Top Ten Tuesday #150


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):

  1. 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).


69 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday #150

  1. Kaila March 13, 2018 / 12:26 pm

    The books on here that coincide with my TBR were both “Bad Way” surprises for you, boo! (And I Darken and One of Us Is Lying) But you prompted me to look up Hate List, and that one sounds great! Love this list πŸ™‚

    • iloveheartlandx March 14, 2018 / 5:45 pm

      Sorry! I mean you might like them better than I did. Ooh yes, Hate List is good, hope you enjoy it. Thank you πŸ™‚

  2. Kristin @ Kristin Kraves Books March 13, 2018 / 12:34 pm

    I read Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver and it surprised me in a bad way. I have been wanting to try another one of her books but they all have mixed reviews! I think I probably just do not connect with her writing!

    • iloveheartlandx March 14, 2018 / 5:45 pm

      I couldn’t even make it through Before I Fall. I think I have the same problem, I haven’t been able to connect with any of her books that I’ve read so far.

  3. Greg Hill March 13, 2018 / 2:52 pm

    Dangerous Girls definitely surprised me in a good way! Very good book. I liked Panic a little more I think but I know what you mean about that one, I would have liked a little more from that one.

    • iloveheartlandx March 14, 2018 / 5:44 pm

      Definitely, it was so good! It just felt like there was real potential and it didn’t reach it.

    • iloveheartlandx March 14, 2018 / 5:42 pm

      If we all liked the same books then book blogging would be very boring!

  4. ChrissiReads March 13, 2018 / 9:49 pm

    Dangerous Girls is incredible! I wish more people would read it.

    • iloveheartlandx March 14, 2018 / 5:42 pm

      It is! So do I, if I could, I’d be throwing copies of it at people.

  5. kozbisa March 13, 2018 / 11:20 pm

    Yeah! We both had Dangerous Girls as a good way surprise. I hate that I waited so long to read that book. It was excellent. Blurbs are tough, because I agree that they can sometimes be deceiving, and I can relate to the disappointment you experience, when you read something that was not what you expected.

  6. thebookishlibra March 14, 2018 / 12:01 am

    That’s a bummer about And I Darken. I’ve always heard great things about it but haven’t read it yet. It’s on my shelf though so I’ll be curious to see if I like it or not.

    • iloveheartlandx March 14, 2018 / 5:41 pm

      I mean I know plenty of people who did love it, so you might love it more than I did!

  7. Kay Wisteria March 14, 2018 / 12:21 am

    I’m glad to see And I Darken on here since despite all the hype, I’ve been hesitant to read it. Great list πŸ™‚

    • iloveheartlandx March 14, 2018 / 5:41 pm

      I always take being hesitant to read something as a sign that it’s not for me. Thank you πŸ™‚

  8. lilisblissfulpages March 14, 2018 / 12:29 am

    OMG, My Sister’s Keeper should be in my list too. That ending… God. And Im with you in One Of Us. It wasn’t thrilling at all and filled with stereotypes. I think the only thing I liked about it is the cover. πŸ™‚

    • iloveheartlandx March 14, 2018 / 5:40 pm

      Yup, that ending nearly killed me! Ugh, I know, it was so disappointing. I wasn’t even that keen on that tbh!

      • lilisblissfulpages March 14, 2018 / 11:30 pm

        Hehe. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ But it was still a great book, I couldn’t rate it lower than 5 stars despite the disappointment. πŸ™‚

      • iloveheartlandx March 15, 2018 / 3:47 pm

        If we’re talking My Sister’s Keeper here, then yup, I rated it five stars as well!

  9. Poinsettia March 14, 2018 / 12:30 am

    Nice list! I’m going to have to go and look some of these up. Thanks for visiting my post!

    • iloveheartlandx March 14, 2018 / 5:40 pm

      Thanks! Hope you find something you enjoy. No worries.

  10. Angela @ Angela's Library March 14, 2018 / 1:03 am

    I’m SO relieved to find someone else who didn’t love And I Darken! I’d heard so many great things about it that I bought a copy instead of waiting for it to arrive at the library, and I was so disappointed. I had a really hard time getting into it and ended up abandoning it after a few chapters.

    • iloveheartlandx March 14, 2018 / 5:39 pm

      Nope you are definitely not alone! I slogged through till the end but in retrospect, I wish I’d abandoned it!

  11. Theresa @ TheCalicoBooks March 14, 2018 / 1:31 am

    I expected something completely different with Panic, and ended up being way disappointed in it, too. I’ve been meaning to read My Sister’s Keeper for so long now, but I keep putting it off because I know I’ll cry my eyes out! I’m glad to hear it surprised you in a good way!!

    • iloveheartlandx March 14, 2018 / 5:37 pm

      Yeah, so did I, that’s quite a common thing I’ve heard with that book. Oh it’s so good, just keep the tissues on hand and you’ll be fine.

  12. Alicia @ A Kernel of Nonsense March 14, 2018 / 1:32 am

    I’m so glad you mentioned Pure. I really enjoyed that one but don’t know too many bloggers who’ve read it.

    • iloveheartlandx March 14, 2018 / 5:36 pm

      Me either-it’s an older one and came out in the middle of the dystopian craze so I think it got kind of lost in the shuffle.

  13. Guadalupe Dealmonte March 14, 2018 / 1:56 am

    Awww I was excited about getting to read (someday soon) And I Darken, but I’m honestly rethinking it after knowing that you felt bored by it.

    • iloveheartlandx March 14, 2018 / 5:34 pm

      I mean I know plenty of people who still enjoyed it, so if you honestly feel you’ll love it, then don’t let me put you off!

  14. ReadingMaria March 14, 2018 / 2:28 am

    My Sisters Keeper is my favourite book! πŸ’œ

  15. Amanda Holmes March 14, 2018 / 3:47 am

    5 and 7 are ones that I have looked at. Good to know your thoughts!

