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Subject: Best Read of the Month for 2017. Comments and Star Rating
Date Posted: 12/31/2016 3:50 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,537
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I started to enter this several times and would then get totally distracted by new entries on the 2016 lists!  I entered 6 new wish list books last night from other's list.  Let's keep it going. I love that some add audio books as well as print.  This year we may also need to consider books published only for e-readers as I noticed that several books are not on print at all.  I will start:

JANUARY    I read the series by Joann Mapson, one of my favorite authors of contemporary fiction:  Solomon's Oak, Finding Casey and Owen's Daughter.  The characters are compelling and not perfect with perfect lives.  Lots of the action takes place in Santa Fe, NM part of my stomping grounds.  4.5 stars on all three.

FEBRUARY  I just finished A Man Called Ove by Fedrick Backman.  A little slow to start for me.  I didn't find the guy especially interesting because, well, people like him..........then it gets good.  Like the second half much better.  Loved the end.  4.25 stars

MARCH  Life After Life and A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson  Her books are always page turners for me.  Even if I don't really think I am going to like the book, I can't put it down until I have read to the last page.  Her contemporary British characters are exactly what I seek in a good novel.  The stories in these two related novels have the same characters though different decades: Life after Life is about the British experience of WWI and mostly WWII.  Kinda grity and hearbreaking at times.  The second book is about some of the same characters after the WWII.  I love this woman's writing and although I found some of the technique in the first book confusing, I was sorry when they were done.

APRIL  Blue Rodeo by JoAnn Mapson.  Keeping up the series of hers and finally reading the bulk of her books which I collected several years ago after reading Hank and Chloe.  There is something powerful about her writing for me.  The fact that most of of the action is in New Mexico is part of it, I am sure.  Also read The Wilder Sisters but not quite as good as Blue Rodeo.

MAY    Allie and Bea by Catherine Ryan Hyde.  another of my favorite authors.  I loved these two characters.

JUNE   I am in a lull this month and nothing really hit me as a great memorable read.  The closest was Vicious Circle by C.J.Box.   I like this series about Joe Picket and his family.

JULY  Electric God and Becoming Chloe by Catherine Ryan Hyde.  

AUGUST  Cold Dish by Craig Johnson   This is the Longmire series and another from the cold North.

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017



Last Edited on: 8/8/17 5:22 PM ET - Total times edited: 8
Date Posted: 1/1/2017 8:29 AM ET
Member Since: 11/4/2006
Posts: 1,367
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JANUARY  Redemption Road by John Hart  This book was a new author for me and was excellent. This story had lot's of twists and turns that keep you guessing.    4 stars!

FEBRUARY The Whistler by John Grisham  Slow read till about half way in and then pace picks up. Not Grisham's best book but was not bad either. 3 stars!

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017



Last Edited on: 3/3/17 6:23 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 1/1/2017 8:30 AM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,174
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January

Print:  The Homesman by Glendon Swarthout.  5 of 5 stars!

Audio:  Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J. Ryan Stradal narrated by Amy Ryan and Michael Stumbarg.  Really enjoyed this one!  3.5 stars.

February

Print: Sweeping up Glass by Carolyn Wall. 4.5 stars.

Audio:  Nothing special.

March:

Print:   The Girl Before by J P Delany 4 stars

Audio:  The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan narrated by Gwendoline Yeo   4 stars

April: 

Print:  When We Were the Kennedys by Monica Wood.  3.5 stars

Audio:  Seedfolks by Paul Fleischman. Narrated beautifully by various.  5 stars!!!

May

Print:  Playing with Matches by Carolyn Wall  3.5 stars

Audio:

June

Print:  Goodnight Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian  5 stars!!

Audio:  On the Couch by Lorraine Bracco  3.5 stars

July

Print:  Sister of My Heart by Chitra Divakaruni   4 stars

Audio:

August:

Print:

Audio:



Last Edited on: 8/9/17 10:27 AM ET - Total times edited: 6
Date Posted: 1/1/2017 11:07 AM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2007
Posts: 2,117
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JANUARY

FEBRUARY

MARCH -  Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng - 4.5 stars

APRIL Blue Heaven by C. J. Box

MAY The Last Dead Girl by Harry Dolan

JUNE

JULY

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017



Last Edited on: 6/4/17 11:55 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 1/4/2017 12:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,174
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This is pathetic.  I swear that yesterday I updated everything I was posting on, including this thread.  I obviously did not because nothing is in my list for January yet.

Anyway, I was doing a copy/paste to a file I keep of these threads--I go back to 2009--to update 2014 forward.  Oh, how this list has shrunk.  So so many people from the older days gone.  Then I went back and read my really old posts...books I'd forgotten about that I'd love to reread, folks I'd love to communicate with, if they are even still around.

