Top Ten Tuesday: My ten favorite books (so far!) in 2018

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Best Books I’ve Read In 2018 (So Far).

Where to even start? 2018 has been full of amazing books for me — here are some of my favorites:

1) The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah (review)

2) The Glass Forest by Cynthia Swanson (review)

3) Eligible by Curtis Sittenfeld (review)

4) The Newsflesh series by Mira Grant (review)

5) The October Daye series by Seanan McGuire (11 books and counting!)

6) The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir by Jennifer Ryan (review)

7) Only Human (Themis Files, #3) by Sylvain Neuvel (review)

8) The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane by Lisa See (review)

9) The Murderbot Diaries, books #1 & 2 by Martha Wells (review)

It’s kind of hard to limit myself to just ten… but the final spot, I think I need to go with one of the two Georgette Heyer books I’ve read (so far) in 2018. I can always count on GH’s books to brighten my day!

10) A Civil Contract by Georgette Heyer (review)

Oh, what the heck… let’s include one more, because it was just so unique and awesome:

11) Pride and Prometheus by John Kessel (review)

And now I’m going to hit the “publish” button before I add any more to this list!

What are your top books read so far in 2018? Please share your TTT links!

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Why I re-read

I started thinking about the topic of re-reading this week in response to today’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt: Books I Loved but Will Never Re-Read. I re-read books A LOT, and the prompt made me wonder: Are there any books that I’d absolutely rule out when it comes to re-reading? Sure, there are the books that I disliked or felt were only meh reads, but books I loved?

Never say never.

I can’t come up with a list that fits the category, because if I loved a book once, why wouldn’t I love it again?

So I started thinking about what I choose to re-read, and when, and pretty soon, had my own nifty little list going. Without further ado, here are my scattered reasons for why I re-read books:

Visiting old friends: Sometimes, we readers get a wee bit attached to our beloved characters. Or obsessed. Whatever. I love going back and re-reading certain books, because after enough times, it’s like spending time with family or friends who’ve been a part of my life for years and years.

Nostalgia: Thinking back to childhood or a particular era in my life, I may choose to re-read a book that brought me joy at a certain point, or that I associate strongly with events happening at the time I was reading. Or sometimes, it’s just to re-experience the wonder of a lovely story that once upon a time made me smile.

Comfort food: At times of stress, sadness, or even boredom, there’s nothing like curling up with a book that’s guaranteed to make me feel snug and content. (Lookin’ at you, Harry Potter!)

To honor someone special: There are certain books I associate with certain people — and particularly for people I haven’t seen in a long time, or even more so, those no longer with us, sometimes I’ll re-read a book because I know it was special to someone I care about, and reading their special book makes me feel closer to them.

The feels: A book that made me swoon, a book that made me cry, even a book that made me angry — if it brought out particularly strong feelings in me, I may choose to re-read it when I’m in the mood to feel that way again.

A refresher: This has been a biggie for me lately. When a sequel or a new installment in an ongoing series comes out, chances are (if I’m particularly invested) that I’ll go back and re-read the previous book, so all the details and characters and plot points will be sharp in my fuzzy brain.

A second chance: Do you ever reconsider books that you’d already tried and disliked? This one doesn’t happen all that often for me, but occasionally I’ll realize that maybe I gave up on a book too soon, or allowed a bad mood or real-life distractions to keep me from enjoying a book I might otherwise have liked. So every once in a while, I’ll decide to give a book a new chance to impress me… and I’ve actually had some good results!

Jogging the memory: Okay, yes, I’m the first to admit that my brain just doesn’t keep data forever… and so some of the books that I know I read and loved years ago are nothing but fond feelings and a general sense of storyline for me at this point. If I remember loving a book but don’t remember more than that, maybe it’s time for a re-read!

Plot twists: This one is super rare, but there have been several books in my reading life that smacked me with such mind-boggling plot twists that I had to read them all over again, just to see if the pieces really do add up or to sort out the complicated threads of the story.

New meaning: There are some books that I swear I could read over and over and over again, but each time, there’s some new enjoyment or nuance or hidden connection to discover.

 

 

Do you re-read? If so, why?

Clearly, I’m a fan of re-reading… after all, re-reading a favorite book is like giving it a big hug that lasts for hours!

Delicious.

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Could Read Again and Again and Again

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week, there’s a new top 10 theme — check out the host blog for a list of upcoming topics.