    • iloveheartlandx March 14, 2018 / 5:33 pm

      I hope you enjoy them more than I did, if you decide to read them.

  16. bookmuffin March 14, 2018 / 6:56 am

    I also loved My Sisters Keeper, but I really wasn’t surprised as it’s the kind of book I would pick up in a heartbeat!

  17. flippingthruthepages March 14, 2018 / 8:15 am

    I want to read My Sister’s Keeper for so long. I watched a movie a long time ago and I remember that it made me cry so hard. I hope to read it soon πŸ™‚

    • iloveheartlandx March 14, 2018 / 5:28 pm

      The book is so much better than the movie! I hope so too and I hope you enjoy it πŸ™‚

  18. Louise March 14, 2018 / 9:23 am

    Really interesting about Graceling. I’ve been thinking of reading it but maybe I’ll hold off for now. I really like that you put down which way the book surprised you.

    • iloveheartlandx March 14, 2018 / 5:27 pm

      I mean it might work better for you than me, just personally it didn’t work. I figured that would save embarrassment for people being like “yay you loved this book” and me being like “actually……”

  19. heygoodbookinblog March 14, 2018 / 2:25 pm

    Hate List is on my tbr mountain. Looking forward to it. I loved One of Us is Lying, but I wasn’t expecting a thriller, more of a whodunnit. πŸ™‚

    • iloveheartlandx March 14, 2018 / 5:19 pm

      I hope you enjoy it! I mean fair enough, but even with a whodunnit, I would expect a little more action and intrigue.

  20. anovelglimpse March 14, 2018 / 5:29 pm

    😦 Sad One of Us Is Lying was in a bad way. I loved that one.

  21. Rissi March 14, 2018 / 5:40 pm

    I’ve never read “Panic,” but did start Lauren’s “Before I Fall” sometime last year. I’ve not gone back to it as I just couldn’t really full invest. I think the repetitive and destructive behavior is keeping me from marking it as anything other than a DNF! I’ve thought about reading ‘Lying,’ but the more I read about it, the more I feel like it’ll stay off my TBR.

    Thanks so much for visiting Finding Wonderland! πŸ™‚

    • iloveheartlandx March 14, 2018 / 10:02 pm

      Yeah that was the same reason I had to DNF it. It’s not really worth it to be honest, if you’re looking for YA thrillers, there are much better ones out there.

  22. lindseyhabets March 14, 2018 / 7:49 pm

    Sorry to hear And I Darken surprised you in a bad way! It’s been on my TBR because (like with you) it sounds like just the the book for me, so hopefully it won’t let me down as well…

    • iloveheartlandx March 15, 2018 / 3:49 pm

      I mean I know loads of people who have loved it, so you might be one of those!

  23. @lynnsbooks March 14, 2018 / 8:00 pm

    I read Pure – and enjoyed it and this has reminded me that I stopped after book 1.
    Lynn πŸ˜€

  24. Forty-Two Thoughts March 14, 2018 / 8:44 pm

    The ending of My Sister’s Keeper actually ruined me lol. I hadn’t heard of a lot of your other picks, but they sound interesting!

    • iloveheartlandx March 15, 2018 / 3:48 pm

      Ha ha same! You should definitely check the good ones out πŸ™‚

  25. everythingalyce March 15, 2018 / 11:04 am

    You’ve got some really interesting choices on your list! I was also surprised that Panic was a contemporary, and it took me a while to get into it because I’d been expecting a dystopian, but I ended up enjoying it quite a bit despite that. It’s nice to see some alternate opinions about And I Darken and Graceling, because I’ve only ever seen them come extremely highly recommended – after seeing your thoughts I’m really not sure if Graceling appeals to me, so I might be giving that one a skip after all.

    • iloveheartlandx March 15, 2018 / 3:45 pm

      Thanks! I’m glad you ended up enjoying it, for me, I just didn’t find it as exciting as I was expecting! So have I, but they definitely didn’t work for me. Hopefully you find something that appeals more to you than Graceling then!

  26. wulfluva March 16, 2018 / 1:01 am

    Lauren Oliver is an author I’ve kind of just given up on. I still haven’t read the last two books in her Pandemonium series, and I doubt I ever will.

    Thanks for visiting Shell’s Stories!

    • iloveheartlandx March 17, 2018 / 4:55 pm

      Yeah her writing doesn’t really work for me either!

  27. proxyfish March 17, 2018 / 2:45 pm

    I haven’t read any of these but Graceling has been on my list for a long time! I must bump it up a bit πŸ˜€

  28. novelcravings March 18, 2018 / 5:51 am

    Great list! I have to agree, while I enjoyed And I Darken, it was not nearly as stabby as promised. Dangerous Girls is outside my reading comfort zone but a book I continue to hear good things about – must read! It’s also interesting to read your thoughts on Graceling. I read it quite some time ago, remember very little about the story except that I really enjoyed it, so I planned to re-read it soon. However, I HATE that kind of feminist character so I wonder if I would dislike it if I read it now?

    • iloveheartlandx March 18, 2018 / 3:03 pm

      Thanks! It really wasn’t. Oh you definitely should, it’s so good. Maybe, all you can do is read it again and see, although if you’re not keen on that kind of feminist character, I would say the odds are not good!

  29. Destiny @ Howling Libraries March 19, 2018 / 10:22 pm

    Great list! I hated One of Us is Lying. 😦 I am sad to see that you disliked And I Darken, though, but I can definitely see why it wouldn’t be a universally beloved title!

    • iloveheartlandx March 20, 2018 / 9:41 am

      Thanks! And I Darken was just really disappointing because I was expecting to love in and then I didn’t.

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