THE MOST CHARMING READ OF THE YEAR: NINE WOMEN, ONE DRESS by Jane L. Rosen
I got to the airport a little earlier than I needed to, zipped right through TSA and got to spend all that time before my flight reading this fabulous book. Let me tell you I have never enjoyed waiting at an airport more! Nine Women, One Dress is a completely compelling, utterly charming very New York City book and I loved every page. If I could gift every one of you a copy of this book, I would. I was so sorry to turn the last page and spent the ride home from the airport telling my family all about it. I still can’t shut up about it.
BEST SERIES READ: THE WRONG SIDE OF GOODBYE by Michael Connelly
A Harry Bosch Novel, Book 19
Harry Bosch is back and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Michael Connelly is the finest writer today in crime fiction.
BEST STANDALONE THRILLER: REDEMPTION ROAD by John Hart
Hart has written a compelling page turner, yet somehow manages to find the balance between rocketing suspense and creative imagery. This is a multi-layered novel, and all of the characters have difficult choices to make as they try and find their own redemption. I stayed up late into the night to finish this truly excellent, profoundly moving book.
BEST LEGAL THRILLER: THE ADVOCATE’S DAUGHTER by Anthony Franze
I haven’t read a legal thriller this good in a long time. There are a lot of variables in this story and the pacing is relentless, making this an all nighter for me. The characters are well developed and the family scenes especially rang true. And I loved all the details about the Supreme Court, a place most of us don’t know much about (and be sure to read the notes at the end, but only after you read the book!) This book put me in mind of The Tenth Justice by Brad Meltzer, his first book and still one of my favorite legal thrillers ever. Franze is in excellent company here and I look forward to more from this author.
BEST MYSTERY: WILDE LAKE by Laura Lippman
Laura Lippman, why do you make us wait so long for new books? Somewhat reminiscent of To Kill a Mockingbird, (and I don’t say that lightly,) this is a deeply compelling story with themes of family, secrets, murder, mental illness, truth and justice. And easily one of the best books I’ve read this year.
BEST WOMEN’S FICTION: IT ENDS WITH US by Colleen Hoover
The amount of domestic abuse that goes on in this country is absolutely horrifying, and if this book is powerful enough to get even one person to leave, or to help one person to understand what may be going on in their family, or with friends, then that would be a wonderful thing. Either way, the level of compassion and empathy expressed for both the abuser and the victim is refreshing, educational and inspirational. It Ends with Us is an important and compelling read. Don’t miss it.
BEST FOODIE FICTION: THE CITY BAKER’S GUIDE TO COUNTRY LIVING by Louise Miller
A pastry chef accidentally sets fire to a restaurant and runs away to a small town to start over. This is one of those charming novels that are so hard to come by. I just adored this book and it was a one night read for me. There’s even a recipe for apple pie at the end but I haven’t made it – yet.
BEST JEWISH LIT: THE TWO-FAMILY HOUSE by Lynda Cohen Loigman
The story is about a Jewish family in Brooklyn, New York and starts out in the late 1940’s. This story follows the lives of these women, their marriages and families, and how secrets can destroy lives. I laughed, I cried but most of all, I couldn’t put it down. I loved it. If you loved Joshua: A Brooklyn Tale by Andrew Kane, or you are a fan of Naomi Ragen, then this is the book for you.
BEST HISTORICAL ROMANCE: THE PERKS OF LOVING A SCOUNDREL by Jennifer McQuiston
Seduction Diaries, Book 3
This has become one of my favorite series. The heroines are all smart, nerdy girls who don’t particularly want to get married and have no use for society, and this one is no different. Our heroine Mary is extremely knowledgeable about so many different things, all from her reading. She is also a real romantic, basing all understanding of men and women and relationships on novels. She eventually finds out that life is not quite the same as it appears in books, but nonetheless gets her happy ending.
BEST CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE: THE TOTAL PACKAGE by Stephanie Evanovich
This is the latest contemporary romance from someone who has become one of my favorite authors… angst, the laughs and hot sex -and Evanovich really excels at all three. This is a terrific romance for fans of Jennifer Crusie or Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I loved it!
BEST COOKBOOK: DORIE’S COOKIES by Dorie Greenspan
Who doesn’t like cookies? Even people who won’t attempt to bake a cake or bread will make cookies. And this is a treasure trove! It’s worth the purchase price alone for this one life changing tip: roll out cookie dough between parchment paper, instead of chilling first and struggling later. I’ve seen reviews call it an “instant classic” and I agree. Do yourself a favor and buy this book, and if you don’t like baking, buy it for the stories that go along with the recipes. Then give it to someone who bakes.
BEST NONFICTION: BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME by Ta-Nehisi Coates
This book has been one of the most talked about books of 2015, won the National Book Award and tops many of the best books of the year lists. I’ve put off reading it because I knew it was going to upset me, and it did. But it is, in my humble opinion, one of the most important books of my lifetime. That is a big statement – and it’s true. The language is lyrical and powerful, the subject matter moving and emotional and important, and the themes all encompassing and worthy of deep discussion.
BEST GRAPHIC NOVEL: RELISH by Lucy Knisley
I haven’t read a graphic novel in quite a while, it’s not something I read regularly. They have to be pretty special to get me to pick one up and this one is. Written with great warmth and humor, this is a graphic novel to be enjoyed by anyone who likes a good memoir, and foodies everywhere.
BEST COFFEE TABLE BOOK: THE MAKING OF OUTLANDER: THE SERIES by Tara Bennett
Outlander! If, like me, you’ve read all the books (twice) and listened to the audio books (twice) and watched the Starz TV series and are suffering from a severe case of ‘Droughtlander’, then you, my friends, have been given a reprieve. This is an amazing, beautiful book that goes through the TV series episode by episode, and character by character. The photographs are simply breathtaking, and there are a lot of them.
BEST CHILDREN’S BOOK: FINDING WINNIE by Lindsay Mattick
The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear, Illustrated by Sophie Blackall. Winner of the 2016 Caldecott Medal.
If, like me, you didn’t know that Winnie the Pooh was actually based on a real bear, you will find this a most fascinating read. The author, Lindsay Mattick, is the great-granddaughter of Captain Harry Colebourn, and as the back flap of the book tells us, she “grew up thinking of Winnie-the-Pooh as her own great-grandbear.” Harry gave the bear to the London Zoo, where a little boy befriended the bear. That boy’s name was Christopher Robin and the rest, as they say, is history. The book’s last pages are like a scrapbook, with photos of Harry, Winnie, the page from his diary when he bought the cub, and more. If you’re a fan of Winnie-the-Pooh, (and who isn’t,) you will enjoy this amazing, engaging book.
12/16 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™