2017 Reading List

The tradition continues - a page for all the books I've read in 2017. Last year I read 50 books, so my goal this year is 51. Can I do it?


45. Tash Hearts Tolstoy is another YA novel. The story is about a girl named Tash (short for Natasha) who along with her friend Jack (short for Jacklyn) writes an adaptation of Anna Karenina for a video series on You Tube. Along the way we meet the cast of the series and learn about how Tash handles adversity and sexuality. This book was just all right for me. I wanted to like it more, but the characters left me feeling a little flat. (September)

44. I heard about The Hate U Give from one of those many lists I frequently see. It is a YA novel that is good reading for OA (Older Adults) too. It's a story of a 16 year old girl named Starr who sees something that no one should ever witness. How she deals with the tragedy and how it affects her family, her friendships and her community goes far deeper than the headlines can take you. The story becomes beautifully and horrifyingly personal. I really liked this book. (September)


43. I picked up Young Jane Young from the Lucky 7 rack at the library. Lucky because it's a brand new book; 7 because that's how many days you can borrow it. I got it on a Wednesday but I didn't start it until Friday night, and I finished it on Monday. It's a great story told in three voices: Jane's mom, Jane's daughter, and Jane herself. (September)


42. Despite it's cheery cover and title, this book is not exactly cheery.  The main character, Sunshine, is an online celebrity "chef" who gets hacked and exposed for the lies that she has created to build her brand. Disgraced and on the verge of divorce, she goes back to her hometown in the Hamptons to try to rebuild her relationship with her estranged sister (named Rain) and to rebuild her own shattered reputation. At first I had a hard time with all the deceit and mean-ness, but it works out. (August)

41. North Haven was a freebie from Amazon Prime. It tells the story of four adult orphan siblings. Each of them have their own issues they are dealing with, and they all come together at the family summer house in Maine over the Fourth of July to hang out and reconnect and deal with or try to figure out their issues. (August)




40. The Invisible Bridge was on one of the many, many booklists that I look at. It had a very high rating on Goodreads  4.19), so I had to give it a try. The novel is an engaging story set in the 1940s of a young Hungarian Jewish man, Andras, who dreams of being an architect. He goes to Paris to study and meets a woman. They fall in love. They are forced to return to Hungary as the war spreads over Europe. As you can imagine, things get very difficult for Andras and Klara. I was engrossed and enthralled with this story. (August)


39. I'm pretty sure I've read all of Jennifer Weiner's books. I loved the first few, then I was kind of meh on the next few and so I was curious how I would feel about this one. Loved it. Loved Rachel and Andy, even with all their flaws and issues. (July)


38. I absolutely chose this book for it's cover. Doesn't that pie look amazing?! It's too bad the story wasn't as fantastic as the pie looks. I like magical realism books, but this one felt a little convoluted; like it was trying too hard. I really wanted to like it, but it was a little flat for me. (July)


37. I don't think I have read any other books by Mary Kay Andrews. I like the cover of this book. The story takes place on an island off the coast of North Carolina. I don't know if it is a real island or a fictional place. It doesn't really matter, I guess. I kept getting a little confused because I'm used to reading stories that take place on Nantucket and the people get there by ferry. People got to this island by ferry, too, so that's why I'd get mixed up. Anyway, The Weekenders had a little bit of everything: a murder, a financial crisis, crabby old ladies, gay men, a diabetic tween, a handsome man from the past, annoying women, and a leading lady in turmoil. And a hurricane for good measure. Sometimes it felt like it was just too much, but somehow Mary Kay mostly pulled it together. (July)


36. In contrast to Swing Time, which I read for three weeks and did not finish, I read Wrong for You in a day. It was an easy, squeaky clean story about a girl, Lane, who meets a super cute guy, Jamie, with an equally adorable brother, Simon. Lane and Jamie start dating, but circumstances conspire to get her spending time with Simon. When Lane realizes that Simon is really the man she loves, how can she break up with Jamie to go out with his brother? It won't work. Or will it? (July)


I'm not counting this book as read, but I did spend three weeks on it and got around 300 pages through it. I didn't finish it because I just stopped caring. The writing was fine: descriptive and mostly interesting, but the story jumped around in time and I don't think I ever learned the narrator's name. I just couldn't connect. I liked the book at the start, and I didn't mind the middle and I thought it would move along, but it didn't. So when my library loan period of 21 days was up, I decided to not renew and just return it. I don't feel bad.

