TTT | Hidden Gems

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Top Ten Tuesday Blog

Books I LOVED with Fewer than 2,000 Ratings on Goodreads
The Geography of Lost Things by Jessica Brody – 522 ratings

I really enjoyed the “trading up” aspect of this book.

My Review | eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

You Were Here by Cori McCarthy – 1,000 ratings

Almost every chapter was a different format (regular text, graphic novel, graffiti) and I really liked that about it.

My Review | eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

Trusting You and Other Lies by Nicole Williams – 1,007 ratings

So many summer camp feels!

My Review | eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson – 1,287 ratings

This is such a satisfying travel/wanderlust type book.

My Review | eBook | Paperback

We Are Still Tornadoes by Michael Kun & Susan Mullen – 1,320 ratings

I don’t read a ton of epistolary novels and I didn’t know this was one when I picked it up, but I really liked that format!

My Review | eBook | Hardcover

Julia Vanishes by Catherine Egan – 1,322 ratings

This was an interesting fantasy book–I still need to pick up the rest of the series.

My Review | eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

The Comeback Season by Jennifer E Smith – 1,520 ratings

This is probably my favorite Jennifer E Smith book! It’s a cute romance and it features baseball, the Cubs, and Wrigley Field!

My Review | eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

The Last Forever by Deb Caletti – 1,578 ratings

Deb Caletti is an underrated author imo. I love the retirement home group.

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes – 1,608 ratings

Sneaky debutantes and secret contracts!

eBook | Hardcover | Paperback

Iron Cast by Destiny Soria – 1,836 ratings

Such a great female friendship story!

My Review | eBook | Hardcover

Bonus: Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard – 650 ratings

Okay, this is kind of cheating because there are only so few ratings because it just came out. But it still has less than 2,000 ratings!

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TTT Underrated Books


Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set Outside the U.S.

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week there is a new topic and this week’s topic is: Ten Books Set Outside The US

So here’s my list. None of these are necessarily going to give you a major case of Wanderlust, but these are some of my favorite books set outside of America.

England/Egypt – Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine (The Great Library series)
England/Scotland – Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger (Finishing School series)
England – Blackmoore by Julianne Donaldson
England/Wonderland – The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor (The Looking Glass Wars series)
China/France/The Moon – Cinder by Marissa Meyers (The Lunar Chronicles)
England/Tropical Island – The Madman’s Daughter by Megan Shepherd (The Madman’s Daughter trilogy)
England – Austenland by Shannon Hale
Germany/Japan/Europe – Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
England – A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Italy – Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson

Catch a Falling Star by Kim Culbertson

Carter has a fairly simple life. She works at her Dad’s cafe during the day and at night she goes stargazing with her two best friends. This summer is going according to plan until Hollywood rolls into town. They’re filming a Christmas movie. In July. The star of this heart-warming holiday flick happens to be teen heartthrob Adam Jakes who is appearing in public for the first time after leaving rehab. Adam’s agent approaches Carter with an offer she can’t refuse. Pretend to be Adam’s girlfriend for the summer and she’ll be paid enough to get rid of her brother’s gambling debts for good. Against her better judgment, Carter accepts.

We all know what’s going to happen, right? Obviously they’re 18816733going to pretend to date for a while and then actually fall in love. I mean, that’s why we picked this book up in the first place, right? I liked this book a lot. I’ve read a book with a semi-similar plot (see This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith) which is also totally worth a read. The difference between the two books is that Adam is a jerk in the beginning. You can kind of tell that he’s naturally a little conceited. Even if he had never become a movie star, it’s in his nature to be that way while in the other book the movie star is a nice guy right off the bat. Having Adam start out being unpleasant is something that I find a little more realistic. I don’t imagine movie stars just being super nice to everyone all the time. Even if they’re generally a nice person, it has to be annoying to not have a moment of peace when you go out in public.

Other things I liked about this book: I liked Carter’s friends quite a bit even though Chloe had her moments of…insanity. I thought Alien Drake was a great character. I liked that he and Carter had a solid friendship without any romantic attachments. I liked Carter’s parents–I thought they were fun characters if a tad unrealistic. Most of all I like the small details that Ms. Culbertson includes. Carter has this dog named Extra Pickles because her family’s first dog was named Pickles. So when Pickles died, they got a new dog and they named it Extra Pickles. Genius! Maybe this was a detail pulled from real life, but it’s a small thing that makes everything in the book seem more real too.

This was such a fun and easy read. Perfect for summer.

Overall Rating: 5
Violence: Mild
Sexual Content: None (that I remember…)
Language: Mild (if that)
Smoking/Drinking: Moderate. A couple of characters smoke and Adam was sent to rehab for drug possession.

Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson

Jessa is heartbroken when she finds her boyfriend, Sean, cheating on her with a girl nicknamed “The Boob Job” (for obvious reasons) just days before they’re all supposed to leave on a class trip for Italy. Jessa’s best friend, Carissa, compiles a set of instructions designed to help her get over her broken heart while abroad. Every day Jessa opens an envelope that contains a challenge for her to complete before the day is through. At first she’s not convinced that these instructions are going to accomplish anything, but slowly she begins to find herself and realize that Sean wasn’t who she needed after all.instructionsforabroke

First of all, this book hit me hard with the travel bug. Reading about all the places that Jessa and her classmates were traveling to really made me want to travel to Italy. I mean, I’ve always wanted to go to Italy, but especially after reading this book. Anyway, I liked Jessa’s character quite a bit. Obviously she had a hard time with the breakup, but it never felt like she was seriously thinking about getting back together with Sean even if the opportunity presented itself.

The secondary characters were really great too. I liked Carissa for being a good friend even though she had her own flaws. Her friend that went on the trip with her was a great character as well (forgive me for not remembering his name). Then of course there’s Dylan Thomas and the character not-so-affectionately nicknamed “Cruella”. Just a really good cast of characters. It seemed like they all had depth–something that I find seriously impressive! How often do you have such a large cast of characters that all seem like they could have books written about them? Not often, my friends.

I don’t remember anything that I disliked about this book. It was an easy read, not too much depth, but enough that you feel for the characters.

Overall Rating: 4
Violence: None (does a glass of soda to the face count?)
Sexual Content: Mild. Kissing.
Language: Mild (this is another one that I don’t quite remember…sorry!)
Smoking/Drinking: Mild. Possibly some underage drinking, not a focus.