Best Series of 2017 #Bestof2017

The time has come for my final post in my Best of 2017 list! I’ve shared my favorite psychological thrillers, debuts, women’s fiction, historical, and mystery/Thriller standalones, you can find them here if you missed them.

I love discovering a new series and binge reading them or getting in on the ground floor of a series and knowing that I’ll be following the author as long as they keep writing. Some of these series started a few years ago and some just in 2017, but they al had at least one new addition this year and I loved every single one of them!

Favorite Series

Sue Watson writes laugh out loud funny books and this series is just awesome! All three reviews can be found here.

In 2017 we were lucky enough to get two new books in Marsons Kim Stone series! These books are just amazingly well done, every single one has been a five star read for me, that doesn’t happen very often.

In 2016 I jumped in at book number three in this series and I’m still kicking myself for not getting in earlier! The Deep Dark Descending and The Heavens May Fall were both fantastic, well written and engaging.

After a recommendation from my girl Chelsea at The Suspense is Thrilling Me, I mowed through this series at record speed. A Twist of the Knife was released this year and I’ve been dying for the next book ever since. Brigid Quinn is one of the most unique, well crafted characters I’ve ever come across, I can’t get enough of her.

Liz Eeles was another gem I discovered this year, I love the characters in this series and the setting is just lovely. I can’t wait to escape with Annie again!

2017 brought two new installments in the brilliant Erika Foster series, how lucky are we?! This series is fresh, exciting dark and gritty, an excellent police procedural.

Carol Wyer is a writing machine, can you believe she released four books in a series in one year?! So impressive especially as they’re all intricately plotted, twisty and dark.

Rachel Amphlett is another powerhouse, I can’t believe I’ve already read four books in this series! These books have the ability to amaze me and frustrate me as Amphlett tortures me with #TheKayMystery 😜 Super fast paced, unique premise for each book, these are addictive reads.

And that’s a wrap for 2017 friends! What series am I missing that I should be missing? I’m actually sort of scared to ask my TBR can’t handle it 😂

Review: The Slave by Anand Dilvar

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: January 7, 2018

Publisher: Shelter Harbor Press

Genre: Fiction

Blurb:

“The Slave is a compact self-help book with exceptional accessibility and a profundity that encourages repeat reads.” – Foreword Reviews

A profound and paradigm-challenging book that guides readers through a transformative journey to personal freedom.

Trapped in a vegetative state, following a terrible accident that has paralyzed his whole body, the narrator is unable to communicate with those around him. Cut off from family and friends so begins an inner conversation with his spiritual guide, a conversation which takes him on a journey of self-realization, bringing him eventually to a new state of consciousness, and an understanding of his deepest self.

Written with an engaging simplicity, this is a truly profound book which can change your life. In fact to use the authors own words, it is designed to shake, shudder and wake us up. It is a book that has nothing to do with success, social recognition, with the accumulation of goods; but everything to do with joy, love and peace.

Review:

This book is way out of my comfort zone and not at all like anything I would normally read, but when I was approached about receiving a copy I was intrigued. It’s s short read, but it packs an almighty punch and definitely forces you to think on a deep level.

The concept is fairly simple as is the writing style, where this shines is in it’s message. An unnamed man, The Slave, is in a coma where he can’t move but he can hear, see and knows exactly what is going on around him. This could be considered a self help type of read but I think it’s much more than that. The Slave meets his spirit guide during his coma and much of it follows the guide helping him realize what is actually important in life, what truly matters. The overall message is uplifting and powerful, I can definitely see how it would speak to many people and could even encourage them to change the way they view the world. I agreed with most of the ideas and found this to be a very insightful read.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to Larissa at Clair McKinney PR for my review copy.

Best Mystery/Thrillers of 2017 #Bestof2017

It’s day four of my favorite reads of 2017 and today I’m focusing on my most read genre, mysteries and thrillers! These are all standalones, tomorrow I’ll be sharing my favorite series. Since this is my most read genre I had an extremely difficult time narrowing down my list and I tried really hard to include different types of thrillers from adventure thrillers all the way to ones with supernatural elements, I’m hoping there is something on here for everyone!

