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Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Top Ten Tuesday: Atmospheric Books

I missed my favorite weekly meme last week for the very best reason in the world: my first grandbaby was born last Tuesday! My daughter-in-law has a heart condition that put her in the ICU for post-partum observation until today, so this little cutie was discharged from the hospital before her mommy. Because of that, the two of us have gotten to spend lots of time together this week (especially late at night). She's a sweet, calm baby, and we're all smitten with her.

My son and daughter-in-law don't want pictures of their precious newborn's face on the Internet, so you're just going to have to trust me when I say that she is the most beautiful granddaughter ever born! (Although my red, squinty eyes make me look demonic in this picture, they're just the result of me crying lots of joyful tears.) 

Today's TTT topic is a fun one: Top Ten Atmospheric Books. I love a story that immerses me in a rich, evocative setting that makes me feel like I've stepped right into another world. If a book is described as "atmospheric," I will 100% take a closer look at it. It's maybe not so surprising then that the word I tend to most overuse in my reviews is "atmospheric." My memory isn't the greatest (I am old enough to be a grandma, after all) so I don't remember all the details that made these books stand out to me, but I described them all with my favorite review word. 

Top Ten Tuesday is, as always, hosted by Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. She has COVID, so give her some extra love today.

Top Ten Atmospheric Books

1. Dry by Neal Shusterman and Jarrod Shusterman—This YA novel is about a drought in California that makes people so desperate for water that they create a dystopian situation for themselves. The story is so vividly told that my throat felt parched the entire time I was reading it. I've never guzzled as much water while reading before!

2. Anything by Kate Morton—Morton is one of my all-time favorite authors because her books are always soaked in atmosphere. They feature old homes, buried secrets, and evocative settings.


3. Bluebird by Sharon Cameron—This YA historical is one of my favorite novels about World War II. It's stunning for a number of reasons, one of which is its immersive setting.

4. The Broken Girls by Simone St. James—Haunted house stories are often eerie and atmospheric. This one, set in an abandoned school for troubled girls, certainly is. Even though it creeped me out big time and ultimately gave me nightmares, I couldn't stop reading it. That's how gripping it is.

5. I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys—Almost everything about this historical teen novel feels heavy and oppressive. This is done on purpose so that the reader can feel deeply what it must have been like to live in Communist Romania under the rule of a cruel, power-hungry tyrant.

6. The Girls in the Stilt House by Kelly Mustian—Set in the 1920s in a squalid Mississippi swamp community, the setting comes very much alive in this novel about two girls living bleak, hardscrabble lives who come together to cover up a murder.

7. Eventide by Sarah Goodman—I read this spooky teen novel while doing the overnight shift with my grandbaby. It's got a "don't go into the woods" plot that had me jumping a little every time I heard a noise that wasn't a sweet baby coo.

8. The Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny—These are my favorite mystery books, in part because the author makes the little town of Three Pines come alive in such a brilliant way. Yes, it's a quaint, cozy village, but its residents are complex individuals with abundant quirks, faults, and secrets. This causes the hamlet to come alive in a way that makes me want to move there immediately, warts and all.

9. These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly—It's been years since I read this YA mystery set in Gilded Age New York City, but I remember loving it. A page-turner for lots of reasons, it boasts a vivid setting. 

10. The Dry by Jane Harper—Like #1, this contemporary Australian mystery novel is set in a parched, drought-stricken land. The author creates such a dynamic backdrop that I could taste the dust in the air.

There you go, ten atmospheric books I enjoyed reading. Have you read any of them? Which titles did you choose for your list today? I'd truly love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog.

Happy TTT!

35 comments:

  1. Congratulations. I am another happy Grandma. I haven't read any of your books but I want to read I Must Betray You.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Being a grandma makes me feel old, but it's been lots of fun so far! I'll take it :)

      I MUST BETRAY YOU is a really powerful read. The way Sepetys writes it makes you feel as tense and claustrophobic as the characters are feeling. It's intense.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Anne!

      Delete
  2. Aww, congratulations on your new grand baby!

    I hope your daughter in law recovers fully soon. What a scary experience that must have been for her and your entire family.

    Here is my Top Ten Tuesday post.

    Lydia

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was quite an experience for all of us, but I think it actually went pretty well overall. It could have been much worse. Thankfully, my DIL is feeling much better and is able to take care of the baby. She's thrilled to be home!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lydia!

