2018 In Review: Lisa’s Top 10 Novels


Okay, I’ve had dinner and now I’m ready to get back to sharing my picks for the best of 2018!

We’ve now come to my 10 favorite novels of 2018.  I hate to say it but I didn’t read as many new novels as I should have this year.  I read a lot of old James Bond novels and I inherited about a dozen vintage Choose Your Own Adventure Books.  Those kept me pretty busy.

Plus, I also traveled a lot last year and I was also sick for several days.  I’ve always assumed that traveling and having a serious sinus infection would lead to reading more books and not less.  But apparently, it doesn’t work that way.  That sucked.

PLUS — I WASTED AN ENTIRE WEEK TRYING TO MAKE MY WAY THROUGH THAT SEAN PENN NOVEL!  Goddammit….

(Yes, it’s an extremely short novel but it didn’t feel short when I was reading it….)

Anyway, of the 2018 novels that I did read, here’s my top ten! 

  1. The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
  2. Need to Know by Karen Cleveland
  3. The Echo Killing by Christi Daugherty
  4. A Duke by Default by Alyssa Cole
  5. Hello Stranger by Lisa Kleypas
  6. Devil’s Day by Andrew Michael Hurley
  7. Wicked and the Wallflowers by Sarah Maclean
  8. Ghost Virus by Graham Masterson
  9. Hating you, Loving You by Crystal Kaswell
  10. The Chalk Man by C.J. Tudor

Up next, my ten favorite non-fiction books of 2018!

Lisa Looks Back at 2018:

  1. Ten Worst Films of 2018
  2. The Best of Lifetime
  3. The Best of SyFy

Book Review: Night of the Ripper by Robert Bloch


As you might guess from the title, Night of the Ripper is set in London in 1888.  A shadowy figure is haunting the foggy alleyways of Whitechapel, savagely murdering prostitutes, terrifying the public, and leaving the police baffled.  In the taunting letters that he writes to the authorities, he says that his name is Jack.

Jack the Ripper, to be exact.

With both high and low society demanding an end to the murders, can the respected and determined Inspector Abberline discover the true identity of Jack the Ripper and bring his reign of terror to an end?  Helping him out will be an American doctor named Mark Robinson.  Robinson is an expert in a developing science called psychology but will that be enough?

*sigh*

This 1984 novel from Robert Bloch is an unfortunate misfire.  I say that as someone who has spent a countless amount of time reading about the murders and all of the identified suspects.  (Back in March, when Jeff and I were in London, we went on one of those Jack the Ripper walking tours.  It was wonderfully creepy!)  A century after his crimes, Jack the Ripper continues to fascinate us because, not only was he the first widely identified serial killer, but it also appears that he got away with it.  The police may have speculated that Jack was a disgraced lawyer who committed suicide after the murder of Mary Kelly but they never actually presented any evidence to back that up.  Over the last 130 years, countless people have been accused of being Jack the Ripper, everyone from an anonymous Russian doctor to Lewis Carroll to the son of Queen Victoria.  Solely based on the fact that she didn’t care much for his paintings, Patricia Cornwell wrote an entire book arguing that the artist Walter Sickert was the murderer.  In all probability, Jack the Ripper was an anonymous nobody but he’s become such a huge figure in the popular imagination that it’s difficult for many to accept that he was probably just a sexually dysfunctional loser who hated women.  Instead, elaborate conspiracy theories are pursued and films like Murder by Decree and From Hell are produced.

Bloch’s novel features plenty of prominent Victorians, though none of them are identified as suspects.  Oscar Wilde, Joseph Merrick, Conan Doyle, and Robert Lees all show up and then quickly disappear from the story.  When Bloch does eventually reveal the identity of Jack the Ripper, he turns out to be a minor character who was first introduced just a few chapters previously.  It’s a bit of a letdown.

Actually, the whole book is a letdown.  It comes across as if it was written in haste and Bloch’s attempt to give the story some gravitas by opening the final few chapters be describing ancient torture methods doesn’t really have the effect that I presume he was going for.  It’s a disappointment because, after all, this is Robert Bloch that we’re talking about.  Bloch not only wrote Psycho but he also wrote Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper, one of the best short stories ever written about Jack.

Read the short story but avoid the novel.  And if you ever get a chance to take a Jack the Ripper walking tour, do it!