35. I love Harry Potter books. I wasn't really sure if I wanted to read this "eighth" story though. For one thing, it is written as a play for the stage. Second, it skips over a whole bunch of time. It starts when Harry is in his 40s. He's a grown-up, a married man with children and job. The story is mainly about Harry's second son and Draco Malfoy's kid,  There are many references to previous Potter stories and characters but there wasn't the detail that made the books so wonderful. It was just all right for me. (June)


34. I was looking for something to break my streak of books I didn't like and for that, I am thankful for John Grisham. I was immediately engaged in this story of stolen manuscripts and life on an island off the coast of Florida. I liked Mercer and Bruce. I felt Mercer's conflict. Camino Island is a fun read. (June)


33. I heard about this book on NPR. I can't remember the show but there was an interview with the author. She said it was a book about working in an upscale restaurant in New York City.I didn't hear the whole interview, but I thought she worked in the kitchen and I'm interested in books about chefs and cooking, so I thought I'd give it a try. It's not so much about the kitchen but more "front of house". The main character, Tess, is a young woman who abruptly moves away from her home in the midwest and drives to NYC where she gets a job as a backwaiter in an upscale restaurant. Tess learns about wine from Simone, falls in love with Jake the bartender, drinks a lot and does a lot of drugs. I couldn't relate to the characters or the story. I found it more bitter than sweet. (June)

32. I can usually read a book in a week or so. This book took me 21 days. I could not get into the characters or the story or the writing style. The plot centers around three couples and their children at a barbecue. Something happens at this barbecue, but we don't find out what it is until about half way through the book. The author draws you in, teasing you with chapters titled "The Day of the Barbecue" and getting close to the event, then pulling away. By the time I finally learned what happened, I didn't care. I didn't like any of the characters. There was no one to cheer for. Also, by the end when it all gets tied together, I had already predicted what was going to happen, so there was nothing interesting. Why did I waste three weeks on this book. Ugh. (June)

31. Annie and Sarah need money. Annie, a chemist, figures out a sure-fire way to make some money: by having her gorgeous friend Sarah sell designer face cream to wealthy women in La Jolla, CA. Annie puts a little something extra in the face cream. Hilarity and drama ensue. Watch out for Annie's mom, Chloe. She steals the show. Totally fun book. (June)

30. Ahh...a new novel from Alice Hoffman. I love her books and this one was wonderful. The story centers on Shelby who is struggling with herself since she was in a terrible accident with her best friend in high school. The story follows Shelby as she tries to find peace with herself. I loved the character from the start. So flawed and so wonderfully written. I really liked this book. (May)

29. How can you resist the title and the cover of this book? Well, it turns out that no matter how cute the title and the cover is, you must resist this book. It wasn't good for me. Weirdly, this is another French book translated into English. When will I learn? The premise of this story is that Diane, the owner of a bookshop in Paris called Happy People Read and Drink Coffee, suffers a terrible family tragedy. She decides to leave Paris and ends up in a tiny village in Ireland. Her neighbor is an insufferable but handsome man who she eventually develops feelings for, but nothing is easy in this book. Ugh. (May)
28. I liked the title of this book and the cover very much and that's why I chose it. I didn't really like the story, though. It took me sooooo long to get through it. I couldn't really find any sympathy or empathy for Perdu. So much angst! So many pages spent talking about his lost love and we didn't even learn her name until later in the story. This novel was translated from French. It is the second book translated from French that I have read this year and I found both of them full of angsty love thoughts. Maybe it's a French thing? I know there are plenty of angsty American (and British and likely every other language as well) novels out there, but maybe it is something is the particularly French way of describing the angsty love that I have a hard time with. Anyway, I didn't much care for the book overall, even though the ending was nice. (May)

27. I felt like reading Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was like a prerequisite for a visit to Savannah, GA. The non-fiction story takes place in Savannah and many of the beautiful homes and squares are talked about in the book, as well as the Bonaventure Cemetery. I have read the book before, maybe 20 years ago or so and I vaguely remembered some of it. I remembered the main gist of the story about Jim Williams. Did I like the book? Meh. It's fine. I like Savannah a lot, though! (May)

