Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
Hello! I hope everyone is having a good start to their week? I somehow missed last weeks Top Ten Tuesday but I’m back this week with ten books with colours in the title! I thought I would have loads of these but it was actually harder than I thought – however I did find ten on my shelves so here we go!
1. Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones
‘My father, James Witherspoon, is a bigamist.’
This is the story of a man’s deception, a family’s complicity, and the two teenage girls caught in the middle. James Witherspoon has two families, one public, the other a closely guarded secret. But when his daughters meet and form a friendship, only one of them knows the truth. Theirs is a relationship destined to explode.
I really loved this one which I read quite recently. It’s a fascinating look at the effects of bigamy – a topic I haven’t read a great deal about. You can read my review here.
2. The Green Mile by Stephen King
The Green Mile: those who walk it do not return, because at the end of that walk is the room in which sits Cold Mountain penitentiary’s electric chair. In 1932 the newest resident on death row is John Coffey, a giant black man convicted of the brutal murder of two little girls. But nothing is as it seems with John Coffey, and around him unfolds a bizarre and horrifying story.
Evil murderer or holy innocent – whichever he is – Coffey has strange powers which may yet offer salvation to others, even if they can do nothing to save him.
I watched the movie version of this years back but I hadn’t read the book until recently. I’ve been reading a Stephen King book every couple of months to try and tackle his massive back catalog and I really liked this one. It’s a harrowing read at times but also kind of beautiful at the same time.
3. Red River Girl by Joanna Jolly
On 17 August 2014, the body of fifteen-year old Indigenous runaway Tina Fontaine was found weighted down in the Red River in the Canadian city of Winnipeg.
The loss of Tina was a tragedy for her family and for the Indigenous community. But it also exposed a national scandal: Indigenous women are vastly more likely than other Canadians to be assaulted and killed. Over the past few decades, hundreds had been murdered – or simply gone missing. Many of these cases have never been solved.
Tina’s Fontaine’s death caused an outcry across Canada. The police investigation and trial that followed sparked a widespread debate on the treatment of Indigenous women, while the movement protesting those missing and murdered became an international news story.
In an astonishing feat of investigation, award-winning BBC reporter and documentary maker Joanna Jolly has reconstructed Tina’s life, from her childhood on the Sagkeeng First Nation Reserve to her difficult teenage years. Red River Girl is the compelling story of the elaborate police investigation into Fontaine’s death and the detective obsessed with bringing her killer to justice – and an exploration of the dark side of a country known for its tolerance and liberal values. It reveals how Indigenous women, sex workers, community leaders and activists are fighting back to protect themselves and change perceptions. Most importantly, Red River Girl is an unforgettable description of the search for justice.
This one is an upsetting but compelling read and brings attention to an issue in Canada that should be garnering much more worldwide focus. You can read my review here.
4. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
One night fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother and young brother are hauled from their home by Soviet guards, thrown into cattle cars and sent away. They are being deported to Siberia.
An unimaginable and harrowing journey has begun. Lina doesn’t know if she’ll ever see her father or her friends again. But she refuses to give up hope.
Lina hopes for her family.
For her country.
For her future.
For love – first love, with the boy she barely knows but knows she does not want to lose . . .
Will hope keep Lina alive?
Set in 1941, Between Shades of Gray, is an extraordinary and haunting story based on first-hand family accounts and memories from survivors.
Ruta Sepetys is such a beautiful writer and this is my favourite of her books. It is heartbreaking at times but there is an elegance to it and a sense of enduring hope in the most horrific of circumstances.
5. Bluebird, Bluebird by Attica Locke
When it comes to law and order, East Texas plays by its own rules – a fact that Darren Mathews, a black Texas Ranger working the backwoods towns of Highway 59, knows all too well. Deeply conflicted about his home state, he was the first in his family to get as far away from Texas as he could. Until duty called him back.
So when allegiance to his roots puts his job in jeopardy, he travels up Highway 59 to the small town of Lark, where two murders – a black lawyer from Chicago and a local white woman – have stirred up a hornet’s nest of resentment. Darren must solve the crimes – and save himself in the process – before Lark’s long-simmering racial fault lines erupt.
