Top Ten Tuesday: Books that surprised me

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s topic is ten books that surprised me (in a good or bad way) and I love this topic! Here’s a list of ten books that, for better or worse, were different than I was expecting.

image

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: I usually don’t re-read books, but I was surprised when this one not only retained all of its original magic, but I also loved it even more the second time around.
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas: I mean, when have I ever expected a book to be this good?!
The Upside of Falling Down by Rebekah Crane: I didn’t expect this book to get into the psychological aftermath of surviving a plane crash!

image

Kissing Max Holden by Katy Upperman: I thought it would be about more than a boy cheating on his girlfriend. (I was wrong.)
You’re Welcome, Universe by Whitney Gardner: I was surprised to find the least sympathetic heroine of 2017.
A Visit From the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan: I was surprised that this book won a Pulitzer because it’s really not very good.
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven: To be perfectly honest, I was surprised that a book that actively blames the main character for her love interest’s suicide has been so revered by the bookish community.

image

Fraternize by Rachel Van Dyken: I was surprised at who the heroine ends up with.
I Hate Everyone But You by Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin: I honestly expected it to be better!
Carry Me Home by Jessica Therrien: I didn’t expect this book to be so dark.  (Not that it was a bad thing.)

What have been some of your recent surprising reads?

Book tag: TBR

Thanks to PeruseProject for sharing this book tag! I was hopping around on Twitter and saw her video pop up and just had to do it… but not on video because I’m awkward enough as it is.

So, this is a pretty quick book tag about the books that just hang out on your TBR forever. I’m only including books I actually own in this. (Except for the one about books you’ve yet to read because they just came out.)

1. Talk about a book you’ve been unable to finish.

As a rule, I really don’t DNF a lot of books. That said, I tried for months to read Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and I don’t think I ever made it past the 100-page mark. Maybe even the 50-park mark. I really wanted to love it but just couldn’t get into it. Someday I’ll try again.

2. What book are you yet to read because you haven’t had the time?

A Court of Thorns and Roses, for sure. I have nothing against the book or its length, but I’m worried that once I start, I won’t be able to stop, and I do not have time to fall into an entire series rabbit hole right now.

3. What book are you yet to read because it’s a sequel?

So many, honestly. The first one that comes to mind is Pierce Brown’s Morning Star. Now, don’t get me wrong. I loooved Red Rising and Golden Son. I marathoned both. But it was ages ago and I cannot remember anything more than the bare bones of the plot.

Next up would be Before the Devil Breaks You by Libba Bray. Same reason. I read The Diviners back in 2013 and Lair of Dreams in 2015 and do you think I remember what happened? Aside from some general spookiness in 1920′s New York City, nope.

Then we have The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz. Lagercrantz picked up Steig Larsson’s Millennium series after his untimely death, but by the time this book came out, it had already been five years since I read the last book and I could probably jump back in, but I’m going to have to spend some time convincing myself.

4. What book are you yet to read because it’s brand new?

I guess Truly Devious by Maureen Johnson? I just haven’t gotten to a bookstore to buy it yet.

5. What book are you yet to read because you’ve read another book by that author and haven’t enjoyed it?

I have two for this one.

First, Legal Affairs by Sawyer Bennett. It has really great reviews, but I didn’t love Lucas and I’m a little nervous to read it. Second, Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden-Mills, which also has pretty good reviews. I just didn’t love Dirty English when I read it a while back and I’m hesitant to try another one of her books.

6. What book are you yet to read because it’s humongous?

Definitely The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson. I have it, it’s taunting me from my TBR, I know everybody loves it, and it’s over a thousand pages so I just need to find some time that I can dedicate to reading it.

7. What book are you yet to read because you just haven’t been in the mood?

As Bright As Heaven by Susan Meissner. It was my choice for January’s Book of the Month and while it sounds good, I haven’t been feeling like historical fiction recently.

