September 7: Never Judge a Book by Its Cover | Top 5 Wednesday

It is time for another Top 5 Wednesday book blog post! 

Top 5 Wednesday was started in November 2013 and is a very much active group on Goodreads, so head over to Goodreads to join the group and keep up with all the topics for the month. I thought it was such a fun idea to have weekly books related prompts that I could answer and share with all of you.

You can read some of my previous Top 5 Wednesday posts here

September 7th: Never Judge a Book by Its Cover

We’ve all seen those covers where we might cringe or think it’s not “our thing,” but we pick it up anyway because the blurb sounded cool. Sometimes to our surprise, those reads become some of our new favorites! What are some books you’ve picked up and thought you wouldn’t like because of the cover but loved the story? 

1. Little Face by Sophie Hannah

Goodreads Synopsis:

When Alice Fancourt leaves her infant daughter at home with her husband David for the first time since becoming a new mother, she returns to a horrifying sight: her daughter, Florence, has been swapped with another baby. In hysterics, Alice rushes to call the police, but soon discovers that no one – not even David – believes her. When the police are called in, Detective Simon Waterhouse is drawn to the lovely Alice but doubts her story, while his boss, Charlotte “Charlie” Zailer thinks the whole case is a waste of time. But one week later, both Alice and the baby have disappeared…

An insightful exploration of the lengths to which a mother will go to protect her child, “Little Face” is a riveting read.

Despite the lacklustre front cover, this book had me ripped me during the first half. I was completely enthralled by the plot and the complexity of the theories. The mystery surrounding the baby was the standout plot for me. Like I said, it was realistic– which makes it scarier. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare, and as someone who watches a lot of true crime– I would know that it’s a real possibility, unfortunately. I was so invested in the story that there were moments that made me, the reader, doubt myself as well. It’s also told in first person, so we get front row seats to Alice’s thoughts during her perspective. And although we get insight to her thoughts, there are still parts of her thoughts that remain hidden (for good reason!). 

Full Book Review: The One About The Wrong Baby In The Crib: Little Face by Sophie Hannah | Book Review 

2. Bound by Murder by Laura Gail Black

Goodreads Synopsis:

For fans of Ellery Adams and Paige Shelton, the wedding can’t go on when the bride is found murdered—but can love still win the day in this third installment of Laura Gail Black’s cozy series.

The birds are singing, books are selling, and the Hokes Bluff Inn has begun to host weddings on its property. Antiquarian bookseller Jenna Quinn loves the romance in the air—until her ex-fiancé, Blake Emerson, walks in with his bride-to-be, Missy Plott. Blake continues to profess his love for Jenna if she’ll have him back, no matter the consequences. And the consequences are grave, indeed, when Missy turns up dead.

All evidence points to Blake, who was the last one to see her alive. He begs Jenna to help him clear his name. Blake’s mother, Cordelia, is also bent on exonerating her son. Jenna doesn’t believe that Blake could have killed Missy, and she starts digging for suspects. It could have been Missy’s ex-boyfriend, who proclaims a love for her he says only death could sever. Or might it have been Missy’s bitter “best friend,” who was secretly besotted with Missy’s ex.

Then, the police find evidence from a cold case years before—a case that had falsely implicated Jenna herself. Cordelia continues to beg Jenna to help prove her son’s innocence. Could Blake truly be innocent?

Jenna’s life is on the line in a final confrontation that will either prove Blake’s innocence—or damn them both.

This book’s front cover isn’t that bad, but it definitely does not capture the essence of just how good the murder-mystery is.

I love the fact that the main character, Jenna, is the owner of a bookstore— for a reader like myself, how idyllic and does that job sound? Coupled with the fact that this series is set in a charming small-town and a close-knit community of characters,, this story is just filled with “cosy” vibes. This book was also really well-written for the most part with the mystery plot line intertwined with a hint of the romance between Jenna and the town’s detective Keith. The main focus of this book was still the murder mystery. The mystery was intriguing enough to keep me reading till the very end. As someone who reads lots of crime/mystery books, the murderer reveal was a bit predictable; however, there was a small twist at the second half of the book that I was not expecting so that was a fun surprise.

3. Rescue Me by Sarra Manning

Goodreads Synopsis:

Margot and Will cross paths at the local dog rescue centre where – after a series of misunderstandings and a lot of consternation – they agree to foster Blossom (a staffy with a giant head, soft, floppy ears and kohl-rimmed brown eyes) together: one week on, one week off.

Margot and Will don’t get off to the best of starts: he thinks Margot is demanding and needy and Just So Much. And she thinks Will is emotionally unavailable, slightly brittle and very mistrustful. They’re both right.

