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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Kay's Ten Favorite Books She Read in the Last Three Years



This is a weekly event, hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, where bloggers relate their "top ten" of a certain topic.  This week's topic - Top Ten Books You Would Classify As ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS From the Past 3 Years.  Well, I am going to tweak this a bit as these are my top ten-ish books that I read in the past 3 years.  And this was hard.  And I cheated a little.  I read 347 books in the last 3 years, which would make this a 2.9%-ish sample.  Again, no particular order.

1. Defending Jacob by William Landay - Who hasn't read this book?  If you haven't, you ought to at least think about it.  A father who is a prosecutor.  A teenage son who is accused of murder.  What would you do?  Many problematic issues for a parent.  Had a wonderful discussion of this book with my mystery group.

2. & 3. The Blackhouse and The Lewis Man by Peter May - First two books in a trilogy set in Scotland's Outer Hebrides.  The setting is a huge part of the books - windswept, cold, bleak. scary.  Detective Fin MacLeod comes home to the Isle of Lewis to investigate a murder, but can you go home again?  I loved both of these books and have been hoarding the 3rd, saving it for just the perfect time.  It is The Chessmen.  This trilogy is highly recommended.

4. How The Light Gets In by Louise Penny - The 9th book in the Three Pines/Gamache series.  A pivotal book that ties up some story arcs that have been in play for 9 books.  We finally know a lot of things.  I love Armand Gamache!

5. In the Blood by Lisa Unger - Part of this author's loosely connected group of books set in The Hollows, a community in upstate New York.  "Liar, liar, pants on fire..." and some amazingly creepy manipulation here.  I kept saying "huh?" and "what the dickens?" (oh, have you been watching Grantchester?).  A book with some mega-twists.

6. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger - Oh my.  What a story.  I loved it.  So many things to ponder and, yes, there is a mystery but mostly, lots and lots to think about.  A coming of age story about Frank Drum and his family in the summer of 1961.  There is death that comes in many ways.  And lots for a boy and indeed all of us to try to understand about grace.  This book totally deserved the awards it has won.  I've loved William Kent Krueger's Cork O'Connor mystery series.  This book moves him to a completely different level in my mind.  Highly recommended.

7. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty - I know this book is great in regular form.  However, I listened to it on audio and, let me tell you, that is the way to do it.  It's not short - 16 hours - but Caroline Lee's narration is spectacular.  Totally loved it.  Yes, this is about the perils, sorrows, drama, and crimes of an elementary school parent group.  There is murder.  There are lots of secrets.  There are Blonde Bobs (the cool group of mommies).  There are sweet little children.  There is snarkiness and kind support.  And the best exclamation for 2014 - "Oh calamity!".  Read it.

8. Natchez Burning by Greg Iles - First in this author's mega-trilogy that spans a good chunk of the civil rights era.  I was glued to the pages.  I'm a big fan of Penn Cage, who was a prosecutor in Houston, and then returned home to Natchez, Mississippi, when his wife died.  He has raised his daughter with the help of his parents in this city of the Old South.  There are lots of secrets, lots of negative emotions, lots of cover-ups.  There are many things about the South that I, a native Southerner, am not proud of.  Knowledge is good.  I can't wait for the second book, The Bone Tree.

9. Watching You by Michael Robotham - I love the Joe O'Loughlin series.  Love it.  The way that the main character's Parkinson's disease is a part of the narrative is most compelling.  Really, any of the books in the series are worthwhile, but this latest came to my mind first.  Marnie feels that she is being watched and her husband is missing.  She consults O'Loughlin in his practice as a clinical psychologist.  And then the fun really starts...or not.  Such a good series.  The first book - The Suspect.

10. The whole Duncan Kincaid/Gemma James series by Deborah Crombie - OK, here's where the cheating begins.  I could not come up with just one book to highlight.  I've read the whole series in the last 3 years, and I think it is the best.  There are now 16 books about these characters.  The first is A Share in Death and I just shared a review of the latest, To Dwell in Darkness.  Every book adds to the character development and by the 16th, well, you will not want it to end.  You'll desperately need to find out what is going on with all of them.  Plus there are good mysteries and lots of tidbits and info about wherever the particular book is set.  Trust me.  This series is a keeper.

Friends, I have placed my offerings upon the waters.  Hope you'll try a few of these.  And now, back to reading!


34 comments:

  1. You've read a lot of books for the last 3 years, Kay! I haven't read any of the books you mentioned, but I'm sure going to check out some of the series you mentioned, especially Louise Penny's!

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  2. The two Peter May books are in my TBR - I definitely need to get to them! I share your love of the Deborah Crombie series. And I'm getting Big Little Lies from Audible - I'm always on the lookout for good audiobooks!

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    1. Oh, and yes, Armand Gamache! I love Gamache. I didn't like so much where the series had been going - it got too thriller-ish for my taste (although I like thrillers, too, just not in my mysteries so much). I'm so happy she's come back to the mystery itself.

