This is a Good Book Thursday: Here comes 2018!

Well, 2017 sucked, but at least we had good books.  And good stuff might be coming our way in 2018.  If nothing else, we live in interesting times.

So here’s a good end of the year question: What was the best book you read this year?  Oh, and what are you reading now?

40 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday: Here comes 2018!

  1. Sometime this year, I had read Tessa Dare’s Romancing the Duke. I re-read it last night. So many things I didn’t see first time around but so funny!

    I read Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning for the first time this year. That goes down as my best for the year, closely followed by Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime.

    In romance Alyssa Cole’s Let Us Dream and Kit Rocha’s Beyond series were excellent.

    Next year I plan to read lots and lots of academic stuff. I’m on track for a really good pass. But I’m going into new year with e-book Sherlock Holmes Ultimate Collection. Finally going to read them ALL. Whoop whoop.

  2. Can’t reduce it to one. Best new author was Becky Chambers. Best titles by favourite authors were ‘Sceptered Isle’ by K. J. Charles and ‘A Duke in Shining Armor’ by Loretta Chase. Favourite non-fiction was ‘Grow for Flavour’ by James Wong.

    I’ve just finished my Christmas story marathon with two really good novellas, which I think are free on Kindle: ‘A Kiss for Midwinter’ by Courtney Milan and ‘A Christmas Gone Perfectly Wrong’ by Cecilia Grant (both historical romance).

  3. The Hate U Give

    Now reading Girl Made of Stars, about a teen whose twin has been accused of rape by one of her best friends. Drop date May 15th.

  4. I read a lot of good books this year, but one that pops into my mind as “really glad I read it” was BAN THIS BOOK by Alan Gratz.

    Currently reading “Wonder Woman: Warbringer,” by Leigh Bardugo, and liking it.

  5. Not a single best book, but I found Nalini Singh this year, and that was excellent. Then there was Rituals, the conclusion of Armstrong’s Cainsville series, which was great.

    Right now I’m a little over half way through Amanda Bouchet’s A Promise of Fire, the first book in the Kingmaker Chronicles. It’s high fantasy, which normally would have kept me away from it, but I was reassured by the fact that Half Price Books shelved it with romances and Smart Bitches, Trashy Books gave it a great review. Cat has the power to tell when people are lying and hear the truth when they do it, which makes her valuable to the royals, who will torture her for information. So she’s hiding in a circus until a warlord finds her out. The world building is tied to Greek mythology, and the familiar elements of that make it a bit easier to grasp than if I had to start from scratch. Also, Bouchet is pretty good about providing information and explanations because a character is asking, so the info dump doesn’t feel like high school required reading; it’s actually important dialogue. The romance is a big part of the story, but it really is a fantasy novel, too. There’s a lot of magic and politics, which also really works for me so far. I’m impressed. I’m much more of an urban fantasy person, so that says something.

    I read Loretta Chase’s Duke in Shining Armor last week, and it was delightful. She is still incredibly funny. I really want to know what happens next with the hero’s Aunt Julia and her ex, which Chase will hopefully tell me in the next book about the ex’s nephew.

    I also finally read Heyer’s A Blunt Instrument this week. It was really good; Neville and Sally were such fun. I was a little proud of myself for figuring out who did it, but since I eliminated some suspects based on how Heyer tends to do romantic subplots, I wasn’t using only the clues. No Wind of Blame is next on my list after I finish my current book.

    1. A Promise of Fire didn’t quite gel for me. It was good and kept my attention. I finished it, but didn’t feel the urge to read the second one.

      It reminded me of a lot of good YA fantasy, but just quite not as polished.

  6. Best book I’ve read this past year for sheer impact has definitely been Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime. Although I actually listened to the audiobook, which he did a wonderful job narrating, and I think hearing it in his voice made a lot of his story hit even harder.

    I’ve been on a goofy horror novel streak during the past few weeks of dealing with high doggy health drama so have been gobbling up Hunter Shea’s work. He’s written a bunch of novels & novellas focused on various cryptids and urban legends. A lot of them are 10 Little Indian/thriller-ish in structure, but they’re all over the top in being scary while also ridiculous, so quite diverting, which is what I’ve needed.

    I have a new Bryant & May waiting on my Kindle when my brain settles enough to pay attention to it. Keep hearing about Romancing the Duke, but can’t remember if I’ve read it or not, which means I can re-read and enjoy it again if I already have.

