Favorite Books of 2017, Must Reads!

I love to read so much. I carve out as much time as I can to sit with a book every day. I read memoirs, biographies, true crime, women’s fiction and my latest favorite genre, suspense/mystery. Not only do I love others words, I also write a lot. My book, The Blondes of Bel Air, is out now and available on Barnes and Noble, Amazon and from the publisher, Black Rose Writing. I’d love nothing more than to turn this story of two spoiled Bel Air teens into a tv series. I hope you read it and love it!
I didn’t think I was going to meet my Goodreads challenge of reading 90 books during 2017 but I made it! I read 92 books this year and I wanted to share my favorites with you here.
Take a look and let me know what books you loved during 2017!

2017 Favorite Books

Peter Swanson writes page-turners that hook you with interesting plots and complex characters. I am in awe of talented authors like him who can write book after book that are all captivating.
All The Beautiful Lies had me reading into the wee hours, I just cannot put down a good book! Here’s what you need to know:
Harry Ackerson has always considered his stepmother Alice to be sexy and beautiful, in an “otherworldly” way. She has always been kind and attentive, if a little aloof in the last few years.
Days before his college graduation, Alice calls with shocking news. His father is dead and the police think it’s suicide. Devastated, Harry returns to his father’s home in Maine. There, he and Alice will help each other pick up of the pieces of their lives and uncover what happened to his father.
Shortly after he arrives, Harry meets a mysterious young woman named Grace McGowan. Though she claims to be new to the area, Harry begins to suspect that Grace may not be a complete stranger to his family. But she isn’t the only attractive woman taking an interest in Harry. The sensual Alice is also growing closer, coming on to him in an enticing, clearly sexual way.
Mesmerized by these two women, Harry finds himself falling deeper under their spell. Yet the closer he gets to them, the more isolated he feels, disoriented by a growing fear that both women are hiding dangerous—even deadly—secrets . . . and that neither one is telling the truth.
Behold The Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue topped my best books list thanks to sympathetic characters and a storyline that pulls at your heartstrings. This is the authors first novel and wow, what an incredible accomplishment.
This is on my best-of list because it wasn’t a plot that particularly interested me but it was the authors writing and the characters of this story that had me absolutely hooked and when I look back on my favorite stories, this one comes to mind immediately.
Jende Jonga, a Cameroonian immigrant living in Harlem, has come to the United States to provide a better life for himself, his wife, Neni, and their six-year-old son. In the fall of 2007, Jende can hardly believe his luck when he lands a job as a chauffeur for Clark Edwards, a senior executive at Lehman Brothers. Clark demands punctuality, discretion, and loyalty—and Jende is eager to please. Clark’s wife, Cindy, even offers Neni temporary work at the Edwardses’ summer home in the Hamptons. With these opportunities, Jende and Neni can at last gain a foothold in America and imagine a brighter future.
However, the world of great power and privilege conceals troubling secrets, and soon Jende and Neni notice cracks in their employers’ façades.
When the financial world is rocked by the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the Jongas are desperate to keep Jende’s job—even as their marriage threatens to fall apart. As all four lives are dramatically upended, Jende and Neni are forced to make an impossible choice.

If you read a lot then you know that you’ve probably read every variation of every plot in books. We’ve seen the same idea recycled over and over especially with suspense and thrillers. Along comes The Last Mrs. Parrish and WHAT JUST HAPPENED?! This book was SO GOOD.
From the very beginning, I liked the writing and the storyline.  There’s a twist that I won’t reveal but its what sent this book right to my Best Books list!
Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne and her husband, Jackson—the beautiful philanthropist and the confident real estate mogul—are a golden couple straight out of a fairytale, blessed with two lovely young daughters.
Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrish family, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces. 
The Party by Robyn Harding was a book I read in one day because I just had to see what was going to happen. This book takes a simple idea and shows how one act can impact the lives of several people in many ways. I am happy to see this book mentioned all over the place as it deserves the accolades its received from many outlets.
Sweet sixteen. It’s an exciting coming of age, a milestone, and a rite of passage. Jeff and Kim Sanders plan on throwing a party for their daughter, Hannah—a sweet girl with good grades and nice friends. Rather than an extravagant, indulgent affair, they invite four girls over for pizza, cake, movies, and a sleepover. What could possibly go wrong?
But things do go wrong, horrifically so. After a tragic accident occurs, Jeff and Kim’s flawless life in a wealthy San Francisco suburb suddenly begins to come apart. In the ugly aftermath, friends become enemies, dark secrets are revealed in the Sanders’ marriage, and the truth about their perfect daughter, Hannah, is exposed.
Characters that are different and misunderstood are my favorite. I like an underdog and one that can soar through adversity. So Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman was a book that absolutely touched my heart!
Meet Eleanor Oliphant. She struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully time-tabled life of avoiding social interactions, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy. 
Then everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen on the sidewalk, the three become the kinds of friends who rescue one another from the lives of isolation they have each been living–and it is Raymond’s big heart that will ultimately help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one.
I got a sneak peek of The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn and devoured it. This was one of those books that I almost didn’t want to finish because I didn’t want to story to end. You know how after a really good book, you worry the next one won’t be as good? Is that a problem only book nerds have? Well, I didn’t want to finish this because I worried the next novel I picked up wasn’t going to grab me like this.
I enjoyed everything about this creepy suspense!
It’s been ten long months since Anna Fox last left her home. Ten months during which she has haunted the rooms of her old New York house like a ghost, lost in her memories, too terrified to step outside.
Anna’s lifeline to the real world is her window, where she sits day after day, watching her neighbours. When the Russells move in, Anna is instantly drawn to them. A picture-perfect family of three, they are an echo of the life that was once hers.
But one evening, a frenzied scream rips across the silence, and Anna witnesses something no one was supposed to see. Now she must do everything she can to uncover the truth about what really happened. But even if she does, will anyone believe her? And can she even trust herself?
Memoirs are one of my very favorite genres, I find people’s stories so incredible. What the human spirit can go through is mind-boggling.
Gayle Brandeis has written a touching, emotional, brilliant memoir, The Art of Misdiagnosis, which I was lucky to read while Gayle was finishing up writing it. Gayle has been a friend for many, many years so this book was especially meaningful to me because I knew her while she was going through some of what she writes about. This book is not to be missed, its just fantastic. And Gayle’s writing is always so beautiful and poetic, she’s a gem.
Gayle Brandeis’s mother disappeared just after Gayle gave birth to her youngest child. Several days later, her body was found: she had hanged herself in the utility closet of a Pasadena parking garage. In this searing, formally inventive memoir, Gayle describes the dissonance between being a new mother, a sweet-smelling infant at her chest, and a grieving daughter trying to piece together what happened, who her mother was, and all she had and hadn’t understood about her.
Around the time of her suicide, Gayle’s mother had been working on a documentary about the rare illnesses she thought ravaged her family: porphyria and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. In The Art of Misdiagnosis, taking its title from her mother’s documentary, Gayle braids together her own narration of the charged weeks surrounding her mother’s suicide, transcripts of her mother’s documentary, research into delusional and factitious disorders, and Gayle’s own experience with misdiagnosis and illness (both fabricated and real). Slowly and expertly, The Art of Misdiagnosis peels back the complicated layers of deception and complicity, of physical and mental illness in Gayle’s family, to show how she and her mother had misdiagnosed one another.
I also loved YOU by Caroline Kepnes, Best Friends Forever by Margot Hunt (due out in January), The Breakdown by B.A. Paris, Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda, and The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel.

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