Jolien Recommends: Out of My Comfort Zone

Today is a special day everyone! I wasn’t really feeling the Top Ten Tuesday post of this week, so I decided to write something different instead. It’s the first in a series of posts I’ve been wanting to make for a while, namely “Jolien Recommends”. I have read quite a lot of books -and loved them- most before I even started my blog. So I want to make these posts ever so often to recommend some books to you that I’ve really enjoyed.

I thought I’d start by showing you 6 books that for one reason or another, are out of my reading comfort zone. I have certain genres I tend to stick to, or certain topics I tend to avoid and yet somehow, I picked these books up and really enjoyed them. Let’s get into it!


#1: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives–and the way they understand each other so completely–has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

Obviously, this one was out of my comfort zone because it’s about siblings who fall in love. As I have a brother too, that just freaks me out. It makes me feel nauseous. But I can’t tell you how much I adored this book -and how devastated I was after finishing it. I made one of my friends read it too, and she felt the same way about this book as I did.


#2: Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

Synopsis: At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.

In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so.

I don’t read a lot of non-fiction, but when I heard about this one I knew I had to read it. This book was so empowering for me. I learned so much about myself but most of all, I learned to accept many aspects of my personality through reading this.

the miseducation

#3: The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth

Synopsis: When Cameron Post’s parents die suddenly in a car crash, her shocking first thought is relief. Relief they’ll never know that, hours earlier, she had been kissing a girl. But that relief doesn’t last, and Cam is soon forced to move in with her conservative aunt Ruth and her well-intentioned but hopelessly old-fashioned grandmother. She knows that from this point on, her life will forever be different. Survival in Miles City, Montana, means blending in and leaving well enough alone (as her grandmother might say), and Cam becomes an expert at both.

This wasn’t really out of my comfort zone because of its topic, it’s just a book I would never have picked up if I hadn’t heard its reviews. It plays out a few decades ago and warning, this book is quite long and slow. But it’s definitely worth giving a try. It really showed me far much society has come -and how far we still need to go.

the hallowed ones

#4: The Hallowed Ones (The Hallowed Ones #1) by Laura Bickle

Synopsis: Katie is on the verge of her Rumspringa, the time in Amish life when teenagers can get a taste of the real world. But the real world comes to her in this dystopian tale with a philosophical bent. Rumors of massive unrest on the “Outside” abound. Something murderous is out there. Amish elders make a rule: No one goes outside, and no outsiders come in. But when Katie finds a gravely injured young man, she can’t leave him to die. She smuggles him into her family’s barn—at what cost to her community?

So I’ve read my fair share of apocalypse stories, but never through the eyes of an Amish girl. That alone warrants a read, no? Anyway, I really enjoyed the first two books and I don’t think these books are mentioned enough.

down from the mountain

#5: Down From the Mountain by Elizabeth Fixmer

Synopsis: Eva just wants to be a good disciple of the Righteous Path. She grew up knowing that she and her mother are among the chosen few to be saved from Armageddon. Lately, though, being saved feels awfully treacherous. Ever since they moved to the compound in Colorado, their food supplies have dwindled even while their leader, Ezekial, has stockpiled weapons. The only money comes from the jewelry Eva makes and sells down in Boulder–a purpose she’ll serve until she becomes one of Ezekial’s wives. But a college student named Trevor and the other “heathens” she meets on her trips beyond the compound are different from what she’s been led to believe.

As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t often read books with religious themes -which is why the only few I’ve read and liked are in this post. But I really enjoyed this story, about a girl who was practically brought up in a cult.


#6: Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon

Synopsis: The year is 1945. Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is just back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon when she walks through a standing stone in one of the ancient circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an “outlander”—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of Our Lord . . . 1743.  Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire is catapulted into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life, and shatter her heart.

I don’t read a lot of time travel books. For some reason, they just don’t seem to appeal to me. But I’d heard such good things about it that I had to try it out. I have to say that the time travel part is more of a side story and the romance is basically the main part. But I’d recommend it anyways.

So those are my 6 recommendations of books out of my comfort zone. Aside from Outlander, all are suitable for young adults. I hope you give these a try if you haven’t already!

Do you have any recommendations for books that were out of your comfort zone?

2 thoughts on “Jolien Recommends: Out of My Comfort Zone

  1. I wasn’t bothered by the premise of Forbidden (because I kept chanting, “It’s fiction!” in my head), despite having a brother, but I totally agree that this book was just absolutely amazing! ❤ I enjoy reading time travel books, but for some strange reason I've never read Outlander yet! And now that I know the romance is the main plot… Definitely adding it to my wishlist. 🙂 Fantastic recommendations, Jolien!

    Aimee @ Deadly Darlings


    1. Thank you so much! I kept trying to remind myself it was fiction as well. But I only had “trouble” with that before I started reading, becasue in the book they don’t feel like siblings at all 😀


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