This is the first book in Attica Locke’s brilliant Highway 59 series and it is a great read. Full of tension and social commentary – plus a conflicted and fascinating main character in Darren Mathews.
6. The Silver Road by Stina Jackson
Three years ago, Lelle’s daughter went missing in a remote part of Northern Sweden. Lelle has spent the intervening summers driving the Silver Road under the midnight sun, frantically searching for his lost daughter, for himself and for redemption.
Meanwhile, seventeen-year-old Meja arrives in town hoping for a fresh start. She is the same age as Lelle’s daughter was – a girl on the brink of adulthood. But for Meja, there are dangers to be found in this isolated place.
As autumn’s darkness slowly creeps in, Lelle and Meja’s lives are intertwined in ways, both haunting and tragic, that they could never have imagined.
I loved this haunting scandi crime novel. It is brilliantly atmospheric and has a building sense of unease which makes for such a gripping read. You can read my review here.
7. Tangerine by Christine Mangan
The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the horrific accident at Bennington, the two friends – once inseparable roommates – haven’t spoken in over a year. But Lucy is standing there, trying to make things right.
Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy, always fearless and independent, helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.
But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice – she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.
Tangerine seems to get a lot of mixed reviews but I really liked it. It’s got a fantastic sense of setting and I loved the ‘Talented Mr Ripley’ feeling the book has to it. You can read my review here.
8. Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussman
Liza Klaussmann’s Tigers in Red Weather tells the story of Nick and her cousin Helena who have grown up together, sharing long hot summers at Tiger House. With husbands and children of their own, they keep returning. But against a background of parties, cocktails, moonlight and jazz, how long can perfection last?
There is always the summer that changes everything.
I’ve always thought of Tigers in Red Weather as a perfect book for summer. It is intense, dark and full of glamour. I also think it’s one of my favourite ever cover designs!
9. Blacklands by Belinda Bauer
Steven Lamb is 12 when he writes his first letter . . . to a serial killer
Every day after school, whilst his classmates swap football stickers, twelve-year-old Steven digs holes on Exmoor, hoping to find a body. His uncle disappeared aged eleven and is assumed to have fallen victim to the notorious serial killer Arnold Avery – but his body has never been found.
Steven’s Nan does not believe her son is dead. She still waits for him to come home, standing bitter guard at the front window while her family fragments around her. Steven is determined to heal the widening cracks between them before it’s too late – even if that means presenting his grandmother with the bones of her murdered son.
So Steven takes the next logical step, carefully crafting a letter to Arnold Avery in prison. And there begins a dangerous cat-and-mouse game between a desperate child and a bored psychopath . . .
I read this one years and years ago so I don’t remember all the details of the plot but I do remember finding it deeply unsettling at the time. It is a creepy, dark and thought-provoking read.
10. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson
One was an architect. The other a serial killer. This is the incredible story of these two men and their realization of the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, and its amazing ‘White City’; one of the wonders of the world.
The architect was Daniel H. Burnham, the driving force behind the White City, the massive, visionary landscape of white buildings set in a wonderland of canals and gardens.
The killer was H. H. Holmes, a handsome doctor with striking blue eyes. He used the attraction of the great fair – and his own devilish charms – to lure scores of young women to their deaths.
While Burnham overcame politics, infighting, personality clashes and Chicago’s infamous weather to transform the swamps of Jackson Park into the greatest show on Earth, Holmes built his own edifice just west of the fairground. He called it the World’s Fair Hotel.
In reality it was a torture palace, a gas chamber, a crematorium.
This is the only one on my list I haven’t actually read yet but I am going to remedy that at some point because I’ve heard really good things about it and I am a huge true crime fan.
Well That’s it for today! Ten books with colours in the titles! I really hope you enjoyed reading my list and I would love to know your thoughts so please let’s chat in the comments! And I can’t wait to read all of your fantastic lists!