The Books That Surprise Me – In Good and Not-So-Good Ways

March 13, 2018 54 Comments

Hello happy readers, friends and fellow Top Ten Tuesday-ers. I hope you’re week has gotten off to a grand start. To help make it even better, it’s Tuesday which means a new edition of Top Ten Tuesday! A meme that makes any day all the brighter methinks because all the books! Let’s take a look at our challenge which is books that surprise me 2018 edition!  

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

Books That Surprise Me 2018 – In Good and Not-So-Good Ways. Sharing a few that make me think and/or surprise me! Text © Rissi JC

(This post does contain affiliate links, which means – at no extra cost to you, I may receive a small commission if you make a purchase through a link. Read the disclosure page for details.)  

It’s rare a book really surprises me. Before we move on, let me explain what I mean by this. I’ve really worked to discover which books, styles or genres really suit my reading tastes. Because of this, I feel like when I request a book or sign on to a launch team, or simply pick up a book at Barnes & Noble, the book is one I’m 99% sure I’ll enjoy. Of course, there is always the chance I won’t – and vice versa (some I skip over might become a new favorite), but overall, this method works.  

Because of this, I go into reading a book sure it’ll be a novel I’ll love. Perhaps what I should say is, it’s rare that a book ever disappoints me. To me, that’s an amazing part of my reading experience and a testament to the talents of so many amazing authors. All of whom deserve all the thanks for sharing these stories, whether they make us laugh, swoon or are of the author’s heart.   Below are the books that surprised me (most of which fall into the “good way” category).  

Books that Surprise Me 2018

1: The Lady of Bolton Hill by Elizabeth Camden | I’ve chronicled my like vs. dislikes of historical fiction quite enough. Suffice to say, I was so-so about this one initially, but it didn’t take long for the sweet and charming plot to pull me in. Subtle though they may be, I also pulled North & South (Elizabeth Gaskell) vibes from its pages. Amazon | Goodreads  

2: A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess | I signed up to review this one half on a whim, and half out of pure curiosity. Reading it is tip-toeing outside my “comfort zone” reading, but it turned out to be lovely. Amazon | Goodreads

Books That Surprise Me 2018 – In Good and Not-So-Good Ways. Sharing a few that make me think and/or surprise me! Text © Rissi JC

3: Gunslinger Girl by Lindsay Ely | This is one of those not-so-cool reactions I had to a surprising read. I mean, don’t mistake me, I really admire its uniqueness and the way the story is told is fine, but the decadence and “sport” of the novel just isn’t my cup of tea. It gives me The Hunger Game flashbacks, and yeah… I have a generally-dislike relationship with that novel. Amazon | Goodreads  

4: If I Stay by Gayle Forman | Another novel I didn’t expect to like at all. Why? Because I am so not a fan of depressing fiction. But fortunately, I discovered I really enjoyed this one and its film adaptation which really brings the characters, world and story to
life. Amazon | Goodreads   You can also rent If I Stay on Amazon Video or find on DVD!

5: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green | A “copy and paste” situation can apply to this novel as does If I Stay. That said, I still like ‘Stay’ a great deal better than TFIOS. Amazon | Goodreads   You can also rent The Fault in our Stars on Amazon Video or find on DVD!  

6: Misery Loves Company by Rene Gutteridge | Read this one during an INSPYs award season, and it’s so fun! Way different than I expected, but still a unique “cozy mystery.” Amazon | Goodreads  

7: The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord | This one really should have been on my “Books I *Could* Re-Read FORever” Top Ten list. Alas, I overlooked it, so yeah. I simply had to add it here, because it really did surprise me, in the best possible way. Amazon |
Goodreads

Books That Surprise Me 2018 – In Good and Not-So-Good Ways. Sharing a few that make me think and/or surprise me! Text © Rissi JC

8: Warcross by Marie Lu | Not a gamer or much of a fiction (book) sci-fi fan. I love it at the cinema, but that’s about it. This is why, when I read this at the end of last year (it was a sneak-in-one-more-2017-read for me), I was thrilled when I discovered, I did really like this one! This reminds me: I still need to review this one. Amazon | Goodreads  

