Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday – Popular Books That Lived Up to the Hype

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. Every week there’s a new topic where we get to choose our top ten and write about it. This week’s topic is the top ten popular books that lived up to the hype. This is going to be a fun one for me because I frequently buy or read books because of the hype.

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1. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead – I read this series book by book when it was first released. But even back then there was so much hype that was all accurate. This series still gets hyped up all the time, which says a lot right there.
2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas – If you read any of my posts on a regular basis you already know how obsessed with this series I am. It’s one of my absolute favorites. I jumped on this bandwagon pretty early and had to wait for each book to be released which made it ten times worse.
3. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas – After reading ACOTAR I knew I needed to check out her other series as well and I’m super glad I did. I can’t wait for Kingdom of Ash to be released.
4. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo – I originally got these books from the library a few years ago and loved them so much I had to buy my own set.
5. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare – The first two or three books were already published and I had to not so patiently wait for the next three. But I also had to wait for the Infernal Devices and now I’m not so patiently waiting for Queen of Air and Darkness.
6. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – I am realizing that I am easily convinced to buy books. I bought this one not too long after it came out and have had to wait for each book to come out. Now that the whole series is out I somehow haven’t managed to reread them all.
7. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James – I totally bought this series for the hype. I wouldn’t say they’re the best books in the world, but I’ve enjoyed them enough to read them more than once.
8. Cinder by Marissa Meyer – I love a good fairytale retelling so when I heard the hype for these I obviously had to see what the deal was.
9. The Gender Game by Bella Forrest – Once I signed up for Kindle Unlimited (after I got my Kindle as a Christmas gift from my mother in law) I saw this series all over and eventually gave it a shot. I’m glad I did, these were fantastic books. I love everything Forrest writes.
10. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon – I was super late to jump on the bandwagon for this one. I read this last month and I was just blown away.

This is my top ten for this week. What popular books have you read that lived up to the hype?

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.

Antonia’s Top Ten Tuesday- Summer TBR

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Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.Each week we’re given a new prompt for a top ten list of all things bookish. This week is top ten books to read by the pool/ at the beach OR it can also serve as your summer TBR. For me, beach reads are just whatever I happen to be reading at the time so I’ll be doing the latter. In no particular order:

  1. The Gender Games by Bella Forrest- Amanda’s talked so much about this and her other series The Girl Who Dared that I think I finally need to see what all the excitement’s about.
  2. Here There Be Dragons by James A. Owen- This is one that I see every once in awhile and am like, “Oh I should read that” and then I never do. It sounds amazing and I’d really like to finally read it.
  3. Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg- Another one Amanda was telling me about. I just downloaded it on my Kindle so I should get to it soon.
  4. The Shattered Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima- I just got the second and third books finally and can’t wait to finally revisit these characters.
  5. The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie- I recently got into her books and am excited to read the second of the Hercule Poirot novels.
  6. The Covenant series by Jennifer L. Armentrout- I read the first book forever ago but somehow never finished the series. I’ve loved all of her books so I’d like to finally read this one.
  7. Shelter in Place by Nora Roberts- This is her newest standalone mystery and I planning on buying it soon. I always love her books so I know this one will be a new favorite.
  8. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke- Amanda and I happened to be talking about this the other day and it made me sad that I never actually read it. This book’s been sitting on my shelf since I was a child and I think it’s about time I did.
  9. Graceling by Kristin Cashore- It’s been forever since I read this, Fire, and Bitterblue. I loved these books so much and would really like to revisit these characters.
  10. Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon- Amanda just read and reviewed this one and it sounded so good I had to add it to my list. You can read her review here.

Thanks for reading! What are your Top Ten?

-Antonia

The Girl Who Dared Series by Bella Forrest

Summary:
How do you fight an enemy when they’re inside your mind?
A gargantuan glass-walled tower looms over a deadly wilderness. They say it’s all that’s left.
The Tower’s survival is humanity’s survival, and each must serve it faithfully…
Twenty-year-old Liana Castell must be careful what she thinks. Her life is defined by the number on her wristband — a rating out of ten awarded based on her usefulness and loyalty to the Tower, and monitored by a device in her skull. A device that reports forbidden thoughts.
Liana is currently a four, the lowest possible acceptable score, and despite her parents’ perfect scores of ten, she struggles to increase it. Rebellious ideas come all too easily, and resentfulness seems part of her being. She is an overseer-in-training, but her future will be dark if she cannot raise her worth…
Threes require drug treatment.
Twos are isolated.
Ones disappear.
When Liana’s worst nightmare comes to pass and she drops to a three, desperation spurs her down a path few dare to tread. A chance encounter with a cocky young man whose shockingly dissident attitude toward the Tower couldn’t possibly have earned him the perfect “ten” on his wrist, sets her on a trail to save herself–even at the risk of dropping lower.
Stalking the young man seemed like a simple enough task, but after events take an unexpected twist, Liana finds herself taking a treacherous dive into the darkest depths of the Tower… and the decades’ old secrets buried within.
In a society where free thinking can make you a criminal, one girl dares to try…
An unforgettable tale brimming with suspense, mystery and romance – The Girl Who Dared to Think will thrill fans of The Gender Game , Divergent & The Hunger Games.

