BLOGTOBER Day 20: Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I’ve Read Because of Recommendations

I’m someone who normally runs out and purchases my friend’s recommendations immediately… Then they sit festering on my shelves for so long that I completely forgot who recommended which book to me. (I’m terrible, I know).

However, these ten books are ones which remind me very strongly of each of the people who recommended them to me. I hope their recommendations help you find a new favourite book!

10. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

I read the entire The Forest of Hands and Teeth trilogy after my friend Lexi recommended them to me. I waited until we had a huge argument and were no longer talking so I could wallow in the pain of our friendship being over, thinking I was going to love these books and hate the fact that I couldn’t talk to her about them… But I ended up not enjoying them that much. Oops. (I didn’t tell her that when we started talking again, though, or that might have been the final nail in the coffin for that friendship!).

The Forest of Hands and Teeth is a zombie story in which the zombies are called the Unconsecrated, and they live in the forest which surrounds Mary’s little village. Other than that, I can’t remember an awful lot about this book, apart from a scene with some sort of treetop huts? Weird, the images that stick in your mind this many years after reading something.

9. The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien cover

I’m not sure if this counts or not, because I started The Fellowship of the Ring after my friend Jonny recommended it to me, read 100 pages… Then finally finished it earlier this year, over half a decade after first starting it. I guess I wouldn’t have been so determined to read it if it hadn’t been sitting on my ‘currently-reading’ shelf on Goodreads, and it wouldn’t have been there without Jonny’s recommendation… So it’s a stretch, but I think it can feature on this list!

The Fellowship of the Ring is the first book in the Lords of the Rings series, following Frodo Baggins as his cousin Frodo gifts him a magical ring and then promptly disappears, leaving Frodo to deal with the fallout.

I’ll be honest and say I’m not a huge fan of the Lord of the Rings series so far. The books are slow, there’s too much exposition and I just really do not care about the story, so I’m not looking forward to finishing this trilogy.

8. Horus Rising by Dan Abnett

I can’t really remember anything about Horus Rising, the first book in the Horus Heresy series, but I remember enjoying it far more than I thought I was going to. My friend Tom has read all of the books in the Horus Heresy series – which is impressive, considering there are over fifty books in the series – and recently my friend James has been picking up the spin-off series, The Primarchs, and has recommended them to me which is why these books are at the forefront of my mind.

The Horus Heresy series is set in the world of Warhammer 40K, following the Space Marines as they battle their way across the galaxy. These books probably laid the blueprints for how much I enjoyed Red Rising by Pierce Brown, as the battle sequences are very well described and easy to visualise. I’d definitely like to give these a reread at some point.

7. Atonement by Ian McEwan

Another Jonny recommendation. I read this one way back in sixth form, and I can’t really remember anything about it.

In fact, while writing this I’ve just googled ‘what happens in Atonement’, read one sentence and gone, “ahh, yeah!”. It’s one of those twists that it’s hard to remember, but as soon as you recall where the story ended up you being to remember why you didn’t love it.

I gave this four stars, but that was generous. It was one of the first pieces of literary fiction I read for fun (well, to impress my friend) rather than because it was assigned reading, and although the writing is good the plot is rather lacking.

I’ve tried a few of Ian McEwan’s other books and my reactions have ranged from apathy to utter distaste, so I think I’ll be avoiding his writing in future.

6. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

When I first met Sean this was his favourite book. I don’t know if that’s changed – we have read at least 200 books together in the past couple of years, so he has a lot to choose from! – but I read the entire Hitchhiker’s series based off of his recommendation.

The second book in this trilogy of five – The Restaurant at the End of the Universe – remains my favourite, but I do want to reread these at some point. I feel as though I flew through them the first time around because they’re very short books. I think the longest one may still come in at under 300 pages! But I’d love to reread these and really savour Douglas Adams British humour.

5. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett

Good Omens was the first book I read by either Neil Gaiman or Terry Pratchett, and I thought it was brilliant.

I read this at the recommendation of my friend Jenny, who really loves both of these authors, and she did not steer me wrong.

Good Omens is the story of an angel and a demon who team up to stop the impending Apocalypse, after realising that they quite like life on Earth and would rather it continue as it is. However, it’s not as easy as they think it might be, because the boy that they think is the antichrist isn’t – they were switched at birth, and now no-one knows where the actual antichrist is.

If you’re a fan of blunders and mishaps causing all sorts of chaos and mayhem, this is the perfect book for you. The Amazon adaptation is also brilliant: casting David Tennant and Michael Sheen was genius.

4. Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens

I eventually picked up the Murder Most Unladylike series when Robin Stevens was the featured author of the month in the British Books Challenge, but these books were originally recommended to me by my friend Anya.

I often find that my reading tastes align nicely with Anya’s so I should have trusted her recommendation on these, but she recommended them at a time when I didn’t read much middle-grade. I thought of them as children’s books and didn’t think I should waste my time on them (I know, I was one of those awful people!) but my attitude towards middle-grade has changed a lot in the past couple of years, and the Murder Most Unladylike series is partly to thank for that.

Robin Stevens murder mystery stories will leave the most ardent adult crime and thriller readers guessing, so I definitely wouldn’t have cracked any of the cases if I’d been reading the adventures of Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong when I was younger!

3. The Girl in the Ice by Robert Bryndza

My mum recommended The Girl in the Ice to me a few years ago, so when I asked her to choose some books for us to read over the summer this was one of her picks.

The Girl in the Ice is the first book in the Erika Foster series by Robert Bryndza.

When the body of a politician’s daughter is found, Erika Foster is put in charge of the investigation despite some traumatic events in her recent past which have seen her taking some time away from work. All eyes are on this case, and the tension rises when the murder is linked to three other unsolved murders which have taken place across London.

Erika must keep her cool under pressure to try to catch the killer before there are any more victims, while trying to put her personal tragedy behind her.

The character of Erika Foster is so compelling to read, and although the solution to this mystery is somewhat predictable the way that the events play out is gripping. I’m looking forward to continuing on with this series.

2. We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver

It feels odd to be talking about We Need to Talk About Kevin, because I hated this book. I am always interested in books about school shootings, so this one – which follows a mother writing letters to her child’s father dissecting the events leading up to his horrendous killing spree – should have been a new favourite. Sadly, I found this one boring and struggled to get through it, and it made me decide to avoid Lionel Shriver’s writing in future.

I felt awful for not liking this book, because my friend Kelsey recommended it to be and on the face of things this should have been a match made in heaven. I remember her asking whether I was enjoying it every time I got on the school bus and I didn’t know how to say I wasn’t; I’m so sorry, Kels!

1. Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt

Unconventional by Maggie Harcourt

The last book I want to talk about is my favourite out of all of these recommendations, and it’s another book I read thanks to Anya. In fact, she actually let me borrow her copy of this book, so if she hadn’t recommended it to me I wouldn’t have any way of reading it!

Unconventional follows Lexi Angelo, who helps out at her dad’s event business running – you guessed it – conventions. Set at each of the conventions which takes place in this year, we meet Lexi as she is set the challenge of being the personal assistant to an arrogant teenage author called Aidan Green, and she discovers he isn’t as bad as he first seemed.

This is still the only Maggie Harcourt book I’ve read, but I’m really looking forward to reading more of her writing. The setting and the characters were so cute and I loved the enemies-to-lovers romance; I definitely might reread this soon, as I missed attending conventions during the summer!

I hope you enjoyed this Top Ten Tuesday post. Please let me know in the comments if there are any books which you’ve read based off of your friend’s recommendations, and whether you’d recommend them to me!

See you tomorrow,