Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: My Five-Star Reads That Have Less Than Four Stars on Goodreads

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. Each week a new theme is suggested for bloggers to participate in. This week’s prompt is Books I Enjoyed But Rarely Talk About (This is for the books you liked, but rarely come up in conversation or rarely fit a TTT topic, etc.) I decided to do a bit of a twist again this week. 😉

Hello Readers! I hope you are all staying healthy and safe. How is everyone doing? When I started working on this prompt, I discovered I had a lot of books I rated as five-star reads, but weren’t rated higher than four stars–sometimes 3.5 stars–on Goodreads. I can be generous with my ratings, but I also think these books deserve more attention. Here’s my five-star reads that have less than four stars on Goodreads–in order from lowest to highest rating!

(Link to Goodreads synopsis through book title.)


The High Season by Judy Blundell

From My Goodreads Review:

“I love books that masquerade as simple beach/chicklit books, but under that eye-catching, gorgeous cover they’re really books that will make you take a step back and examine yourself and the world around you–while also being the entertaining beach read you crave.”


No matter what the world throws her way, at least Ruthie Beamish has the house. Lovingly renovated, located by the sea in a quiet village two ferry rides from the glitzier Hamptons, the house is Ruthie’s nest egg–the retirement account shared with her ex-husband, Mike, and the college fund for their teenage daughter, Jem. The catch? To afford the house, Ruthie must let it go during the best part of the year.

When an eccentric billionaire, his wayward daughter, a coterie of social climbers, and Ruthie’s old flame are thrown into the mix, the entire town finds itself on the verge of tumultuous change. But as Ruthie loses her grasp on her job, her home, and her family, she discovers a new talent for pushing back. By the end of one unhinged, unforgettable summer, nothing will be the same–least of all Ruthie.

Current Goodreads Rating: 3.42 Stars


Modern Lovers by Emma Straub

From My Goodreads Review:

“I’m not really understanding all the mediocre reviews for Modern Love. I thought it was superb. Nothing new here, it’s not rocket science, but just a solid, well-written story with interesting characters set in a sweltering New York summer. I enjoyed the realistic story arc, the realistic characters with flaws, quirks, and idiosyncrasies. I was consumed by the story from start to finish.”


Friends and former college bandmates Elizabeth and Andrew and Zoe have watched one another marry, buy real estate, and start businesses and families, all while trying to hold on to the identities of their youth. But nothing ages them like having to suddenly pass the torch (of sexuality, independence, and the ineffable alchemy of cool) to their own offspring.

Current Goodreads Rating: 3.43 Stars


The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth Mckenzie

From My Goodreads Review:

“The Portable Veblen was a pure delight! Refreshing, witty, quirky, with laugh out loud moments. It was one of those books that I hungrily read, devouring each word, excited to reach the end but dreading it at the same time. I so wanted to stay in this story just a little while longer.”


A young couple on the brink of marriage—the charming Veblen and her fiancé Paul, a brilliant neurologist—find their engagement in danger of collapse. Along the way they weather everything from each other’s dysfunctional families, to the attentions of a seductive pharmaceutical heiress, to an intimate tête-à-tête with a very charismatic squirrel. 

Current Goodreads Rating: 3.44 Stars


A Window Opens by Elisabeth Egan

From My Goodreads Review:

“Not many authors can can write about the everyday complexities of life–the heartbreaks and the magical moments–and make it enjoyable and readable. Elisabeth Egan’s debut novel is familiar, eye-opening, and inspiring. As mothers and wives we make a million tiny decisions that we take for granted, little decisions that in the moment seem inconsequential, but amount to LIFE. It’s our choice to plod along or make it a life worth living. A beautifully written book with heart and soul!”


Like her fictional forebears Kate Reddy and Bridget Jones, Alice plays many roles (which she never refers to as “wearing many hats” and wishes you wouldn’t, either). She is a mostly-happily married mother of three, an attentive daughter, an ambivalent dog-owner, a part-time editor, a loyal neighbor and a Zen commuter. She is not: a cook, a craftswoman, a decorator, an active PTA member, a natural caretaker or the breadwinner. But when her husband makes a radical career change, Alice is ready to lean in—and she knows exactly how lucky she is to land a job at Scroll, a hip young start-up which promises to be the future of reading, with its chain of chic literary lounges and dedication to beloved classics. The Holy Grail of working mothers―an intellectually satisfying job and a happy personal life―seems suddenly within reach.

Current Goodreads Rating: 3.53 Stars


Landline by Rainbow Rowell

From My Goodreads Review:

“I actually just read this book in one sitting. (Okay. Maybe I stopped to eat and go to the bathroom.) That’s how much I loved it. I was skeptical when I started after reading all the mixed reviews. Now, I just think anyone who gave it less than four stars must not have a heart. I’m kidding. (Maybe.)”


Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble; it has been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems beside the point now.

Maybe that was always beside the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts…

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Current Goodreads Rating: 3.55 Stars


Keep Me Posted by Lisa Beazley

From My Goodreads Review:

“I loved so much about this book: the realness of the characters (they have flaws and make mistakes!), the exchanging of actual letters in this digital age (they had to walk to the post office box!), and the reminder that sometimes a boring life is a good thing. Sometimes it’s hard to read about a character who keeps making mistake after mistake—especially if you see yourself in some of those mistakes—but I had faith that Cass would find her way. Be prepared to smile, cringe, roll your eyes, and maybe even shed a tear.”


The once-close Sunday sisters have not done a bang-up job of keeping in touch. Cassie is consumed with trying to make her life work as a Manhattan wife and mom to twin toddlers, while her bighearted sister, Sid, lives an expat’s life of leisure in far-off Singapore. So Sid, who shuns social media, challenges Cassie to reconnect through old-fashioned letters.

Soon, the letters become a kind of mutual confessional that have real and soul-satisfying effects. They just might have the power to help Cassie save her marriage, and give Sid the strength to get her life back on track.

But first, one of Cassie’s infamous lapses in judgment comes back to bite her, and all of the letters wind up in the one place you’d never, ever want to see them: the Internet . . .

Current Goodreads Rating: 3.57 Stars


The Book of Summer by Michelle Gable

From My Goodreads Review:

The Book of Summer is the quintessential beach read. It swept me off my feet and had me in vacation mode while I did nothing else but read this book. It took me a few chapters to get the characters straight–the alternating years the main cause–but once I got the hang of it, I was enthralled. This is the second book by Michelle Gable that I’ve read, and I’m a fan; the lady knows how to weave a tale.”


For the first time in four years, physician Bess Codman visits the compound her great-grandparents built almost a century before, but due to erosion, the once-grand home will soon fall into the sea. Bess must now put aside her complicated memories in order to pack up the house and deal with her mother, a notorious town rabble-rouser, who refuses to leave. It’s not just memories of her family home Bess must face though, but also an old love that might hold new possibilities.

In the midst of packing Bess rediscovers the forgotten family guest book. Bess’s grandmother and primary keeper of the book, Ruby, always said Cliff House was a house of women, and by the very last day of the very last summer at Cliff House, Bess will understand the truth of her grandmother’s words in ways she never imagined.

Current Goodreads Rating: 3.58 Stars


The Guest Book by Sarah Blake

From My Goodreads Review:

The Guest Book is an ambitious historical novel that stretches across three generations of the Milton family. It’s the kind of book that makes me wish I had a book club to read it with. Layered and lyrical, there is so much to think about. I was completely swept up, and then satisfied at the end to find Sarah Blake had so thoughtfully (and successfully) brought it all together. Engrossing, haunting, and heart-breaking–but not in a depressing way–this one left me tearful but content. At the end of the year, I think I’ll look back and remember this as one of my favorites!”


The Guest Book follows three generations of a powerful American family, a family that “used to run the world”.

And when the novel begins in 1935, they still do. Kitty and Ogden Milton appear to have everything—perfect children, good looks, a love everyone envies. But after a tragedy befalls them, Ogden tries to bring Kitty back to life by purchasing an island in Maine. That island, and its house, come to define and burnish the Milton family, year after year after year. And it is there that Kitty issues a refusal that will haunt her till the day she dies.

Current Goodreads Rating: 3.60 Stars


You Think It, I’ll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld

From My Goodreads Review:

“Short story collections are usually a toss-up. I always expect to read a few I enjoy, a few I kind of enjoy, and a few I wish I’d never set eyes on. Curtis Sittenfeld’s collection is the exception. I thoroughly enjoyed each and every story. I don’t know how she did it, but within a few sentences the speaker’s voice was clear and their character established. I found myself sad to see each story ending, but eager to read the next one.”


A suburban mother of two fantasizes about the downfall of an old friend whose wholesome lifestyle empire may or may not be built on a lie. A high-powered lawyer honeymooning with her husband is caught off guard by the appearance of the girl who tormented her in high school. A shy Ivy League student learns the truth about a classmate’s seemingly enviable life.

With moving insight and uncanny precision, Curtis Sittenfeld pinpoints the questionable decisions, missed connections, and sometimes extraordinary coincidences that make up a life. Indeed, she writes what we’re all thinking—if only we could express it with the wit of a master satirist, the storytelling gifts of an old-fashioned raconteur, and the vision of an American original.

Current Goodreads Rating: 3.71 Stars


Everyone Brave is Forgiven by Chris Cleave

From My Goodreads Review:

Everyone Brave is Forgiven is beautifully written, effectively demonstrating the atrocities and loneliness of war, and the uncertainty of falling in love amid such chaos. If you love historical fiction, I highly recommend this one!”


