2020 Hindsight – Books, Writing, and that Other Thing

I think I can speak for everyone when I say that 2020 has been a year like no other in living memory. Everything started out so well and suddenly … BOOM! The whole thing just turned into a steaming mess.

I was fortunate to complete my long-planned travel to UK, France, USA, and Canada during January, arriving home around the 29th, at a time when travel was normal just before the BOOM . Our last stop on the way home was Hong Kong and it was the first place we started to hear of the virus and see the impact starting – travelers with masks, hand sanitizers coming out of hiding, and cleaners wiping down everything at Hong Kong airport. Even at that earliest stage of the pandemic, when we got home my daughter wasn’t allowed to go to school for 2 weeks because we had been to Hong Kong. Australia was already starting its fight against the threat.

I’m grateful to be living in Australia, which has tackled the ‘virus-that-should-not-be-named’ head on from the start. The pandemic has been successfully managed with early lockdowns, a cooperative population, closed internal and international borders, strict conditions for people to qualify to enter the country or move between states, and compulsory 2 week hotel quarantine for all of these people. My mum’s 90th birthday in April consisted of us driving to her house and placing her presents in front of her garage so she could collect them when we were back in the car. Better to keep her safe than be burdened with regret later.

The result is a country that is recovering, operating at a higher level of normal, and has rare community transmission of the virus (although there has just been a cluster of cases in Sydney this week). For some context, our population is around 25 million. As of today, Australia has had 28,219 cases, and just over 900 deaths in total since it started. The number of active cases is currently around 140.

These numbers pale in significance compared to most other parts of the world. I know that here in my state of Western Australia, we only have about 10 active cases – and our cases have always only been people in hotel quarantine who have qualified to arrive from overseas, or crew on ships that enter our waters seeking help. Even as I write this, I’m hesitant, as I don’t want to jinx a situation that I know can change in an instant. Fingers crossed we stay patient and on track, and the danger that looms, only looms.

Danger looms (Photo Credit – Jay Chou (left) and Seth Rogen star in Columbia Pictures’ action film THE GREEN HORNET).

Anyhow, I’ve digressed more than I planned. My main reason for this post was to give a summary of my 2020 reading. Now onto the books I’ve read this year. The list isn’t as long as many bookies, most of you are machines that can churn through hundreds each year – I salute you and could never compete. I do need to keep in mind that I’ve also read my own three Axel Rhodes books countless times during the same period.

Please use the list below to jump to the full reviews that appeal to your radar, it’s quite a mixed bag. I haven’t included the books I started and didn’t finish.

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS – AGATHA CHRISTIE

This is my current read. It has an ageless charm entrenched in the setting, the dialogue, and the old-fashioned style of Agatha Christie’s writing.

I haven’t found out who did it yet, but I’ll be posting a full review once I’ve finished reading, and then I’ll take a look at the latest movie.

> Tap the cover to see the Movie Trailer <

JAKE ATLAS AND THE TOMB OF THE EMERALD SNAKE (BOOK 1) – ROB LLOYD JONES

This is a series I’m determined to finish. I love the action, the adventure, the setting, the characters, and … everything else.

Awesome covers with maximum pop unfold to reveal a great read for fans of adventure, gadgets, and settings that are packed full of secrets and traps.

> Tap the cover for my full review <

ARTEMIS FOWL (Book 1) – Eoin Colfer

A good start to a series that I know is already a winner with a bazillion readers.

Recommended for readers who are after a bit of magic and fantasy mixed into a teen-spy-criminal type character with money to burn.

> Tap the cover for my full review <

THE PRICE OF TIME – TIM TIGNER

Another original thriller by one of my favorite authors. The Price of Time is sure to please Tim Tigner fans, old and new.

I recommend this one to those of you who like unexpected plot twists mixed with the intrigue and mystery of a good thriller.

> Tap the cover for my full review <

SCYTHE (ARC OF A SCYTHE 1) – NEAL SHUSTERMAN

This is one of those series that I’ve been waiting to find, it’s become an instant favorite. Scythe is all about death, but from an alternative perspective.

I only finished reading this one recently and I’m yet to write my review, but you can be sure that everything I say about it will be positive.

JIM MORGAN AND THE PIRATES OF THE BLACK SKULL (BOOK 1) – JAMES MATLACK RANEY

A fun read if you’re after an escape into the land of pirates. This tale moves along at a good pace and kept my attention. Recommended for MG fans of pirates and magical creatures.

> Tap the cover for my full review <

TOMMY BLACK AND THE COAT OF INVINCIBILITY (TOMMY BLACK 1) – JAKE KERR

A nicely done story of a teenage boy learning to deal with a life that is full of surprises. Tommy Black is hero with heart and friends that are loyal and brave.

Recommended for MG fans that like to be lost in magic and mystery.

