15 Books I Read as a Kid and LOVED!

atreegrowsinbrooklynA Tree Grows in Brooklyn By Betty Smith
The beloved American classic about a young girl’s coming-of-age at the turn of the century, Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a poignant and moving tale filled with compassion and cruelty, laughter and heartache, crowded with life and people and incident. The story of young, sensitive, and idealistic Francie Nolan and her bittersweet formative years in the slums of Williamsburg has enchanted and inspired millions of readers for more than sixty years. By turns overwhelming, sublime, heartbreaking, and uplifting, the daily experiences of the unforgettable Nolans are raw with honesty and tenderly threaded with family connectedness — in a work of literary art that brilliantly captures a unique time and place as well as incredibly rich moments of universal experience.

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrauthecityofember
Many hundreds of years ago, the city of Ember was created by the Builders to contain everything needed for human survival. It worked…but now the storerooms are almost out of food, crops are blighted, corruption is spreading through the city and worst of all—the lights are failing. Soon Ember could be engulfed by darkness… But when two children, Lina and Doon, discover fragments of an ancient parchment, they begin to wonder if there could be a way out of Ember. Can they decipher the words from long ago and find a new future for everyone? Will the people of Ember listen to them?

thedollpeopleThe Doll People by Ann M. Martin & Laura Godwin
Annabelle Doll is eight years old-she has been for more than a hundred years. Not a lot has happened to her, cooped up in the dollhouse, with the same doll family, day after day, year after year. . . until one day the Funcrafts move in.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryanesperanzarising
Esperanza thought she’d always live with her family on their ranch in Mexico–she’d always have fancy dresses, a beautiful home, and servants. But a sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and Mama to flee to California during the Great Depression, and to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers. Esperanza isn’t ready for the hard labor, financial struggles, or lack of acceptance she now faces. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her difficult circumstances–Mama’s life, and her own, depend on it.

fever1793Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
It’s late summer 1793, and the streets of Philadelphia are abuzz with mosquitoes and rumors of fever. Down near the docks, many have taken ill, and the fatalities are mounting. Now they include Polly, the serving girl at the Cook Coffeehouse. But fourteen-year-old Mattie Cook doesn’t get a moment to mourn the passing of her childhood playmate. New customers have overrun her family’s coffee shop, located far from the mosquito-infested river, and Mattie’s concerns of fever are all but overshadowed by dreams of growing her family’s small business into a thriving enterprise. But when the fever begins to strike closer to home, Mattie’s struggle to build a new life must give way to a new fight-the fight to stay alive.

Green Rider by Kirsten Britain
On her long journey home from school after a fight which will surely lead to her expulsion, greenriderKarigan G’ladheon ponders her future as she trudges through the immense forest called Green Cloak. But her thoughts are interrupted by the clattering of hooves as a galloping horse bursts from the woods, the rider slumped over his mount’s neck, impaled by two black-shafted arrows. As the young man lies dying on the road, he tells Karigan that he is a Green Rider, one of the legendary messengers of the king, and that he bears a “life and death” message for King Zachary. He begs Karigan to carry his message, warning her not to read it, and when she reluctantly agrees, he makes her swear on his sword to complete his mission “for love of country.” As he bestows upon her the golden winged-horse brooch which is the symbol of his office, he whispers on his dying breath, “Beware the shadow man…”  Karigan’s promise changes her life forever. Pursued by unknown assassins, following a path only her horse seems to know, and accompanied by the silent specter of the original messenger, she herself becomes a legendary Green Rider. Caught up in a world of deadly danger and complex magic, compelled by forces she cannot understand, Karigan is hounded by dark beings bent on seeing that the mharrypotteressage, and its reluctant carrier, never reach their destination.

Harry Potter by JK Rowling
Harry Potter thinks he is an ordinary boy. He lives with his Uncle Vernon, Aunt Petunia and cousin Dudley, who are mean to him and make him sleep in a cupboard under the stairs. (Dudley, however, has two bedrooms, one to sleep in and one for all his toys and games.) Then Harry starts receiving mysterious letters and his life is changed forever. He is whisked away by a beetle-eyed giant of a man and enrolled at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The reason: Harry Potter is a wizard!