8. What book are you yet to read because it was a cover buy that turned out to have bad reviews?

The Mutual Admiration Society by Lesley Kagen. I didn’t actually buy it, but it was an impulse pick from Kindle First one month. It looked so cute but it’s barely holding a three-star average, so yikes.

9. What’s the most intimidating book on your TBR?

Probably the debuts! I always want to like the books that I read, but I feel extra pressure to enjoy it when it’s a debut author. I want to give these authors good reviews to start them off on the right foot, but I always worry that I’m not going to enjoy their books.

Let’s talk about: Romantic novels!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Whether you’re celebrating or not, here are thirty books that will give you serious 😍.

romantic comedy:

💞 The Foxe & the Hound by R.S. Grey
💞 The Virgin Romance Novelist by Meghan Quinn
💞 Imperfect Chemistry by Mary Frame
💞 Slightly Stalky by Amy Vansant

lgbt:

💞 Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
💞 If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
💞 Damaged Like Us by Krista & Becca Ritchie
💞 Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
💞 The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
💞 Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

young adult:

💞 Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
💞 Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
💞 Operation Prom Date by Cindi Madsen
💞 The Big F by Maggie Ann Martin
💞 The Summer Before Forever by Melissa Chambers
💞 The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

new adult:

💞 The Deal by Elle Kennedy
💞 Infini by Krista & Becca Ritchie
💞 Remember When by T. Torrest
💞 Sincerely, Carter by Whitney G.

on the steamier side + some erotica:

💞 Lust is the Thorn by Jen McLaughlin
💞 Frenched by Melanie Harlow
💞 Personal Escort by Ainsley Booth

enemies to lovers:

💞 Anything You Can Do by R.S. Grey
💞 Walk of Shame by Lauren Layne
💞 The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

contemporary romance:

💞 Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
💞 Arm Candy by Jessica Lemmon
💞 Break of Day by Andie J. Christopher
💞 Roomies by Christina Lauren

What are your favorite romantic reads? Do you have any Valentine’s plans? (I don’t since it’s a Wednesday and I work.)

Let’s talk about: The first book of the year

Have you ever thought about the first book you read each year? Do you think that it sets the tone for the rest of the year, or is it totally unrelated? I sat down and clicked through Goodreads (and other sites I used to use to track my reading, like listography) to find out the first book I read in the last twelve Januaries. The results were pretty interesting for some years! (For other years, absolutely meaningless.)

2007: Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Sadly, in 2007, I didn’t read a ton of books. I was much more focused on living my life as a newly licensed driver. I went to a lot of movies (and parties, since I used to have an actual social life) with my friends that year and did not often hit up the library. This book was assigned in my English class.

2008: The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom. 2008 was another year that I didn’t do a whole ton of reading. It was my last year of high school and I read this in an elective literature class that I absolutely loved.  (I didn’t love this particular book that much, but that’s okay.)

2009: Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. 2009 marked the first time that my first book of the year was in a foreign language! I remember reading this in a stuffy Spanish class during a bitterly cold Wisconsin winter. It was like -12 degrees all winter (or so it seemed) and the class was held in this suffocatingly small, suffocatingly hot classroom. The professor (not my favorite) kept making us analyze the heck out of every page, like what exactly does it mean that Don Quixote is jousting with windmills?

2010: Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote. The interesting thing about this book is that I very vividly remember reading it on the couch in my mom’s living room while I was home on winter break, but I remember absolutely nothing about the plot.

2011: Cecilia Valdes by Cirilo Villaverde. Ah, starting off another year with a Spanish novel. I adored this professor. He was tough but fair and he had the best Argentinian accent.  (He was also super attractive.)  This book actually introduced me to Audible when one of my classmates told me about how much easier the audiobook was to understand.

2012: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. Did I really read this book six years ago?! I remember starting this series when I was working at a high school tutoring job. I think I devoured the first and second books in one day and then I stayed up all night to read Mockingjay. I remember talking about it with my kids (while half asleep) and encouraging them to read it. I feel really old now because I’ve just realized that those 14- to 18-year-old kids I was tutoring are now 20-24. Yikes. But anyway, it makes total sense that 2012 was the year I got back into reading if it’s the year that I read an entire trilogy in two days.

