Five Books I Read In 2018 That I Didn’t Expect To Love But They Now Hold My Heart

A reader always has an expectation when they first dive into a book. I had mine but they weren’t too high. So when I found myself gushing about the characters or being truly affected by the book, I was surprised–pleasantly surprised.

This is my second list post as part of the #Project14Lists! A little information if you’re feeling like you’ve been kept in the dark: 

#Project14Lists is an idea launched by the amazing Shealea over at ThatBookshelfBitch and she had recently tweeted about it. Considering my newfound love for list posts [See: TEN 2019 YA DEBUT NOVELS YOU NEED TO ADD TO YOUR TBR!20 NOVELS RELEASING IN 2019 THAT WILL MAKE YOU OVERUSE THE HASHTAGS FOR COVER LOVE] I didn’t think twice before sending Shealea a DM and deciding to join this project.

Project 14 Lists, otherwise known as #Project14Lists, is a 2-week blogging activity that will run from December 18th to December 31st. Book bloggers are tasked to come up with creative bookish/blogging list ideas, and on each day, write a list and post it on their respective blogs.

YOU CAN READ MORE ABOUT THIS ON MY INTRODUCTION POST OR AT SHEALEA’S BLOG-BIRTHDAY POST

Here are five books that I went in with no great expectations but they pleasantly surprised me!

YOUR DESTINATION IS ON THE LEFT BY LAUREN SPIELLER

Seventeen-year-old Dessa Rhodes is torn between leaving her modern nomadic life and pursuing her dreams of becoming an artist in this fun, contemporary debut novel that’s perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Morgan Matson.

Dessa Rhodes is a modern day nomad. Her family travels in an RV, their lives defined by state lines, exit signs, and the small communal caravan they call home. Among them is Cyrus, her best friend and long-time crush, whom she knows she can never be with. When your families are perpetually linked, it’s too dangerous to take a risk on romance. 

Instead, Dessa looks to the future. She wants to be a real artist and going to art school is her ticket to success and a new life. There’s just one problem: she hasn’t been accepted…anywhere. Suddenly her future is wide open, and it looks like she’s going to be stuck traveling forever.

Then an unexpected opportunity presents itself: an internship working with a local artist in Santa Fe. Dessa struggles to prove to her boss—and herself—that she belongs there, but just as she finally hits her stride, her family suffers an unexpected blow. Faced with losing everything that she has worked for, Dessa has a difficult decision to make. Will she say goodbye to her nomadic lifestyle and the boy she loves? Or will she choose to never stop moving? 

I received an e-galley of Your Destination is on the Left and when I read the blurb, I was a little happy to see that the protagonist is an aspiring artist because I think every content creator can connect to that. Plus, I hadn’t read any book about nomads so I was interested.

But that is what also pulled me away–I kept wondering if I would find the artist-centric book boring and what if nomads are just not the kind of people I want to read about. Or what if that cover is the only colourful thing in the book and it’s a very sad story about a teenage artist.

Oh, how wrong I was! This book is such a genuine journey of a teenager who is found torn between her family and her dreams. It’s much deeper when you actually step into the story. Being the practical and a career-oriented person that I am, I couldn’t even understand why Dessa was thinking twice before just leaving for an art internship. But that’s the best thing: I saw the entire story through Dessa and not through my own principles. If that’s not what a character should be like, I don’t know how one should be.

YOU CAN READ MY FULL REVIEW OF THIS BOOK HERE.

THE GILDED KING BY JOSIE JAFFREY

In the Blue, the world’s last city, all is not well.

Julia is stuck within its walls. She serves the nobility from a distance until she meets Lucas, a boy who believes in fairytales that Julia’s world can’t accommodate. The Blue is her prison, not her castle, and she’d escape into the trees if she didn’t know that contamination and death awaited humanity outside.

But not everyone in the Blue is human, and not everyone can be contained.

Beyond the city’s boundaries, in the wild forests of the Red, Cameron has precious little humanity left to lose. As he searches for a lost queen, he finds an enemy rising that he thought long dead. An enemy that the humans have forgotten how to fight.

One way or another, the walls of the Blue are coming down. The only question is what side you’ll be on when they do.

I received a physical copy of The Gilded King and while I was interested in this world that the blurb was giving into–Blue and Red–I was a little sceptical about the paranormal bits, especially after I read a few reviews that mentioned vampires. It’s not that I don’t like vampires but I don’t like the stereotypical, overused vampires who are there simply for strength, speed, and to suck.

But I was so amazed by not just the world building but even the characters, no matter what being they were considering the number of paranormal creatures this book has–mostly only humans, vampires and zombies. I grew to love this book so much, I can’t wait to read the sequel that was recently released!

YOU CAN READ MY FULL REVIEW OF THIS BOOK HERE.

KISS OF THE ROYAL BY LINDSEY DUGA

Princess Ivy has one goal—end the war against the Forces of Darkness.

Ivy’s magic is more powerful than any other Royal’s, but she needs a battle partner who can help her harness it. Prince Zach’s unparalleled skill with a sword should make them an unstoppable pair—if only they could agree on…well, just about anything.

