Fiction, Goodreads

Five Star Fiction, 2017 Edition

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This post is going to be a little longer, my friends.  In my non-fiction post, I left out a few five star books because they were homeschool-specific and I wanted to feature books that would appeal to all readers.  But fiction?  Everybody needs some of that, baby.

Some of my five star books were repeat reads, but since I haven’t posted a book on this here blog in five years, chances they have never shown up in the catalog of Red Hot Eyebrows.  I’ll do the repeats first.

The Beyonders series by Brandon Mull, A World Without Heroes, Seeds of Rebellion, and Chasing the Prophecy.

I loved this series the first time I read it and it had been a few years since we’d read it out loud as a family, so I read it again for my own pleasure.  Super worth it.  It’s like a less-disturbing Hunger Games with more likable characters.  And very cool world-building.  I’m going to cover the books in a book discussion class I’m teaching in the fall, there’s so much good stuff to talk about.

Dealing With Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

I love this charming little book.  Princess Cimorene isn’t like a typical princess and when we hires herself out to the dragon, Kazul, her life gets infinitely more interesting.  Fantastic read-aloud and filled with adventure.

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Elizabeth Anne was raised by her aunt and grandmother, but circumstances put her in the charge of the Putneys, distant cousins who she’s never heard a good word about.  They simply don’t understand her like her Aunt Francis does, she thinks.  However, the way they teach her independence and give her confidence means they understand her even better.  I’ve read this book aloud in the past, but this time was just for me.  Do I understand my kids like the Putneys or Aunt Francis?  I love this sweet, tender little book that teaches me so much.

The Chosen by Chaim Potok

I read this book so long ago that I could barely remember the plot, so reading it again was like the first time.  It’s a story of a friendship between two Orthodox Jewish and Hasidic Jewish boys.  I never really understood the difference between the two sects and Potok does a great job of showing those differences throughout the narrative.  It’s a heart-breaking story and though I loved it and gave it five stars, I disagreed with many parts and decisions the characters made.  It’s a beautiful and complex story of friendship and culture.

The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis

Again, it had been so long since the last read that I could only remember that it was made of letters from a more senior devil to his nephew, a lower-level devil.  My daughter had read it and wanted to talk about it, so I took a deeper look.  I found so many great insights into human nature that I hadn’t noticed before.  It’s also funny!  It made for a fantastic book discussion and gave me closer insights into some things that were temptations for me.

The following books are first-reads for me, but two of them are parts of series I was already in or finishing up.

The Empty Grave by Jonathon Stroud

The final book in the Lockwood Company series was just perfect.  We got resolution in relationships, answers to puzzles that have run throughout the series, and non-stop action and excitement.  This is such a well written series and I’ve enjoyed every single book.  Anthony Lockwood is such a fascinating person and Stroud developed him so well.

The Secret Keepers by Trenton Lee Stewart

I love this author so much.  The Mysterious Benedict Society is one of the best juvenile series I’ve ever read.  The newest book by Stewart is just as delightful and suspenseful as the MBS series, but our hero doesn’t always act like one.  I feel like Stewart tried out some new ideas and they worked perfectly.

Frogkisser! by Garth Nix

Garth Nix is the bomb.  I’ll read anything he wrote because it never disappoints.  Even silly pseudo-fairy tales.

Dragonwatch by Brandon Mull

More Fablehaven?  Thank you Brandon Mull!  You’re my new best friend!  Kendra and Seth are beloved characters at our house and you get to see them tackle new challenges and adventures.  They don’t stay static as people either, which I appreciate.

Princess Cora and the Crocodile by Amy Laura Schlitz

This was a surprising little book.  I was at my brother’s house and we made a trip to their local library for entertainment for the piles of children.  My niece picked this book and when we sat down to read it together, I was just astounded by it.  This is a beautiful story of assertive communication and how much better it is than passive-aggressive.  The kids didn’t know that, of course, but we did talk about how Cora was able to talk to her parents, listen empathetically, and express her needs.  I have no idea if the author intended it, but I can see this book as a wonderful tool to teach that skill.

Again, these are my five star reads, but there were piles of four star books that are certainly worth reading too.  Friend me on Goodreads and you can peruse my lists, but these are good starts for 2018.  Happy reading!


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