Tag Archives: it takes one to tango

The Best Books I Read in 2017


Looking for a few good reads this coming year?

Here is a list of a books I read (that were not necessarily published) in 2017, that I also rated 5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads.  I have included three books each from three separate categories. Enjoy!


The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime – Mark Haddon

I saw the play, so I knew what was coming. But I was still crying all the way driving home from work as the story ended. It’s a great story in general, but the narration is fantastic. I highly recommend this on audio. (My review here.)





Behold the Dreamers – Imbolo Mbue

I didn’t know anything about this book in advance, only that it was recommended on audio. Man, is the narrator fantastic with the voices! This immigration novel will pull at your heartstrings. (You can read my short review in this post.)




Kitchens of the Great Midwest – J. Ryan Stradal

Yes, I listened to and recommended it last year. Yes, I listened to it again – this time, with my husband. He loved it, too. I have no regrets of duplicating those hours. I love this book.






Dinner: A Love Story – Jenny

This cookbook reads like a novel. That’s how I read cookbooks; so it was a match made in heaven. After checking it out from the library, I purchased my own copy. Which reminds me, those beef short ribs aren’t going to braise themselves. I need to open that one back up!



Well Fed: Weeknights – Mel Joulwan

This is another cookbook that got me excited to purchase my own copy. Now that I have it, I need to go back through, flag those pages and do some cooking! I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, you don’t need to be Paleo to enjoy this cookbook. (I’m not.) Joulwan will teach you how to cook without you even realizing it.


Five Ingredients, 10 Minutes – Jules Clancy

You already knew this, since I declared it the Best Cookbook You’ve Never Read! I’m still making my way through it and must say that I never knew how quickly tasty and satisfying meals could come together! I’ve got more results to post!




It Takes One to Tango – Winifred M Reilly

I wasn’t even looking for this book; but it is one of the best books I’ve read all year! It came up in a list of books about marriage that are actually useful. I read it on a whim and found it a surprisingly quick and eye-opening read. Whether you think your marriage is on the rocks or you just have the same little arguments over and over again, this book is for you.




Bon Appetempt –  Amelia Morris(I just reilaed this was also on Audio, but the audio isn’t the reason I liked it, where those 3 books above are great on Audio!

I just realized that I listened to this one on audio, but I didn’t put it in that category. You don’t have to listen to this one audio; so it fits fine here. In fact, I bought the printed book afterward because I wanted the recipes she described and read to me! We all have been on our own culinary journey as our knowledge of cooking and taste buds evolve. This is one woman’s story. And I liked it.




Obama: An Intimate Portrait: The Historic Presidency in Photographs – Pete Souza

This is an absolutely beautiful and historic coffee table book! The amount of work and hours Souza put in to capture all of these moments, both personal and professional, both joyous and heart-wrenching blows my mind. This is dedication to work and the result is stunning.




Rules of Civility – Amor Towles

It’s not common that I check a work of fiction out from a library and then promptly purchase the book after I’ve read it because I know I will be re-reading it in the future. You can read my review in this post.





This is How It Always Is – Laurie Frankel

Whoa. I had no idea what this book was about before I opened it. It may have taken me a bit to get into; but I was thinking about it for weeks afterward. I don’t want to give too much away… but you can find my review at the end of this post.






A Dog’s Way Home – W. Bruce Cameron

I love Cameron’s books written from a dog’s perspective. (I never did see the movie adaptation of A Dog’s Purpose.) But this one may just be his best yet. My husband doesn’t like to read books about dogs because he always fears that the dog will die and he will be sad. Don’t worry, that is not the case here. (I’m not giving it away, the title tells you that!) So worth the read, especially if you are a dog lover.








The Deal of a Lifetime – Fredrik Backman

The author of a Man Called Ove conceptualized this book by thinking What If? And it is such a good one that takes place on Christmas Eve. It might be completely different from anything you’ve ever read… or maybe it isn’t. But it’s quick, easy and thought-provoking. I really enjoyed reading it this holiday season.






If you had one book to pick to recommend that I read in the New Year, what would it be?


5 for Friday: What I’ve Been Reading (that’s not a holiday book)


Although I haven’t been posting much, I’ve still been reading a bit. Most recently I’ve posted on some good and a few not so great holiday books I read last year and a couple I’ve read this year, too. Now here’s a quick list of non-holiday/non-seasonal books I’ve read recently, too.

