Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I’ve Enjoyed Recently That Weren’t My Typical Genre

I LOVE PARANORMAL AND URBAN FANTASY. Human-like creatures (e.g. vampires, incubi, ghosts, witches, shifters, demons, etc.) are my jam. I also love historical fantasy, magical realism, dystopian, post-apocalyptic, and even the occasional genetic-engineering or cyborg book. So those are the genres I read. Therefore, those are the genres this post will not be about.

But I like certain genres for a reason, and, since I know what I like, I tend to stick to it. That made finding ten other genres I've even read recently, let alone liked, difficult, but I did my best.

However, just because *I* didn't like something, it doesn't mean *you* won't. And if you just so happen to like the genres I don't, I guess you're in luck ;-)

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is:

Top Ten Books I’ve Enjoyed Recently that Weren’t My Typical Genre

A Girl's Guide to Vampires by Katie MacAlister | books, reading, book covers
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson | books, reading, book covers
Winterspell by Claire Legrand | books, reading, book covers
Cold Feet by Jay Northcote | books, reading, book covers
These Battered Hands by Laurel Ulen Curtis | books, reading, book covers

10. A Girl’s Guide to Vampires by Katie MacAlister – Chick Lit

I don’t know if I would use the word enjoyed per se… but I did like it when I first read it as a teen, so that counts for something I suppose. It did have some funny moments, but chick lit just really isn’t for me anymore.

9. The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson – Classics

I don’t read or like many classics, but this one was surprisingly relatable and almost modern-feeling, considering how long ago it was written. It wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever read, but it wasn’t bad either.

8. Winterspell by Claire Legrand (Review) – Steampunk

I feel like I’ve really given steampunk a fair shot at this point, but it’s just not really for me. Winterspell, however, had a lot of things I really liked and mixed the steampunk with the magic in a kind of unique way.

7. Cold Feet by Jay Northcote (Mini Review) – Contemporary Romance

To be fair, I do occasionally read contemporary romance if it’s M-M, which this one was, but it’s still not my typical genre. This story was light and fluffy, but it was also adorable and realistic.

6. These Battered Hands by Laurel Ulen Curtis (Review) – Sports Romance

This is the only sports romance I’ve ever read in my life, and I only read it because it was about gymnastics, but I did enjoy it.

Mud by E.J. Wenstrom | books, reading, book covers
Dollhouse by Anya Allyn | books, reading, book covers
The Shifter by Janice Hardy | books, reading, book covers
Nocte by Courtney Cole | books, reading, book covers
Saga Vol. 1 by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples | books, reading, book covers

5. Mud by E.J. Wenstrom – Visionary & Metaphysical

This genre is defined in all different ways, but this seems to be a good one: a “genre that blends stories about the inner, incorporeal, supernatural, or transcendent aspects of human experience with some form of philosophy. Readers may gain insight into, or be stimulated to reflect on, such things as the nature of existence, the mind, the soul, the psyche, psychology, the spiritual journey and so on.” (source) This book isn’t classified under this genre, but I feel like it fits given that the MC is a golem who wants a soul more than anything so that he can be human, and the story involves deities and an underworld that he travels through.

4. Dark Carousel Series by Anya Allyn – Horror

As far as horror goes, this is pretty light, and it’s YA, but it was a pretty interesting series involving ghosts, kidnapping, a giant dollhouse, and all sorts of creepy stuff.

3. The Healing Wars Series by Janice Hardy (Review) – High Fantasy

This was a fun and funny middle grade trilogy with ridiculously lovable characters.

2. The Nocte Trilogy by Courtney Cole – Psychological Thriller

I didn’t really want to include this on the list because, while the first book was pretty amazing, from there the series just dissolved into utter nonsense and disappointment. And became more mystical than psychological. But still, the first book was great! (And apparently some people liked the series end, so to each his own.)

1. Saga Series by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples (Review) – Graphic Novel

Technically I guess this isn’t a genre, but it’s still something out of my usual. Saga is fun and beautifully drawn with great characters. I also really want to recommend Sex Criminals by Matt Fraction and Chip Zdarsky. I LOVED it (Mini Review), the first volume at least, even more than Saga.


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What books have YOU enjoyed recently that were outside of your typical genres?


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  1. Greg

    I have trouble with steampunk too, I WANT to like it but I always seem to be disappointed. I like some aspects of it but I just never seem to find the total package. Winterspell looks interesting and I’m glad you found one you like. I’m still looking… πŸ™‚

    Psychological thrillers are another genre I never used to read, but lately I’ve been kinda intrigued by a few. Stuff like Gone Girl and some other thrillers have actually looked good to me, I like a good mindtwist so I’ll be reading more of those this year. And graphic novels- I used to review a fair amount of those but haven’t lately. I just ordered some though … both those you mention I’ve heard raves about.

    1. Kristen Burns

      Yes! That’s exactly it. It’s like, I WANT to like steampunk, but I just… don’t. Yet I keep downloading and buying it anyway. I don’t know what’s wrong with me lol. I think it’s that a lot of steampunk is mixed with fantasy, so the books catch my interest for the fantasy aspect, and then I end up disliking them for the steampunk aspect -_-

      I don’t know, after the end of the Nocte Trilogy, I don’t trust mindtwist type books anymore. I feel like they’re all going to betray me lol. Glad you’re finding some you’re interested in though. And yes! I really have loved what I’ve read of both Saga and Sex Criminals so far.

      1. Greg

        I think I’m the same. The fantasy stuff appeals to me but then the steampunk just… I don’t know, doesn’t work or something. I like the idea of airships and mystical energies that run things, that kind of stuff, but some of it is just, silly. Like contraptions with silly names, those don’t work for me.