This week’s topic is Books I Could Re-read Forever

That’s a pretty easy topic for me. I have certain favorites that I’ve read again and again, and I’m sure I’ll continue to return to them in years to come, kind of like spending time with old friends. And writing this post has given me a good excuse to visit them all again, at least for the quick purpose of taking photos!

The books I never get tired of re-reading are:

1. The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon: I’ve read all of the books multiple times, and yet I keep going back and starting over. There’s always something new to get out of each read.

My Outlander shelf!

2. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell: I’ve read The Sparrow 3 or 4 times by now, and the emotional impact never goes away, no matter how many times I’ve read it.

3. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger: I read this book twice in a row when I first got hold of it, and have read it a couple more times since.

4. Lamb by Christopher Moore: I love all of Moore’s books, but Lamb is something really special.

5. Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell: I read it several times in my teens, and have come back to it once or twice since then.

6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Really, all of Austen’s works could be on this list, but P&P remains the one that I’ve revisited the most.

Do I have enough editions of Pride and Prejudice? Probably not.

7. The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger: I love the world of the Parasol Protectorate, and have so much fun dipping into these books whenever I need a pick-me-up.

8. The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling: I need a good dose of Harry Potter at least every other year. There’s just nothing that compares!

9. The Mercy Thompson and Alpha & Omega books by Patricia Briggs: I love the world of Mercy so, so much. I’ve read all the books more than once, and have loved all the audiobooks as well.

10: My favorite Susanna Kearsley books: I always love her works, but I especially loved Mariana, The Rose Garden, and The Winter Sea, and would be perfectly happy re-reading those books forever.

What books do you read over and over again?

Please share your thoughts and share your links!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I barely remember

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week, there’s a new top 10 theme — check out the host blog for a list of upcoming topics.

This week’s topic is Books I Really Liked but Can’t Remember Anything/Much About

We all have those, right? Please say it isn’t just me! When you read as much as we crazy bookfiends do, it’s a given that the details may start to slide after a while. Here are ten books that I’ve read and (mostly) loved… but I really couldn’t tell you all that much about them at this point.

First, a batch that I know I loved, even if the memories have gotten a little fuzzy:

1. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith: I remember the main character and the setting, but not many details about her life.

2. Away by Amy Bloom: I know I thought the writing was beautiful. Historical fiction, a woman traveling across America… couldn’t tell you a whole lot more than that.

3. The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Bloom: Three sisters, a father who always quotes Shakespeare. Don’t remember much about the individuals characters.

4. The River of No Return by Bee Ridgway: Ah, I loved this book! It’s all timey-wimey. I know I”ll want to read it again at some point, because I’d love to have clearer recall of exactly what happened.

5. Mansfield Park by Jane Austen: I just listened to the audiobook about two years ago — my first encounter with Mansfield Park! I’ve already managed to mix up all the characters in my head, though.

6. Alanna (and the other books in the Song of the Lionness quartet) by Tamora Pierce: My daughter is a huge Tamora Pierce fan and keeps urging me to read more of her books… but before I do, I feel like I need to go back to these four (which I read over 10 years ago) and refamiliarize myself with the story. I know the main character grows up to become the first female knight in the land of Tortall… but that’s about it!

7. All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin: I read the first two books in the Birthright trilogy, and I suppose at some point I should finish — but it’s been too long since I read books 1 & 2. I know the main character is the descendant of a powerful crime family, chocolate is illegal (gasp!), and she ends up in Mexico at some point. And there’s a love story. And it’s set in New York. That’s about it — I’ll need to start again if I ever want to finish.

8. Dark Tower series, books 1 – 3, by Stephen King: I got through the first three books in the series before deciding to take a break. Bad decision — there’s no way I’ll remember enough of the details that already happened to be able to jump back in.

And two more recent reads that seem to have slipped right out of my brain the second I read them:

9. The Upside of Unrequited by Becky Albertalli: I liked it just fine when I read it, but apparently (for me) it was unmemorable and/or indistinguable from a dozen other YA novels. I couldn’t tell you a thing about the plot or the characters without cheating and looking at a synopsis first.

10. The Future Home of the Living God by Louise Erdrich: Can you believe that I just read this about a month ago? I know that I found it to be a letdown, and maybe that’s why it’s left zero impression on me. Something about a problem with pregnancies… ??? I’d have to go back to my notes to know more than that.

