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Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: A Decade of Favorites

This week's TTT topic is a fun one: Favorite Books Released in the Last Ten Years (one book per year).  Since I keep lists of all the books I read each year, with asterisks denoting my favorites, I'm going to use those lists to put my own spin on the topic.  Instead of chatting about my favorite books released in a certain year, I'm going to talk about the best ones I read each year, regardless of when they were published.  That should be a little easier than Googling "Best Novels of 20--"! 

Before I do that, I want to encourage you to join in the TTT fun.  It's a good time and a great way to spread some love across the book blogosphere, find new blogs to love, and add intriguing-looking titles to your TBR pile.  What's not to love?  All you have to do is click over to That Artsy Reader Girl, read a few instructions, make your own list, and share it with the world.  Easy cheesy.

Okay, here we go with my Top Ten Favorite Books Read Over the Last Ten Years:


The Help (2009) by Kathryn Stockett—Like scores of other readers, I loved this revealing novel about a Southern socialite who decides to write a tell-all book about what it's like for the black women working for white society women in the 1960s South.  It's a warm, funny, poignant novel that makes for a wonderful read.  I adored the movie as well, which is odd since I don't usually like book-to-film adaptations.


This is the year I discovered Kimberley Griffiths Little, a talented writer who has since become a personal friend.  Back in 2010, she was writing MG novels only.  These days, she pens books for children, young adults, and adults. 

I read and loved two of her books in 2010—The Healing Spell, which came out that year, and an ARC of Circle of Secrets, which was published in 2011.  Both are atmospheric stories set in the Louisiana bayou that concern family, friendship, and finding one's place in the world.


I found another talented MG author in 2011:  Cynthia Lord.  I read both Rules (2006) and Touch Blue (2010) this year.  Rules is a sweet novel about a 12-year-old girl who's frustrated with her autistic brother and the way his condition seems to overwhelm her life and that of her family.  Touch Blue concerns an island in Maine where the state is planning to shut down the local school, forcing the island children to go to the mainland to get an education.  In an effort to save the school by increasing enrollment, island families take in foster kids.  Tess's family takes on a 13-year-old boy whose presence in their lives could be either a blessing or a curse.  I enjoyed both books and have continued to read every book Lord writes. 


Cinder (2012) by Marissa Meyer—Sci-fi isn't really my jam, so it took me a while to actually pick up my ARC of Cinder.  When I did, I was surprised to find myself totally drawn into this YA story about a cyborg Cinderella.  It's a fun, inventive novel, which I enjoyed very much.  I've since read—and loved—the whole series, which is exciting, engrossing, clean, and entertaining.


How the Light Gets In (2013) by Louise Penny—Apparently, I didn't post my "Books Read" list for this year, so I had to Google books that came out in 2013.  I've enjoyed every book in Penny's Inspector Gamache series and How the Light Gets In, which I read in 2017, is still my favorite.  It's tense and exciting, but also tender and funny.


Apparently, this was the year I discovered Kate Morton, who quickly became one of my favorite authors.  I read four of her books, all the ones she had published to that point, in 2014:  The House at Riverton (2008), The Forgotten Garden (2009), The Distant Hours (2010), and The Secret Keeper (2012).  Although I enjoyed them all, The Secret Keeper was my favorite.  All of them are atmospheric, engrossing tales about families and secrets.


Salt to the Sea (2016) by Ruta Sepetys—I didn't love Sepetys' Between Shades of Gray (2011), but I really enjoyed Out of the Easy (2013).  Apparently, I received an ARC of Salt to the Sea because I read the book in 2015, before it came out.  This WWII novel is vivid, heartbreaking, and moving.  I loved it.


Little Black Lies (2015) by Sharon Bolton—This mystery/thriller about a string of children who go missing from a small, safe community on the Falkland Islands and the people desperate to find them, is my favorite of Bolton's books.  It kept me guessing until the very last sentence.  Literally.


The Disappearances (2017) by Emily Bain Murphy—It's hard to explain the plot of this unique novel.  The cover makes it look like a horror novel, but it's not.  Suffice it to say, I adored the story.  I've heard rumors that the author FINALLY has a new book coming out in 2020 and I cannot wait.  After The Disappearances, I want to read everything Murphy writes!


The Solace of Water (2018) by Elizabeth Byler Younts—Younts was raised Amish and while she has since left the religion, she remains close to the Amish community and her family members who still reside there.  This familiarity with their religion/culture gives Younts an insider's view that informs her fiction.  I've read a couple of Younts' books and The Solace of Water, a novel about two very different women (one is a black preacher's wife, the other a white Amish woman) who form an unlikely friendship in the 1950s South, is my favorite.  It's a powerful, touching novel which I loved.


I've read a couple books so far this year that I've marked as favorites, but the one that stands out most is The Island of Sea Women (2019) by Lisa See.  I've read and enjoyed several books by See, but this one gleams even among them.  It tells the story of a real group of women in South Korea who have been going into the sea for generations to harvest seafood that they sell to support their families.  The women are the breadwinners, leaving their husbands behind to rear the children.  It's a sweeping, epic novel that stretches across several decades, focusing especially on the WWII years.  Warm, intriguing, and memorable, it's a fantastic read that I highly recommend.

