10 Best Books I’ve Read This Year (So Far)

Because we are now halfway through the year (craziness), this week’s prompt for Top 10 Tuesday is the 10 Best Books You’ve Read This Year (so far). I have only read 15 books so far this year but most of them have been pretty terrific. Here are the creams of the crop, two of which I haven’t technically finished yet but I’m far enough in to know they deserve a place in this grouping.

It’s an eclectic mix: poetry, graphic novels, mysteries, young adult, historical fiction, essays, light and fluffy love stories, science fiction… Whatever you are in the mood to read, it’s quite possibly on this list:

 

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult – This timely novel is going to force you to think about uncomfortable things but you’ll be glad you did.

Very Good Lives by J.K. Rowling – A commencement speech by JK Rowling – a quick read that will leave you feeling inspired.

A Circle of Quiet by Madeline L’Engle – My favorite book to read by the pool. Essays on her life, writing and society that make me feel like a better person (and a better writer) just for my proximity to her words.

The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead – Historical fiction that brings you to the front and center of the underground railroad but with an added twist.

Dark Matter by Blake Crouch – A science fiction story about multiverses that will make your head hurt in a good way.

 

Wires & Nerve Vol. 1 by Marissa Meyer – Fans of The Lunar Chronicles especially need to check out this graphic novel continuation starring Iko. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, go read this. NOW.

Envelope Poems by Emily Dickinson – Scraps of poetry written, literally, on envelopes. Enjoy hidden gems and the inside mind of one of the world’s most famous poets. Then go write some of your own.

A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro – This is like Sherlock Holmes meets John Green. Extremely readable and fans of Sherlock will especially enjoy this take on the world of Arthur Conan Doyle.

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon – A love story starring a girl who is allergic to literally everything. You won’t guess where this one is going.

The Bookshop on the Corner by Jenny Colgan – Part love story, part finding yourself. This one is for the ladies with wanderlust who kind of want to drop everything, move to Scotland and open a bookstore.

Have you read any from this list? What is the best book you’ve read so far this year?

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Top 10 Tuesday is hosted by The Broke & The Bookish

Holiday Book Gift Guide: For Your 7 Year Old Daughter Who Is Reading You Out of House and Home.

When I buy gifts for people, I tend to look at books first. I was a big reader growing up and now I find myself raising big readers. It’s a proud momma moment when I see the whole family curled up with respective books. Our house is fairly crawling with good books and I do not mind this problem at all. If you have a seven year old girl looking for her next good read, here are ten books I’d suggest sticking under the tree for her this Christmas.

51jwweqe08l-_sx336_bo1204203200_Christmas Stories by Laura Ingalls Wilder – This whole series of Little House Chapter Books is fantastic for kids just getting into chapter books and a great introduction to the Little House series. This one seems like an obvious choice for this time of year.

518gvkn9val-_sx359_bo1204203200_Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret by Bob Shea is one my own daughter has her eye on. It’s heavy on the pictures and perfect for building your kid’s confidence in reading a larger book because it’s a deceptively quick read despite its size. It’s reminiscent of the Piggie and Elephant books by Mo Willems that both my kids love.

51sosm4erml-_sx428_bo1204203200_Clarice Bean: The Utterly Complete Collection by Lauren Childs has three Clarice Bean books in one box set. This are chapter books by the same author who wrote Charlie & Lola. I love her writing style because it tosses in larger words in a funny way so it’s secretly increasing your kid’s vocabulary, too. If your daughter isn’t quite ready for chapter books, the Charlie & Lola books are fantastic, too.

61qnfm9ir0lWonder Woman at Super Hero High by Lisa Yee is a great chapter book to offer your comic book loving girls. It all takes place at Super Hero High where some of our favorite super heroes go to school to learn to be super heroes. Join Wonder Woman’s first year at school and meet all your favorite comic book heroes in a way you’ve never seen them before!

51jmfvi-xcl-_sx342_bo1204203200_Kristy’s Great Idea: Full Color Edition by Ann M. Martin is a major nostalgia alert. I bought this for my daughter to lure her into my favorite series from childhood and found myself sitting on my bed reading the whole thing in one sitting. I loved the illustrations and my daughter was immediately hooked and asking for book two! Only a small handful of the books have been given the graphic novel treatment, but you can go from these to the regular series or even check out the Baby Sitters Club Little Sister series which are shorter in length and feature younger girls.

51xxd20z2wl-_sy395_bo1204203200_Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke looks like a beautiful picture book to add to your collection. Even when your kids start reading to themselves regularly, they still love to be read to. This is when you up the ante and get picky about your picture books. Gorgeous illustrations and stories good enough that you actually want to find out what happens next. This one looks fantastic.

41pbrsgesil-_sx399_bo1204203200_Mercy Watson Boxed Set by Kate DiCamillo is going under my Christmas tree this year. My daughter is reading one of the books for school and cannot stop the gushing. I like to keep a good thing going and this little pig seems to have the power to captivate my daughter with every page. These are kind of a hybrid between chapter books and picture books. Lots of illustrations but plenty of words, too.

