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Books 2017

Books I read in 2017, organized by category and then alphabetically by author:

< < 2016     2018 > >

Non-Fiction—Memoir, Autobiography, Biography:

Asses & Angels, Gail Black
This autobiography of a woman born in the 40s was a challenging read in many ways due to the subject matter, yet I’m very glad I read it, even though it made me miss my mom.

Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, Allie Brosh
A lot of my reading is done in bed at night before sleeping, but this book wasn’t really suitable for that, what with the way it made me laugh so hard I was shaking and crying and disturbing my husband. I found it super funny, obviously, and also super relatable. Her coping mechanisms and rules for the world aren’t the same as mine, but I recognize the approach on a deep level. This book grew out of a blog, and like many blogs, it jumps from funny to serious, from current events in the author’s life to reminiscences of her childhood; that might cause some to rate it lower for lack of cohesion, but not me. The material on depression is a much a part of the author’s story as the dog tales.

As You Wish: Inconceivable Tales from the Making of The Princess Bride, Cary Elwes and Joe Layden
Reading this was comforting, just like watching the movie.

Looking Back on Schweitzer: The Story of Schweitzer Mountain Resort, Jack Fowler as told to Ross Woodward
I’ve been wanting to read this book since I first heard about it, but it’s out of print and there didn’t seem to be an easy way to get a copy. Then Mr. K met a guy on a lift who had one, and a season later, ran into him again, and that guy had scanned the book and made a PDF, which I what I read. It was so great to learn about the early days of the place where we now live, to see places mentioned that still exist and some that are long gone. Our condo is mentioned in the book, which gave me a little thrill.

Tears of the Silenced, Misty Griffin
The author and her sister suffered horrific abuse as children. I commend her for finding her way out. I wish she’d had a better editor for this book to make the telling even more powerful.

Restless: Memoir of an Incurable Traveler, Heather Hackett
A view into travel before the internet was everywhere. I appreciated that the author is honest about challenges she faced and consequences of decisions she made. I was confused by the jumping around in time during the second part of the book. I would have loved to hear more about how things went when she and her partner got back home.

I Can Start Broken, Francis Morley
I appreciate the author’s positive attitude. I didn’t appreciate the way this book turned into a religious tract. Rather than finding that inspirational, I found it to be the opposite.

Dear Bob and Sue, Matt Smith and Karen Smith The format is a bit cutesy, but the quest is interesting, and I got some ideas about places I might want to visit. It’s a lot about the couple’s relationship, approach to following rules (or not following them), and opinions about others’ behavior, and they don’t always come off as sympathetic characters

Chickens, Mules, and Two Old Fools, Victoria Tweed
I liked this better than the last “British couple moves to Spain” book I read, but not sure I’ll continue with the series.

A Beautiful Work in Progress, Mirna Valeria
As a fat girl myself and one who used to run, though not the long distances the author does, there were parts of this I could relate to. I found the timeline confusing, though, almost as if the chapters were written independently of each other and not edited to make a cohesive whole.


Selling Sex in the Silver Valley, Heather Branstetter (P)
Interesting, well-researched book covering a part of North Idaho history I knew nothing about. Only a few spots where if I’d been the editor, I would have suggested changes (and picky as I am, that’s saying something).

The Age of Daredevils, Michael Clarkson
It took me almost forever to finish this, as I never really got engaged by it and kept putting it aside. With “daredevils” in the title and the Niagara Falls setting, I expected much more excitement in the pages. There was some, sure, but the way those events were written about and the long interludes of family history unrelated to the Falls that came between them made the whole thing go flat for me.

Climb to Conquer, Peter Shelton (P)
There are some interesting parts to this unit’s story and the stories of what some of their number did after the war, but they’re buried here among unnecessary details and description.

Non-Fiction—Everything Else:

Sway: The Irresistible Pull of Irrational Behavior, Ori Brafman and Rom Brafman (P)
I had to check Goodreads to make sure I hadn’t already read this, so familiar did it seem. I can only guess that I skimmed whole sections of it at Mom’s house at one point. The examples were interesting, though I’m not sure I learned any great techniques for avoiding the sway.

Crafty Girls Talk, Jennifer Forest
I didn’t recognize any of the women interviewed (I think they’re mostly in Australia), and there weren’t enough pictures of their crafts to draw me in. Had to take breaks and read other things as the stories got repetitive.

Inner Skiing, Timothy Gallway and Bob Kreigel (P)
Picked this up from a Little Free Library and got way more good information than I expected. Time will tell if it helps my skiing, but it’s already helped me understand why I never quite connected with doing positive affirmations.

