Hey everyone! So this topic is one I actually really like–but I have one caveat. I am a compulsive reviewer on Goodreads. Literally every book I’ve read for the last 12 years gets some kind of review. And if I didn’t, it was probably a book I didn’t finish reading.
For this week, I’m going to focus on books I loved that aren’t YA. I do read outside the genre, but I always feel a little weird making posts about them since you’re probably here for the YA. Anyway, we’re shaking things up a bit today! Hopefully you find something new to try!
Top Ten Books I Loved But Didn’t Review Here
1. On Dublin Street by Samantha Young (Contemporary Romance)
This, I think, will always be one of my favorite romances. Set in Scotland (I have a thing for Scotland…), we meet Jocelyn, who hasn’t really dealt with the trauma haunting her. A random accident introduces her to Braden Carmichael, who is used to getting what he wants–or at least making the situation favorable to him. Joss doesn’t want any attachments, period, so Braden strikes a deal with her so he can try to slowly win her over. There is a lot of emotion in this book. Every book in this series makes me cry at least once. The lovable characters make it that much better.
2. The Unwanted: America, Auschwitz, and a Village Caught in Between by Michael Dobbs (Nonfiction)
This was written to coincide with a United States Holocaust Memorial Museum exhibit, but it’s utterly fascinating. The story focuses almost exclusively on a village in southern Germany not far from the French border. As life becomes more restrictive for the Jews, we follow them in their many attempts to flee Germany. Some make it, some don’t. And it’s heartbreaking how the system quickly became rigged against them. I thought I knew a lot about the Holocaust, but until you see it following a single person’s journey, you truly don’t get it.
3. The Republic of Pirates: Being the True and Surprising Story of the Caribbean Pirates and the Man Who Brought Them Down by Colin Woodard (Nonfiction)
Like many of you, I grew up in a world where Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl was one of the biggest movies and everyone’s seen it. But even before that, I was fascinated by pirates. As a kid, my brothers and I played made-up games where we were pirates. This book looks at the Golden Age of piracy and most of the pirates you’re most familiar with. Blackbeard, Calico Jack, etc. Some of the stories are so outlandish and bizarre that you know they have to be true because no one could have made that up.
4. My Dear Hamilton: A Novel of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie (Historical Fiction)
Alright, stop the presses. If you haven’t read anything by the duo of Dray and Kamoie and you like historical fiction, YOU NEED TO. They only have 2 so far, but even their first book, America’s First Daughter, blew me away. Meticulously researched, My Dear Hamilton is, obviously, about Eliza. And it doesn’t shy away from what Hamilton got wrong.
5. The Captive by Grace Burrowes (Historical Romance)
Grace Burrowes is an astonishingly prolific writer. She writes something like 3-4 books per year. And 8 times out of 10, they’re pretty good. This books (and series) deals with characters we’ve met briefly in previous series, but you don’t need to read them to understand this. But what’s cool about this series is it looks at ex-soldiers of the Napoleonic wars as they readjust to society and deal with their trauma. I think that’s overlooked for the time period.
I’ve been a Ripper-phile for years, but not in a creepy way. Like I-want-to-solve-the-mystery way. This book, which also won a Goodreads award last year, turns everything you know on its head. It takes a look at all five of the canonical victims and examines their lives prior to their murders — and sometimes what was said at their death inquest. It’s feminist, sympathetic, and will absolutely rewrite everything you think you know about the Ripper victims. (Hint: they weren’t prostitutes.)
7. Never Seduce a Scot by Maya Banks (Historical Romance)
You know that feeling when you start reading a book and you realize that all the stars align and you hold pure magic in your hands? This was the book for me. It’s a historical Scottish romance (Outlander made me an addict…), but it’s more than that. Our main character, Eveline, is nearly entirely deaf, but everyone around her just thinks she’s “touched”. So getting a love story that gives Eveline agency and deals with her needs in a historical setting was so fascinating and different. I actually reread this often.
While I’d read Rachel Caine books before (specifically the Morganville Vampires series), the premise got me on this one. Bryn just starts a job at a mortuary when she sees something she’s not supposed to and gets killed. On the first day. Sucks, right? Turns out what she saw was her boss resurrecting dead clients with the help of a new pharmaceutical drug–that’s now being used on her to help bring down the company. It’s dark, it’s suspenseful, and I really enjoyed it.
9. Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean (Historical Romance)
MacLean is a sure-fire pick for me. I will always enjoy her books (and I recommend all of them). This 2018 release is one of her best yet, though. This series mixes upper crust girls with the darker side of London, which I like because it allows me to see so much more about life in the early 1800s than I knew about. And Felicity is a BOSS.
Ok, so I’m ending with this Robin Hood tale. This is much more accurate, I feel, to how it really would have been. Like, Robin is a legit outlaw. He’s not a hero, but he is impressive. It is very grounded in its historical setting and I liked seeing that version of the story I know so well.