The 5 Best Books I’ve Read So Far As ARCs

Advanced Reader’s Copies (a.k.a. ARCs) are something I discovered only recently, when I started blogging. I joined NetGalley in February, and although the first three books I received were shockingly disappointing, I’ve read quite a few since then that were outright amazing. Some of these books were not even in their final form, but were already awesome A F and put some authors on my radar, and some even on my auto-buy list.

But let’s see what these books were.

Top 5 Tuesday is a meme hosted by Shanan @Bionic Bookworm, and the topic of the week is Top 5 Books I read as an ARC.

A Thousand Perfect Notes by C.G. Drews

An amazing debut, Cait’s book follows Beck, a piano prodigy, who lives with his abusive mother and adorable little sister Joey. After a teacher pairs him up with August for a school project, the two of them become friends, and even some teenage love starts blossoming. This was such an incredible story and gave me all sorts of feels from melting over their cuteness to outright rage over the life this poor kid had to endure with his horrible mother.

An emotionally charged story of music, abuse and, ultimately, hope.
Beck hates his life. He hates his violent mother. He hates his home. Most of all, he hates the piano that his mother forces him to play hour after hour, day after day. He will never play as she did before illness ended her career and left her bitter and broken. But Beck is too scared to stand up to his mother, and tell her his true passion, which is composing his own music – because the least suggestion of rebellion on his part ends in violence.
When Beck meets August, a girl full of life, energy and laughter, love begins to awaken within him and he glimpses a way to escape his painful existence. But dare he reach for it?

Tangerine by Christine Mangan

The book that was describes as The Talented Mr. Ripley with women. In a way it is, it’s even set in the 1950s, but I found Lucy way creepier than Tom Ripley. The story is really heavy on atmosphere and the little nuances of psychological warfare. If you love a good frenemy story and haven’t read Tangerine yet, you should certainly give it a go.

The last person Alice Shipley expected to see since arriving in Tangier with her new husband was Lucy Mason. After the accident at Bennington, the two friends—once inseparable roommates—haven’t spoken in over a year. But there Lucy was, trying to make things right and return to their old rhythms. Perhaps Alice should be happy. She has not adjusted to life in Morocco, too afraid to venture out into the bustling medinas and oppressive heat. Lucy—always fearless and independent—helps Alice emerge from her flat and explore the country.
But soon a familiar feeling starts to overtake Alice—she feels controlled and stifled by Lucy at every turn. Then Alice’s husband, John, goes missing, and Alice starts to question everything around her: her relationship with her enigmatic friend, her decision to ever come to Tangier, and her very own state of mind.

Baby Teeth by Zoje Stage

For me this was a highly enjoyable psychological thriller with a touch of domestic drama, while others felt like it was sensationalist and went only for the shock value. While it’s true that some elements were perhaps exaggerated, one being the intelligence of the six year old character Hanna, I felt like the author touched upon subjects like mental illness and how a family copes with such things with great care. There’s still a stigma around mental health and we often forget about the people who might not have a mental health condition, but live with someone who is affected. Unfortunately a lot of people are not prepared for this, due to the lack of information, or maybe the abundance of misinformation and it can create and environment that is not helpful for either party involved.

Meet Hanna.
She’s the sweet-but-silent angel in the adoring eyes of her Daddy. He’s the only person who understands her, and all Hanna wants is to live happily ever after with him. But Mommy stands in her way, and she’ll try any trick she can think of to get rid of her. Ideally for good.
Meet Suzette.
She loves her daughter, really, but after years of expulsions and strained home schooling, her precarious health and sanity are weakening day by day. As Hanna’s tricks become increasingly sophisticated, and Suzette’s husband remains blind to the failing family dynamics, Suzette starts to fear that there’s something seriously wrong, and that maybe home isn’t the best place for their baby girl after all.

You Were Made For This by Michelle Sacks

Yes another take on the frenemy situation, this book focuses on a couple living in almost near isolation in the idyllic Swedish countryside. A seemingly perfect couple, a beautiful baby, a loving family. But are they really that great? A childhood friend’s visit brings out hidden tensions and it’s not so long until they all head towards destruction. I loved the writing style and they way the author kept digging and digging further down into the minds of these handful of characters, exposing their secrets and weaknesses they tried to hide even from themselves.

In an idyllic house in a Swedish wood, Merry and her husband are building their new dream life with their young baby, far away from events that overshadowed their old life in New York. And they’re happy, aren’t they? Blissfully, blissfully happy.
When Merry’s childhood friend Frances comes to stay, Frances barely recognises her old friend Merry, pureeing baby food, baking, living the Swedish dream. But little by little, cracks begin to show in her carefully constructed fairy tale. And Frances starts to see things others might miss. Dark and treacherous things.
And then a terrible tragedy unfolds…In an idyllic house in a Swedish wood, Merry and her husband are building their new dream life with their young baby, far away from events that overshadowed their old life in New York. And they’re happy, aren’t they? Blissfully, blissfully happy.
When Merry’s childhood friend Frances comes to stay, Frances barely recognises her old friend Merry, pureeing baby food, baking, living the Swedish dream. But little by little, cracks begin to show in her carefully constructed fairy tale. And Frances starts to see things others might miss. Dark and treacherous things.
And then a terrible tragedy unfolds…

The Other Couple by Sarah J. Naughton

An absolute page turner! A young, newlywed couple on honeymoon, a terrible tragedy, banker wankers, racist in-laws, you name it, this book has it. There was nothing earth-shatteringly unique about the premise, but the author kept increasing the suspense like a boss, and I could barely stop reading. An awesome beach read, and a must for fans of psychological thrillers.

