Today on Top Ten Tuesday, we are looking at books we loved less or more than we thought we would. I’m focusing on the “more” – books I maybe was hesitant to read for one reason or another. OR books that I knew I would probably like but just didn’t realize how MUCH i would love them!
Unblemished by Sara Ella
Hesitation: Not my usual genre
I don’t read a lot of YA fantasy. Or fantasy in general for that matter. It has to be done just right for me to love it, and only a few books have made it past my “just right” standard. Unblemished by Sara Ella is one such book. It is an absolutely riveting mix of well-crafted fantasy and stellar world-building as well as adorably placed references to pop culture, music, Disney, fairy tales, and literature. And that ending!! OH MY GOODNESS!!! Is it summer yet? As in, is it time for book two to be released yet? Because I’m DYING to find out what happens!!
Told You So by Kristen Heitzmann
Hesitation: I had heard it was “different”
Kristen Heitzmann has always been one of my very fave authors so when I started hearing that her book Told You So was “different” from her other books, I am ashamed to admit I was a little hesitant to read it. (Let’s also be real here – people were straight up HATEFUL about the book. There’s never an excuse to be that way, fellow readers & reviewers. Never.) Well, I finally had the opportunity to read it and WOW! What a fun and romantic story (with banter!) full of stunning grace! The kind of grace that just takes your breath away and leaves you teary-eyed and amazed.
(And Told You So is FREE right now for a limited time!)
The Five Times I Met Myself by James Rubart
Hesitation: Male author, male main character
Ok… I admit it. I don’t read a lot of books by male authors. Typically, this is because I don’t care as much for their writing style and because they often don’t include romance. And we all know how much I love my KissingBooks. The main character is also typically male, and I sometimes feel as though I can’t connect with them. However, from word one of The Five Times I Met Myself, I was completely hooked and couldn’t put down the book. Not only is the story incredibly well written and engaging but it also incorporates the “fantasy/magical realism” that I love so much. In fact, The Five Times won the 2016 Christy Award for Book of the Year & it’s completely deserved.
Legacy Redeemed by Aubrey Grayson
Hesitation: new to me author
I’m always a little hesitant when a new-to-me author approaches me with a review request, simply because I hate to later go back and tell them if I didn’t really like their book. And with an author you’ve never read before, you really don’t know if you’ll click with their style or not. Well… any hesitation on that aspect was for naught when it came to Legacy Redeemed. This is such a delightful book – droll humor, a dashing hero, and a delightful heroine. And lots of grace.
You’re the Cream in my Coffee by Jennifer Lamont Leo
Hesitation: not my favorite era
The Roaring 20s is one of my least favorite historical eras to read about, usually. However, if they were all written like You’re the Cream in my Coffee, I would be quickly changing my tune. It’s fun, it’s quirky, and you will be completely invested in a certain mystery and a romance that plays out across the chapters. I am eager for more from this author!
Better Together by Kimberly Stuart
Hesitation: It’s a ‘married couple’ story
I like my KissingBooks (which shocks no one). I like the thrill of the chase, so to speak. ‘Married couple’ stories just don’t have the same appeal to me. So… I read them, but I don’t usually expect to love them like I do my KissingBooks. Well, I happily ate my assumptions while reading Better Together by Kimberly Stuart. A story in which you experience a wide range of emotions – from ugly cries to snorts of laughter and everything in between. And Stuart’s writing voice is completely spot on.
The League and the Lantern by Brian Wells
Hesitation: Middle Grade novel
I agreed to review this book mainly because I was intrigued by its premise. The author wanted something of high quality for his kids to read – something that wouldn’t compromise their values – so he wrote it. But I really didn’t expect to enjoy the book as much as I did. I mean, c’mon. It’s a middle grade read. I’m nearly 40. But as C.S. Lewis so wisely said, “A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” And y’all. The League and the Lantern is a GOOD children’s story. I haven’t enjoyed a middle grade novel this much since Harry Potter (more on that later).
The Memoir of Johnny Devine by Camille Eide
Hesitation: not my favorite era
Much like the 1920s, the 1950s aren’t one of my go-to eras to read about in historical fiction. But when I was assigned this book to review for the magazine I write for, I thought the synopsis sounded interesting enough even still. From the moment I read the first word until I finally remembered how to breathe there at the end, I was transfixed by this story, by these characters, by the message of redemption. If you hang around me for very long, this is a book I WILL push at you 🙂
The Cautious Maiden by Dawn Crandall
Hesitation: I really really REALLY disliked the hero
I really really REALLY should have known better on this own. Because – Dawn Crandall. Everything she writes is swoonworthy perfection. But this story completely undid me. This HERO completely undid me. The message of redemption swept me off my feet and I’ve still not recovered. For her to take a character I honestly despised and turn him into one of my very favorite heroes ever?? Amazing.
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Hesitation: I was Southern Baptist
So… the ‘hesitation’ reason i gave is meant to be rather tongue-in-cheek but in a way that’s exactly why it took me at least 10 years to get around to reading this fabulous series. When Sorcerer’s Stone first came out, there were sermons preached on its evils – sermons by very well-meaning people, but also I now realize very misinformed people. Once I finally decided to see for myself what was and wasn’t true about these books, I couldn’t stop until I’d read every last word of every book. As I closed the cover of Deathly Hallows, I turned to my husband and said, “We Christians as a whole owe this woman a thousand apologies for the way we treated her.” What a beautiful and creative reflection of THE Story!
What about you? What are some books that you’ve loved more than you thought you would?