9: A Bride for Keeps by Melissa Jagears | To be honest, I’m trying to remember if I have finished this novel or not… whether I did or not, I thoroughly enjoyed it, and is again another historical novel that was easy to be swept up in. Plus, it turns the whole
mail-order-bride trope on its head and gives the story new character. Amazon | Goodreads

Books That Surprise Me 2018 – In Good and Not-So-Good Ways. Sharing a few that make me think and/or surprise me! Text © Rissi JC

10: Submerged by Dani Pettrey | Yes, I know… I just featured this one. But what can I say? It’s a memorable read that reminded me I do love a good adventure story. For this reason (and others), I’ll always love this novel. Amazon | Goodreads   

Additional novels like Dear Mr. Knightley (on Amazon) or My Stubborn Heart (on Amazon) and so (so) many others could be on
this list. However, since I recently featured them, I decided to just mention them here.  

Another end to another Top Ten Tuesday post is here. Tell me, what books surprised you – in good or bad ways! I’d love to read all about them, and let me know if you’ve read any of these.  Leave your Top Ten Tuesday links or introduce your blog. I’d love to come by and visit your bookish havens.  

Thank you for visiting Finding Wonderland

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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54 Comments

  • Kay Wisteria @HammockofBooks March 13, 2018 at 4:26 AM

    I was so pleasantly surprised by If I Stay too! Great list and happy reading :)

    • Rissi March 13, 2018 at 4:29 AM

      …such an emotional, but really good read.

      Thanks so much for visiting, Kay. :)

  • Anne Bennett March 13, 2018 at 5:18 AM

    I was blown away by IF I STAY and TFIOS, both of them. Sorry to hear you aren't as big of a fan of TFIOS. My TTT

    • Rissi March 13, 2018 at 5:31 AM

      I wasn't as big a fan of TFIOS as 'Stay,' but I did certainly enjoy it a great deal more than anticipated, so that's a pro. :)

      Thanks for visiting, Anne.

  • Anonymous March 13, 2018 at 5:40 AM

    I have TFIOS on my list, but I was surprised that I didn't like it as much as everyone else. The hype monster got me.

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 4:38 PM

      I understand that, Chrissi. I went into TFIOS expecting to detest it because of the sadness. But I wanted to read it before seeing the movie. That said, I was surprised that I enjoyed it more than I thought, and I understand why the story unfolded as it did.

      Thanks so much for visiting! :)

  • Greg March 13, 2018 at 5:49 AM

    I've found the same thing! I'm usually not too disappointed in what I pick out (thank goodness), but a pleasant surprise is always good! Warcross definitely fell into that category for me!

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 4:39 PM

      YAY! Glad to know you read Warcross, Greg. Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was the ending: I thought it was a standalone!! Now I'm so ready for news of the follow up. :)

      Thanks so much for visiting.

  • louise ☆ March 13, 2018 at 8:18 AM

    I still need to read Warcross because I've had my copy for a while, so hopefully I'll love it as much as everyone else :)

    And I liked TFIOS when I read it but I doubt I'd enjoy it as much if I decided to reread it because my tastes have changed so much since then.

    louise

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 4:40 PM

      Happy reading of Warcross, Louise. I thought it was super entertaining.

      I have a feeling I won't re-read/like TFIOS as well a second read through either. Better just to enjoy that first read and leave it at that. :)

      Thanks so much for visiting!

  • Olivia March 13, 2018 at 9:49 AM

    You just added books to my tbr list! Not read any of these but will definitely pick Warcross up.

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 4:42 PM

      Fun! Hope you discover some new stories to enjoy, Olivia. :)

      Thanks for visiting.

  • Alyce Hunt March 13, 2018 at 9:55 AM

    The Fault in Our Stars surprised me in a bad way, but I agree completely with your thoughts on If I Stay! I thought I was going to like it but I didn't expect to fall head over heels in love with it (I even really liked the movie adaptation!).

    Here's my TTT.

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 4:43 PM

      Me too, Alyce!! I thought the film of If I Stay was beautiful. Makes me want to re-read the book and re-watch the film now. :) Also, I need to read the follow up just to see what happens next.

      Bummer about TFIOS. That's never a fun end for a bookworm.

      Thanks so much for visiting!!