    Again, thanks so much to all of you for all the book recommendations!

    1. Non-fiction isn’t really my thing, but I keep hearing about Born A Crime, and I like Trevor Noah. May put that on the library list. Thanks for reminding me of it 🙂

  7. Just finished Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance (listened not read. Pretty much you can count on me listening instead of reading – unless something I really want isn’t on audible/recorded etc.) That is a comfort read and a half. Really liked it for pure escapism and humor.

    Am now reading St Nick by Alan Russel not far enough in to know if it’s good or not. I’m reserving judgment.

    I wish I could recall all the books I’ve read this year. Then I might have valuable input, but I’m lucky I remember my name!

  8. I am a bit of a mess with the coming of the new year. But I did find Tell Me Lies on audiobook at one of my local libraries. Yay!

    And someone gave me Simple Matters by Erin Boyle, which is a book about simplifying your possessions. I really like The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up, so we will see how I fare with this. Maybe it will help with my mental and actual mess…

  9. The YA comparison makes sense to me. The only thing about it that’s really bothering me right now is that there are far too many exclamation points. But it’s fun right now, so I’ll probably read the second book.

  10. Not sure I can pick just one. Fave new to me authors Becky Chambers and Jodi Taylor. I definitely picked up One Damn Thing After Another thanks to a rec here, so thanks Argh folks. Also enjoyed The Dry (and its sequel) by Jane Harper (and I’m a sporadic crime reader) and Resurrection Bay (and its sequel) by Emma Viskic. Oh, and Murderbot 😀 Have read quite a few books recommended here this year which in a year that has involved enforced rest due to injuries and some stress and sadness due to life stuff has been great. My fave audiobooks of the year were The Goblin Emperor (which I’ve listened to multiple times) and

    Just finished reading Saga Land by Richard Fidler and Kari Gislason which is about Iceland and the sagas and the guy who wrote a lot of the sagas and family and friendship and was very good. Richard is a former comedian who now hosts a popular radio show on the national radio station here in Oz where he mostly interviews people who might not be well known but who do interesting things (which is how he met Kari) along with the odd more well known person. The show is available as a podcast (called Conversations) and is very good. Now pondering what to read next.

  11. I’ve just been re-reading the Fionavar Tapestry and Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay. High fantasy, and then Kay brings it home with Ysabel. And now I need to go re-read Waking the Moon by Elizabeth Hand. Ysabel and Waking the Moon, in their own different ways, both deal with the devastating impact of the mythical, dangerous story patterns on ordinary characters caught up in them. I think that’s just what I’m in the mood for right now.

    1. I love Elizabeth Hand.
      I also love Guy Gavriel Kay and was hesitating over buying Ysabel yesterday. Maybe I will now.

  12. No best book — there were so many fabulous ones. My favorite new-to-me author this year is Ben Aaronovitch. Both the regular and graphic novels are good, but I prefer the regular ones. The graphic novels are over way too quickly.

    I just finished reading Crowned and Dangerous by Rhys Bowen, the second to most recent addition to the Royal Spyness series. These are lovely, entertaining mysteries that take place in the 1930s — lots of interesting history in them.

    Now I’m re-reading one of Bujold’s Penric novellas while deciding what to read next.

  13. I just finished The Christmas Stocking and Other Stories by one of my favorite British romcom authors, Katie Fforde. It might make it to favorite book status because reading those stories just made me so happy. Like, put the book down and sigh, happy. Not much has done that this year, so I’ll take it.

  14. I enjoyed Loretta Chase’s A Duke in Shining Armor as well. Looking forward to the next book in the series. I re-read her Dukes Prefer Blondes, love the dialogue as it is one of my go-to reads when I can’t sleep. Also, Mary Balogh’s Westcott series, reversal of fortunes. Looking forward to the next book in May. Found a new author, Mary Campisi – A Family Affair, about family secrets. Received Born a Crime for Christmas. Looking forward to reading it. Also, Leonardo Da Vinci by Walter Issacson. Thick book, may take me a while.

    Loving the recommendations on the Thursdays.

  15. I’m very glad to have discovered Georgette Heyer’s mysteries. As glad as I am for the recent Agatha Christie movies, I would really like a Hannasyde/Hemingway TV series.

