book reviews

Top 2020 Book Reviews (and #Goodreads rundown)

I love reading. I prefer to do that than watch TV, go to the gym, floss my teeth, pay bills, or wash the laundry. I review a lot of the books I read, usually received from NetGalley, the library, or an Indie efriend, but I also buy quite a few. I collect my writing book reviews here and my education ones here. When I read, I choose thrillers, historical fiction, education (for my other passion), and then anything else.

Here are my ten favorite books read in 2020 (in alphabetic order):

  1. Cassa series by Alex Cavanaugh
  2. Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva
  3. Grizzly Killer series by Lane Warenski
  4. Jock of the Bushveld by Patricia Furstenberg
  5. Jess Williams Westerns by Robert Thomas
  6. Joe Pickett series by C.J. Box
  7. Julia’s Violinist by Anneli Purchase
  8. The Orphan X series by Gregg Hurwitz
  9. Satin and Cinders by Jan Sikes
  10. U.S. Marshall Shorty Thompson series by Paul Thompson

I read 224 books according to Goodreads. This included a whole lot of Indie and blogging efriend books. Here’s a GIF of all 224 books or click this link for a slower display. Any you like or have also read?

Curious how I turned this long image into a GIF:

      1. Record a video using a free screencast program like Screencast-o-matic.
      2. Save as an MP4.
      3. Add the MP4 to PowerPoint slide.
      4. Save the ‘slideshow’ (of one slide) as a GIF.
      5. Add to your blog!

But my favorite books isn’t always what you (my readers) are most interested in. Here are the top ten reviews on my blog for 2020 (in statistical order):

  1. Welcome Diana Peach and her new Fantasy, Liars and Thieves
  2. 2 GREAT Sci Fi Novels (CassaStar by Alex Cavenaugh and The Stones by D.L. Cross)
  3. A Useful Book for Bloggers (Better Blogging with Photography by Terri Schrandt)
  4. A Memoir–About a Young Female CIA Spy (Unexpected Spy by Tracy Walder)
  5. 38 Essential Writer’s Books
  6. 5 Indies I loved (Just in Time for Valentine’s Day) (Jack of the Bushveld by Patricia Furstenberg, Warning Signs by Carol Ballawyder, Oh Baubles by Harmony Kent, The Inn by Ronel Janse van Vuuren, Examining Kitchen Cupboards by Stevie Turner)
  7. Non-fiction for Indie Authors (Humor That Works by Andrew Tarvin, The Writer’s Lexicon by Kathy Steinemann, The Rural Setting Thesaurus by Ackerman and Puglisi)
  8. Two Stories of Survival (Paleolithic by S.A. Adams, Northern Survival by Diane McGyver)
  9. 4 More NetGalley ARCs–3 Great, 1 Good (Into the Fire, The Deserter, No Man’s Land, Nathan’s Run)
  10. Great Reads from NetGalley (Hard Shot, House on Fire, Exit Fee, The Finders)

Oh–one more thing. I don’t have enough social media followers. If you would follow me, I’ll follow you back! Here’re my handles:

Twitter: @worddreams

Instagram: JacquiMurrayWriter

LinkedIn: Jacqui Murray

Writer’s Tips Newsletter

Since I read about three books a week, I’m always eager for new material. What’s your favorite book from 2020?


Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Man vs. Nature saga, and the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice,  a columnist for NEA Today, and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. Look for her next prehistoric fiction, Laws of Nature, Summer 2021. 

78 thoughts on “Top 2020 Book Reviews (and #Goodreads rundown)

  1. Wow, I can’t believe how many books you read in 2020, Jacqui! Happy one of those was mine. 🙂 You get so much done – reading and writing. Are you sure your days are only 24 hours long as well? And, it’s nice to see our ninja, Alex, and our Terri make the top ten lists. Like you, I’d rather read a book than watch TV or do chores. Still, I have little time for it. I do think I spent way too much of my precious time in the blogging world… 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  2. One of my Barbarians lvoes Operation X. And I think I follow you on insta but I haven’t had time to go near social media lately. Summer holidays which collide with the festive season and both Barbarian’s birthdays makes everything all too hard, lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. i always love reading the list of books you’ve read. Your top ten favorite are fascinating to me – most of them series. I’m up to the next to the last book in the Allon series. My guy has read every single CJ Box book. Is there a new one? I’m thrilled that you loved Anneli’s book – she’s a good writer and doesn’t get a lot of recognition. I better add some more on my TBR list from your top ten. I think I’m connected with you on all the social media sites, but I’ll double check!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Jacqui – an amazing number of reads … mine usually require some attention … ie not novels … which makes reading very slow, and I make notes – not sure why! But things I spot – some I make use of.

    I sincerely hope you’ve read the original Jock of the Bushveld by Percy Fitzpatrick … otherwise a black mark!!! Fitzpatrick wrote it back in the 1880s as he travelled up from the coast to various parts of the Highveld.

    Alex’s Cassa series I did enjoy … take care – and here’s to happy reading and writing in 2021 – Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 224 books? Holy cow, that’s amazing, Jacqui! I’m re-reading Orson Scott Card’s Alvin Maker series in audiobook form, courtesy of the library in Overdrive app. Thank you for the shout out and your review. BTW, I’m planning my review of Against All Odds on my blog soon!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You are amazing, Jacqui; not only for the reading and reviewing you do, but the writing of your own books that you do besides. I appreciate very much having Julia’s Violinist included in your list of good reads. I see that I have a lot of catching up to do in the reading department. I feel that with the copy-editing I do, I’m always reading, but that’s not the same as reading for pleasure, where I don’t need to worry about missing a mistake. Thanks for a great post.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I read a lot of books this year, Jacqui, but didn’t come close to 224! You’re amazing. And thanks for all the recommendations as well as the mention of Liars and Thieves. 😀 I love this supportive community. I hope you have another amazing year of books!

    Liked by 2 people

  8. 224 books is AMAZING, Jacqui. I didn’t meet my Goodreads challenge this year. I hoped to read 70, but ended the year at 65. I really blew it in November and December, but 2021 is a new year, and time for many more books. Your lists are fabulous, with plenty of diverse reading!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I’ve only read Satin and Cinders on your list, but it was one I loved. I added Jock of the Bushveld by Patricia Furstenberg. Congrats on books read!

    Liked by 2 people

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