Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Scared Of The Hype

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week, we’re talking about hype. Some books are so popular and so universally loved that I’m scared to read them. What if I hate them and become the black sheep of the book world? Here are ten books I own but haven’t read yet because I’m too intimidated by the shrieking internet masses.

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Scared Of The Hype

1. The Bear And The Nightingale by Katherine Arden

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn't mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse's fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa's mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa's new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa's stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse's most frightening tales.

2. Eliza And Her Monsters by Francesca Zappia

In the real world, Eliza Mirk is shy, weird, and friendless. Online, she’s LadyConstellation, the anonymous creator of the wildly popular webcomic Monstrous Sea. Eliza can’t imagine enjoying the real world as much as she loves the online one, and she has no desire to try.

Then Wallace Warland, Monstrous Sea’s biggest fanfiction writer, transfers to her school. Wallace thinks Eliza is just another fan, and as he draws her out of her shell, she begins to wonder if a life offline might be worthwhile.

But when Eliza’s secret is accidentally shared with the world, everything she’s built—her story, her relationship with Wallace, and even her sanity—begins to fall apart.

3. I’ll Be Gone In The Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search For The Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara

For more than ten years, a mysterious and violent predator committed fifty sexual assaults in Northern California before moving south, where he perpetrated ten sadistic murders. Then he disappeared, eluding capture by multiple police forces and some of the best detectives in the area.

Three decades later, Michelle McNamara, a true crime journalist who created the popular website TrueCrimeDiary.com, was determined to find the violent psychopath she called "the Golden State Killer." Michelle pored over police reports, interviewed victims, and embedded herself in the online communities that were as obsessed with the case as she was.

At the time of the crimes, the Golden State Killer was between the ages of eighteen and thirty, Caucasian, and athletic—capable of vaulting tall fences. He always wore a mask. After choosing a victim—he favored suburban couples—he often entered their home when no one was there, studying family pictures, mastering the layout. He attacked while they slept, using a flashlight to awaken and blind them. Though they could not recognize him, his victims recalled his voice: a guttural whisper through clenched teeth, abrupt and threatening.

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark—the masterpiece McNamara was writing at the time of her sudden death—offers an atmospheric snapshot of a moment in American history and a chilling account of a criminal mastermind and the wreckage he left behind. It is also a portrait of a woman’s obsession and her unflagging pursuit of the truth.

4. Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord's daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father's wishes and society's expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle's laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

5. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Ifemelu and Obinze are young and in love when they depart military-ruled Nigeria for the West. Beautiful, self-assured Ifemelu heads for America, where despite her academic success, she is forced to grapple with what it means to be black for the first time. Quiet, thoughtful Obinze had hoped to join her, but with post-9/11 America closed to him, he instead plunges into a dangerous, undocumented life in London. Fifteen years later, they reunite in a newly democratic Nigeria, and reignite their passion—for each other and for their homeland.

6. Leah On The Offbeat by Becky Albertalli

When it comes to drumming, Leah Burke is usually on beat—but real life isn’t always so rhythmic. An anomaly in her friend group, she’s the only child of a young, single mom, and her life is decidedly less privileged. She loves to draw but is too self-conscious to show it. And even though her mom knows she’s bisexual, she hasn’t mustered the courage to tell her friends—not even her openly gay BFF, Simon.

So Leah really doesn’t know what to do when her rock-solid friend group starts to fracture in unexpected ways. With prom and college on the horizon, tensions are running high. It’s hard for Leah to strike the right note while the people she loves are fighting—especially when she realizes she might love one of them more than she ever intended.

7. Sadie by Courtney Summers

Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray―a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America―overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.

8. They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

On September 5, a little after midnight, Death-Cast calls Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today.

Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure—to live a lifetime in a single day.

9. Born A Crime: Stories From A South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah is one of the comedy world’s brightest new voices, a light-footed but sharp-minded observer of the absurdities of politics, race, and identity, sharing jokes and insights drawn from the wealth of experience acquired in his relatively young life. As host of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah, he provides viewers in America and around the globe with their nightly dose of biting satire, but here Noah turns his focus inward, giving readers a deeply personal, heartfelt, and humorous look at the world that shaped him.