Meditation for Beginners, Emily Hoskins
If you’ve never heard of meditation before and don’t mind poor editing, this is the book for you. It was not the book for me, with gems like “Meditation is not something that you should never give up on.”

Habit Stacking for Cleaning and Organizing, B.J. Knights
This is not a good book, so I’m glad to see it seems to have disappeared from Amazon (link above is to Goodreads). This is one of those books that appears to have been written quickly as part of a “let’s see if I can get some money off suckers at Amazon” effort and sort of reads like a high school research paper from a C student. There really isn’t much information on habit stacking, and the last few chapters read like they’re from another hastily written book about minimalism. I’m glad I got this one for free.

Fiction—Paranormal, Romance, Erotica:

Curran POV Collection, Gordon Andrews
Stumbled across the link to this on Goodreads and so glad I did. I loved the different perspective on scenes I’d already read from another character’s viewpoint.

Magic Burns, Ilona Andrews
The hunch I had after I read the first one seems to be playing out the way I thought, but there were some other surprises in this installment. There’s still a lot more gore than I’d like, but thus goes urban fantasy I suppose.

Magic Bites, Ilona Andrews
This was on my to-read list for so long. It’s good, though more gory than my personal taste. I will probably read more in the series to see if my hunch about what’s going to happen with one of the major characters pans out.

Magic Mourns, Ilona Andrews (RR)
Read this originally as part of a collection, but at the time I didn’t have the background I do now from reading full length novels in the same world.

Magic Strikes, Ilona Andrews
Other series would have rushed the pairing that seems to be going to happen here but with this, it’s three books in and still unfolding.

Magic Bleeds, Ilona Andrews
This installment somehow seemed less grim than earlier ones, despite the continued violence and death and such.

Magic Slays, Ilona Andrews
Feels like a transitional book in the series, which is fine; I still enjoyed reading it.

Magic Rises, Ilona Andrews
This one made me cry at certain points. I questioned some plot points, sure, but it still got to me, and moved the main relationship forward.

Magic Breaks, Ilona Andrews
The previous six books have been leading up to something that happened in this one, and it was less than I hoped for.

Hoofin’ It, R.J. Blain (BC)
I was surprised by how fun this was to read what with all the violence. I guess it helped that it was set in a fantastical world.

Tangled, Phoenix C. Brown
On the plus side, despite it being short, it’s a complete story, with a real resolution. On the minus, there is so much plot and drama and action packed in here that there’s no time for much character development or explanations of the sometimes over the top plot points. Couple those drawbacks with a female/female relationship being described as a “lifestyle” and some editing errors and I was left unsatisfied.

Inked, Karen Chance, Marjorie M. Liu, Yasmine Galenorn, and Eileen Wilks
Four paranormal stories here, all of them solid, and all tied into the theme of the collection. I connected the least with Galenorn’s story. Liu’s surprised me the most as the plot turns on a device I often find problematic, but here it worked for me.

Pinch Me, Tymber Dalton
Amnesia as a plot device is not my favorite thing; still, it was very nice to revisit a favorite series with these new characters.

Legally Yours, Nicole French
You know what’s worse than a short novel that ends in a cliffhanger? A long novel that ends in a cliffhanger.

If You Were Mine, Melanie Harlow
I liked the premise. I liked that it was set in metro Detroit and no one got shot. I got tired of the push/pull between the two main characters.

With a Twist, Staci Hart
I liked the ballet parts the best. The romance was too slow to start for my taste.

Possession, Jessica Hawkins
A combination of 50 Shades of Grey and Indecent Proposal, with maybe a hint of Pretty Woman thrown in, too. I wasn’t able to put aside my disbelief and enjoy this, and wasn’t drawn in enough to want to read the next book in the series.

Christmas Lights: A Collection of Inspiring Christmas Novellas, Vikki Kestell, April Hayman, Cathe Swanson, and Chautona Havig
Due to the length of this collection, I finished it after Christmas, which is okay. It’s disappeared off of Amazon now, which is odd. There was some good variety in these tales; not all were heavy handed with the religious aspect.

Frigid, J. Lynn and Jennifer L. Armentrout
You know what I’d like in a romantic thriller set at a ski resort? Some skiing. But no, I got one night at a lodge and then a comically dramatic saboteur.

Boundary Born, Melissa F. Olson
Still love this series. Flirts with Mary Sue-ness but stays on the right side of that line for me. I’m sad there aren’t any more but hope I’ll like the author’s other series as well.

