Friday, January 05, 2018

What Are You Reading? - Part 2

As promised, I'm going to use Thursday and Friday to post lists of favorites from those who regularly comment on Thursday's What Are You Reading? post. If you're looking for this week's contest, check the previous post. I'll still host the giveaways on Fridays.

Today, thanks to Grace Koshida for sending her list. Readers are welcome to comment on Grace's choices, or tell us what you're reading. I'm savoring Vanishing Ireland. "Short-listed for the Eason's Irish Published Book of the Year Award 2007, Vanishing Ireland is a unique collection of portrait interviews looking at the dying ways and traditions of Irish life and taking us back to an Ireland virtually unrecognisable today."

But, you're really here to find out what Grace loved in 2017. Thank you, Grace.

Favourite reads of 2017 (Grace Koshida, Ottawa, Canada)
My 2017 list has been compiled:  I read 180 books, mostly mysteries, and I enjoyed reading books by 59 new authors.  My top 12 (ok baker’s dozen) covers a range of mystery sub-genres (thriller, suspense, PI, cozy) and there are selections from both established authors and debut writers.

Field of Graves by J. T. EllisonA prequel that has Nashville homicide detective Lt. Taylor Jackson, medical examiner Samantha Owens and troubled FBI profiler Dr. Baldwin working together for the first time in a thrilling race to stop a madman trying to create his own end-of-days apocalypse.

UNSUB by Meg GardinerA riveting psychological thriller inspired by the never-caught Zodiac Killer.  Rookie detective Caitlyn Hendrix is determined to apprehend the serial murderer known as the Prophet who destroyed her family and terrorized the Bay Area twenty years earlier. This is the first book in the UNSUB series for this underappreciated author. 

Day of Secrets by Daryl Wood Gerber.  Better known for her cozy mystery series, Gerber writes a stand-alone thriller featuring former naval officer turned history professor Chase Day.  Day gets a phone call from his supposedly long-dead mother and then goes to find her shot and dying at their former family home.  It’s then a frantic race to save his long-missing father and uncover a bunch of deadly secrets.

The Second Life of Nick Mason by Steve Hamilton.  Nick Mason is released from prison after serving only five years of his 25-year sentence for felony murder of a federal agent. Mason’s early release was arranged by Darius Cole, another prisoner who is still running his own crime operation in Chicago from his jail cell. Mason exchanges one form of imprisonment for another when he is forced to work for Cole.  A thrilling first book in a new series by the author of the Alex McKnight PI mysteries.

Purple Palette for Murder by R. J. Harlick.  Called the "queen of Canadian wilderness fiction", Harlick’s mystery series is set in the wilds of Canada with an underlying native theme.  Her traumatized protagonist Meg Harris is forced to leave the safety of her Quebec cabin to travel to the remote Northwest Territories when her stepdaughter Teth'aa is brutally attacked and Meg’s husband Eric Odjik is arrested for killing a man.  Breathtaking descriptions of the remote Arctic wilderness are combined with a well-plotted story revolving around secrets, lies, and mysteries centered around some torn pieces of embroidery depicting purple flowers.


Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz.  Brought up as a child in the "Orphan Program", Evan Smoak has some formidable skills as a top=notch assassin.  But when the orphan program is disbanded, Smoak (Orphan X) uses his unique skills to help people in need as the Nowhere Man until he realizes someone is now hunting him.  This is the first book in The Nowhere Man thriller series.

IQ by Joe Ide.  With Isaiah Quintabe (IQ), debut author Ide has created a truly unique protagonist.  A loner and a high school dropout, IQ uses his fierce intelligence to work as an unofficial PI in his East Long Beach neighborhood.  A rap mogul whose life is in danger hires IQ who investigates and encounters a vengeful ex-wife, a crew of notorious cutthroats, a monstrous attack dog, and a crazy hit man.

Rupture* by Ragnar JonassonThe northern town of Siglufjordur is under quarantine due to a viral outbreak.  While housebound, police detective Ari Thor agrees to look into a cold case from the 1950s with the help of news reporter Isrun who is based in Reykjavik.  Meanwhile, a stalker is terrorizing a family and things escalate when a child goes missing.  The multiple storylines intersect and diverge but come together in the end.  This atmospheric mystery is the fourth book in the Dark Iceland series (categorized as both traditional mystery and Nordic Noir. 
*Not sure when it will be published in North America. 

