Top Ten Books of 2015

top ten tuesday

hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday is easy–pick your ten favorite books from this year so far.  And is it insane that we’ve already blown through six months of the year 2015?!  I don’t even know how it is possible.  So.  If you ask me for 10 books that I’ve read this year, I’d probably stare blankly at you…thank goodness for goodreads!  After checking my list, this is what I realized.  While I haven’t read as many books as I did last year at this point, the books that I have read have been really good…for the most part. And I tried to put them in some sort of order but know that I gave all of these books 4 or 5 stars out of 5.

10.) Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple::We are reading this book for book club this month based on my recommendation.  It is quirky and fun and has a bit of a twist.  And the book cover is cool.

9.) Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandle::I love a good historical fiction novel.  This one is set in Mississippi in 1963 and is told from the view of a 9 year old girl.  She’s innocent and wise and I loved reading her story.

8.) The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion::I read this book last month and still hope lots of people read it and will like Don Tillman, genetics professor, as much as I did.

7.) Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery::You’ve heard of Anne with an E, right?  But have you heard of Emily?  I hadn’t until right before Christmas and then had to have this trilogy.  I’m in the middle of the second book right now, but it is safe to say that Emily will be loved in this house for many years.

6.) The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen::Need a good book?  Ask a librarian.  It isn’t just a catchy saying.  I was told about this trilogy and read all three books as soon as I could get them.  (Tip:  If you’re checking them out from the library, put them all on hold at once.  It isn’t fun waiting after finishing that first book.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

5.) All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr::This is another historical fiction story set in France during WWII.  It goes back and forth between two characters.  If you think you’ve read every possible WWII story, you’re wrong.  This one was interesting and was written beautifully.

4.) Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt:: Ok, I’m just going to go on record and say if Gary wrote it, I’ll read it.  This is the first of three books by his on this list and I have only three more to go.  He is a wonderful story-teller.

3.) Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom::This book should probably be in a category all on it’s own.  If you have problems with forgiveness or understanding God’s sovereignty….read this book if you haven’t already.  If you don’t have those problems, read this book anyway.  If you wake up every morning, you need to read this book.

2.) Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt::Historical fiction based on an event of which I’d never heard.  This book was the first that I read by Schmidt and it was not disappointing.

1.) Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt::Wonderful story.  I’d read it again right now and I can’t wait until my kids are a little older so they can read it, too.

Aren’t books wonderful?!  I love how they can transport you to places and times you haven’t experienced or may not have even heard about and make you feel empathy, joy, sorrow, love and excitement.

How would you rate the books you’ve read so far this year?


Top 10 or 11 Beach Reads

top ten tuesdayhosted by The Broke and the Bookish

The last time I did a Top Ten Tuesday was in February.  So yes.  It has been awhile.  This week’s list is ten books that would make a good beach read and/or ten that you want to read at the beach this summer.  So this will be a little mix….a few I’ve read and a few I want to read.  (although, not promising I will wait to be on a beach.  and, also, let the record show that reading on the beach would be better than reading anywhere else.  so really I could just pick ten books.   but anyway, I get the point and I think you do, too….and now I will get on with it.)

10. Yes, Please! by Amy Poehler–I haven’t read this book but I have it on loan at the library. It could be awhile so there’s a good chance I could end up reading this on the beach. I’ve heard it isn’t the same as Bossypants but as long as you don’t go in with those preconceptions, it is a good read. Well, duh, it is Amy Poehler.

9. Nobody’s Cuter than You by Melanie Shankle–I’ve read her other two memoirs about motherhood and marriage and loved them both. She’s hilarious and insightful. This one is about friendship and I can’t imagine how it could go wrong.

8. Where’d You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple–This novel is written in letter/email/text form. The family is quirky and funny and I’ve not read a plot like it in quite some time. It is heartwarming but not so much so that you’ll be sobbing into the sand.

7.  Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan–I picked this book out of Modern Mrs Darcy’s summer reading list.  She says she had this book sent to her 3 or 4 times to read (sidenote:  what can I do to get people to send me books to read?) and she finally read it and wished she’d read it sooner.  A girl lives above a shop which she’s turns into a bakery on an island off the coast of England.  Um, yes please?!

6. The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica–Also from MMD’s summer reading list.  It is described as Kate Middleton fan fiction.  I’m not sure there could be a more perfect beach read.

5. Paper Towns by John Green–If you haven’t read this yet and you like the YA genre, then what are you waiting for?  The movie comes out in July.  It is about kids on a road trip.  It is funny.  The end.

4. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins–Another YA book.  This one is full of teenage love angst and it is set in Paris.  I wanted to go back to high school but in another country while reading this…..and who in their right mind really wants to go back to high school?  It was super entertaining.

3.Someday, Someday Maybe by Lauren Graham–I loved this book and thought maybe it was because I was just coming off of my Gilmore Girls netflix binge.  But then I saw the book on the summer beach reads table at Barnes & Noble….and if the professionals agree with me then surely I’m not wrong.

2.Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen–Because there needs to be one classic.  And because this is one of the few books that is good when reread.  And because.

1a.Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling–I read this a few summers ago.  It is hilarious.  She has another book coming out in September and I think it will be equally delightful.  (and she’s working on a children’s book with B.J. Novak, too!–if you haven’t read his book, The Book With No Pictures, go buy it and read it to the next child you see.  His/her parents might think you’re weird but the kid will love the book, I promise.)

1b.  The Rosie Project by Graeme Simpson–I just finished this book on a boat yesterday and had to add this to the list.  I wasn’t paying attention and am now sun burnt–that’s how absorbed in the story I became.  If that’s not a good recommendation for a beach read, I don’t know what is.

Name one book that you’ve read on a beach, that you are going to read on a beach, that is about the beach or that you’ve read and loved recently…..obviously, I’m not picky.

Top Ten Book Problems

top ten tuesday mediumhosted by The Broke and the Bookish

10.  I have a problem with Emma.  I can’t get through it.  I think I may need to try listening to it on audio.

9.  Unfortunately, I have a problem with audio books.  I can’t listen to books on audio and actually retain what I heard.

8.  I have a problem with ruffly pages.  I can’t handle ruffly pages.

7.  I have a problem with alphebetization.  Yes it is a word.  I can’t handle when books in a series are not in alphabetical order.  I mean.  My life doesn’t end, but my eye twitches when I see the books on my bookshelf.  I’m looking at you Divergent, Insurgent, Allegiant.

6.  I have a problem with reading ahead.  I don’t like surprises.

5.  I have a problem with finishing books with ridiculous endings.  If I happen to read the ending and I find it to be dumb, I’m not wasting my time with the middle part.

4.  I have a problem with anger.  If I read an entire book and get to the ending and it makes me mad, I may throw the book.  So far, no family members have been injured.

3.  I have a problem with figuring out which book is first in a series.  WHY?! can’t they just number the books along with the clever little titles?!

2.  I have a problem when people don’t agree with me.  I love a book, I recommend it, and you either don’t read it or you think it is ‘just ok’.  sob.

1.  I have a problem with people talking to me while I’m reading.  Isn’t it obvious when someone is reading that they’re probably not going to carry on a conversation with you?  Alas, I’m usually always reading and my poor husband will say something to me and it will be a good five minutes later before I realize that he may have been talking to me.  This thrills him to no end.

Please share your book problems with me.  And please agree with me.  All book series should be properly alphabetized, right?

Ten Books I’d Love to Read with My Book Club

top ten tuesday mediumhosted by The Broke and the Bookish

These are some of my favorite books that I’d love to discuss with someone else.  Did you love it like I did?  If not, what parts did you not like?  Were you surprised at that one part?  Did you cry during that one chapter?

Here are ten books that I’d love to discuss in book club…in no particular order.

the count1.  The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas::This book is so long and I’d probably have to pay the other members in my book club to read it.  But still–it would make such great discussion on revenge and justice and love.

jane eyre2.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte::Maybe I could squeeze this classic in and we could discuss whether it is a better story than Pride and Prejudice.

a wrinkle in time3.  A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle::Simply because the science makes my head hurt/makes me smile all at the same time.  Do you think a tesseract is really real?  And if not real, then could it still be possible?

madman4.  Madman by Tracy Groot::In the books of Mark and Luke, there is a story of a devil-possessed man who had an encounter with Jesus.  Jesus cast the devils out and they went into a herd of pigs which jumped off a cliff into the sea.  This book is the story of the man and his life before he met Jesus.  It is compelling, horrific and, yet, full of hope.

guernsey5.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer&Annie Barrows::Written entirely in letter form, this book tells the story of a small island off the coast of England that was occupied by Germany during WW2.  Amidst the horror of that war, this book is charming and full of interesting characters.  I just want everyone to read it and love it as I did.

unwind6.  Unwind by Neil Shusterman::If you love dystopian literature, you should read this.  And then we can have an interesting, and maybe even uncomfortable, conversation about abortion and our society and all the horrors that occur on this earth.

unbroken7.  Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand::By now, you’ve either read the book, watched the movie or heard of the story from a friend.  If not, then read the book, watch the movie or ask a friend about the story.  And then let’s talk about it.

