How have I not shared a bookish recommendation post for a while? I love books! Today I want to share with you some of my top reads from the past year or so, as I think that these are all books you won’t want to put down. At all!
I’m often asked for reading recommendations, from my friends in real life and here and on social media. It’s fun. I love to think about and talk about books and then to introduce someone to a new author that they go on to love, or a genre or series that absorbs them.
I like to match a book to a reader. It’s satisfying to do so. It makes me happy.
As a reader, I like to find new genres and authors that hook me, and I love to pick up books that I wouldn’t ordinarily gravitate towards from time to time. It keeps things interesting and I have made some wonderful discoveries by doing this.
I want to share with you some of the books that I have read over the past year and have loved, the kind of books you won’t want to put down.
This post contains affiliate links, meaning that I earn a small commission at no cost to you if you choose to buy through them.
These are the books that I’ve marked in my book journal as 5 star reads. I’ve popped the links to Amazon in so you can go over and read more about them and check out the reviews, if you’d like to.
Beartown by Fredrik Bachmann
In a large Swedish forest Beartown hides a dark secret . . .
Cut-off from everywhere else it experiences the kind of isolation that tears people apart. And each year more and more of the town is swallowed by the forest. Then the town is offered a bright new future. But it is all put in jeopardy by a single, brutal act. It divides the town into those who think it should be hushed up and forgotten, and those who’ll risk the future to see justice done.
Who will speak up? Could you stand by and stay silent? Or would you risk everything for justice? Which side would you be on?
Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
Lydia is the favourite child of Marilyn and James Lee; a girl who inherited her mother’s bright blue eyes and her father’s jet-black hair. Her parents are determined that Lydia will fulfill the dreams they were unable to pursue – in Marilyn’s case that her daughter become a doctor rather than a homemaker, in James’s case that Lydia be popular at school, a girl with a busy social life and the centre of every party. But Lydia is under pressures that have nothing to do with growing up in 1970s small town Ohio. Her father is an American born of first-generation Chinese immigrants, and his ethnicity, and hers, make them conspicuous in any setting.
When Lydia’s body is found in the local lake, James is consumed by guilt and sets out on a reckless path that may destroy his marriage. Marilyn, devastated and vengeful, is determined to make someone accountable, no matter what the cost. Lydia’s older brother, Nathan, is convinced that local bad boy Jack is somehow involved. But it’s the youngest in the family – Hannah – who observes far more than anyone realises and who may be the only one who knows what really happened.
Get a Life, Chloe Brown and then Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert
Both deserve a mention as I loved them! The third in the series is out soon and I have it on pre-order.
Chloe Brown is a chronically ill computer geek with a goal, a plan and a list. After almost – but not quite – dying, she’s come up with a list of directives to help her ‘Get a Life’:
– Enjoy a drunken night out
– Ride a motorbike
– Go camping
– Have meaningless but thoroughly enjoyable sex
– Travel the world with nothing but hand luggage
– And . . . do something bad
But it’s not easy being bad, even when you’ve written out step-by-step guidelines. What Chloe needs is a teacher, and she knows just the man for the job: Redford ‘Red’ Morgan.
With tattoos and a motorbike, Red is the perfect helper in her mission to rebel, but as they spend more time together, Chloe realises there’s much more to him than his tough exterior implies. Soon she’s left wanting more from him than she ever expected . . . maybe there’s more to life than her list ever imagined?
Danika Brown knows what she wants: professional success, academic renown and an occasional roll in the hay to relive all that career-driven tension. But romance? Been there, done that, burned the T-shirt. So Dani asks the universe for the perfect friend-with-benefits…
When brooding security guard Zafir Ansari rescues her from a workplace fire drill gone wrong, it’s an obvious sign: PhD student Dani and ex-rugby player Zaf are destined to sleep together. But before she can explain that fact, a video of the heroic rescue goes viral. Now half the internet is shipping #DrRugbae – and Zaf is begging Dani to play along.
Dani’s plan is simple: fake a relationship in public, seduce Zaf behind the scenes. But grumpy Zaf is secretly a romantic – and he’s determined to corrupt Dani’s stone-cold realism. With every fake date and midnight meeting, Dani’s easy lay becomes more complex than her thesis. Has her wish backfired?
