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Joy's 50 Book Challenge for 2017

50 Book Challenge

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Edited: May 15, 11:17pm Top

So I'm back for another try. My reading really took a hit in 2016, and I never even got to 40 books. But I'm determined to get closer to that 50-book goal in 2017.

I'll list the books as I read them, maybe with a short review or maybe not. I'm also doing a 2017 Category Challenge, so I might put my reviews over there. Have to think about that.

Anyway, Happy New Year, everyone! And Happy Reading in 2017!

Edited: Jan 29, 12:03pm Top

I don't review every book I read, but I do try to rate each one. This is the rating system I use here at LT:

✭✭✭✭✭.....My "desert island" category - all-time favorites that I wouldn't want to be without; not many get this rating
✭✭✭✭.......Loved it, might even consider reading it again
✭✭✭.........An enjoyable read, but nothing extraordinary; most books will fall into this category
✭✭..........It was OK, but I probably wouldn't recommend it to others
✭............Mediocre; disappointing; had trouble finishing
DNF.......(Did Not Finish) Books I started reading and then abandoned. This doesn't necessarily mean I didn't like a book, just that I wasn't able to finish it or didn't feel like continuing with it. Might or might not finish it later.

Jan 1, 1:13pm Top

Happy reading in 2017!

Jan 1, 3:39pm Top

>3 rocketjk: Thank you! Wishing you the same.

Jan 2, 7:13pm Top

Good luck with your goal! I want to attack my tbr this year too.

Jan 3, 10:31am Top

>5 PaperbackPirate: Thanks! Yes, this year I really want to read more of the books I've already got stacked up, and try to stop accumulating so many new ones. Of course, I say that every year!

Jan 28, 10:40pm Top

1. Faithful. Alice Hoffman

Rating: ✭✭✭✭

Jan 28, 10:44pm Top

2. Smooth Talker: Trail of Death. Steve Jackson

Rating: ✭✭✭

Edited: Feb 6, 6:22pm Top

3. As Good As Gone. Larry Watson

Rating: ✭✭✭

As Good As Gone is not exactly the sort of fiction I normally read. But I've heard so many good reports about Watson's "Montana 1948," I decided to take a chance. It's an interesting book — well drawn characters, and a pretty good story that held my attention...mostly. The tale develops in a very leisurely fashion, and the focus keeps changing from one character to another, and after a while I just really wanted it to go ahead and wrap up. Calvin Sidey was an intriguing guy and I kept hoping he'd finally demonstrate some real growth, but kept being disappointed. So not a terrible read, but not four stars.

(I received my copy of this book from the publisher, free of charge, through Library Thing's Early Reviewer program. No other compensation was received, and no one tried to influence my opinion of the book.)

Edited: Jan 29, 3:26pm Top

>7 jlshall: I love Alice Hoffman but I don't have that book.

*edited to correct link

Feb 1, 10:20pm Top

>10 PaperbackPirate: I've only read a few other books by Alice Hoffman, but I've enjoyed them all. "Faithful" was a good book to start the year with.

Feb 3, 3:16pm Top

4. The Vanishment. Jonathan Aycliffe

Rating: ✭✭✭✭

I actually started reading this one last year, but put it aside when I was having trouble keeping up with all the advance copies I needed to read. Didn't really remember all I'd read, so I started over and managed to finish in just a couple of days.

Overall, I enjoyed this book very much. Have to admit, though — the main character seemed so totally self-involved and oblivious to the feelings of others, it was hard to develop any real sympathy for him. And some of the action was more than slightly disturbing — as others have pointed out, the theme of child abuse is always unpleasant even though it is a staple of "supernatural" lit. Still, with Aycliffe you know going in that the tale isn't going to be a pretty one. It was spooky and kept me up late, reading — and that's mainly what I look for in a ghost story.

Feb 3, 3:38pm Top

5. Devil Sent the Rain. Lisa Turner

Rating: ✭✭✭

For the most part, I thought this was a very good mystery novel. And even though it's part of an established series, it works very nicely as a stand-alone work. I haven't read any of the earlier books in the series, and I never felt that put a damper on my enjoyment.

And I did enjoy it, even though I thought it was a little too long. I seem to be saying that about nearly every book I read these days — but in this case, I really do think the book would have been a more powerful experience if the author had tightened it up a bit. There's so much description that a lot of it just sounds like padding — I like local color as much as anyone, but I really don't need to have the complete history of every building or location the main character enters, drives by, or calls up in his memory. Also, there are quite a few characters to keep track of, and I kept having to go back and remind myself who was who and how they all related to the story. That slowed things down even more.

So, not a four-star read but very entertaining anyway. I definitely wouldn't mind reading more in this series.

(I received my copy of this book from the publisher, free of charge, through Library Thing's Early Reviewer program. No other compensation was received, and no one tried to influence my opinion of the book.)

Edited: Feb 13, 11:26am Top

6. The Roanoke Girls. Amy Engel

Rating: ✭✭½

This was a VERY dark tale. I read an advance copy of the book, from NetGalley, and felt obligated to finish and review it. If it weren't for that, I'm not sure I could have plowed through the whole mess. There were things I liked about it, but they were overshadowed by the subject matter and the way it was presented. Don't want to say too much more, since the book hasn't been officially released yet. But I will say that this one is definitely not an easy read.

May 15, 7:04pm Top

7. Magic by the Lake. Edward Eager; illus. by N.M. Bodecker

Rating: ✭✭✭✭

May 15, 7:07pm Top

8. Rosemary's Baby. Ira Levin

Rating: ✭✭✭✭✭

This was a re-read of one of my favorites.

May 15, 7:11pm Top

9. The Ballad of Peckham Rye. Muriel Spark

Rating: ✭✭½

May 15, 7:13pm Top

10. The Blazing World. Siri Hustvedt

Rating: ✭✭✭

May 15, 10:28pm Top

11. Murder on the Orient Express (Hercule Poirot #10). Agatha Christie

Rating: ✭✭✭✭

Edited: May 17, 11:31am Top

12. The Secret Room (Zoe Goldman #3). Sandra Block

Rating: ✭✭✭

May 15, 10:34pm Top

13. The Fix (Amos Decker #3). David Baldacci

Rating: ✭✭✭✭

Group: 50 Book Challenge

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