I think everyone has that book (or a few) that we stowed away at first glance, skipped over because of some reason, or plain just wasn’t interested in but we gave it another look, read it, and berated ourselves thinking ‘why didn’t I read this earlier??’ Believe me, I’m guilty of this and in fact, my latest TOP recommendation Nine Minutes by Beth Flynn would fall under this category. I’ve had this book for a few months now and only recently did I decide to read it, discovering a hidden gem with this one. It got me thinking….what other books did I read this year would fall under this same category? I came up with 8 of the most memorable reads and made a list here. They weren’t all 5 star reads, but they all made a significant impact on me and I think about them from time to time.

(Listed in the order I read them in)
1. Then There Was You by Melanie Dawn. Okay. Being honest here….I never, ever expected or wanted to read this book because I wasn’t a fan of the first one (both are interconnected standalones). But I gave it another glance and holy hell, that is one heck of a blurb! So yeah, I read it. I pulled an all-nighter for it. And I wanted to re-read all over again. I emailed the author at 6 AM a blubbering mess. So moral of this little story for me is to always, ALWAYS give authors a second chance. I’m glad I did. By the way, here’s my review for Then There Was You.
2. The Deep End of The Sea by Heather Lyons. At the time of reading, this author was a newbie to me so I didn’t know what to expect from her. Also this premise is mythology and the retellings I’ve read I was all pretty disappointed in…so what if she butchered it? I gave it a shot anyways and this right here is a 5 star hidden gem. I literally smacked my forehead for waiting this long to read it and messaged one of my reading buddies telling her to tell me ‘I told you so.’ By the way, here’s my review of The Deep End of The Sea.
3. Puddle Jumping by Amber L. Johnson ($.99). Okay, another confession: I can’t do novella-length books. I mean, I’m a big book lover mmkay? So the short length of this one made me skip over it but alas, a big number of friends urged me to read this one and I caved (thank god I did!!!). Another 5 star winner and this story packed an emotional punch in so little pages. Here’s my review of Puddle Jumping.
4. After I Do by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Okay, this one I first avoided for a while because of the not-so-attention-grabbing cover and the price tag!! I mean, $10 (if you include tax) for an ebook is way beyond expensive for me. It better be some Pulitzer Prize material there. And OMG it really was!!! This was a 6 star read and one of my favorites from the summer. Literally everyone who read this (married or not) can take away something meaningful from this mindblowing
5. Thin Love by Eden Butler. Another confession (sheesh I feel like we’re in church haha): I cannot stand angst. And this book has extreme angst (push/pull couple dynamic, obstacles that prevent them from being together or they’re having problems, whatever). I’ll be honest, I was never more terrified of a book than this one but one of my closest reading buddies adored it and I trust her implicitly…so I went for it. And I am so thankful I did!! This is one of the most unforgettable, unputdownable books I’ve ever read, and I couldn’t pick up another book for days after this one! Here’s my review of Thin Love.
6. With The Father by Jenni Moen. Another case of a newbie author to me, and I remember at the time of reading this book, there were so many books with great blurbs that didn’t live up to its promise for me and I was so afraid that this book would fall under that category. But I guess I was feeling bold or whatever and I went in completely blind. This is a 5 star book that made me question everything I thought I knew and it was like a story hidden within a story. Easily one of my top favorites of the year! Here’s my review of With The Father.
7. Love Like Crazy by Megan Squires. This book has one of the cutest covers I’ve ever seen, but it’s YA and I’m really picky with my YA reads. Nevertheless, I just had that ‘feeling’ that it’d be a goodie from the blurb and I read it. It had a slow, simmering start, but wow! By the end I was really feeling the emotional impact. This book was such a breath of fresh air – quirky, individualistic characters and a heartfelt romance! Though it wasn’t a complete 5 star read, the writing was amazing and I highlighted like crazy!
8. And last but definitely not least, Nine Minutes by Beth Flynn. This is my latest TOP recommendation, a 5 star read that rocked my world, and a book that I simply cannot stop thinking about. I’ve had this one for a few months as well but never thought to read it, I forgot about it and every time I saw it in my library, the, um, not so great cover made me look the other way. I am so ashamed of falling for the old judging books by the cover thing because what a gem this book was!! You might think this an exaggeration but I meant what I said with ‘if there is only one book you can get this year, it HAS to be this one.’