Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Top Ten Tuesday: Five-Star TBR Predictions



Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, I’m making predictions. I currently have 50-something unread books on my to-be-read (TBR) shelf. I think all of them have the potential to earn a 5-star review from me. (They wouldn’t be on the shelf if I didn’t think I’d love them.) But, I’m extra excited about the books in this post because of the hype. They all have 100,000+ ratings and mostly positive reviews on Goodreads. I hope I love them as much as everybody else does.

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Five-Star TBR Predictions




1. His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman (His Dark Materials 1-3)



Philip Pullman's The Golden Compass, the first book in the His Dark Materials trilogy, changed the face of fantasy publishing with its stunning originality. The complete trilogy went on to become a bestseller in dozens of countries around the world, critically acclaimed and showered with prizes. Together, these novels—The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass—are renowned for their beautiful storytelling, epic scope, and dearly loved characters.



Why I think I’ll give it five stars: I’m starting this list by cheating. I’ve already read these books, but in my defense, it was a long time ago. I read them when I was a young teenager and loved the brave characters and strange worlds. I’m crossing my fingers that I’ll still love them when I reread them. My reading tastes have changed a lot since I was 13.















2. Little fires everywhere by Celeste Ng




In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned–from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren–an enigmatic artist and single mother–who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When the Richardsons' friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family–and Mia's.


Why I think I’ll give it five stars: It won a Goodreads Choice Award in 2017, and I tend to enjoy the winners. Also, it’s about a small community and family secrets. That’s like literary catnip for me. I want all the neighbor drama!














3. Number The Stars by Lois Lowry



Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before the war. It's now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. When the Jews of Denmark are "relocated," Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be one of the family. Soon Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen's life.


Why I think I’ll give it five stars: I’m cheating again. This is another childhood favorite that I plan on rereading. I checked this book out of my middle school’s library so many times. As a middle schooler, I thought it was a harrowing read.














4. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield



Angelfield House stands abandoned and forgotten. It was once the imposing home of the March family—fascinating, manipulative Isabelle, Charlie her brutal and dangerous brother, and the wild, untamed twins, Emmeline and Adeline. But Angelfield House conceals a chilling secret whose impact still resonates.

Now Margaret Lea is investigating Angelfield's past—and the mystery of the March family starts to unravel. What has Angelfield been hiding? What is its connection with the enigmatic author Vida Winter? And what is it in Margaret's own troubled past that causes her to fall so powerfully under Angelfilds spell?



Why I think I’ll give it five stars: You know those books you’ve meant to read for most of your life, and you don’t have a good reason for why you haven’t read them yet? That’s me with this book. I feel like I’ve been hearing about The Thirteenth Tale forever. It’s a book about books. (And old houses. And strange families.) What’s not to like?














5. The underground railroad by Colson Whitehead



Cora is a slave on a cotton plantation in Georgia. Life is hell for all the slaves, but especially bad for Cora; an outcast even among her fellow Africans, she is coming into womanhood—where even greater pain awaits. When Caesar, a recent arrival from Virginia, tells her about the Underground Railroad, they decide to take a terrifying risk and escape. Matters do not go as planned—Cora kills a young white boy who tries to capture her. Though they manage to find a station and head north, they are being hunted.

In Whitehead’s ingenious conception, the Underground Railroad is no mere metaphor—engineers and conductors operate a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil. Cora and Caesar’s first stop is South Carolina, in a city that initially seems like a haven. But the city’s placid surface masks an insidious scheme designed for its black denizens. And even worse: Ridgeway, the relentless slave catcher, is close on their heels. Forced to flee again, Cora embarks on a harrowing flight, state by state, seeking true freedom.


Why I think I’ll give it five stars: It’s a literary, historical, science fiction novel. You don’t see that combination very often. Also, it has won so many awards! The Goodreads Choice Award, the Pulitzer, the National Book Award, a billion other awards. All those award committees can’t be wrong, can they? (They absolutely can, but I’m being optimistic. I really do think I’ll like this one.)














6. The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven Cycle #1)



Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue never sees them—until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks to her.

His name is Gansey, a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can't entirely explain. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul whose emotions range from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She doesn't believe in true love, and never thought this would be a problem. But as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she's not so sure anymore.


Why I think I’ll give it five stars: It sounds like a “found family” book where a bunch of kids band together to do something cool. I tend to like those. The rabid internet masses have been shrieking about this book since it came out. If thousands of people love it enough to dedicate countless Tumblr pages to it, then there’s a good chance I’ll like it too.














7. Beartown by Fredrik Backman (Beartown #1)



People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. But down by the lake stands an old ice rink, built generations ago by the working men who founded this town. And in that ice rink is the reason people in Beartown believe tomorrow will be better than today. Their junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals, and they actually have a shot at winning. All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young girl traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.


Why I think I’ll give it five stars: This is an easy one. I’ve read a bunch of Backman books and have given them all 4 or 5 stars. I don’t see why this one will be any different. And, it’s about hockey. I love hockey.














8. Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (The Shining #2)



On highways across America, a tribe of people called The True Knot travel in search of sustenance. They look harmless—mostly old, lots of polyester, and married to their RVs. But as Dan Torrance knows, and spunky 12-year-old Abra Stone learns, The True Knot are quasi-immortal, living off the "steam" that children with the "shining" produce when they are slowly tortured to death.

Haunted by the inhabitants of the Overlook Hotel where he spent one horrific childhood year, Dan has been drifting for decades, desperate to shed his father's legacy of despair, alcoholism, and violence. Finally, he settles in a New Hampshire town, an AA community that sustains him, and a job at a nursing home where his remnant "shining" power provides the crucial final comfort to the dying. Aided by a prescient cat, he becomes "Doctor Sleep."

Then Dan meets the evanescent Abra Stone, and it is her spectacular gift, the brightest shining ever seen, that reignites Dan's own demons and summons him to a battle for Abra's soul and survival.


Why I think I’ll give it five stars: Well, the tribe of murderous, child-hunting paranormal creatures sounds promising. I read The Shining as a teenager. It disturbed me very much, especially because I live near the hotel that inspired it. I’m nervously optimistic for the sequel. Goodreads calls it “a gory, glorious story.” I hope it lives up to that description.














9. The Complete Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle



The complete collection of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes tales, both long and short, compiled together.


Why I think I’ll give it five stars: I’ve read a bunch of Arthur Conan Doyle’s short stories. They didn’t blow my mind, but they’re fun and entertaining. I like the relationship between Sherlock and Watson. They both have strengths and flaws and need a lot of patience to put up with each other. I’m eager to try the author’s novels.














10. I’ll be gone in the dark: one woman’s obsessive search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara



For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called "the Golden State Killer." Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, Caucasian, and athletic—capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim—he favored suburban couples—he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth.


Why I think I’ll give it five stars: People talk about this book like it’s a new true crime classic. If this book is In Cold Blood for modern times, I’ll be thrilled. I remember going on a long run when I’ll Be Gone In The Dark first came out. Every podcast I listened to on that run mentioned it. Goodreads calls it “Utterly original and compelling.” I hope so.























Have you read any of these? What did you think?






65 comments:

  1. Bear Town was amazing and 5 stars for me! It's different but keep at it! Much more than what it seems.

    My TTT

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    1. I loved the author’s other books, so I’m looking forward to that one.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  2. I really need to read the Setterfield book as well. It does sound like something I'd love. You live near the Overlook? How cool! I read Doctor Sleep when it came out. The Shining is my favorite King book and I didn't think it needed a sequel. I kind of look at it as a companion novel more than a sequel. I ended up loving it but I'll never look at elderly people in campers the same again. Also, the movie has been released to stream today! I've waited so long for this. I know what I'm doing tonight!

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    1. I hope you enjoyed the movie! That’s one of the reasons why I want to read the book soon. I need to see the movie.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  3. 13-th tale, Beartown, and Underground Railroad are the ones I've read/reviewed. Definitely two out of the 3 are 5-star imho. I love Sherlock Holmes, too, but haven't read all of them.

    Very good list!

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    1. I’m glad you enjoyed them! My goal for this year is to read all of the Sherlock Holmes stuff I haven’t read yet.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  4. Great list! I still need to read His Dark Materials and The Thirteenth Tale, too, and I want to give Little Fires Everywhere a try after I loved Everything I Never Told You. I hope you enjoy all of these!

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  5. Totally agree with you on the His Dark Materials trilogy. My Husband got me the box set last year and it's been on my TBR for forever. He read them when he was younger as well and loved them!

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    1. I’m scared that I won’t love them as much as I did when I was a kid. I really want to reread them before the next season of the TV show though.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  6. Number the Stars is just a classic. I do love that book. I also really loved I'll Be Gone in the Dark.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I loved Number The Stars too. Hopefully I still love it as an adult.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  7. The HIs Dark Materials series was amazing. Hope you love it.

    My TTT .

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  8. Little Fires Everywhere is one that is on my radar because of all the buzz around it in the last year or so. Hopefully it’ll be a 5 star read for both of us.

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  9. These kinds of posts are so much fun to write! I did not read ANY of the books on this lits, but there are some of these books on my TBR. I'm curious about Doctor Sleep.

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  10. I forgot what my rating for Little Fires Everywhere was, but it was really good. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. And the Raven Boys was a good one too.

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  11. The Thirteenth Tale was a 5 star read for sure!

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  12. I see a lot of books from my tbr on your list but I haven't read a single one of them. I need to make some time and read The Thirteenth Tale since it has been on my shelf forever!

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    1. Same! I’ve had The Thirteenth Tale on my shelf for too long. I need to get to it.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  13. It took me a little while to get into Stiefvater's writing, but once I did, I fell in love with The Raven Cycle. There is a lot of different family structures in there, but Blue and the boys are of the "found" variety.

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    1. I’m glad you liked it! Hopefully I’ll like it too because I have a few unread Stiefvater books on my shelf.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  14. I always hope I'll love a book as much as everyone else seems to, but it doesn't always work out! I've read The Golden Compass but never continued with the series.