This was meant to be the perfect honeymoon.
A five-star beach resort in Vietnam, with white sands, private villas and world-class cuisine.
A chance for newlyweds Asha and Ollie Graveney to recover from a tragedy that has left them on the verge of collapse.
Except things don’t go as planned.
When Asha wakes up in hospital after a brutal attack, her husband is nowhere to be found.
And paradise has turned into a nightmare…

What about you? Have you read any ARCs this year that just blew your mind? What were the ones you would recommend anyone reads once they are out?


    1. It was written so well! To my knowledge that is actually one of those that went through some changes after the ARCs were given out.

      It’s going for 0.99 on Amazon UK at the moment for Kindle, so maybe give it a go and see how you feel. I think you won’t be disappointed 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yayyy!! I hope you will like it ❤
      At one point i wanted to check out what exactly the song is the main character is playing on the piano, so i searched for it and read while listening to it and i was a puddle… 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I have only read Baby Teeth on this list but I really like the sound of all the est especially You Were Made for this. Great list Norrie!

    My relationship with NetGalley is complicated. I keep requesting so many ARCs, currently overwhelmed by all the books on my shelf. Terrible relationship, if you ask me 😀 I hope you are enjoying yours with the ARCs.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, well, same here. I haven’t requested anything since May, and not planning to till next year… still have around 10 to go through :/
      I thought they won’t approve them so i requested quite a few and now i’m stuck with them… Missed a few deadlines already 😦


  2. I DEFINITELY AGREE WITH A THOUSAND PERFECT NOTES!!! It was such a heartfelt read, and I adored the Beck/August ship so much! T_T ❤ I haven't heard the best things about Baby Teeth, but you've definitely gotten me curious about it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s a hit or miss. I really like dark stuff and creepy things 😀 I think that was most people’s problem (who didn’t like it) that it was just too creepy.


  3. Sounds like you hit paydirt with this clutch of ARCs. Lucky you. Oh, and I have added You Were Made For This on my list, it sounds right up my dark alley!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve only read Baby Teeth, I’m afraid, but if you liked that, you should try We Need to Talk About Kevin by Lionel Shriver (if you haven’t read it already). It’s a lot darker, but really stunning. They made a movie of it starring Tilda Swinton which is also quite dark and atmospheric. So thought-provoking and jarring. I think I have Tangerine on my TBR. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Every element of the movie captured the same mix of emotions I felt during the book. Not sure it’s a movie for everyone (my husband felt it was “artsy” – he’s not a book lover though), but for me it was right in line with what Lionel Shriver was going for in the book.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Baby Teeth and You Were Made For This sounds soo goooood. The best ARC I read so far is probably Our Homesick Songs, a literary fiction that has beautiful writing.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I still need to read A Thousand Perfect Notes! Now as you enjoy mysteries and crimes and …one of my best ARCs in mysteries was One of Us is Lying by Karen McManus!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They were both really good!
      The Other Couple is more like the traditional page turner where you kinda hold your breath and frantically want to get on with it.
      You Were Made For this was more subtle, heavy on atmosphere and inner feelings.


  7. I wanted Baby Teeth so bad but it wasn’t available for requesting! It’s probably for the best, because I’m trying to stay away from NetGalley as much as possible. xD After effects of requesting one too many ARCs haha.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, my ARCs situation is quite bad.. so bad that I have stopped requesting from NetGalley.
    There is often a quite good mix of bad and good ARCs. I think that I have enjoyed most of the ARCs that I have received, so maybe I was lucky?
    I can’t wait to read Cait’s book. Unfortunately, I was declined for that ARC 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yay!
      I hope you’ll like it! ❤
      It does have its problems with some plot holes I think, but the writing style was just lovely and great atmosphere overall.


  9. I love how you gracefully describe each book – “The other couple” looks really good ! I also love what you had to say about “baby teeth”, I’ve never gave it a second thought and yet – I kinda wanna try it now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Both The Other Couple and Baby Teeth were quite intense, just differently.
      When I'm not sure about a book, i usually wait for it to go on sale. But you can try a sample on kindle to see if it's up to your alley 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Blogging also opened up the world of ARCs for me too. Amazing what kind of marketing happens with books! I have to admit I have gotten my hands on some of the most memorable ARCs ever, and wholly support ARCs! Really nice that you got to read that blogger turned published writer’s book though! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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