I would have liked to have read more books this year. But this year was filled with lots of changes in my personal life, so reading was low on the priority list. But these are some of the books I rated 5 stars on Goodreads. If you’re not familiar with Goodreads, it’s an app where you can track what you’re reading and also rate and review books. The rating scale is from 1 to 5 stars, no half stars. So while I might’ve given some of these books 4.5 stars, I decided to round up. So here’s my list:
- The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
Goodreads synopsis: After the 1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.
Now, it’s the dawn of the 5th wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from Them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth’s last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie’s only hope for rescuing her brother-or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.
My thoughts: I wouldn’t say I’m a huge sci-fi reader but I definitely love me a good dystopian novel. I loved this way more than I expected. There’s a good mix of action, romance, thriller, and mystery that kept this book fast-paced. I’ve yet to read the other books in this series, but word is that they’re not nearly as good as this one. Have you read the other books? Let me know if you liked them because I’m all for this story!
- Steal Like an Artist by Austen Kleon
Goodreads synopsis: You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side.
My thoughts: If you’re not a huge non-fiction/self-help reader, I would at least give this one a chance. Austin Kleon has a good way of keeping his writing casual so it’s easy to read and understand. Lots of good tips on keeping your creativity flowing and not letting yourself get discouraged. “Artist” can mean any type of creative expression. So you can apply his tips in a way that works for you. Also, I took notes on this since I was borrowing the e-book from the library, but if you have a physical copy, I would definitely mark and annotate it!
- The Maid by Nita Prose
Goodreads Synopsis: Molly Gray is not like everyone else. She struggles with social skills and misreads the intentions of others. Her gran used to interpret the world for her, codifying it into simple rules that Molly could live by.
Since Gran died a few months ago, twenty-five-year-old Molly has been navigating life’s complexities all by herself. No matter—she throws herself with gusto into her work as a hotel maid. Her unique character, along with her obsessive love of cleaning and proper etiquette, make her an ideal fit for the job. But Molly’s orderly life is upended the day she enters the suite of the infamous and wealthy Charles Black, only to find it in a state of disarray and Mr. Black himself dead in his bed. Fortunately for Molly, friends she never knew she had unite with her in a search for clues to what really happened to Mr. Black—but will they be able to find the real killer before it’s too late?
My thoughts: Molly Gray reminds me of Eleanor Oliphant. You know what I mean if you’ve read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine. There’s a kind of quirkiness that makes Molly likable but also her obsessive behavior is enough to make you second-guess her intentions. This is a murder mystery but not so much a thriller. I stayed up late to finish this one. I would say if you liked Eleanor Oliphant but also like who-dun-its, you’ll probably really enjoy this one.
- A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson
Goodreads synopsis: The case is closed. Five years ago, schoolgirl Andie Bell was murdered by Sal Singh. The police know he did it. Everyone in town knows he did it.
But having grown up in the same small town that was consumed by the murder, Pippa Fitz-Amobi isn’t so sure. When she chooses the case as the topic for her final year project, she starts to uncover secrets that someone in town desperately wants to stay hidden. And if the real killer is still out there, how far will they go to keep Pip from the truth?
My thoughts: I had heard so much about this series and it definitely lives up to the hype! This is a young adult murder mystery but still keeps you guessing until the end. So many twists and turns! I stayed up late to finish this one as well. Would not recommend reading this if you’re home alone at night, haha. But this is only one of the three books in this series. I’ve read the second one as well but I would say the first one is the best so far. Can’t wait to get my hands on the third book!
- Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
Goodreads synopsis: Twelve-year-old Sophie Foster has a secret. She’s a Telepath—someone who hears the thoughts of everyone around her. It’s a talent she’s never known how to explain.
Everything changes the day she meets Fitz, a mysterious boy who appears out of nowhere and also reads minds. She discovers there’s a place she does belong, and that staying with her family will place her in grave danger. In the blink of an eye, Sophie is forced to leave behind everything and start a new life in a place that is vastly different from anything she has ever known.
My thoughts: If you’re into fantasy novels, I would highly suggest this series! I’ve only read the first book but have heard great things about the entire series. This is a middle-grade series but is a good light fantasy read if you’re looking for something easy to read but will still hold your attention. I sped through this one because it reads like a mystery and so much is happening since the world is being introduced to both Sophie and the reader. Also recommend if you’re trying to get into reading but haven’t found a book that you like yet. I suggested this one to my little sister-in-law and she was completely engrossed in it!
- The Box in the Woods by Maureen Johnson
Goodreads synopsis: Amateur sleuth Stevie Bell needs a good murder. After catching a killer at her high school, she’s back at home for a normal (that means boring) summer.
But then she gets a message from the owner of Sunny Pines, formerly known as Camp Wonder Falls—the site of the notorious unsolved case, the Box in the Woods Murders. Back in 1978, four camp counselors were killed in the woods outside of the town of Barlow Corners, their bodies left in a gruesome display. The new owner offers Stevie an invitation: Come to the camp and help him work on a true crime podcast about the case.
But something evil still lurks in Barlow Corners. When Stevie opens the lid on this long-dormant case, she gets much more than she bargained for. The Box in the Woods will make room for more victims. This time, Stevie may not make it out alive.
My thoughts: This is a part of the Truly Devious series but can be read as a standalone if you haven ‘t read the previous books in the series. I think I read this one in a day. It was so addictive. A murder mystery at a summer camp? Sign me up! This one will keep you guessing and is a thrill to read. In my opinion, it’s the best in the series but still recommend reading the previous books. The next book, Nine Liars, is out now, and I can’t wait to read it!
- Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
Goodreads synopsis: Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country’s vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honour of the powerful businessman Mr. Hosokawa. Roxane Coss, opera’s most revered soprano, has mesmerised the international guests with her singing.
It is a perfect evening – until a band of gun-wielding terrorists takes the entire party hostage. But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, a moment of great beauty, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different continents become compatriots, intimate friends, and lovers.
My thoughts: This one started off a bit slow for me, and I actually stopped reading it for weeks before I picked it up again. This is a charcter driven novel, so if you love literary fiction, this one’s for you. Throughout the book each character reveals a little more about themselves making them more and more vulnerable. As the reader, you will grow an attachment to these characters, even the ones you may dislike at first. It’s amazing what Ann Patchett has done with this story. She has easily become one of my favorite authors.
- I’m Glad My Mom Died by Jennette McCurdy
Goodreads synopsis: A heartbreaking and hilarious memoir by iCarly and Sam & Cat star Jennette McCurdy about her struggles as a former child actor—including eating disorders, addiction, and a complicated relationship with her overbearing mother—and how she retook control of her life.Told with refreshing candor and dark humor, I’m Glad My Mom Died is an inspiring story of resilience, independence, and the joy of shampooing your own hair.
My thoughts: I loved watching iCarly when I was younger. I always wondered what happened to “Sam.” So when I saw Jennette McCurdy’s book come out I was curious about it being titled what it is. I knew it would have a bit of humor in it being Jennette so I finally decided to read it. And wow. I wouldn’t say this was a “sad” read but it was definitely frustrating for me. I listened to this as an audiobook and Jennette was narrarating, which made the reading so much more personal. There were times when her voice cracked because of how difficult it would’ve been to share such an intimate part of your life on such a public platform. I’m sad about how much she went through at such a young age and how it’s affected her until now. I would recommend reading but be aware that there are a few explicit scenes and lots of discussion on eating disorders if you are sensitive to that.