Dead Spots, Melissa F. Olson
I really enjoyed the other series I read from this author so picked up this first book in her earlier series to try. I didn’t like this one as well, though I probably will continue the series to see how it develops.

Trail of Dead, Melissa F. Olson
I’m still not liking this series as well as the first one I read from the author. Will keep reading, though, as I’m curious how things will pan out for the main character.

Hunters’s Trail, Melissa F. Olson
Not sure if this was a better book than the previous or I was just in a better frame of mind for it, but liked this best of the three. Was definitely surprised by a couple turns the story took, which is always a good thing.

Truth or Beard, Penny Reid
I liked this enough to finish it, though I wish the consent and ex-girlfriend issues had been dealt with differently.

One More Time, Amelia Stone
The First Time, Amelia Stone
Moments in Time, Amelia Stone
I read this whole three-book (so far) series back to back. They’re all quick, comfy reads with enough heat to keep things interesting. There is some conflict and angst at time, sure; fortunately it’s of the “this could happen in real life” variety and not the “oh my these characters are being so unrealistically dumb” variety. I appreciate that not all the heroines are tall and slim and lovely and porcelain pale. I also appreciate that the writing style and editing rarely interrupt the flow of my reading, which often happens when I pick up short romances. The third installment is a series of vignettes with characters from the previous books; it’s like hanging out with old friends, in a good way.

Time After Time, Amelia Stone
A quick mostly fun read that fits like a puzzle piece into the other books in the series (which I may have to re-read now that I have this section of the big picture). I appreciated that the sexy times didn’t skip over consent and contraception.

Desire, Amelia Stone
My favorite of this author’s books I’ve read so far. There’s a lot to like here, including the way she acknowledges overdone romance tropes while still using them effectively and a little dose of science about eye color to geek out on. As is almost always the case for me and my overactive brain, I had a few quibbles with things, like the over the top blind date who is mercifully not around long, and an engineer who says it’s hard to find music to listen to in his car because it’s old and has a cassette player—surely this smart dude could have discovered the existence of cassette adapters (we have one for our old truck). But all my quibbles were minor and didn’t take me out of the story for long.

Fiction—Everything Else:

Fate of Perfection, K. F. Breene
Set in a dystopian future that doesn’t seem that far fetched at this point in U.S. history, so not as escapist as I was hoping for. This clearly sets up the next book but didn’t feel unfinished.

The Marvelous Misadventures of Ingrid Winter, J. S. Drangsholt, translated by Tara F. Chace
This made me anxious almost the whole way through. Perhaps it was meant to. A quick read, maybe because I wanted to get done and stop feeling anxious.

Palm Trees in the Snow ,Luz Gabás, translated by Noel Hughes
I had a hard time paying attention to this one, kept mixing up the characters, kept losing interest in the mystery.

A Small Revolution, Jimin Han
I don’t know what to say about this one. I think it’s well written but I didn’t like reading it. Too much tension for me and an ending that left me sad and unsatisfied.

A Beautiful Poison, Lydia Kang
This historical murder mystery was engaging and seemed to be well researched, and succeeded in the neat trick of keeping me interested even though none of the characters were entirely sympathetic.

The Shelf Life of Happiness, David Machado translated by Hillary Locke
This has some similarities with A Small Revolution, with the narrator addressing a person who is not there and the overall dark tone. Ending was not what I was hoping for.

The Unremembered Girl, Eliza Maxwell
The characters and situations in this one stuck with me between reading sessions. There were some twists I definitely did not see coming.

The Great Passage, Shion Miura, translated by Juliet Winters Carpenter
A sweet, quiet book; even when there is drama and sadness, it feels restrained. I feel like I’d have enjoyed it more if I knew Japanese, but there was a lot to appreciate here even though I am pretty much monolingual.

The Strange Year of Vanessa M., Filipa Foncesa Silva, translated by Mark Ayton

Strange? I’m not so sure about that, but my standards may not be typical. The ending was too pat for me.

The Rescue Team, Billi Tiner
Not sure how I got this kids’ book on my Kindle. It was fine. There are some tense situations that didn’t feel tense for the most part. I did get a bit weepy at one point, because I am a big softy when it comes to animals.

Code Name Verity, Elizabeth E. Wein
This is young adult fiction that doesn’t read like it’s for young adults. Sadder than I expected, of the weeping at the breakfast table over my Kindle variety, though why I thought a novel set in World War II would not be, I’m not sure.

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