Noah was born a crime, the son of a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother, at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the first years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, take him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

10. Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

In Shaker Heights, a placid, progressive suburb of Cleveland, everything is meticulously planned–from the layout of the winding roads, to the colors of the houses, to the successful lives its residents will go on to lead. And no one embodies this spirit more than Elena Richardson, whose guiding principle is playing by the rules.

Enter Mia Warren–an enigmatic artist and single mother–who arrives in this idyllic bubble with her teenage daughter Pearl, and rents a house from the Richardsons. Soon Mia and Pearl become more than just tenants: all four Richardson children are drawn to the alluring mother-daughter pair. But Mia carries with her a mysterious past, and a disregard for the rules that threatens to upend this carefully ordered community.

When the Richardsons' friends attempt to adopt a Chinese-American baby, a custody battle erupts that dramatically divides the town and puts Mia and Mrs. Richardson on opposing sides. Suspicious of Mia and her motives, Mrs. Richardson becomes determined to uncover the secrets in Mia's past. But her obsession will come at unexpected and devastating costs to her own family–and Mia's.

Have you read any of these? Which are overhyped, and which deserve the collective screams of the bookish internet?


  1. I haven't read The Bear and the Nightingale exactly because I'm afraid of being disappointed lol. I will say that while Stalking Jack the Ripper is good, I think it could be ruined if you went in having high expectations. It's enjoyable, but it's definitely not OMG THIS IS AMAZING kind of good, if that makes sense.

  2. Little Fires Everywhere does sound intriguing.

    My TTT.

  3. I didn't care for Bear and Nightingale. The overall concept was good but there was a lot of nothing in the middle and tons of hanging threads that could have been great, if pulled. I did like I'll Be Gone in the Dark, but I like her writing anyway.

  4. Hype tends to burn me more times than not! I can see why you might be worried about a few of these. I checked out Sadie from the library but never read it. Maybe someday.

  5. I know exactly what you mean. The only one of these I have read is Americanah. I loved this author's other books, but this one seemed too preachy for me.

  6. I understand the hesitation to read a book, because of the high expectations. I usually have that with my favorite writers. Not every book by them is as great. I like this list! Sadie, Eliza and her Monsters and They Both Die at the End are high on my TBR list, and I can't wait to read it!

  7. I love Russian folklore so I thought The Bear and the Nightingale would be a big hit for me. Nope, DNF’d it. Just wasn’t for me. I was nervous about Leah on the Offbeat because I’d seen to many mediocre reviews but I adored Simon Vs so I gave it a.go. I didn’t*love* it (I found Leah really unlikable most of the time) but I still enjoyed catching up with the rest of the characters.

  8. I have Katherine Arden's books on my TBR queue as well but I think I'm holding it off until I get my hands on the last book. I also have Little Fires Everywhere on my queue which I hope I'll get around to reading soon...

    My TTT

  9. Ooh I love The Bear and the Nightingale (the entire trilogy) so much, but I totally understand the hype-induced intimidation--that's actually why it took me so long to finally read it, also, haha! Sadie and Little Fires Everywhere are also ones I'm intimidated by.

  10. From all of these, I only read Bear and the Nightingale (didn't like it) and I have Little Fires Everywhere and Americanah in my collection but still haven't read them.
    I would still like to read some ofyour picks but didn't get around to them.

  11. I started Noah's book but hope to finish it. The others look interesting and have been on my TBR lists as well

  12. "Scared of the Hype" says it all about so many of mine, too. Great work!

  13. I almost bought Little Fires Everywhere at one point, since I've been reading so-called domestic thrillers or whatever they're categorized as. Not that this one is exactly a thriller, sounds like, but I thought it might be good. Eliza and her Monsters is another one I kinda wanna read.

  14. I LOVED Eliza, and Sadie was dark, but so well written. Leah was a disappointment for me. I loved catching up with Simon and Blue, but hated some of the stuff Albertalli did with the other characters.