If you missed the first three lists I shared my favorite debuts, women’s fiction, historical fiction and psychological thrillers and you can find them here.

Mystery/Thriller

Early in the year I read The Abattoir of Dreams and was blown away. This is a genre bending read, you can’t easily define it but it left a lasting impression and made me a huge fan of Tilbury.

The Weight of Lies was a book within a book, one of my favorite devices especially if it’s executed well. This had a fantastic atmosphere and a compelling storyline, I loved it!

I’m sure this choice surprises absolutely no one, but I can’t have a best of list without Karin Slaughter! The Good Daughter is one of my most popular reviews and one that I’m most proud of so this book holds a special place in my heart. I’m not going to start gushing about this book yet again, check out my review if you’re interested.

Bring Her Home was a good old fashioned mystery, it didn’t rely on cheap thrills or insane plot twists but it still delivered in a major way. The twists were subtle and just so well done, it’s my favorite Bell book to date.

Dead Woman Walking has a crazy premise, but in the best possible way. Hot air balloons, nuns, human trafficking and peacocks. For real, but it all works SO well.

Block 46 is profound, harrowing and will challenge you as a reader. It’s stunning and such a sophisticated crime novel.

Chris Whitaker is a force to be reckoned with, he’s redefining the genre and he is insanely talented. I wrote a gushy review for All the Wicked Girls, I may be a fangirl.

The River at Night is a crazy adventure thriller, heart pounding, intense with an atmosphere that will chill you to the bone.

If you’re in the mood for a fantastic serial killer thriller you have to read UNSUB. Deadly game of cat and mouse, tight plot and a lead character that you can root for. Book two is out in early 2018 so catch up ASAP!

The Fourth Monkey is another outstanding serial killer thriller, creepy, daring, fearless and in your face, this is not for the faint of heart.

Tomorrow is the last day of my favorite reads of the year post and I’m a little sad but more excited for what 2018 brings! I’ve already read three books that release next year that made it on my best of the year shelf on Goodreads 😂 That’s amazing but I may have to start sharing my favorites in June if things stay this way.

What do you think of my list, have I tempted you? What were your favorite thrillers this year?

Best Debuts of 2017 #Bestof2017

Time for part three of my best books of the year and this time I’m focusing on the most outstanding debuts I read. The books on this list all stunned me in some way and I’m SO excited that several of them are the start of a new series! I’m also going to be sharing my favorite book from my throwback Thursday reads and my favorite audiobook as a little bonus.

If you missed the first two lists and are interested you can find them here, I shared my top psychological thrillers, historical fiction and women’s fiction books.

Debuts

I read Sirens very early last year and guessed it would still be a favorite by years end and I was absolutely right. This is a truly special book, it’s just a stunning read and while I was lucky enough to snag a UK copy, it’s publishing here in the US in February, I urge you to preorder it!

Sometimes I’m an idiot who avoids super hyped up books just for the sake of being stubborn and that’s what happened with The Dry. Thank goodness I came to my senses and read this gem because it was phenomenal. The second book is out early next year and I’m so excited I’m all caught up. If you’ve been holding out like I did I recommend that you hurry and read it before Force of Nature hits the shelves!

Ragdoll opened with a tense prologue and that intensity never let up for a minute, I was engrossed throughout and blown away that this was a debut! Book two is out in 2018 and I believe not until the summer so you have time for this one first.

Good Me Bad Me was a powerful read and one that I still think about to this day. I think it’s one of my longest reviews I’ve ever written so obviously there is much to ponder.

Six Stories was so well done and had an amazingly unique format, I absolutely devoured this one! I just received book two, Hydra and I have no doubt I’ll love it just as much.

Favorite TBT read

How can I not choose Beartown?! If you’ve read this you’ll understand, it’s profound, moving and emotional and so gorgeously written. If you haven’t read it you have to.

Favorite audiobook

I didn’t even review this on here, just Goodreads but that was due to time constraints and nothing to do with how much I loved it! I had listened to Today Will Be Different and while the story was just ok, the narrator was incredible. WYGB had the same amazing narrator, Kathleen Wilhoite and she is SO good, she even made me tear up at one point! If you’re hesitant about audiobooks a good narrator can make all the difference so look Kathleen up and give one of her books a try!

