Well, it's that time again. It's been over 13 months since I posted Volume VII. For those of you who started reading my blog after 2/16/15, FFTNFR stands for Fiction for the Non-Fiction Reader. These are books that I think everybody would like, even those who typically only read non-fiction. And I've got some beauties for you. One of them is even in my top 25 all-time (4.25/4), and a 2nd one came in right below (4+/4). I also snuck in one non-fiction, although it's very different from the non-fiction I normally read.
Let us begin. They are in the order that I read them:
Jeffrey Archer - Be Careful What You Wish For. This is book 4 in the Clifton Chronicles. Every book is at least as good, if not better, than the one before it. A friend of mine just read #6 and said that it annoyed him that every book ended with a cliffhanger. I guess that's one of the appeals for me. Some series are episodic, where each book wraps up. Those are good too. But I love the way Archer makes me hunger for the next one.
Dennis Lehane - The Given Day. I had never read any Lehanes until last Spring. And the only reason I read it is because I made a deal with somebody who came to my rec table at Recycle Books. She agreed to read The Source, and I said I would read The Given Day. It's about 2 generations of Boston Police in 1917. There is one policeman in the book that is so loathsome that I actually felt my blood boil when he committed a super heinous act.
Jeffrey Archer - Mightier than the Sword. Yep, you guessed it. It's book 5. And it is as good as 4, which is definitely saying something.
Bella Andre/Jennifer Skully - Breathless in Love. This is - get ready - a romance! It's my 88th book in the FFTNFR lists. And it's my 1st romance. It's just that darn good. The series is called The Billionaires. There are 5 buddies in their mid-30s who all (except for one) started out with rough childhoods and who have become self-made billionaires. In this one, the romance is between one of the 5 and a woman who has an 18-year old brother with special needs and who she takes care of. There's a lot of heart in this story. In fact, there is even a life lesson I took from this book and am trying to live by. And I thought I was already perfect! Go figure!
Sarah Jio - Goodnight June. This is the 4+/4 that I mentioned earlier. I loved this book. It's the story of a 35-year old banker in New York whose sole function is to foreclose on small businesses that fall behind in their payments. Nice, right? It turns out that she has to come back to Seattle and sell the children's bookstore of her great-aunt, who has just passed away. She does not count on what she finds when she gets there. BTW, it's no coincidence that Goodnight June sounds a lot like Goodnight Moon. That's all I'm saying about that.
Ken Follett - Edge of Eternity. This is book 3 in the Century Trilogy. 1 & 2 are both in my top 25, and this one makes it too. Edge focuses a lot on the '60s. So we get a bunch of JFK, Bobby Kennedy, and MLK. Nobody combines historical figures with fictional characters better than Follett. And let's not forget that Pillars of the Earth is in my top 3 all-time (along with The Source and Shogun).
Kristin Hannah - The Nightingale. This one is all about the German occupation of France during WWII. The focus is on the French women and families left behind when their men went off to fight. It's a unique and largely untold part of the war.
JoJo Moyes - After You. You all know what I thought about Me Before You. It's in my FFTNFR, Volume 6 (and it's coming to the big screen in June). Well, this one is the sequel. And it's almost as good.
Atul Gawande - Being Mortal. I've had non-fiction in my FFTNFR volumes before. But never have I had one like this. The premise for Being Mortal, which was written by a neurosurgeon, is that modern medicine has done a great job of extending lives and a lousy job of giving those extended lives meaning. This is a fascinating look at that phenomenon. It even prompted me to have a conversation with my adult children about my end-of-life wishes (I'm not that old...but I'm not that young either!).
Bella Andre/Jennifer Skully - Reckless in Love. Being as smart as you all are, you have correctly figured out that this is the romantic story of one of the other billonaires. And it's just about as good.
Barry Eisler - The God's Eye View. This is 1 of 2 books on the list that come from 2016. I've always liked Barry's books. His John Rain series is one of my favorites. This is a standalone, though, that fictionalizes what it must really be like behind the scenes at the NSA. Barry was in covert operations with the CIA for 3 years. And this feels very non-fiction-like - and pretty darn scary.
Harlan Coben - Fool Me Once. I know, I know. He's always on my lists. But here's a news flash - this might be his best standalone yet. It's hard to believe, but true. A special ops war veteran marries, has a child, and then watches as her husband is murdered. There is absolutely NOTHING about this book that is figure-out-able (at least for me). I was surprised every step of the way. And did I cry a lot at the end? Uh, that would be a big YEP.
There you have it, people. Volume VIII is now complete. As many/most of you know, there are reviews on my blog for each of these books. If you want any of the dates, let me know. I will be happy to provide them. And try to get your hands on some of these books. I wouldn't steer you wrong.