Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: What a Pleasant Surprise!

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's topic is...

What a Pleasant Surprise!

This week, I am talking about books that surprised me in a good way. Each surpassed my expectations for different reasons, but each was a book that impressed me and delivered a wonderful reading experience.



TWIST ME, TURN ME

These were books, which had so many great plot twists, and often kept me guessing. I loved being led down one path just to have me take an unexpected turn. I was also surprised I liked these books, because they are a little darker than my normal fare, which are usually sweet and adorable. I guess even I like to take a walk on the darker side sometimes.

Bad Girls with Perfect Faces
Lynn Weingarten
Series: n/a
Publisher: Simon Pulse

This was so dark and twisted and toxic, and there is not happy ending. Yet, I loved it! The combination of Weingarten's incredible writing and the captivating tale of unhealthy obsession kept me flipping the pages.

Dangerous Girls
Abigail Haas
Series: n/a
Publisher: Simon Pulse

This book was super hyped, and it lived up to it for me. This is a case of plot winning over characters. Usually, I have to like the characters to get maximum enjoyment from a story, but that was not the case here. It was just a fabulous tale with tons of curve balls, which was a total thrill ride.

THIS SHOULD BE SAD

When I first read the synopses for the next set of books, I thought they would be quite sad. But these books weren't sad. They were beautiful and even up lifting.

Far From the Tree
Robin Benway
Series: n/a
Publisher: HarperTeen

When I first read the synopsis for this book, I thought it was going to be so sad and a total downer. I actually didn't even try to get galley, but then all the reviews starting coming in, and I had to read it. Boy, am I glad I did, because it was utterly beautiful and heartwarming.

When My Heart Joins the Thousand
A.J. Steiger
Series: n/a
Publisher: HarperTeen

Who knew a story about orphans, who had been treated so horribly would fill my heart with so much joy? Not this girl, but I am so glad I took a chance on this book, because it was totally uplifting survival story, and I loved it!

Where I Live
Brenda Rufener
Series: n/a
Publisher: HarperTeen

A book about a homeless teen and victim of violence? Hmmmm. This book should have been really sad, but it wasn't. Because Rufener chose to focus on Linden's spirit and the people, who became her de facto family, this was a lovely story, which made my heart burst with joy.

NO BUZZ BOOKS

The next three books were all so wonderful, but I would say there was almost no buzz for them. These are "hidden gems" that I wish more people would read.

Zenn Diagram
Wendy Brant
Series: n/a
Publisher: KCP Loft

I don't know, I can't stop talking about this book. It was a random Read-Now download, and it just won me over. I loved the characters, the story, and the ending was all the happy tears. Really enjoyed this book.

Aftercare Instructions
Bonnie Pipkin
Series: n/a
Publisher: Flatiron Books

This was a book that I heard nothing about prior to reading, and sadly, have not heard much about since I read it. What a shame, because it's an incredibly written story, and tackles a big topic with care.

The House at 758
Kathryn Berla
Series: n/a
Publisher: Amberjack Publishing

This was another Read-Now book. I had zero expectations for it, as I had never heard of the author or the book, but it won my heart. This was just such a beautiful story of love, loss, grief, loneliness, family, and healing.

LOSING MY RELIGION

I was really pleasantly surprised by the way religion was treated in these books. The authors showed a balanced point of view, and I really was delighted they did.  


Autoboyography
Christina Lauren
Series: n/a
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Goodreads
Review

This book, this book, this book! I absolutely adored the romance and the family, but what really got me, was the way the authors approached the religious aspect of the story. Christina Lauren obviously did a ton of research, and they were respectful. They highlighted shortcomings of the church, but they also shed some light on the positive things the church does and the progress they have made.

Dress Codes for Small Towns
Courtney C. Stevens
Series: n/a
Publisher: HarperTeen
Goodreads
Review

This is the story of a pastor's daughter struggling with her sexual identity in a very small town. Steven's did a good job exploring the pastor's inner struggle, and examining how the pressure from the congregation played a role in his struggle. Again, not every member of the church held the same views, and I appreciated that multiple perspectives were presented, and the main character was able to reconcile her identity with the church's teachings in some way.



What books have surprised you in a good way?
Let us know in the comments!

46 comments:

  1. Very cool breakdown of the topic this week Sam! Aftercare instructions and 758 sound like ones I should look at more!

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    1. Both such lovely books, with Aftercare doing such a beautiful job with such a tough topic

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  2. Nice way of approaching this topic Sam! I'm not fond of religious books so I'm never very eager to try it. Though I do have a copy of Autoboyography on my shelves. And I think it's nice when you expect a book to be sad but it isn't and totally lifts your spirits!

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    1. Don't be scared if Autoboyography. It is such a beautiful story.

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  3. Bad girls with perfect faces and dangerous girls both really knocked my socks off. I didn’t think they would be that great. So twisty.