But Ivy’s magic can only fully unlock with Zach’s help, and he’s not exactly cooperating.

Zach believes Ivy’s magic is dangerous. Ivy believes they’ll never win the war without it. Two warriors, one goal, and the fate of their world on the line. But the more they argue, the more they fall for each other. And only one of them can be right…

Kiss of the Royal sounded interesting to me but I was a little worried about how the ‘kiss’ would play out in the story and while I love bits of romance fused with other genres, I’m always sceptical about it because a lot of trope-induced romantic scenes or story lines can annoy the hell out of me.

But hell no! This book is one of my most favourite romantic story lines ever. It’s nothing like most romantic books and there’s so much development in their romantic relationship, I can’t help but announce that Zach and Ivy are in my long list of OTPs (one true pairings) Nobody falls in love instantly and I don’t want to spoil this book for anyone because I think not having any expectations has made this book surprise me all the more.

So read this without even reading the blurb. Just act like you don’t know anything about this! However, I’m a shameless blogger so…

YOU CAN READ MY FULL REVIEW OF THIS BOOK HERE.

I STOP SOMEWHERE BY T.E. CARTER

After she is raped and murdered, fifteen-year-old Ellie Frias, who felt invisible in life, finds herself caught in Hollow Oaks, New York, observing other brutal attacks, the police investigation, and more.

Come on! Won’t you be sceptical after reading that blurb-ed blurb? Okay so initially I thought this would be a mystery of some sort since there’s a murder and a police investigation being mentioned. And being the (sometimes) judgemental person I am, I thought this wouldn’t bind me and I’ll just be bored. Don’t ask my why…maybe the cover was grey?

And then this book hits me! And hits so bad that I’m bawling but I’m also happy because such books are meant to be read and cried for. Again, I won’t spoil the book but there’s such a sensitive voice to this story that makes you feel every emotion that the author has decided for you. I’ll only say one more thing:

YOU CAN READ MY FULL REVIEW OF THIS BOOK HERE.

SISTERS’ ENTRANCE BY EMTITHAL MAHMOUD

2015 World Poetry Slam Champion and Woman of the World co-Champion Emtithal “Emi” Mahmoud presents her hauntingly beautiful debut poetry collection.

Brimming with rage, sorrow, and resilience, this collection traverses an expansive terrain: genocide; diaspora; the guilt of surviving; racism and Islamophobia; the burdens of girlhood; the solace of sisterhood; the innocence of a first kiss.  Heart-wrenching and raw, defiant and empowering, Sisters’ Entrance explores how to speak the unspeakable. 

I wasn’t expecting less from this poetry collection but I was sceptical I wouldn’t like it that much because I’m the kind of reader who like fiction to be mixed with the hard truths and then served. So a raw collection made me nervous.

But I loved it! It loved it for exactly what I was sceptical about: the rawness. The way Emi has kept all her thoughts and all the reality right in front of the readers without cutting out the tough parts is amazing that’s exactly what I became a fan of.

YOU CAN READ MY FULL REVIEW OF THIS BOOK HERE.

And that’s it! 

DID YOU END UP LOVING A BOOK YOU DIDN’T EXPECT TO?

GIVEAWAY 

I’m thankful for all the love and support you guys show toward me and my content and as a little gratitude showcase, I’ve set up a giveaway over at my Instagram where three (or more!!!) winners can win a book from Book Depository! So if you’re looking to get one of these titles or any other (or have been wanting to read one since forever) you can head over to my Instagram and enter the giveaway!

A quick end note: any and all support toward this blog is appreciated and if you’re currently willing to help out this blog, please do consider donating through my ko-fi page. [all donations through this will be used for the blog/content creation/giveaways] Though, that’s not the only way you can support the blog–you can even purchase/pre-order any of these releases via my affiliate links that are spread throughout this post and that can help me earn a little through Amazon without any extra cost to you. But if you’re not able to do any of these two, (I still love you!!!) you can help the content by sharing it on social media and commenting.

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22 thoughts on “Five Books I Read In 2018 That I Didn’t Expect To Love But They Now Hold My Heart

  1. Yes!! All the gilded king love !! The sequel is SO. Good. too! I cannot wait to read the last one (though that’d be the end of it..🙈)

    Your destination is on the left looks good too! Ive never heard of that one before.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. WOW, you’re really making me pick up the sequel right now XD But yes, that’ll be the end of the series and WHAT WILL WE DO AFTER THAT?! 😦

      Definitely try Your Destination is on the Left! I hope you enjoy it 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. WE’LL REREAD OF COURSE ! ahaha 😅
        But to be real I kinda wanna pick up the Solis Invicti serie … getting to know Cam & Emmie’s backstory and all (though no Lucas..)

        Like

  2. Ahh what a great post! Your Destination Is On The Left sounds like such a fantastic book, I’m so happy you enjoyed it so much and that it was much deeper than it seemed, too. I really need to read it 😀

    Like

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