1. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants [Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants #1] by Ann Brashares How It Was Deceiving: Cover and Summary
When I first bought this book back in high school, I thought it was going to a light-hearted story about teenage friendship. While I was right about the friendship part, I had no idea that there would be so much emotion in this book and the later ones in the series. There is humor and fun throughout the girls' experiences as well as a darker side that gives them a realistic feel.
2. Paranormalcy [Paranormalcy #1] by Kiersten White
How It Was Deceiving: Summary
A young adult paranormal novel that I believed, based on the summary, would be like so many other paranormals in this post-Twilight literary world. Imagine my surprise when I met Evie and just had so much fun! The almost-satirical wink at YA paranormal novels is a blast to read.
3. Vampire Academy [Vampire Academy #1] by Richelle Mead How It Was Deceiving: Cover and Summary
Similar to Paranormalcy, I went into this series thinking it would be a Twilight-esque world that would be a nice escape, but with little substance. Don't let the seemingly bland summary and equally deceiving cover fool you. This series is full of creative worldbuilding, fascinating characters, political intrigue, sweet romanc, and plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing until the very end.
4. Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side [Jessica #1] by Beth Fantaskey
How It Was Deceiving: Title and Summary
Another YA vampire novel that seemed frothy and bubbly on the surface, but hid a darkly disturbing center. Lucius is not a sparkly, brooding vampire, but a tortured potential killing machine which makes his arrangement with Jessica even more intriguing. Not the best vampire series I've read, but it surprised me by its quick turn into the more Gothic aspects of the paranormal genre.
5. Cinder [Lunar Chronicles #1] by Marissa Meyer
How It Was Deceiving: Personal Expectations
I adore fairy tale retellings and I was excited to read this science fiction twist on Cinderella, one of my all-time favorites! But, what I didn't expect was the elaborately disturbing and poignant dystopian-like story I got. Meyer takes the familiar story to new heights and sets up what I am assuming will be a legendary series!
6. Beau Crusoe by Carla Kelly
How It Was Deceiving: Cover
When you first look at the cover of this book, you probably think "Oh...another sweet, romantic story with lots of rainbows and puppies." Wrong! This is an intense historical romance that provides masterful insight into PTSD and takes readers into some very dark places. Completely surprising, but I absolutely loved it!
7. Between Sinners and Saints by Marie Sexton
How It Was Deceiving: Personal Expectations
I have read my fair share of "tear-jerking" male/male romances...one of my guilty pleasures! However, I was hesitant to read this book at first because I thought it would turn into an anti-religious rant. But, nothing could have prepared me for Marie Sexton's indepth look at religion, sexual abuse, and pure love. She treated the religious aspects with great respect and helped establish Jaime and Levi as one my all-time favorite romance couples!
8. Always to Remember by Lorraine Heath How It Was Deceiving: Cover
Another seemingly sweet historical romance cover with flowers and bright colors. Completely hides one of the most heart-wrenching books I've ever read. Clayton's experience as a peaceful man who morally opposed the Civil War and was imprisoned for treason is sometimes hard to read, but inspiring at the same time. It is just unfortunate that the cover might make potential readers back away.
9. Tiger Eye [Dirk & Steele #1] by Marjorie M. Liu
How It Was Deceiving: Cover and Personal Expectations
I love paranormal romances especially if they are part of a series. I had been hearing fabulous things about Liu's Dirk and Steele books and expected a drama-filled, dark story like I see in books by Sherrilyn Kenyon and JR Ward. What I got was a light, sweet story full of fantasy and hot guys though I am not a fan of the weirdly shaped half-naked man on the cover.
10. Psy-Changeling series by Nalini Singh
How It Was Deceiving: Covers
I avoided reading these books for years because of the cheap covers. Look at these things...weird fonts, strange poses, etc. This series is one of my favorites and it pains me to see an author as talented as Nalini to be given such crappy covers!
*Honorable Mentions: Almost all romance novels! How It Was Deceiving: Covers, Titles, Book Summaries
I could have filled this entire list with romance novels particularly historicals. From the borderline NSFW covers to the bland titles with some use of a noble title and a synonym for sexy or wanton, these usually never fit the actual storyline and, I believe, perpetuate the myth that all romance novels are full of sex and poor writing. For some fun, I recommend checking out the Cover Cafe's romance covers contest especially the Worst Cover category here.