My Favorite Books from 2019

I read 90 books so far this year!  Sadly, there weren't all that many that stood out as phenomenal books.  I read some good books for sure but as far as those books I couldn't stop talking about, thinking about, and recommending?  That I could easily narrow down to these 12:



1.   Accidental Heroes by Danielle Steel-- When a mysteriously threatening postcard is found by a TSA agent in New York she works with homeland security and the pilot of the plane to prevent a potential disaster.  



2.  Plain Truth by Jodi Picoult-- When a dead baby is found in an Amish barn, Ellie (an English lawyer) moves in with the family onto the farm to try and defend their oldest daughter who is accused of murder in the first degree.  Out of her element in an Amish community Ellie is left trying to piece together what really happened.



3. The Heart Echoes by Helena Von Zweigbergk-- This was one of those tear jerker books that I really enjoyed.  It's a family of sisters all struggling through a rough year of their lives.  Astrid's oldest son is graduating high school and her son's biological father shows up threatening the life she and her husband have built together when old feelings and resentments rise to the surface.  Her sister Lena has been diagnosed with cancer and feels all alone in the world even when surrounded by her family.  Sandra is deeply in debt and working hard to save their family dancing business but her husband doesn't seem to care and Sandra begins to wonder if it's worth all the frustration and work to stay with her husband and keep the business going.




4.   A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult-- I read this book in just under 24 hours. When an active shooter bursts into a women's (abortion) clinic the lives of those inside intersect in ways they never imagined.  It was a really riveting book and I learned a lot reading the author's note in the back.  Does anyone else love reading those?  Sometimes those little notes stick with me more than the actual book!



5. The Alice Network by Kate Quinn-- Charlie St Claire is looking for her lost cousin in the after math of World War II and the only name she has to go by is Eve Gardiner.  But Eve has been battling her own demons since serving in a spy agency known as the Alice Network during the first world war.  Just two key words in Claire's story prompt Eve to help and together they set off to find the truth.  A compelling story told in alternating voices and time zones.



6.   Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover --- This book came in as a very close second favorite (maybe even tied for first!) this month.  Based on the real life story of a young girl growing up in a rural family in Idaho.  Her father fears the government and educates his children at home with the help of her mother.  They rely on herbs and home remedies to treat themselves and it becomes clear by the third or so chapter that there is some mental illness in the family.  I wasn't sure as a homeschooling parent myself that I would like this book since there is often a negative connotation still linked with homeschooling but I could not deny that this was a very powerful telling of a life story that is like none other that I have ever heard.



7.  We Never Asked for Wings by Vanessa Diffenbaugh-- Letty has spent the last 14 years working three jobs to support her children and her parents, leaving her mother to act as both mother and grandmother to her two children.  But when her parents decide to move back to Mexico Letty must step up and be both the breadwinner in the family and a real mother.  Uncertain what to do and how to connect with her kids she muddles through the best she can.  Filled with emotion this was a fabulous story and I was so thrilled my sister had recommended it to me; I read it in just two days!  It was my favorite book of the month!



8.  Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand-- I really enjoyed this throwback to 1969! The Levin family have always summered on Nantucket but this year proves to be quite different.  Blair, the oldest daughter is stuck home in Boston hugely pregnant and miserable.  Kirby, the middle daughter who has been rebelling with civil rights and war protests and getting arrested decides to spend her summer on Martha's Vineyard working.  Tiger, the lone son of the family has just been shipped off to Vietnam and 13 year old Jessie (the youngest daughter) is dreading a summer alone on Nantucket with her mother and controlling grandmother.



9.  The Lost Girls of Paris by Pan Jenoff-- When Grace finds an abandoned suitcase in NYC Grand Central Station one morning she opens it to find a packet of photos. Told from multiple viewpoints this book was all about a network of female secret agents working in Paris during WWII.



10. Under Currents by Nora Roberts-- Zane and his sister appear to live the idyllic life but under the surface their family life is not all it seems.  When it all comes to a head one night and family secrets are revealed, Zane and his sister find their lives forever changed.  Just as they feel they have put the past behind them for good and are settling into adulthood those under currents rise back up and threaten to drown them. This was a powerful story and I just loved it!



11.  The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer-- A fantastic WWII novel.  I was hooked with both the story lines and could not wait to see how they intersected.  Alice is in present day Florida dealing with a son who is on the Autism Spectrum and is non-verbal, her grandmother is in the hospital and has lost her ability to speak with her recent stroke.  Alina is growing up in Poland, near the German border and though there are whispers of a possible Nazi invasion no one believes their army is any match for the Polish government-- until the night of the first attack.  This was one of those books I just could not put down and while I kept guessing what was coming next I was occasionally wrong.  I really enjoyed the twists and turns and the author's notes in the back of the book.




12.    Driving Miss Norma by Tim Bauerschmidt & Raime Liddle-- I loved this book so much!  When Miss Norma is diagnosed with cancer at the age of 90 she and her son and his wife decided that rather undergo very intensive treatments they were going to hit the road.  What unfolded was an unforgettable year of driving around the country and really living life.  Miss Norma seemed like a real character and the photos in the book were just priceless.  I hope I am living life to it's fullest just like her when I'm nearing the end of my life (I do try to do that now too!).  





