52 Books in 52 Weeks for 2019
Can you keep up with Chris's reading? Do you find your reading tastes align with hers? Take a look at her 2019 list, and see her previous lists here:
Week 1 Promise Not to Tell by Jennifer McMahon
I've become a fan of Jennifer McMahon, however, this was definitely not my favorite. If you like creepy, macabre, edge of your seat stories this author is a great one to follow.
Week 2 The Leavers by Lisa Ko
I really wanted to love this book but with my expectations comparing it to The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and Songs of Willow Frost (in other words Jamie Ford books) before I'd even started it, it should probably be no surprise that it fell a little flat for me. I did like the book, I did enjoy it and it definitely was not a waste of my precious reading time. I would even venture to say that I will watch for more by this author but a four-star read? Not quite.
Week 3 Joshua's Mission by Vanetta Chapman
I loved this story but then I'm an Amish fiction freak. This is the second in the Plain and Simple Miracles series and I liked it far better than the first. This story line is far more believable and appealing to me. When two cultures collide anything can happen and nothing short of a miracle will bring peace to all involved.
Week 4 To Be Where You Are by Jan Karon
As much as I have loved this series and have been charmed by the many inhabitants of Mitford I was quite disappointed with #14. The story was just too "all over the place" and rambled on and on. I had been of the impression that #13 was the final book in the series and frankly, I think it should have been.
Week 5 I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi
I very much enjoyed this book and am hopeful that this debut author will write more. This is a beautiful story about love and loss and moving beyond grief. When a young girl loses her mother it will affect the rest of her life. Can she turn her grief and anger into a positive life or let it destroy her?
Week 6 Last Wool and Testament by Molly MacRae
This book made absolutely no sense to me. While this is not a new series it was new to me so I was a little excited to find a new "cozy" author but alas...I will not be reading anymore of these.
Week 7 Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber
I'm a little surprised by all of the rave reviews on this book. I enjoyed and related to the characters well enough but I found it to be very predictable. I'm not a huge romance reader so it's not often anymore that I read Debbie Macomber books and I very much struggled with giving it 2 or 3 stars. However, because I did somewhat enjoy the story and it was a fairly quick read I opted for 3 stars.
Week 8 Kiss Mommy Goodbye by Joy Fielding
Joy Fielding is such a popular author with so many books following this one (her first) that I really wanted to give her a try. Maybe her books just get better and better but I don’t know that I will read anymore beyond this one. As much as I tried to sympathize with the “done wrong” character, frankly I couldn’t like either main character.
Week 9 Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
This book was a huge disappointment to me. The story was jumbled and all over the place so it was too hard to follow. There were just too many characters to keep track of and the lack of suspense made this a disappointing read. I wasn't expecting another The Girl on the Train but really? I lost all patience with the book waiting for it to "get good". It simply never happened.
Week 10 A Case of Imagination by Jane Tesh
Being an avid cozy mystery fan I’m always happy to find “new to me” authors and series. While I found these characters quaint and quirky, for me this first in the series was simply okay. I probably won’t, however, continue with this series.
Week 11 When the English Fall by David Williams
Wow, comments and ratings for this book are all over the place! I'm going to give it three stars because I really did like the story, the premise of the book and it did keep me interested. When the end of time as we know it comes, can even the Amish survive living off of the land? However, I feel as if there was so much more that could've been done with the story-line. It is very rare that I read anything categorized as science fiction but I truly did enjoy this book.
Week 12 Haunted by James Patterson
While I’ve somewhat tired of Patterson’s stand-alones and other series, this, the 10th in the Michael Bennet series was one of my favorites and I’ve yet to tire of it. I’m anxious to see what’s in store for the Bennet family.
Week 13 The Dry by Jane Harper
Regardless of the rave reviews this book was simply not my cup of tea. I was bored to tears :(
Week 14 The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
I LOVED this story! Being a historical fiction/action/suspense freak, this book was right up my alley! WW I and II are the eras that I enjoy the most. I loved the characters and cheered for them, cried for them, and sat on pins and needles for them. Fabulous! I gave it one of my rare 5 stars.