Review:
The last book in this series (book seven) came out recently and I’ve been putting off reading it, mostly just because I wasn’t ready for the adventure to be over. Part of me right now wishes that I hadn’t decided to read it today on this 8 hour car ride because I’m really sick of my husband asking me if I’m okay when he realizes that I’m balling my eyes out and I have to explain to him (again) that I’m crying because of this book. I’m going to review this whole series in one post because this is a series I found on my kindle while I was taking a break from writing reviews, but it’s an amazing series that everyone should read. The Girl Who Dared series is one that will make you laugh and cry. It’s full of characters that will frustrate you, but also you will have to admire them for all the things that they deal with.
Let’s start with our main character, Liana. At the beginning we see Liana struggling with life inside the tower, to the point where she has to go to medica (their version of the doctor) and essentially get medication for depression that completely changed her as a person. Living with her parents who are forever disappointed in her and wishing her brother hadn’t moved departments and left her alone with them she can’t seem to get it together and do better. But the further we get into the story we realize that Liana isn’t in the wrong like she thinks she is. We learn that life in the tower isn’t what it was meant to be and everything isn’t fine and dandy like those in charge would like you to think. When this series opens, Liana seems to get find herself in bad situations all the time. Things just seem to happen to her rather than her making things happen. Even though she is trying to do better by everyone else’s standards, she still feels like she’s failing, until she realizes some important things. Liana is my favorite because she developed the most as a character throughout these books. She went from being a girl who couldn’t seem to keep her life together and trouble just fell into her lap to a woman that’s confident and fearless and an amazing leader. Some of this is absolutely due to the people around her. We get to meet some interesting people during this story and when Liana first meets them, it’s not under the best circumstances. but regardless of all of that, they become their own sort of family.
I love this little squad so much. I’m not going to name any names because they’re not a little squad from the start and it takes some time to get to where they end up but it’s worth the wait. They all compliment one another so well. Where some aren’t skilled, the others are. Each member of their makeshift family has an essential role to play in their survival. They also just work so well together. They do their best to lift one another when they’re feeling down, they say all the right things to inspire confidence and the desire to continue on regardless of the latest setback or horrible thing. It certainly takes them a few books to get to this well-oiled machine that they are in the final book, but that’s one of the things I loved about the story, watching these characters develop into their best selves was so enjoyable. There’s realistic and hilarious and traumatizing development with all of the characters and it’s just one of the many things that made this series as great as it is.
Another thing that made this series so fantastic was the actual story. The author, Bella Forrest, has become one of my favorite authors in the last year or so since I’ve discovered her books. The Girl Who Dared series is based in a futuristic world that she’s already written another series in (The Gender Game.) The worlds basically unrecognizable because of a long-ago war. This series was another group of “survivors” in this desolate world who believe that they only survive because of the tower they live in. They’re all led to believe that life outside the tower isn’t possible. The world that Bella Forrest has created inside the tower is so incredibly intricate. I would love to get inside her head just to see what other ideas she has in there that she isn’t sharing with us (she has like four other series that she’s written / still writing). So along with the crazy story that is life inside the tower, there are the details that just make the story better. I’m going to try to explain what I mean without giving anything away. The characters in this story are essentially fighting rebels within the tower that most people don’t even know exist. Because of this, there are quite a few really screwed up things that happen (from near deaths to actual deaths to learning that everything they’ve always been told is a lie), Forrest goes the extra mile to show her characters dealing with these horrible life events and what comes after them. Too many stories have terrible things happen to their characters and then their just fine a few days later as if nothing happened. That’s not how these books work, the characters deal with their traumas and struggles realistically. Liana not being able to feel anything or focus or really have any desire to get out of bed or continue on with their mission, and if there’s no time for the characters to deal with their emotions appropriately, Forrest shows the thought process behind it and the characters supporting one another through it. I just thought this whole series was written really well with characters that were realistic in their trials and tribulations even in a world so foreign from the one we live in today.
I could honestly go on and on and on saying wonderful things about The Girl Who Dared series because it was just that good (which yes, is how I feel about all of Bella Forrest’s books.) But I’ll stop while I’m ahead because I really don’t want to give too many details away because I would like anyone and everyone to read these books. I can say that I enjoyed getting lost in this uniquely creative story that’s full of so many extra little details that just make the story that much better. Forrest has really gone the extra mile to make her story something relatable even though the world is nothing like the world we know now, but just similar enough that we could see how today’s world could end up at that point. Please, go read these books so that you understand what I’m saying. Also so that you love these characters as much as I do and cry huge ridiculous tears while reading the last book only to find out that we were lied to and tricked. So please read them and feel the emotions that I’m currently feeling and can accept that the story of these characters that I’ve fallen so in love with is actually over.
Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.