TTT: Book Recommendations I’m Glad I Took

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.

I take book recommendations from everywhere. Librarian’s choice shelves, bookseller picks, bookclub buddies, moms’ group message boards, bloggers, bookstagrammers, friends, relatives, neighbors, Goodreads algorithms… Everywhere.

And that’s because, most of the time, these recommendations pay off.

Here are 10 books I read, and enjoyed, I never would have picked up if someone hadn’t mentioned it first.

Home Before Dark by Riley Sager

What was it like? Living in that house.

Maggie Holt is used to such questions. Twenty-five years ago, she and her parents, Ewan and Jess, moved into Baneberry Hall, a rambling Victorian estate in the Vermont woods. They spent three weeks there before fleeing in the dead of night, an ordeal Ewan later recounted in a nonfiction book called House of Horrors. His tale of ghostly happenings and encounters with malevolent spirits became a worldwide phenomenon, rivaling The Amityville Horror in popularity—and skepticism.

The Herd by Andrea Bartz

The name of the elite, women-only coworking space stretches across the wall behind the check-in desk: THE HERD, the H-E-R always in purple. In-the-know New Yorkers crawl over each other to apply for membership to this community that prides itself on mentorship and empowerment. Among the hopefuls is Katie Bradley, who’s just returned from the Midwest after a stint of book research blew up in her face. Luckily, Katie has an in, thanks to her sister Hana, an original Herder and the best friend of Eleanor Walsh, its charismatic founder.

Then, on the night of the glitzy Herd news conference, Eleanor vanishes without a trace. Everybody has a theory about what made Eleanor run, but when the police suggest foul play, everyone is a suspect.

Educated by Tara Westover

Educated is an account of the struggle for self-invention. It is a tale of fierce family loyalty and of the grief that comes with severing the closest of ties. With the acute insight that distinguishes all great writers, Westover has crafted a universal coming-of-age story that gets to the heart of what an education is and what it offers: the perspective to see one’s life through new eyes and the will to change it.

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware

Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. The sky is clear, the waters calm, and the veneered, select guests jovial as the exclusive cruise ship, the Aurora, begins her voyage in the picturesque North Sea. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a dark and terrifying nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (Flavia de Luce #1) by Alan Bradley

It is the summer of 1950–and at the once-grand mansion of Buckshaw, young Flavia de Luce, an aspiring chemist with a passion for poison, is intrigued by a series of inexplicable events: A dead bird is found on the doorstep, a postage stamp bizarrely pinned to its beak. Then, hours later, Flavia finds a man lying in the cucumber patch and watches him as he takes his dying breath.

For Flavia, who is both appalled and delighted, life begins in earnest when murder comes to Buckshaw. “I wish I could say I was afraid, but I wasn’t. Quite the contrary. This was by far the most interesting thing that had ever happened to me in my entire life.”

Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts by Kate Racculia

A dying billionaire sends one woman and a cast of dreamers and rivals on a citywide treasure hunt in this irresistible novel by the author of Bellweather Rhapsody.

Tuesday Mooney is a loner. She keeps to herself, begrudgingly socializes, and spends much of her time watching old Twin Peaks and X-Files DVDs. But when Vincent Pryce, Boston’s most eccentric billionaire, dies—leaving behind an epic treasure hunt through the city, with clues inspired by his hero, Edgar Allan Poe—Tuesday’s adventure finally begins.

A deliciously funny ode to imagination, overflowing with love letters to art, from The Westing Game to Madonna to the Knights of the Round Table, Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts is the perfect read for thrill seekers, wanderers, word lovers, and anyone looking for an escape to the extraordinary.

Before I Wake by C.L. Taylor

This secret is killing me.

It’s only one line from her fifteen-year-old daughter’s diary, but Susan knows it means everything. Charlotte is smart, popular, and beautiful. She is also in a coma following what looks like a desperate suicide attempt. What’s more, Susan has no idea what compelled her daughter to step out in front of a city bus.