> Tap the cover for my full review <

THE BALLAD OF SONGBIRDS AND SNAKES (HUNGER GAMES -1) – SUZANNE COLLINS

Bottom line is that I did enjoy the book. It was a different point of view that tried to explain the backstory of a villain.

Did it change my opinion of Snow? No.

I know this book divides HG fans. Which side you’re on is up to you.

> Tap the cover for my full review <

GLADIUS AND THE BARTLETT TRIAL (BOOK 1) – J.A. PAUL

Gladius is a coming of age story set in a fantasy world that is abound with magical creatures, dragons, and an evil tyrant, Mulhurt.

It’s a tale I think the target audience of MG readers will enjoy. It’s an engaging opening to a series that is a satisfying read.

> Tap the cover for my full review <

LETHAL WHITE (CORMORAN STRIKE 4) – ROBERT GALBRAITH

This is another worthy book in a great series. RG (JKR) has created another enthralling crime novel full of twists, charm, and vibrant characters.

I’d sum up Lethal White as ‘understated and compelling’. Strike fans will love it, and I urge others to jump on board.

> Tap the cover for my full review <

THE CRIMES OF GRINDELWALD (FANTASTIC BEASTS 2) – J.K. ROWLING

I thoroughly enjoyed both the movie and the book. I was already a big fan of Queenie, but now I have added Nagini to that list.

In the case of Fantastic Beasts, the movie outshines the book. I recommend reading the screenplay after seeing the movie. To do so before would only give a limited view of the amazing settings and imagery of the wizarding world.

> Tap the cover for my full review <


In addition to reading, this has also been a busy year for me. I’ve worked from home for my real job since March and I’ve released 3 books in my Axel Rhodes series. New releases in the middle of a pandemic was probably not the best environment to find new readers, but the world needed to keep turning. I had worked so hard to get them ready to publish that I had to stay focused on my goals.

For those of you who haven’t seen them, here are my new babies in all their glory.


Axel Rhodes and the Golden Scarab - Paperback
AXEL RHODES AND THE GOLDEN SCARAB

A long-time feud between two powerful brothers, Seth and Horus, threatens the fragile peace in ancient Egypt.

After a chance encounter with an ancient mummy, Axel and his best friend, Linc, must transcend time to save the day. Joined by a new ally, Rani, they embark on a perilous race through scorching deserts and temples full of hidden chambers primed with deadly traps. All the while, an army of deadly statues, known as Uberdiles, are determined to stop them at all cost.

It’s up to Axel and his friends to find the mysterious Golden Scarab, defeat the threat of evil, and save history. If they fail, the impact on the future will be a disaster.

Tap the cover for more


Axel Rhodes and the Cursed Nile - Paperback
AXEL RHODES AND THE CURSED NILE

The new season of Ahket is almost here, the annual flood is set to quench the thirst of the parched land. Celebrations are reaching a climax, and the people are excited about the year ahead.

But sudden tragedy strikes, stealing away their hope.

A desperate Egypt has no choice but to call upon its heroes from the future. This time they need to solve the mystery of the cursed Nile before time runs out.

Axel, Linc, and Rani must pull out all stops to save the Nile for the sake of both ancient and modern Egypt.

Tap the cover for more


Axel Rhodes and the Fallen Pharaoh - Paperback
AXEL RHODES AND THE FALLEN PHARAOH

Below ancient Egypt’s peaceful surface lurks a danger ready to pounce. It silently waits for the moment it will end the reign of the Pharaonic blood-line, and take control forever.

The very thing that legend says keeps the Pharaoh safe is in danger of falling into the wrong hands, and time to defeat the evil threat is running out fast. Axel, Linc, and Rani must face their most dangerous challenges so far. The danger in this deadly new mission has been turned up a notch … or ten.

This incredible fast-paced adventure weaves its thrills and mystery through the very crossroads of time. From ancient Egypt … to the center of time … to modern Paris, it’s a ride that only the brave can survive. Who is the enemy? Only time will tell.

Tap the cover for more


WHAT COULD BE BETTER FOR CHRISTMAS?

Merry Christmas everyone and here’s to a better 2021 for all

3 thoughts on “2020 Hindsight – Books, Writing, and that Other Thing

    1. Thanks Fleur. It’s been an unusual year. Have a great Christmas and New Year and enjoy the snow. We’re in a spell of hot days this week. 41c (110f) yesterday and today and expecting 38c (105f) for the big day tomorrow. Thankfully we have air con 🙂

      Like

  1. Hope next year is better, but glad you got your trip in. I know what you mean about book tally dropping when you’re too busy editing your own books. I should never take a big annual target when there are books in the release phase!
    Have a good 2021, and fingers crossed that goes for the whole world, too.

    Like

Leave a Reply to Jemima Pett Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s