I have discovered that I have a little problem. I checked the number of books on my ‘Want to Read’ shelf over on Goodreads (you should come be my friend over there, btw!), and I have 663 books on it!! Oh. My. Goodness! That is a lot of books! So, I decided to look up which books are rated the highest on my TBR pile to see which ones I should be prioritizing. I have listed the 10 highest rated books on my TBR below! Enjoy!
The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah (average rating – 4.55)
Synopsis: FRANCE, 1939
In the quiet village of Carriveau, Vianne Mauriac says goodbye to her husband, Antoine, as he heads for the Front. She doesn’t believe that the Nazis will invade France…but invade they do, in droves of marching soldiers, in caravans of trucks and tanks, in planes that fill the skies and drop bombs upon the innocent. When France is overrun, Vianne is forced to take an enemy into her house, and suddenly her every move is watched; her life and her child’s life is at constant risk. Without food or money or hope, as danger escalates around her, she must make one terrible choice after another.
Vianne’s sister, Isabelle, is a rebellious eighteen-year-old girl, searching for purpose with all the reckless passion of youth. While thousands of Parisians march into the unknown terrors of war, she meets the compelling and mysterious Gäetan, a partisan who believes the French can fight the Nazis from within France, and she falls in love as only the young can…completely. When he betrays her, Isabelle races headlong into danger and joins the Resistance, never looking back or giving a thought to the real–and deadly–consequences.
I have been meaning to get to this book for sooo long! I read my first Kristin Hannah book last year, Winter Garden, and I loved it. I don’t know what I’m waiting for.
A Fine Romance: Falling in Love with the English Countryside by Susan Branch (average rating – 4.53)
Synopsis: A thrilling ocean voyage on the Queen Mary 2 from New York City to Southampton culminating in a two-month ramble through the charming backroads and small villages of the pastoral English countryside in the spring of last year is the subject of this delicious travel journal that Susan has painstakingly hand-lettered and watercolored in the way many of us have grown to love over the years.
Join Susan as she recounts her lighthearted ramble of discovery through the historical homes and gardens of art and literary heroes, along ancient footpaths, through wildflower meadows and fields of lambs, into tea rooms, pubs and antique stores. This lovely hard-cover book includes hundreds of photographs and a red ribbon sewn-in book mark. A Fine Romance is a work of art, part love story, part travel guide and all dream come true.
I picked this book up in a bookstore one day, and it just captured my interest right away! I am quite obsessed with England, and particularly the countryside, since my trip there with my husband last year. This just sounds delightful!
Written In My Own Heart’s Blood (Outlander #8) by Diana Gabaldon (average rating – 4.51)
Synopsis: It is June 1778, and the world seems to be turning upside-down. The British Army is withdrawing from Philadelphia, with George Washington in pursuit, and for the first time, it looks as if the rebels might actually win. But for Claire Fraser and her family, there are even more tumultuous revolutions that have to be accommodated.Her former husband, Jamie, has returned from the dead, demanding to know why in his absence she married his best friend, Lord John Grey. Lord John’s son, the ninth Earl of Ellesmere, is no less shocked to discover that his real father is actually the newly resurrected Jamie Fraser, and Jamie’s nephew Ian Murray discovers that his new-found cousin has an eye for the woman who has just agreed to marry him.
And while Claire is terrified that one of her husbands may be about to murder the other, in the 20th century her descendants face even more desperate turns of events. Her daughter Brianna is trying to protect her son from a vicious criminal with murder on his mind, while her husband Roger has disappeared into the past . . .
I have still only read the first book in this series! I know, I know!! I am really going to try to start churning these out soon, I promise.
A Soul Full of Stars by Bree Lauren (average rating – 4.5)
Synopsis: “I’m the sweat pooling between your shoulder blades, the sheets tangled among your calves, the tongue at your collarbone, and the sigh caught between your lips. I am everything you dream about when waking, aching.”
I sent that poetic sext to a complete stranger.
And you know what the best part is?
He sent one back.
This is the story of what happens when a spark ignites and stars collapse. When words are heartbeats and poetry is a promise.
This is Sonnet Cole’s story, and it’s just the beginning.
Ahhh, my girl Bree!! I was so excited when I saw that her book was rated so high! This has been sitting on my Kindle for a few months, and now I am even more excited to read it! By the way, if you aren’t following Bree’s blog, what are you doing?!
Educated by Tara Westover (average rating – 4.47)
Synopsis: Tara Westover was 17 the first time she set foot in a classroom. Born to survivalists in the mountains of Idaho, she prepared for the end of the world by stockpiling home-canned peaches and sleeping with her “head-for-the-hills bag”. In the summer she stewed herbs for her mother, a midwife and healer, and in the winter she salvaged in her father’s junkyard.
Her father forbade hospitals, so Tara never saw a doctor or nurse. Gashes and concussions, even burns from explosions, were all treated at home with herbalism. The family was so isolated from mainstream society that there was no one to ensure the children received an education and no one to intervene when one of Tara’s older brothers became violent.
Then, lacking any formal education, Tara began to educate herself. She taught herself enough mathematics and grammar to be admitted to Brigham Young University, where she studied history, learning for the first time about important world events like the Holocaust and the civil rights movement. Her quest for knowledge transformed her, taking her over oceans and across continents, to Harvard and to Cambridge. Only then would she wonder if she’d traveled too far, if there was still a way home.
Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes and the will to change it.
I actually spent my Audible credit for this month on this book! I am excited to read it very soon! I have heard absolutely nothing but good things about this book. It has been being compared to The Glass Castle, which I also liked, so that seems promising.
The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne (average rating – 4.47)
Synopsis: Cyril Avery is not a real Avery or at least that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he?
Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead.
At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from – and over his three score years and ten, will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country and much more.
In this, Boyne’s most transcendent work to date, we are shown the story of Ireland from the 1940s to today through the eyes of one ordinary man. The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a novel to make you laugh and cry while reminding us all of the redemptive power of the human spirit.
Y’all know I love a good historical fiction, and I also love anything set in the British isles. So, this seems like it should be right up my ally.
A Note Yet Unsung (Belmont Mansion #3) by Tamera Alexander (average rating – 4.46)
Synopsis: A master violinist trained in Vienna, Rebekah Carrington manages to wheedle her way into an audition with the maestro at the newly formed Nashville Philharmonic. But women are “far too fragile and frail” for the rigors of an orchestra, and Rebekah’s hopes are swiftly dashed because the conductor—determined to leave his mark on the world of classical music—bows to public opinion. To make matters worse, Adelicia Acklen Cheatham, mistress of Belmont Mansion and Rebekah’s new employer, agrees with him.
Nationally acclaimed conductor Nathaniel Tate Whitcomb is Nashville’s new orchestra leader. And despite a reluctant muse—and a strange buzzing and recurring pain in his head—he must finish composing his symphony before the grand opening of the city’s new opera hall. But far more pressing, he must finish it for the one who first inspired his love of music—his father, who is dying.
As Tate’s ailment worsens, he believes Rebekah can help him finish his symphony. But how do you win back a woman’s trust when you’ve robbed her of her dream?
I really have no good excuse for not having read this yet! I am all caught up on the series, and it is just sitting on my shelf, waiting for me. This is just the kick in the pants I need!
Wonder by R.J. Palacio (average rating – 4.45)
Synopsis: I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse.
August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.
I held off on putting this on my TBR for so long because it has gotten so much hype. But, I’ve had a lot of people whose book opinions I trust tell me that it was great, so I have finally broken down and added it.
The Nowhere Girls by Amy Reed (average rating – 4.42)
Synopsis: Three misfits come together to avenge the rape of a fellow classmate and in the process trigger a change in the misogynist culture at their high school transforming the lives of everyone around them in this searing and timely story.
Who are the Nowhere Girls?
They’re everygirl. But they start with just three:
Grace Salter is the new girl in town, whose family was run out of their former community after her southern Baptist preacher mom turned into a radical liberal after falling off a horse and bumping her head.
Rosina Suarez is the queer punk girl in a conservative Mexican immigrant family, who dreams of a life playing music instead of babysitting her gaggle of cousins and waitressing at her uncle’s restaurant.
Erin Delillo is obsessed with two things: marine biology and Star Trek: The Next Generation, but they aren’t enough to distract her from her suspicion that she may in fact be an android.
When Grace learns that Lucy Moynihan, the former occupant of her new home, was run out of town for having accused the popular guys at school of gang rape, she’s incensed that Lucy never had justice. For their own personal reasons, Rosina and Erin feel equally deeply about Lucy’s tragedy, so they form an anonymous group of girls at Prescott High to resist the sexist culture at their school, which includes boycotting sex of any kind with the male students.
Told in alternating perspectives, this groundbreaking novel is an indictment of rape culture and explores with bold honesty the deepest questions about teen girls and sexuality.
I just think that the synopsis of this book sounds absolutely fantastic! It is also highly relevant, and I think I need to read this ASAP.
Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi (average rating – 4.41)
Synopsis: A novel of breathtaking sweep and emotional power that traces three hundred years in Ghana and along the way also becomes a truly great American novel. Extraordinary for its exquisite language, its implacable sorrow, its soaring beauty, and for its monumental portrait of the forces that shape families and nations, Homegoing heralds the arrival of a major new voice in contemporary fiction.
Two half-sisters, Effia and Esi, are born into different villages in eighteenth-century Ghana. Effia is married off to an Englishman and lives in comfort in the palatial rooms of Cape Coast Castle. Unbeknownst to Effia, her sister, Esi, is imprisoned beneath her in the castle’s dungeons, sold with thousands of others into the Gold Coast’s booming slave trade, and shipped off to America, where her children and grandchildren will be raised in slavery. One thread of Homegoing follows Effia’s descendants through centuries of warfare in Ghana, as the Fante and Asante nations wrestle with the slave trade and British colonization. The other thread follows Esi and her children into America. From the plantations of the South to the Civil War and the Great Migration, from the coal mines of Pratt City, Alabama, to the jazz clubs and dope houses of twentieth-century Harlem, right up through the present day, Homegoing makes history visceral, and captures, with singular and stunning immediacy, how the memory of captivity came to be inscribed in the soul of a nation.
I know I have a few friends who are just keeling over and dying because I haven’t yet read this book! I’m sorry!! I really do intend to read it, and soon!!
Have you read any of the books on this list? What did you think of them? Let me know down in the comments!
Love and happy reading,