My Top 5 Favorite Books of the Year

This year has been a great year in books. As I get older I am finding that I am choosing more books not only entertain but make me a better and more aware person. I love reading about strong women overcoming great odds. I hope by reading books like this a little of their strength will pass on to me.

5. Final Girls by Riley Sager
Quinn Carpenter survived a horrible mass murder right out of a horror movie. She belongs to a trio of women called the “Final Girls” since they all were the last ones standing after horrible crimes. But one of the Final Girls has died under mysterious circumstances, and the other Final Girl has shown up on Quinn’s doorstep. What does it all mean!!
I was actually surprised by how much I liked this book. I half expected it to start out slow like most mysteries and build but it had me at the first page. Once you start it, you won’t be able to not finish it.

4. The Unkillable Kitty O’Kane by Colin Falconer
Only one word describes Kitty O’Kane, survivor. Born in the slums of Ireland and raised by an abusive father, she goes on to be one of the few survivors of the Titanic, and the sinking of the RMS Lithuania in WWI. Just how much tragedy can one life handle? If you’re Kitty O’Kane a lot. Despite every set back, she finds a way to keep moving forward.
Though some of the historical facts in this book might be off, it’s still a testament to the human spirit. Kitty suffered through abuse, wars, famine, bad relationships and somehow found the will to keep going. If it had been me, I don’t think I would’ve made it. She was dogged in her pursuit of happiness, vowing she would never return to the slums of her childhood, or be under the thumb of a man. I love a story about a strong woman making her own path by whatever means necessary. I also loved that she wasn’t perfect, she made some very clear mistakes which came back to bite her but she learned from them. I want to get this one in hardcover so I can treasure it forever.

3. One Day We’ll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter: Essays by Scaachi Koul
Koul, a writer for BuzzFeed, through hilarious essays gives us a peek into the life of a millennial Indian-American woman. She touches on topics like interracial dating, growing up as the only person of color in her school, body hair and other joys of womanhood.
I love when a book literally makes me laugh out loud. And though I am not Indian, and don’t come from immigrant parents, I still found Koul’s essays relatable on the level of being a millennial women of color in today’s world. I love the how she shared about the prejudices within the Indian community which I knew about but didn’t know all the facts. At the end of every chapter she shared email conversations between her and her father which were so funny. For me, Koul is one of those writers that I look up to. I only hope to be as sharp and as hilarious as she is one day.

2. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Starr is high school girl who witnesses the shooting death of her childhood friend, a young black man who was unarmed, by a police officer. The drama that follows is life defining, not only for Starr but for her family and friends.
This book is right on time considering all of the deaths of unarmed black men by police in recent news. In this book you get a front row seat to the lives of those directly effected by these deaths. I cried with Starr, I laughed with her, I got angry with her. I wondered how would’ve handled witnessing something like that. How I would’ve handled news outlets and even friends disrespecting my dead friend. I love when a novel makes you self reflect, but still is an enjoyable read. I recommend this book to everyone no matter their age or race. It definitely gives some very good perspective on what it’s like being black in America. They’re currently making a movie based on this book and I hope they do it justice.

1. Exit West by Mohsin Hamid 
In a country that’s never named somewhere in the middle east war has broken out. It’s terrible timing for Nadia and Saeed because they have just fallen in love. In a very short time they entire lives have turned completely upside down and they are forced to flee their home or die. There are rumors of doors that have popped up around the city that lead to different countries. Are these doors real? Real or not Nadia and Saeed have got to try.
This book is so relevant because at this very moment in places like Syria and Yemen conditions are abysmal and the people are desperate to flee. I love how Hamid presented a somewhat magical solution to the problem, because honestly it seems that fixing these countries is an impossible feat that no man can handle. Saeed and Nadia’s relationship is so interesting in this book because they’d only just began their relationship when all hell breaks loose. Now they are going through this crazy traumatic event together. Will they still be together when it’s all said and done? You’ll have to read and find out.
This book gives light to the immigrant experience and all the hardships that come with that. I definitely finished the book with a better understanding and more empathy for my immigrant brothers and sisters. In a country where they are regarded with contempt and hatred by the people in power, books like this are absolutely needed to wake the sleeping.

 

 

 

 

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Would You Rather: Bookish Edition

Books are a big part of my existence so I had to play…

I love the game “Would you rather” and was glad to see a book lover version over at Annie Likes Words blog. Books are a big part of my existence so I had to play myself.

Would you rather…

Read only stand-alones or trilogies?

Depends on the genre. I love when suspense or fantasy novels are trilogies but a good piece of contemporary fiction is better a stand-alone.

Read only male or female authors?

I don’t mean to be sexist or anything but almost all of my favorite books are by female authors so, female authors.

Shop at Barnes & Noble or Amazon?

Amazon hands down. Their prices are better for print books as well as e-books. Sorry not sorry Barnsey but I’m on a budget.

Have all books turned into movies or television shows?