    I finished reading The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger this week. The epistolary format works well for the story. I also kind of love that Rieger took 12 years to finish the novel. There’s hope for all my unfinished projects!

  16. Loved Shonda Rhimes’ The Year of Yes, which I listened to — it did something for me that I can no longer articulate. Maybe it made me see possibilities for myself.

    I also loved Vivian Shaw’s Strange Practice, the first book in the Greta Helsing series. Greta is a doctor who specializes in treating supernatural beings, such as vampires, vampyres (two different kinds of undead), ghouls, and so on. There is a sweetness to it that reminded me of the sweetness at the heart of The Goblin Emperor.

    Right now, I’m re-reading Deborah Crombie’s Kissed a Sad Goodbye, #6 in the Kincaid/James series of mysteries.

  17. Memorable reads this year:

    I managed to finish reading Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher series this year, so worth it.

    The Martian by Andy Weir, I love competence

    Belinda Jones’ Travelling tea shop, was a fun, light read I actually remember.

  18. The Goblin Emperor would be my top pick of the year. I had drifted away from reading sf/fantasy recently, and my book club at work had this as one month’s selection. I was so impressed by the world building, characterization, and the way the author crafted her sentences that I, 1.) recommended it here and 2.) added sf&f back into my personal reading lists.

    1. Love love love it. You might try Sherwood Smith as well, if you enjoyed the intricacy of Katherine Addison. I really enjoy her writing, but not many people in my circles have the patience for her. It’s a slow build, and a brick of a book usually. But wry humor.

      1. Sherwood Smith does indeed have a series that has both the intricacy and characterization of Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Empire. It starts with Inda, and they are big honking bricks of books, but well worth it.

        For anyone without the patience for that I highly recommend her romantic fantasy. Much shorter and lighter books with the same terrific writing and characters. My favorites are A Posse of Princesses, more of a YA fantasy but lots of fun, and The Trouble with Kings. Also Shasharia En Garde, which is the two Sasharia books, Once a Princess and Twice a Prince, in one volume.

  19. My favorite ARGH day is Thursday, and I don’t really have a best book of the year — more like a best insight, based on the books beloved by others here that I’ve loved or else been unable to relate to. I realized that I’m most into slightly wounded heroines and/or heroes, who think a lot about the events that happen to them and the people around them, and try to figure out how the hell they can fit in or find their place in the world. Meanwhile, I can’t get into protagonists who are really self-confident or angry — regardless of the foundation for those traits.

    As a result, my favorite Pratchett hero is Samuel Vimes and heroine is A.B. Dearheart and I have trouble relating to Susan Sto Helit or Granny Weatherwax. And my favorite Georgette Heyer novel is Sylvester (because of Phoebe), whereas that favorite of most people The Grand Sophy is hard for me to find believable or touching.

    This has been really useful to come to realize — I get why some books are the favorites of people who come to books with a different preference set from my own, but they don’t fill my needs as a reader.

    But I thank you guys for some great suggestions and recommendations — I’ve really loved Captain Vorpatril’s Alliance and a number of other books recommended here, and I hope these Thursdays go on for a long long time.

  20. Based on a recommendation from someone here, I am reading Deanna Raybourn’s
    Lady Julia Grey Victorian mystery. It is excellent. Thank you.

    1. If you like them, you may want to try her new Victorian mystery series. The Veronica Speedwell books. Starts with A Curious Beginning.

  21. Too hard. I’ve been reading bits of this book about a devil elect and a freaky cop that I’ve liked a lot though 😉

    The Power by Naomi Alderman is the book that most stood out for me this year. A Conjuring of Light by VE Schwab for fantasy escapism. Lots of good recommendations from here (The Goblin Emperor rates highly), thanks everyone for a year of great reading.

    Right now I’m re-reading Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier which I love love love. And I’ll almost immediately move on to the second, Son of the Shadows which I love even more. Comfort holiday reading.

