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11 / 30 books. 37% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

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My Progress:

23 / 51 states. 45% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

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16 / 50 books. 32% done!

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Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

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2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

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Mount TBR Reading Challenge

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21 / 100 books. 21% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

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58 / 104 books. 56% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

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42 / 52 books. 81% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

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59 / 165 books. 36% done!
Tuesday, May 09, 2023

Top Ten Random Reading Recs From Goodreads

Today's Top Ten Tuesday prompt is one I feel like I've done a million times: Top Ten Books You Recommend to Others Most Often. Basically, I most recommend the books and authors I most love. I talk about these gems here on the blog so much that anyone who stops by BBB regularly could probably make a list of the ten books I recommend most for me! In looking for a way to twist the topic into something fresh, I decided to utilize a function of Goodreads that I've never really played with before. Under the "Browse" heading, there is an option to get reading recommendations based on the books you've recorded as read on Goodreads or that appear in your lists on the site. I'm constantly adding data about my reading to Goodreads, so it should know me pretty well by now. We'll see how the recommendation generator did in just a sec...

Before we do that, be sure to click on over to That Artsy Reader Girl and give our hardworking host, Jana, some love. You can find all the details about TTT on her blog. It's a great weekly meme. You should definitely join in the fun!

Top Ten Books Goodreads Recommended to Me

I have a lot of reading lists on Goodreads. A bunch of books were suggested for each one, so I just used the first book on the first ten lists to make today's TTT list. 

Based on my TBR Shelf:

Yesterday's Tides
by Roseanna M. White
—This is a dual-timeline novel that spans both World War I and World War II. It's set on Ocracoke Island, a small community where life is quiet and simple—until German U-boats start causing trouble. When an injured special agent washes ashore, he comes under the care of Evie Farrow, who runs the local inn. As the two get to know each other, they discover their growing relationship echoes another that occurred in the same inn 30 years before. As past secrets come to light, the couple can't help but wonder what it will mean for their own futures.

Verdict: Well done, Goodreads! This historical novel sounds right up my alley. I've never read anything by White, but I like the sound of this one. Plus, I need a book with "tide" in the title for a reading challenge. Score.

Based on my Adult Mystery/Thriller TBR Shelf:

Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver—Inspired by Charles Dickens' David Copperfield, Kingsolver explores the effects of poverty on a man born into a penniless environment in Appalachia. Blessed with only his good looks and a mop of eye-catchingly copper hair, he plows through a lifetime of struggles.

Verdict: Another hit! This book is one I've been eyeing, although I apparently haven't actually added it to my TBR list yet. Although the plot summary gives little away in terms of what actually happens in the story, the publisher promises that the novel has "a plot that never pauses for breath." I'm in.

Based on my YA Historical Fiction TBR Shelf:

The Hidden Prince by Tessa Afshar—With a Biblical setting, this Christian (adult?) novel features Keren, the daughter of Jewish captives in Babylon. She is sold into the household of Daniel, where she soon becomes his most trusted scribe. After a horrible accident disrupts her ordered life, she is sent to a foreign country and given an odd job: teach a shepherd boy to become a lord. Why has she been tasked with this strange mission? Who exactly is this shepherd?

Verdict: Hmm, I'm not sure on this one. I usually avoid historical fiction set before the mid-18th Century and Bible-inspired fiction isn't something I've ever really enjoyed. The Hidden Prince gets high marks from Goodreads reviewers, though, so maybe I should give it a go? I probably won't, but you never know...

Based on my Middle Grade Mystery/Thriller TBR Shelf:

A Super Scary Narwhalloween by Ben Clanton—The 8th installment in Clanton's Narwhal and Jelly graphic novel series, this outing celebrates the spookiest night of the year. Narwhal is totally into dressing up and enjoying the holiday. Jelly? Not so much. He finds it way too scary. When Narwhal gets swallowed up by a terrifying sea monster, Jelly must face his fears in order to save his friend.