Two more posts left, I’ll be sharing my favorite standalone thrillers one day and then my favorite series the next and then it’ll officially be 2018! 😱😱😱

What do you think of my picks, agree or disagree? Did I miss any debuts that I need to add to Mount TBR?

Best Women’s Fiction & Historical Fiction of 2017

Welcome to part two of my favorite reads of 2017 list! I decided to combine Women’s Fiction and Historical today because as a new reader of HF I only have a few books on that list. Plus, I already have like five of these posts coming up 😳🙈😂

If you missed part one I shared my favorite psychological thrillers! Women’s FictionSweet Tea and Sympathy was sassy, sarcastic and hilarious!

It Happens All the Time was a powerful, timely and moving read.

Moonlight Over Manhattan was a romantic comedy that was absolutely perfect in my eyes!

I loved Slightly South of Simple, it had family drama, humor and a dash of romance. Hurry and read it before the next book in the series is out in the spring!

Christie Barlow is one of my favorite authors, The Cosy Canal Boat Dream was an absolutely delightful read.

Kristan Higgins is the queen of women’s fiction and she released two stellar reads this year, both On Second Thought and Now That You Mention It were amazing!

Historical FictionThe Address was a beautifully written tale told in dual narratives, I was swept away to another time and place.

When We Danced at the End of the Pier was an epic saga, just gorgeous.

The Lost Letter was endlessly fascinating and beautifully told, I loved it.

If forced to pick my favorite book of the year regardless of genre, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo would be a strong contender. I recommend this book to EVERYONE and it’s one of the few I plan on reading again someday.

Phew, that’s quite a list! Have you read any of these, or do you plan to? I would love to hear any of your favorite WF or HF books from this year. Especially HF as I’m such a newbie.

Review: Dark Pines by Will Dean @willrdean @PtBlankBks

Goodreads

Release date: January 4, 2018

Publisher: Point Blank Books

Genre: Mystery/Thriller

Blurb:

An isolated Swedish town. A deaf reporter terrified of nature. A dense spruce forest overdue for harvest. A pair of eyeless hunters found murdered in the woods.

It’s week one of the Swedish elk hunt and the sound of gunfire is everywhere. When Tuva Moodyson investigates the story that could make her career she stumbles on a web of secrets that knit Gavrik town together. Are the latest murders connected to the Medusa killings twenty years ago? Is someone following her? Why take the eyes? Tuva must face her demons and venture deep into the woods to stop the killer and write the story. And then get the hell out of Gavrik.

Review:

Do you need a new book to add to your TBR, one that has not only a chilly atmosphere but also a chilling plot? I’m assuming you’re nodding your head thinking, yes that’s exactly what I’m looking for, because that’s why you’re here, right?! There is nothing better than a reading a book that matches the current season, a beach read in the summer, a horror novel in the fall or a book like Dark Pines in the winter. It had a fantastic combination of a strong and interesting lead character, a creepy setting in the dense forests of Sweden and an strange murder case that left me puzzled.

Tuva is a journalist which is always a nice change of pace in a crime novel, I like the uniqueness of having someone other than a police officer investigating a case. She was really intriguing, she’s deaf and not your typical lead, she’s not overly brave or tough, in fact she’s actually terrified of the woods and the combination of her fear and not being able to hear made for some great, eerie situations. She’s an outsider in her small town having only been living there for two years and the oddball group of locals don’t know what to make of her. These characters were really great, they were all SO weird and had so many off the wall quirks, you never knew quite what would happen with them next and it made it all the more difficult to figure out whodunnit.

This read like a classic murder mystery, a nod to old school style books and I thought the pacing was spot on. The chapters would often end kind of abruptly but oddly enough it worked really well for me. I was totally caught up in this one, it had a quiet ferocity that reminded me of Ragnar Jonasson and fans of his work should definitely give this a try!

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Best Psychological Thrillers of 2017

It’s already that time of year, can you even believe we’re just days away from 2018?! I can’t, and what a year it’s been. Reading wise it’s been another phenomenal year, the talent seems to get raised another notch as the years pass on and like many of you, I’ve been struggling to pick my absolute favorite books from 2017. Instead of doing just one combined list this year I broke them up into categories to best suit me haha. First up is my favorite, psychological thrillers! This is most definitely my most asked for genre when someone wants a recommendation and it also happens to be my favorite sub genre to read, when you stumble upon a well executed PT it makes for an entertaining, fun experience that I just can’t get enough of. All of these books have been published in 2017 and were books I read this year and they’re listed in no particular order.