51ldqls0g3l-_sx321_bo1204203200_Buckle and Squash: The Perilous Princess Plot by Sarah Courtauld is a mixed-up fairly tale chapter book with scattered sweet illustrations about two very different sisters who find themselves on a daring adventure. It’s praised for it’s wit and wordplay and seems to be a hit for all ages.

514bxlelovl-_sx337_bo1204203200_Kiki: My Stylish Life by Kyla May is one of my daughter’s favorites. It’s part of a series of books, each told from a different girl’s perspective. It’s written like a diary and has lots of cute illustrations and a lot of sass and silliness. My daughter laughed out loud over this one and frequently asked to read section aloud to me. It’s a great forray into chapter books for kids that are kind of ready for more but still love plenty of pictures in their books.

511r-wotp9lOkay, so you have a big reader – maybe they are ready to start writing, too? I just ordered my daughter this adorable “secret” diary with a pretty little box to keep it in. Now she can write her own stories and feel like she’s part of her own novel in the making.

 

What books would you add to this list?

What was your favorite book at this age?

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

10 Bookish Things I’m Thankful For.

toptentuesdayThis week’s Top 10 Tuesday prompt is a Thanksgiving freebie so I thought I’d take a break from listing books and get more open ended with ten bookish things that I’m thankful for. If you are playing along, let me know in the comments section.

  1. fa511d9fe75d84621ee207d042c0417fI’m thankful for Kindle e-readers for helping to accommodate the physical space limitations of my home and ensuring that I always have a good book on hand. Now I can bring hundreds of books on vacation without getting the stink eye from my husband.
  2. I’m thankful for a book club that keeps me reading outside of my typical comfort levels. It’s gotten me to read some amazing books that I never would have picked up otherwise.
  3. I’m thankful to Gone With the Wind for showing me that a heroine doesn’t always need to be perfect or do the right thing. Scarlet showed me that you are worth rooting for even when you mess up badly.
  4. I’m thankful for the “no rush shipping” option on Amazon that frequently knocks dollars off my kindle purchases – I use this option whenever I don’t need something in two days period.
  5. books2I’m thankful for all the worlds that I can visit and escape to without spending a fortune on airfare and hotel accommodations. Thanks to literature, I can visit the deep south, Paris France, Tokyo, Elizabethan London, the moon and more without packing a single bag.
  6. I’m thankful for buildings devoted to books. Libraries and bookstores are like a safe haven where I can go surround myself with stories and people who like to surround themselves with stories. My  favorite job to date was working in a bookstore and unsurprisingly my favorite type of subbing assignment is working in the school library.
  7. I’m thankful for email newsletters like Modern Mrs. Darcy’s Great Kindle Deals or Goodreads.com’s daily deals newsletter that let me know when great books have dropped to absurdly great prices. There are a lot of emails you can sign up for with kindle deals but these two actually list books I’d want to read and often books already on my wishlist.
  8. I’m thankful for book bloggers like Kate, Anne and Alison who are always there to keep me in constant supply of books to lust after and who will totally get my gushing about books and not respond to my long winded admiration for an author with, “Yeah, I don’t really read books. Do magazines count?”
  9. 0 copyAnd of course my IRL bookish friends who don’t complain when I pile book recommendations onto them like an overzealous English professor.
  10. I’m thankful that my husband and kids are all readers, too, so if I want to ignore them with a good book it’s cool because they are probably reading, too. My kids are even starting to get to the age where there’s a little bit of a crossover where I can finish a book and potentially pass it right along to them or the hubby when I’m done.

What bookish things are you thankful for?

The Top 10 Books on My Fall TBR Pile

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Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every Tuesday they post a new Top Ten list prompt. This week’s list is the Top Ten Books on your Fall TBR pile. I’m focusing on the books I actually own as opposed to the myriad of books that are sitting on my Amazon wishlist just waiting for me to splurge on them. They’ll just have to wait their turn because my bookshelves (both IRL and on my kindle) are pretty much at capacity and giving me more than enough enticing reads.

This fall I’m hoping to dig into these 5 books on my bookshelf…

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Sacre Blue by Christopher Moore | I have loved Christopher Moore since reading his novel Lamb back in college. His wit is tremendous and his writing is on another level. Sometimes his books are amazing and sometimes just pretty good, but I’m hopeful that this one will be on the amazing list.  “Part mystery, part history (sort of), part love story, and wholly hilarious [this book] follows a young baker-painter as he joins the dapper  Henri Toulouse-Lautrec on a quest to unravel the mystery behind the supposed “suicide” of Vincent van Gogh.”

The Woman Who Died a Lot by Jasper Fforde | Book seven in the Thursday Next series. I’d been beginning to run out of steam reading this series and then book six breathed new life into Thursday’s story and might have been the best book so far so I’m eagerly looking forward to this one. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, read this book first. “When her former SpecOps division is reinstated, Thursday assumes she’s the obvious choice to lead the Literary Detectives. Instead, she’s put in charge of the Swindon All-You-Can-Eat-at-Fatso’s Drink Not Included Library. But where Thursday goes, trouble follows. As the new Chief Librarian faces one-hundred-percent budget cuts and the ever-evil Jack Schitt, the Next children face their own career hiccups—and possible nonexistence.”