Verdict: I laughed out loud when I saw this suggestion. This series sounds cute, but it's really not the kind of thing I read.

Based on my Adult General TBR Shelf: 

A Silken Thread by Brenda Jackson—Erica Sanders and Brian Lawson are the perfect couple. Everyone agrees about that. Well, everyone except Erica's mother, Karen (naturally), who will do whatever it takes to keep the couple apart. When she hires a private detective to suss out the Brian's most intimate secrets, what she finds will devastate the families of both Erica and Brian. Though hurt, Erica can't deny her feelings for Brian. She doesn't want to give him up, even though everyone is now telling her to stay away from him. Do Erica and Brian have any chance of finding their once-guaranteed happily ever after? Or will the mistakes of the past ruin any hope they have for a future together?

Verdict: Yeah, no. Way too much drama here for me. I'll give A Silken Thread a hard pass, Goodreads.

Based on my Young Adult Mystery/Thriller TBR Shelf:

Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber—This is the first installment in a YA fantasy series about a young woman who is heartbroken when she discovers that the love of her life plans to marry someone else. Desperate, she makes a dangerous deal with the cunning Prince of Hearts. It's not long before she realizes just how foolish it is to bargain with an immortal...

Verdict: I know Garber is a popular author, but nothing about this book appeals to me. Nice try, Goodreads, but nope.

Based on my Adult Historical Fiction TBR Shelf:

Laurel's Dream
by Pepper Basham
—This book is the last (most recent?) installment in a 13-volume series penned by a variety of popular Christian writers. Laurel's Dream takes place in the Blue Ridge Mountains in 1918. It features Laurel McAdams, a young woman whose life's ambition is to become a teacher and bring education to her impoverished community. When a disgraced British man comes to the area as a missionary, he finds hope in an unexpected friendship with Laurel that is quickly becoming more. Can the couple find a way to be together despite the challenges that threaten to tear them apart?

Verdict: While I like historical fiction and Appalachian settings, this one might be too romance-y for me. I won't dismiss it outright, but it also doesn't sound all that appealing to me.

Based on my Middle Grade General TBR Shelf:

Worst-Case Collin by Rebecca Caprara—Ever since his mom died in a car accident, 12-year-old Collin has had trouble controlling his anxiety. The only thing that calms him is planning for every possible kind of emergency, from a deadly riptide to embarrassing halitosis. Meanwhile, his dad is growing more distant and has turned to hoarding as a way to soothe his own anxieties. How desperate will Collin's situation get before he's finally able to ask for the help he needs to cope?

Verdict: I've never heard of this verse novel before, but it sounds like one I would like. Thanks for the heads-up, Goodreads!

Based on my Young Adult Post-Apocalyptic/Dystopian TBR Shelf:

Blue Exorcist by Kazue Kato—In this first installment of the Blue Exorcist manga series, a boy discovers that the blood of Satan runs through his veins. Desperate to keep this disturbing information to himself while he figures out how to defeat the devil, he starts training as an exorcist at the mysterious True Cross Academy. Can he find enough power within himself to banish demons, especially those lurking inside himself?

Verdict: My 14-year-old daughter might go for this one, but I have no clue why Goodreads chose it for me! I have no interest in manga, for one, and this plot sounds super weird, for two. No thanks, Goodreads.

Based on my Middle Grade Historical Fiction TBR Shelf:

Running While Black: Finding Freedom in a Sport That Wasn't Built For Us
by Alison Mariella Désir
—When Désir hit rock bottom, she found solace in running. Training for a marathon helped her improve both her physical and mental health. As she got more into the sport, she started investigating its history, which she found disturbingly white. Désir advocates for change and offers ideas for creating a more inclusive running community.

Verdict: This book seems like a super weird choice for this category, doesn't it? I'm the adoptive mother of a bi-racial child, so I'm interested in racial issues, but running really isn't a topic I care about. I'll skip this one.