So, there you go, some favorites that I've read over the past decade.  Which titles did you choose for each year?  I'd truly love to know.  Leave a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT!


  1. Sci-fi has never been my favorite either, but I loved Cinder when I first read it. :)

    My TTT:

    1. I couldn't get over that cover for the longest time! I had no interest in reading about robots, but I kept hearing such good things about CINDER that I finally read it. And loved it :)

      Thanks for coming by!

  2. I haven't read any of yours either but my TBR is that much longer now 😂

    -A Little Nerd Told Me

  3. Rules sounds like such a great read.

    My TTT.

    1. It is really good. I love everything that Lord writes. Her books are poignant and real, but also sweet and uplifting.

      Thanks for coming by!

  4. I ALMOST put The Disappearances instead of The Last Namsara for 2017, but I couldn't decide and I love dragons. It's so good. :)

    1. THE DISAPPEARANCES is so good! It's just unique and different. I've never heard of THE LAST NAMSARA, but it must have been good to unseat THE DISAPPEARANCES :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. I’ve read and loved 5 of these! The Help, How the Light Gets In, The Secret Keeper, Salt to the Sea, and I just finished Island of Sea Women.....all great reads! I think I might need to edit my list to include Salt to the Sea for 2015.....I wasn’t keeping careful notes in that year and it slipped under the radar! Thanks for the reminder!

    1. Sounds like we have common reading interests. I'm going to add your blog to my Bloglovin' blogroll so I can keep up with what you're reading.

      Thanks for coming by!

  6. The Help made my list too. Cinder was up there for me. Great list!

    1. They're both great books! It's no wonder so many people enjoy them.

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by and commenting!

  7. I just won a copy of The Island of Sea Women and am so excited! I loved The Secret Keeper - probably my favorite of Kate Morton's. And now I clearly need to read The Disappearances.

    1. Nice! It's a great book (and an expensive one), so that's an especially good win :)

      I've enjoyed all of Morton's books, although THE CLOCKMAKER'S DAUGHTER wasn't up to par, IMHO. THE SECRET KEEPER is still my favorite.

      Yes, definitely read THE DISAPPEARANCES. It's unique and interesting. I'll be interested to hear what you think of it.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting!

  8. The Top Ten Tuesday meme looks like fun, and I can never resist looking at the lists when I see them posted around the web.

    The only one of yours today that I've read is the Louise Penny one; I share your love for her work, and especially love the setting of the book, even the Montreal parts of her novels.

    Oh, my wife loved The Help, by the way, and that's still one of her favorites, too.

    1. It is fun! I love lists and bookish lists are my fave :)

      Louise Penny is excellent. I love the Three Pines setting, the characters, and just everything.

      THE HELP is a great book. If you haven't read it, you should.

      Thanks, as always, for stopping by and commenting!

  9. There are some great books on your list! I loved Little Black Lies and The Help, too. :)

    1. Thanks! LITTLE BLACK LIES and THE HELP are both so good. I'm glad you love them, too :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting!

  10. I really want to read Cinder!

    1. You should definitely read it. The book is fairly long, but the story moves along quickly so it's a fast read. I hope you enjoy it when you get to it.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  11. The Help was an incredible story. I cannot only thing of good things to say about it.

    1. Same. It hit all the right notes for me.

      Thanks for coming by, Sam!

  12. So happy to see Louise Penny on your list of favorites - I just picked up the first in her detective series - super excited to start that one!

    1. Yay! I'm so glad you're starting the Armand Gamache series. It's such a good one. I hope you love it as much as I do :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  13. I also liked Rules, Cinder, and Salt to the Sea! I still need to read The Help (I even own a copy) and I loved Kimberley Griffiths Little's Forbidden series. I've been wanting to read her MG books so I'm glad you enjoyed some of them!

    1. KGL's MG books are my favorite. I haven't read any of her adult books (they're romances—not my thing). I also liked FORBIDDEN, although I haven't finished the trilogy yet.

      Thanks for coming by!

  14. I'm so glad the Island of Sea Women made you list; it's so good!

    1. It really is! I loved it for lots of different reasons.

  15. I'd quite like to read Cinder.

    1. You should! It's a good read.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  16. Gosh, such an honor to be in your decade of favorites - wow!! Thank you, my dear friend! XO
    P.S. And you should read RETURNED, it's my favorite book of the trilogy. ;-)

    1. I know! I don't know why I haven't read it yet. I definitely need to remedy that soon.

      Thanks for commenting!

  17. I just posted mine a day late. I had such a hard time deciding, I think I changed each year at least three times. I have read many of the ones you selected and they were definitely among my top reads. I will have to check out Kimberley Griffiths Little as she is an author I am not familiar with. My post is here:

    1. Ha ha. I had a hard time choosing for some years, too. I never have just ONE favorite per year although there are definitely some that stand out more than others.

  18. I think Cinder is really approachable for those that aren't that into sci-fi. :)

    1. Definitely! It's Sci-Fi Lite :)

      Thanks for stopping by!

  19. The Help made my list too :) Loved Cinder as well!


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