Five Books Everyone Should Read is a feature we’re running in 2015. We’ve asked some of our favorite authors, readers and bloggers to share five books that touched them or have stayed with them throughout the years.
Today our very own guest reviewer Ames shares her list of Five Books. Ames and I tend to have similar taste and I’m seeing a lot of wonderful goodness on this list.
I don’t like making decisions, like the best of or my most favorite. I like to keep my options open. So I was thinking with this list of 5 Books Everyone Should Read would be focused on the books I turn to whenever I’m in a reading slump. But the more I thought about it, I’ve read some stellar books that I can recall like I read them yesterday that I’ve never re-read. So my list of 5 books are a mix of those books that really touched me and had a long-lasting effect and those that I turn to when I need to jumpstart my reading mojo.
Because its like choosing a favorite child, these are in no particular order.
Almost Like Being in Love by Steve Kluger
A high school jock and nerd fall in love senior year, only to part after an amazing summer of discovery to attend their respective colleges. They keep in touch at first, but then slowly drift apart.
Flash forward twenty years.
Travis and Craig both have great lives, careers, and loves. But something is missing …. Travis is the first to figure it out. He’s still in love with Craig, and come what may, he’s going after the boy who captured his heart, even if it means forsaking his job, making a fool of himself, and entering the great unknown. Told in narrative, letters, checklists, and more, this is the must-read novel for anyone who’s wondered what ever happened to that first great love.
Nath introduced to me this author and for that I am eternally grateful. I am not a big fan of epistolary novels but this book is the ultimate. Memos, letters, journals – Kluger uses all these different forms of communicating to tell an awesome story about two boys who fell in love in high school and the journey to reunite after twenty years apart. I laughed and I cried. The author also uses this format in My Most Excellent Year and Last Days of Summer and I highly recommend those two books as well. Read this book, you won’t regret it!
Dragon Bound by Thea Harrison
Half-human and half-wyr, Pia Giovanni spent her life keeping a low profile among the wyrkind and avoiding the continuing conflict between them and their dark Fae enemies. But after being blackmailed into stealing a coin from the hoard of a dragon, Pia finds herself targeted by one of the most powerful-and passionate-of the Elder races.
Holly had recommended this novel to me a few times before she held me hostage and forced me to read it. I could have kicked myself for not reading it sooner. But I think I more than made up for it by the amount of times I’ve read it. haha Also, I was so in love with Pia and Dragos that I could not read the next book in the series for years. Nothing could top this ultimate power couple for me and to this day I love Pia and Dragos.
Count to Ten by Karen Rose
In all his years in the Chicago Fire Department, Lieutenant Reed Solliday ahs never experienced anything like this recent outbreak of house fires – devastating, vicious and in one case, homicidal. He has another problem – his new partner, Detective Mia Mitchell. She’s brash, bossy, and taking the case in a direction he never imagined.
Mia’s instincts tell her the arsonist is making this personal. And as the infernos become more deadly, one look at the victims’ tortured faces convinces her and Reed that they must work closer to catch the killer. With each new blaze, the villain ups the ante, setting firetraps for the people Reed and Mia love. The truth is almost too hot to handle: This monster’s desire for death and destruction is unquenchable … and for Mia he’s started the countdown to an early grave.
Here’s another one that Nath recommended. I wasn’t too keen to read it at first because I don’t like romantic suspense but there’s something about this book that works for me on so many levels. Mia is a kick-ass detective and Reed is an uber hot investigator for the fire department. The romance is extremely well woven around the mystery (of an arsonist/murderer). This book is the perfect balance between suspense and romance.
Bet Me/Crazy for You by Jennifer Crusie
Minerva Dobbs knows that happily-ever-after is a fairy tale, especially with a man who asked her to dinner to win a bet. Even if he is gorgeous and successful Calvin Morrisey. Cal knows commitment is impossible, especially with a woman as cranky as Min Dobbs. Even if she does wear great shoes, and keep him on his toes. When they say good-bye at the end of their evening, they cut their losses and agree never to see each other again.
But Fate has other plans, and it’s not long before Min and Cal meet again. Soon, they’re dealing with a jealous ex-boyfriend, Krispy Kreme donuts, a determined psychologist, chaos theory, a freakishly intelligent cat, Chicken Marsala, and more risky propositions than either of them ever dreamed of. Including the biggest gamble of all-true love.
Out of all the Jennifer Crusie books I’ve read, I could honestly only narrow it down to these two. I can’t pick, both really are my favorites. Reading one leads me into reading the other. Crazy for You features a friends-to-lovers plot with a cute rescue dog that I absolutely love. Did I mention friends-to-lovers is my favorite romance plot? And then Bet Me has delicious Cal and a cat that loves Elvis and a prickly heroine who loves good shoes. I love that Min doesn’t apologize for who she is. And Cal…swoon.
On Wednesday, Quinn McKenzie changes her life. On Thursday, she tries to get somebody to notice. On Thursday night, somebody does.
Quinn McKenzie is dating the world’s nicest guy, she has a good job as a high school art teacher, she’s surrounded by family and friends who rely on her, and she’s bored to the point of insanity. But when Quinn decides to change her life by adopting a stray dog over everyone’s objections, everything begins to spiral out of control. Now she’s coping with dognapping, breaking and entering, seduction, sabotage, stalking, more secrets than she really wants to know, and two men who are suddenly crazy . . . for her.
The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
It has been twelve years since a dark, murderous figure stalked the alleys and courts of Whitechapel. And yet, in the summer of 1900, East London is still poor, still brutal, still a shadow city to its western twin. Among the reformers is an idealistic young woman named India Selwyn-Jones, recently graduated from medical school. With the help of her influential fiancé–Freddie Lytton, an up-and-coming Liberal MP–she works to shut down the area’s opium dens that destroy both body and soul. Her selfless activities better her patients’ lives and bring her immense gratification, but unfortunately, they also bring her into direct conflict with East London’s ruling crime lord–Sid Malone.
India is not good for business and at first, Malone wants her out. But against all odds, India and Sid fall in love. Different in nearly every way, they share one thing in common–they’re both wounded souls. Their love is impossible and they know it, yet they cling to it desperately. Lytton, India’s fiancé, will stop at nothing to marry India and gain her family’s fortune.
Fractious criminal underlings and rivals conspire against Sid. When Sid is finally betrayed by one of his own, he must flee London to save his life. Mistakenly thinking him dead, India, pregnant and desperate, marries Freddie to provide a father for hers and Sid’s child. India and Sid must each make a terrible sacrifice–a sacrifice that will change them both forever. One that will lead them to other lives, and other places . . . and perhaps–one distant, bittersweet day–back to each other.
The Winter Rose blew me away as I was reading it. India is a female doctor in a time when women were typically not going to university (right before WWI). She decides to work for those living in poverty and gets involved with Sid, a crime boss in London. This was a time of great change in England and India was affected by it all. She’s torn between her noble family and the family she makes for herself in the slums. I like how all these plots were intertwined and India and Sid were gripping characters that I was rooting for right to the end. I won’t lie, it made me cry. A beautiful book.
I hope sharing these books with you piques your interest if you haven’t read any yet. I found it hard to limit myself to these five. I think I could add a couple more. Maybe I’ll come back with another five books in a couple of weeks! LOL Now I’m off to reread one of them…
I’m just a girl, living in her bookish world. With two awesome sidekicks, Maximus and She-Ra.
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