My Favorite Books – read & released in 2017

Wow!

2017 is almost done. How did THAT happen? I feel like it was just January.  I blinked and here we are in the last days of the year.

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I read a lot of awesome books this year. Amazing books that entertained me, made me laugh, and some that made me cry.  I’m putting my top ten in this post, although I read a lot more than ten great reads. I also read a lot of fantastic books that will be released in 2018. But this list is only those read and released in 2017!

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The following are my favorite reads released in 2017  (in no particular order) :

 

She Rides Shotgun   by Jordan Harper

Published May 4,  2017 by Simon & Schuster

This was a fantastic read. Loaded with action and emotion. With one of my favorite characters this year…a stuffed bear!

She Rides Shotgun

Little Fires Everywhere    by Celeste Ng

Published September 12, 2017 by Penguin Press

This was an intriguing and compelling domestic drama. A story about motherhood, adolescence, race, rules, and so much more. Great characters and an interesting plot made this a fast and fantastic read.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

The Marsh King’s Daughter  by Karen Dionne

Published June 13,  2017 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
An amazing read that I really could have read in one sitting. Compelling, intense, and unputdownable. This is another book that is going to stay with me for a very long time.

The Marsh King's Daughter

If The Creek Don’t Rise  by Leah Weiss

Published August 22,  2017 by Sourcebooks Landmark

An emotional and heartbreaking read. Honest and gritty with a great plot and fantastic characters. This was another novel that was very hard to put down once I started reading. 
If The Creek Don't Rise

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine  by Gail Honeyman

Published May 18, 2017 by HarperCollins
This was a surprise hit for me. I won this novel in a giveaway..THANK GOODNESS! I don’t know if I would have picked it up otherwise.  It was FANTASTIC!  A unique, heartbreaking, heartwarming, and inspiring read. Eleanor Oliphant stole my heart!

Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine

I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi

Published January 31, 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

Another fantastic read that had me hooked from the very start. A story about love and loss, life and death, and above all, healing and forgiveness. One of the best debut novels I’ve read.

I Liked My Life

The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld

Published September 5,  2017 by Harper

A phenomenal read. With a thoroughly engrossing plot and excellent characterization, “The Child Finder” had me hooked from start to finish.

The Child Finder

The Ghostwriter by Alessandra Torre

Published October 2, 2017 by DCA

An excellent plot with fantastic characterization made this an incredible read. A captivating, well-written, and well-paced novel about secrets, betrayal, guilt, lies, and so much more.

The Ghostwriter

The Stolen Marriage: A Novel  by Diane Chamberlain

Published October 3, 2017 by St. Martin’s Press

Diane Chamberlain is one of my favorite authors. Her stories are usually written around real events in history. I always learn things reading her novels, while still enjoying a great story. This was a fantastic story about secrets, love, racism, betrayal, forgiveness and more.

The Stolen Marriage: A Novel

 

The Good Daughter  by Karin Slaughter

Published August 8, 2017 by William Morrow
This book was INTENSE! It honestly had me feeling ALL THE FEELS. I really did both laugh and cry while reading this novel. “The Good Daughter” had me in its clutches from page one until the very end, and I’m still feeling the after-effects. This was an addictive and compelling psychological thriller with a mind-bending and thoroughly engrossing plot.
The Good Daughter

 

I would like to thank everyone for visiting my blog and reading my posts!  I appreciate all of your comments. I have really enjoyed reading your reviews and blog posts, and I look forward to reading more of them in the future!

From what I’ve seen so far it looks like 2018 is going to be another year of fantastic reads!!

 

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Music Monday – The Christmas Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) by Alvin and the Chipmunks

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Music Monday is a meme that was created by Drew from The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song and/or video and share it on Monday.

The song and video I am sharing today is:

The Christmas Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late) by Alvin and the Chipmunks

 

Last week I shared one of my favorite Christmas songs by Boney M.  I was going to pass this week, but then I heard this song on the radio and it took me way back.  I thought I would share. Plus I know how much Drew LOVES Christmas music 😉

 

 

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The Chipmunk Song by Alvin and the Chipmunks
Songwriter Ross Sr. Bagdasarian

 

All right you Chipmunks!
Ready to sing your song?
I’ll say we are!
Yeah!
Let’s sing it now!
Okay, Simon?
Okay!
Okay, Theodore?
Okay!
Okay, Alvin?
Alvin?
Alvin!
Okay!
Christmas, Christmas time is near
Time for toys and time for cheer
We’ve been good, but we can’t last
Hurry Christmas, hurry fast
Want a plane that loops the loop
Me, I want a hula hoop
We can hardly stand the wait
Please Christmas, don’t be late.
Okay fellas get ready.
That was very good, Simon.
Naturally.
Very good Theodore.
Ah
Ah, Alvin, you were a little flat, watch it.
Ah, Alvin.
Alvin.
Alvin!
Okay
Want a plane that loops the loop
I still want a hula hoop
We can hardly stand the wait
Please Christmas, don’t be late.
We can hardly stand the wait
Please Christmas, don’t be late.
Very good, boys
Lets sing it again!
Yeah, lets sing it again!
No, that’s enough, lets not overdo it
What do you mean overdo it?
We want to sing it again!
Now wait a minute, boys
Why can’t we sing it again?
Alvin, cut that out
Theodore, just a minute.
Simon will you cut that out? Boys

REVIEW – The Broken Girls by Simone St. James

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Expected publication: March 20, 2018 by Berkley Books

 

“Mary Hand, Mary Hand, dead and buried under land…
Faster, faster. Don’t let her catch you.
She’ll say she wants to be your friend…
Do not let her in again!”