  22. Impossible to cut down to one or even close because it’s been a very good year. My favourite reads that were new to me were:
    Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor for all the reasons mentioned above. I already have some of her books as Sarah Monette queued up and hope to get to them next year
    Martha Wells’ All Systems Red – I love Murderbot and can’t wait for the next instalment though I did read a couple of the author’s Ile-Rien books as well and liked them almost as much.
    Joanna Bourne’s Beauty Like the Night. I love the SpyMaster series and always gobble them up with my disbelief not just suspended but gone away on holiday….
    Jenny T Colgan’s Spandex and the City. Not quite up there with Resistance is Futile but hugely entertaining all the same.
    T Kingfisher’s Seventh Bride. Best fairy story retelling I’ve read in years. I plan to read more….
    Rosemary Harris’s The Moon in the Cloud trilogy. These are ya books which start with the main characters setting off to Egypt to obtain animals for Noah’s ark in return for a place on the ark if they are successful. Very witty, great authorial voice.
    and finally
    Ursula LeGuin’s Catwings books. These are picture books for younger readers which I completely missed when they first came out but have been buying for the grandchildren. Completely adorable. I mean what’s not to like about cats with wings?

    Some of these were recommends from here. Thank you very much to the people who prompted me to read these great books.

    Right now, I’m gobbling down the Faith Morgan mystery books by Martha Ockley. Lady yicar who used to be a cop investigates. Why I love books set in the Church of England so much I’m not sure. I’m not religious but I do like a character with a moral backbone and maybe that’s why…

  23. The best book of the year for me was Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai. It had everything, great characters, great plot, lots of sex (maybe too much), a great villian, some nuiance, and lots of romance.

  24. I didn’t have individual books, but my favorite new authors were Tessa Dare and Leigh Bardugo. Fluffy historical romance and darkish YA fantasy with some romance. I don’t really know the link either ;-), except both authors wrote characters I really love and cheer for. I glommed them both. And I didn’t think I’d ever glom again after burning myself out on some authors that way.

    Right now I’m in the middle of a lot of different things, but I’m almost done with “Cold Dish” the first Lomgmire novel. I’d seen the first season of the series and I really enjoy sinking into a familiar world, even it’s a bit macho at times for my taste.

  25. My favorite book of the year was Dark Money by Jane Mayer. It is certainly not a comfort read but it was what I needed at the time and was for me an incredible eye-opener. It has given me a handle to both understand and try to approach helping in confronting in the debacle I was more of a spectator than an actor in.

    The other book that came to mind is also non-fiction, but I read it 35 years ago and it has stuck with me ever since. Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart is autobiographical, a genre I am not generally fond of, but she is an honest and adept writer and the book gives a real glimpse into life in the American West at the turn of the 20th century. I guess I also was reminded of it because of the mention of the Longmyre series. I have listened to the books and while I enjoyed them, the lack of nuance about the American West culture really bothers me. It is far more complex and fascinating.

      1. Hope, I definitely wondered about the authenticity of the whole series because it seems there is some male wish fulfillment, but I think that about most books written by men. (Shrug).

        1. Yes, I agree about books written by men, unfortunately.

          I am a westerner, heart and soul, and the history of America is short and complicated but ‘the West’ was glamorized long ago by cowboys and Indians nonsense and ignorance and worse.
          There is a series of books that take place in Montana written by Peter Bowen. The protagonist is Gabriel Du Pre, an descendent of French trader and Native Americans who solves murders. The books are not easy to listen to because of the very different rhythm of Du Pre’s thoughts and speech, but do make a good read. Bowen is more on the side of the ranchers who don’t want wolves to be brought back than environmentalists, but I still think his books give a good flavor of Montana and a bit of Wyoming culture too.

  26. “Reincarnation Blues” by Michael Poore was quirky, I guess technically fantasy but had more of a magic realism feel to me, while I didn’t love the end it didn’t ruin it for me. Which doesn’t make it sound like it should make my “best of ’17” list, but it was compelling and I kept thinking about it after I finished it.

    “Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman” by Lindy West was something I listened to and I highly recommend the audio. She’s really funny even as she talks about going through horrible stuff as a woman in male-dominated fields, a fat person existing in this world, and, as the title indicates, a loud woman. Warmed my feminist heart.

    “The Thing About Jellyfish” by Ali Benjamin is a middle grade novel that deals with grief, friendship, and change in a very nuanced way. The main character is a middle school girl who doesn’t get the whole “clothes, hair, boys” thing, and so has drifted apart from her best friend, but it’s never portrayed like the best friend is an evil airhead proto-whore (which is, appallingly, often the case even in middle grade stuff). It’s just a thing that happens sometimes.

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