Top 10 Tuesday – February 23rd, 2016

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Happy Tuesday, everyone! It’s time for another Top 10 Tuesday list. This is an original weekly blog meme created over at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week, there is a new bookish topic for bloggers to create a list about. If you want to know more about Top 10 Tuesday, click here!

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic is the top ten books you enjoyed recently (in the last yearish) that weren’t your typical genre/type of book (or that were out of your comfort zone). I’ve been on a bit of a sci-fi/fantasy binge for a while now (a.k.a. my comfort zone), so we’re going to have to go more toward the “ish” side of yearish. Also, to help myself come up with ten, I’ve split the list into two parts—five that I enjoyed and five that I did not. There is a little bit of a theme here, since the majority of this list are romance and contemporary novels.

This will probably come as no surprise to anyone, but I am and always have been a complete reading addict. I am someone that will read absolutely anything I can get my hands on, and I typically do stray out of my comfort zone a fair amount. In fact, I enjoy doing so, even if I end up not enjoying the novel I choose—it’s always fun to try new things no matter what, and you might end up finding a new favorite! I don’t regret trying any of these novels, I just definitely preferred some over others…

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Liked

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1. Love and Other Unknown Variables by Shannon Lee Alexander

Over the past few years, I have been making a point of trying to read a larger number of debut authors, and this is one that I picked up from the library for exactly that reason. This novel was pretty far outside of my comfort zone, but it ended up really taking me by surprise. It was very well written, with a sweet romance and a lovely message about the importance of love, friendship, and literature. Plus, there were tons of references to To Kill a Mockingbird in it! 😀

4.5 TARDISes

2. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

I picked up a copy of this back when it first came out (to be honest, I think this was a bit of a cover buy!), but had let it sit on my shelf for ages. I finally got around to reading it last year when I was looking for something a bit different from my normal type of read—and I actually ended up really enjoying it. This story had much more depth than I was expecting, and I thought the author’s writing style was great. It ended up being a quick and unexpectedly satisfying read, and I’m so glad I gave it a try.

4.0 TARDISes

3. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli

This was not all that far out of my comfort zone, but it is still a contemporary romance novel, so it totally counts! I read this at the end of last year and absolutely loved it—this was a perfect way to wrap up my 2015 reads. It was hilarious, adorable, and made me feel all of the warm fuzzies I was hoping to feel. ❤

5.0 TARDISes

4. Falling into Place by Amy Zhang

I found this one while randomly browsing at the bookstore one day, and decided to add it to my debut author TBR. I absolutely did not expect to enjoy this novel as much as I did. This story had a fantastic amount of depth and I thought that the writing was stellar. The characters and all of their storylines were developed and presented well in the context of the plot, and I loved the unique choice of narrator. This was definitely a good impulse purchase!

4.5 TARDISes

5. The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder

This was another one that I picked up from the library on a whim—mainly because I love reading novels in verse—and it’s another that ended up taking me completely by surprise. The plot is sort of a common contemporary novel premise, but it is still successfully unique. And when done well, like it is here, I usually really enjoy this type of story. The prose flowed beautifully, and I found the story itself to be quite captivating and thought-provoking. On top of this, I actually quite enjoyed the romance aspect—it was sweet, touching, and well-paced.

4.5 TARDISes

Didn’t Like

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1. Dead Rules by Randy Russell

This book…just…nope. I grabbed this from the library for no particular reason. Couldn’t get into it. Didn’t actually finish it (which is insanely rare for me). In hindsight, that tagline should have told me to maybe skip over this one when I found it.

0.5 TARDIS

2. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

Okay, so to be honest, this is probably another book that I maybe shouldn’t have attempted, but I still don’t regret it! I figured I would give it a go after all the incredible things I had heard about it—and I can definitely see why people enjoy this series. But I think I can finally confirm that supernatural romance just really isn’t my thing…

1.0 TARDIS

3. A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall

This novel caught my attention due to the creativity when it came to points of view. I figured this would be a really unique take on a typical contemporary romance novel, so I was more than happy to give it a go. Sadly, I just could not feel any connection at all between the romantic interests, and it was difficult to fully immerse myself in the plot due to the constantly changing viewpoints (as well as the quantity). I actually have a full review for this novel that I will be posting pretty soon, so I will go into a bit more detail then!

2.0 TARDISes

4. The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu

This one was slightly closer to my comfort zone than some of these other novels. However, though it is a fantasy story, there is a much larger focus on romance than the typical fantasy novels I read. In fact, the romance ended up being pretty much the main focus of the story, which unfortunately did not serve it well in my opinion. It made sense, given the premise, that love would play a significant role in the plot, but the romance fell quite flat for me. Overall, the story was creative and incredibly unique, but I would have liked to see more attention paid to the fantasy aspect, and a much stronger and more well-developed setting and cast of characters.

2.0 TARDISes

5. Almost by Anne Eliot

I purchased this novel back when it first came out, but it sat on my kindle for a really long time. Honestly, I can’t recall why I bought it—but again, trying new things is always good. This was definitely my favorite from the “disliked” section of this list. I would mainly chalk my dislike of it up to unlikeable characters and slightly repetitive and frustrating plot progression. It was not a bad novel by any means, it was simply just not for me.

2.5 TARDISes

No matter what my feelings were, once again…

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What are some books that you’ve read lately that were out of your comfort zone? How did you feel about them? Let me know in the comments! 🙂

-Ariana

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