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    1. Right!! It seems every mystery suspense type book I pick up is pretty dark, but with twists and turns like that, I will keep gong back for more

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  4. I haven't read Dangerous Girls yet, but it's on my list for this year. I've seen it a couple times today, so that makes me even more excited to read it.

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    1. I read it when it was free on Riveted, and was so happy idid. It was quite a twisted trip

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  5. BAD GIRLS WITH PERFECT FACES and DANGEROUS GIRLS were both faves of mine. And total "me" books. Also, AFTERCARE INSTRUCTIONS and FAR FROM THE TREE are totally on my MUST READ LIST!!

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    1. I knew th would like those two. 😊 Aftercare is a beautifully honest look at something difficult and Far From the Tree is as wonderful as everyone said it was

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  6. I have Far From The Tree sitting on my TBR shelf. I hope I like it as much as you did!

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

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    1. I hope you get to read it. It is such a lovely story

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  7. Great list! I actually sadly haven't read any of these, but have a lot of them on my TBR list.

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    1. I hope you get to some of them, because I loved them all so much

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  8. I like how you approached your list! I haven't read any of these so I will have to look them up. Here is my Top Ten Tuesday.

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    1. I was trying to get some focus on my list. I hope you get to read a few of these some day

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  9. Oh my gosh Bad Girls With Perfect Faces was awesome. Totally agree. And Dangerous Girls was pretty good too!

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    1. With Bad Girls, I loved the story, but I also adored Weingarten's writing.

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  10. Bad Girls was so enteratining. I need to read the other one. I totally agree about Autoboyography, I was expecting things to go bad. It was so well done.

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    1. I kept seeing Dangerous Girls EVERYWHERE, and I am glad I read it. It totally lived up to the hype .

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  11. Dangerous Girls is one that lingered on my TBR for several years and when I did my last, quite brutal, weeding out, I deleted it. Naturally I’m not rethinking that. LOL I definitely shed (many) tears throughout Far From the Tree by overall is was such a positive book and so uplifting. And Christina Lauren did such an admirable job in their portrayal of the Mormon church in Autoboyography. I never felt like it was skewed one way or the other.

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    1. I don't ever remove a book, unless I grew to dislike the author or lost my interest in a series. That is exactly why I respected Christina Lauren so much. They showed the church from all sides - good, and, and in between.

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  12. Oh I loved Far From The Tree so, so much. I also expected it to be sad, yet it turned out to be such a beautiful story and I fell in love with all of these characters <3 <3
    Lovely post! :) x

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    1. It was beautiful and hopeful and happy and I loved it so much

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  13. I haven't read any of these books, but a lot of them are on my TBR. I love when books surpass my expectations too.

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    1. I think my favorite kind are those books I don't know anything about. No expectations and then BOOM! they blow me away. Love that!

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  14. Nice picks! All totally new to me ones too!

    Here's my Tuesday Post

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

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  15. Dangerous Girls was on my list this week too!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/13/top-ten-tuesday-150/

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  16. I've passed by BAD GIRLS WITH PERFECT FACES and DANGEROUS GIRLS at my local library multiple times but haven't had any interest in picking them up. Based on your list and descriptions, though, I may have to rethink this. :-) Thanks for the recommendations!

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    1. If you like suspense thrillers that are on the darker side, you might enjoy them.

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  17. I almost picked up Dangerous Girls because of all the hype, but never got around to it.

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    1. I was afraid of the hype too. I read it when I was free on Riveted and it was really, really good

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  18. I definitely want to try Aftercare Instructions. Great list. :)

    Lauren @ Always Me

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    1. That book was so lovely, and done really well too. The topic is tough, and I thought Pipkin handled it with great care.

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  19. When My Heart Joins The Thousand and Autoboyogrpahy have been on my list for awhile! I actually have the audiobook for Autoboyography from my library.

    Do You Dog-ear?

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    1. I bet Autoboyography would be great on audio. It is such a wonderful and heartwarming story. A little heartbreaking, but mostly wonderful.

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  20. Awww, I wish I had put Zenn Diagram on my list. That one really was a pleasant surprise for me. I still need to read Far From the Tree but I have high hopes for that one after reading your comments and review.

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    1. I talk about Zenn all the time. It was such a great book. Far From the Tree was so amazing. Loved it so much!

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  21. Autoboyography and Far From the Tree are two I'm looking forward to reading. I read Bad Girls and liked it but not quite as much as you.

    i'm trying really hard to avoid hype and learning too much about a book beforehand these days so I can be surprised more.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

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    1. Sometimes it's hard to avoid the hype, and I do tend to put off really hyped book, but sometimes, they live up to the hype.

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  22. I m reading Auoboyography next week and I can't wait to get to Far From the Tree especially no w that you confirmed it is uplifting

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    1. You are in for some awesome reading! I hope you love them as much as I did.

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