The Best of My 2017 Awards!

It’s true. Today is your last reading day of the year! Have you met your Goodreads Challenge? All caught up on your Netgalley Reviews? Happy to say yes, I am. And following are some but by no means all of the best in their genres.

Best Debut Fiction:   Jennifer Irwin for A Dress The Color of The Sky. A book about addictions and breaking cycles. Movie rights have already been grabbed by Reese Witherspoon! I admire Jennifer so much for her work ethic and her writing skills!

A Dress the Color of the Sky

Best Historical Fiction: Katherine Arden for the follow-up to her award-winning The Bear and The Nightingale, The Girl in the Tower which was just as brilliant as the first book!

The Girl in the Tower (Winternight Trilogy, #2)

Best Thriller: Karin Slaughter with The Good Daughter. Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind.

The Good Daughter

Best Suspense Thriller: J.T.Ellison with Lie to Me. This was such a web of lies and deceit, you won’t unravel it until the spider is ready to jump!

Lie to Me

Best Crime Thriller:  Don Winslow with The Force. Another brilliant contribution by a favorite author! No one does crime like Winslow!

The Force

Best Horror Crime: J.D.Barker with The Fourth Monkey! Fans of the movie Se7en meets The Silence of the Lambs in this dark and twisting novel from the author Jeffery Deaver called, A talented writer with a delightfully devious mind.”

 

The Fourth Monkey (A 4MK Thriller, #1)

Best Cozy Mystery: A Cajun Christmas Killing by Ellen Byron

A Cajun Christmas Killing (Cajun Country Mystery #3)

Best Non-Fiction: Helene Cooper with Madame President.The harrowing, but triumphant story of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, leader of the Liberian women’s movement, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, and the first democratically elected female president in African history.

Madame President: The Extraordinary Journey of Ellen Johnson Sirleaf

Best Mystery: Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker

Emma in the Night

Best Cookbook:  The Beach House Cookbook by Mary Kay Andrews

The Beach House Cookbook

Best General Fiction: Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward who blew my mind with this book set in my Mississippi town.

Sing, Unburied, Sing

There could be hundreds more of the over 200 I read this year, but all of these I have read more than once, so that says a lot when you have a TBR list as long as mine.

What were your Best Reads of the Year?

So 2017 all I can say to you is Good bye!

THE WIFE BETWEEN US BY GREER HENDRICKS AND SARAH PEKKANEN

The Wife Between Us

A novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love. 

When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.
You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.
You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.
You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.
You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.
Assume nothing.

It is very rare for me to give a book a 5 star rating. But I’m here to tell you that I am giving it to this one!

The blurb above says it all. Assume nothing. So there is really very little I want to say in this review that would spoil one second of you reading this and being as shocked out of your mind as I was. There is no figuring this one out on page one. I was figuring this one out until the last page.

If Suspense Thrillers/Psychological Thrillers are your genre, you are in for a massive treat with this one. I read it all at once. I just couldn’t stop. I certainly hope there will be more from the authors!

Netgalley/St.Martin’s Press   January 09, 2018

Springtime at the Cider Kitchen by Fay Keenan (Little Somersby #2)

Springtime at the Cider Kitchen (Little Somerby #2)

Caroline Hemingway can’t help but feel a little strange watching her ex sister-in-law marrying the owner of Carter’s Cider Farm, but she’s delighted Anna’s found happiness after the death of her late husband, and Caroline’s brother, James. If only Caroline could find her own love story…

Desperate to escape the rat race, Caroline decides to take the plunge and move to the idyllic village of Little Somerby, where she is given the task of opening and running a restaurant in one of the forgotten barns on the Cider Farm.

Opening and running The Cider Kitchen is no easy task, and there are many challenges on the way, but slowly Caroline feels she’s being accepted into the local community, and starts to believe she may have found her forever home. But secrets from her past seem destined to haunt her, and not even the attentions of the very dishy Jonathan Carter can distract her from all she’s left behind…

I had read the first book in the series and had high hopes for the second one.

Caroline is invited to her former sister-in-law’s wedding. Caroline has mixed feelings about it but for Anna and her niece, she comes. Having no intention of staying.

But when an opportunity to use her skills as an event planner pops up, she makes a year commitment to stay and run the new Cider Kitchen.

I found neither Caroline or Jonathan sympathetic characters. There was no romance between them and it seemed to me it was just a few rolls in the hay. And the secrets that Caroline was keeping led to her almost ending up in jail. Where she would have been if this was reality.

However, instead, Jonathan proposes. Where did that come from? And Caroline gets her crime swept under the rug and says yes.

It was very superficial.