The Good Byline by Jill Orr.  In this hilarious debut mystery, Riley Ellison is asked by the family to write the obituary of childhood friend Jordan James for the local newspaper.  Riley agrees but since she has long lost touch with Jordan, she decides to do some research into Jordan’s current life and quickly becomes convinced that her journalist friend did not kill herself.  Orr also includes enlightening quotes from real world obituary writers throughout the text as well as separate chapters that highlight Riley’s online dating challenges.

Glass Houses by Louise Penny.  A menacing cloaked figure arrives in Three Pines and the villagers are affected by its unwavering presence on the village green.  Alternating chapters focus on a murder trial in Montreal the following summer with Gamache on the witness stand.  The link between the two storylines is slowly revealed.  I like that Penny does not stick to the same police procedural formula and is not afraid to try something new to keep her award-winning Gamache series (book #13) fresh.


Burning Bright by Nick Petrie.  Marine Lt. Peter Ash seeks peace and quiet among the towering northern California redwoods to deal with his severe PTSD.  But the dense forest and fog cause his claustrophobia to buzz and spark.  While stumbling upon a grizzly bear, Ash ends up finding something strange: some climbing ropes leading to a hanging platform high up in the giant tree canopy, and a young woman named June Cassidy on the run.  Peter’s unique skills are put to the test to save both himself and June from the gunmen searching for her.  I liked Petrie’s debut THE DRIFTER and there is no sophomore slump with this second book.


Fox Hunter by Zoe Sharp.  British Special Forces soldier-turned-bodyguard Charlie Fox is finally back.  Charlie’s bosses send her to Iraq to find her former lover Sean Meyer who may be pursuing a personal vendetta as indicated by the butchered body of a private security contractor.  The backstory to Charlie’s abrupt end to her military career and the fate of her fellow soldiers is key to this thriller.

Duplicity by Ingrid Thoft.   Fina Ludlow is a feisty, misfit Boston PI working for her family’s law firm.  Fina is asked by her father to investigate a possible cult-type
church, one in which his former girlfriend's daughter is about to donate land worth a considerable amount of money. Meanwhile, the return of eldest brother Rand sets in motion an explosive showdown in the Ludlow family that rocks Fina’s world.  The themes of duplicity, faith, loyalty and family are examined throughout this excellent fourth book in the Fina Ludlow PI series. 


I don't know about you, but I found a couple on this list that are still on my
TBR pile, but moving up thanks to these reviews. And, I found three that I've
already read. I also don't know why the formatting of some of the titles is a little different.
We'll blame Blogger.

What about you? Tell us what jumps out at you from Grace's list, or tell us
what you're reading now. We all enjoy chatting about books!


Grace Koshida said...

Thanks, Lesa, for allowing me to share my favourite 2017 reads. It was a lot of fun to compile this list. And I am glad to hear that you have some of these titles on your TBR pile.

And I blame Microsoft (instead of Blogger) for the weird formatting. :-)

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Great list, Grace. Top of my list is the Petrie, since I read THE DRIFTER just before we left, though others are also on my list, including the Ide and Hamilton.

I wish I read 180 books this year! I forgot to do a final count before I left. Once we get to Florida, I will dig out last year's book and add it up.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

Oh, and the Jonasson book sounds a lot more my taste than the one I just read, so may look for the Kindle edition of that one.

Grace Koshida said...

Jeff: I was really hoping to reach 200 books read, but I found there were 2 months (March and November) when I was not able to read. Your 800+ short stories read is a pretty awesome feat. I read less than a dozen short stories last year.

Re: Rupture, I am not sure whether Jonasson's books are available as Kindle ebooks. I could not wait until 2018 (or 2019) to read that one. I basically binge-read the first four books in a month, and WHITEOUT was published December 1 in the UK.

Lesa said...

Thank you, Grace, for sharing your book list with all of us! And, neither of you have anything to feel bad about in the number of books, or short stories, read. Think about the national average of 12 books. You're way above average!

Grace Koshida said...

Yes, Lesa, I know we are avid readers, and should not berate ourselves. For me, 2017 was my first full year as a retiree, and I figured I could easily reach 200 books read! But life can throw you some curves, I found. I ended up reading only about 20 books more than I had compared to when I was working full-time. So, I am still aiming for 200 books read in 2018! :-)

Charlotte said...

Grace, I am so impressed that you read 180 books in 2017👍🏻👏🏻. Sorry you didn't make it to 200. I read 83, most I have read in a year ever.
You did an outstanding book review on your book list. That had to take a little bit of your time. I admire anyone who can do that. Not my area at all. I enjoyed reading all that you wrote and shared.
I only knew two of the authors. Only familiar with one of the books,which was Glass Houses that I received for Christmas.
I will have to go back and read the list again to decide which books I am adding to my TBR list.
Thank you for sharing with us so we can buy more books to help the authors write more books so our TBR list can grow. Got to keep the presses rolling. 😊😊😊😊😊
Trust you can go over 200 books in 2018.
Keep on reading and have a blessed year.