Nightmares! by Jason Segel | I feel like this book is just begging to be read next month when the air is crisp and the leaves are all orange and yellow and brown and jack-o-lantern begin to line the streets. This is the “first book in a trilogy about a boy named Charlie and a group of kids who must face their fears to save their town.”

Landline by Rainbow Rowell | You guys might have noticed that I’m a little rabidly obsessed with Rainbow Rowell so how have I not read this one yet? I’m hoping to find time to crack this one open in the next couple months. “Georgie and Neal have been married for fifteen years and have two young girls who Neal cares for while Georgie works as a sitcom writer. When Georgie skips the family trip to her in-laws in Omaha for Christmas and the rest of her family goes without her, she realizes that maybe her marriage is going too. When a line to the past (literally) gives Georgie a chance to re-live an earlier pivotal moment in their relationship, she sees it as an opportunity to figure out if she and Neal should have been together in the first place.”

I Regret Nothing by Jen Lancaster | I am nominating this one to read in my book club but whether it gets picked or not, I’m hoping to read this one very soon. Lancaster’s memoirs are basically everything and this one sounds like it might be the best one yet. “After a girls’ weekend in Savannah makes her realize that she is—yikes!—middle-aged (binge watching is so the new binge drinking), Jen decides to make a bucket list and seize the day, even if that means having her tattoo removed at one hundred times the cost of putting it on. From attempting a juice cleanse to studying Italian, from learning to ride a bike to starting a new business, and from sampling pasta in Rome to training for a 5K, Jen is turning a mid-life crisis into a mid-life opportunity, sharing her sometimes bumpy—but always hilarious—attempts to better her life…again.”

And these 5 books on my Kindle…

23281724Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen | This is another book I nominated for book club so, again, I’m pretty anxious to read it. “Sydney has always felt overshadowed by her handsome, popular, and troubled older brother Peyton. Now, he is in prison for a drunk driving accident that paralyzed another teen boy, and despite his incarceration, Sydney finds her mother’s only focus is Peyton and that her dad has pretty much checked out of any decision making. When Sydney decides to leave her expensive private school and go to the local public school, her parents agree to allow the change. After her first day of school, she stops by a pizza shop where she meets brother and sister Layla and Mac, whose father owns the shop. In the duo, Sydney finds much needed acceptance… Although this work is darker than her other romances, the light and joy of first love, friendship, and self-discovery remain important aspects of the book.”

51yMq34sQEL._SX302_BO1,204,203,200_Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, Book 1) by George R. R. Martin | We’re almost done watching season two and my husband started reading the first book in the series the show is based off of and so far he seems to be enjoying it. I’m hoping to check it out myself pretty soon. Dan says that in the book you really get to get a much needed glimpse into the feelings and motives of each of the characters and that it totally makes the story even better.  “With A Game of Thrones, George R. R. Martin has launched a genuine masterpiece, bringing together the best the genre has to offer. Mystery, intrigue, romance, and adventure fill the pages of this magnificent saga, the first volume in an epic series sure to delight fantasy fans everywhere.” KINDLE EDITION ON SALE FOR $6.99

51pXBl79RvL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein | The last of the three books I’m nominating at book club, this one sounds really,  really good. I’ve been wanting to read it for awhile but have been saving it to nominate because I think it’s going to be ripe with discussion fodder. “When “Verity” is arrested by the Gestapo, she’s sure she doesn’t stand a chance. As a secret agent captured in enemy territory, she’s living a spy’s worst nightmare. Her Nazi interrogators give her a simple choice: reveal her mission or face a grisly execution. But will trading her secrets be enough to save her from the enemy?” KINDLE EDITION ON SALE FOR $5.99

51v1t48NzmL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_The Martian by Andy Weir | Yet another book that my husband is insisting I read as soon as humanly possible. This one is now a movie starring Matt Damon and although the plot sounds kinda depressing at first glance, the main character is terrifically witty and the story is apparently amazing. “Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.  Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?”

51jrSopcZ-L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_The Enchantress by James Maxwell | I’m feeling super repetitive in my descriptions today, but again, this is a book highly recommended by the handsomest guy I know. I bought this a billion years ago (read: last year) and it sat there forgotten until he picked it up on a whim recently and then devoured the whole series in record time (much like my experience with the Lunar Chronicles – omg read now). He’s been urging me to read the series ever since. “After losing their parents in the last doomed uprising, two siblings will find themselves at the center of an epic struggle for power. When Ella witnesses an enchanter saving her brother’s life, she knows what she wants to be. But the elite Academy expects tuition fees and knowledge. Meanwhile her brother, Miro, dreams of becoming one of the world’s finest swordsmen, wielding his nation’s powerful enchanted weapons in defense of his homeland. After Miro departs for war, the void he leaves in Ella’s life is filled by a mysterious foreigner, Killian. But Killian has a secret, and Ella’s actions will determine the fate of her brother, her homeland, and the world.” KINDLE EDITION ON SALE FOR $2

Have you read any of these? Which should I start first?
What book are you planning to read next?