Week 15 If the Creek Don't Rise by Leah Weiss
I will definitely recommend this book! I had a little trouble with the “mountain folk” Appalachian lingo at first but quickly got sucked into the story. This is a debut author that I expect we will see more from. Actually, I hope there’s a sequel in the works! Another 5 star read for me!
Week 16 Hearse and Buggy by Laura Bradford
This is a new series and author for me and I loved it. I'm a fan of cozies/mysteries/Amish fiction so “An Amish Mystery” series is definitely right up my alley and I'm so looking forward to reading more. There are times when I try a new series and something in the story falls short for me. Sometimes it's the setting or the characters or the unexplainable but everything about this little Amish community is absolutely charming.
Week 17 Hardcore Twenty-Four by Janet Evanovich
Still enjoyable characters but I think I've just tired of this series. They've become pretty predictable for me. Only a 3 star from this reader.
Week 18 Olivia Twisted by Vivi Barnes
I don't often take the time to read young adult fiction simply because my reading list is so long, however, I'm glad I did take the time to read this one. Very, very enjoyable. With a modern day spin on Charles Dickens' classic Oliver Twist (who doesn't love the classics?) I was sucked into the story from the first page. Instead of orphans who steal and pickpocket to survive, the alone and unwanteds fall into the world of cyber theft, stealing only from the wealthy to survive. Twisty (no pun intended) suspense makes for page turning reading.
Week 19 Murder, Plainly Read by Isabella Alan (a.k.a Amanda Flower)
Combine Amish fiction, a mystery and a little bit of romance and I am hooked! A fabulous series as always by this author. I love the charming characters and the quaint little town of Rolling Brook. I truly hope there are more to come in this series.
Week 20 Assaulted Caramel by Amanda Flower
Amanda Flower has become one of my favorite cozy mystery authors PLUS she's a librarian so better yet! I was happy to see yet another new series from Amanda, however, as charming and quaint as the town and characters are, I think the whole "big city girl moves to small town and falls for the town sheriff" is being WAY overused. Either that or I'm just reading too many cozies.
Week 21 Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
I enjoyed this book very much. Definitely a lot of family drama. Life inside of a family is not always what it appears to be. Not quite a 5 star read but almost.
Week 22 Down a Dark Road by Linda Castillo
Number 9 in the Kate Burkholder series. Not for the faint of heart...these are not gentle cozy mysteries. The subject matter is usually dark and disturbing, as murder usually is but these are always good reads. Twisty and suspenseful with characters the reader comes to admire.
Week 23 A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline
This is a fictitious story written around a real live person from the past. I was not familiar with the artwork of Andrew Wyeth before reading this book and frankly, the picture in question I find pretty creepy but...all in all I did very much enjoy this story. I must say I did not like the main character, Christina, AT ALL. But there again, she had more reason than many to feel sorry for herself.
Week 24 My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry by Fredrick Backman
After reading other titles by this author I had high hopes for this book but it fell flat for me. I almost had to MAKE myself sit down and read it. It wasn't horrible but...I only gave it two stars.
Week 25 Wonder by R.J. Palacio
FABULOUS! Another young adult book that I added to my reading list some time ago but just got around to reading. I am SO glad that I did! I wanted to actually read it before I watched the movie. Hopefully the movie is just as amazing. Love, kindness and courage are the inspiration behind this heartwarming story. 5 AMAZING STARS!
Week 26 Murder & Mayhem in Scott County, Iowa by John Brassard, Jr
The author is more of an historian than a writer; however, growing up on a farm in the area and frequenting these small towns I found this book very enjoyable and I learned a lot of things I didn't know about Scott County. I passed this one on to my 89 year old mother as I thought she might recognize many of these old family names from the area. She LOVED this book. She absolutely cackled at some of the stupid criminal shenanigans.
Week 27 The Black Book by James Patterson
I've become NOT A FAN of Patterson's stand-alone's written with a co-author although I am still definitely a fan of his series. This story, in my opinion, was simply okay.