Kay said...

Thanks for sharing your list, Grace! It's great and will add to my ongoing and never-ending lists. I'm saving GLASS HOUSES for a treat later in the year. I do that sometimes with Louise's books. I want to read UNSUB - so very interesting and I understanding the next book in the series will be out this year. My husband and I enjoyed listening to ORPHAN X on a vacation. We both were very intrigued by the story. I also had a mystery group member who read IQ and definitely recommended it. Whew! So many books! Again, thanks for sharing!

Grace Koshida said...

Charlotte: Glad to know you had such a good reading year. And thanks, I have been writing book review summaries for over 35 years, so I have had a lot of practice :-)

Kay: Yes, my TBR pile never seems to go down, despite reading a lot of books last year. But that is part of the fun, right? UNSUB book #2 is called INTO THE BLACK NOWHERE and will be published January 30.

I hope to catch up on some beloved series in 2018. My hold for THE WESTERN STAR is ready for pickup at the library so I will get to it this month.

Trisha said...

It is fun to see other people's lists (and reminds me to get cracking on my own). I love Harlick's landscape descriptions but wish the characters were as fully drawn out. A lot of their important emotional action happens off-screen (off-page?).

SandyG265 said...

Thanks Grace. I didn’t know there was another Zoe Sharp book out. I enjoyed the first one. I also really liked DAY OF SECRETS. I haven’t read any of the others on your list yet.

Grace Koshida said...

Sandy, Zoe Sharp's DIE EASY was published in 2013, so I was glad to see FOX HUNTER published this year. I hope Daryl Wood Gerber continues to write her cozy series and these stand-alone thrillers.

Margie Bunting said...

HI, Grace. Of your list, I have read and enjoyed UNSUB, Glass Houses, Orphan X, IQ, and Duplicity. I am particularly interested in what's next from Meg Gardiner, Louise Penny, Joe Ide (Righteous is already out), and Ingrid Thoft. My husband read the next in Hurwitz's series and didn't care for it. Your excellent reviews have spurred me to look into a few of the other books you listed as well.

About reaching 200 books, I did so (I'm also retired) in 2016 and 2017. However, because I read quickly, I don't retain much, which makes it difficult for me to go back and summarize books I read a while back. So my goal is to slow down a bit!

I look forward to your ongoing posts. It sounds like our tastes are similar.

Grace Koshida said...

Margie: Yes, it does sound like our tastes are similar. I did post the title of UNSUB book #2 earlier in responding to Kay...INTO THE BLACK NOWHERE comes out January 30. I have an ARC of Orphan X book #3 (HELLBENT) to read and review in February and have RIGHTEOUS on hold at the library. And I have liked Ingrid Thoft's PI books a lot.

I am glad people are liking the book summaries. I usually write a longer book review (right after reading the book), so writing these shorter, 1-paragraph summaries was a different challenge.

Glen Davis said...

I read The Second Life of Nick Mason, and the next book in the series, Exit Strategy. Good stuff.

I have an ARC of Hellbent as well!

Grace Koshida said...

Glen: I am looking forward to reading EXIT STRATEGY...I heard it was better than the first book. And we'll see if we both like HELLBENT.

dru said...

Kudos on reading 180 books. I've read a few of the books you have read.

Grace Koshida said...

Thanks, Dru Ann! I always get a great list of recommended reads and upcoming titles from your blog, too. There are plenty of books I want to read in 2018.

Gram said...

I just put more books on my TBR list. I will never run out of books to read. Thanks, Grace and all of you readers here.

Grace Koshida said...

Gram: Yes, there are more books on my TBR list than I will ever have time to read, but it's still fun to add new titles.

Carol: I saw your email message but it was not posted on the blog. Thanks for your positive comments...I am glad you liked the summaries I was worth the effort. Reading 126 books is great and I am sure you had many enjoyable reads. Let's hope we have a great 2018 for reading!

Kaye Barley said...

Hi,Grace! What a terrific list! We share two favorites - Glass Houses and Duplicity

Grace Koshida said...

Thanks, Kaye! I read a lot of cozies but my favourites this year veered more towards thrillers and PI books.

I know you read all 4 Ingrid Thoft books last year...I can't wait for her next one.