Tag: Top 10

Jessica’s Top 10 of 2017

It’s always difficult to decide on a Top 10 for the year. I read such a variety of books that it can be difficult to rank them. But I did it!  My list ranges from YA, to some thrillers, to a difficult but sadly necessary book.  These were all awarded 5 stars.  What are my Top 10 for 2017? Here they are:

10. Letters to the Pianist

This is a Historical Fiction novel that has some parallels to the author’s life and family. Pianist deals with the Blitz in London during WWII. There is intrigue, family, and loss.  If you are a Historical Fiction fan, you MUST read this book! I look forward to more from S.D. Mayes in the future.

9. Clipped Wings

Jennifer Gilmour is a survivor of domestic abuse herself, and Clipped Wings is her followup book.  One in four women and one in six men will be victims of domestic abuse at some point in their lives. Clipped Wings is real survivors stories.  This is a very important book where we get to hear their real life experiences in their own words.  Maybe one day a book like this will not be necessary.  Until then, read this difficult  and thought provoking book.

** Please note I was a backer for the Kickstarter campaign for this book and also mentioned in the Acknowledgements.  That is always exciting!

8.  Never Let You Go

Chevy Stevens is one of my ‘go to’ authors. My favorite of hers is her debut novel Still Missing.  She is ‘back’ with Never Let You Go. Never Let You Go will be one of my favorites from her.  This one also deals with domestic abuse. You don’t ever want to put this one down, so don’t!

7. Perfect Imperfections

This is one that had some special meaning that I shared in my review. This was one that was definitely a pleasure to read. The cover is simple yet full of meaning. I look forward to see what Taryn Leigh writes next!

6. Zenn Diagram

This is a sweet YA novel by a new author. I like that she had a female protagonist that was good in Math! We need more characters like that for girls to read!  It’s ok to be good at Math! We need more women in STEM. The protagonist also has a special ability.  If you like YA at all, then pick this one up!

5. The Chosen One

This is the second time I have listened to this audiobook. This is a short YA novel that deals with polygamy.  I was blown away with this one the second time as I was with it the first time.  The author has an insight on what it may be like to live in a polygamist group.  The Chosen One is a novel that will evoke a very wide range of emotions.  Despite being a young adult novel, it is a disturbing one that deals with many issues which could be troubling to some readers. This one will make you think, and is 100 % recommended!

4. Behind Closed Doors

Yet another book that deals with domestic abuse made my Top 10 this year.  This one is mind blowing. This was a debut novel for B.A. Paris and she is brilliant! I look forward to her upcoming one in 2018!! It will not be for everyone and it is difficult to read.  But I have to say this: READ THIS BOOK!

3. The Couple Next Door

I LOVED this novel! I recommend the audiobook as to me the author sounded like Diane Sawyer and I felt like I was listening to an episode of Dateline. I was pulled in from the beginning and it did not disappoint.  It is everything you want in a  thriller, all the way to that unexpected ending!

2. The Fourth Monkey

Hannibal Lector needs to move aside, because we now have 4MK! This is a superb serial killer novel that never slows down! This novel takes place over a short time period and because of that fact you feel like you should not stop reading it!  Monkey will not be for all readers as the diary entries are very unsettling as we see the influences that show how 4MK became what he is today.  I will be reading more from J.D. Barker!

My Number One Choice of 2017: Just A Normal Tuesday by Kim Turrisi

Just a Normal Tuesday has so much personal meaning for me and I knew when I finished it that it would be my top book of the year.  I knew it would be hard for another book to beat and they did not.  Turrisi tackles the difficult subject of teens and suicide.  My review for Tuesday is here. I can’t say much more about this novel than what I have already said. Kim Turrisi, THANK YOU for writing this novel. I know how much it means to you. #liveyourstory

Are you interested in reading any of these Top 10 choices? You have a chance to now!  I am having an international giveaway.  The winner will have their choice of one of Jessica or Kim’s Top 10 choices.  International winner will only apply if Book Depository delivers to your country. US winner will get a choice of kindle or physical book from Amazon.  This giveaway will run until midnight on the morning of December 26th. Winner should be announced that day.

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Kim’s Top 10 of 2017

Well this was a difficult task! But I did my best and certain guidelines helped me out quite a bit! I only added books that I’ve read for the first time this year. There were several that I read before and reread this year, but only books that I have read for the first time since January, 2017, are included. Also, only 5-star reviews are on this list. I can’t in good conscience put any books with less that 5 stars ahead of any that have 5 stars. Dang, I sound so professional! 😊 This list is in no particular order . . . because that would be downright impossible!