Goodreads made a couple of useful suggestions for me, but I don't think I'll be relying on it for future recs! Ha ha. It was a fun exercise, though. What do you think of Goodreads' choices for me? Have you read any of them? What books do you recommend most often? I'd truly love to know. Leave me a comment on this post and I will gladly return the favor on your blog. I also reply to comments here.

Happy TTT!


  1. I had forgotten that Goodreads has a random recommendation feature. Now I'm curious about how well it would do with suggesting books for me! I'm personally more likely to find a book on the StoryGraph recommendation list, since I get to tell it what I'm looking for (and what I DON'T want to read) on that one.

    1. I've never used StoryGraph, but it sounds smarter than GR :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Nicole!

  2. This is such a clever idea for a TTT post! I love it.

    My post:

    1. I've been doing TTT for so long that it feels as if I've done all the topics twenty times over. Sometimes I have to get creative!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lydia!

  3. I also loved Demon Copperhead. However I read Once Upon A Broken Heart and REALLY did not like it.

    1. I've heard great things about DEMON COPPERHEAD. And, yeah, ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART just isn't the kind of thing I read. Occasionally, I branch out and read something outside of my comfort reading zone, but not often. Ha ha.

      Thanks for stopping in, Bree!

  4. Demon Copperhead is my list, too.

    1. If it's one of your top ten most recommended books, it must be good! I'm excited to read it.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Anne!

  5. I haven’t yet come across a Goodreads rec that I followed through on! ~Carol @ ReadingLadies

    1. To be fair, GR gave me a bunch of recs for each category and I didn't really look through them. I just picked the first one. You can also tell it which ones you're interested in and which you're not, so presumably it "learns" how to give you better recs?? It's not a feature I need anyway since I get so many great recs from all the book blogs I read :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Carol!

  6. I actually did read Once Upon a Broken Heart, without realising its a spin-off of a previous series lol. I enjoyed it, but haven't felt a need to pick up the sequel. Goodreads recs are hit-and-miss for me too, I'm more likely to use it to look up books specifically once I've got a suggestion from blogs/SM.

    1. Yeah, there's a reason the recommendations feature is not one I use!

      I'm glad you enjoyed ONCE UPON A BROKEN HEART, even if you didn't love it enough to keep going with the series. That happens to me a lot, but at least you don't have to feel like you wasted time reading it if it was at least enjoyable.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Louise!

  7. This looks like a fun list to make! I've seen a lot of praise for Demon Copperhead.

    1. Same! I really haven't seen any negative reviews for it. I'm excited to read it and see what I think.

      Thanks for popping in, Jen!

  8. Stephen @ Reading Freely10 May, 2023 06:53

    I like your variant! I tried to get Bing to make reccommendations to me based on a list of my previous reading, but I could never get more than seven original would invariably include stuff I'd already read!

    1. That is definitely a problem when you read as much as we do!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Stephen!

  9. Yeah, those more-miss-than-hit recs seems pretty on-brand for Goodreads. LOL

    1. Right? Although, like I said above, I didn't look through ALL of the recs it gave me. There may have been more of them in there that I would like. Maybe I'll go back and look one of these days, but I already have hundreds of books on my TBR lists so I'm probably set for the next 100 years or so!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Tanya!

  10. Well, I added almost all of these to my TBR just like I knew I would. Awesome picks Susan.

    1. Sorry/not sorry! LOL.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Susan!

  11. It's always entertaining to try to figure out why certain books end up recommended "based on my reading"... it can be very hard to see the connection!

    1. Right? It's very confusing sometimes. Like, with the manga book GR recommended to me. I've never read anything even remotely similar to that before, so why in the world?? Weird.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Lisa!

  12. I love this twist! I haven't read any of these, but now you have me curious about what Goodreads would recommend to me. ;)

    1. You should try it, just to see. You'll get some laughs out of it at least :)

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Dedra!

  13. This was a fun topic change! I've tried their recommendations before and they were really.. off on a lot of them. haha. It was entertaining for sure!

    1. They're good for laughs, if nothing else!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Leslie!

  14. I love your twist on this week's theme. I may have to borrow it some time. Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier.

