I don't talk very often about the books I read, or rather, listen to, on Audible, but I feel like lately I keep scouring blogs trying to find their recommended books. I love a good book that can wrap me up and keep me enthralled, teach me something new, or just make me think. I'd love to write a book of my own one day. Until then, here are my top picks.

1. This Is Where I Leave You: A Novel
by Jonathan Trooper

If you read anything this year, read this one. The characters are so relate-able and Trooper does a fantastic job of intertwining real life heartaches with humor. I caught myself laughing out loud on occasion. He writes people so well.

2. The Fault in Our Stars
by John Green

Oh, I know. Everyone has either read this book or doesn't want to read it because they don't want to cry. Well it's on my list. Here's why: I have a unique perspective on cancer. Having a little sister go through a very tough cancer around the same age I read this book through her eyes, in a way. It helped me better understand what it must be like to be a teenager when you're supposed to have no cares in the world. Anytime is a terrifying time to face death, but to be at such a young age yet still understand the gravity of what you're going through is heartbreaking. And yes, I cried. A lot.

3. The Vacationers by Emma Straub

After I got back from my trip to Europe I was desperate to read something about an adventure. This story is about a somewhat dysfunctional family taking a trip to Majorca, an island off the coast of Spain. Each member of the family is going through something completely different but she sprinkles humor and lovable portraits of the characters.

4. Think Like a Freak by Steven Levitt and Stephen Dubner

This is a follow up to their book Freakonomics and it's just as interesting. They do a wonderful job of telling you a story to illustrate their extensive research. Despite being uber smart, they make their points loud and clear through real life examples. Along the way I kept nodding my head in agreement or saying out loud “Oh, that makes sense.”

5. Gone Girl
by Gillian Flynn

I was completely and utterly enthralled in this book. I wanted to know what was going to happen next so badly I could hardly stand it. I won't spoil it, but the ending is unexpected. There's been a lot of discussion about whether or not it was a good ending. At first I was left stunned. After reading an interview with the author and a few more opinions, I like it.

There were 2 (well really 4) books that I don't recommend reading. The first is Lost & Found
by Jacqueline Sheehan. This book is about a woman who's husband dies and she moves to an island and finds a lost dog. I love dogs so I thought I would love this book. It's so disconnected and I hated the main character. One minute she's writing about losing her dead husband then she's talking about a wounded dog. Just skip this one.
This may be different from what others think, but I hated The Divergent
Series by Veronica Roth. I know this is being made into a major motion picture and teens everywhere are flocking. Don't get me wrong, I love young adult fiction, but these books are not good. The first book is decent enough, a society with different sections or factions, based on their virtues. But the main character, Tris, is different. Ok, fine. The book then goes over the top as Tris, a teenage girl, and he boyfriend try to save the society. Evil brothers, weird serums, a hidden society, government conspiracy, I just didn't buy it.

So that's my picks. I'd absolutely love to hear from you what I should read next! I'm an open book. (That was too far wasn't it?)

P.S. Next week is Total Social with Sarah and me! (pps yes “me” is the proper grammar here) 
The topic? Guilty Pleasures (what show can't you get enough of? who is your weird celeb crush? You're favorite CD that you can't live without?)
Official Hashtag: #GuiltyTotalSocial
Date: Tuesday, August 19th
Link up with us, across all social media platforms including blog,
twitter, facebook, instagram, pinterest etc., and tell us all about your
guilty pleasures! 
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Helene in Between
Helene in Between

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