Hey everyone, I’m back with another Friday Favorites! I’ve read quite a few books this year, and have really enjoyed being part of a book club over the summer! If you have friends who like to read, I highly suggest starting a book club. Or you can join a virtual one; just check out @Libbyloreads on Instagram. Today, I thought I would share my 5 favorite books that I’ve read this year, shared in the order I read them, not in the order of significance. I can’t choose. I hope you find one you’ll like! P.S. If you aren’t on Goodreads, it’s a great place to see what your friends are reading and keep track of the books people recommend.
I love a good suspenseful thriller, especially written by female authors. This was the first book of Carol Goodman’s that I read, and I was so hooked that I finished the whole book in almost a day. I could not put it down. Fair warning, it has some mature things in it, so I wouldn’t recommend for younger readers. But if you love a book with lots of twists, I recommend this one!
Summary: Tess has worked hard to keep her past buried, where it belongs. Now she’s the wife to a respected professor at an elite boarding school, where she also teaches. Her seventeen-year-old son, Rudy, whose dark moods and complicated behavior she’s long worried about, seems to be thriving: he has a lead role in the school play and a smart and ambitious girlfriend.
And then one more morning she gets a text at 2:50 AM: it’s Rudy, asking for help. Four hours later, Tess gets a phone call from the Haywood school headmistress: Lila Zeller, Rudy’s girlfriend, has been found dead on the beach, not far from where Tess found Rudy just hours before. As the investigation into Lila’s death escalates, Tess finds her family attacked on all sides. What first seemed like a tragic accidental death is turning into something far more sinister, and not only is Tess’s son a suspect but her husband is a person of interest too. But Lila’s death isn’t the first blemish on Haywood’s record, and the more Tess learns about Haywood’s fabled history, the more she realizes that not all skeletons will stay safely locked in the closet.
I don’t read a lot of fantasy books, but this one was recommended to me by my friend Victoria and I was captivated by the story. It has several awards and tons of five star reviews on Amazon. It’s a West-African inspired fantasy, and I’d highly recommend getting the audio book like I did to hear all the fun accents. I can’t wait for the second book to come out!
Summary: They killed my mother. They took our magic. They tried to bury us. Now we rise.
Zélie Adebola remembers when the soil of Orïsha hummed with magic. Burners ignited flames, Tiders beckoned waves, and Zélie’s Reaper mother summoned forth souls. But everything changed the night magic disappeared. Under the orders of a ruthless king, maji were killed, leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.
Now Zélie has one chance to bring back magic and strike against the monarchy. With the help of a rogue princess, Zélie must outwit and outrun the crown prince, who is hell-bent on eradicating magic for good. Danger lurks in Orïsha, where snow leoponaires prowl and vengeful spirits wait in the waters. Yet the greatest danger may be Zélie herself as she struggles to control her powers and her growing feelings for an enemy.
This was my first book with my summer book club, and I had heard this was a pretty sad/depressing book. Although it had a bit of a slow start, I soon started to love grumpy, rule-following old Ove and his attempts to stay aloof despite his neighbors that care for him. I really resonated with Ove and how he just wants people to follow the rules – after all, they’re there for a reason! This was a beautiful story about the power of community and letting people into your life.
Summary: Meet Ove. He’s a curmudgeon—the kind of man who points at people he dislikes as if they were burglars caught outside his bedroom window. He has staunch principles, strict routines, and a short fuse. People call him “the bitter neighbor from hell. But must Ove be bitter just because he doesn’t walk around with a smile plastered to his face all the time? Behind the cranky exterior there is a story and a sadness. So when one November morning a chatty young couple with two chatty young daughters move in next door and accidentally flatten Ove’s mailbox, it is the lead-in to a comical and heartwarming tale of unkempt cats, unexpected friendship, and the ancient art of backing up a U-Haul. All of which will change one cranky old man and a local residents’ association to their very foundations.
Another book club read that I knew next to nothing about, other than my friend Elizabeth really loved it. And I did, too! This book is a fictional telling of Joy Davidman, the eventual wife of author C.S. Lewis. Her story was absolutely fascinating and was based on true events. It goes from her conversion to Christianity, to becoming pen pals with C.S. Lewis, developing a strong friendship, and eventually their marriage. It was a complex yet beautiful love story and very well-written. I’d highly recommend!
Summary: When poet and writer Joy Davidman began writing letters to C. S. Lewis—known as Jack—she was looking for spiritual answers, not love. Love, after all, wasn’t holding together her crumbling marriage. Everything about New Yorker Joy seemed ill-matched for an Oxford professor and the beloved writer of The Chronicles of Narnia, yet their minds bonded over their letters. Embarking on the adventure of her life, Joy traveled from America to England and back again, facing heartbreak and poverty, discovering friendship and faith, and against all odds, found a love that even the threat of death couldn’t destroy.
Last but not least, The Midnight Library was a book that was recommended by my Great Aunt Wendy (we have similarly great taste in books). The premise of the book was so unique, and the main character, Nora, was so relatable. This book really made me think about life, all the things that could have been different, and how to be content with the life we are given. It was both interesting and thought-provoking.
Summary: Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?
In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting blockbuster novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.
Well, I hope you enjoyed my list of top 5 books this year! Shoutout to my book club ladies for the great recommendations. If you have a favorite book I should check out, let me know in the comments.