Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved More Than I Thought I Would

February 21, 2017 Top Ten Tuesday 40

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

My Review

Dream Cast

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”

My Review

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

My Review

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

My Review

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

My Review

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

My Review

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

My Review

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

My Review

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

My Review

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?

Carrie

40 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Loved More Than I Thought I Would”

  1. Iola

    I love Harry Potter! I especially love Hermione, because she’s an excellent role model for teenage girls. And I love the fact that JK Rowling invented a world of engaging characters which made reading cool. Because it should be.

    The only other book on your list I’ve read is The Cautious Maiden. I’ve not read several of the others for exactly the reason you hesitated at first. Well, that and the lack of time and the size of my to-read pile.

    Time to get off the internet and start reading 🙂

    • Carrie

      yes… the lack of time and the size of my to-read pile is a deterrent as well LOL. But I highly recommend all of these books!

      And i completely agree about the Harry Potter books and Hermione – she is one of my very fave heroines!

  2. Beckie B.

    Thanks for sharing your list — more books to put on the TBR pile. LOL! I do not like Wuthering Heights. And you know, autocorrect keeps trying to change it to “withering”. Coincidence? I think not.

  3. Toni Shiloh

    I’m reading Told You So right now! So far I’m loving it because the banter is wonderful!!
    And Johnny Devine…*sigh*…he’s such an awesome hero. I love that story. One of my favorites to reread and I’m normally not a fan of the era either.
    And The Cautious Maiden was my favorite in the series. I didn’t think anyone could be better than Lawry but Vance took the cake.

  4. Rebecca Maney

    I had the same reaction to “Unblemished”. It drew me in from the very beginning; I cannot imagine what her plotting notes looked like and I was so thankful for the maps in the front of the book.

    I am headed over to Goodreads to put “Legacy Redeemed” on my “want-to-read” shelf.

    Kristen Heitzman is a favorite of mine, it took me about the half the book to warm up to “I Told You So”, the book’s voice sounded so different. And “The Cautious Maiden” was my favorite in Dawn’s series. My, how she has grown as a writer!

  5. Carolyn Astfalk

    I love this post. I want to rush out and by them all! (And I did download Told You So. Blemished is waiting on my Kindle. And, read the Harry Potter series.)

    The Dawn Crandall book has me most intrigued. I haven’t read anything by her yet. Do I need to read the other books in the series first?

    • Carrie

      You don’t HAVE to read her other books, but I would at least read The Bound Heart before you read The Cautious Maiden. Otherwise, you won’t truly appreciate the hero.

    • Carrie

      hahaha GOOD!! I was so hoping someone else would find that as funny as I did 😉

  6. Deanna @ A Novel Glimpse

    Who knew being Southern Baptist could be a reason! I love your honesty with that one. That’s sad that you felt you had to wait to read Harry Potter because it was evil, though. I love that you made the decision to decide for yourself about them. 🙂

    My TTT.

    • Carrie

      yes, i’ve learned several valuable lessons as I’ve gotten older LOL. One is to not let my teachers (religious or otherwise) do my thinking for me 🙂

  7. Dawn Crandall

    Thank you for loving Vance, Carrie! I have to admit; he surprised me a few times along the way too! Pretty crazy when a character completely becomes his own and makes the author AND readers swoon! ❤❤❤

  8. Jeanne

    I look forward to all your posts, but this was SO good. Loved your honest assessments as to why you were hesitant to read the books, and laughed out loud at the Southern Baptist comment.

  9. Winnie Thomas

    Your reasons sound like some of my reasons not to read. No wonder we’re BFFFs! I loved The Cautious Maiden and Dawn Crandall’s other books. I have a some of the others on my TBR list but haven’t read them yet. I need to step out of my comfort zone more often. Great post to get us thinking, Carrie!

    • Carrie

      I can assure you that any of these books are worth stepping out of comfort zones for, my dear BFFF 😀

  10. Amy Rush Da Silva

    I am obsessed with Harry Potter so I’m glad you loved the series more than you thought! I also love the look of Unblemished, so will have to check it out! Great list! 🙂

  11. Andi

    Did you know that JK Rowling wrote the Harry Potter series based on her spiritual experience and that Harry represents Christ?

    I don’t miss a Jim Rubart book. He is a go to.

    The Memoir of Johnny Devine is my absolute favored book!

    • Carrie

      Yep I do know that! That’s one reason I love it so much!!!! Such a fantastic representation of the gospel!!

  12. Leslie

    Hi! It took me a while to read the Harry Potter series as well. But I loved it! I’m intrigued by The Five Times I Met Myself just because of the title. And I wonder, how would I feel if I had to meet myself five times? lol
    My TTT
    Leslie

  13. Rissi

    SO glad to see “Better Together” on this. I’ve heard that’s a great book (from blogger extraordinaire Rel). Also, three cheers for “Told You So.” One of THE best contemporaries ever.

    …and while I’m mentioning books, I cannot leave out “Unblemished.” A wonderful YA.

    Thanks so much for the recent Finding Wonderland visits, Carrie. 🙂

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