Top Ten Tuesday: Unique Books I’ve Read Lately

April 11, 2017 Christian, Top Ten Tuesday 48

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday subject is all about unique reads! And I have to admit, this was harder than I thought it would be. It’s not that there aren’t unique books in Christian fiction. It’s that everyone’s definition of ‘unique’ can be … well… unique. So I would think of a book and then second guess myself – “Maybe no one thinks that’s unique but me”.

THE STRUGGLE IS REAL, PEOPLE!! #bookbloggerproblems

So I consulted my peeps and ran my list by them and they were wonderful enough to mention a few that jogged my memory and reassured me I was on the right track. Thank you, Beth & Rachel & Mel!

AND … just to keep things really unique. I’m following the rules today and sticking to ten. (Don’t everyone faint at once!) In no particular order …

If I Run by Terri Blackstock is the first book in the most unique suspense series I’ve ever read. It’s comparable to what “The Fugitive” would have been like with, say, Scarlett Johansson instead of Harrison Ford. But it very much has its own identity, specifically with Casey herself as a fugitive who can’t help getting tangled up in local mysteries in the cities she’s run to. The first person present tense is not my usual fave but in this case IT WORKS so well to establish and maintain fantastic tension throughout the novel. Plus, all 3 covers in the trilogy form a picture so I’m desperately waiting for book three to complete my set!

 

MY REVIEW OF IF I RUN

Kate Breslin’s debut novel, For Such a Time, is the most unique reimagining of the book of Esther that I’ve read to date. Setting the story during WW2 and putting Hadassah in the center of the Holocaust made the biblical account of Esther come alive in such fresh ways for me. I hadn’t really put the danger to Esther or to the Jews in perspective until I saw it against the backdrop of this story!

 

Along with the GORGEOUS cover and the yummy hero, Within the Veil by Brandy Vallance spotlights some unique themes that I don’t find much in Christian fiction – diverse social issues, abstinence and synesthesia. And you seriously need to meet the hero Alasdair, but Feya the heroine is equally riveting. Such a passionate story!

 

What’s unique about this contemporary romcom?

One word: Britallachian.

British movie star hero (who looks suspiciously like Alasdair from Within the Veil).  Appalachian single mom heroine. Historical mystery. Hilarious antics. Tower kisses. CLOSET KISSES. Swoons aplenty.

 

I know I’ve talked about this book before (yeah, ok. several times) but this book, y’all. It is impossible to read this book and not be moved. (If you DO read it and aren’t moved… don’t tell me.) But what makes it unique is not only the setting of China and the focus on the underground church or even the Chinese protagonist whose favorite phrase is in Spanish, but it’s also an exquisite glimpse into Heaven that still makes me teary when I think of it.

#noproblema

 

The Memoir of Johnny Devine kept me spellbound from word one. One of the elements that makes it so unique is the memoir of Johnny Devine. And no, I did not just say the book makes itself unique. Well… ok… I kinda did. But what I specifically meant is that the (fictional) memoir snippets that start each chapter are so well done that you forget you’re reading fiction. When you combine it with the spotlight on racial and social issues of the day? And the breath-stealing romance? You can’t put it down.

 

Colleen Coble is an author on my auto-read list. Meaning, whenever she comes out with a book, I’m reading it. Well… I did better with this before I started blogging lol. But the intent is there! In Seagrass Pier, a heart transplant recipient starts having flashbacks of a murder – her donor’s murder. And then of course SHE becomes a target. This book is just so fascinating, as well as being an excellent romantic suspense in its own right!

 

With flavors of A Christmas Carol, It’s a Wonderful Life, and even Back to the Future, The Five Times I Met Myself by James Rubart is absolutely intriguing. As I said in my review, “We’ve all had moments where we had a dream so vivid that we woke up and had to lay in bed for a moment, re-centering ourselves in what’s real and what isn’t. On the flip side, we’ve also all had regrets, things we wish we could go back in time and change. Combine the two and BAM! You have a mesmerizing story that you won’t be able to put down.” 

 

MY REVIEW OF THE FIVE TIMES I MET MYSELF

The Herringford and Watts series is unique in several ways. It’s set in 1910 Toronto, and Jem and Merinda are two of my favorite crime-fighting gals! There’s also Ray DeLuca… and while we’re talking about yummy, I must mention the design of these books! From the awesome covers to the footnotes (footnotes? in fiction? YES and they’re awesome!) to the made-up books that are quoted at the beginning of each chapter … it’s gorgeous and fun and creative!

 

MY REVIEW OF THE BACHELOR GIRL’S GUIDE TO MURDER

The Wedding/Heart’s Bend series from Rachel Hauck is a trilogy of books that are all loosely connected but have a common theme. Time slip novels centered around a wedding dress, a wedding chapel, and a wedding shop. The way they all end up tying together is my fave, and the supernatural touches are icing on the cake!

