The first book that I read all year quite possibly is one of my favorite thrillers, unexpectedly, that I've read in years: I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh. My review for this one:
"Thriller readers: read this book. You know when you're reading and think you've got it figured out...then you change your mind... then think "well, maybe"... then you are completely wrong...then you are kinda correct, but there's a twist...then you've figured part of it out but it doesn't matter because the book is still so good? That was this book for me. I stayed up past my bedtime because I couldn't put it down. There was a teensy tinsy part of the end that bothered me, but I still highly recommend to those who like this genre."
January offered up another unexpected thriller: The Silent Girls by Eric Rickstad. What I said about it at the time: "
"I had never even heard of Eric Rickstad, but the book sounded like one I might like. I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery, the characters, and how the storyline came together with some loose ends that left me wanting more. 4.5/5"
It must've been my year for stumbling upon new authors and great crime/mystery/thriller books because here's another one: Resurrection Bay by Emma Viskic
"You know how some thrillers like to slowly build with a foundation and character development before the action takes off? Not this one. On page one, the lead character is holding his murdered best friend in his arms. Action from the start!
I enjoyed the story set in Melbourne and Resurrection Bay (not sure if this is an actual place or not), Victoria, Australia. It had me guessing and re-thinking my opinions about where it was going and who were the villains. The pace was quick, and some twists were unexpected.
I enjoyed the characters. Admittedly, I'm unaware of any book that I've read with a deaf protagonist. That element to the story was an interesting addition to a crime-based thriller.
If you can get your hand on this one, I recommend it."
Don Winslow's follow-up to The Power of the Dog (a book on my Best of 2015 list) was phenomenal: The Cartel by Don Winslow.
"Think The Godfather; instead of The Mafia, it focuses on Mexican drug cartels. No, not The Godfather. That isn't violent or horrific enough. Think The Sopranos multiplied by 1000.
And, to think, I've been to every border town that is featured: Juarez, Matamoros, Nuevo Laredo, and Tijuana. I think that made the book all the more intriguing. And frightening. This book is not for the faint at heart. The violence is ruthless and plentiful. The characters are well-written, and I was cheering for some, aching for others, scared to death of the villains.
Both of these books (this is a sequel to The Power of the Dog ) would make epic movies. I looked at the author's website, and guess what, they are in "pre-production" for movies."
When asked my favorite author, I often reply "John Sandford" because I've read the most books by him than any other. I am loyal to both his Virgil Flowers and Lucas Davenport series, and this year's Davenport installment was a big winner for me: Extreme Prey by John Sandford. Honestly, I do not think you'd need to read any previous books in the series to enjoy this one (if you like these kinds of books.)
Another favorite author that I'm loyal to? Karin Slaughter, and this year's Will Trent book was another great one for me: The Kept Woman by Karin Slaughter.
"The story is gripping, and the characters are well-developed. Stories that are inter-connected include foster care, child abuse, personal relationships, domestic violence, parental relationships, the power of sports stars, and more. Does that seem like too much? It isn't. Slaughter works all of the stories together to make for a great read."
My favorite friend who I've known for over 20 years recommended this book to me. I don't think she's ever steered me wrong with a book recommendation: Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, and Lynn Vincent. My review:
"A memoir that is almost impossible for me to "review". Uplifting, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking. Culturally and socially, this book is educational. Morally, this book is inspirational. Lessons of love, faith, forgiveness, change, philanthropy, and more. I respected the honest (sometimes brutally, painfully honest) description of the pain and suffering of a terminal illness. It made the other parts of the story carry merit and truth...parts that a reader could assume were sensationalized or exaggerated. For any person of faith, read this book. For others, read this book. Everyone, read this book."
My review for Not My Father's Son by Alan Cumming sums up what I thought of the book at the time, but it doesn't tell you that his story has still stuck with me months after reading it:
I have repeatedly praised this book and author, and I'm happy to see other book lovin' bloggers agree with me: The Pearl That Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi. My thoughts that I shared at the time:
"If you've read Khaled Hosseini's books and found them fascinating and powerful, then add this to your "to read" list. A captivating book that is both emotional and educational about two generations of Afghan women who faced hardships including abuse (physical, sexual, verbal, emotional), loss, loneliness, abandonment, betrayal, and more. If you are like me, you'll read this book, then want to go save alllllll the girls of the world that are denied opportunities and treated as inferiors for being female."
I am a self-professed Ruta Sepetys fangirl. Every book of hers I've rated 5 stars. Out of the Easy is:
"Colorful characters, an intriguing story, and a depiction of seedy New Orleans in the 1950s come together for a delightful book. Highly recommend."
I suppose you'd call this a "western" too, but I loved loved loved The Thicket by Joe Lansdale. The characters are quirky...but warning: the story is violent. It's a little like a Tarantino movie wrapped up in a novel.
I owned this book for almost a year before I picked it up to read. Shame on me. I should've dove into this story sooner: I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson.
"Heartbreak, art, family, love, tragedy, self-discovery, and a little whimsy too. Some parts of the story, I predicted; others, I didn't...but I enjoyed the ride. I had high expectations, and this book exceeded them."
Jana praised this and told all of us to read this. I finally did and was not disappointed: Please Come Back from the Moon by Dean Bakopoulos.
Have you read any of these? Or are they on your tbr list?