Too bad so many start with such good intentions then fall off the thread.  I've gotten so very many good recommendations from these Book of the Month/Year threads.



Last Edited on: 1/4/17 1:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/4/2017 1:15 PM ET
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Edit 4/13: I am just updating this for the first time now. I am not reading as much this year and really don't have much to report. Will try to do better. :)

JANUARY: This month the only books I read were all 10 of the October Daye series of books by Seanan McGuire. I really love this series, and I thought I should go back through before reading the newest book. I will admit, the first book is still a confusing downer of a read, but it starts to pick up in book 2, and by book 3, it really hits it's stride. It's dramatic, action-packed Urban Fantasy that is actually well written (After book 1.) October Daye will always be one of my favorite series.

FEBRUARY: I read no novels during the entire month of February. :(

MARCH: I read 5 novels, including 2 I was looking forward to (The Magicians and Fight Club) but I cannot recommend any of them. :/

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017



Last Edited on: 4/13/17 6:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 1/4/2017 6:05 PM ET
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JANUARY  The Unquiet Dead by Ausma Zehanat Khan was very good, but I'm going with The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. Every bit as good as the hype, but can be a tough read. Not overly graphic, as slave narratives go, with a very interesting structure and use of metaphor. Each state illustrates a different aspect of the 19th century slave experience. 5 stars.

FEBRUARY  Probably best of the 4 book I read this month was The Demon's Parchment by Jeri Westerson. 3rd in the Crispin Guest series, it is a suitably dark medieval noir.  A little grim.

MARCH  Lincoln in the Bardo - George Saunders. Easy pick.  Takes place in one night in the graveyard where Lincoln has buried his son, Willie. Bardo is the Tibetan equivalent of purgatory and all the spirits still there are working on issues leftover from their lives before they can pass on.  A little like "Our Town" from the ghosts' perspective. The structure has alternating chapters of the ghosts' speaking and excerpts from historical texts to tell the "real" story. Very original and unforgettable.  4.5 stars.

APRIL The Sympathizer - Viet Thanh Nguyen. Powerful novel, part war, part spy, part cultural commentary. Not for everyone, but won this year's Pulitzer.  AND  A Gentleman in Moscow - Amor Towles. Soviet era Russia, nobleman placed under house arrest in the Metropol Hotel for 30 years.  How does one live a life under these circumstances?  Many literary allusions. Enjoyable. 5 stars for both.

MAY Neverwhere: Author's Preferred Text by Neil Gaiman. Gaiman wrote the screenplay for the 1995-6 (?) BBC miniseries, produced a novel back then, his first, but always wanted to revisit it with material deleted from the series.  Urban fantasy, thought provoking, good characters. 4 stars.

JUNE The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson.  His newest. He revisits some places from his earlier Notes from a SMall Island book, and others. It's the kind of book best in small chunks, so you can look up the landmarks. If you're a Bryson fan, you should read it. He's a little grumpier with age, though.  3 stars

JULY  In Fantasy, Fifth Season (Broken Earth, Bk 1)  by N. K. Jemisin. If you liked her Inheritance trilogy, this is for you. World-building, compelling characters. I raced out to get book 2..In Historical fiction, based on true characters, is the WWII novel, Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly.  Ravensbruck Camp and a NYC activist are the subjects in an important subject. Not what I expected.  4stars for both.

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017

 



Last Edited on: 8/2/17 8:13 PM ET - Total times edited: 7
Date Posted: 1/4/2017 10:14 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2005
Posts: 7,756
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Looking forward to 2017!

January: Nights of Rain and Stars by Maeve Binchy is my pick this month. 5 stars. This was a big surprise for me. I have never read this author and was expecting an average story with a touch of romance. The story takes place on a tiny, out of the way Greek island and focuses on a small group of tourists finding their way through life. The book was much better than I anticipated and I will probably try another of the author's works someday.

February: In a Dark, Dark Wood by Ruth Ware. 5 stars. This was written by the same author as The Woman in Cabin 10, which I found just OK. However, this book was recommended & described by the actress Reese Witherspoon as scary. While it was not scary at all in my opinion, it was an easy read and kept me interested enough to read it in a day. I heard Reese has picked it up and is making a movie of it.

March: I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak with 4 stars is my pick. I listened to it on audio, and while not nearly as good as The Book Thief, this one is totally different but also kept my interest. The story takes place in Australia with the narrator also from the country, which was great. If you think it will be like The Book Thief you will be sorely disappointed, but it is a good listen.

April: This month was not a very good month for reading, but my choice of Phantoms by Dean Koontz is a 5 star! Very good with some mysterious paranormal type stuff going on. I heard there is an old movie based on it, but haven't seen it.