Last year this would’ve been a harder choice , but after seeing what Hulu has done with The Handmaids tale and what Netflix has done with Anne with an “E” I’ve got to say TV show.  A well made TV show gives that plot more time to unfold and slowly pull you in the way a book does. In the movies sometimes great scenes from the book are cut because of lack of time. And if the character isn’t narrating the movie like they are in the book then it’s hard to know what’s going on in their head. Take The Hunger Games for example. In my opinion Katniss on screen came across as cold and robotic. In the books it isn’t like that, you get to know what she’s thinking and feeling, she’s much more relatable.

 Read 5 pages per day or 5 books per week?

I LOVE to read, but 5 books in a week? My heart and mind couldn’t handle it. I fall in love with the characters, they become like my friends. I grieve with them, laugh with them, I can’t connect with 5 books worth of characters in a week. 5 pages a day is actually too little for me but if I had to choose.

Be a potential reviewer or author?

Author, duh. It’s been my dream since I could read.

Only read your top 20 favorite books over and over or read new ones you’ve never read before?

New ones, I’m not a huge re-reader. I’ll go back to a book and read passages but not the whole thing. I love discovering new books and authors I’ve never read before, it’s exciting.

Be a librarian or a bookseller?

Bookseller. Libraries will always have a special place in my heart but frankly they’re a little uptight. I know all the library lovers are cursing me right now but I’m okay with that. I have dreams of owning my own quaint indie bookstore, where I sell new and gently used books for the cheap. I’ll be like Meg Ryan in You’ve Got Mail except I won’t sell only children’s books and I won’t accidentally fall in love with Tom Hanks online.

Only read your favorite genres or read every genre except your favorites?

I like a variety of genres so I think I’ll be okay only reading them.

Only read physical books or e-books?

This is a tough one. I love them both! E-books are very convenient, you can read them whenever wherever in low light or sunshine. On the other side there’s nothing like having an actual book in your hands. The feel of turning the pages, the smell, it’s bliss! There are books I’ve read as e-books that I want to buy the print version of just so I can have them in my collection. There’s certain pride you feel when you finish and put it on the shelf. So I guess I’m going to have to go with physical books.

~

So there it is, “Would You Rather” Bookish Edition. That was harder than I thought! Book lovers what do you think? I said some harsh things, shall I be excommunicated from the community??

My Top 5 Books of 2016

2016 was a great book year, I read a total 25 books this year and they were all good but I’ve narrowed it down to my top 5.

 

2016 was a great book year, I read a total 25 books this year and they were all good but I’ve narrowed it down to my top 5.

  1. The Line by J.D. Horn
    The Line is the story of Mercy Taylor a magic-less girl in a family of witches. After the family’s matriarch is murdered Mercy is thrown into the center of the upheaval that follows. This is book 1 in the Witching Savannah series.
    I listened to this book and it really made Horn’s writing come alive. This story kept me on the edge of my seat with its twist and turns. I loved the main character Mercy, she was strong and witty. I recommend this book for those of you who love fiction but may be looking for something different. Or those who love supernaturally themed books.
  2. All The Ugly And Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood
    This novel follows the life of Wavy, the daughter of a meth dealer and a meth addict. She strikes up an unlikely friendship with Kellen one of her father’s thugs. As Wavy grows up their relationship changes into even more unlikely romance.
    This book grabbed me from page 1 if I’d had more time I likely would’ve read the book in a few days. Greenwood is the daughter of drug dealer herself and her writing was startling straightforward. She dived into the most depraved parts of her characters minds without hesitation. Wavy and Kellen were unique characters that I won’t soon forget.
  3. Helen Of Sparta by Amalia Carosella
    We all know Helen of Troy as the woman that empires warred over. But in this story we get to know Helen before she became that woman, when she was just Helen a willful princess of Sparta. Betrothed to a man of questionable sanity, Helen sets out to find a different husband. Men from far and near come to get a chance to marry the most beautiful woman in the world. But only one man steals her heart.
    I loved that someone finally thought to give Helen her own story apart from Troy. Carosella makes Helen out to be a woman who knows her own mind, desperate to be in control of her life. I admired her persistence for changing her fate when most woman in her position would’ve given up.
  4. The Mothers by Brit Bennett
    This story centers around 3 black teenagers in a tight knit church community in Southern California. Nadia, her best friend Aubrey, and her boyfriend Luke who also happens to be the pastors son. When Nadia finds out that she’s pregnant, her and Luke are faced with a tough decision. That decision will have lasting effects on everyone’s lives.
    Narrated by the “Mothers” of the church, I was drawn back to my own childhood in southern California when I went to a small black church. Brit Bennett is a masterful writer, every sentence was like a piece of poetry. She’s inspired a life long fan in me, I will be on the lookout for her next book.
  5. The Sun Is Also A Star by Nicola Yoon
    Natasha & Daniel could not be more different, they’ve grown up in separate worlds but those worlds clash on one fateful day in New York City. But their new love is threatened by the fact that in 12 hours Natasha will be deported back to Jamaica.
    There were so many elements to this novel that made it more than you average love story. Not only did tell the story of Natasha & Daniel, but it also peered into the minds of the cast of characters they meet that day. Also interracial romances in YA books are kind of rare (Daniel is Korean) so it was a nice thing to see. I read that it will be turned into a movie, I hope it does the book justice because it was amazing.

What are some of your favorite book this year? And what are some of new releases your looking forward to in the 2017? 🙂