It is finally time for the Great Thoughts’ Top Books of 2017.
But first, a poem summarizing this year in reading:
The Books of 2017
‘Twas the best of times, for the dual timelines.
World War II books so in vogue, and pysch thrillers went rogue
Titles with the word “girl” on the covers and unreliable narrators and devious lovers.
Domestic suspense books ruled the year with such scary marriages inciting fear.
What book would be a Kindle First in the U.S. of A.? Or get a coveted NYT review on a Sunday?
What book would be in Target or sell foreign rights? Many authors had high hopes with new agents in sight.
Seven books a week graced People magazine, turning other authors with envy so green.
Above 50 Amazon reviews many books did go. Some hit a list; a few made into a show.
Amazon reviews are authors’ salvation as readers give standing ovations.
What a year for great books, 2017. Now of books to come next year, I’m going to dream…
And without further ado, here are the Top Books of 2017:
Great Thoughts’ Top Books of 2017
by Andrea Peskind Katz
I could not choose just one Top Book of 2017. So here are my Top Four Books of 2017 (in alphabetical orderly author last name):
The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain, The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn, Beneath Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan and Mrs. Saint and the Defectives by Julie Lawson Timmer. I could go on and on about why these four top my list.
The Stolen Marriage is Diane Chamberlain‘s best book which is saying a great deal given how many amazing books she has written. I was captivated with the story by page 2 and riveted throughout. Twists and turns create an outstanding plot with flawed, wonderful and mystical characters. Loved every single page!
The Arrangement by Sarah Dunn made me laugh out loud. I LOVE a book that does that. Every suburban married mom must read this book. Humor, parenting, sex, angst and love make a delightful novel.
Mrs. Saint and the Defectives by Julie Lawson Timmer made me sit back and say “Wow”. Timmer takes a lovable bunch of misfits and creates an endearing wonderful story with a surprising ending. I compare this book to The Rosie Project or The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry. The feel-good novel of 2017.
Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan is one of the finest World War II novels ever written. I don’t know what I can add here than his 14,500 reviews on Amazon haven’t already said. Sullivan tells the story of Pino, a young Italian man in Milan who joins the Resistance to help Jews escape across the Alps. Pino is still alive in Italy today and is 90. This quote from Pino in the Aftermath section of the book says it all, “But after everything, and even when the skies turn scarlet and threatening, I still believe that if we are lucky enough to be alive, we must give thanks for the miracle of every moment of every day, no matter how flawed.”
The Great Thoughts’ Top Books of 2017 also include these (in alphabetical order as well): The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner, The Lost Letter by Jillian Cantor, The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine, Before the Rain Falls by Camille DiMaio, The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable, The Saturday Evening Girls Club by Jane Healey, The Orphan’s Tale by Pam Jenoff, Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, The Widow of Wall Street by Randy Susan Meyers, The Moon in the Palace and The Empress of Bright Moon by Weina Dai Rangel and Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda.
- Jamie Brenner and Michelle Gable took me to the beach in wonderfully layered novels.
- Camille DiMaio told a Texas tale that was such a page-turner. Historical fiction at its finest.
- Liv Constantine and Kaira Rouda kept me on the edge of my chair with domestic suspense novels. (p.s. I chose The Last Mrs. Parrish for this list BEFORE Reese Witherspoon chose it.)
- Jillian Cantor, Pam Jenoff and Martha Hall Kelly provided outstanding World War II fiction.
- Randy Susan Meyers fed my fascination with Wall Street and, with her outstanding character development and dialogue, had me laughing and crying throughout.
- Debut novelist Jane Healey wrote an outstanding immigrant tale and channels Adriana Trigiani.
- Finally, Weina Dai Randel wrote the most amazing duology set in China. I read them in succession and immediately saw why she won the RITA award from the RWA for these books.
The Best Book Title of 2017
There was no competition for this category. How could I not choose Duke With Benefits by Manda Collins?
The Top Debut Novels of 2017
There were so many stand-out debut novels this year. My favorites are The Saturday Evening Girls Club by Jane Healey, Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly, Almost Missed You by Jessica Strawser, The Salt House by Lisa Duffy, The Hideaway by Lauren Denton, I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi, The Boat Runner by Devin Murphy, Small Admissions by Amy Poeppel, The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine and The Dressmaker’s Dowry by Meredith Jaeger.
The Top Book Covers of 2017
You can judge a book by its cover. I loved these books AND their covers: The Library of Light and Shadow by M.J. Rose, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Secrets of The Tulip Sisters by Susan Mallory (this picture doesn’t do this cover justice as the actual cover has amazing texture), Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda, Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan, and Every Last Lie by Mary Kubica.
Novels With The Best Pacing of 2017
Two novels stood out this year as the pacing in them was nothing short of brilliant. First, Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda is set one over the course of one day. Each chapter of the book represents time passing during that day. You literally have to turn the page to see what else happens in that day.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid also has outstanding pacing. In this book, the pages fly as Evelyn goes through seven husbands. An absolutely brilliantly crafted novel!
Top Domestic Suspense Novels of 2017
I do not read many psychological thrillers but I have LOVED these domestic suspense novels this year. Each is a very fast read. Who knew there were so many incredibly messed up marriages? Who knew these authors had such devious minds??
The Marriage Lie by Kimberley Belle, The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine, The Good Widow by Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke and Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda.
Favorite Authors’ Top Books of 2017
There are some authors that are my go-to’s. I read every book they publish. This year, this group of authors knocked it out of the park with excellent reads. “My” authors include:
Karma Brown- Karma is the only author who compels me to read a sad book and then apologizes to me that it was sad.
Jane Green- I am one of the literally 10 million people who read her books. I just wish she wrote 4 or 5 books a year.
Kristy Woodson Harvey– I love that Kristy has joined the ranks of the wonderful Southern fiction writers.
Sally Hepworth– Every one of her books is better than the last. And I feel like we are BFFs because of her instagram.
Steena Holmes- Her books tug at my heartstrings ever single time with such well-crafted stories.
Anita Hughes- Anita published THREE books in 2017. Wow!
Kevin Kwan- I aspire to have martinis with him one day soon and will be first in line for the Crazy Rich Asians movie.
Kerry Lonsdale- Kerry’s books have a cult-like following, including me.
Susan Meissner– Each and every one of her books is simply a treasure.
Lucinda Riley- I think I’d even read her grocery list. She can’t write the Seven Sisters series fast enough for me!
M.J. Rose- No one can make me believe in magic like M.J. Rose. She is also the most brilliant at book marketing.
Adriana Trigiani- Kiss Carlo is one of her very best and that is saying a great deal!
Karen White –I marvel at her plots and characters in every single book. And, her dry humor makes me laugh.
Beatriz Williams- Cocoa Beach is probably the best example of voice in a novel. Beatriz and her books rock.
Great Thoughts’ Top Non-Fiction Books of 2017
Guess what, I read non-fiction as well. Each of these books had so many points that stayed with me long after reading: Gretchen Carlson and Hillary Clinton for being groundbreakers, Katie Tur for her take on watching a campaign, Khizr Khan for a lesson in patriotism and sacrifice, Anna LeBaron for telling her unbelievable childhood story, the Bush twins for writing such an uplifting book and finally the Baldwin family for telling their story in hopes of preventing a similar event in another family.
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I received review copies of many of these books. All opinions are love for them are my own. Affiliate links.
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