It’s 1939 and Mary, a young socialite, is determined to shock her blueblood political family by volunteering for the war effort. She is assigned as a teacher to children who were evacuated from London and have been rejected by the countryside because they are infirm, mentally disabled, or—like Mary’s favorite student, Zachary—have colored skin.

Tom, an education administrator, is distraught when his best friend, Alastair, enlists. Alastair, an art restorer, has always seemed far removed from the violent life to which he has now condemned himself. But Tom finds distraction in Mary, first as her employer and then as their relationship quickly develops in the emotionally charged times. When Mary meets Alastair, the three are drawn into a tragic love triangle and—while war escalates and bombs begin falling around them—further into a new world unlike any they’ve ever known.

Current Goodreads Rating: 3.78 Stars

Have you read any of these books? Did you agree with me or Goodreads? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Wandering!

44 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: My Five-Star Reads That Have Less Than Four Stars on Goodreads”

    1. I’ve loved all of her books except her YA Fantasy. But I think it was just because it wasn’t what I was used to from her. 🙂

    1. I know! I was so surprised when I discovered it had such a low rating. I think it’s because it has a bit of magical realism in it and it’s an adult book, which are both not her typical style. 🙂

  1. I need to check if I can get «A Window Opens» and «The Portable Veblen» from the library or purchase online. Both sound very interesting, and I’ve never heard about them before. Thank you for sharing this! <3

  2. A Window Opens sounds like such a cosy read!
    I haven’t read any of Rainbow Rowells’ YA books but I didn’t know she wrote Adult ones too? I do love the time travelling or “one of us time travels and remembers everything and I meet the past version of someone I love” trope and I want waaaaaaay more of it. So, I’m just going to have to check out Landline!

    Great list! Happy Reading! <3

    1. Yes, she has a couple of them. She also has Attachments, which I really loved, too. And if you like magical realism, I bet you’d love Landline! I hope you get to pick it up!

  3. Dedra, I love your twist on this theme and although I have not read any of these myself, I love how you’re given these overlooked books a little limelight.

    And thank you, I am staying healthy and safe, and I hope you are, too! 🙂

    For my TTT post this week, I have shared the genre are often overlook on my blog: thrillers. But every now and then, I love a good, gripping thriller. Here’s my post: 😁

    1. I did love Fangirl and Eleanor and Park, but I equally loved Landline. It WAS completely different from the other two, though. 😉

    1. I hope you find something you like! And if you don’t mind a bit of magical realism, you should enjoy Landline. <3

  4. I haven’t read any of these, but I love your twist on this week’s topic! I know I don’t always agree with the Goodreads rating, but I’ve never stopped to look at which books are the ones where GR and I disagree. I’ll have to take a look one of these days!

  5. I love this!! I don’t always agree with Goodreads ratings because people are horrible with their reviews. WHY would anyone rate a book that’s not even out yet?! Come on! Anyways, that’s why I try to have as many blogger friends as I can, I always just look through their reviews when I’m on the fence about a book. I LOVED Landline!! Such a great one!

    My Top Ten

    1. I agree! I will never understand why people rate books before they read them. It’s ridiculous! And I’m also enjoying adding all my fellow bloggers on Goodreads. I definitely trust their opinions more than any others. I’m so happy to hear you also loved Landline. Sometimes I feel so alone with that one. <3

    1. Yeah, that’s what many of the reviews say. I couldn’t put it down. I guess it’s just a book that I clicked with for some reason. I also remember I read it while at the beach. So maybe that helped?? 😉

  6. I love the way you did this list! I notice that a lot of my opinions on books don’t often align with those on Goodreads, so it’s always cool to see what books others see that happen with. I haven’t heard of any of these except for Rainbow Rowell’s Landline, which I’ve been meaning to pick up ever since I read Eleanor and Park. Since it’s in the adult section at the library I never think about it when I’m there. I was unaware it had a lower rating compared to her other books though. That actually kind of makes me want to read it more…

    1. Oh, I like that a lower rating makes you want to pick it up! I’m that way, too, sometimes. Nothing like a challenge! I hope you get to pick it up soon–and enjoy it!

  7. I’ve heard of Rainbow Rowell and seen some of their other books, but I’ve never heard of Landline. It sounds interesting! Oooh, Everyone Brave is Forgiven sounds fabulous and like my type of book! That one’s going on the TBR.

    1. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did, if you decide to pick them up! I was really surprised Everyone Brave is Forgiven didn’t get more attention. I thought it was great!

  8. I’ve only heard of two of these books and both of them are sat on my physical shelf waiting to be read! I love Rainbow Rowell but I’ve heard some mixed reviews about Landline so that’s why I haven’t picked it up yet. Glad to see it on this list though 😃 Might just be the push I need to *finally* read it lol great list, Dedra!

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