Thank you Netgalley/Atria

Scones and Scoundrels by Molly MacRae

Scones and Scoundrels (Highland Bookshop Mystery #2)

Book 2 in The Highland Bookshop Mystery Series

Inversgail, on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands, welcomes home native daughter and best-selling environmental writer Daphne Wood. Known as the icon of ecology, Daphne will spend three months as the author in residence for the Inversgail schools. Janet Marsh and her business partners at Yon Bonnie Books are looking forward to hosting a gala book signing for her. Daphne, who hasn’t set foot in Scotland in thirty years, is . . . eccentric. She lives in the Canadian wilderness, in a cabin she built herself, with only her dog for a companion, and her people skills have developed a few rough-hewn edges. She and the dog (which she insists on bringing with her) cause problems for the school, the library, and the bookshop even before they get to Inversgail. Then, on the misty night they arrive, a young man—an American who’d spent a night in the B above Yon Bonnie Books—is found dead outside a pub.

Daphne did her Inversgail homework and knows that Janet and her partners solved a previous murder. She tries to persuade them to join her in uncovering the killer and the truth. To prove she’s capable, she starts poking and prying. But investigating crimes can be murder, and Daphne ends up dead, poisoned by scones from the tearoom at Yon Bonnie Books. Now, to save the reputation of their business—not to mention the reputation of their scones—Janet and her partners must solve both murders. And Daphne’s dog might be able to help them, if only they can get it to stop howling. . . 

Janet and her daughter Tallie have moved to Scotland with a few friends and opened a tea and book shop. In the Highlands. I will admit to this being my dream job!

To get this out-of-the-way, I wasn’t impressed with the blurb. The Tearoom was never under suspicion, nor were the ladies. I would like to see that adjusted in the blurb.

This story had so many characters I almost couldn’t keep track of who was who.
Some of them were developed but most we didn’t really know much about. There were so many suspects and I have to admit I did not see the ending coming!

Daphne was an easy character to dislike and yet she had secrets that in the end made me feel sad for her.

I will probably read the next one too. This is a cozy mystery series that is intelligent, funny and heart warming. And the atmosphere is pretty spectacular in the descriptions of the area.

Well Done!   Netgalley/Pegasus Books   January 2, 2018

The Single Girl’s Calendar by Erin Green

The Single Girl's Calendar: A fantastic, feel-good Rom Com

A task a day to cure a broken heart.

Esmé Peel is approaching thirty with some trepidation, but hope in her heart. If she can just get her long-term boyfriend Andrew to propose, she will have ticked everything off her ‘things to do by the time you’re 30′ list. She didn’t reckon on finding another woman’s earring in her bed however, and soon she finds herself single, homeless and in need of a new plan. Her best friend Carys gives her the perfect present – The Single Girl’s Calendar – which has a different cure for heartbreak every day:

Day 1: Look and feel fabulous with a new hair style.

Day 2: Step out of your comfort zone and try something new.

Day 3: Reconnect with friends and enjoy!

Despite thinking it’s a bit of a gimmick, Esmé hasn’t got any better ideas, so she puts the plan into action. By the end of week one she has four new male housemates, and despite a broken heart she is determined to show Andrew she can do more than survive, she can thrive.

This was a fun read! Esme’ may be a bit addicted to her routine and her long-range plans, but when she finds another woman’s earring in her bed she does not hesitate to walk out that door and move on.

As fate steps in along with the calendar, she finds herself trying her hardest to stick with the daily activities and step outside of her comfort zone.

I don’t think there was a character in this lovely tale that I did not like! They were each so unique and each added something to Esme’s new-found confidence.

Call it Chick Lit, call it Fluff, it put a smile on my face the entire time I read it!

Thanks to Aria/Netgalley     Release date is January 1st

Where Are You Christmas with Faith Hill

I am also a lot of other things

It seems we have made it to Friday! Hopefully all in one piece and if your children are out of school, with your marbles intact!

I’m pretty sure everyone will have a busy weekend with Christmas being Monday. The kids are packing up and heading to their Dad’s in Dallas. And here at home things are just going all haywire.

My Mother is still in hospital after falling out of Susi’s truck and breaking her pelvis and since she lives in the northern most portion of North Dakota, the hospital is probably the best place to be right now.

Our Country Club family is just that to us. Family. And at this time we are all hurting. On Monday one of the employees had a stroke at work and is now in hospital. Tommy’s boss and our bestest friend had a horrible respiratory thing last week and last night was taken to ICU with brain swelling. Tomorrow we bury Uncle Richard.

So all of our carefully laid plans just got swiped left. And while I thought the Anxiety Fairy would show her face with all of this going on and the kids out of school for holidays, apparantly she got face palmed by the Priority Fairy. People are hurting and we need to be there for them.

This next week is a time for inner reflection and a time to let go of any negativity in your life. To give thanks for all the friends and family who have gone before, for their role in our lives, a time to honor those who are still with us and to sit quietly and plan for the future. Let go of anything that hasn’t worked for you and surround yourself with positive love, energy and people.

I hope you enjoy one of my all time favorite songs!

xx Patricia