I guess my big takeaway here is that the downside of gobbling up 100+ books per year is that there’s only so much the brain (my brain) can retain! The books that I’ve loved will always be a part of me… but the question is, how much of the detail will I actually be able to recall after years go by?

Does this happen to you? Do you have books that you know you’ve loved, but can’t remember a whole lot about?

Please share your thoughts and share your links!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

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Top Ten Tuesday: My top ten books of 2017

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Top Ten Favorite Books Of 2017.

According to Goodreads, I gave a 5-star rating to 76 books in 2017. SEVENTY-SIX. That’s a lot. So how to narrow down my top books to just 10? Here are the books I consider the best of the best from my 2017 reading — not necessarily books published in 2017; simply the books I read this past year that I loved the most. (And okay, I cheated a bit and snuck in more than 10!)

Note: If you want to know more about any of the books mentioned here, click on the links to see my reviews.

1) Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant (review)

2) La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust, #1) by Philip Pullman (review)

3) The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden (review)

4) A whole bunch of books by Gail Carriger! (reviews here and here)

5) How to Stop Time by Matt Haig (review)

6) Young Jane Young by Gabrielle Zevin (review)

7) Love and Other Consolation Prizes by Jamie Ford (review)

8) Leviathan Wakes (review)/Caliban’s War/Abaddon’s Gate (review) by James S. A. Corey

9) A first introduction to the world of Georgette Heyer (reviews here, here, here, and here)

10) Two classics that I finally tackled (and adored):
(Great Expectations reading update here)

 

What were your favorite reads of 2017? Please leave me your link!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

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Top Ten Tuesday: My top ten books of 2016

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Top Ten Best Books Of 2016. 

According to Goodreads, I gave a 5-star rating to 44 books in 2016. So how to narrow down my top books to just 10? Here are the books I consider the best of the best from my 2016 reading — not necessarily books published in 2016; simply the books I read this past year that I loved the most. (And okay, I cheated a bit and snuck in more than 10!)

Note: If you want to know more about any of the books mentioned here, click on the links to see my reviews.

1) Dark Matter by Blake Crouch (review)

Dark Matter

2) The Fireman by Joe Hill (review)

The Fireman

3) All the Winters After by Seré Prince Halverson (review)

All the Winters After

4) Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall (review)

Blue Asylum

5) The Versions of Us by Laura Barnett (review)

versions2

6) Girl Waits With Gun by Amy Stewart (review)

girl-waits-with-gun

7) Every Heart A Doorway by Seanan McGuire (review)

Every Heart

8) Agent To the Stars/The Android’s Dream/Lock In by John Scalzi
(reviews here, here, and here)

9) Potterworld books: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (review) and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (screenplay)

10) Flight by Sherman Alexie (review)

flight

 

What were your favorite reads of 2016? Please leave me your link!

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out our regular weekly features, Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Of My Most Recent 5-Star Reads

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is 10 Of My Most Recent 5 Star Reads.

I feel like I’ve already praised most of these to death, but hey — if a book is that good, it’s always worth talking about again! My top ten, in no particular order:

 

1) Breakup by Dana Stabenow: I can’t help raving about this terrific series!

Breakup

2) And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie: My first Christie, finally!

and then

3) Lock In by John Scalzi (review): Fascinating sci-fi.

lock in

4) All the Winters After by Seré Prince Halverson (review): Love and Alaska – what could be better?

All the Winters After

5) The Guest Room by Chris Bohjalian (review): Disturbing, shocking, and moving.

Guest Room

6) In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters (review): So far, every one of this author’s books has been a 5-star read for me.

In the Shadow of Blackbirds

7) Uprooted by Naomi Novik (review): Utterly magical and absorbing.

Uprooted

8) Alex + Ada by Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn (review): An amazing graphic novel trilogy.

Alex + AdaAlex + Ada 2aa

9) Depth by Lev AC Rosen (review): Sci-fi noir — a detective story set in the drowned city of New York.

Depth

10) The Marvels by Brian Selznick (review): This author continues to amaze with his words-and-pictures approach to storytelling.

The Marvels

What books made your list this week? Please share your links!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out our regular weekly features, Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top ten books I really love… but haven’t talked about in a while.

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books Ten Books I Really Love But Feel Like I Haven’t Talked About Enough/In A While.