26. This Lullaby is from the YA genre. I heard about it from another Buzzfeed list of YA novels worth reading. What I liked about this story was that it wasn't the typical boy meets girl, they fall in love, something comes up between them - real or imagined - and they break up but then they realize they can't live without each other and live happily ever after. No. That sort of thing only happens in romance novels (see #23 on my list for an example). Teenage love is messy and difficult and even unpleasant at times and this book totally captures those weird feelings. I like Remy and Dexter. (May)


25. I think I heard about this book from a Buzzfeed list of debut novels worth reading. The story is about Nadia, a motherless girl with a distant father. It seems like her dad just doesn't exactly know what to do with his daughter, so she mostly runs wild. A central part of the book is the Upper Room church. After an event with the preacher's son, Nadia works at the church the summer after high school as an assistant to the first lady - the preacher's wife. Nadia befriends another girl who works at the church and then the story is about Nadia and Aubrey. The story moves right along and I enjoyed this book. (May)

24.  Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe is the third book I've read by author Jenny Colgan. I like the easy style of her writing; I felt swept up in Issy's life right away and cared about her struggles and joys. The story is that Issy gets sacked from her job in a realtor/development office where she is semi-secretly dating her boss, so she loses her boyfriend and her job at the same time. Issy's grandfather used to own bakeries and he taught Issy everything about being a baker, so she decides to open a cupcake shop. (She sells other baked goods too.) I liked the description of the shop. I wanted to go there and eat cupcakes and hang out with Issy and Pearl. This book is the definition of English chick lit. I like it a lot! (April)

23. Call me crazy, but sometimes a little romance from Nora Roberts is just the thing. Roberts is good about writing a group of books that feature the same characters. Savor the Moment is the third book in the Bride Quartet series. It's about four women who together own a wedding business called Vows. Each of the women has a specialty: a photographer, a florist, a baker and the wedding planner. This third book focused on the baker (savor, get it?) She is in love with her friend the wedding planner's brother and they start dating and they fall in love and (spoiler) live happily ever after but not before there is an argument that nearly breaks them apart. It's a total formula and I totally love it. (April)

22. I love books by Alice Hoffman. That is all. (April)

21. After You is the sequel to Me Before You. I read Me Before You several years ago and it made me weep. In fact, I can only think of three books that have made me put my head down on the table, bang my fist and cry like my heart was broken. Me Before You was one of them. (The other two are The Kite Runner and Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.) I have put off seeing the movie because I already knew that I would be a quivery, soggy mess. I put off reading After You because I wasn't sure if I was ready to move on from Will and Lou. But there it was, staring at me from the library shelf and I decided I was ready. I also went ahead and rented the DVD of Me Before You so I could remember some details. I was, in fact, a quivery, soggy mess. I'm glad I was on my own couch with a box of Kleenex in easy reach.

Anyway, After You is full of grieving Lou and a surprise that knocks Lou for a total loop. There's a lovely new romance for Lou and an exciting job offer. There were times when I wanted to grab Lou by the shoulders and yell, "What are you doing? Come ON!" There were also lots of times when I wanted to hug her and be her friend. I really like Jojo Moyes' writing style. The flow of the story is excellent; the characters are fantastic. There wasn't as much weeping for me from this book, but I did shed a couple tears. (April)

20. I'm not really sure if I liked this book or not. The characters are not very nice. The tennis world is full of alphas who by definition aren't kind and sweet. The main character, Charlie, isn't nice. She's kind of a jack-ass quite a bit. Her coach is a raging asshole. Charlie's boyfriend is a dick. Her main rival is a bitch. Still, I kept reading and squirming at how awful these people were. It seems that the world of professional tennis is just way, way different and uncomfortable than the regular world. (April)

