My Top 10 Books Set Outside The US

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Books Set Outside The US. While seeing what books I’ve read that are set somewhere other than the US that were not sci-fi/fantasy/dystopia, I discovered that basically all of them were set in Europe. Sounds like something I should probably fix, so please send me recs!

Note: I decided to keep this list limited to classics, contemporary, and historical fiction. I excluded Harry Potter because I consider it fantasy, so don’t think it wouldn’t top this list otherwise. List is in no particular order.

Rebecca

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“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.” I was hooked on this suspenseful classic from the start. While the narrator references the estate in England where she’ll settle with her husband, the novel starts off in Monte Carlo with the her worldwind romance with Mr. de Winter, then they travel to his home shrouded in mystery.

The Book Thief

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This book set in WWII Germany gave me a new perspective of those who lived under Hitler’s oppression, not to mention it’s just an amazing read all around.

Code Name Verity

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Another WWII story set in Europe, both France and England, as well as a prison camp. It’s a bit of a slow, layered read, but when everything ties together it’s pretty incredible.

The Distant Hours

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Another book full of layers, that alternates between a WWII timeline and a 1990s timeline, all set in England. The WWII storyline focuses on children billeted and living at a castle, creating quite an atmosphere for those of us who don’t live anywhere near castles.

All Fall Down

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This feels a bit like a cheat for my criteria of non-fantasy since the location, Adria, is not real, but the story is a contemporary thriller so I decided to keep it on my list. And Adria feels like it could be a real coastal country in Europe, steeped in rich history.

Between Shades of Gray

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All the WWII! So this starts in Lithuania, then Lina is forced to leave home and travels by train further north to a work camp, and ultimately, to Siberia. This book also revealed another chapter in WWII history I was unfamiliar with, including an interesting  perspective from the characters who viewed Hitler as a lesser evil than Stalin.

Salt to the Sea

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I actually don’t recall where on land the book was set before the characters reach the Wilhelm Gustloff, but again, it’s definitely Europe, and the characters come from different nationalities. In this account of the worst maritime disaster that has been overshadowed by the Titanic, we see yet another glimpse into a largely unknown chapter in WWII’s history.

Crime and Punishment

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Let’s just say Russia sounds like a rough place to live.

Jane Austen books

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All of Austen’s books take place during the Regency era in England, and we definitely get a very good feel for their society from her writings.

Sherlock Holmes

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These mysteries set in late 1800s England are a delight to read and a peek into the culture of the time.

The Scarlet Pimpernel

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The plot of this book is largely centered around the politics of the French Revolution. I also love how Sharon Cameron reused these same elements in her retelling Rook.

What’s your favorite book set outside of the US?

The Top 5 Books on my Summer TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For The Second Half Of The Year. Well I say where’s the Summer TBR week?! This happened last winter too. What gives? I need my seasonal TBRs! There’s a freebie week coming up but I didn’t want to wait until then as the official start of summer is next Monday. On to my rebel ways yet again…

1. The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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I really, really enjoyed The Fixer and need this sequel in my life ASAP.

2. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

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The mixed reviews have kept me from buying this book, but the pretty cover keeps tempting me. Now that it’s my next book club read, I’ll be giving into the temptation!

3. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

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Carry-over from my spring TBR that I want to get to soon.

4. The Shadow Queen by C.J. Redwine

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I’ve got this one on hold with the library and I’m curious about it. I saw C.J. Redwine at SE YA Fest and look forward to reading her work.

5. Don’t Judge a Girl by Her Cover by Ally Carter

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I’m slowly making my way through the Gallagher Girls books and this my next one to read.

I stopped at five because that’s all I can think of at the moment! Weird, right? What happened to my mountain-high TBR? I don’t know, I’m just kind of winging it these days, seeing what calls to me (or is available from the library).

What’s on your summer TBR?

My 10 Most Recent 4.5-5 Star Reads

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is 10 Of My Most Recent 5 Star Reads. Since I don’t hand out a lot of 5 stars, I decided to expand it to 4.5 stars as well. The list starts from the most recently read. I read the first three this year, and the latter seven last year.

1. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Septys

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As you’ll see again, I have become a Ruta Septys fan this year. She writes such moving historical fiction about pockets of history that are very well-known. I will admit I was a little confused in the beginning of this book, but I got to know these characters and their stories and that made the journey for me. Loved it.

2. The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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This was enjoyable for me all the way through and the ending legitimately shocked me! I’m looking forward to The Long Game!

3. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Septys

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Again, just seriously heartbreaking but good. The ending of this one felt abrupt for me, but upon further reflection I understood why she chose to end it as she did.

4. Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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While I enjoyed The Naturals, the pacing for Killer Instinct was on-point the whole time!

5. Winter by Marissa Meyer

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While still not my favorite of the series, nor what I believe to the strongest book of the series, Winter was a satisfying ending for The Lunar Chronicles.

6. Don’t Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

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Even though in hindsight I see Don’t Touch more as a four star read, I reviewed it with a 4.5 star rating, and I did really enjoy it as I read it. It’s definitely underrated in the YA book world, and I think it’s worth a read if you have any interest in YA fiction exploring mental health.

7. On The Fence by Kasie West

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Kasie West is all about the fluffy contemporary, though this one did have a more serious undertone towards the end. What I enjoyed most about it, however, was the friendship-turned-romance between Charlie and Braden.

8. The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand

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Sucker punch to the gut, in the best way possible.

9. The Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

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THAT ENDING. How did Brandon Sanderson make me love it and hate it but mostly love it all at once?

10. The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord

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If you’ve read my blog ever, you know how I feel about this one. Slow burn, nerdy banter, friendship… yes please!

What are some your latest 5 (or 4.5) star rated books (or new favorites if you don’t rate)? If you’ve read any of these books, did you also rate them high?

The Top 10 Swoon-Worthy Book Couples

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is a Valentine’s Day themed freebie! Two years ago I did the top 10 book romances that make me swoon, but I have several new favorites now so I wanted to do it again. In no particular order…

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(Excuse me while I go cry my eyes out now.)

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(Though Rachel Hartman proceeded to crush my heart in Shadow Scale.)

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All photos that are not from movies are from Unsplash

Who do you feel are the most swoon-worthy book couples?