So ends December and 2017! It was not an easy year. Initially, books didn’t even help but eventually reading became my escape again (to the tune of 183 books read). 2017 ended strong with November providing me with some of my favorite books of all time. December was a bit more hit or miss, with what I read below. You can check out my favorites for the year here and here.
Friend Request by Laura Marshall
Published by Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: September 5th 2017
Friend Request: Tepid thriller about a woman who still carries the guilt for a friend’s death in high school, based on a bullying prank played on the friend at prom. Novel opens with said dead friend sending her a Facebook friend request—enough to send her spiraling into intense paranoia and more guilt. Events culminate at high school reunion. Meh.
A Great Reckoning (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #12) by Louise Penny
Published by Minotaur Books
Publication date: August 30th 2016
A Great Reckoning: Another of the Chief Inspector Gamache mysteries from Louise Penny. Normally, I’d love to read them in order, but apparently everyone in Seattle is in love with them so I’m on hold lists and grabbing the odd copy I can when I find it at my library branch. This one involves a murder at the police cadet school where Gamache has become the commander. Foes from previous novels are brought together and the list of suspects keeps expanding. Suffice it to say, I am falling in love with this author for providing me with extraordinarily satisfying reading when new releases have left me so blah.How the Light Gets In (Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, #9) by Louise Penny
Published by Minotaur Books
Publication date: August 27th 2013
How the Light Gets In: Yes, it’s Chief Inspector Gamache again. This is book 9 in the series, the follow-up to The Beautiful Mystery. I’m sorry, but Penny’s writing is so sure that these mysteries are all I want to read. Even as the tiny town of Three Pines is becoming too-good-to-be-true, the complicated lives of Gamache, Beauvoir and the town’s residents are still complicated and interesting enough to keep me reading. In this one, Gamache and Beauvoir no longer work together and the subject is corruption—how far and deep does it go in Quebec?
The Brutal Telling: I promise this is the last Chief Inspector Gamache book for December mostly because it is the first one where one of the central cast is highly involved and reading them out of order spoiled that a bit. Beyond that, it was one of my least favorite.
Enchantress of Numbers: My review
Heart Spring Mountain by Robin MacArthur
Published by Ecco
Publication date: January 9th 2018
Heart Spring Mountain: I’m going to chalk this one up to a poor choice on my part. While I wish I had a secret formula for picking the right book at the right time, I don’t. If you do, then please tell me how you do it. Why did I choose this novel? Simple—location: Vermont, where my family is from; theme: frayed mother-daughter relationship/redemption/family secrets, and premise: mother disappears in a storm, daughter returns to try and find her. On the surface it ticked a lot of boxes for me, but once I started reading it was too fractured and I didn’t love the writing enough to stick with it.
Sometimes when I DNF a book I’ll be snarky about it, as evidenced by my Festivus post, but in this case I actually feel bad. Debut author Robin MacArthur has potential, but this novel simply has too many characters and timelines. When I’m 50% through and I’m not even sure who is related to who and why it matters, it’s a problem. That, plus a love of colons. Not the intestinal kind but the punctuation kind. One in almost every paragraph: not good.
Sleeping Beauties: Stephen King’s latest, written with his son, Owen. If you didn’t know where King stands on what’s happening in America and gender inequality, this novel will make it clear. My review to follow
This Could Hurt: Review to follow
The Party by Elizabeth Day
Publication date: August 15th 2017
Ben and Martin have been friends since they were teens. Ben is the golden boy—wealthy, fun, lots of friends while Martin is the poor, shy boy who ultimately ends up being overly attached to Ben. Decades later, both men are married and Martin is relatively successful while Ben continues to shine. When Ben decides to throw a massive bash to celebrate his 40th birthday it provides the backdrop for things going very wrong, the past reasserting itself, and old debts coming due. Nothing is as it seems. A solid but not particularly surprising thriller.
Well, that’s it for 2017! I’ll be back after the new year, ready to share the winter release books I’m looking forward to in 2018. Have a safe and happy New Year’s everyone!