Did she really know her daughter at all? In her hunt for the truth, Susan begins to mistrust everyone close to Charlotte, and she’s forced to look further, into the depths of her own past. The secrets hidden there may destroy them both.

The Chain by Adrian McKinty

It’s something parents do every morning: Rachel Klein drops her daughter at the bus stop and heads into her day. But a cell phone call from an unknown number changes everything: it’s a woman on the line, informing her that she has Kylie bound and gagged in her back seat, and the only way Rachel will see her again is to follow her instructions exactly: pay a ransom, and find another child to abduct. This is no ordinary kidnapping: the caller is a mother herself, whose son has been taken, and if Rachel doesn’t do as she’s told, the boy will die.

Then She Was Gone by Lisa Jewell

THEN
She was fifteen, her mother’s golden girl. She had her whole life ahead of her. And then, in the blink of an eye, Ellie was gone.

NOW
It’s been ten years since Ellie disappeared, but Laurel has never given up hope of finding her daughter.

And then one day a charming and charismatic stranger called Floyd walks into a café and sweeps Laurel off her feet.

Before too long she’s staying the night at this house and being introduced to his nine year old daughter.

Poppy is precocious and pretty – and meeting her completely takes Laurel’s breath away.

Because Poppy is the spitting image of Ellie when she was that age. And now all those unanswered questions that have haunted Laurel come flooding back.

What happened to Ellie? Where did she go?

Who still has secrets to hide?

John Dies at the End (John Dies at the End #1) by David Wong

STOP. You should not have touched this flyer with your bare hands. NO, don’t put it down. It’s too late. They’re watching you. My name is David Wong. My best friend is John. Those names are fake. You might want to change yours. You may not want to know about the things you’ll read on these pages, about the sauce, about Korrok, about the invasion, and the future. But it’s too late. You touched the book. You’re in the game. You’re under the eye. The only defense is knowledge. You need to read this book, to the end. Even the part with the bratwurst. Why? You just have to trust me.

The important thing is this: The drug is called Soy Sauce and it gives users a window into another dimension. John and I never had the chance to say no. You still do. I’m sorry to have involved you in this, I really am. But as you read about these terrible events and the very dark epoch the world is about to enter as a result, it is crucial you keep one thing in mind: None of this was my fault.

What are some of your recommended favorites? Let me know or link your own TTT in the comments!

14 Comments Add yours

  1. Great list! I’ve been meaning to get to The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie for YEARS, and Home Before Dark is one I want to try, too.

    1. Resa says:

      I think that one was a library recommendation, but I’m so glad I took it. I’ve only read 2 in the series but it’s a lot of fun!

  2. deecbooks says:

    Great list. I have 2 of them on my TBR. Home Before Dark and Then She was gone. Can’t wait to read them.

    1. Resa says:

      I hope you enjoy!

  3. lydiaschoch says:

    Educated was such a good read.

    My post.

  4. Same. I love book recs, no matter what the source. They don’t always pay off, but often they do. Book people are the best people!

    Happy TTT!

    Susan
    http://www.blogginboutbooks.com

  5. evelynreads1 says:

    I really want to read Home Before Dark, The Woman in Cabin 10 and Then She Was Gone because of recommendations as well!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

    1. Resa says:

      Of the 3, Home Before Dark was probably my favorite (not that they aren’t all worth reading)

  6. My friend recommended Educated to me, too. I still haven’t read it, but I bought it!

    1. Resa says:

      Haha, I have a lot of those kinds of books waiting to be read too

  7. Home Before Dark was sooo good! I can’t wait to read more from him in the future!

    Lauren @ Always Me

    1. Resa says:

      It was such a perfect haunted house mystery!

  8. Great list, I must get to Home Before Dark.

  9. I love that you’re still so welcoming of recommendations. A lot of people start closing themselves off, but not us! No, there might be a mountain of books waiting to be read, but what’s one more? And I love your list this week—Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts is definitely going on my own pile.

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