Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Surprisingly good (and bad) books

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together. This week’s theme is:

March 13: Books That Surprised Me (in a good or bad way)

It’s probably an even split between books that surprise me with how good they are, and books that surprise me with how bad they are. For that reason, I’m splitting this week’s Top Ten Tuesday list into five books that surprised me in a positive way, and five that surprised me in a negative way.

The Good


These books surprised me because they were so much better and more insightful than I thought they were going to be. The Last Namsara and Retribution Rails were more action-packed, invigorating, and captivating than I was expecting, and Eating Animals was hard-hitting and eye opening. The final climax of scenes in Moxie were so inspiring that I, surprisingly, ended up tearing up while reading them, and The Arsonist offered so many more layers of story than I had anticipated.

The Bad


There were various reasons why these books surprised me; for A Shiver of Snow and Sky and The Blazing Star, it was because the plot was very simple and the narrative wasn’t as well written as I was expecting. With Aristotle and Dante it was because I was waiting for more from the plot after reading rave reviews and it just didn’t materialise??? With The Raven King it was due to (TWs) a graphic assault scene that was dealt with terribly and jokes about mental health and sexuality. And finally, With Malice surprised me because the characters were so unlikable.

Which books have surprised you in 2018? Are there any books you’d recommend because of their surprising twists?

Until next time

18 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Surprisingly good (and bad) books

  1. Nice blogpost! I was positively suprised by Moxie as well, I really love that book ❤ I am very curious about The Last Namsara. Turtles All The Way Down was one book which was (in my opinion) so much better than I thought, and Spintered was a book which I was very excited about, but dissapointed me a lot 😦

    1. Thanks my lovely! Moxie is so empowering, and I’m really glad I read The Last Namsara, as it ended up being one of my favourite fantasy books of 2017. I’ve not read Turtles All The Way Down yet, but I probably will at some point. It’s quite low down on my TBR at the moment, because I was really into John Green about 4/5 years ago, but I’ve moved on to other authors now and I’m not feeling the same intense urge to pick up the book as I would have in the past. Who knows though, maybe I’ll read it and love it in a few month’s time!

  2. That’s exactly how I felt about Aristotle and Dante – I kept waiting for the amazing part so start and it didn’t? I have The Last Namsara on my tbr, so I’m happy to hear it was a pleasant surprise. I haven’t heard much about it since it came out.

    1. Yes – that’s exactly it! I’m glad someone else had the same feelings as I was beginning to wonder if it was just me! The Last Namsara is pretty underrated to be honest, I think it was actually one of the best fantasy books I read last year. 🙂

    1. Yeah, I’d say ‘tough one’ is exactly the right phrase. I really wanted to like it and the beginning was promising, but the characters were so unkind to each other throughout the entire book and I agree that the twists were predictable and not particularly exciting. I just really didn’t enjoy it and was eager for it to be over.

  3. Oh Moxie! I’m so glad you enjoyed this one and were surprised by it overall, I know I love it whenever I end up… crying unexpectedly while reading a book, it just means it was THAT good to make you tear up and thats a good feeling 😀 I heard fantastic things about this book so far, I’ll have to read it at some point 🙂
    Lovely post! 🙂 x

    1. Haha yes, it’s a fab book! The scene that made me tear up was one of girls and women uniting together for a cause, and it was written so well. I agree that it’s a good feeling when you tear up from happiness! Would definitely recommend giving it a read if you’re into YA, feminist movements, and high school stories. 🙂 Thanks Marie!

  4. I’ve been intrigued by Erin Bowman’s series. Westerns are a hit or miss for me, but I’ve heard so many amazing things about it. Aristotle and Dante has been on my tbr list for ages and I keep meaning to read it just never got round to it. I think the hype is definitely intimidating with that book, but at least I know now that it’s more character driven then by the plot.

    1. To be honest, I don’t think I’d ever read a Western before I read Retribution Rails, so that’s part of the reason why I was surprised by how good it was. Yeah, I definitely think the hype was part of the reason Ari and Dante wasn’t for me, but I also didn’t find the writing as poetic as people had been claiming. Just personal preference I guess, but with Benjamin Alire Saenz’s recent attacks on readers and bloggers who’ve spoken critically about his book, I don’t think I’ll be reading any more of them.

      1. He’s gone an attacked his critics? Seriously? Ugh, that’s so offputting. Every reader has a different interpretation of his books so why does he expect everyone to love it.

  5. Oh no, I’m really sad you didn’t enjoy Ari and Dante. Tbh it’s not really a plot kind of book, it’s more character driven so technically nothing *happens* but it’s just about Ari and Dante.

    1. Yeah, I’m sad about it too because I had high hopes, but I think a lot of the hype surrounding it made me expect more out of it than I got. I know it’s intended to be character-driven, and I love those kind of books, but I still felt the narrative was a little lacking in substance at times. Just my opinion though!

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