Week 28 Two Girls Down by Louisa Luna
When two young sisters go missing from the mall parking lot their devastated mother hires Alice Vega, female bounty hunter to search for her daughters. This was my first book by this author and I really, REALLY liked it. Entertaining, edge of your seat suspense that kept me turning the pages. I definitely hope Louisa Luna has a series in mind for this character.
Week 29 Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell
I don’t often give out five stars but this book definitely deserves it. Bizarre, intriguing and I LOVED IT! I will definitely be recommending this to my reader’s advisory groupies.
Week 30 Force of Nature by Jane Harper
As you might recall, previously on my list I reviewed The Dry by this same author and I wasn’t fond of book number one in this series. But, at the suggestion of a friend I gave book two a try. I did like it better than the first one but it was a definite slow starter for me. Actually until the last half of the book I wasn’t sure I was going to make it through. The author did however redeem herself enough for me to possibly give her another try.
Week 31 Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney
OH MY GOODNESS!!! If you love suspense and twisty, turny, can't believe that just happened books, drop what you're reading and pick this one up. You will read it in one sitting if you’re able. My only negative comment is that after the intensity of the story the ending fell a little flat. Hence the four instead of five stars. I will for sure be adding Alice Feeney to my list of authors I have to read.
Week 32 You Don't Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
This book was dark, depressing and, frankly, huge portions of it made no sense to me whatsoever. It's like the author just wanted to fill pages with useless drivel. However, the majority of the reviews for this title are 4 or 5 stars so you may want to pick it up and decide for yourself. It is at least a quick read.
Week 33 Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder by Caroline Fraser
While I can attribute Laura Ingalls Wilder to making me the voracious reader that I am today I cannot honestly say I enjoyed this book. I found it very tedious and hard to get through. It is extremely well researched and written, however, I think I will stick with my fond childhood memories of the Little House books and leave the reality of it to the less whimsical.
Week 34 The Girls of Ennismomre by Patricia Falvey
Think Downton Abbey meets A Woman of Substance by Barbara Taylor Bradford of which I love both! I adore historical fiction and the Ireland setting just adds to the things I love to read. I'm so glad that I chose to LISTEN to this title as the narrator has a distinctive Irish brogue that only adds authenticity to the story. Very enjoyable.
Week 35 End Game by David Baldacci
I think I've just tired of this series and the characters. No man, not even Will Robie, can possibly be that indestructible or machine-like to make the story be even remotely believable. I think it might be time to retire this series. But if you’re into spies and espionage this would be a great series to try.
Week 36 Flowers and Foul Play by Amanda Flower
Bravo on another cozy mystery series. This is definitely not my favorite of this author's series but still an enjoyable and entertaining read. I will absolutely be waiting for the next one. My only criticism AGAIN is that the "big city girl moves to small town and falls for the town sheriff" is starting to be WAY overused by cozy writers.
Week 37 Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh
I love this author's books! Edgy, suspenseful, twisty/turny. For those who like a little scary suspense I highly recommend ANYTHING by Clare Mackintosh.
Week 38 Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
For historical fiction fans this book is a must-read. I tend to gravitate to WWII era books as this one is, however, no matter how many books from this time frame that you've read, this one is very different and will keep you swept up in the story. Kristin Hannah has always been a favorite author of mine and no matter how many new or old authors I read she remains so. This was a 5 star read for me!
Week 39 The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah
As always Kristin Hannah kept me mesmerized with her story telling. Her ability to bring characters to life to a point that we hate to see them go is such a talent and a gift. We love and hate to finally turn to that last page. I highly recommend this book and will definitely be making recommendations to my library patrons. Another 5 star read.
Week 40 The Wife by Alafair Burke
Holy Cow! If you like suspense/thriller whodunits you have to add this to your "want to read" list. I have been a big fan of Alafair Burke for years and she just never disappoints. From the first page to the very last this story is an attention grabber.