        LOL yeah a mindtwist type book can be hit or miss. I see a few psychological thrillers here and there on blogs that look good and suspenseful but I have to choose carefully, as it’s not my usual go- to.

        1. Kristen Burns

          I don’t even know what it is about steampunk that bothers me. I think some of it does come across as kind of silly. But yeah, I think I’m sworn off of the mindtwist, psychological, confusing books for the time being. Maybe you’ll have better luck than me πŸ˜›

  2. Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing

    Funny thing is, that I ismply do not read books that are not from my prefered genre. I just can’t bring myself to read them if I don’t see the appeal. And in the past when I did give and read something out of my genre because my friends loved it, I always ended up disappointed or not enjoying book at all.
    So good for you that you were able to enjoy these ten books even though they are out of your favorite genres πŸ™‚

    1. Kristen Burns

      For the most part I also stick to my preferred genres. Most of these I read because they were at least a subgenre of fantasy and looked interesting! But it’s definitely no fun reading something that doesn’t appeal to you. Thanks πŸ™‚

  3. Bookworm Brandee

    I love this topic! It’s fun to see what books you gave a try and enjoyed. πŸ™‚ I liked A Girl’s Guide to Vampires…I read it, like 6 years ago? I’ve only read ONE steampunk novel, Immersed by Katie Hayoz, but I enjoyed it immensely. Cold Feet looks like something I’d enjoy and I can’t remember the book, but I recently looked up and/or added a book from Laurel Ulen Curtis to my tbr. The Shifter and Saga are on my tbr thanks to you, and Nocte has been on my tbr for awhile. I still haven’t gotten around to reading it.
    So Immersed would go on my list of books I enjoyed in a genre I don’t typically read. I also liked Listening for Lucca, which is a MG book my younger daughter recommended. Oh, and Ethan Frome…I don’t read classics much anymore but this is one I’d always meant to read, read with my older daughter, and loved!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I mean, A Girl’s Guide to Vampires had its merits. I actually thought the plot was pretty solid, if I recall correctly, but the humor wasn’t really for me and the characters got on my nerves.

      Well, since I still keep reading Steampunk despite my lack of enjoyment lol, I will check out Immersed and consider reading it. Maybe it’ll finally be the book that does the trick. I think you might like Cold Feet. It’s a short read, but nice when you just want something quick and cute.

      I’m glad you’ve enjoyed some of the books out your genres too πŸ™‚ And that’s great that you and your daughters have enjoyed some of the same books since now you get to have that in common and enjoy it together!

  4. Lola

    Stepping out of your comfort zone can be hard, I did expand my comfort zone when it comes to genres that I read in the past few years, but I still have my prefered genres and those I read less. And trying new genres or genres I usually stay away from (like thrillers, horror, fairytale retellings, time travel, angels and demons and post apocalyptic) can be a hit or miss. I recently read a thriller book that I absolutely lvoed, but it was by one of my favourite authors so that feels like cheating a bit as I will read everything she writes. And ofcourse cozy mysteries were a new to me genre till a few months ago and one of my fav’s now.

    I don’t read a lot of steampunk, never really got into it, but I do pick some up now and then. I’ve read a few good sports romances, which makes me want to give that genre a try more often, even though I am not really a sportsy type I do enjoy reading about it now and then. High fantasy was my favourite genre when i was little and then I sorta grew out of it and only read fantasy books that sort of are on the edge of that genre nowadays. I’ve read one series with the spiritual journey/ religious udnertones and while I wasn’t a fan of that aspect I did enjoy the rest of the book. Contemporary romances are one of my favourite genres, although I’ve spent years thinking I didn’t like this genre until a few really good contemporary romances convinced me otherwise. Sorry genres are one of those topics I can keep talking about, not sure why.

    From your list Shifter is on ym to-read list and I even own that book. I’ve heard of Nocte, but don’t think it’s one for me. Saga I might give a try eventually as I’ve been hearing good things about it lately. Great post and it’s fun to find a book you enjoy in a genre you normaly don’t read.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I feel like you really put in the effort to try things outside your comfort zone whereas I just sometimes see a book that’s on the fringes of my comfort zone or looks interesting enough and then go for it lol.

      Yeah, I’ve never been the sportsy type, aside from gymnastics, so sports romance just doesn’t interest me. I’m generally not a fan of religion or spirituality in books, but Mud was more focused on the character growth (actually I’m reviewing it tomorrow lol), and I do like seeing how underworlds and Hell are portrayed in books. No worries! I love talking about genres too πŸ™‚

      I really do think you might like The Shifter. And Saga is just kind of crazy and out-there but fun lol.

  5. Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight

    Oooh I feel you with the Steampunk. I mean, I want to also! But I never seem to. And I feel like I gave up? Which probably isn’t fair to the genre, BUT I do want to read Winterspell, so this could be good! I am bumming HARD about Nocte though πŸ™ I only read the first book, so now I am not so much wanting to read the others- especially after seeing the Goodreads ratings, yikes. That is sadness. I can’t wait to start the Saga series! I have the first book, and really, I should just go ahead and read it because it’s small. And I will, soon I hope! This is a great list! I couldn’t figure out even two or three for me, which either means I don’t have a comfort zone, OR I have a really overbearing one and need to read out of it, OR I hated them all. I didn’t really check to see which it was πŸ˜‰

    1. Kristen Burns

      I feel like I *should* give up on steampunk, but dammit I just keep reading it anyway, haha. I hate saying bad things about books, and I especially hate telling people not to read books since books are so subjective, but I think I would’ve been happier had I stopped after Nocte and quit while I was ahead :-/ I mean, I literally still have no idea what actually happened. But if you like the mystery/confusion thing, go for it. You should totally try Saga though!