  15. I've actually read none of these! The Bear and The Nightingale has always appealed to me, but it's not even on my TBR.

  16. I feel the same about The Bear and the Nightingale! I will read it eventually. I will say that I didn't love Stalking Jack the Ripper, but I loved the series starting with book two!

  17. I still want/need to read Eliza, Sadie, and They Both Die at the End (I do own this one!) I really loved Stalking Jack the Ripper and that whole series - can't wait to read the fourth one. I hear people like the second better, so even if you don't LOVE Stalking Jack, you might really like the series after that.


  18. Blogger ate my rather long comment, so I'll come back later, but I don't think you'll be disappointed with the Winternight trilogy. 👍✨

  19. I have read and adored Sadie!!!! But avoid The Bear and the Nightingale for the same reasons!

  20. Well, I can vouch for two on this list that are worth the hype: Born a Crime and Little Fires Everywhere.
    They are such good reads. I highly recommend both.

  21. Born a Crime and Americanah are amazing! I was very disappointed Leah on the Offbeat.

  22. I've read #1 and #4. I loved #1 and I thought #4 was ok. You should definitely give them a try!

  23. As I mostly read Indie books, I'm not often in contact with mega hyped books so I don't get a chance to worry about hype or it not living up to hype! I think that makes me lucky! Mind you I've never worried about having different opinions on books from everyone I know-I just do what I do! It is disappointing to be so excited for a book and then be left thinking 'what are they all seeing that I'm not?' Hype can be fatal!

  24. Being scared of the hype is a real issue! I would tell you which of these books I've read and enjoyed, but that would just be more hype ... so that would work against the book, no?

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  25. The Bear and the Nightingale was good, although it wasn't my favorite for the year. I really want to read Eliza and Her Monsters.

  26. I adore Sadie, and would highly recommend it if you want to read something unique with great characters. I loved the podcast in it. I loved The Bear and the Nightingale, but I was terribly disappointed by its sequel, and never finished the trilogy. I'm definitely in the minority there, though - most people enjoyed the second book more than the first. I'll Be Gone in the Dark and Stalking Jack the Ripper are good (four star reads for me), but not GREAT like I expected them to be. The latter has a really cool atmosphere, though, and I love the romance in it. Hope you'll enjoy all these books!

    Veronika @ Wordy and Whimsical

  27. SJtR is on my list too, also because of hype and then extra because series! I thought Sadie was really good, as was Eliza, and They Both Die. All were at least 4 stars for me! I'm a bit scared of Bear and Nightingale too tbh. And I have heard so many mixed things about Leah on the Offbeat that I am scared too! You reminded me that I definitely need to read Trevor Noah though, I adore him!

  28. I have only read one of these but I think that The Bear and the Nightingale was worth the hype. I started listening to They Both Die At the End during a road trip with my daughter but I didn't finish it. I thought it was good though. I have a lot of the other books on your list so maybe I am scared too!

  29. I have not read Americanah, but I love Achiehie’s writings


  30. Great post! I just recently read Sadie, and I must say ... it's absolutely incredible! I had been putting it off because of the hype as well, but it was everything I wanted and more! I also enjoyed Eliza and her Monsters, but it wasn't *quite* as amazing as I hoped it'd be.

    Kelly @ Another Book in the Wall

  31. Lovely post! I haven't read the Bear and the Nightingale either, or Little Fires Everywhere, I've heard incredible things about both and I'm too nervous to get to them haha :)

  32. I feel you! That's the reason I haven't picked up ASadie and Leah on the Offbeat! Of these, I've read The Bear and the Nightingale (surprisingly loved it) and Stalking jack the Ripper (I was sorely disappointed) but that seems to be an unpopular opinion ans most people love it!


  33. I feel the same way about The Bear the Nightingale and Eliza and her Monsters as well! I think Americanah and They Both Die at the end were both just okay reads for me, and I found Leah on the Offbeat disappointing :( But I read and loved Born a Crime and Little Fires Everywhere! Both of those are very deserving of the hype. And as for Sadie... well, that's my current read so opinion is pending ;)