I’m not usually one for paranormal/ghost stories, but when I read the description for “The Broken Girls” I was really intrigued.  I’m thrilled to say that this was even better than I expected.

Barrons, Vermont – November 1950. 

A young girl has just gotten off a bus. She has two choices. She can take the normal route or she can cut through the woods to get there faster. But cutting through the woods means leaving the safety of the main road. Suddenly she turns and sees a figure coming towards her. But how is this possible?

She was the only one who got off the bus….

Katie, Ce-Ce, Roberta, and Sonia are roommates at Idlewild Hall, a boarding school for “troubled” girls.  Over time they have become close friends.  They bond over their painful life stories. They trust and depend on each other.

We are given insight into why each “broken” girl is at Idlewild though chapters from their perspective. We learn about their lives and what they’ve been through and about the mystery surrounding them all.

2014

Fiona was seventeen at the time of her sister’s murder. Twenty years later, unanswered questions continue to plague her. Although a man was convicted of her murder and is serving his sentence in a maximum-security prison, he has always maintained his innocence

And now Idlewild Hall is being restored. Why would someone bother re-building a place like Idlewild? Fiona decides to write about the restoration of the local paper.  She has strange feelings whenever she is near the property and the old school. Is it possible that the rumors about Idlewild being haunted are true?

Then a shocking discovery changes everything. Could there be a link between what happened all those years ago and Fiona’s sister’s murder?

There are so many secrets surrounding Idlewild and Fiona is determined to find out what those secrets are. But could all of her investigating end up putting her in danger?

The story alternates between 1950 and 2014.  The chapters in 2014 are told from Fiona’s point of view. The chapters in 1950 are from the point of view of the four roommates. Though it alternates and there are quite a few different perspectives, I thought it flowed easily back and forth between past and present.

  “The Broken Girls” was a unique and impressive novel. While I did find the beginning of the novel a bit slow, it wasn’t long before I was completely caught up in the story. It was an engrossing read that really struck a chord with me. I ended up reading more than half of the book in just a few hours.

You can tell that the author has done her research; she brings everything together in an excellent way. Though some parts are dark and disturbing, I feel the author handled these difficult subjects with respect and sensitivity.

“The Broken Girls” was a captivating read that I really enjoyed. I’m looking forward to reading more from Simone St. James.

Thank you, Berkley Books for providing an advanced readers copy of this book for me to read in exchange for my honest review.

 

Throwback Thursday – One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf

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Throwback Thursday is a meme created by Renee at It’s Book Talk to share old favorite books rather than just the new shiny ones. This is a great idea to bring back to life some much-loved books. Please feel free to join in.

My choice for this week is: 

One Breath Away by Heather Gudenkauf

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Published June 26, 2012 by MIRA

 

Goodreads Description:

When the unthinkable happens, a community is rocked to its core in this heart-stopping and emotionally-charged thriller from New York Times bestselling author of The Weight of Silence, Heather Gudenkauf.

In the midst of a sudden spring snowstorm, an unknown man armed with a gun walks into an elementary school classroom. Outside the school, the town of Broken Branch watches and waits.

Officer Meg Barrett holds the responsibility for the town’s children in her hands. Will Thwaite, reluctantly entrusted with the care of his two grandchildren by the daughter who left home years earlier, stands by helplessly and wonders if he has failed his child again. Trapped in her classroom, Evelyn Oliver watches for an opportunity to rescue the children in her care. And thirteen-year-old Augie Baker, already struggling with the aftermath of a terrible accident that has brought her to Broken Branch, will risk her own safety to protect her little brother.

As tension mounts with each passing minute, the hidden fears and grudges of the small town are revealed as the people of Broken Branch race to uncover the identity of the stranger who holds their children hostage.

 

My Thoughts:

Heather Gudenkauf is another one of my favorite authors. I read this novel a few years ago, but it’s one that has really stayed with me.

What stars as an ordinary school day, quickly turns into chaos as a lone gunman enters a local school in Broken Branch, Iowa. He takes the classroom full of children and their teacher, hostage.

Who is he? What does he want?

Well written and fast paced, it held my interest from start to finish. The story was told from multiple perspectives, but was easy to follow. I was on edge and excited to read what was going to happen next.

I highly recommend this novel.