Week 41 Girls Burn Brighter by Shobha Rao
I absolutely loved this book until I reached the ending which frankly I HATED. I loved the story, the characters, and I loved the fact that I didn't want to put this one down. AND THEN THE ENDING...was such a huge letdown for me. Up to that point this was a 5 star read. If you like geographical fiction such as The Kite Runner, this story is about two young girls in India who become fast friends and what they go through just to survive. Even with the disappointing ending I give it 4 stars.
Week 42 Books Can Be Deceiving by Jen McKinlay
Another “new to me” cozy mystery series and I must say I was a little excited to give it a try since I work in a library, love books AND mysteries, however, it was a bit TOO typical for me. I will say I did like it enough to give book 2 a try. The characters are charming and there's even an old school curmudgeonly librarian not so lovingly referred to as "The Lemon". All in all an enjoyable read.
Week 43 The Silent Corner by Dean Koontz
There were parts of this book that were intense enough to keep me engrossed in the story but there were also parts that I felt my eyes glazing over and wishing the author would just get on with it. It was an okay read for me but not enough so that I care to read on with the series.
Week 44 Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
While the main characters in this story are fictional, the premise of the story is written about some true events and people. Through the telling of this story, Lisa Wingate digs more deeply into the real-life history of baby farms and orphanages. She sheds light on the despicable real life actions of Georgia Tann, a woman that ran a black market child trafficking ring masked as a legitimate adoption agency for decades in Tennessee. She catered to the rich and famous, providing largely blond-haired and light-eyed children to those that could afford to pay her an outrageous price. There are also many newspaper and magazine articles about the scandal and about the reunions of birth families years later. This is one of those stories that sticks in your mind for many years. I gave this one 5 stars!
Week 45 The Next Girl by Carla Kovach
LOVED, LOVED, LOVED....suspense/thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat and reading into the wee hours of the morning because you HAVE to know the end! The first book in a debut series and I'm already wishing the next in this 3 book series (Her Final Hour) were available now.
Week 46 I Was Anastasia by Ariel Lawhon
I had a lot of trouble following along with this story and often found myself completely zoning out from what I was reading...and then rereading. Generally a huge fan of historical fiction I was more than somewhat disappointed in this book.
Week 47 The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena
A compelling page-turner for sure and definitely an entertaining read. BUT...there always seems to be a but...the story line was a bit too convoluted. With that said, I would and I will absolutely recommend this book to my patrons and followers. Kudos to Shari Lapena for a triumphant debut novel!
Week 48 Her Last Word by Mary Burton
I always enjoy an edge-of-your-seat suspense and this one did not disappoint. I found the romance part of the story a little bit annoying but all in all a very enjoyable read. I'm certain I will read more titles by this author.
Week 49 Every Note Played by Lisa Genova
Let me start by saying that this author writes absolutely beautifully. With that said...if you’re looking for a fun, lighthearted read...DO NOT PICK UP THIS BOOK. It is sad, it is graphic and oftentimes disturbing as is the disease ALS for which the main narrator is suffering. If there is ever a book that a caregiver or family member of an ALS patient should read, this is it. Graphic and startling detail of the decline of one's own body and the thoughts and fears that go through their mind makes this story so real and sooooo heartbreaking. I'd say this is one of those rare books that is wonderful and horrible all at the same time.
Week 50 The Flight Attendant by Chris Bohjalian
I'm not exactly sure how I feel about this book. On one hand there were portions that were definitely page turners but I really didn't like the main character much. The ending also fell pretty flat for me so regardless of the suspenseful build-up at the end I was left feeling disappointed and actually a little annoyed.
Week 51 The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg
5 BIG stars. I loved this story. Absolutely charming characters. I was sorry to see it end.
Week 52 Only Child by Rhiannon Navin
I loved this book. Unfortunately, in this day and age, the story combines fact with fiction. The narrator, 6 year-old Zach, begins his story with hiding in a closet at school with his teacher and classmates while a gunman is on a rampage in the hallway just a short distance away. The aftermath leads Zach and his family on a heartbreaking journey through loss, grief, anger and eventually healing. FABULOUS debut novel!