2013: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. In 2013, I lived with my boyfriend in an apartment that was sort of in the middle of nowhere. It was right off a major road, but far enough down that there really wasn’t anything nearby except for the Sleepy Hollow Motel, where people actually got murdered sometimes. (We didn’t live in that house for long.) 2013 was also the year that my boyfriend went all around the world for work and I was largely by myself. Our house was only six rooms but it had SIX DOORS to the outside and I was always paranoid that I’d leave one unlocked and the Sleepy Hollow Murderer (not a real thing) would kill me in my sleep. That January, I made the amazing life decision to read books like Gone Girl while home alone in that scary house. Awesome.

2014: 8-Bit Christmas by Kevin Jakubowski. Ah, the year of ARCs. I had a few in 2013, but I really started gunning for them in 2014. It makes sense that my first book of the year was an ARC because this is the year that I really started taking reviewing seriously.

2015: Rule Breaker by Haper Kincaid. The setting: New Years Day 2015. I am sick in bed with a terrible cold. We were supposed to travel to meet up with family but didn’t because I was so sick. Instead, I spent the day in bed marathoning this book, redesigning my blog, and writing (probably nonsensical) blog posts. This book perfectly illustrates most of what I read in 2015: contemporary romance.

2016: City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare. Ah, a valiant effort to reduce my TBR pile. I purchased the first five books of The Mortal Instruments series in 2013 and quickly read the first three. The fourth was awful(!) and so I waited three years before starting the fifth. I still haven’t read the sixth, but that’s okay. I don’t really feel a need to now. But this book is actually pretty illustrative of 2016 because I read quite a bit of YA fantasy that year.

2017: Double Team by Sabrina Paige. Oh, 2017, we could call you the year of Kindle Unlimited and the year of erotica. What better way to start the year than with an erotic novel from Kindle Unlimited? I didn’t love this book, but 2017 actually turned out to be one of the best reading years on record.

2018: Saving Sara by Nicola Marsh. It’s hard to say if this book will accurately represent 2018 as a whole, but I am planning on reading more of what I own (and I had this book for a year and a half before finally picking it up). Hopefully, though, I’ll enjoy the other books more than I enjoyed this one.

If you’ve been keeping track, what were some of your first books of the year?

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten books I liked but can’t remember

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! It’s time for another post already! Today’s theme is ten books I really liked but can’t remember much of anything about. So, this is actually my everyday life and I had a lot of fun with this topic!

image

Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark: ♬ Coming out of my cage and I’ve been doing just fine but I don’t think that’s what this book is about ♬
❔ The Deal by Elle Kennedy: I know I loved it. I remember Garrett and a smart girl and I know I want to read the rest of the series, but that’s it.
❔ Beyond the Stars by Stacy Wise: You can see where my priorities are in life because all I remember is that either the famous guy or the personal assistant had a dog. I think?

image

❔ The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre: I think the boy lived in a trailer park and that was some sort of issue? I think I also cried.
❔ My Sister’s Secret by Tracy Buchanan: Yeah, I literally remember nothing.

image

❔ Under My Skin by Shawntelle Madison: I think she gets possessed? Or someone pays to possess her? There’s something with possession. I think?
❔ The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin: Honestly, all I remember is that it was a hassle to get the protected ARC file to open in my Nook.
❔ The Spirit Keeper by K.B. Laugheed: All I remember is that this was one of the very first ARCs I ever got and I think it takes place in the 1700s.

image

❔ The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg: Literally all I can remember is that she can bewitch paper and I’m pretty sure I shipped her with the professor.
❔ The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma: The girls were in some kind of prison, right?

What books did you love that you can’t remember anything about? Did my memory deceive me here? Are the bits and pieces I remember about these books totally wrong? Let me know!