Tuesday, December 26, 2017


I am borrowing an idea from a friend and RRBC author who listed her ten top favorite books for this year. I have read some incredibly good (great) books this year and all of my reading material has been by authors from Rave Reviews Book Club. I have read 80 books so narrowing them down to the top ten has not been an easy task.

These independent authors might not have a large publishing house behind them, but their talent is quite remarkable. I invite you to look them up on Amazon and purchase their books. You will not be disappointed...but be quite amazed.

The top ten books are given in alphabetical order only and my reviews:

                                      Circumstances of Childhood by John Howell

      When a former pro football star and broadcaster, now a Wall Street maven is accused of insider trading, will he be able to prove his innocence and expose those who are guilty?  https://www.amazon.com/Circumstances-Childhood-John-W-Howell-ebook/dp/B075SKWHCR/ref=sr

       I loved this book and had difficulty putting it down. Family, marriage, career, sports, success, legal/political intrigue, and spirituality. This book has it all. The author had me wondering at the beginning if this was a true story, but I soon realized that it was not. Each character is wonderfully portrayed and quite believable. I was disappointed in Greg's wife who changed so much from a young college student to an older, rich woman. I liked the part about the international plot in stealing money from Greg. I did not understand all the computer and technical part, but it did not take away from the storyline at all.
Wonderful, John. You are amazing.

                                            Dance of the Lights by Stephen Geez

   Frank relishes fast success and early retirement, but struggling to preserve his life’s work thrusts him into a desperate battle to protect the people he cares about most.

Beverly seeks a new beginning in Tarpon Springs—until those she trusts steal control of her destiny, forcing a fight for her very survival. https://www.amazon.com/Dance-Lights-Stephen-Geez-ebook/dp/B00540C8OM/ref=sr

     An interesting, thought-provoking, and spiritual story that surrounds the lives of a young boy growing 
up in a dysfunctional and poor home without a father, a neighbor who becomes the boy's adopted father, 
a young woman's tragic death whose life touched many deeply, and her mother who finds solace and 
purpose in her daughter's death. There are several subplots and yet they all blend together and the author 
does an excellent job in keeping the reader on track as to what is going on. The symbolism of the butterflies 
and the lights that danced were quite special and moving.
Strong characters that I came to know and appreciate. This is my first time to read a book by Mr. Geez, 
but it will not be the last.

                                      Next Therapist Please by Laurie Finkelstein

      Blessed with anxiety, depression, and OCD, Janie Weiss has seen her fair share of therapists throughout her life. So many, she doesn’t even refer to them by name, only by number. Some have helped her, some have not. But she has learned from all of them.https://www.amazon.com/Next-Therapist-Please-Laurie-Finkelstein-ebook/dp/B01NCJQU80/ref=sr

        I was very impressed with how well the author tackled some very emotional and challenging subjects so beautifully. Ms. Finkelstein used humor and seriousness in a well balanced way. Her movement from therapy sessions of the past, then to present life events was accomplished smoothly and efficiently. I never got 
confused as to what time period I was reading.
I look forward to reading more from this first time author.

                                     Pregnant Future by Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

If people know what the future holds in store for them, they will chose from one of two options: 
To go headlong in pursuit of their future, or to end it before it starts. That is where life stunts us. 
Because of this hidden future, we spend our lives as if we are swimming in troubled waters, not 
knowing which way to go, and choosing our directions by chance. 

     A wonderfully heartwarming story about one young Nigerian woman finding her way to womanhood
through education. It was interesting to learn about the Nigerian culture, the role of Catholicism, and the educational opportunities. The main character is quite intelligent and musically talented. She struggles 
in her relationships with men, the loss of a child, and a brutal drug-induced rape.

                                            Stranger Abduction by Billy Chitwood

It is a sunny Sunday in May, 1993. After church, a mother and her lovely fourteen-year old daughter 
walk three miles to a country store for cigarettes and ice cream. It is a walk members of the family 
often take in this rural Sulphur Springs Valley area of southeastern Arizona near the Mexican border. https://www.amazon.com/Stranger-Abduction-Billy-Chitwood-ebook/dp/B01K5ZRFS4/ref=sr

     A chilling and frightening account of a mother and daughter abduction. I appreciated that the author 
spared the reader of any details as to how they were treated sexually and physically. They are kept in a 
drugged state which affects their memory, ability to try to escape, and communicate with one another. I 
never lost interest in the book which was a page turner.
The role of the sheriff and his own personal struggles and successes are nicely woven in without distracting 
from the abduction. Well edited.

