Tuesday Top Ten

topten2013

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers create their own lists based on the chosen topics and post links to our lists. It’s a way of all sharing our thoughts and our love of books.  And who doesn’t love lists??

So this week’s challenge was to list the top ten list of books that I’ve read so far in 2013 – I am just limiting myself to those for which I’ve written reviews, so these are actually my favorites since I started my blog in February (and in no particular order)!

  1. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys – Funny and touching story set in the French Quarter of New Orleans in 1950.
  2. Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan – A fun and quirky adventure melding the ancient with the latest technology.
  3. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger – A mystery and a coming-of-age story set in 1960s small town Minnesota.
  4. With or Without You by Domenica RutaA searing memoir of the author’s relationship with her drug-addled and irresponsible mother and her own struggles with addiction.
  5. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – A touching and endearing story of young love between two unique individuals.
  6. Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power by Jon Meacham – An amazing story of this founding father, a complex and fascinating man.
  7. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson Unique storytelling style combined with an up-close look at life in England during the two world wars.
  8. Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra – A difficult yet beautiful novel set during the wars in Chechnya.
  9. Screwed by Eoin Colfer – A well-told story – gritty, violent, and raunchy – but great characters and a lot of fun!
  10. Onion Street by Reed Farrel Coleman – Another installment in this wonderful detective series!

Ordinary Grace

ordinary graceIn New Bremen, Minnesota, in the year 1961, thirteen year old Frank is about to experience a summer full of tragedy and will become immersed in a story full of anger, betrayal, lies, adultery, and prejudice.

Frank is growing up in this small town the son of a Methodist minister and a frustrated artistic mother.  His older sister is headed for Julliard and his younger brother tags behind him, self-conscious of his stuttering problems.  Many of the men in the town have been greatly affected, spiritually, physically, and emotionally by their participation in recent wars.  It is against this backdrop that a 40-year old Frank looks back at his youth to tell the story of this tragic summer, a summer when faith, families, friendships, and communities will be tested.

I really loved the storytelling style – very simple and straightforward yet engaging.  Although the story is told by the 40-year old Frank, it feels as though it is being told a thirteen year old boy growing up in a small town, the thoughts and behaviors are so perfectly remembered and shared.  Small touches made me smile and captured the setting perfectly – the music, the peanut-butter and jelly and red Kool-Aid, hot rods, swimming holes.

Not so much a mystery (I was not surprised by the ending), this is a coming-of-age story, a story about a simple life that becomes extremely complicated quickly, a story about a boy that grows up too fast, and a story about the ordinary graces that ultimately redeem us.

“In your dark night, I urge you to hold to your faith, to embrace hope, and to bear your love before you like a burning candle, for I promise that it will light your way. And whether you believe in miracles or not, I can guarantee that you will experience one. It may not be the miracle you’ve prayed for. God probably won’t undo what’s been done. The miracle is this: that you will rise in the morning and be able to see again the startling beauty of the day”.

Title: Ordinary Grace
Author: William Kent Krueger
Genre: Fiction
Pages: 320
Publication: Atria Books, March 2013

Top Ten Books On My Spring 2013 TBR list!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. Book bloggers create their own lists based on the chosen topics and post links to our lists. It’s a way of all sharing our thoughts and our love of books.  And who doesn’t love lists??

So this week the challenge is to list the books that are on our “to-be-read” list for this spring.  My TBR list is always long, but I will try to pick out a good sampling of what I’m excited about.

  1. Inferno by Dan Brown – I’m sure everyone will be reading this, but I must admit to being a fan of Angels and Demons and The DaVinci Code, so I am sure this will be one that I burn through in a weekend.
  2. Requiem by Lauren Conrad – The last book in a trilogy that I’ve been reading, one of those that I started when the first book was released and now, after two years, I will finally get to read the end of the story!  I hear mixed reviews, but I can’t NOT read it.
  3. Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare – Another last book in a trilogy.  Another two years spent waiting for the end of the story…  Finally!  This is why I keep saying I’m not starting anymore trilogies until the last book is released!
  4. A Step of Faith by Richard Paul Evans –  This is the fourth book in The Walk series, and while I did not love the third one, I need to follow through and finish the story.  Seeing a pattern here?  I’m not doing this to myself anymore!
  5. Deeply Odd by Dean Koontz – I adore Odd Thomas!  This series is not one that I mind waiting for, each book has an actual non-cliffhanger ending even though you know the journey will continue.  With the quirky characters, these are must-reads for me!
  6. With or Without You by Domenica Ruta – My next book from my Indiespensables subscription!  It should be here in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait!
  7. Life After Life by Kate Atkinson – I have seen a lot of pre-release press on this book and I enjoyed Started Early, Took My Dog so am looking forward to just plain old fiction, not part of a series, something different to contemplate.
  8. Vampires in the Lemon Grove by Karen Russell – I hear such great things about this collection of short stories that I can’t ignore it any longer!  I’m hoping that they will be good short reads for those instances where I don’t have the time to get absorbed in something longer.
  9. Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger – I have the ARC of this sitting on my shelf and I am looking forward to a chance to read it – small towns, suspense, coming of age, all story elements I tend to enjoy.
  10. The Wonderful World of Oz by Frank L. Baum – I recently treated myself to the new collector’s edition box set of all of the Oz books.  Since these are on my series-to-read list I am going to start reading them aloud to the kids next week!  It’s been too many years (we are not going to talk about how many!) since I’ve read the first book in the series, and I am looking forward to sharing it with the family.