the middle place8.  The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan::A favorite auto-biography of mine.  Kelly talks about her close relationship with her dad, her battle with cancer and how she is stuck in that ‘middle place’ between child-hood and grandparent-hood.  And she does it all with humor.

three weeks9.  Three Weeks with My Brother by Nicholas Sparks::Another favorite auto-biography.  If you love Nicholas Sparks or if you do Not love Nicholas Sparks, I want you to read this book and see if your view has changed or if you were amazed at his life story as I was.

the invention of wings10.  The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd::I read this book and loved it so so so much that I ended up reading all of the books that the author read in her research.  Our book club almost read it until we realized the wait list at the library was over 100 people long.  Maybe we’ll get around to reading it this year.

What books do you think would make good book club books?  And if you’re not in a book club, but would like to join one—let me know and we can talk!

Top Ten Books I Read in 2014

top ten tuesday mediumhosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I looked through my list on goodreads and compiled all of the books that I rated 4 or 5 stars (not including books that were re-reads).  Amazingly enough, when I was done I had a list of ten.  Perfect for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday.  So, without further ado, here is my list.

wonder10.  Wonder by R.J. Palacio:  A story about a boy who is the new kid at school…and oh, he has a facial deformity.  This quick read made me laugh and cry and think and I loved it.

unwind9.  Unwind by Neil Shusterman:  A dystopian story just different enough from the rest that made me give it 4 stars.  It is creepy, and scarily enough, close to the reality of our world.

a million little ways8.  A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman:  This book took me forever to finish but I’m so glad I did.  If you ever wonder if you are enough, you should read this book.  You were made by an over the top creative God and you can live out ‘art’ in a million little ways you never knew existed.

orphan train7.  Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline:  I had no idea that orphans were rounded up off of the streets of large cities and sent west by train to be placed in different families’ lives.  Many of these young children were seen as free help.  This book follows the story of a modern day girl who is ‘aging out’ of the foster care system and an elderly lady whose was one of the children sent west on an orphan train.

attachments6.  Attachments by Rainbow Rowell:  Friends who email each other at work.  And the guy whose job it is to make sure people are only emailing for work purposes….and then he falls in love with one of the girls.  This took me back to my college days where I emailed my friends constantly.  I just loved this book.  And pretty much any book by this author.  I think it is the hopeless romantic in me.

al capone5.  Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko:  Alcatraz Island.  A boy with an autistic older sister who he is fiercely protective of and also annoyed with at times.  He is dealing with changing schools and friends and just regular life and it made me laugh, cry and wonder.  I loved this book.

between shades of gray4.  Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys:  An unfortunate title for a marvelous story.  The story of a girl named Lina and how her family is torn apart and taken from her home in Lithuania to the coldest part of the earth (practically the north pole).  This story describes the horrors that occurred during the second world war to people who I never realized were affected.

the giver3.  The Giver by Lois Lowry:  Since the movie came out, everyone knows this story, right?  It is a dystopian book written before dystopian books became cool.  Don’t know why it took me to the year 2014 to read it.     

the nesting place2.  The Nesting Place by Myquillin Smith:  More than just a decorating book.  She gives you permission to make your house a home and truly Live where you are right now.  For goodness sake, make a nail hole and hang something on your wall.

sarah's key1.  Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay:  Another WWII story.  This book journeys between Paris 1942 and Paris 2002 and tells of the story of the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup.  A gripping tale of resilience.  I had never heard this part of Europe’s history and the author told it very well.

What was your favorite book from this year?

Top Ten Books I Really Want to Read But Don’t Own Yet

top ten tuesdayhosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Two children’s books.  Five nonfiction books.  Three random novels.  The one common trait is that I’d like to read them all.  While I doubt I’ll actually buy them all (I might buy one or two of them and the rest will be checked out of the library), I hope to eventually read them all.

In no particular order other than the order that I thought of them:

Interrupted by Jen Hatmaker
Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
A Little Salty to Cut the Sweet by Sophie Hudson
Let’s All Be Brave by Annie Downs
Surprised by Motherhood by Lisa-Jo Baker
My New Friend is So Fun! by Mo Willems
Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman
In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner
What Happens When I Talk to God: the Power of Prayer for Boys and Girls by Stormie Omartian

What is on your to buy to read list?

Top Ten Favorite Classics

top ten tuesday medium

(hosted by The Broke and the Bookish)

This week the category is your top ten favorite classics….yay!  I love love love the books below.  Here are my favorites.

