January 2016 Newsletter Mailbag
Our question of the month in our monthly newsletter(subscribe to the right) was What was the best book you read all year?.
Boy did we get a lot of great feedback. Here it is:
Kelly B: This year, my wife and I discovered Orson Scott Card. I had read Speaker for the Dead a few years back and enjoyed it well enough. This year, I finally read Ender’s Game when one of my kids brought it home. Then I started reading it to Ellen while driving on a long trip, and we have now added the habit of me reading to her at night before sleep. It has been one of the best additions to our 30-year marriage. We are currently starting the Alvin Maker series with Seventh Son. My Christmas wish list is any book by Card that I have not yet read. I found your site while trying to get a complete list. I was amazed at how may books this author has published!
Wendy McC: read some william kent kreuger recently and amazon led me to paul dorion. just love his series about a fish and wildlife warden in maine. starts with “poachers son”. tore through them and have pre-ordered number 7. can’t wait. as for amazon, they are pretty good in recommending books you may like by your past searches and orders. and you can’t beat cheap used books form worthy booksellers whose profits go to good causes.
Steven H: Since my retirement I have read, on average, two books a week. Having read almost 100 books this year it’s difficult to remember which of a series I read this year or last.
However, I did read the three Strike novels by Robert Galbraith and overall think they are “best book”. I would recommend these authors in no particular order: Benjamin Black, John Sanford, Daniel Silva, Steve Berry, Michael Connelly(The Crossing is one of his better Harry Bosch novels) Helene Tursten, Caleb Carr and Erik Larson to name a few.
Doug’s list is a nice starting point. Having only read 1/2 of them I won’t quibble.
As for “Girl on a Train”, what a ninny I wanted to kill her before she took one more ride-so stupid. What a disingenuous author.
I enjoy your newsy letter and will certainly use it to find more to read.
The very best book I read this year: All the Light WE Cannot See.
When recommending it I compared it to Sophie’s choice-light.
Joy B: Natchez Burning by Greg Iles…. one of my favorites this year.
Susi M: The best book I read last year is a toss-up between 2 very different books.
ZOO, by James Patterson, had me spellbound — to the point where I could not stop reading! I read a LOT on my job, but this book had me staying up through the night to finish it. And let me tell you, I’ve got 5 cats and I find myself looking at them a bit more cautiously and, occasionally, suspiciously some days! My last word, upon finishing it, was “YIKES!”
My second fave of the year is actually a paperback book I read just a month or so ago, in one night. Based on the TV series, SUPERNATURAL, and written by John Passarella, it’s a tale about what happens when nightmares don’t end at sunrise. Read in a matter of hours, I couldn’t stop thinking about it even days later … so I read it again, and it was still crazy creepy!! That is, in my opinion, a sign of a SERIOUSLY GOOD BOOK!!
Ron: I’m just going to shoot from the hip on this one. I read so much at this stage of my life that I don’t know if I’m coming or going. I am now 74. My passions are: Golf, Reading, Cooking,Hand gun shooting, History, in that order. I discovered a British writer recently who I had never read. Matthew Dunn. Because of my background in my tour of duty in the 5th Special Forces during Viet Nam, I like the type of Novels that he writes. I was an Intelligence Officer. I have read The Spy House, Spy Catcher and Sentinel, and then started to read Slingshot. I was 30 pages into Slingshot when I received an E-Mail from my Library that a reserve request that I had completely forgotten about was in and had to be picked up. It was David Baldacci’s New book The Guilty. A new publication can only be taken out in our library for two weeks, so I stopped reading Slingshot and ran down and picked up The Guilty.
I picked it up on Friday afternoon and read it Cover to Cover in 6 hours with a short break to cook a Shrimp and Broccoli Stir Fry dinner in my Wok. I could NOT put it down, and I am going to say now that this was the best book that I have read in 2015. I read TONS of great books, but there was just something about this one that “Captured ” me!
Jean B: Although I do have many favorite authors, recently our library had a Local Author’s Fair. At this Fair, I purchased book 1 (Odd Man Out) by Joe Krogman. At the time, I told him that if I liked it, I would contact him & get the next book in the series. A couple days later, I contacted Joe & told him I needed the complete series. I couldn’t put the book down & stayed up half the night to finish the first book. I have since read 7 of the books and will soon be starting book 8. His main character, John Harwell, is a PI in the Twin Cities. Although I feel that anyone in any part of the country would enjoy the stories, living here I can picture exactly where the action is happening. I strongly recommend these books, and am looking forward to his next book in March.
Lori S: My new found author/book series for 2015 is Keith C. Blackmore and the Mountain Man series. I really enjoyed the series using immersion reading for the majority of them. Now I am reading ‘The Missing Boatman’ to be followed by ‘The Troll Hunter’. Since getting a kindle, I have found a number of authors I enjoy. Joe Hill with The Heart-shapedd Box and Horns; J.D.Robb, Chloe Neill, and Gillian Flynn to name just a few.