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    1. That happens to me a lot too. I’m super-excited for a popular book, and then I read it and can’t understand why it’s so popular.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  15. I've never read a Sherlock Holmes story, which seems weird to me. Hope these are all fab!

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    1. I’ve read one Sherlock Holmes short story collection. I haven’t read any of the novels yet.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  16. Number the Stars is one I remember very fondly from childhood -- quite possibly the first Holocaust book I ever read, or maybe the first I chose to read, if we were assigned the Diary of Anne Frank -- but I haven't read it since, so a reread sounds like a good idea. I'm actually planning a reread of The Thirteenth Tale as well, because it blew me away in a "FIVE STARS AREN'T ENOUGH!" way when I read it (a decade ago now), but I never wrote a proper review and now I can barely remember anything that happens or why I loved it so. I hope they stay/become 5 stars for you!

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    1. I’m glad you loved The Thirteenth Tale! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad review of it.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  17. I've only read The Raven Boys from this list, and I like it! Also any book about Sherlock Holmes is always entertaining. Hope you enjoy them!

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  18. I never much liked The Shining but if I was in your neck of the woods, I'd be off photographing that hotel! I love taking photos of things like that with some interest! I found this topic harder than I expected this week!

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    1. I really want to spend the night in the hotel. It’s so expensive, though!

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  19. I hope you love all of these! I really need to read more by Maggie Stiefvater. The Raven Boys sounds awesome. :)

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  20. I really enjoyed Michelle McNamara's book, but it ended up not being 5 stars for me. i think it would have been if she could have finished it herself. :( Bear Town and Doctor Sleep are on my shelf right now to read! I re-read The Shining towards the end of last year to get ready for Doctor Sleep at the advice of my brother. (Side note: I live in Colorado too!) I have a few others of these on my TBR as well, but those are the two staring me down from my bookshelf. ha! Happy reading!

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    1. I’m glad you liked I’ll Be Gone In The Dark. I’m excited for it. I hope we both like Beartown and Doctor Sleep!

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  21. Hope all of these are 5-star reads for you!! I especially hope you enjoy The Raven Boys--I did!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  22. Doctor Sleep is SO much different than The Shining. I hope you love it more than I did! I also really enjoyed The Raven Boys. I hope all of these live up to the hype!

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    1. I’ve heard that it’s very different from The Shining. I usually like Stephen King books, so I’m hopeful.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  23. I read and loved Number the Stars as a child, too. I know I reread it a couple times while I was in elementary school. :)

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    1. I loved that book as a kid too. I hope it lives up to the hype in my mind.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  24. I am almost certain I read Number the Stars when I was younger, but I can't remember anything about it now. I feel like there was a boat involved, but that could have been something else. I wouldn't call re-reading something you read long ago and are hoping it will still be as good cheating, but then again, I did the same thing on my list, so maybe I'm just a cheater too! :D

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    1. I also don’t remember a ton about Number the Stars, which is weird because I read it so many times!

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  25. Little Fires Everywhere is incredible. I don't normally read literary fiction, but I make an exception for Celeste Ng. I also like Number the Stars, but I read it years ago for school. I should read His Dark Materials one of these days...

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    1. I’m glad Little Fires Everywhere is so good! Hopefully I get to read it soon.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  26. I am really intrigued by Little Fires Everywhere. I hope it ends up being a five star read for you!

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  27. Doctor Sleep is one of my favorites, as is The Raven Boys. Happy reading!

    Lauren @ Always Me

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  28. I really want to go back and re-read The Thirteenth Tale at some point. I read it years ago and loved it then but my brain is mush now and I remember nothing about it. I read Beartown last fall and thought it was great. I need to read more of Backman's books.

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    1. I’m always surprised by Backman’s books. They don’t sound like my kind of thing, but then I love them!

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

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  29. I LOVED Doctor Sleep! I hope you enjoy it, too!

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  30. The Thirteenth Tale and Doctor Sleep were both really good. Hope all these turn out to be 5 stars reads for you :)

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  31. I recently reread Number the Stars because it is an all-time fave of mine and a book I gave to all of my students as their January book. It is exactly as beautiful and harrowing as I remembered feeling as a child.

    I'll Be Gone in the Dark is LIT. It was so, so good. I have yet to read In Cold Blood, but Dark is easily one of my top five true crime reads ever. Probably top 3.

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  32. Number the Stars is a book that stuck with me since I was really little. There is one scene in particular that had me completely filled with suspense and fear when my teacher was reading it to us. It's such a good book! I also really want to read The Thirteenth Tale, it looks like such a good one. I also still need to read The Raven Boys too! I hope all of these are five star reads for you! <3

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  33. I am one of the rabid masses shrieking about the raven cycle. Reeeeaaaad it :D I loved it and gave it five stars. I also gave Little Fires Everywhere five stars and think you will love it too. I read The Underground Railroad and while I think you will appreciate it I am not sure about the five stars for that one :/ Bear Town is one of my predictions too!

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  34. Oh this is a lovely list. I really want to re-read His Dark Materials someday as well, I'm pretty sure I'll love it as much as I did when I was younger, but... I'm still nervous to get to it ahah :)

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