Inkheart by Cornelia Funkeinkheart
Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can “read” fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service. Characters from books literally leap off the page in this engrossing fantasy. Meggie has had her father to herself since her mother went away when she was young. Mo taught her to read when she was five, and the two share a mutual love of books. He can “read” characters out of books. When she was three, he read aloud from a book called Inkheart and released characters into the real world. At the same time, Meggie’s mother disappeared into the story.

nancydrewNancy Drew by Carolyn Keene
There are many, many Nancy Drew books. I used to have a ton of them in those yellow hardbacks and I read them over and over. Nancy Drew, sometimes along with her two best friends, encounter various mysteries that Nancy is always able to solve just in time!

silverwing
Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel
Shade is a young Silverwing bat, the runt of his colony. But he’s determined to prove himself on the long, dangerous winter migration to Hibernaculum, millions of wingbeats to the south. During a fierce storm, he loses the others and soon faces the most incredible journey of his young life. Desperately searching for a way to rejoin his flock, Shade meets a remarkable cast of characters: Marina, a Brightwing bat with a strange metal band on her leg; Zephyr, a mystical albino bat with a strange gift; and Goth, a gigantic carnivorous vampire bat. But which ones are friends and which ones are enemies? In this epic story of adventure and suspense, Shade is going to need all the help he can find — if he hopes to ever see his family again.

thethieflordThe Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
“Do you sometimes wish you were grown-up?” Venice. Autumn.
Rich Aunt Esther wants only angelic orphan Boniface 5, not serious Prospero 12. She hires PI Victor Getz. Thief Lord Scipo brings loot, clothes, to runaways in abandoned theatre Stella. Hornet adds brothers to gang with tall Mosca and scrawny Riccio. But Scipio hides a secret. And old Conte from a cursed isle wants a wooden wing, from grown orphan photographer Ida Spaveno, for his magic merry-go-round that changes ages. Interior illustrations by author.

Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsentouchingspiritbear
Within Cole Matthews lie anger, rage and hate. Cole has been stealing and fighting for years. This time he caught Peter Driscal in the parking lot and smashed his head against the sidewalk. Now, Peter may have permanent brain damage and Cole is in the biggest trouble of his life. Cole is offered Circle Justice: a system based on Native American traditions that attempts to provide healing for the criminal offender, the victim and the, community. With prison as his only alternative, Cole plays along. He says he wants to repent, but in his heart Cole blames his alcoholic mom his, abusive dad, wimpy Alex–everyone but himself for his situation. Cole receives a one-year banishment to a remote Alaskan island. There, he is mauled by Mysterious white bear of Native American legend. Hideously injured, Cole waits for his death His thoughts shift from from Anger to humility. To survive, he must stop blaming others and take responsibility for his life. Rescuers arrive to save Cole’s but it is the attack of the Spirit Bear that may save his soul.

thetwoprincessesofbamarreThe Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine
Twelve-year-old Addie admires her older sister Meryl, who aspires to rid the kingdom of Bamarre of gryphons, specters, and ogres. Addie, on the other hand, is fearful even of spiders and depends on Meryl for courage and protection. Waving her sword Bloodbiter, the older girl declaims in the garden from the heroic epic of Drualt to a thrilled audience of Addie, their governess, and the young sorcerer Rhys. But when Meryl falls ill with the dreaded Gray Death, Addie must gather her courage and set off alone on a quest to find the cure and save her beloved sister. Addie takes the seven-league boots and magic spyglass left to her by her mother and the enchanted tablecloth and cloak given to her by Rhys – along with a shy declaration of his love. She prevails in encounters with tricky specters (spiders too) and outwits a wickedly personable dragon in adventures touched with romance and a bittersweet ending.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskinthewestinggame
A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger – and a possible murderer – to inherit his vast fortune, one thing’s for sure: Sam Westing may be dead… but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!