PKitty: my favorite was Murder with Peacocks…it truly was laugh out loud funny. But I finally surrendered to the dark side with Fear Nothing by Lisa Gardner. The protagonist, her sister, and the injured detective danced macabre pirouettes throughout the whole story.
Steve: Brad Thor’s Scott Harvath series has me hooked right now! Reading it from beginning to end because of you all. I love to read Mystery/Thriller series from old to new.
Jeannine K: The Louise Penny Inspector Gamache series was recommended by a co-worker. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. Finished the entire series, barely reading anything else in between the books. Any suggestions for authors similar to Penny will be appreciated.
Rhea: This year I was fortunate enough to discover Allison Brennan and her romance/mystery novels (which, by the way, led me to discover OrderOfBooks.com when I needed help with the series order). I purchased an Allison Brennan book on sale and I loved it so much, I had to go back and start at the beginning. She has several series but her longest running series is divided into four trilogies where each novel can stand alone but there is a continuing run of characters. Peripheral characters become lead characters in a later book. There is always a romance but Ms. Brennan’s books are superb mysteries with real insight into the criminal mind. So far, I have completed nine of her books in the series and am currently reading a stand-alone novel of hers (even though it still has a few characters who were mentioned in the series). Allison Brennan’s books are smart, suspenseful, well-written and have complex character development. Finding her books was an early holiday gift for me!
Laura: My favorite book of the year was Station Eleven, by Emily St. John Mandel. I don’t usually choose science fiction/dystopian novels, but this one had a seamless plot with interesting characters. Wonderful!
Irene: I first came across this author Ken Bruen by a TV show based on his character of Jack Layton. It was on Netflick. I fell in love with the character and I’ve been reading all his books, that is Ken Bruen, either ebook, hard copy or audio book. Jack used to be a policeman but his drinking has become a liability. He is now a P.I. but trouble always seen to find him. Once I start reading the book, I can’t put it down.
Donald H: The best book I read this year is One Summer by David Baldacci. I must have read over to 60 books this year and this one really stood out.
Diana A: Following Atticus by Tom Ryan
Treva S: I like the books of Diana Gabaldon, about Clair Randall (the Outlander series). This year I read the Lord John series. I thought they were really good. Some times a spin off is better than you think.
Mona D Best book I have read this year: Corridors of the Night by Anne Perry. Perry doesn’t level off, she just gets better with every book. Her characters, Hester and William Monk, are so well described that I love them, foibles included, and eagerly want to know what will happen to them. I KNOW they aren’t real people, but Anne Perry can make me think they are.
Phyllis B: My favorite Book this last year Was “The Cousins O’Dwyer Trilogy” By Nora Roberts. Was so much fun reading I would recommend this Trilogy to everyone .
Julie D: The best new book that I read this year would have to be “Saturn’s Run” by John Sanford. I have devoured all of Sanford’s mystery novels and absolutely love the PREY series, as well as the spin off Flowers books and the earlier Kidd series. Since I also love science fiction, I was not disappointed by this change of pace. Where as his mystery books can be quite grisly, Saturn’s Run was a nice bit of fluff to unwind with at the end of the day. A well plotted adventure with feasible science, not unbelievable make believe.
As far as the most enjoyable series that I have read this year, I would have to admit to a guilty pleasure: The Richard Castle “Nikki Heat” series. As a fan of the “Castle” TV show, I just had to try the books when I saw them at the library. Someone decided to be ghost writer for actual books for the titles mentioned in the show that the character Richard Castle had written. Since his books are supposed to be based on the cops in the show, reading one of these books is like enjoying a new episode. The characters are already fleshed out, only the names are changed. All the flavor of the show is there. Witty remarks, fast paced police adventure and bodice ripping romance. No one knows (or admits ) who the true author might be, but I am convinced that it is one of the script writers for the show.
Alan L: It would have to be: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Societyby Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer YES, I know I was late in getting to it! So many “best sellers” are such disappointments, that I tend to NOT read them! THAT, and Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand. Also LOVE her “Seabiscuit” book!!!
Kathleen Church: The best (or at least most enjoyable) books I have read this year are the Richard Sherlock series by Jim Stevens. I thought they were lots of fun. And if you want book recommendations (sorry I didn’t get this in last month), may I suggest Mosaic by Diane Armstrong (a history of her Polish Jewish family from 1890 to the present) or one of the collections of Shlock Homes stories by Robert L. Fish.
Zipporah: The best book I read this year was “Every Man Dies Alone” by Hans Fallada: an ordinary German couple whose son, killed early in the war serving in Hitler’s army, decide the Nazi regime is evil and must be stopped. What can simple, workaday people with no connections or resources do? They embark on a simple post card writing campaign. The Gestapso, convinced they’re dealing with a massive resistance ring instead of a lonely elderly couple, hunt for the “ringleaders.”