All the books:
January (I read 9)
February (read 5)
March (8 books)
April (6 books)
May (9 books)
June (8 books)
July (9 books)
August (9 books)
September (9 books)
October (6 books)
November (6 books)
December- (6 books so far); you'll have to come back and read about next Saturday! 

Comments

  1. You make me want to do a better job keeping records of all my reading!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I found I needed to start keeping better track because I was often checking out (or buying!) books that I had already read.

      Delete
  2. 90 books? Wow! You are a reader. This looks like a great list! Thanks for the reviews.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL. I was surprised it was that many too.. you're welcome.

      Delete
  3. Fab selection of books! I have just bought some new books and am really enjoying taking the time to read more! :) #MMBC

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have quite a few books on my Christmas list so I'm hoping to get lots of reading done next month.

      Delete
  4. I feel ashamed that I am struggling to meet my Goodreads goal of 33 books this year!! Going to have to cheat and read picture books at the 11th hour. Ha!

    I have only read one of these books, the Jodi Picoult and it was a difficult read for me. But the story has stayed with me when others were fleeting.

    Have started Educated and interested in 5, 9, 11 & 12. Give me a WWII story any day. Thank you for the recommendations.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I read A LOT! I always have a book on me... in my purse, in my car, etc. I find most of Jodi Picoult's books tough to read as she deals with really emotionally intense materials but I do love them because they keep me thinking so long after I've finished them.

      I love a good WWII story and none of these will be disappointing; I promise!

      Delete
  5. I just finished The Alice Network and added it to my favorites fiction list. :) I'm adding Plain Truth to my list now. I loved Educated as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Did you read The Huntress? That's another book by Kate Quinn that I read this past year. I really enjoyed it just not as much as the Alice Network.

      Delete
  6. One of my big goals for 2020 is to make time for reading, and I need to build a list - thank you for the recommendations!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I read Plain Truth so many years ago now and it stands up through the years as one of my favorite Picoult books so I am so happy to see it here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is definitely the sign of a good book!

      Delete
  8. One thing I need to do for the new year is get back to reading!! My time has revolved too much around the computer. My go to was suspense and mysteries. I'm visiting from Friday Favorites where I shared #27. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do like a good suspense/ mystery novel as long as it's not gory or bloody.

      Delete
  9. Great list. I've liked all the Jodi Picoult I've read, and the stories of the war books sound really intriguing too. I'm on the wait list for Educated through my local library :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't know that I've ever read a Jodi Picoult I didn't like either. I hope Educated comes in for you soon. It's a good read for sure.

      Delete
  10. I always love heartfelt book recommendations - and I'm excited that 3 of these books are already in my to be read pile! Pinning. Thank you so much for sharing with the Hearth and Soul Link Party!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you like them (when you get around to reading them!).

      Delete
  11. 90 books is awesome - great job! I've been curious about A Spark of Light for awhile.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A very powerful story. Hers always are though.

      Delete
  12. Ooh Wings sounds really intriguing! This year was a bit tough for favorites for me also. Most of my list was fine, even good, but not as many that felt, well, phenomenal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's how I felt! Very few phenomenal books this year.. 12 out of 90 I would definitely have preferred for that number to be much higher.

      Delete
  13. I always enjoy learning about books others have enjoyed - and I'm pleased to say 3 of these are in my to be read pile already! I'm featuring your post at the Hearth and Soul Link Party this week. Thank you for sharing it!

    ReplyDelete
  14. I love the author notes at the end of books!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too; especially when it comes to historical fiction. I always learn so much.

      Delete
  15. Educated is one of the books that I really keep meaning to read so I'm glad you liked it. I hadn't heard of The Alice Network but it looks really good, I'm definitely adding it to my TBR!

    My TTT

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do not think you'll be disappointed; The Alice Network was great!

      Delete
  16. I loved The Alice Network but not so much the Lost Girls of Paris. I wish you Happy Reading in 2020.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I definitely preferred The Alice Network to the Lost Girls but I really enjoyed getting an even closer look at what life was like for female spies during the war since it's not something I had ever really heard about until my readings this year.

      Delete
  17. I really enjoyed Spark of Light. After seeing Jodie Picoult speak about the book at an event, it was clear how much she gets into the research for her books. Tough subject but well done, imho. I have not yet read Educated and it is top of my tbr.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. She always writes about such tough subjects but does such a great job presenting them.

      Delete
  18. There are a few books on your list that I wanted to read this year, but didn't get around to, like Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand and Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's so hard to find the time to read them all; isn't it?

      Delete
  19. I’m going to be reading Educated in January. I’m looking forward to it!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Looks like I missed this post. I know we had The Things We Cannot Say in common! Plain Truth is one of my favorite Jodi Picoult books that I read way back when!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm finding there are a lot of her (Jodi's) books I missed that she published a ways back.

      Delete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Prime Purchases in August

Weekly Wrap-Up: Our 2nd ER Visit in 2 Months

Friday Favorites: The First Week of School