2017 In Review: Lisa Marie’s 12 Favorite Novels of 2017!


I wish I had read more in 2017.  I really dropped the ball last year but I’m going to make up for it this year!

With all that in mind, here are my 12 favorite novels of 2017!

  1. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn
  2. Magpie Murders: A Novel by Anthony Horowitz
  3. Into the Water by Paula Hawkins
  4. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate
  5. Without Merit by Colleen Hoover
  6. Final Girls by Riley Sager
  7. Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire
  8. Wait For It by Mariana Zapata
  9. The Ghost Writer by Alessandra Torre
  10. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
  11. The Grip of it By Jac Jemc
  12. Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig

My look back at 2017 will conclude next week.  On Monday, I’ll post my picks for the best non-fiction books of 2017.  On Wednesday, I’ll post my picks for the best of 2017 Lifetime.  And then, on Friday, my picks for the best 26 films of 2017!

(My apologies for dragging things out but I do need the extra time so I can catch up on a few films that I missed in 2017.)

Previous entries in the TSL’s Look Back at 2017:

  1. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Single Issues by Ryan C
  2. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Series by Ryan C
  3. 2017 In Review: Top Ten Collected Edition (Contemporary) by Ryan C
  4. 2017 In Review: Top Ten Collected Editions (Vintage) by Ryan C
  5. 2017 in Review: Top Ten Graphic Novels By Ryan C
  6. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I saw in 2017 by Valerie Troutman
  7. My Top 15 Albums of 2017 by Necromoonyeti
  8. 2017 In Review: Lisa Marie’s Picks For the 16 Worst Films of 2017
  9. 2017 In Review: Lisa Marie’s Final Post About Twin Peaks: The Return (for now)
  10. 2017 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 14 Favorite Songs of 2017
  11. 2017 in Review: The Best of SyFy by Lisa Marie Bowman
  12. 2017 in Review: 10 Good Things that Lisa Marie Saw On Television in 2017

2016 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 20 Favorite Novels of 2016


Right now, I’m in the process of taking a look back at some of my favorite things from the previous year.  Yesterday, I posted a list of my favorite non-fiction books of 2016.  Today, I post my 20 favorite novels!

All of these are worth reading and in fact, I insist that you do.  Let’s enjoy the written word while we can because, sadly, the future holds only illiteracy and propaganda.

hex

  1. Hex by Thomas Olde Heuvelt
  2. All the Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
  3. The Wonder by Emma Donoghue
  4. The Butterfly Garden by Dot Hutchison
  5. All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
  6. Moonglow by Michael Chabon
  7. Girls on Fire by Robin Wasserman
  8. The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware
  9. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
  10. The Queen of the Night by Alexander Chee
  11. My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout
  12. The Girls by Emma Cline
  13. Ink and Bone by Lisa Unger
  14. The Widow by Fiona Barton
  15. My Best Friend’s Exorcism by Grady Hendrix
  16. The Last Days of Jack Sparks by Jason Arnopp
  17. The Empty Ones by Robert Brockway
  18. The Regional Office is Under Attack! by Manuel Gonzales
  19. Ways to Disappear by Idra Novey
  20. The Gloaming by Melanie Finn

Tomorrow, it’s the list that you have all been waiting for: my picks for the best films of 2016!

the-hating-game

Previous Entries In The Best of 2016:

  1. TFG’s 2016 Comics Year In Review : Top Tens, Worsts, And Everything In Between
  2. Anime of the Year: 2016
  3. 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw In 2016
  4. 2016 in Review: The Best of SyFy
  5. 2016 in Review: The Best of Lifetime
  6. 2016 in Review: Lisa Picks the 16 Worst Films of 2016!
  7. Necromoonyeti’s Top Ten Albums of 2016
  8. 2016 In Review: Lisa Marie’s 14 Favorite Songs of 2016
  9. 2016 In Review: 10 Good Things I Saw On Television in 2016
  10. 2016 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 10 Favorite Non-Fiction Books of 2016

2015 In Review: Lisa’s 20 Favorite Novels of 2015!


bts

Right now, I’m in the process of taking a look back at some of my favorite things from the previous year.  Yesterday, I posted my 10 favorite non-fiction books of 2015.  Today, I post my 20 favorite novels!

All of these are worth reading and in fact, I insist that you do.  Let’s enjoy the written word while we can because the future is looking more and more like it’s going to be dominated by illiterates.