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My Top 10 Heyer Novels

These are the 10 Heyer novels I love the most, however, just in alphabetical order since it was hard enough to pick only ten and there’s no way I’d be able to narrow it down any further.

arabellaArabella
This was the first Heyer hero that I truly fell for. Arabella is determined to take Mr. Beaumaris down a peg–by pretending to be a great heiress under the assumption that she will never meet him again. Unfortunately (or fortunately?) Arabella meets Mr. Beaumaris once again in London, and the dance between them begins. Mr. Beaumaris knows very well that she’s not a heiress at all…

Cotillioncotillion
Since I was not a big fan of The Grand Sophy the first time I read it, this was the second book I read by her and the one that solidified my love for Heyer. I was definitely invested in Kitty Charing’s choice between her two cousins, Jack and Freddy since I hated Jack with a passion and I determined that if Kitty chose Jack I would swear off Georgette Heyer forever. But really, it was a start of an odyssey.

cousinkateCousin Kate
I hear that a lot of Heyer’s fans don’t like this one and I’m not sure why since I find the characters in this book to be the most complex. Its probably the one with the plot line that makes the most sense while being the most creepy of her work. The character of Kate’s cousin, Torquil, is a mentally ill man whom his mother (Kate’s half-aunt, in fact) hopes to marry him off to Kate in the hopes Kate can control him (and stop the estate from falling in the hands of their other cousin, Mr. Phillip Broome, should Torquil die). Unfortunately for her half-aunt, Kate and Mr. Broome discover the plot.

Devil’s Cubdevilscub
Since Vidal is definitely… not a chivalrous suitor to say the least, I definitely think this is the most controversial of Heyer’s work and probably where abusive romance became mainstream, which makes it a difficult book to recommend no matter how much I personally love it. So I do admit that the book is problematic, but there is just something about the book overall that I find so swoon worthy. I guess this is my weakness when it comes to Heyer.

fredericaFrederica
For a long time I think this was my favorite novel by Heyer (now I’d be hard pressed to choose…) since Frederica was an older girl compared to a lot of Heyer’s other works (since then though, I’ve learned she does more work with some older ladies, but this remains my favorite of that group) since I’m older as well and without a romance myself and therefore identify with Frederica more than the other heroines. Not to mention, Alverstoke is a fantastic hero and rates pretty high in my list of swoon worthy heroes.

The Grand Sophythegrandsophy
This was actually the first book I read by her and I don’t remember being very impressed with it at the time. On a re-read this year however, I decided that I was insane and this book was absolutely amazing! Sophy is adorable and infuriating all the same and Charles is not quite the immense bore that I remember. Plus the final scene is all that one would wish it to be no matter how tangled the plot lines get, Heyer always wraps them up in a neat little bow.

thenonesuchThe Nonesuch
Waldo is another one of Heyer’s heroes that are positively swoon worthy. I often wonder if this is the book where the philanthropic hero trope in regency romances comes from. You have to admit that its hard to find a modern regency romance writer that has not featured a philanthropic hero in one of their books. If Waldo is where that started, then everyone else pales in comparison. Waldo’s charity runs in the line of orphans, which is how he meets our heroine, Miss Trent, who is acting as a companion and governess to the children of one of the matrons in the neighborhood of the estate that he inherits and intends to use to house his orphans. Waldo then has to set about the task of convincing Miss Trent that its perfectly okay for him to marry a mere governess.

The Quiet Gentlemanthequietgentleman
I think this is an underrated Heyer work, I don’t see it mentioned much on lists like these, possibly because Gervase is kind of a boring hero compared to some others. But I rather like him for being so kind and gentle as opposed to the steel that you find in the rest of her heroes, pretty much across the board. Plus this is one of the books where the heroine truly gets to save the hero and there’s no more capable heroine than the practical Miss Morville.

regencybuckRegency Buck
This is another one of Heyer’s work that fans seem to not like as much as I think they should. I think this is just a difference of opinion, however, I think people don’t like Judith’s immaturity or they don’t like that Worth tries to boss her around because the infuriating girl keeps acting without propriety. Mostly this book is a mystery with Worth knowing all the answers–but unable to convince Judith of the truth and taking drastic but exciting measures.

Venetiavenetia
If you want a tortured rake, this is the book for you. Venetia has been warned off from Damerel, an infamous rake said to hold orgies and other terrible, terrible things. He falls in with Venetia after mistaking her for a maid and kissing her in his orchard, and then they become best of friends. Venetia and Damerel are definitely my favorite Heyer couple.

Honorable Mentions: The Talisman Ring, April Lady, Charity Girl, Black Sheep, The Convenient Marriage and The Unknown Ajax.

Tired of the Heat? These 10 Reads Will Chill Your Summer

cousinkate10. Cousin Kate by Georgette Heyer
A light, but gothic regency romance that follows orphan Kate Malvern as she goes to stay with her theauctioneerhalf-aunt in her ancestral home where a sinister plot unfolds.