10.  The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

A thriller of a story if ever there were.

index9.  David Copperfield

I read the reader’s digest condensed version in junior high and fell in love with the classics.

david copperfield8.  Uncle Tom’s Cabin

I read this in high school and can remember being captivated by the story.

uncle tom's cabin7.  The Chronicles of Narnia

Seven wonderful stories full of magic and power and, ultimately, love.

chronicles of narnia6.  To Kill a Mockingbird

Heartbreaking but so so so good.

to kill a mocking bird5.  Pride and Prejudice

Jane and Mr. Bingley and Lizzie and, need I say it?…Mr. Darcy.

pride and prejudice4.  Les Miserables

The more you read the more miserable it gets.  But it is Such a gripping tale!

les miserables3.  Persuasion

I loved Anne Elliott and mourned the loss of her true love and then kept reading to see if she’d get her happy ending.

persuasion2.  Jane Eyre

If ever there is a tale of true life.  Jane’s life starts out hard, seems to get easier, and then she gets knocked down about as low as one can get.  But she never wavers in what she believes and knows is true.  And I loved her for that.

jane eyre1.  The Count of Monte Cristo

This book has dozens of different stories all woven together.  It was a challenging read and I may have even been tempted to write a list of characters so I could keep them all straight.  But I LOVED it and may have even read instead of socializing with my friends (sorry Bekah!).  There is no one like the Count.  If you’ve seen the movie, it tells about 10% of what is in the book.  If you like classics even a little bit and haven’t read this, please please do so!

the count of monte cristo

 Did I mention any of your favorites or do you have an entirely different list?

Top Ten Tuesday

top ten tuesday mediumhosted by The Broke and the Bookish

I wasn’t going to participate this week, but then Ben’s teacher retweeted an article of the top 100 children’s chapter books.  His teacher has read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlotte’s Web to the class this year.  Last week, I was in line to pick Ben up from school and he was standing there waiting and reading a book.  He has been a late bloomer when it comes to reading so that totally made my day.  I was excited to see the list of chapter books so that I can suggest books for him to read this summer.  And, I’ll admit, I love them, too.

So the category this week that I chose was the top ten children’s chapter books to read if you liked the movie(This category could also be called the top ten ways to annoy my husband.  It is a pet peeve of his when we’re watching a movie and I mention how it is different from the book.  I try not to, I really do.)  Please don’t think I’ve read every book on the list.  These are just my ten favorites that I’ve read AND watched the movie.

#10.  Mary Poppins–the book was ok but I love the movie.

#9.  A Wrinkle in Time–the movie is ok but I love the book.

#8.  Little House on the Prairie–I read the books when I was younger and watched the tv show here and there when I was older.  For those of you that love the show, please don’t hate me.

#7.  The Indian in the Cupboard–the book is SO much better than the movie.

#6.  The Tale of Despereaux–great movie.  great book.

#5.  Harry Potter–I didn’t like the movies until I read the books.  I don’t know why.

#4.  Because of Winn-Dixie–Loved the movie.  Read the book a few years ago and became obsessed with children’s chapter books.

#3.   Johnny Tremain–I remember watching this in sixth grade, maybe?  I read the book recently and I still love the story.  Great historical fiction.

#2.  The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe–One of the best book series ever.  This could have been #1 if I didn’t like the Anne movies so much.

#1.  Anne of Green Gables–Growing up, this was my most favorite movie Ever.  Ok it was tied with Newsies.  But the books are so so wonderful.

Have you read any children’s books and loved the book and the movie adaptation, too?

Top Ten Things On My Bookish Bucket List

top ten tuesday mediumhosted by The Broke and the Bookish

It is that time of week again!  And I’m thrilled to not be sharing a list of books this week.  Instead, here is my top ten book related items on my bookish bucket list.  They range from finishing a book to installing tons of bookshelves.  What book dreams do you aspire to cross off your list?

10.  Keep a list of books I’ve read.  I might as well cross this one off.  I decided at the beginning of the year to keep track of the books I read on goodreads.  We are almost finished with the third month of this year and I have kept up with doing this.  Yay me!  Check out my 2014 bookshelf or the My Reads category of TBT to see what I’ve loved or not so much loved.

9.  Finish Emma I usually finish a book if I start it.  Not always.  But almost always.  And I really think I’d like Emma if I could just. get. into. it.  I really need to just do it.

8.  Collect all of the Reader’s Digest Classics.  Or break down and buy them.

reader's digestOnce upon a time there was a girl who had the entire collection of Reader’s Digest Best Loved Books for Young Readers.  Her grandmother had them for her mom and aunt and then she had them growing up.  It is where she first learned to love the classics.  Where she met Lorna Doone and The Scarlet Pimpernel and The Good Earth and Jane Eyre.  And then one day she accidentally put them in a garage sale with a pile of other books.  And she sold them to an excited little boy and his mother.  And now she has her own little boys and girl and she really wishes she had those books back.  The end.