Or is the universe waiting for her to take a hint?
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi
Effia and Esi: two sisters with two very different destinies. One sold into slavery; one a slave trader’s wife. The consequences of their fate reverberate through the generations that follow. Taking us from the Gold Coast of Africa to the cotton-picking plantations of Mississippi; from the missionary schools of Ghana to the dive bars of Harlem, spanning three continents and seven generations, Yaa Gyasi has written a miraculous novel – the intimate, gripping story of a brilliantly vivid cast of characters and through their lives the very story of America itself.
The Birds and the Bees by Milly Johnson
Love can sting. Or make you fly … Romance writer and single mum Stevie Honeywell has only weeks to go to her wedding when her fiancé Matthew runs off with her glamorous new friend Jo MacLean. It feels like history repeating itself for Stevie, but this time she is determined to win back her man. She isn’t going to act as he might expect. She isn’t going to wail and dig her heels in, she is simply going to pretend to let him go whilst she pursues a mad course of dieting, exercising and self-improvement.
And it feels like history is repeating itself for Adam MacLean too, who is also determined to win his lady, Jo, back with the same basic psychological tactics. Then he is going to initiate his master plan: Getting together with Stevie to drive Jo wild with jealousy.
So, like the Scottish country jig ‘The Birds and the Bees’, the couples all change partners and learn some revealing truths about each other along the way. But what happens when Adam’s master plan actually starts to work? And just who will Stevie be dancing with when the music stops?
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
“Shoot all the Bluejays you want, if you can hit ’em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a Mockingbird.’
A lawyer’s advice to his children as he defends the real mockingbird of Harper Lee’s classic novel – a black man charged with the rape of a white girl. Through the young eyes of Scout and Jem Finch, Harper Lee explores with exuberant humour the irrationality of adult attitudes to race and class in the Deep South of the thirties. The conscience of a town steeped in prejudice, violence and hypocrisy is pricked by the stamina of one man’s struggle for justice. But the weight of history will only tolerate so much.
To Kill a Mockingbird is a coming-of-age story, an anti-racist novel, a historical drama of the Great Depression and a sublime example of the Southern writing tradition.
The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri
In the midst of war, he found love
In the midst of darkness, he found courage
In the midst of tragedy, he found hope
What will you find from his story?
Nuri is a beekeeper; his wife, Afra, an artist. They live a simple life, rich in family and friends, in the beautiful Syrian city of Aleppo – until the unthinkable happens. When all they care for is destroyed by war, they are forced to escape.
As Nuri and Afra travel through a broken world, they must confront not only the pain of their own unspeakable loss, but dangers that would overwhelm the bravest of souls. Above all – and perhaps this is the hardest thing they face – they must journey to find each other again.
The Switch by Beth O’Leary
Leena is too young to feel stuck.
Eileen is too old to start over.
It’s time for The Switch…
After blowing a big presentation at work, Leena takes a two-month sabbatical and escapes to her grandmother Eileen’s house for some overdue rest. Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She’d like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn’t offer many eligible gentlemen . . . A life swap seems the perfect solution.
But with a rabble of unruly OAPs to contend with, as well as the distractingly handsome local schoolteacher, Leena learns that switching lives isn’t straightforward. In London, Eileen is a huge hit with her new neighbours, and with the online dating scene. But is her perfect match nearer to home than she first thought?
I have been fortunate to read a lot of good books recently, and there are a good many 4 star reads just under these 5 stars. I’ll give Where the Crawdads Sing, The Flatshare, The Ice Cream Girls and The Giver of Stars honourable mentions here, as I’d pop all of those at 4.5.
I enjoy following fellow bookworms on Twitter and Instagram as I spot lots of different books that I’d like to try. My wish list grows very quickly like this, it’s probably why I have such a huge to be read pile! So no, I am absolutely not asking for any more reading recommendations, I have plenty to keep me busy for at least a couple of years!
If you are on the lookout for books to read, hopefully at least one of those I have shared here will appeal to you. I also shared some of my old favourite reads a couple of weeks ago, when I shared these reading recommendations for fans of Bridgerton.
Have you read any of these yet? What did you think of them?
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links