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    2. Yes, I understand what you're saying about the thriller aspect. I think that in order to tie up that particular thread, the more intense action was necessary. But, that has taken a toll on Gamache, has it not?

      Oh, do listen to BIG LITTLE LIES. I loved it!

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  3. Oh Kay, what a great list! You tweaked my interest in many of your books. First ol all, I must read the Deborah Crombie's A Share in Death soon. It has been in my TBR stack forever.
    I just read The Blackhouse and liked it very much. I want to read the Lewis Man soon. I just downloaded Defending Jacob and Big Little Lies. I have been toying with the idea of Audio Books. I have a Kindle Fire. Right now am not quite sure how it all works. Thanks for your list!. .

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    1. Good luck with audio, Lynn. I know that some have trouble with it, but I am finding myself liking it more and more. And LEWIS MAN is really, really good.

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  4. I also have In the Blood, but didn't realize it was also set in The Hollows. I just finished Crazy Love You...amazing! So I'm eager to read more about that creepy town. LOL.

    Big Little Lies was one of my favorites last year.

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    1. Yes, she does a sorta series there. The first one where The Hollows appeared was FRAGILE. Just loosely connected, some character overlap.

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  5. Great list, Kay! Defending Jacob was good one, wasn't it? I have another book similar to that sitting in my TBR pile to read. I'm drawing a blank as to its title though. Ugh. We Need to Talk About Kevin made my list--which is similar in theme. I enjoyed Watching You too. I want to read more by Robotham at some point. I think I've read three of his books so far.

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    1. Wendy, I bet it's FINDING JAKE. Maybe. I read that one last year in e-galley form. Liked it, but not as well as DEFENDING JACOB. I have not read the KEVIN book yet.

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    2. Yes! That's it. Finding Jake.

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  6. *raises hand* Ok, ok--I'll definitely pick up Defending Jacob. I've heard the audio is good, too...so that's a win-win for me.

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    1. Trish, I read it in book form and then when my group discussed it, I listened to it on audio. It was good either way.

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  7. Oh, I can agree with The Blackhouse, In the Blood, Watching You, How the Light Gets In, Watching You, and the Gemma James/Duncan Kincaid series. Each one had a lot to offer! Now, I'll have to look for some of the others.

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    1. Hope you find some you like, Jenclair!

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  8. Great titles, I have always meant t read Black House!

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  9. I love reading lists like this because I end up adding more to my list :)
    I've read several of your favorites and you've got some good ones here. And, do you know that all this talk of the Gemma/Duncan Kincaid series is seriously making me want to catch up with it!

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    1. Maybe that was my intent...LOL!

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  10. I've only read two of these -- DEFENDING JACOB and BIG LITTLE LIES. The former would definitely be a good book club read. The latter is just good in every way. NATCHEZ BURNING and ORDINARY GRACE are two I want to get to very soon.

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    1. Hope you enjoy them if you decide to try, Susan!

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  11. Interesting list, I'll investigate a few new to me authors on it. I've read The Black House but not The Lewis Man... must get to it soon.

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    1. THE LEWIS MAN was really good or at least I thought so.

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  12. I agree...it would be very difficult to limit my list of 'favorites' to only ten! I've read a couple on your list and there are at least two others I hope to read at some point!

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    1. I actually could have made it 15 or 20 pretty easily. :-)

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  13. I am going to bookmark this post. You've given me several books I want to check out. Louise Penny and the Greg Iles series are some of my favorites also. They are actually the only ones on your list I've read so I'm sure I'd like the rest of them on your list. Thanks.

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    1. I'm betting you might find a few that would work for you, Margot. Good luck!

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  14. Both Defending Jacob and Big Little Lies were riveting! I hope to read Ordinary Grace before too long... Les recommends it, too.

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    1. I think you would like it a lot, JoAnn. Truly.

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  15. Oooh - Natchez Burning was amazing and made my Best Books of the Year list last year. I've got The Bone Tree on my kindle waiting for me :) How gorgeous, but chilling is that cover knowing what you know from Natchez?!

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    1. I know, I know. Cannot wait to read THE BONE TREE. Then, of course, we'll have to wait another year for the conclusion. Sigh.

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  16. Nodding my head in agreement for Ordinary Grace and Defending Jacob. I listened to the latter and it was a great audio. {that ending!!}

    Hoping to get Big Little Lies on audio from my library. If they don't hurry up and make it available to download, I'm going to have to get it from Audible.

    Have you read The Next Time You See Me by Holly Goddard Jones? I just finished it this weekend and thought it was very good. I think you'd enjoy it.

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    1. I have not read that Holly Goddard Jones book - not sure I've even heard of it. I went and looked at it - have no recollection of seeing it. I'll put it on my wish list.

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Thanks for stopping by! I am so happy to hear your thoughts and will respond as soon as I can. Happy Reading!