But the more they bicker, the worse Blossom behaves, and they realise they have to form some sort of truce in order to dog-parent (or “pawrent” as Margot calls it, to which Will rolls his eyes) her together. It’s almost as if Blossom has plans of her own…

Even though the front cover is pretty plain and simple, this book is everything but.

This book is one of the cutest contemporary romances I have ever read in a while. There were so many moments throughout the book where I catch myself smiling or grinning at this book— it was that cute. I love the idea of two people falling in love with not only a rescue dog, but eventually with each other because of the dog they adopt together. I think this was such a unique take on a contemporary romance, and one I had yet to see be done anywhere else.

Full Book Review: The One Where They Fall In Love With The Same Dog: Rescue Me by Sarra Manning | Book Review

4. How to Fake It in Hollywood by Ava Wilder

Goodreads Synopsis:
A talented Hollywood starlet and a reclusive A-lister enter into a fake relationship . . . and discover that their feelings might be more than a PR stunt in this sexy debut for fans of Beach Read and The Unhoneymooners. 

Grey Brooks is on a mission to keep her career afloat now that the end of her long-running teen soap has her (unsuccessfully) pounding the pavement again. With a life-changing role on the line, she’s finally desperate enough to agree to her publicist’s scheme… faking a love affair with a disgraced Hollywood heartthrob who needs the publicity, but for very different reasons.

Ethan Atkins just wants to be left alone. Between his high-profile divorce, his struggles with drinking, and his grief over the death of his longtime creative partner and best friend, he’s slowly let himself fade into the background. But if he ever wants to produce the last movie he and his partner wrote together, Ethan needs to clean up his reputation and step back into the spotlight. A gossip-inducing affair with a gorgeous actress might be just the ticket, even if it’s the last thing he wants to do.

Though their juicy public relationship is less than perfect behind the scenes, it doesn’t take long before Grey and Ethan’s sizzling chemistry starts to feel like more than just an act. But after decades in a ruthless industry that requires bulletproof emotional armor to survive, are they too used to faking it to open themselves up to the real thing?

The only reason why I added this book cover here because it looks a little too cheesy and cartoon-y for my personal book cover tastes.

The synopsis of this book is what appealled to me. I knew it might be cheesy and predictable, but that was exactly what I was looking for as I was lounging in bed, sick with a fever and a stubborn cold. I didn’t need immaculate world building or shocking twists. I need a swoon-worthy romance to take my mind off of feeling ill. 

And this is exactly what the book gave me. The romance was quite good. I liked how it wasn’t insta-love, and instead readers are treated to a slow-burn romance where the focus is how well the main characters fit together as people, and not how good they are in bed. Although, there is a few spicy scenes that aren’t too descriptive, but this sprinkled throughout the book. I really liked the banter between Grey and Ethan, and the back and forth/push-and-pull trope(?) during the beginning of their relationship. Their chemistry is great– the tension, the banter, the vulnerability between them…it’s all good. 

5. Once Upon a Royal Summer by Teri Wilson

Goodreads Synopsis:
A theme park “princess” meets a single dad…who turns out to be a real prince! 
Enjoy the delightful royal romance from acclaimed author Teri Wilson and Hallmark Publishing. 

Lacey found her dream job: playing a princess character at a popular fairytale theme park in sunny southern Florida. Her diamond tiara might not be real, but the smiles of the children she meets every day certainly are. It’s just too bad that her ex-boyfriend was never impressed with her career choice.

Henry, the crown prince of Bella-Moritz, is trying to fulfill his young daughter’s birthday wish: to be a normal girl with a normal life. That’s why they’re pretending to be ordinary tourists at an American amusement park. Henry lost his wife four years ago, and he’s been going through the motions ever since. But could a meeting with a make-believe princess lead to real love?

I’m not a fan of book covers with real people on the front cover, and when I was first recommended this book by a friend, I was a bit doubtful. However, this book exceeded all of my expectations and judgements based on the front cover.

This was such a heartwarming read— the kind that leaves a warm, fuzzy feeling in your chest once you’ve finished reading. I was looking for a lighter, romance read in between my current October tbr and this was exactly what I needed. 

This was such a unique take on the royalty-falls-in-love-with-a-commoner trope, and although it could be cliche at times, this book made it work. A lovely portrayal of love, family, and what it means to fall in love unexpectedly with the most unexpected person. 

If you are looking for an unexpected romance, with a royal prince and his sweet, sweet daughter than this is the book for you.

What are some of your Never Judge-a-Book-by-Its-Covers books? 

Let me know in the comments below!

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