Hey y'all! Happy Tuesday! I am so excited to share with you the ten books that stole my heart in 2019! I will start with a picture of the book, the blurb from Goodreads, and then any additional gushing that I feel must be shared!
"The #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Man Called Ove returns with a dazzling, profound novel about a small town with a big dream—and the price required to make it come true.
People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.
Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.
Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. In this story of a small forest town, Fredrik Backman has found the entire world."
This is one that I feel should be required reading for High Schoolers. It will absolutely rip your heart out, and have you completely captivated from the first "bang". I included the sequel, because it too is a MUST READ.
"Lydia is dead. But they don’t know this yet.
So begins this exquisite novel about a Chinese American family living in 1970s small-town Ohio. Lydia is the favorite child of Marilyn and James Lee, and her parents are determined that she will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue. But when Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, the delicate balancing act that has been keeping the Lee family together is destroyed, tumbling them into chaos.
A profoundly moving story of family, secrets, and longing, Everything I Never Told You is both a gripping page-turner and a sensitive family portrait, uncovering the ways in which mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, and husbands and wives struggle, all their lives, to understand one another."
If you read Little Fires Everywhere, you KNOW the power and enthralling nature of Celeste Ng's work. This book weaves such an incredible web of familial strife, how things left unsaid can bring you to the brink of destruction,
"Tonight, Evelyn Hardcastle will be killed... again.
It is meant to be a celebration but it ends in tragedy. As fireworks explode overhead, Evelyn Hardcastle, the young and beautiful daughter of the house, is killed.
But Evelyn will not die just once. Until Aiden – one of the guests summoned to Blackheath for the party – can solve her murder, the day will repeat itself, over and over again. Every time ending with the fateful pistol shot.
The only way to break this cycle is to identify the killer. But each time the day begins again, Aiden wakes in the body of a different guest. And someone is determined to prevent him ever escaping Blackheath..."
Oooph! This book. I have never read anything like it, and the complete brilliance of the entire thing left me completely gobsmacked. I cannot wait to see what Stuart Turton writes next! This was a love letter to Doyle and Christie; this man knows the foundation of what a good mystery should be, and executes the entire process so succinctly. Modern day classic.
"From the author of the world-wide bestseller, The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, a new novel about learning how to listen and how to feel; and about second chances and choosing to be brave despite the odds. Because in the end, music can save us all ...
1988. Frank owns a music shop. It is jam-packed with records of every speed, size and genre. Classical, jazz, punk – as long as it’s vinyl he sells it. Day after day Frank finds his customers the music they need.
Then into his life walks Ilse Brauchmann.
Ilse asks Frank to teach her about music. His instinct is to turn and run. And yet he is drawn to this strangely still, mysterious woman with her pea-green coat and her eyes as black as vinyl. But Ilse is not what she seems. And Frank has old wounds that threaten to re-open and a past he will never leave behind ..."
My heart. If you know me, you know how massive a part music plays in my life. This book is so griping and so poignant, and will leave you misty and never wanting it to end.
"All of them are friends. One of them is a killer.
During the languid days of the Christmas break, a group of thirtysomething friends from Oxford meet to welcome in the New Year together, a tradition they began as students ten years ago. For this vacation, they’ve chosen an idyllic and isolated estate in the Scottish Highlands—the perfect place to get away and unwind by themselves.
They arrive on December 30th, just before a historic blizzard seals the lodge off from the outside world.
Two days later, on New Year’s Day, one of them is dead.
The trip began innocently enough: admiring the stunning if foreboding scenery, champagne in front of a crackling fire, and reminiscences about the past. But after a decade, the weight of secret resentments has grown too heavy for the group’s tenuous nostalgia to bear. Amid the boisterous revelry of New Year’s Eve, the cord holding them together snaps.
Now one of them is dead . . . and another of them did it.
Keep your friends close, the old adage goes. But just how close is too close?"
Y'all. This book. This brilliant, creepy, edge-of-your-seat book. I love a seclusion trope in a thriller, and this one is the best I have ever read! Lucy Foley takes this trope and turns it on its head! I was enveloped from the first line, and read it this in a day. I could not stop!
"The daughter of a Pentecostal evangelist and a race-car driver, Jessi Colter played piano and sang in church before leaving Arizona to tour with rock-n-roll pioneer Duane Eddy, whom she married. Colter became a successful recording artist, appearing on American Bandstand and befriending stars such as the Everly Brothers and Chet Atkins, while her songs were recorded by Nancy Sinatra, Dottie West, and others. Her marriage to Eddy didn’t last, however, and in 1969 she married the electrifying Waylon Jennings. Together, they made their home in Nashville which in the 1970s, was ground zero for roots music, drawing Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, Shel Silverstein, and others to the Nashville Sound. And Jessi was at the center of it all, the only woman on the landmark Wanted: The Outlaws album, the record that launched the Outlaw Country genre and was the first country album to go platinum. She also tasted personal commercial success with the #1-single “I’m Not Lisa.”