May: Slow reading month, but Now You See Her by Michael Ledwidge and James Patterson kept me on the edge of my seat! 5 stars. I loved the twists & turns, and the early part of the book took place in the 90s when the main character was a college student, like I was back then. The cultural references were spot on and brought back some memories.

June: Another mediocre month for reading, but I did start one in June which will be finished in July that makes up for it! As it is, June's pick is the sixth in the Ghost Hunter series Ghoul Interrupted by Victoria Laurie. 3 stars. I accidentally read book 8 out of order, and it didn't really make a difference but felt that this one was just OK. I will keep on reading them though -- they are kind of like a comfort food type of series for me.

July: The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith with 4 stars is definitely my pick this month. It's the second in the Cormoran Strike series and I just devoured it! I highly recommend this series...at least so far! This one was a bit gory, which was why it was only 4 stars and not 5.



Last Edited on: 8/8/17 10:53 PM ET - Total times edited: 14
Date Posted: 1/14/2017 1:31 AM ET
Member Since: 3/27/2010
Posts: 2,138
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I'm trying to get back into my groove and post more. I'm hoping this will help! :) 

JANUARY - Orphan Train : Christina Baker Kline - I really enjoyed this and devoured it in just a few days. I have a feeling that the one I'm listening to will top it, though. For now, this one is the Jan winner. :) 

Date Posted: 1/27/2017 12:47 AM ET
Member Since: 1/14/2009
Posts: 403
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JANUARY--2 books were the best--Stalin's Ghost by Martin Cruz Smith, part of the Arakdy Renko series.  Really like the series and this was very good.  World Made by Hand by James Howard Kunstler, first book in a series, very good start.  The whole world gone to hell type story but like the way done in that it seems very possible.   An Honorable Mention goes to The Male of the Species by Alex Mindt, a short story book that was very good and reminded me why it is fun to mix in a short story book every once in a while.

FEBRUARY--The Wolves by Alex Berenson, next in his John Wells series.  Good book & good series.  Rest of Feb books were just okay.

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

JULY

AUGUST

SEPTEMBER

OCTOBER

NOVEMBER

DECEMBER

BOOK OF THE YEAR 2017



Last Edited on: 3/8/17 7:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/3/2017 3:56 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,174
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Oh, goody, only Feb 3rd and I have updated January.  Looking forward to a lot of recs!

Date Posted: 3/2/2017 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2006
Posts: 190
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JANUARY - Calling Me Home - Julie Kibler     4 Stars  

FEBRUARY - A Man Called Ove - Fredrik Backman     4.5 Stars

MARCH - Yellow Crocus - Laila Ibrahim - 4 Stars

APRIL -  Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult - 4.5 Stars

MAY -  My Name is Resolute - Nancy Turner - 4.5 Stars

JUNE -

JULY -

AUGUST -

SEPTEMBER -

OCTOBER -

NOVEMBER -

DECEMBER -

 

FAVORITE BOOK OF 2017 -   



Last Edited on: 5/31/17 10:08 AM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 3/4/2017 8:43 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,537
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Bonnie:  loved The Homesman.  Gritty, but so well written. I couldn't put it down.  Movie was actually pretty accurate to the book and anytime you put Tommy Lee Jones into a movie, I am in.

Kelly E:  the audio of Orphan Train is also very very good.  I actually listened to it twice and I rarely do that.

Lisa:  A Man Called Ove was my pick for Feb. also.  I didn't like the first few chapters but the second half was great.

Date Posted: 3/6/2017 4:05 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,174
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Pam, I will usually watch anything TL Jones is in.  Love that craggy voice and face.  But this was just stellar.

I enjoyed the print book of Ove a lot.  I started the audio and hated it.  He was more than just a crabby grouchy curmudgeon.  He was mean.  We really enjoyed the movie.

Last month's picks: Like The Homesman, I loved and recommended Sweeping up Glass to my husband.  Just like The Homesman, he was surprised by how much he really liked it, too.  Almost picked My Reading Life by Pat Conroy as my audio, but got so bored by the last disk that I quit without finishing.  Did he have a speech impediment?  He almost-slurs, like he's had a tiny bit too much to drink, but isn't sloppy.  It took a while to get used to it.  He should NOT have narrated this.

Date Posted: 3/28/2017 10:45 PM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 6,537
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Bonnie:  I can't stand it when someone has sloppy diction on an audio book.  I listened to my favorite Robert Parker's Spencer book read by Burt Reynolds.  Sounds like it would be great.  It wasn't.  Burt Reynolds doesn't pronounce half of the words and it really really irritated me.  I listen to the whole thing and at the end was somewhat disappointed.

 

 

Date Posted: 3/31/2017 4:46 PM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,174
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Put my March picks in and it was a tough month for choosing.  I read six 4 star books, but the British mystery won by a hair.  Only 2 audios, Amy Tan and Jill Conner Browne.  Normally, I'd pick anything Sweet Potato Queens just for the laughter one will bring me, but Amy Tan is my gal, and she won out.