Slater is one of my go to authors when I’m craving a fast paced, twisty tale and Blink is my favorite of hers so far. It was twisty, dark and had a great premise.

The Memory Watcher was one of the best surprises for me this year, I was hooked instantly by this one and found it fresh and exciting.

Ellison is another favorite of mine and Lie to Me was amazing. It left me reeling and the dual narratives were executed to perfection.

Not only does Exquisite have one of my favorite covers from 2017 what’s inside is just as gorgeous albeit in a more obsessive, sinister way.

The Secrets She Keeps was meticulously plotted and downright addictive, I absolutely loved it!

Never Let You Go was my first Stevens book and I was blown away, it’s chilling, intense and unputdownable.

Special bonus! There’s two books coming in 2018 that have already earned themselves a spot on my best of list for next year that I want to make sure are on your TBR.

The Wife Between Us was so cleverly executed and sharply written, a must read for fans of domestic suspense.

Sometimes I Lie is out in March and I’ll be sharing my review next month, but holy moly was it amazing! I’ll also have three copies up for grabs so watch this space. Actually watch my Instagram 😂

So there you have it, my first of many (😳🙈) upcoming posts for my top reads of 2017! Do you agree with any of my picks? Did I convince you to add any of these to your TBR?

What were your favorite psychological thrillers from this year, I’m always looking for recommendations.

Review: Member of The Family by Dianne Lake and Deborah Herman

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: October 24, 2017

Publisher: William Morrow

Genre: Memoir, True Crime

Blurb:

In this poignant and disturbing memoir of lost innocence, coercion, survival, and healing, Dianne Lake chronicles her years with Charles Manson, revealing for the first time how she became the youngest member of his Family and offering new insights into one of the twentieth century’s most notorious criminals and life as one of his “girls”

At age fourteen Dianne Lake—with little more than a note in her pocket from her hippie parents granting her permission to leave them—became one of “Charlie’s girls,” a devoted acolyte of cult leader Charles Manson. Over the course of two years, the impressionable teenager endured manipulation, psychological control, and physical abuse as the harsh realities and looming darkness of Charles Manson’s true nature revealed itself. From Spahn ranch and the group acid trips, to the Beatles’ White Album and Manson’s dangerous messiah-complex, Dianne tells the riveting story of the group’s descent into madness as she lived it.

Though she never participated in any of the group’s gruesome crimes and was purposely insulated from them, Dianne was arrested with the rest of the Manson Family, and eventually learned enough to join the prosecution’s case against them. With the help of good Samaritans, including the cop who first arrested her and later adopted her, the courageous young woman eventually found redemption and grew up to lead an ordinary life.

While much has been written about Charles Manson, this riveting account from an actual Family member is a chilling portrait that recreates in vivid detail one of the most horrifying and fascinating chapters in modern American history.

Review:

What a harrowing, sad and compelling read this was, Dianne Lake was the youngest member of Charles Manson’s Family and she goes into great detail revealing the three years she spent as a member of one of the most notorious cults in the world. Since she was just a child during her time with Manson this is all the more haunting to know that such a young girl experienced so many horrors at the hands of a deranged and sick individual. Even knowing it’s all true it’s hard to imagine that the events she describes actually happened, at times I forgot I wasn’t reading a fictional tale.

Unlike many books out there about Charles Manson this doesn’t focus solely on the horrific murders but instead is truly Lake’s personal story beginning in her young childhood up until she met Manson and then some bits and pieces about her adult life. As fascinated as I was by the stories she shared about the way The Family lived and obeyed Manson, the psychological aspect really gripped me. This was a teenaged girl who was not only engaging in adult activities such as group sex, drug abuse and an incredibly unstable, transient lifestyle she was also being controlled and manipulated by an older man with awful intentions and also abused her both physically, verbally and emotionally. It was truly sickening and her bravery at sharing the darkest moments of her life was impressive.