I’ve got the quite the variety of books in this list, including a comic book, a cookbook, an audiobook, a book of short stories and a self-improvement book! I’ve been running quite the gamut as of late!


Real Friends
by Shannon Hale 
(fiction, comic book) – worth a read

I received this book sort of by accident. My 10-year-old nephew said he wanted a comic book for his birthday back in November and this book came highly rated. I promptly ordered it from Amazon. But after thumbing through it, it seemed like more of a book for girls; or at least one that I didn’t think my nephew would enjoy. I gave him this comic book making kit instead for his birthday and decided that Real Friends was better suited for my friend’s 10-year-old daughter. But not without me gently reading it first!

I think it is a perfect read for that 8 to 12-year-old range. Hale draws from her own childhood experience on what it feels like to navigate the friend world as a young girl. At some points, I thought some of the ways the mean girls treated the protagonist were harsh; but then, that is real life. We all work through handling people who are unkind and discovering who our true friends are. You can read this in one sitting if you’d like to read it before your child.


Paleo Indulgences
by Tammy Credicott 
(nonfiction, cookbook) – skip

After Reading Creditcott’s Make Ahead Paleo, and being pleasantly surprised, I almost immediately gave this book a shot. I quickly realized this book is not for me. There were too many ingredients for recipes that are meant to be indulgent. If you are Paleo or gluten-free, however, this book might be for you.


What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky
by Lesley Nneka Arimah (fiction, short stories) – on the fence

This book got such great reviews! I love short stories because they usually make me feel like I’m flying through the book. However, this one took me some time to get into and didn’t really grip me to the point I wanted to continue reading. I did, however trudge along. While there are some really important stories in here; they just weren’t doing it for me at the time.


Lincoln in the Bardo
by George Saunders (historical fiction, audiobook) – skip

I had such high hopes for this book! It had such stellar reviews, especially the audiobook, boasting a cast of 166 narrators! I think that was the record. However, I went in knowing absolutely nothing about it. We started the audiobook on our way to Green Bay for Christmas and were quickly confused after the first chapter. The “cast of characters” were narrators of people’s other books. I had to stop the audio and read the back of the CD case:

Say what? We weren’t getting any of that! All of these narrators were citing one liners from other works and then stating the title and or author followed by “op. cit.” It was highly annoying to listen to that every five seconds. I think if I read the book, I’d be happy that to have that info if I’d want to research or read further; but I wouldn’t read those things aloud or in my mind!

Saunders obviously did his due diligence in collecting the facts on what the loss of his son was like to Lincoln; but then to add in a whole new realm of paranormal was just strange. To be quite honest; I let Rob listen to the rest of the CD since he was driving while I tuned it out and read old magazines instead! He said that after he understood and got used to all of the “op. cit.” nonsense, he rather enjoyed the story. (He does enjoy ghost and horror stories, though.) Still, he did not enjoy it enough to finish when we returned home before the end of the last CD.

Maybe reading the book rather than listening to it would have been a whole different experience for me; but I’m not sure. I’ve read other reviews that it reads kind of wonky and more like a play. But I particularly didn’t like that I was led to believe that the 166 narrators was more of a cast. If audiobooks are going to hire more than one narrator, it should be more of a performance!


It Takes One to Tango:
How I Rescued My Marriage with (Almost) No Help from My Spouse – 

and How You Can, Too
by Winifred M. Reilly (non-fiction) – must read

I wasn’t in search of this; but I found it recommended in an email of top books about marriage that are actually helpful. I looked up those books to see if any were at my library. This one was just published this year; so I put my name on the wait list and forgot about it. When it became available, it wasn’t a book I was actually in the mood to read. But it ended up being one I read very quickly and probably one of the best books I’ve read all year!

Whether you are married (or even cohabiting, I’d say) and are worried your relationship is doomed OR if you are just having the same nitpicky arguments and jabs over and over again with no resolution, this book is for you!

I learned so much about myself and about human nature, in general. This is a book I am going to purchase and one I’ll be gifting.

Are there any books you’ve been surprised you’ve liked or hated recently?