My List of Favorite Books for 2017

I’ve read a lot of books this past year. Some were ones I’ve read once (so far). Other’s were repeats I’ve read again this year.

So, I’m going to break it down by category.

Science Fiction/Young Adult

Starstruck by Brenda Hiatt.

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From Amazon: The middle of nowhere just got a lot more interesting!

Nerdy astronomy geek Marsha, M to her few friends, has never been anybody special. Orphaned as an infant and reluctantly raised by an overly-strict “aunt,” she’s not even sure who she is. M’s dream of someday escaping tiny Jewel, Indiana and making her mark in the world seems impossibly distant until hot new quarterback Rigel inexplicably befriends her. As Rigel turns his back on fawning cheerleaders to spend time with M, strange things start to happen: her acne clears up, her eyesight improves to the point she can ditch her thick glasses, and when they touch, sparks fly–literally! When M digs for a reason, she discovers deep secrets that will change her formerly mundane life forever . . . and expose her to perils she never dreamed of.

Book 1 of the award-winning Starstruck series, where teen romance blends with science fiction to open a whole new world of action, adventure and discovery.


Jalapeno Cupcake Wench by Carol Kilgore.


From Amazon: A hot and spicy taste of murder—and beyond.

Law enforcement consultant Gracie Hofner is assigned to a trendy San Antonio pastry shop to watch for a delivery. In addition to the intoxicating aromas of sugar and chocolate, she also has to fight her own attraction to the man working beside her, Donovan Beck. He’s a hunk and a half and perfect for a spring fling.

If she had more time, Donovan would rank higher on her to-do list. But the number one spot is occupied by her search for a missing little girl, the target of a killer. Gracie needs to find her pronto, and the odd super-instinct quirk that’s started plaguing her may help. If not, she can always see what happens if it tells her to buy a lottery ticket.

Jalapeno Cupcake Wench is the first book in The Amazing Gracie Trilogy, a story so big, it takes three books to tell it.

Contemporary Fiction

Storytime at the Villa Maria by Constance Walker.



STORYTIME AT THE VILLA MARIA is a novel of love, hope, joy, compassion, anger and all the human emotions that go to make up a person’s life no matter what their chronological age.
Dominick, who married “the most beautiful woman in the world”…
Sophie, who is haunted by terrifying memories of the Holocaust…
Ella, who made “sweet apple pies” for her war veteran husband…
Tom, whose music lured women into his arms…
Artie, who is plagued by the ghosts of long-dead soldiers…
Frank, who can’t let go of his yesterdays, though a better tomorrow beckons…
Join them and other senior citizens as they gather every Monday night in the library at the Villa Maria Senior Citizens Apartment House to share their memories, their fears, and their dreams.

Historical Fiction

The Midwife’s Revolt by Jodi Daynard.


From Amazon: Book 1 of 3

On a dark night in 1775, Lizzie Boylston is awakened by the sound of cannons. From a hill south of Boston, she watches as fires burn in Charlestown, in a battle that she soon discovers has claimed her husband’s life.

Alone in a new town, Lizzie grieves privately but takes comfort in her deepening friendship with Abigail Adams. Soon, word spreads of Lizzie’s extraordinary midwifery and healing skills, and she begins to channel her grief into caring for those who need her. But when two traveling patriots are poisoned, Lizzie finds herself with far more complicated matters on her hands—she suspects a political plot intended to harm Abigail and her family. Determined to uncover the truth, Lizzie becomes entangled in a conspiracy that could not only destroy her livelihood—and her chance at finding love again—but also lead to the downfall of a new nation.


A tie.

Evidence Explained 3rd Edition Revised by Elizabeth Shown Mills.


From Amazon: EVIDENCE EXPLAINED is the definitive guide for all who explore history. It is based on one principle: We cannot judge the reliability of any information we find, unless we know exactly where the information came from and the strengths and weaknesses of that source. More than a thousand citation models for U.S. and international sources show us how to cite both original documents and their derivatives—in printed, filmed, and digital formats.

EE guides users through a maze of historical records and artifacts not covered by other citation manuals—from town halls and county courthouses to state and federal government agencies, as well as corporate, church, and private archives. It treats artifacts and memorials in both public venues and personal collections. It demonstrates how to handle the quirks that regularly stump us when we use the relics of past societies.

Beyond citation models, EE helps us understand each type of record and identify each in such detail that we and our readers will know not only “where to go to find our source” but also understand the nature of that source, so that the evidence can be better interpreted and the accuracy of our conclusions can be appraised.

EVIDENCE EXPLAINED differs from other citation manuals in one other key regard. Traditional guides emphasize “output”—the bare essentials needed, at publication, to identify sources while minimizing publication costs. EE focuses upon “input,” identifying the information researchers should record in the research stage—not just the basic identification of the source, but all the details essential to textual criticism, thorough analyses, and sound conclusions.

A 4-page QuickStart Guide, tucked into the front flyleaf of this third edition, provides a crash course for new users.

The Family Tree Guide to DNA Testing and Genetic Genealogy by Blaine T Bettinger.

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From Amazon: Unlock the secrets in your DNA!

Discover the answers to your family history mysteries using the most-cutting edge tool available. This plain-English guide is a one-stop resource for how to use DNA testing for genealogy. Inside, you’ll find guidance on what DNA tests are available, plus the methodologies and pros and cons of the three major testing companies and advice on choosing the right test to answer your specific genealogy questions. And once you’ve taken a DNA test, this guide will demystify the often-overwhelming subject and explain how to interpret DNA test results, including how to understand ethnicity estimates and haplogroup designations, navigate suggested cousin matches, and use third-party tools like GEDmatch to further analyze your data. To give you a holistic view of genetic testing for ancestry, the book also discusses the ethics and future of genetic genealogy, as well as how adoptees and others who know little about their ancestry can especially benefit from DNA testing.

The book features:

  • Colorful diagrams and expert definitions that explain key DNA terms and concepts such as haplogroups and DNA inheritance patterns
  • Detailed guides to each of the major kinds of DNA tests and which tests can solve which family mysteries, with case studies showing how each can be useful
  • Information about third-party tools you can use to more thoroughly analyze your test results once you’ve received them
  • Test comparison guides and research forms to help you select the most appropriate DNA test and organize your results and research once you’ve been tested

Whether you’ve just heard of DNA testing or you’ve tested at all three major companies, this guide will give you the tools you need to unpuzzle your DNA and discover what it can tell you about your family tree.

Guilty Pleasure Reading

This one isn’t new. But if I’m going to be honest, I love anything Outlander by Diana Gabaldon.

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From Amazon: (Really who hasn’t heard of this series?) OUTLANDER
Scottish Highlands, 1945. Claire Randall, a former British combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.

Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of a world that threatens her life, and may shatter her heart. Marooned amid danger, passion, and violence, Claire learns her only chance of safety lies in Jamie Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior. What begins in compulsion becomes urgent need, and Claire finds herself torn between two very different men, in two irreconcilable lives.

So, there’s my list of books that made my 2017 list.

What books did you discover this year, or read again?

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