(Speaking of which, I should probably point out — before someone else does — that Barbara The Slut and The State We’re In are both collections of short stories, as opposed to being novels.  So be it.)

  1. Barbara The Slut And Other People by Lauren Holmes
  2. Hollywood Dirt by Alessandra Torre
  3. Confess by Colleen Hoover
  4. Dark Rooms by Lili Anolik
  5. Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart
  6. The Green Road by Anne Enright
  7. The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  8. A Head Full Of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay
  9. The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
  10. Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
  11. Asking For It by Lilah Pace
  12. Alice by Christina Henry
  13. The State We’re In By Anne Beattie
  14. The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson
  15. Calf by Andrea Kleine
  16. The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young
  17. Follow You Home by Mark Edwards
  18. You’re the Earl I Want by Kelly Bowen
  19. Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran
  20. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Tomorrow, I will be concluding my look back at 2015 with the list that you’ve all been waiting for — my picks for the best 26 films of the year!

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Previous Entries In The Best of 2015:

  1. Valerie Troutman’s 25 Best, Worst, and Gems I Saw in 2015
  2. Necromoonyeti’s Top 15 Metal Albums of 2015
  3. 2015 In Review: The Best of SyFy
  4. 2015 in Review: The Best of Lifetime
  5. 2015 In Review: Lisa’s Picks For The 16 Worst Films of 2015
  6. 2015 in Review: Lisa Marie’s 10 Favorite Songs of 2015
  7. 2015 in Review: 16 Good Things Lisa Saw On TV
  8. 2015 in Review: Lisa’s 10 Favorite Non-Fiction Books of 2015

2014 in Review: Lisa’s 20 Favorite Novels of 2014


The Game and the Governess

Continuing our look back at the previous year, here are my 20 favorite novels of 2014!  And yes, you should read every single one of them!

The Summer Job

  1. The Vacationers by Emma Straub
  2. The Fever by Megan Abbott
  3. In the Blood by Lisa Unger
  4. Stone Mattress: Nine Stories by Margaret Atwood
  5. The Blazing World by Siri Hestvedt
  6. The Summer Job by Adam Cesare
  7. The Good Girl by Mary Kubica
  8. Maybe Someday by Colleen Hoover
  9. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
  10. The Game and the Governess by Kate Noble
  11. China Dolls by Lisa See
  12. Long Man by Amy Greene
  13. The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters
  14. Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
  15. Frog Music by Emma Donoghue
  16. The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon
  17. The Three by Sarah Lotz
  18. Long Lost Dog Of It by Michael Kazepis
  19. The Serpent of Venice by Christopher Moore
  20. Thunderstruck & Other Stories by Elizabeth McCracken

The FeverTomorrow, we continue our look book at 2014 with some of my favorite nonfiction books of the year!

Maybe Someday

Previous Entries In TSL’s Look Back At 2014

  1. 2014 In Review: Things Dork Geekus Dug In 2014 Off The Top Of His Head
  2. 2014 In Review: The Best Of Lifetime and SyFy
  3. 2014 In Review: Lisa’s Picks For The 16 Worst Films Of 2014
  4. 2014 In Review: 14 Of Lisa’s Favorite Songs Of 2014
  5. 2014 In Review: Necromoonyeti’s Top 10 Metal Albums of 2014
  6. 2014 In Review: 20 Good Things Lisa Saw On TV In 2014
  7. 2014 In Review: Pantsukudasai56’s Pick For The Best Anime of 2014

 

Lisa Marie’s Ten Favorite Novels of 2012


Continuing my series on the best of 2012, I now present my 10 favorite novels of the previous year.  For a lot of reasons, I didn’t get to read quite as much as I wanted to over the past year.  My New Year’s resolution — well, one of them — is to do better in 2013.

Without further ado, here’s my list.  All 10 of the novels provided an entertaining, thought-provoking read over the past year and you should read them all.

1) The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

2) Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

3) Bring Up The Bodies by Hilary Mantel

4) Into the Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

5) This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz

6) The Book of Summers by Emylia Hall

7) The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

8) Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz

9) Blue Moon Bay by Lisa Wingate

10) On Demon Wings by Karina Halle

Coming up tomorrow, it’s the list that we’ve all been waiting for — my favorite 26 films of 2012!