Hmmm. I guess that rules out Outlander! 🙂

Here are a bunch of books that I do really love, but don’t seem to have included on any of my lists in a while:

1) Kindred by Octavia Butler: A powerful tale of time travel, set in the 1970s and the antebellum South.

kindred

2) All Men of Genius by Lev AC Rosen: A clever, funny, fast-paced steampunk comedy.

All Men of Genius

3) Alive in Necropolis by Doug Dorst: Set in a graveyard, with cops and ghosts. Unique, to say the least.

alive in necropolis

4) 11/22/63 by Stephen King: Another time-travel masterpiece.

11_22_63

5) The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker: Such a beautiful story (here’s my review).

golem

6) The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian: One of the spookiest ghost stories I’ve ever read.

night strangers

7) My Year of Meats by Ruth Ozeki: A book about a Japanese TV show sponsored by the American beef industry? Yes, the topic sounds odd, but it’s an incredible book.

My Year of Meats

8) Deerskin by Robin McKinley: A fairy tale that’s dark and disturbing; not a children’s book.

Deerskin

9) The Mystery of Grace by Charles de Lint: Another ghost story, this one about love and connections.

Mystery of Grace

10) Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn: Word lovers unite! If you enjoy clever word play, you can’t miss with this book.

Ella Minnow Pea

What books made your list this week? Please share your links!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out our regular weekly features, Shelf Control and Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far in 2015

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is the Top Ten Books I’ve Read So Far In 2015. I love looking back over the year (or in this case, the first half of the year), and seeing the weird and wonderful mix of books that I’ve read.

My top 10 for the 1st half of 2015 includes some new releases, some books from a year or so ago, and some that go way, way back. In case you want to know why these books are on my top 10 list, I’m including the review links for any I’ve reviewed:

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1) Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel (review)

2) The Boston Girl by Anita Diamant (review)

3) The Light in the Ruins by Chris Bohjalian (review)

4) Inside the O’Briens by Lisa Genova (review)

5) The Bookseller by Cynthia Swanson (review)

6) Our Souls at Night by Kent Haruf (review)

7) Winger by Andrew Smith (review)

8) Emma by Jane Austen (re-read via audiobook; no review… but I loved it!)

9) Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (review)

10) The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer (I read most of this series in late 2014, but since I read Fairest in 2015, it counts!) (review)

What are the best books you’ve read so far in 2015?

Share your links, and I’ll come check out your top 10!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out my regular weekly feature, Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

 

Top Ten Tuesday: My top 10 favorite books from the past 5 years

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Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week. This week’s topic is “Top Ten Books You Would Classify As ALL TIME FAVORITE BOOKS from the past 3 years (you can extend it to 5 if you need to)”.  I feel like I’ve posted about my favorites a lot already — and I’m not sure that my all-time favorite books would come from the past 3 – 5 years — but anyway…

Here are the books (or series) from the past 5 years that have made a lasting impression! I’m trying to throw in a few besides the ones I always rave about… we’ll see how well I do.

In no particular order (well, except for #1, which is always my #1):

1) The Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon: Considering how much these books have come to rule my life, it’s funny when I stop to realize that I didn’t read Outlander for the first time until the fall of 2010!

My Outlander shelf!

My Outlander shelf!

2) The Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs (and the Alpha & Omega books too): Another series that was pretty much love at first read for me.

Briggs photo

3) The Shining and Doctor Sleep by Stephen King: I re-read The Shining for the first time in decades right before the release of Doctor Sleep, and reading the two books back-to-back was such a fantastically creepy reading experience.

S King

And now for some stand-alones that I find myself recommending all the time:

4) I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe

IShallBeNear

5) Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein

verity

6) The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker

The Golem and the Jinni PB

7) The Winter Sea and The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley. Really, just about any book by Susanna Kearsley — yet another author who quickly became a favorite during the last five years.

8) Wolf Hall and Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. Can’t wait for the third book!

9) The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes — an author who was new to me just a couple of years ago, but whose books I’ve been devouring! The Ship of Brides is one of my favorites.

ship of brides

10) And finally, I just have to include the graphic novels I’ve fallen for in the last 3 – 5 years, especially the world of Fables by Bill Willingham and Y: The Last Man and Saga by Brian K. Vaughan.

ylastman

1fables

saga collage

What are your favorite books from the last 3 – 5 years? Please share your links!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following Bookshelf Fantasies! And don’t forget to check out my regular weekly feature, Thursday Quotables. Happy reading!

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Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!