7.  Meet John Green.  I’d love to meet John Green because a)duh.  He’s a famous author and b)I like his books and youtube channel and c)He’s from Indy!  But I don’t want to meet him meet him.  Because I’m reeeeeaaaalllly bad at small talk and it would be super awkward and I’d analyze the entire conversation for weeks.  Instead, I’d like to bump into him someplace in Indy, like The Children’s Museum, and have him ask me where the restrooms are or if I know how to get to the dinosaurs on the bottom floor.  Then I’d have a really cool story about how I helped John Green find, you know, the restrooms or the dinosaurs.  Maybe I need to think about this a little bit more, but you get the idea.

6.  Be mentioned in the thank you section of someone’s book.  I don’t really care who, I just think it would be fun to be thanked for helping someone publish a book.  I don’t aspire to greatness and want to actually Write a book myself.  I guess I like to dream small.

5.  Even better would to be mentioned in the “This book is dedicated” section!  But I’d want to be alive.  A lot of books are dedicated to those who have passed on or small children.  I fit into neither of those categories.

4.  Meet Pioneer Woman.  Again.  I went to a cookbook signing in Noblesville a few years (one?  two?) ago and met her (awkward conversation.  analyzed it for weeks.  She was lovely, though.) and she signed her two cook books that I own.  Well she’s now got a third cookbook out and I have it, but it isn’t signed.  I think it is jealous of the other cookbooks and I like to be fair so I really need to meet her again.  Maybe I’ll bump into her sometime at The Children’s Museum and I’ll just happen to have my cookbook with me.  Won’t that be a lucky day?…what with me already helping John Green to the restroom and all.

3.  Finish Emily’s 1000 Books Before Kindergarten before school is out.  Our library has a program where they encourage you to read 1000 books to your child before they enter kindergarten.  The boys have both finished the program.  Emily has about 150 books to go.  The problem is that I have stopped recording the books that we read to her.  I need to start writing them down so that we can finish already!

2.  Have a room that is wall to wall books.  Even better if I need a ladder to reach the books at the very top.  Even betterer if I have to climb stairs to reach a landing that has shelves of books.


1.  Read the Bible all the way through.  I don’t necessarily want to or need to do it in a year.  I just would like to say I have done it.  I’m thinking of getting a chronological Bible.  If you have one, do tell, do you like it?

Top Ten Books on My Spring 2014 TBR List

top ten tuesday mediumhosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Here is my list of 10 books that I want to read this spring.  A few of them have just recently come out but most of them are older and only one of them, I think, is not out yet.  I split the list up in three sections:  books I’ve been wanting to read for awhile (so I should really get on that), books that have been recommended to me to read and books by authors that I love.

I really need to get cracking on these books:

10.  The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien–I bought this book for myself for Christmas.  I should read it before next Christmas, don’t you think?

9.  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald–Same as above.

8.  Bonhoeffer by Eric Mataxas–I heard an interview with this author on a radio program at least a year ago.  I then purchased the book for my nook.  I haven’t even started it.  But the story of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his resistance against the third reich has got to be a good story.

7.  Looking for Alaska by John Green–One of the few books of his that I haven’t read and it is his first.  I finally put it on hold at the library since it was never in when I would check for it.

Books recommended to me:

6.    Anomaly by Krista McGee–a friend recommended this one to me because of my love for Hunger Games and Divergent.

5.  The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman–my aunt told me about this book and then sent it to me in the mail.  It will get read soon!

4.  Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers–This book comes out next month.  I have a few friends who are Francine Rivers super fans and so they told me about this one.  It sounds really good, but of course. 🙂

Books by authors that I love:

3.  The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks–I went on a Nicholas Sparks binge a couple of summers ago and read every book of his on the library shelf.  This book came out last year and I’ve not read it yet.  Say whaaa?!

2.  Glitter and Glue by Kelly Corrigan–I read her book The Middle Place and laughed and cried my way through.  I can’t wait to read her memoir about the relationship between mothers and daughters.

1.  The Antelope in the Living Room by Melanie Shankle–the author of Green Sparkly Earrings wrote a book about marriage.  I can. not. wait. to read this one.  I think I may need to pack extra underwear if I take this book out in public.

What books are you excited to read this spring?  Or are you just excited for spring?  Can I hear an AMEN?!!!