19. A Reader's Choice book from the library. The story is based on a woman Louise/Louisiana (never was sure if her full name was Louisiana) who moves to Louisiana to take a job in the library science department at a university. Her program gets the ax, so she takes a job at a public library in the small rural parish of Alligator Bayou. She and her best friend/fellow librarian add a bunch of programs to the library to get more people interested and coming to the library. Louise also meets a man who is a good person and who likes her children. Conflict arises when a certain member of the police jury (similar to county commissioners) wants to cut all funding for the parish libraries and shut it all down. That's when Louisiana has to step up her game to save the library. As I read this mini synopsis, it doesn't make me want to read the book, but you should because it's a pretty good story and I liked it. (April)
18. I will read anything that Elin Hilderbrand writes. All of her books are set in Nantucket and she often has a character that was part of a previous book mentioned or playing a tiny part in another book, so it feels kind of familiar. By now I have read several books by Hilderbrand and I have a clear picture in my head of Bartlet's Farm and some of the businesses in the town. I can imagine the streets and the beaches. Anyway...this story centers around three women who were all married to the same guy (not at the same time). The guy has died and the ex-wives and widow gather in Nantucket with the lawyer to spread the ashes and read the will. The children come also. The story jumps around a bit between all the people, but it's pretty easy to keep it straight. Sometimes it is hard to like the people (the second wife and the widow, especially), but it is entertaining enough. (April)

17. I saw this book in my library on the "7 Day Checkout" shelf. These are popular newly released books that you can only have for seven days instead of the normal 21 days. I read the cover blurb and thought it sounded fun, and I thought I could read it quick, so I got it. Spoiler alert - I finished it in six days. :) Sometimes I have a hard time with Sophie Kinsella books. Well, mostly the Shopaholic books, I guess. I don't care for the main character in those stories. I didn't have any problem liking the main character of My (Not So) Perfect Life. Katie is adorable. She does have a shitty boss who I disliked through most of the book. I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It's a perfect little weekend read. (April)

16. Nine Women, One Dress is a Reader's Choice selection at the library. The cover of the book and the premise of the story is so cute, how could I resist? What I liked best was the way the story was told from different points of view with some POVs overlapping with others. I think there were more than nine women who were affected by the dress, but I wasn't really counting because I lost track as I got into the stories. This is a fun little read. (March)

15. I have read a few book by Terry McMillan. I like her style and the stories she tells are relate-able. I Almost Forgot about You is the story of Georgia, a 50-something, twice divorced optometrist in the Bay Area. She learns that a man she used to date has died and his passing makes her think of other men in her life. She decides to contact them to let them know what she liked about them and how they impacted her life. At the same time, she is having a bit of a mid-life crisis. Overall I liked the story. I really liked Georgia and her mom totally grew on me over the course of the novel. (March)

14. I chose The Knockoff because of the cute cover. The story was cute too. It's about the editor in chief of a fashion magazine (Imogen) who comes back to work after being on medical leave to find that her former assistant (Eve) is the new defacto boss and she's changing the whole format of the magazine by dropping the physical magazine and going digital with an app. Think Devil Wears Prada, but Andy has become Miranda's boss and now Andy is horrible and Miranda is awesome. The thing about it was that I really understood Imogen's dismay at all the technology and how the younger workers were so fast and efficient with their ever-present electronic devices. (March)

13. The Hating Game is another Reader's Choice selection from the library. I gobbled this book up like it was a yummy treat, which it was. Pure chick lit enjoyment. I loved Lucy and Josh and their romance. It was silly and sweet and sexy and a little naughty. Perfect weekend read. (March)

12. Oil and Marble is a selection from the library's Reader's Choice collection right now. It's a historical fiction novel set in Florence, Italy in the early 1500s and the two main characters are Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Michelangelo has just completed the Pieta in Rome and returned home to Florence to be with his family. Leonardo has returned from Milan before he was chased out of town for not finishing a commission. Both of them are interested in winning the commission of the Duccio Stone. Michelangelo wins it and turns the unwieldy and ugly piece of marble into the David statue. Leonardo has a bunch of adventures including spending time at war, trying to change the course of the Arno River and again failing to complete a commission when he meets a housewife named Lisa. Leonardo convinces Lisa's husband to hire him to paint Lisa's portrait, and the Mona Lisa is created. It's pretty incredible that these two amazing pieces of art were created around the same time in the same city. The book had a bit of a slow start, but I really got into it. Now I want to go to Florence more than ever! And yes, I know the Mona Lisa is in Paris. (March)