Michel G: This isn’t a new book series but I love, love, love Nathan Lowell who writes science fiction like early Robert Heinlein. Start with Quarter Share, then on to Half Share, Full Share, Captain’s Share, Owner’s Share. They are books you just can’t put down (digital only — I read mine on my iPad but I think some may be published in paperback). They follow the life of Ishmael Horatio Wang who becomes a spacer and his journey from quarter share to owner. Best of all, no sex or violence — just a lot of innuendos. Brilliant characters and wonderful character development. Characters come in and out of each of the books so you never know when your favorite will show up again.
Joe S: Best book this year, Ghost of Belfast, Stewart Neville, great series.
Libby W: The best book I’ve read this year is Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee. This book has the perfect blend between being a profound story and being beautifully written. I was also struck by how relevant the topics discussed in the book were to many issues that are happening in todays society. An absolute must read book!
Audrey P: You have put me in psychic pain! Was this some kind of torture plot? I’ve been trying to narrow down to the “best book of the year” but it is ABSOLUTELY impossible! So I have done a top ten list:
My Best Books of 2015
1) best science fiction: Zero World
2) best nonfiction: Snake! Guillotines! Electric Chairs!
3) best wordless book: 500 Self-Portraits
4) best YA novel: Trouble is a Friend of Mine
5) best book of short stories: Darker Shade of Sweden
6) best thriller: Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay
7) best Scandinavian noir: Dreamless
8) best prequel: Reykjavik Nights by Arnaldur Indridason
9) best sequel: Becoming Ellen
10) best non-US book: Trust No One
11) best organized crime book: The Friendship of Criminals
12) best half-and-half book: The Secret Place by Tana French
13) best debut book: Just Fall by Nina Sadowsky
Brenda B: Holy cow, how am I gonna decide which book to pick?! Oh wait. You said “(or books)”!
Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
I Am Pilgrim by Terry Hayes
The Martian by Andy Weir
Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton
The Shut Eye by Belinda Bauer
Trust No One by Paul Cleave
Twisted by Andrew E. Kaufman
Silent Scream by Angela Marsons
A Spy Came Home by HN Wake
Crash & Burn by Lisa Gardner
I read all of Belinda Bauer’s book in 2015, rated them all 5 stars out of 5. She is now my all-time favorite author!
Pat: I am reading James Grippando books, I’m starting with his Jack Swytec series and will continue with the stand alone books. Always read them in order so love your website, it’s great.
Joan F: It’s a tie, The Maisie Dobbs series and Nightingale by Kristin Hannah
Chris G: I just got myself reacquainted with an old friend, fantasy writer Robin Hobb, by reading the first two novels in her new series, The Fitz and Fool Trilogy. The first two books are out and they are fabulous: Fool’s Assassin and Fool’s Quest. Now, I wait patiently for the final installment…. argh!
Karole K: The one book that made a profound effect on me in 2015 was, Ella, Princess, Saint, and Martyr of the Russian Orthodox Faith. The author is Christopher Warwick. Ella was a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. She arranged as much as possible her children and grandchildren`s lives. As I was reading ,I saw clearly the “arrangements” were leading to the downfall of the Royal Houses of Europe. Ella had an enchanting upbringing. As an adult she retained her mother`s heart, offering her time, love, fortune and her life during the Russian Revolution.
Jem: Wow! Everything I read this year was great with one exception – a NY Times recommendation so explicit I tossed it the recycling bin so it would have some redeeming value. Forgot who the author was!. This was my year to discover Bernard Cornwell so I will be busy for a while. Robert Kershaw’s It Never Snows in September and A Street in Arnhem were excellent Keith Lowe’s A Savage Continent another fav. I’ve received all the Anya Setons I had missed since Katherine but still have a few to read. But my favorite, favorite has to be J.Ryan Strodel’s Kitchens of the Great Midwest. Love food, am familiar with the midwest jello salad thing and found the book hilariously funny and well written. I emailed Mr. Strodel after I finished the read and he answered! and will be working on another after he finishes his book tours. A great first novel!
Karen: My best read of last year was The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd (The Secret Life of Bees). It is historical fiction that is stunning.
Patti: I would have to say “The Nightingale. ” was the best book I read this year. In second place would be ” the girl on the train” and third place would go to ” all the light we cannot see” . All awesome books.
WhoDunit16: Someone handed me a copy of Still Life by Louise Penny earlier this year and in two weeks I read all
the books in the series. Great plots with wonderful characters with depth and insight to
human nature. Who knew a mystery book could make you feel good? I want to move to Three
Judy D: The best two books I read this year were by Jason Matthews – Red Sparrow and Palace of Treason. They were absolutely mind blowing. Mr. Matthews is a former CIA operative and you can tell by the way he writes the ins and outs of spies. I really recommend these novels to anyone who wants a good read and has the time to really think about the books. The characters are also compelling both heroes and villians.
Mitzi: my best and scariest book of 2015
One Second After is a 2009 fiction novel by American writer William R. Forstchen. The novel deals with an unexpected electromagnetic pulse attack on the United States as it affects the people living in and around the small town of Black Mountain, North Carolina.
Released in March 2009, One Second After and was ranked as number 11 on the New York Times Best Seller list in fiction,