Top 10 Stand-Alone Books On My Shelf: Part Two

Hello again! Today I’m going over the second half of my top ten books. But as before, let’s go over those clarifying points:

  1. This list is absolutely, 100% NOT exhaustive. I have WAY more favourite stand-alone books than ten. But since I’m selecting an arbitrary number, ten seemed like as good a number as any.
  2. You’ll notice I added On My Shelf to the title and there’s a very good reason for that. I read a lot of books. A LOT. Far more than my budget allows for. Therefore I tend to borrow books from people, libraries, and basically anywhere I can get my hands on them. I have read so many amazing books that aren’t on my shelf. Which–btw– makes me incredibly sad 😦 — and for that reason those books won’t be included.

And here we go!

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown – Holly Black

This was my first foray into Holly Black’s bookish world and oh wow…I’m HOOKED!

The Coldest Girl is about Vampires. Vampires who live in Coldtowns where the parties don’t stop and the blood flows like wine.

Or something.

When Tana wakes up surrounded by the corpses of her friends and a vampire locked up in a room with her ex-boyfriend she quickly realizes she can never go back home. Cue her journey to the nearby Coldtown, a place very much like Hotel California–you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!

Fun Fact: In an interview in 2014, Holly Black stated she wasn’t adverse to writing a sequel to the novel, however she had no plans to do so at the time. *crosses a million fingers she does*

The Sidewalk Artist – Gina Buonaguro & Janice Kirk

This is a love story.

A love story that weaves itself through time. Set in both France and Italy, The Sidewalk Artist tells the tale of Tulia Rose and a handsome–and mysteriously familiar–sidewalk artist. Despite being swept off her feet, Tulia begins writing the story of the Renaissance painter Raphael and his secret lover. But the further she falls, the more mysterious her artist becomes.

It’s not a typical read for me, but I absolutely fell in love with this story. It’s one of the few novels I’ve read more than once.

Side Note: This was the first novel co-written by Buonaguro and Kirk. Since then they have published another historical novel called The Wolves of St. Peters which features renowned artist, Michelangelo.

Atonement – Ian McEwan

What if you saw something you didn’t understand? Something that confused and frightened you. What if you voiced your MASSIVELY WRONG interpretation of events and your actions lead to DISASTROUS RESULTS?

You’d have a novel called Atonement.

It’s 1935 and thirteen-year-old Briony Tallis–a budding writer/playwright–sees something that she doesn’t understand. Something that will leave her atoning for her actions for the rest of her life.

I loved this book. It made me want to cry. It made me want to scream. It made me want to pick up a pen a write my own stories.

Fun Fact: In 2010 TIME magazine listed Atonement as one of the 100 greatest English-language novels since 1923. A really weird category title but nonetheless deserving to be on that list.

Fun Fact #2: The movie is EXCELLENT! Don’t skip this one. ❤

The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown

I read this book in eight hours.

8 hours straight! No breaks. No nothing. I might have eaten. I might have drank tea. I can’t recall. It was THAT GOOD.

The first thing I did when I finished this novel was call my brother–who at the time lived in a different city than me–and told him READ THIS BOOK. DO IT NOW.

Yes, I was probably yelling too.

Okay, I realize there are probably very few people who haven’t read this book. Or watched the movie. It was HUGE when it was published back in 2003. But any 600+ page hardcover book that I can finish in eight hours is a very good book indeed. Apparently I have a thing about novels with artists in them.

Side Note: Angels & Demons, which was published in 2000, is the first of the Robert Langdon books. It’s my firm belief that depending on the order in which you read these books, you will favour one or the other. I read The Da Vinci Code first and therefore it’s my favourite. My bro prefers Angels & Demons. Damn him for reading them in order!

The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger

I just realized that several of the novel on my list have been made into movies. In most cases the novels are superior. And while I didn’t dislike the movie, once again I’m hoping you’ll read the book first.

The story revolves around Clare and Henry–a couple who first met when Clare was six and Henry was thirty-six–and got married when Clare was twenty-three and Henry was thirty-one.


Yes, Henry can time travel but unfortunately he has absolutely no control over when or where. Imagine being married to someone who just disappears in the middle of your present-day dinner and reappears in your past.


Complicated, AMIRITE? It could be but thankfully we have Audrey Niffennegger at the helm. She does a beautiful job of keeping time travel simple and easy to follow.

A Fair Warning: This novel can be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, but worth the ride!

Woot! We’ve made it to the end of the list and I truly hope that if you haven’t read some of these books you’ll consider giving them a read.

And if you have read them, what did you think? Did you love them, hate them, have a strong indifference to them? I’d love to hear your comments below!







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