If you’re interested at all in what life is like living in a cult this is the book for you, Lake is unflinchingly honest about what she was thinking and feeling during her time in The Family and her memory of events so many years ago is seriously amazing. Since she wasn’t present during the murders they honestly don’t play a huge role in the story, but this is still a very fascinating psychological look at how one can fall prey to the manipulation of a conman.

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: December 26, 2017

Publisher: Harlequin

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Contemporary Romance

Blurb:

One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant and a wild-child sister in jail, unable to raise her daughter–a withdrawn teen as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was–Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family.

But as some relationships crumble around her, others unexpectedly strengthen. Balancing loss and opportunity, a dark event from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.

Review:

There are an extremely limited amount of authors I fangirl over, I mean truly go crazy for and Kristan Higgins is one of them. I’m not kidding when I say I don’t even read the blurb for her novels before I’m desperate to read them, I think they’re THAT good. This is such a cliché thing to say, but her books get better and better and I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite, but I can highly recommend every single one, and yes I’ve read them all. You know how you get people asking for book recommendations and oftentimes you have to think for a minute? When someone says they like Women’s Fiction/Romance I just blurt out, Kristan Higgins, any book you can get your hands on, I’m THAT confident.

Nora was an amazing character, she’s a quirky doctor with a Harry Potter obsession, what’s not to love?! I connected with her on page one about two lines in and that never wavered for one second. Higgins has a knack for writing about messy, flawed women with humor, realism and grace and this was no exception, the characterization was superb. Her lead characters aren’t the only ones that are so well crafted they practically leap from the pages, the secondary ones are just as bright, sparkly and charming. This is set in Maine where my husbands family is from and she nailed their accents, work ethic and mannerisms wickedly perfectly, Mainers are larger than life!

I could gush about this book all of the live long day but I’ll spare you and wrap it up now. I normally only use phrases like unputdownable and page turner when I talking about a thriller, but it’s oddly fitting here as well. Higgins is at the top of her game and if you get through the dinner party scene without laughing hysterically then we’ll never be friends 😜

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.

Review: The Christmas Gate 2 by T. A. Cline @Old_Farmer

Goodreads|Amazon

Release date: November 2017

Genre: Holiday Fiction

Blurb:

“I became paralyzed with fear. Tears started to run down my cheeks as I sat motionless on the bed facing the locked door.”

Patty had slowly opened up to Bob. She thinks she might be falling in love with him. Even so, he has gone back to New York, and she has not heard from him in two weeks. It is another loss for her. First, her mother died when she was young, and then her husband, Matt, was killed in Afghanistan. She has lost all that were close to her. All but her dad and he is her rock. He is the one that gives her strength.

In, The Christmas Gate 2, Patty’s life becomes like a roller coaster, with the ups and the downs. She loses, and then wins, only to lose again. Then Patty is rocked with an emotional bombshell. She tries to gather herself together, then only another heartbreak again.

She resigns herself to wait at the old farm house until Bob returns to her. She unleashes what Bob had uncovered during his earlier stay, and she too is taken on a journey that will bring to the surface the things she has buried deep inside her, things that she has forgotten, things she refuses to confront, and things that could eventually set her free. Patty and Bob’s story continues in, The Christmas Gate 2.

Review:

Last year I had the pleasure of reading The Christmas Gate and found it to be a truly heartwarming and beautiful read. It ended with things sort of up in the air so I was delighted to be able to read the second part this holiday season! This was an amazing ending to a gorgeous story, I loved learning more about Patty, who was introduced in the first part.

Once again I want to point out that this does discuss religion and it does play a significant role in the storyline, I find that it adds warmth, heart and beauty to it but wanted to give a heads up. The meaning behind these books is fantastic, it shows how much more there is to the holiday season than just exchanging gifts and emphasizes the importance of family, friends and faith all in a subtle manner. I read this on Christmas Eve and there’s really no better time to cozy up with this one, it’s short and begs to be read all at once which is exactly what I did!

I also want to wish everyone the merriest Christmas, I hope each and everyone of you has a wonderful, relaxing and joyful day spent with family and friends!

Overall rating: 4/5

Thanks to the author for my review copy.