though. She could have played the pity card, but she never did, she got mad and fought back. The relationship aspect of the novel was well played, there were several different directions it could have gone but I was pleased with the way Dylan wrote it. Even though this book is mainly about Layla and Hunter I couldn’t help but be pulled in by the scenes with Izzy, (I’m hoping the next book in the series focuses more on her.) There was just something about her story line that pulled me in faster than the others. There are a lot of tense scenes and violence, but it is never written in a way that would turn squeamish readers away. With that being said, the whole story was an enjoyable read, I read it in just over a day. It had been a good while since I read the first one and it didn’t keep me from enjoying any of the story which leads me to say that even though this is the second in the series it could be read as a standalone without any problem. Fans of the romantic suspense will not want to miss this one.

2020 Top Nonfiction

While 2020 gave us some great escapes into the fiction realm, it also produced a lot of nonfiction titles that were quite captivating! From biographies to histories, these titles are a great addition to any library!

The Fight to Flourish by Jennie Lusko

Jennie Lusko shared her struggles in her story that has been long awaited. As a well known figure for her work with husband Levi, she shows how she is still human and has the same problems as the rest of us!

Read the full review.

Fix Her Upper Christmas by Beth Duewel and Rhonda Rhea

While centered around the stress of the holiday season, this book still gives readers a great refreshed feeling mixed with humor. These two never disappoint us and keep us coming back for more with every Fix Her Upper edition.

Read the full review.

The Patriots by Winston Groom

Groom is widely known for his ability to bring history to life and keep it interesting and entertaining for readers of all ages. This book focuses on three of the founding fathers, Hamilton, Jefferson, and Adams, and their love for country and hatred for each other!

Read the full review.

Finding Quiet: My Journey to Peace in an Anxious World by Jamie Grace

So many of the things written in this book resonated with us. It can be hard to take the time to just sit and be quiet. Our world is loud and crazy right now which makes finding a quiet moment very difficult. Jamie Grace delivers a wonderful addition to anyone’s library of little ways to find quiet when it seems impossible!

Read the full review.

365 Ways to Love Your Child by 3

A perfect book that showcases all the little ways we sometimes forget can be used to experience love with our children.

Read the full review.

2020 Top Time Slip Novels

One of our favorite genres is the time slip, where we get to enjoy both historical fiction as well as a present storyline. This is almost like having two novels in one and any of these books will keep you well occupied into the night!

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

A fantastic coming of age story about finding yourself in the darkest of times and learning that no matter what, everyone deserves happiness! The way the two stories of Ivy and Harvey intertwined kept us intrigued and made this an easy top choice.

Read the full review.

The Haunting of Bonaventure Circus by Jaime Jo Wright

Wright always delivers a spectacular tale that balances darkness and light and her newest release was no exception! This story is thrilling, mysterious, and moving focusing on brokenness, revenge, love, and a yearning to belong.

Read the full review.

The Book of Lost Friends by Lisa Wingate

Even though it made its way onto our historical fiction list (both timelines were historical), it is still a masterful time slip by Lisa Wingate. Both stories were intriguing and it took both to find out the truth.

Read the full review.

Fragments of Light by Michele Phoenix

This book had so much raw emotion that readers can’t help but feel for the characters involved. The healing encountered in this book makes it the icing on the cake.

Read the full review.

2020 Top Contemporary Fiction

With Christmas in our review mirror, we are turning our attention to the start of a new year. Reflecting on this past year brought several great titles in contemporary fiction. It’s so hard to limit these our favorites, but here are our top recommendations!

Solid Ground Coffee Company by Carla Laureano

We’re not sure if it was the fact that we could smell the coffee beans roasting throughout this book, the mountain climbing adventure, or the sizzling romance that couldn’t be ignored between the two main characters. Whatever the reason, it found its way to the top of the list!

Read the full review.

The Water Keeper by Charles Martin

Martin’s tales are just plain great! If you’ve never read one, you need to pick up one today. This particular story does have a tie in with one of his previous novels that makes it even better when you’ve read both, but don’t let that stop you from picking up this book today. You’ll have action, adventure, and healing!

Read the full review.

Side Trip by Kerry Lonsdale

What happens on the road, stays on the road. And if you take a side trip, both parties have to agree! That’s the message in this insanely good, yet messy romance that occurs when two strangers inadvertently meet at a diner in California and agree to spontaneous road trip together following historic Route 66 to Chicago!

Read the full review.

Promised Land by Robert Whitlow

We couldn’t wait to get our hands on this sequel and we were not disappointed. The continuation of Hana and Daud’s journey was nourishment to our souls. Hana has become one of our favorite characters out of any book read. We only hope to see a future book!

Read the full review.

Brave Girl, Quiet Girl by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Each time we pick up a new Catherine Ryan Hyde story, we find ourselves amazed at how wonderfully she can write a novel. It doesn’t matter what the story is about, we are pulled in and fly through the pages each time. Each new book by Hyde explores themes that are relevant to today’s world and this is no exception, we see the problem of acceptance, love, homelessness and LGBTQ issues. There is nothing that gets graphic or too heavy into these topics, but it does bring to light problems that can be glossed over and easy to ignore.

Read the full review.