Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Top Ten Tuesdays: Recommended Books

    I loved writing about this Top Ten Tuesday theme, because it made me stretch my brain and reminisce about a bunch of the reads I've stored as "experienced" in my mental attic. You'd think that since I blog about books for fun and regularly talk about great reads to people, that this topic would be a breeze for me to get through. But as I racked my brain for books to put on here, I realized I don't receive book recommendations as often as I give them away!

    This was a bittersweet reminder to me to be more willing to let other book-lovers have a say in what I read. After all, a book's best when it's shared, right? And, true, not every experience with a recommended book has me raving about it or even liking it, but in the end the benefits of letting other people take a peek at my bookshelf and choosing what to add next outweigh the other possibility of choosing to stop and fight for control over everything I do or don't try.

    Well, enough rambling. 😁 Onto the list!

    Like most of my other TTT lists, I include my reasons for including it, a non-exhaustive list of things to be aware of if you want to check out the book, and the Amazon link embedded in the title. (Click HERE if you want to see a full list of the Top Ten Tuesday lists I've done in the past.)

Top Ten Recommended Books
(in no particular order)

1. Warriors: Into the Wild by Erin Hunter

Genre: Fantasy

Age Target: Middle Grade/Young Adult

My Opinion: I would probably not be blogging if I hadn't found these books when I did. Recommended to me by a childhood friend, this book and the series after it became this fascinating world for me which I loved diving into. Reading both the books and fanfiction based off the books led me to writing fanfiction ideas of my own, and eventually led me to finishing two original novels, getting some short stories published, and starting this blog. It's no secret that I love these books, and even though I've moved on from the series now, I still love reminiscing about my favorite characters, fun plots, and, of course, an engaging setting.

Things To Know: Many librarians put the Warriors books in the YA section due to feral violence. The Warriors books have their own complicated storyworld, including spiritual and astrological elements unique to the main characters. Later on in the series, there are various romantic subplots.

2. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Jodi Meadows, and Brodi Ashton

Genre: Fantasy

Age Target: Young Adult

My Opinion: I first heard about this book through book blogger Fina W.'s old website (you can find her recently updated BookTube page HERE). I thought the premise seemed interesting, so I reserved it and read it. I found a really interesting, really intriguing story that elbowed itself past my other TBR piles and wouldn't let me stop until I was finished. The main characters (especially Gifford) grabbed me by the heart, and I loved all the fantasy twists. The way the authors told their "version of history" was so snappy, clever, and funny that I was instantly yearning for more!

Things To Know: This book is aimed toward YA for a reason. There are some thinly veiled sexual innuendos, as well as some non-detailed kissing. I also remember some language. The whole book deals with some more gory times in England, and there is an added magic system causing tension, instead of the more historical religious issues.

3. The Great Historic Mystery by Jordyn Hadden

(Note: Find my review of the book, including an exclusive interview with the author, HERE.)

Genre: Science Fiction

Age Target: Young Adult

My Opinion: I got this book on personal recommendation by the author, and I have to say that it's one of the better recommendations I've gotten. The whole story was enticing, well-written, and touched on a ton of subjects that grabbed at my heart. Also, it had a bunch of STEAM emphasis, which I thought was a perfect way to reach a variety of readers, librarians, and teachers! This book sealed the fact that now I'm pretty much a lifelong fan of everything the author writes.

Things To Know: There is some danger, and a magic-like setting in the story. The main character, Tyme, struggles with the death of her grandmother, who died of brain cancer. There are some half-truths and one lie. Once a passage from the Bible is mentioned. For a more complete list, check out my review of the book.

4. Caleb + Kate by Cindy Martinusen Coloma

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/Romance

Age Target: Young Adult

My Opinion: I heard about this book by way of a review from a blogger called glittergirl (you can find her blog HERE). I looked it up and was promised a clean, interesting read, so I checked it out. I'm not sure what happenedmaybe I was the wrong audience, or didn't read it close enoughbut for some reason I never really loved the book. The characters and setting were great, I just didn't relate to any of them. I did like the end, as it was way less tragic than the Shakespearean play it was based off of!

Things To Know: This is a romance, so there was some non-detailed affection/other fluttery feelings. A main part of the book is both the guy and girl fighting against social expectations. One of Caleb's grandfathers is especially hardhearted in the beginning. Intoxication from drugs and alcohol are mentioned. Due to his Hawaiian heritage, some of Kate's friends mockingly refer to Caleb as "cabana boy".

5. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

Genre: Autobiography

Age Target: Adults

My Opinion: I first heard about this book years ago from my mom, who was reading it at the time. I thought the premise sounded interesting, but actually avoided reading it for a couple of years, as I wasn't sure if I could handle hearing about all the Nazi stuff yet. I read it for the first time a few months ago, and was blown away by the entire story. Yes, there is hard stuff in there, but overall there's this overwhelming message of love and God's grace. It was amazing, and I'm already planning to reread it in a couple of years, hoping that time and growing older will reveal new things to me in the book that I was unable to pick up on earlier.

A quote from this book made it into my TTT list for Favorite Book(ish) Quotes.

Things To Know: The author does not shy away from mentioning the horrific ways she and her family were treated during World War II. Violence, sickness, death, starvation, physical examinations, and close quarters are all mentioned. The Hiding Place is also a story about God, so the Bible, Bible verses, and many Biblical concepts are mentioned.

