Hi all! I hope you’ve been having a good week, mine has once again been pretty quiet, strike action is still ongoing, so I don’t have classes today, although it seems like the strikes may be coming to an end soon (with unfortunate timing as I’m going down to London next week and was hoping to be able to do it without missing a class), but we’ll see what actually happens as it’s really only hearsay at the moment and nothing official has been announced. Also today marks my 150th Top Ten Tuesday post, so yay for that!
Anyway, today is Tuesday and that means another Top Ten Tuesday from Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl. This week we’re talking Books That Surprised Me (In A Good Or Bad Way), which should be a fun topic as I love it when books surprise me (in a good way obviously, books surprising me in a bad way makes me want to throw them across them room!). So here we go, the books that surprised me (in a good or bad way):
- And I Darken-Kiersten White-BAD WAY
And I Darken surprised me….in a really bad way. I’m usually really good at telling what books will work for me and what won’t and on paper, And I Darken should have been really good for me, I mean 15th Century history, stabby, violent heroine, it should have been a home run. But I found it really boring and not nearly as violent as advertised.
2. My Sister’s Keeper-Jodi Picoult-GOOD WAY
On paper, this book shouldn’t have been the kind of thing I liked, in fact on paper, Jodi Picoult shouldn’t have been an author I liked, I mean adult fiction exploring deep complex topics, not usually my thing at all. But My Sister’s Keeper really drew me in, the sisterly and mother/daughter relationships at the heart of it were excellently drawn and I really rooted for Anna in her mission to finally gain control of her body. And of course, I wailed horrendously at the end.
3. Panic-Lauren Oliver-BAD WAY
I was expecting something way, way different when I read the blurb of this book, so naturally I was surprised by the form it actually took. The blurb smacks of YA dystopia, so that’s what I was expecting, but what I got was a rather dry contemporary that wasn’t nearly as exciting as I was hoping.
4. Cross My Heart-Carmen Reid-GOOD WAY
This surprised me, not because I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it, because WWII stories are usually my jam, but because it was so good I was surprised that I had never heard of the author before! This was a book that I literally picked up on a whim, I think to make a 3 for 2 deal, without really knowing anything about it, or the author. I was completely enthralled by Nicole’s adventures in the Belgian Resistance and by the end, I was seriously wondering why I had never heard about Carmen Reid before!
5. One of Us Was Lying-Karen McManus-BAD WAY
The hype around this one had been huge, so naturally I was expecting to love it as much as everyone else, but for a YA thriller, I didn’t end up feeling very thrilled! There were some decent twists but for the most part it was quite slow paced, I didn’t like who the killer ended up being and I thought some of the plot twists were rather problematic. I’ve read YA thrillers which have thrilled me a lot more than this one did.
6. Pure-Julianna Baggott-GOOD WAY
Again this was one I hadn’t heard much about, so when I read it, I was really surprised that I hadn’t because I thought it was really good. Dystopians have a tendency to get kind of samey, but this one felt quite different, I loved the gritty world that Baggott created, with all the weird fusings, in contrast to the perfect world inside the dome, it definitely pulls on familiar dystopian tropes but twists them in a way so it feels like it’s something you’ve never read before.
7. Graceling-Kristin Cashore-BAD WAY
I should have loved this, female powered feminist fantasy, but I didn’t. The type of feminism that Katsa espoused is the kind of radical feminism that dissuades people from feminism, like in order to be a feminist you have to despise anything feminine and if you’re strong physically, you have to be weak emotionally and that being physically strong is the only way to be a strong woman and those messages really didn’t sit well with me. It’s kind of difficult to enjoy a book when you despise the main character!
8. Dangerous Girls-Abigail Haas-GOOD WAY
I was both surprised by this book because the ending is so frickin’ mindblowing, but also surprised because I had barely heard anything about it and it was so good! This is now the YA thriller that I hold all other YA thrillers up to (none have surpassed it yet) and it was literally just something I picked up on a whim in Waterstones one day!
9. Look Who’s Back-Timur Vermes-BAD WAY
This was billed as a Hitler satire, so I was expecting something really funny and it just….wasn’t? There were some funny moments but for the most part it was a little dull, with no real coherent plot and a lot of infodumping about politics and Hitler’s policies. It’s also kind of difficult to understand as a British reader because it relies on knowledge of German culture and politics that I just don’t have.
10. Hate List-Jennifer Brown-GOOD WAY
Again, this didn’t surprise me because I didn’t think I’d enjoy the story, it surprised me because it was yet another one I had picked up in Waterstones on a whim, without really knowing much about the author or the book and after I’d finished reading it, I couldn’t really understand why, because it was such a good book! I reckon it would have even more resonance now, given the recent events that have happened in America (the book is about the aftermath of a school shooting).
Over to you! What books have surprised you in a good or a bad way? Do we share any? Do you disagree with any of mine and the book surprised you in the opposite way? Let me know in the comments!
Next week’s topic is Books on My Spring TBR, otherwise known as Books I say I’m going to read over the next three months but will actually abandon in favour of other books, #bookwormproblems. In the meantime, I’m getting close to finishing my current read, Orphan Monster Spy, so I should have a review of that up for you sometime this week (hopefully).