    Pam @ Read! Bake! Create!

    1. Go for it! I'll be interested to see if GR comes up with some good ones for you.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Pam!

  15. Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver has won the Pulitzer!

    1. It's getting lots of buzz and praise. I need to read it already and see what all the fuss is about.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Rebecca!

  16. I really like your spin on this week's topic and will definitely be stealing it in the future, so I hope you don't mind! Goodreads recs are usually hit or miss for me too - I got the biblical Christian historical fiction too, and that isn't my style at all either. But I can assure you that Demon Copperhead is an amazing book, so you won't be sorry about that one, even if it is a bit heartwrenching at times.

    1. Feel free to use this topic. I will definitely be interested to see how GR recommending books for others.

      I do read Christian fiction occasionally, so it's not all that surprising that I got Biblical novels recommended to me. It's still not really my thing, though.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and oommenting, Leah!

  17. Ahhh what a great spin on the prompt Susan! I am adding Demon Copperhead to my TBR, I have been meaning to read a lot more mystery/thrillers these days. Love the roundup!

    1. I've been reading tons of mysteries and thrillers lately. I usually alternate them with historicals and other reads, but I've read a number of them in a row lately. I'm just in a mystery/thriller mood, I guess.

      Thanks for stopping in, Tanaz!

  18. I've never used this feature so thanks for sharing. I loved Demon Copperhead and hope you will too.

    1. I've notice the Recommendations feature before, but this was the first time I played around with it. It was a fun little diversion.

      Thanks for popping by, curlygeek04!

  19. I think Goodreads did a fairly good job for you. Perhaps I will try it, too!

    1. It didn't do too badly. Like I mentioned to others, it recommended a number of books in each category and I only glanced at them quickly. If I had gone through them all, I might have found more that were to my liking. I just chose the first book listed to make it easy. Let me know how it goes if you give it a go!

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Deb!

  20. This is such a fun idea for a post, I'm definitely going to borrow it the next time I want to switch up the topic for TTT!

    1. Go for it! I'd love to see how you fare with the GR recs.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Jo!

  21. I love your take on this and what an interesting mix of books! Now I need to go play with this feature on Goodreads. I'm not sure I've ever really looked at their recommendations.

    1. I never had before. It was fun to try the feature out. I probably need to play with it more to "teach" it what I like.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Katherine!

  22. Nice variety of book recs! :)

    1. Yes, I like that GR recommended books in a variety of categories.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Meezan!

  23. Once Upon a Broken Heart is a fun saga, I didn't like Caraval but yes, this trilogy has more elements of fairytales

    1. I bought a copy of CARAVAL when it first came out, but I still haven't read it. I don't know if I ever will, honestly. YA fantasy has never been my thing.

      Thanks for popping in, TheMoonPhoenix!

  24. I think the novel I have read by Pepper is a contemporary so that probably makes a difference, but I think her style does tend more towards the romance. But I know SO many love her books, too. And I hear the same about Roseanna's books as well. Thanks a bunch for visiting my website this week. Also, fun topic! ;D

    1. I've also heard good things about both these authors. I should give them a try and see what I think.

      Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Rissi!

  25. Thank you for sharing about the “Browse” heading on Goodreads! Some books were on the money and others….not so much. Tessa Afshar’s books never fail to disappoint me. I do enjoy Biblical fiction as it gives me some cultural context. I hope you have a great reading week!

  26. Ha ha. Yes, that seems about right for Goodreads. I do think the feature can "learn," though. We'll see.

    To be fair, I've read very little Biblical fiction and I did enjoy Orson Scott Card's series about women from the Bible.

    Thanks, as always, for coming by and commenting, Miaismine!

  27. Somehow I missed commenting last week. I'm so sorry! It looks like GR recommended some good ones to you. I always enjoy Kingslover books. I love this twist on the topic.

  28. This is such a fun take on the topic! So funny to see how sometimes Goodreads gets it right, and sometimes... not so much :)


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