  

MY REVIEW OF THE WEDDING CHAPEL

YAY! I did it! Only 10…

Ok… yeah. I just can’t do it! LOL so here’s one more 😀

I always enjoy Barbour’s novella collections but this one is my fave to date! Seven different authors follow a family of seven brothers who have been given an ultimatum by their father to marry within the year. It’s unique because even though each story is written by a different author, the characters and the theme stay consistent.  Seven Brides for Seven Texans flows so cohesively that it feels as though it was written by one single voice instead of seven separate (TALENTED) authors.

  

MY REVIEW OF SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN TEXANS

What about you? What are some unique reads you’ve loved lately?

Carrie

48 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Unique Books I’ve Read Lately”

  1. Katie Donovan

    Great list! And ‘Safely Home’ is on sale this month for $2.99 (Kindle)!

    I found the topic a little tricky too, but decided to put a slightly different slant on it and do unique settings.

    Meanwhile, I am yet to read a shocking number of books on this list!

  2. Winnie Thomas

    I guess I don’t read very many unique books, because I’ve only read one of these, although I do have several of them in my TBR pile. My TBR pile is about to expand again!

  3. Andrea Stephens

    Yay! I love your list! I’m so proud of you for keeping it at 10 too!!!
    I have read a couple of books on your list and I have a couple more in my TBR. I’m so glad you has Seven Brides for Seven Texans included. I don’t think it’s any secret how much I LOVED that book. The master plan behind it was amazing!

  4. MH

    Oohh! I’ve read half of this list and loved every one of them (especially If I Run series and Five Times I Met Myself). Now I need to go find hat Brandy Vallance book, Pepper Basham book, Randy Alcorn book, and Kate Breslin book!

  5. Carolyn Astfalk

    I finished reading an advance copy of Michelle Buckman’s Turning In Circles, which comes out later this month. I’m not sure what genre it’ll end up in – coming of age? YA? It IS those things, but more than anything else, it’s a Southern novel in its pacing, its detail, its relationships. There are Christian elements, too, but more at the service of the story than their own theme. And while it’s contemporary, the small North Carolina town feels as if it’s several decades behind the rest of the world.

    • Carrie

      oh that sounds great! I’m going to keep an eye out for that!

  6. Rel Mollet

    No surprise I’ve read 7 of these and about to start on an 8th ?

    Other unique books I’ve read recently would be Ronie Kendig’s Titanis (Australian hero, Australian location, a super yacht…), Katie Ganshert’s Life After (terror survivor, anxiety), and Jenny B. Jones’ Engaged in Trouble (quirky, a dead bridezilla, bucking cliches).

  7. Rachel Dixon

    Looove this! And I love Kara Isaac’s books…weaving in Narnia and Lord of the Rings threads into her books!

    • Carrie

      yes!! I still need to read those (hangs head in bookish shame)

  8. Melony Teague

    Ah ten beautiful books! Sigh! I have read most of them, but a few not, although they are on my kindle waiting for me, patiently….I think patiently, or maybe not? Maybe they are tapping their imaginary e-book pages waiting for me! *GASP! I better go check

  9. carylkane

    Fabulous list, Carrie! I loved James Rubart’s book! Ted Dekker’s books would fit into the “unique” category!

    • Carrie

      yes, i’ve heard that they would! I still have not read Dekker (i know… i know… lol)

  10. Beth Erin

    Well we can’t read them all but WE CAN TRY!!! Right, Carrie? The Message in a Bottle collection, I’m going to keep saying it until you read it… because I love you and you need that book in your life. 😀

  11. Literary Counsellor

    I love that The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder is on your list! It’s such a fun series, and so few people seem to know about it. Great post

  12. Jerusha Agen

    Fun list, Carrie! Thanks for taking the time to share this. (Btw, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE how much you’re supporting Christian fiction!) I’ll have to check out the Pepper Basham book, Coble’s, Alcorn’s, The Memoir of Johnny Devine–boy, you’re going to keep me busy! 😉

  13. Courtney

    For a wonderfully refreshing, unique non-fiction read I loved The Cure by John Lynch, Bruce McNichol, and Bill Thrall.

  14. Toni Shiloh

    I’ve only read 4 in this list, but those 4 are fantastic. Johnny Devine! Wes! Casey on the run! and Esther!! such fantastic books. Going to add the rest to my list now.

    • Carrie

      She is AWESOME! The Hope Beach series is my favorite!

  15. Jocelyn

    I absolutely loved Kate Breslin’s book “For Such A Time.” I know there was some controversy over the book, but it was well written, and it’s certainly something that really could have happened.
    My list consists of books I read a while ago, and they may have been on one of your previous lists. “Self Incrimination” by Randy Singer, “Remembering Christmas” and “The Discovery” by Dan Walsh, and “The Edge of Recall” by Kristen Heitzmann would top my list of unique.

    • Carrie

      i agree about Kate’s book – it did not deserve the controversy!! And YES! I love Edge of Recall!

  16. Rissi

    I vaguely remember “Seagrass Pier.” And I *think* it’s because I’ve read it. But as I’ve read many of Colleen’s books, I could be mistaken. Either way, it sounds super unique! Oh, and I totally should have included “Within the Veil” on my list too. 🙂

  17. Jane

    For Such a Time sounds really neat. I love WWII novels. I will have to check it out!

    Thanks for stopping by my TTT earlier 🙂