Midnight at the Electric

I really liked this book! It was the perfect combination of historical and future settings. I also liked the characters a lot.

Serafina and the Splintered Heart

This book was an amazing ending to an awesome story. I fell in love with Serafina, Brayden, and the Vanderbilts. The setting of Biltmore House was perfect!


As a teacher, I think this is an important book for educators to give some much-needed perspective. It is also written simply, so even younger kids can read and understand.

Ten Days in a Mad House

3 words: “History,” “Asylum,” and “Eye-witness” (is that 2 words or just 1? Oh well!) Enough said!

Six of Crows Duology

I did read the first book last year, but I reread it and read the 2nd book for the first time this year, so I’m putting it on this list. I loved this duology so much! The characters, story, and setting are all flawless!

Harry Potter Series

This is another one I had started several years ago, but reread the first book this year and finished the series for the first time. I would like to teach at Hogwarts and collect fantastic beasts as a hobby. If that isn’t a glowing review, I don’t know what is.

Letters from the Looney Bin

This book fascinated me! I had a hard time believing that it was fiction!

Prisoner B-3087

Every teacher should have this book on their shelf; from middle school, on! Fiction that could almost be passed as history.

The Arsonist

A great historical read! I would describe this book as a great page turner that kept my attention to the very end!

Projekt 1065

Another perfect book for history teachers. This book gave great perspective in the behind the scenes actions of the Allies. It also deals with ethical questions in a way that’s perfect for students.

Here are all of my choices for my Top 10 for 2017!:

Tomorrow Jessica will share her Top 10 of 2017! There will also be an INTERNATIONAL giveaway!  Be sure to check us out tomorrow for the details! And if you are not following this site yet, make sure you are so you can win!!


My Top 10 of 2016

With just a few days remaining in 2016, I have come up with my Top 10 list of books read for 2016!

The list will begin with 10 and end with my #1 choice for 2016!:


10.  The Queen of Blogging by Terese Loreskar

The Queen of Blogging is a fast paced, entertaining story about making ends meet when you have toddlers, a husband that works too much and showing off your life on a blog for the outside world to see.

Kajsa runs Sweden’s largest Health and Fitness blog. There’s only one small problem; it’s all a big lie. Between her blog entries on healthy nutritious porridge and flashy running shoes, she lies on the sofa watching TV and eating sweets. Her only exercise is using the remote control.

Her life seems perfect: A beautiful house in an attractive suburb of Stockholm, three children, a loving husband and loads of money.

However, things start to crumble when she accidently writes on her blog that she is best friends with a famous Hollywood personal trainer. The problem is he’s never met, let alone heard of her.

An ambitious journalist, who doesn’t believe Kajsa has been honest about her blog or her friendship with the personal trainer, sets out to destroy her.

Besides having to handle the annoying journalist, she must also deal with Peter, “the blog following hunk”, and a bizarre and outrageous priest who keeps spreading Kajsa’s secrets all over town!

Bestselling Swedish author Therese Loreskar writes with a never-ending sense of humour and energy.

The Queen of Blogging is for anyone who enjoys a comic read that also explores the downside of our generation’s constant use of social media.

Terese Loreskar did a great job making me laugh with The Queen of Blogging. Kajsa is Sweden’s Bridget Jones!  If you like Bridget you will like Kajsa!


9. The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R. Carey

Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.

Wow, just wow! I adored Melanie. I enjoyed reading a different take on zombies again. (I need to re-read Raising Stony Mayhall now!)  I wish the movie was out on DVD NOW!!!


8. Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf

Sarah Quinlan’s husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. For years Jack has avoided returning home, but when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded.

Upon arriving, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago. But as facts about Julia’s accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack’s past, but the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.

Heather Gudenkauf’s newest book.  I enjoy a murder mystery. And of course she is my favorite author! She made this list three times. She was the queen this year!!


7. The Help (Audiobook version) by Kathryn Stockett

Aibileen is a black maid in 1962 Jackson, Mississippi, who’s always taken orders quietly, but lately she’s unable to hold her bitterness back. Her friend Minny has never held her tongue but now must somehow keep secrets about her employer that leave her speechless. White socialite Skeeter just graduated college. She’s full of ambition, but without a husband, she’s considered a failure. Together, these seemingly different women join together to write a tell-all book about work as a black maid in the South, that could forever alter their destinies and the life of a small town.