09. The Auctioneer by Joan Samson
Tension is high in this story of greed in small town America. Slowly, John Moore, his family and his neighbors are stripped of all their belongings by the auctioneer Perly Dunsmore, and they begin to turn on each other.

08. Out by Natsuo Kirino
There’s nothing like a story of middle-aged women coutonspiring together to commit murder and dispose of the bodies for profit to give you the shivers.thereoncewasawoman

07. There Once Lived a Woman Who Tried to Kill Her Neighbor’s Baby: Scary Fairy Tales by Ludmilla Petrushevkaya
If you’ve never read any Russian fairy tales, you are missing out on some of the creepiest tales. Not only do these stories always seem to take place in winter but they have the effect of chilling you right to the bone.

neverletmego06. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
It may be impossible to find a book more haunting and more likely to leave you revengein despair. A young woman recounts her life leading up to that point and the revelation of what her future holds for her will leave you gasping.

05. Revenge by Yoko Ogawa
In this sinister, beautiful collection, Yoko Ogawa tells the haunting and strange stories of one-of-a-kind characters.

undertheskin04. Under the Skin by Michel Faber
In rural Scotland, a mysterious woman who picks up unsuspecting hitchhikers, drugs them and delivers them to her partners who mutilate and fatten her victims so they can be turned into meat.ice

03. Ice by Anna Kavan
Ice is a brutal, haunting narrative that takes place in a frozen post-apocalyptic future.

lettherightonein02. Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
This chilling tale takes place almost in its entirety in Stockholm, Sweden and a good part of it takes place in winter. We are introduced to a morbid young boy weneedtotalkaboutkevinnamed Oskar who befriends his new neighbor. Meanwhile, around Stockholm murders are taking place, leaving their victims drained of blood.

01. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver
The number one book sure to chill you is a tragic, disturbing tale about a mother’s path to redemption after all the guilt caused by the crimes committed by her son.

Don’t Know Where to Start Reading the Classics? A Fun Guide

If you like ACTION … The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
This contemporary classic is a nonstop ride through the world of Lord of the Rings.

If you like a GREAT FEMALE LEAD … Bleak House by Charles Dickens
There are a lot of things that come to mind when a person thinks of Bleak House, but the real treasure is the main character, Esther Summerson, whom remains loyal throughout the book regardless of the circumstances.

If you like a GREAT MALE LEAD … The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
Dorian Gray might not be a nice male lead, but he’s a great male lead. Wilde tells the chilling tale of debauchery and the price of beauty.

If you like HORROR … Perfume: The Story of a Murderer by Patrick Suskind
If you’re in the mood for a book equal parts bizarre and disturbing, pick this one up and give it a go.

If you like SHORT STORIES … The Lottery and Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
Shirley Jackson can find the creepiness of every day life and deliver them to you in the form of 25 haunting tales.

If you like DYSTOPIA … This Perfect Day by Ira Levin
There is just something about a dystopia disguised as a perfect utopia.

If you like SPACE OPERAS … Foundation by Isaac Asimov
This epic spans many generations and travels across space.

If you like ADVENTURE … The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
There’s nothing not to love about The Count of Monte Cristo. Look no further for a thrilling page turner.

If you like MYSTERIES … And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie’s most famous work is a masterfully crafted mystery that will keep you guessing until the end.

If you like COMEDIES … Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
Kurt Vonnegut is known for his dark humor and satire. Breakfast of Champions tells the story of mentally unstable Dwayne Hoover who reads books by the prolific Kilgore Trout and believes them to be true.

If you like SPECULATIVE FICTION … Ubik by Philip K. Dick
Reality is blurred in this face-paced, puzzling novel with a stunning reveal.

If you like SOCIAL COMMENTARY … Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
Dickens is well known for writing about common issues during his time. In Great Expectations, he tells the story of Pip, a boy whom a chance encounter ends up being a great stroke of luck.

If you like ALTERNATE HISTORY A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
A Yankee engineer travels back in time to King Arthur’s Court and becomes a magician with his modern knowledge.

If you like COMING OF AGE STORIES … A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
Betty Smith tells the story of a young girl who grows up in Depression era Brooklyn with her impoverished family.

If you like TRAGEDIES … Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
Ethan Frome builds up to an unexpected shocking conclusion that rips up the reader.