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.


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!


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.


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?

Favorites: August 2017

While I didn’t have any five-star reads in August, I did have an awful lot of four-star books. The following six books were great, and my favorite by far was Natalie D. Richards’ We All Fall Down.


Young Adult & Middle Grade:
💛 We All Fall Down
💙 Summoner
💚 Brown Girl Dreaming


New Adult & Erotic Romance:
💜 Fraternize
❤︎ His Ex’s Little Sister
🖤 Dirty Sweet

What were your favorite books in August?

ARC review: Fraternize by Rachel Van Dyken

Goodreads ⭐ Amazon ⭐

Growing up, Emerson and Miller were inseparable best friends.  As they got older, Miller joined the football team and Emerson became a cheerleader.  Feelings developed between the two of them, and Emerson ended up losing her virginity to Miller just before he moved away, never to be seen (or heard from) again.  Years later, the two are surprisingly reunited as Miller is drafted by the Bellevue Bucks in the same season that Emerson joins their cheerleading squad.  Can they repair their relationship, or will a new player win Emerson’s heart?

Rachel Van Dyken is one of those authors that I’d always meant to read but had never quite gotten around to.  I requested a copy of Fraternize from Netgalley weeks ago and had pretty much given up hope of being approved when I unexpectedly got the approval email.  Seeing how the book comes out in about two weeks, I immediately jumped in and started reading.

I can see why Van Dyken is such a popular author. She’s definitely got a way with words.  Her characters felt real.  Her dialogue felt natural.  I empathized so much with Emerson and her struggles as a plus-size cheerleader, not physically because she can certainly keep up, but just being accepted by the rest of her squad.  I got so invested in this story that I’m not actually sure whether I’m satisfied with the ending.  That’s the only reason I rated this book four stars rather than five.

The thing is, I really dislike love triangles.  And if you’re going to do a love triangle with the main character’s childhood best friend and some random newcomer, I expect a certain kind of ending.  Don’t get me wrong – I loved Grant – but we were inside Miller’s head.  We knew all of his emotions.  We knew how much he loved Emerson, and we only got a couple chapters from Grant’s perspective.  In my mind, Grant never stood a chance.

But even with that issue, the book was so well-written that I really can’t criticize anything else.  I only just finished this book and I’m already eagerly anticipating Infraction, which features Emerson’s new friend, Kinsey.  I hope Kinsey’s older brother, Jax, also gets a book.  (Heart eyes emojis all around for Jax.)  I would read the heck out of that.

Final rating: ★★★★☆

I received a free ARC of Fraternize from the publisher (via Netgalley) in exchange for my honest review.