I read this several years ago.  My sister-in-law enjoyed the audiobook.  There are multiple narrators and they do a great job!


6. Room (Audiobook version) by Emma Donoghue

To five-year-old-Jack, Room is the world. . . . It’s where he was born, it’s where he and his Ma eat and sleep and play and learn. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma it’s the prison where she has been held for seven years. Through her fierce love for her son, she has created a life for him in this eleven-by-eleven-foot space. But with Jack’s curiosity building alongside her own desperation, she knows that Room cannot contain either much longer.

Room is a tale at once shocking, riveting, exhilarating–a story of unconquerable love in harrowing circumstances, and of the diamond-hard bond between a mother and her child.

This is the second time I have listened to Room in audiobook.  I wanted to watch the movie, so I decided to listen to it again. The narrator of the audiobook is BRILLIANT with her portrayal of Jack!!! I will only ‘read’ this book in the audiobook format! The movie stayed fairly true to the book. It was also very well done.


5. These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

When teenager Allison Glenn is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls’ golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces whispered rumors every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It’s Brynn—shy, quiet Brynn—who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her.

But then Allison is released to a halfway house, and is more determined than ever to speak with her estranged sister.

Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden.

Heather Gudenkauf’s second book.  Such suspense!!

4. The Weight of Silence by Heather Gudenkauf

It happens quietly one August morning. As dawn’s shimmering light drenches the humid Iowa air, two families awaken to find their little girls have gone missing in the night.

Seven-year-old Calli Clark is sweet, gentle, a dreamer who suffers from selective mutism brought on by tragedy that pulled her deep into silence as a toddler.

Calli’s mother, Antonia, tried to be the best mother she could within the confines of marriage to a mostly absent, often angry husband. Now, though she denies that her husband could be involved in the possible abductions, she fears her decision to stay in her marriage has cost her more than her daughter’s voice.

Petra Gregory is Calli’s best friend, her soul mate and her voice. But neither Petra nor Calli has been heard from since their disappearance was discovered. Desperate to find his child, Martin Gregory is forced to confront a side of himself he did not know existed beneath his intellectual, professorial demeanor.

Now these families are tied by the question of what happened to their children. And the answer is trapped in the silence of unspoken family secrets.

This was Heather Gudenkauf’s debut book. SUPERB!!!!  You must read this book!!!


3. Still Missing (Audiobook version) by Chevy Stevens

On the day she was abducted, Annie O’Sullivan, a thirty-two year old realtor, had three goals—sell a house, forget about a recent argument with her mother, and be on time for dinner with her ever- patient boyfriend. The open house is slow, but when her last visitor pulls up in a van as she’s about to leave, Annie thinks it just might be her lucky day after all. Interwoven with the story of the year Annie spent as the captive of psychopath in a remote mountain cabin, which unfolds through sessions with her psychiatrist, is a second narrative recounting events following her escape—her struggle to piece her shattered life back together and the ongoing police investigation into the identity of her captor.

The truth doesn’t always set you free.

Still Missing is that rare debut find–a shocking, visceral, brutal and beautifully crafted debut novel.

This is the second time I have listened to Still Missing.  The narrator does such a great job portraying Annie!  This is a hard book to listen to as it deals with very difficult subject matter, but Chevy Stevens is WONDERFUL!


2. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has barely been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

I know, everyone read this one this year with the movie coming out.  Very well done and deals with a controversial issue.  Many call it a love story; to me it is not, it is a life story. I plan to watch the movie soon.  The sequel is good, but does not live up to the original.


And my top choice of 2016 is  My Girl by Jack Jordan

Paige Dawson: the mother of a murdered child and wife to a dead man. She has nothing left to live for… until she finds her husband’s handgun hidden in their house.

Why did Ryan need a gun? What did he know about their daughter’s death?

Desperate for the truth, Paige begins to unearth her husband’s secrets.But she has no idea who she is up against, or that her life isn’t hers to gamble – she belongs to me.

From the bestselling author of Anything for Her, Jack Jordan’s My Girl is the new chilling thriller that you won’t want to miss.

What can I say? Jack Jordan, OMG!!!  At first I  thought we were dealing with another Rachel from The Girl on a Train and was not expecting much from this book.  Then that unexpected twist happens! Jack, you are BRILLIANT and I can not wait to read your first novel Anything for Her, which I did receive as a kindle gift. I hope your third book comes along soon!