6. The Coronation by Livy Jarmusch

Genre: Christian Fiction/Contemporary Fiction (in its own way)

Age Target: Young Adult

My Opinion: Technically the author's website (which you can find HERE) was recommended to me by a friend, but I bought and read this book soon after, so I'm keeping it on this list. 😉 The book itself was beautifully written and had the right amount of action, adventure, and great values to make it worthwhile. I especially loved how different the characters were from each other and how they all blended together to create this awesome story. Plus, there aren't a bunch of other "princess" books that are set in modern times, so I loved how its unique scenery set it apart. (I mean, who hasn't wondered what a life like that would be like?) Probably my favorite part of the book was getting to see Addison's character development and feeling like he was a relatable, down-to-earth person under all of the royal life that surrounds him.

Things To Know: There are some threats of death and violence, including a castle break-in. Though not an issue in and of itself, there are a lot of POV characters, and other readers in the past have felt it to have more of a "headhopping" feel. Romance is a main subplot in this book, with various characters struggling to stay true to their personal beliefs about love. Both Christianity and Islam are mentioned, and the main characters adhere to Christian values.

7. Of Giants and Ice by Shelby Bach

Genre: Fantasy

Age Target: Middle Grade

My Opinion: I decided to participate in a year-long reading challenge through the year, and before quarantine this was one of the books that was recommended to me by another fellow reader. I LOVE fairytale retellings, so the idea of this series appealed to me a ton. After I read it I immediately went through the whole series! The book itself was really well done, with an engaging storyworld and characters, but there was an emphasis on language and violence which I felt didn't fit with the age group it was supposed to be aimed at.

Things To Know: Like I noted above, there was some language and violence, which intensified as the series went on. There are mentions of death, threats of death, and magic.

8. Spirit Animals: Wild Born by Brandon Mull

Genre: Fantasy

Age Target: Middle Grade

My Opinion: The way my family found this book was as magical as reading the series was for me! 😄 Apparently it just appeared in our library basket and we took it home. My sister read through the series first, and after flipping through it the story looked so fun that I decided to give it a try too! The characters, plot, and setting are as familiar and comforting to me as the Warriors series.

This book also made it onto my TTT list for Books That Should Be Adapted Into Netflix Shows/Movies.

Things To Know: There is some violence, danger, and death/threats of death, as well as some mentions of cursing. Magic is a huge element in this series. There's a mention of a worry that joining the good side (the Greencloaks) as a kid forces you to grow up too fast.

9. The Prisoner of Cell 25 by Richard Paul Evans

Genre: Science Fiction

Age Target: Young Adult

My Opinion: I first heard about this series from some good friends, and I've never regretted reading it. The whole book is masterfully done, and carefully researched. It didn't take me long to get engrossed in it, and I'm already on Book 6! I've also gotten my sister hooked on the books, which makes it fun to discuss different things in the series together. (Maybe that's one of the reasons I love it so much?)

Things To Know: The first book is light on overall violence, though it intensifies as the series continues.  The main character, Michael, and his friend Ostin, are social outcasts at the beginning of the book. Michael falls in love with a girl named Taylor, which eventually leads to a non-detailed kiss.

10. Blank Mastermind by Rosey Mucklestone

Genre: Mystery/Superheroes

Age Target: Young Adult

My Opinion: Ever since I joined the fantastic group of writers known as OYAN, I've heard about this book, and its awesomeness. However, I've never read it myself until this year. When I did, I couldn't stop! The entire story is amazingly done and definitely gave me a new perspective on heroism, courage, and having power. Plus, at the end you want to adopt all the characters, which is always great for me. 😊

This book also made it on my TTT list for Books That Make Me Smile

Things To Know: There is some light language, and mentions of cursing and violence. The book focuses on a gang of criminals. The main character, Wolf, is seeking revenge for his dead family. Wolf and many of the other main characters are or have been Christians.

    Thanks for reading this Top Ten Tuesday list! This was definitely a new topic for me to think about, and I hope you enjoyed reading about the books I included on here. 

    What about you? Have you read any of these books, or heard about them? Was there one book that caught your attention? If you've also participated in this TTT topic, link to your post in the comments so I can read your picks.

    Let me know if you'd like a full review of any of these books. I'd love to include them on here! If you have another book that you think I'd be the perfect reviewer for, glance at my Review Policy and let me know in the comments.

    Tomorrow, feel free to stop by and see what I can't wait for on Wednesday...


  1. This topic was too much for my memory! I need to be better about writing down who recommends what books to me so I can go back and thank them when he recs work out well.

    Happy TTT!

    1. Same here! I post about all the books I want to read from them and then completely forget.

      Happy TTT back! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  2. Warriors: Into the Wild sounds really good.

    My post.

    1. Yes, Into the Wild is definitely a winner. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. I'm with you - I also don't receive book recommendations as often as I give them away! Here is my TTT list.

    1. I'm glad someone else feels the same way! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  4. My Lady Jane was so much fun. Thanks for sharing!

    Lauren @ Always Me

    1. I'm glad you liked "My Lady Jane" too! Thanks for reading and commenting.

  5. I loved the Vey series... I got my boyfriend hooked on them, too. I definitely agree that having someone to discuss a story with makes the experience all the better!

    My post: https://herbookishdesires.wordpress.com/2020/10/20/%f0%9f%93%96top-ten-tuesday-books-i-read-because-someone-recommended-them/

    1. That's a fun story! I think there is something in Michael Vey for everyone to enjoy.

      Thanks for reading and commenting.