But offstage, life was a challenge, as Waylon pursued his addictions and battled his demons. Having drifted from the church as a young woman, Jessi returned to her faith and found in it a source of strength in the turmoil of living with Waylon. In the 1980s, Waylon helped launch the super group The Highwaymen with Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Kris Kristofferson, and the hits kept rolling, as did Waylon’s reckless living. Amid it all, Jessi faithfully prayed for her husband until finally, at Thanksgiving 2001, Waylon found Jesus, just months before he died.
An Outlaw and a Lady is a powerful story of American music, of love in the midst of heartache, and of faith that sustains."
I still get weepy when I think of this book. My love for Waylon is so deep, and so vast, and to read Jessi's words of their love, his life, their life, his music, their music, their family, their life...and her unwavering faith through it all...it's just almost too much for my heart to handle.
"No one’s ever told Eleanor that life should be better than fine
Meet Eleanor Oliphant: she struggles with appropriate social skills and tends to say exactly what she’s thinking. Nothing is missing in her carefully timetabled life of avoiding unnecessary human contact, where weekends are punctuated by frozen pizza, vodka, and phone chats with Mummy.
But everything changes when Eleanor meets Raymond, the bumbling and deeply unhygienic IT guy from her office. When she and Raymond together save Sammy, an elderly gentleman who has fallen, the three rescue one another from the lives of isolation that they had been living. Ultimately, it is Raymond’s big heart that will help Eleanor find the way to repair her own profoundly damaged one. If she does, she'll learn that she, too, is capable of finding friendship—and even love—after all.
Smart, warm, uplifting, Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine is the story of an out-of-the-ordinary heroine whose deadpan weirdness and unconscious wit make for an irresistible journey as she realizes. . .
the only way to survive is to open your heart."
This book is one of life-changers. Everyone should read this. Grab the tissues, but don't let that deter you. It is a phenomenal tale of grief, love, and growth through finding yourself and your people.
"Everyone knows Daisy Jones & The Six: The band's album Aurora came to define the rock 'n' roll era of the late seventies, and an entire generation of girls wanted to grow up to be Daisy. But no one knows the reason behind the group's split on the night of their final concert at Chicago Stadium on July 12, 1979 . . . until now.
Daisy is a girl coming of age in L.A. in the late sixties, sneaking into clubs on the Sunset Strip, sleeping with rock stars, and dreaming of singing at the Whisky a Go Go. The sex and drugs are thrilling, but it’s the rock 'n' roll she loves most. By the time she’s twenty, her voice is getting noticed, and she has the kind of heedless beauty that makes people do crazy things.
Also getting noticed is The Six, a band led by the brooding Billy Dunne. On the eve of their first tour, his girlfriend Camila finds out she’s pregnant, and with the pressure of impending fatherhood and fame, Billy goes a little wild on the road.
Daisy and Billy cross paths when a producer realizes that the key to supercharged success is to put the two together. What happens next will become the stuff of legend.
The making of that legend is chronicled in this riveting and unforgettable novel, written as an oral history of one of the biggest bands of the seventies. Taylor Jenkins Reid is a talented writer who takes her work to a new level with Daisy Jones & The Six, brilliantly capturing a place and time in an utterly distinctive voice."
This book. WOW. This takes you on one of the most incredible behind-the-music journeys since Stillwater. (If you get that reference, you are my people and I love you!) I implore you to grab this on audio book as it a full cast recording! Sex, Drugs, Rock 'n Roll, Love, Heartache...this book has it all and so much more! TJR is a mastermind!
"Thou shalt kill.
A world with no hunger, no disease, no war, no misery. Humanity has conquered all those things, and has even conquered death. Now scythes are the only ones who can end life—and they are commanded to do so, in order to keep the size of the population under control.
Citra and Rowan are chosen to apprentice to a scythe—a role that neither wants. These teens must master the “art” of taking life, knowing that the consequence of failure could mean losing their own."
Y'all! I picked this YA Sci-Fi up on my husband's recommendation and I was completely shocked by how quickly I consumed it. Almost a one-sitting read! And the best part about a book that envelopes you and leaves you needing more: it is the first book in a trilogy! And all three have been published and are waiting for you to binge them!
"When larger-than-life cattle rancher Jordan "Bick" Benedict arrives at the family home of sharp-witted but genteel Virginia socialite Leslie Lynnton to purchase a racehorse, the two are instantly drawn to each other. But for Leslie, falling in love with a Texan was a lot simpler than falling in love with Texas. Upon their arrival at Bick's ranch, Leslie is confronted not only with the oppressive heat and vastness of Texas but also by the disturbing inequity between runaway riches and the poverty and racism suffered by the Mexican workers on the ranch. Leslie and Bick's loving union endures against all odds, but a reckoning is coming and a price will have to be paid.
A sensational and enthralling saga, Ferber masterfully captures the essence of Texas with all its wealth and excess, cruelty and prejudice, pride and violence."
This book made me so freakin' homesick for Texas I almost couldn't take it. I devoured this, and cannot wait to reread in the very near future! If you love Texas, Westerns, or just a good ole family saga-this classic needs to be on your 2020 TBR!