Date Posted: 4/1/2017 12:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/22/2007
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JANUARY - "ONE NIGHT CHARMER" by Maisey Yates (Copper Ridge: The Wests #1) (Copper Ridge, Oklahoma #4) (A++++++) 

FEBRUARY - "COLD BETRAYAL" by J.A. Jance (Alison Reynolds #10) (A+++++) 

MARCH - "THE LAST MILE" by David Baldacci (Amos Decker #2) (unabridged audio CD) (A++++++)

APRIL - "ROCK ME TWO TIMES" by Dawn Ryder (Rock Band #1) (new author for me) (A++++++)

MAY - "THE BROKEN ROAD" by Richard Paul Evans (Broken Road #1) (A+++++++)

JUNE - "MAYBE SOMEDAY" by Colleen Hoover (Maybe #1) (new author for me) (A++++++) 

JULY - "WHISKEY & CHARLIE" by Annabell Smith (new author for me) (A+++++++) &
"THE ORPHAN TRAIN" by Christina Baker (new author for me) (A+++++++)

AUGUST -

SEPTEMBER -

OCTOBER -

NOVEMBER -

DECEMBER -  



Last Edited on: 7/23/17 1:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 7/18/2017 11:34 PM ET
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I haven't posted for a while so I caught up my list.  Reading light stuff right now but hope something gets me reved before the first of August.

Date Posted: 7/22/2017 10:48 PM ET
Member Since: 6/28/2017
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I'm late to the party and don't remember when I read which books so I'm just going to list my 6 favorite books I've read in the first six months of this year and then try to keep up-to-date for the second half of the year.

January - June

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid 5 stars.  Way better than expected.  A feel good story that will make you cry, but surprise you with its twists.  A story about the life of a celebrity, what goes on behind the scenes, and her seven husbands.

Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer 5 stars.  If you're interested in hiking or mountaineering at all, I would highly recommend this book.  A true story about the author's tragic ascent of Mt. Everest.

The Stranger in the Woods by Michael Finkel 4.75 stars.  A true story about a hermet who lives in the woods of Maine for over 20 years.  Interesting read learning about how he survived and the philosophy of what it means to live a happy life.  If you liked "Into The Wild", you will like this book.

The Trespasser by Tana French 4.5 stars.  Even though this is the sixth book in the Dublin Murder Squad Series (which I didn't know when I started reading it), you don't need to read the other books to enjoy it.  I had not read the other books, and did not feel like I missed anything when reading about these Dublin detectives.  Now I am going back and reading the other books in her series.

Exit West by Mohsin Hamid 4.5 stars.  Short but thought provoking love story about some refugees fleeing their war torn country.

Perfect Little World by Kevin Wilson 4.0 stars.  An interesting plot about a scientist creating the "perfect community" with 10 couples and their babies.  The ending wraps up a little too nicely for my liking, but a nice read all the same.  I can't help but imagine if this experiment was carried out in real life, the results would have ended up the same.

July

A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman 4.0 stars. A cute and heartwarming story about an old man who lost his wife but gained some new neighbors. Goes back and forth between the present day and telling the story of the old man's past. It got a little slow in the middle, but still a worthy read.

August

September

October

November

December

 



Last Edited on: 8/6/17 11:32 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/8/2017 11:00 AM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,174
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Oh, joy.  I just updated April.  I do that by going through the books I usually post in the monthly thread here.  However, we moved in May, I've been super busy, and haven't posted anything, anywhere.  I do have most of the books though, and I will try to remember particulars.  I've been keeping this list for years now and would hate to stop.

Date Posted: 8/8/2017 10:57 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2005
Posts: 7,756
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Bonnie: Glad you made it back for April, at least! smiley

Date Posted: 8/9/2017 10:12 AM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,174
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Hahaha, Val. 

Phew.  I am up to date to the best of my memory.  Many blank audio spots, and while I am known to too easily quit a lousy listen, I know there were some that I finished.  Just can't remember.

Date Posted: 8/9/2017 10:22 AM ET
Member Since: 5/23/2005
Posts: 5,174
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Hey, Pam, going back to our posts on readers diction, I recently read On the Couch by Lorraine Bracco.  I really like her as an actress and was really interested in her life.  She read her book with every ounce of that Brooklyn accent that she has.  Loved it, and the book.  Was really bothered when I realized it was abridged because I would have liked to have heard more.  And no, it wasn't a cheesy tell-all.  She treated eeyone with respect.

Anyway, she could not say frustration.  Could not.  And I am so surprised that the editors didn't make her learn how to say as she seemed to say it in every chapter!

FUSSTRATION FUSSTRATION FUSSTRATION.