Books that surprised me (either pleasantly or otherwise)

Hey guys! Sorry I missed last week’s top ten. It was finals week for my A Block classes so I did nothing but study (and pick up my new flooring). I did go see Wrinkle in Time and it was great! I know I said I’d have that review this past weekend, but I was installing above stated flooring into the bedrooms of our house and completely lost track of time. I’m working on it now and it should be up either tonight or tomorrow morning.

I’ve branched out of my normal genre a lot lately and with that comes surprises. Good ones and bad ones but that’s part of reader growth, right? Let’s talk about them.

Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl

Books that Pleasantly Surprised Me (in no certain order):

Artemis by Andy Weir- I’m going to be honest and tell you I don’t know why I was surprised by how much I loved this novel. The movie adaptation of his book, The Martian, currently reigns as my favorite movie. Just something about her being a sexy smuggler that turned me off. Almost as though I was prejudiced against the cliché that she stood for. Luckily for me, my husband knows me better than I know myself sometimes and he had me listen to this book on a mini road trip we took together a few weekends ago and I was HOOKED.

Saint and Misfits by S.K. Ali- Much to the dismay of my comfortably Midwestern in-laws, I tend to veer more on the side of passionate liberal. I’ve been inducing eye rolling holiday meals from them for years now when I don’t tolerate “lightly racist” (it’s not racist if it’s funny, right?) jokes, or sexism, or “anything fun, damn Angie.” We all love each other, but I’m definitely the odd woman out 100% of the time. But I digress. This book was me putting my money where my mouth was and actually educating myself on POC writers and trying to understand the Muslim faith from someone who actually practices it. This book was heart breaking and funny and witty. I loved it. More importantly, I came away from it with a lot more knowledge on a faith that is highly controversial here in the States.

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle- I was expecting a lot more horror thriller than heartbreak and inner searching, which is what this book gave me. Despite it not being what I expected, it ended up being exactly what I wanted. It’s a really good read.

The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron- Again, this was less fantasy than Sci-Fi, but I ended up really enjoying it. I intend to follow this series as it progresses.

Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver- This one was fantastic. I love Lauren Oliver as a writer, and so I wasn’t surprised that it was fantastic but I was surprised by how gut wrenching it was for me. I have four sisters -one of which is Rachel who also has a blog, one who is nine and was born into bio dad’s family after I moved with mum and dad to Missouri so I don’t have a lot of contact with her, and then the two that I really grew up with. I love them to pieces, but we are polar opposites and that made it hard to get very close growing up. This book brought a lot of those old feelings up and forced me to take a new, more mature look, at our relationship growing up and how that’s affected me as an adult.

Books that ultimately surprised me in a bad way (in no particular order):

The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena- I waited months for this to come into the library and had several friends who really enjoyed it and recommended it to me. Ultimately it let me down. I guess I just built it up too big in my head.

To Catch a Killer by Sheryl Scarborough- I had such high hopes for this novel but it ended up spending too much time focusing on the slightly nauseating and fairly unrealistic love side story than it did the murder of the girl’s mom and solving the cold case. Teenage me would have loved that, but old me wants more depth both for myself and for my kids who will be reading young adult novels as teens and need more validation that “love and relationships are all that matter.”

The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell- Not going to lie, I DNF’d this one. While an interesting concept, it ultimately was written for a much younger crowd than I typically read and couldn’t hold my interest. I still recommend this book for animal lovers in the age range of 10-13 though!

Such a Good Girl by Amanda K. Morgan- This book! Argh! While the writing itself was superb and I will probably try this author out again, I could not stand a single character in this novel. Not one of them had a single redeeming quality that could draw me in. I spent most of this book thinking “I hope they all die because they’re all awful people!”

What I Lost by Alexandra Ballard-I was really hoping this was a book that could open some doors on discussion into eating disorders and this warped view we have on the social constructs of beauty in today’s world but this didn’t really do it for me. While the main character comes to some really important realizations in the novel and begins to work on herself, there were troubling characters like her mom that brought up real worries for me. A lot of her problems stemmed from her mother’s own messed up views of health and while that was faced in the novel, there wasn’t much resolution on the mom’s end. If this were real life, I’d be very scared of a relapse for Elizabeth because she doesn’t have the strong support team she needs at home.

What about you guys; any books that have surprised you? Let me know in the comments below!

Happy Reading!

-Angie

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