                                                  Tabula Rasa by Gordon Bickerstaff

 A hundred years ago, a wealthy family of visionaries prophesied the devastation that global warming would bring to world food supplies in the 21st century. They decided to prepare for the worst, and 
embark on an ambitious plan of revolution. https://www.amazon.com/Tabula-Rasa-Lambeth-Group-Thriller-ebook/dp/B0725NFW17/ref=sr

      A fast paced, action-packed story of intrigue, murder, and a new order for the planet Earth. Zoe, her 
brother Michael, and friend Gavin all work together to save most of the earth's population from annihilation 
by a group of scientists.
Well written and highly recommend this book.

                                         The Cottage on the Border by Hannah Warren

Jenna's earliest memory is of her mother's feet dangling in dust motes, as a three
year old left orphaned while her mother's corpse hungfrom a beam. Her mother
committed suicide, that's how she escaped and freed herself. When her own life
falls apart Jenna's earliest memory becomes her anchor, she too wants to be free.

      I enjoyed this book and found it to be a page turner. Well described characters and scenery. 
The author did a good job of moving us back and forth in time. An interesting plot as the main 
character seeks to understand her mother's suicide, her adoptive family, and who was her 
biological father.

                                               The Merchant's Pearl by Amie O'Brien

  As a missionary's daughter, Sarai was taught that love and faith conquer all. But when her parents 
are murdered, she quickly learns that the world doesn't stop for love.

    A very well-written love story between a Prince and his concubine. Their genuine and unconditional 
love is beautifully described. I could not put the book down and was "disappointed" that it is part of a saga. Anxious to read the next book in this series.
There is history, culture, and intimacy.  

                                               There Is A Reaper by Michael Lynes

    FIVE-YEAR-OLD CHRISTOPHER AARON has always been a whirlwind of heroic action, leading 
his brothers into all sorts of youthful mischief. A mysterious illness suddenly plunges him and his family
into a frightening nightmare of hospitals and doctors and extreme therapies far from his small-town 
home. Can his doctors diagnose his strange disease? How will he and his family adapt to a bizarre 
new world they have been thrust into? https://www.amazon.com/There-Reaper-Losing-Child-Cancer-ebook/dp/B00XNZW6C4/ref=sr

     One of the best books I have read. It is very spiritual, moving, informative, and uplifting. I cannot imagine 
what it must be like to lose a child, but this book made me feel like I was part of their family going through 
all the emotions together. It is a must read for everyone.

                              Tokyo Hearts: Japanese Love Story by Renae Lucas-Hall

          A fascinating exploration of life in modern-day Japan, Tokyo Hearts is a poignant love story 
that will catapult you directly onto the fashionable streets of this nation’s capital and into the hearts 
of Takashi and Haruka. https://www.amazon.com/Tokyo-Hearts-Japanese-Love-Story-ebook/dp/B008HT2LQC/ref=sr

    A very well written story about two Japanese people who are friends, Yuriko and Haruka. Their relationship 
is unique and special; they come from different areas of Japan; they each have their strengths and 
weaknesses. The descriptions of the areas of Japan, the earthquakes, the attractions, restaurants, food, and dress were wonderful. The plot always left me guessing how it would end...it ended the way I hope it would.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading more by the author.

Thank you for taking the time to read this blog. I invite you to leave your comments or questions. These authors and I would love to hear from you.
And, I invite you to become a follower of this blog which is designed for authors and avid readers.


  1. Great list, Karen! Many of these are on my Kindle to read, so this helps remind me of where to go next:)

    1. It was difficult to narrow it down to just ten. I am so impressed with the talent on RRBC.

  2. Great lineup, Karen. Just added Tokyo Hearts to my kindle and have other listed already there.

    1. I loved Tokyo Hearts and am now anxious to read the second book.

  3. Fabulous share, Karen! Thank you. Happy New Year to you and yours! XO

    1. Thank you Natalie. It was very difficult to narrow the list down to ten. Happy New Year to you also.