11. One Evening in Paris is an ebook that I purchased from Barnes and Noble quite awhile ago. I picked it with my eyes closed to have something to read before sleep. The story is about a man, Alain, who owns an old-fashioned cinema in Paris. Alain decides to have a series of love stores on Wednesday nights and he sees a woman in a red coat and totally falls in love with her, even though he doesn't know her and hasn't even spoken to her. He finally works up the courage to speak to her and they go out for dinner and have an amazing evening talking and walking through Paris. When a famous film director and a movie star show up at the cinema and want to film a movie there, Alain loses his new love. The story is about Alain's search for the woman in the red coat and it's sweet. You can tell that the book is not written by an American man. It's so romantic and sort of passionate. (March)

10.  Young Adult fiction can be really fun and easy to read. Love and Gelato totally filled the bill for me. Lina goes to Tuscany to live with her dad (who she has never met) after her mom dies. The dad is totally cool, but looks nothing like Lina at all. Lina is given a journal that was her mother's from when the mom lived in Italy. Lina and the cute guy she meets (Ren) read through the journal to find out more about the mom and dad. Adventure and amore ensue. Loved it! (February)

9. The Light Between Oceans has been on my radar for awhile and finally became available through the eLibrary. I was drawn in from the very first page. Everything is going fine until BOOM! A moral dilemma raises it's head. Sometimes good people make choices that aren't exactly bad until they find out more facts and it is hard to live with a guilty conscience. This story made me cry and think. I really liked it. (February)

8. I bought the ebook The Nest for my Nook around Christmas time from the Daily Picks of Barnes and Noble. It's the story of four siblings who are set to inherit some money that their father had set aside for them that they would receive when the youngest turned 40. The money was referred to as The Nest and each of the siblings had big plans for the cash as the birthday approached. Unfortunately, the oldest brother had a bad experience and the mother used most of the money in The Nest to help her son out of his predicament, much to the dismay of the other three kids. This story is basically about what they were all doing with the money they didn't have and their concern about getting the money back from the wayward brother.  I kinda liked it. The characters were well-defined and interesting. (February)


7. I think I've read and loved/liked all of Rainbow Rowell's books. Carry On is different from all her other books. For one thing, it is the book that was almost a character in another one of Rowell's books, Fangirl. I guess she decided that we should all read Simon and Baz's story. I liked the writing, but I didn't care for the characters or the story. It makes me kind of sad to say it, but I just didn't like it. (February)

6. The Memory Thief popped up on the eLibrary list called Recommended for You, so I thought I'd try it. The book had pretty good reviews on Goodreads which I almost always look at before I commit to a book. It's a terrible habit, but I can't seem to break it. I gotta tell ya...I didn't really care for this book. I liked the characters, but the actual memory thief part - I just couldn't get with it. (January)

5. Okay, okay. I like Young Adult fiction on occasion.  Going Vintage is total YA. It's about a teenage girl who breaks up with her boyfriend when she finds out he is cyber cheating on her. She decides to renounce all of the electronic things we have today and go vintage. The results made me roll my eyes at times and giggle at other times. Harmless fluff. (January)

4. Eligible is a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice. It is the fourth of four books in the so-called Austen Project in which current authors take retell four Jane Austen novels in modern times. The other three are on my to-read list. I haven't read all seven of Jane Austen's novels yet; I've only read three, but the other four are also on my to-read list.  Anyway, Eligible is entertaining. I thought the author did a good job of putting the Bennet family in Cincinnati. Elizabeth Bennet is always going to be a good character; I thought making Charles (Chip) Bingley being on a "Bachelor" type show was hilarious. (January)

3. I love love love Susan Elizabeth Phillips' books! I have several on my to-read list. They are like literary candy or donuts and I can't have too many of them at one time or I'll be sick, but sprinkled into my reading list every now and then is just what the doctor ordered. I was kind of put off by the premise of Kiss an Angel - the couple works at a small-time traveling circus - but it's SEP and it's gonna be fine.  (January)

2. My mom read With or Without You and liked it and since Mom and I have very similar tastes in books, I thought I'd give it a try, too. At first I was pretty annoyed with the lead character, Lyssa, but she grew on me and I ended up really liking this book.  Fluffy and sweet. (January)

1. The Rosie Project is the first book I finished in 2017. It's been on my to-read list for awhile and finally came up for check-out from the eLibrary. It's quirky and sweet. I guess it's going to be made into a movie. And there is a follow-up book, too. I'll probably read the sequel sometime. (January)

1 comment:

Nin Pujol said...

I read 4 of the books, and will be watching the movie of one of them, Not sure if I will read it first or watch the movie :)