      Delete
  3. Congratulations on your new granddaughter!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! Grandparenting has been awesome so far :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Ashley!

      Delete
  4. Oh my, congrats on your new granddaughter! How exciting. And I love your list of books too😉

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you x2! Actually, three. Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Tammy!

      Delete
  5. Congratulations and best wishes to your daughter in law on recovery!

    I've heard good things about Dry!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Congratulations on your new granddaugther :D

    I wish I'd thought of The Dry for my list, I loved that book, and definitely atmospheric.
    I would love to read the Simone St. James too having enjoyed The Sun Down Motel.

    ReplyDelete
  7. A great looking list.

    Congratulations on your grandbaby! I had my second son in July and I don't like pictures on the internet. My oldest son is 5 and it's the same for him (although now he is at school they have social media). There is literally one picture of each of them when they came home from the hospital.

    Happy TTT on Wednesday!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Congratulations! The first grandbaby is always very special. I totally agree about The Broken Girls, such a creepy, atmospheric book.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Congratulations! I can honestly say that no person touches my heart like my grandchildren do!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Congratulations on the addition to your family!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Congratulations!!!!

    and Great list!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Congratulations on your granddaughter and hope your daughter in law is doing well! The Dry is excellent and I loved The Lost Man even more. Jane Harper's books are certainly atmospheric. And I also agree with your inclusion of Dry. That book was very frightening, in the sense that it could be a reality. I also felt very thirsty while reading.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Congrats on the granddaughter!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Congratulations on the new grandbaby! It's nice that you could be there for your son and daughter-in-law. I am glad to hear mama has been released.
    St. James is great at creating atmosphere in her books. Same for Morton and Sepetys. Nice choices!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey, congrats to everyone on the new baby/grandbaby. They're the best; your world has changed forever in the most gratifying way imaginable.

    Atmosphere and tone are very important to me in fiction, and although I've only read one or two on your list, you have me intrigued about several others on the list. Now if I could just learn to getting by on two hours sleep a night, I might be able to work some of them in.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Aw, congratulations on your first grandbaby!! What an exciting time. I have not read any of the books on your list. I hope you have a great week!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Congrats on the granddaughter.
    I agree about The Dry. And the other books are done well too - have you read The Lost Man?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Congrats on your new grandbaby! That's so awesome. :D

    ReplyDelete
  19. What an exciting event. What cute grandma name are you adopting? Glad you had extra bonding time, and I hope you daughter in law is doing well. I can only imagine how hard it was for her to be separated from the baby.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Congrats on the new addition to the family! I didn't think about it much until reading your post, but you're right: historical fiction often can get very atmospheric. It's one way to get the reader's mind set in the era where the book takes place, I guess!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Huge congrats on becoming a grandma! I hope you daughter in law has a fast recovery.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Congratulations on the great news. I am so happy for you.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Congratulations on becoming a grandma!
    Great list, I've wanted to read Simone St. James, I've heard good things.

    ReplyDelete
  24. Congratulations!!! So much fun ahead for you and your family. The Dry is a perfect choice!!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Congrats on the grandbaby! I have to agree with you on Dry - I've never chugged as much water in my life as while reading that book. And Simone St. James has mastered atmospheric writing.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Congratulations!! How wonderful. There's nothing quite like new baby snuggles. Kate Morton is a perfect choice for atmospheric books (kind of kicking myself for not thinking of her!) and I do love Simone St. James. The Dry is coming up on my TBR.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Congratulations on becoming a grandmother. Hope your daughter in law recovers quickly. I listened to The Dry just last month and it was riveting and read Sun Down Motel a couple years ago.. I have a bunch of the other books on my TBR list.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Congratulations on your sweet granddaughter! I hope your daughter in law is doing well too! As for this list, I 100% agree with the Broken Girls. I still find myself thinking of that one often!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Kate Morton and Sharon Cameron are both authors I hear a lot about. I haven't read anything by either, but I feel like their popularity means I should take a closer look. CONGRATS on the arrival of your granddaughter. I hope everyone is now doing well and enjoy this time together as a new family. :) Thanks also for visiting my website in the last week!

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  30. Congratulations! Grandkids are the best. Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
  31. I Must Betray You is such a good choice for atmosphere!

    ReplyDelete

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