Hi, friends! It’s been so long! Happy New Year! I thought to start off 2018 right, I’d share the books I read during the last half of 2017. Warning: there’s a lot because I haven’t written a book post since May. Oops! I’m going to keep the descriptions short because there are so many. Enjoy and please share what you’re reading!!
Fredrik Backman books: Loved them all! None of them were as good as A Man Called Ove, but they were still really wonderful. Here are the ones I’ve read:
And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer: A Novella This is a short story about a boy and his grandpa. The grandpas has Alzheimer’s and is trying to explain it to his favorite boy.
My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry Told from a little girl’s point of view, she discovers interesting and wonderful things about her grandma, mother and all of the other people who live in their complex. Their lives are intertwined in curious ways. (This was my second favorite after Ove.)
Brit-Marie Was Here Brit-Marie is a central (and annoying) character in the My Grandmother story. In this novel, Brit-Marie has had enough of her dull life and takes a job in a small, forgotten rural town and her life is changed for the better.
Beartown This is all about hockey and the lives of the coach and the players. The star hockey player is accused of rape by the coach’s daughter. Way too much hockey, but the story is very good.
The Wildling Sisters by Eve Chase One of my favorites of 2017. I read it in two days. Each chapter alternates between the original Wildling sisters in the summer of 1959 and the new family that has purchased their house in current times. The sisters are abandoned by their mother that summer and shipped off to their aunt and uncle in the countryside of England. Adventures and mysteries abound. The family in current times is struggling to blend after a new marriage, a new baby and a new house. The two stories come together at the end in excellent fashion.
Pet Sematary by Stephen King I’m slowly working my way through King’s books but MAN is he verbose! His books are so long with a lot of extra prose, in my opinion, and I end up skimming quite a bit. But, his stories are so incredibly creepy and good that I do enjoy them. This made my skin crawl now that I have read it as a parent. Definitely scary!
Pretty Girls Dancing by Kylie Brant This is another one of my favorites from 2017. You know I love a good murder mystery and the creepier, the better. This one was both. It is set in Ohio, which I always enjoy, and there is a serial killer on the loose called the “Ten Mile Killer”. He hasn’t been active in 7 years, but now that a local girl has gone missing, the community is wondering if he’s back. I read it in one day if that tells you how good it is! (I should also mention I’m on break with nothing to do!)
Local Girls by Caroline Zancan This was very mediocre. The only reason I kept reading was that I thought something was going to happen to make it more interesting…but it never did. A teenage girl who is frustrated with her home life joins a cult. It’s very blah.
Whoever Fights Monsters by Robert K. Ressler I heard about this on my favorite podcast, My Favorite Murder, which is a comedy/true crime podcast. Ressler was the man who “invented” the term serial killer and criminal profiling. He walks you through many of the cases he was involved with and describes how he built his profiling career. Super interesting if you are into true crime. Lots of gory details, so be careful if you’re not into that!
My Sweet Audrina by V.C. Andrews Speaking of my favorite podcast, they recommended that we all read this vintage Andrews book “together” and then they would discuss it on the podcast. Well, they flaked out and didn’t read it but I still did. It was AWFUL! I understand how I was drawn to these books as teenager (because I LOVED them back then), but now that I read this as an adult, I realized just how awful these books are. It was fun to read it for the podcast though! If you read it for MFM, or for any reason, you should listen to the Teen Creeps podcast episode about it; they’re hilarious!
All the Little Children by Jo Furniss This was ok. Worth reading, but just ok. I didn’t like the ending because it obviously set it up for a sequel that I just wasn’t buying. A family goes on a camping trip only to discover that they are one of very few people still alive after a plague of some kind kills everyone. They have to fight to survive. Meh.
A Tangled Mercy by Joy-Jordan Lake This was a very good book. Again, it alternates between two time periods: told from a slave’s point of view before the emancipation and told from a young woman’s point of view in current times. Again, the two stories converge in an interesting way. At certain points, it will make you disgusted in how it parallels our current society’s feelings towards race, but it is a worthwhile read.
A Dark Lure by Loreth Anne White This was another favorite from 2017. The main character, Sarah, was the only survivor of a serial killer 12 years ago. She has changed her identity and started a new life. The killer was caught…or was he? It seems as though he’s back and after Sarah once again. Excellent murder mystery!
Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine This was a great read too. A suburban housewife discovers her husband is a serial killer. She flees to a new town and adopts a new identity for her and her two children. But is she ever going to be free of her ex-husband? (Spoiler alert: NO!) It’s a very fast-paced, interesting read but I thought the ending was VERY far-fetched. There are several books in the series so I guess they were setting it up for a sequel but I was disappointed.
Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng This is definitely a buzz-worthy book that I was anxious to get my hands on. It’s very good, but I was disappointed in the ending. It felt like Ng just decided to be finished and ended it abruptly. This is also set in Ohio. A single mom and her daughter have just moved to Shaker Heights and rented an apartment from a wealthy family. Their lives converge and secrets emerge and disaster strikes. Again, I really enjoyed it but was bummed at the end.
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green I haven’t read a book until this one that does such an excellent job of describing what it’s like to have a mental illness. Even if you don’t suffer from the same one as the main character, a teenage girl named Aza, you will identify with her descriptions if you have suffered from any mental illness. I loved it. It’s basically how Aza struggles with her illness while trying to fall in love, solve a mystery, have friends and survive high school. I highly recommend this one.
The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter Man, oh man, do I love this author. I eagerly await every new book of hers and this one didn’t disappoint. It’s a stand-alone book (not from her Trent/Sarah series) and is totally different from what she usually writes. It’s still a murder-mystery, but definitely not as gory as her other books. It also explores a family’s relationships in-depth and focuses on the two sisters specifically, which was a departure from her usual tales. I loved it, of course, and hope she writes more with these characters. Two sisters are threatened at gunpoint, one escapes and one doesn’t. The story picks up years later when the sisters are forced to see each other and interact once again.
Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly I love a WWII-era story and this one, based on a real-life person, doesn’t disappoint. It is told from the point of view of three women: a socialite in New York, a doctor working for the Nazis and a teenager working for the underground resistance. It is riveting especially if you like books set during this time. I loved how it ends and it made it even more special because it’s based on real people.
Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Maloy This is definitely worth the read. It’s quick and fast-paced. A family is on vacation and sets off for a day trip. The mothers fall asleep on the beach and the kids disappear. Very good and very scary if you’re a parent!
Cross the Line by James Patterson Another typical Alex Cross story (#24 if you can believe it) but very good and worth the read. Pretty much the same story: killer on the loose, Cross’s family in danger. If you’re in the mood for an easy read (what my mom calls mind-candy), this is a good one.
Before the Fall by Noah Hawley This was another podcast recommendation. I didn’t think it was as good as Georgia said it would be, but it was still worth the read. A family is departing Martha’s Vineyard after a summer stay and a bachelor that has befriended them decides at the last minute to fly home with them. The plane crashes and only the bachelor and a little boy survive. This follows the bachelor, Scott, as the police and the deceased’s families try to figure out what caused the plane crash. It was good, just not great. I was expecting a better ending.
Ok, I think that’s it. I’m sure there are some I’ve forgotten, but I think this is most of them. I won’t wait so long next time!!! Let me know what you enjoyed in 2017.