• Mel Leslie

Favorite Books of All Time


I know, I know. I often tote how much I love a book, but just because I give a five star rating, does not mean that book is automatically in my "Top Books of All Time." That title is reserved for those books that I wish I could wipe my memory and go into them blindly once more. The books that I recommend to anyone who will listen to me. The books I want to shout from the rooftops that everyone should read. The books I cannot get out of my head and count the minutes until I can pick up where I last left off.


Below are some of my all time favorite reads. I highly recommend you save this post and come back to it when you are in a reading slump. Each and every one of this amazing books will quickly pull you out of it. A little mix of everything for everyone.


Click the title links to read a more in-depth review.



This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

Genre: Historical fiction

Synopsis: This coming of age story is set in Minnesota, circa 1930s, follows a misfit band of kids escaping an abusive school for orphans. It is the perfect balance of character driven and plot driven.


The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradel

Genre: Fiction

Synopsis: A family saga involving an inherited farm, legacy brewery, and forgiveness, in the most Midwestern way possible. Set in Minnesota and Wisconsin, this book quickly found a way into my heart.


Beartown by Fredrik Backman

Genre: Literary fiction

Synopsis: A book about hockey, that is not about hockey. A small town, tucked away in the forest, who residents eat, breath, and sleep hockey. When one of the star players is accused of sexually assaulting a girl, the town becomes divided.


Long Bright River by Liz Moore

Genre: Fiction

Synopsis: A police procedural novel set in the opioid filled streets of Philadelphia. Two sisters, Mickey and Kacey, grew up in the midst of the opioid epidemic. Mickey becomes a police officer and Kacey finds herself in the downward spiral of chemical dependency. When young women go missing off the streets and are found murdered, Mickey and Kacey find themselves in the middle of the investigation.


The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

Genre: Historical fiction

Synopsis: set in rural Alaska, Leni finds her place in the world, while living with a mother she admires and an abusive father. Another coming of age story that touched my heart. Keep the tissues nearby.


The Silent Patient by Alex Michaelides

Genre: Thriller

Synopsis: An artist is accused of murdering her husband, but has not spoken a single word since the murder occurred. Her therapist is trying to coax it out of her, but did she do it? The twist in this one is UNREAL.


If You Want to Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais

Genre: Fiction

Synopsis: Set in apartheid South Africa, three women take their own paths find what being a woman, mother, and friend truly means. The perfect balance of richly developed characters, sense of place, and an unforgettable plot.


The Heart's Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Genre: Fiction

Synopsis: Cyril Avery was born to a teenage mother who put him up for adoption. He never fit in with his adopted family and was reminded on the daily that he was not a "real Avery." Cyril spends his lifetime uncovering who he truly is and comes to terms with the facets of his life. I laughed, I cried, I felt all the emotions.


The Only Plane in the Sky by Emmett Graff

Genre: Nonfiction

Synopsis: The first book of its kind to chronical the tragic events of 9/11 through the voices of those directly impacted. I highly recommend the audio version which is narrated by over 40 people.


She Said by Jodi Kantor & Megan Twohey

Genre: Nonfiction

Synopsis: A journalistic expose by the gangbuster New York Times journalists who broke the story on Harvey Weinstein and impacted the #MeToo movement.


The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Genre: Memoir

Synopsis: Jeannette Walls holds nothing back when she writes about her tumultuous childhood with transient parents who were constantly on the move to avoid bill collectors.


Educated by Tara Westover

Genre: Memoir

Synopsis: Tara Westover grew up in a family of sovereign citizens who did not believe in anything to do with the government, including public education, hospitals, and government officials. Westover overcame her upbringing by putting herself through college and overcoming her setbacks.

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