  • Georgiana Teglas March 13, 2018 at 10:41 AM

    TFIOS was on my list as well. I don`t like John Green`s other books, but that one I adored.

    Carmen`s Reading Corner

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 4:45 PM

      I haven't read any of Green's other books, but considering how I felt about the film of Paper Towns, I know I don't plan on reading that one! But then I did pick up 'Turtles,' so maybe I'll give it a chance. ;)

      Thanks so much for visiting.

  • ~Lee~ March 13, 2018 at 10:59 AM

    Thanks for sharing your list — I've been meaning to read TFIOS because I've heard so much about it, but maybe I'll try If I Stay instead. I'm currently reading & reviewing dragon picture books: The Library Dragon surprised me. It wasn't at all about a dragon who lived in the library like I expected from the cover!
    ~Lee
    PS I came from Bookwyrming Thoughts!

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 4:50 PM

      Whichever one you give a chance, Lee, I do hope you enjoy the book. Both are good/interesting in their own way. :)

      Hope you're enjoying your current reads – and thanks so much for swinging by Finding Wonderland. You're welcome anytime. :)

  • katherine @ paperbackdreamer March 13, 2018 at 11:37 AM

    I agree with Wacross!
    I had not long finished ready player one and didn't like it so was hesitant to go into another book with a virtual reality in it but i ended up LOVING it and i can't wait to get my hands on the second book

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 4:51 PM

      YAY! Glad you too like Warcross. I haven't read 'Player,' but with the film, it has piqued my curiosity. Still… not sure if I'm ready for another virtual reality story just yet. :D

      Thanks for visiting, Katherine. And also, love your blog name. :)

  • Barb March 13, 2018 at 2:38 PM

    I have Gunslinger Girl and A Shadow Bright and Burning on my shelves but have never read them. I did read TFIOS but I didn't care much for it…the movie either. I don't think I was the target audience really though and I can see why so many people ended up loving it.

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 5:30 PM

      Nothing wrong with now caring for TFIOS. I understand that, Barb.

      Hope you enjoy Gunslinger Girl and 'Shadow.' Happy reading – and thanks so much for visiting!! :)

  • Crazy Lady March 13, 2018 at 2:53 PM

    I've not read any of these and, now I'm thinking that I might not ever read some of them. Hah!

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday. Thanks!

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 5:31 PM

      Uh-oh! Hope they don't come across as my not liking every one. :D

      Thanks so much for visiting. Appreciate it.

  • Heather March 13, 2018 at 3:11 PM

    I agree with Submerged! Loved it more than I thought I would!

    I also enjoyed If I Stay. Not really my style, but it was fun for a change of pace. :)

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 5:32 PM

      Me too, Heather!! So good, and I really liked the historical aspect of the story too.

      Glad you too liked If I Stay. Aside from it being a contemporary, it's not really my normal reading either, but it's quite good. Did you ever read the sequel?

      Thanks so much for visiting. Hope you're doing well. :)

  • Flipping Through the Pages March 13, 2018 at 3:31 PM

    OH I can understand the different opinions of everyone about TFIOS.. but it is one of my favourite books :) I loved John's writing and also the movie adaptation was too good.

    My TTT: http://flippingthruthepages.com/2018/03/ten-books-with-strong-social-messages-that-impacted-me/

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 5:34 PM

      I'm so glad you enjoy TFIOS! That's the best kind of novel. :) The film adaptation is indeed good. The cast does an incredible job of portraying the characters.

      Thanks so much for visiting!!

  • IloveHeartlandX March 13, 2018 at 5:14 PM

    Glad to hear you liked A Shadow Bright and Burning, that one is on my TBR. I'm the camp that wasn't a fan of TFIOS, but I'm glad it was a pleasant surprise for you!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/13/top-ten-tuesday-150/

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 5:36 PM

      I totally understand not liking TFIOS. It's a tough read. I don't love it in the sense I want to re-read the novel, but I liked it more than anticipated, so that's a plus. :) Enjoy 'Shadow'!

      Thanks so much for visiting, Jo, as always.

  • Tóth Viktória March 13, 2018 at 6:28 PM

    I originally didn't want to read Warcross but then the hype got to me and I'm glad it did because it was one of my fave reads last year. Great list!

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 5:37 PM

      Isn't it fun? I was pleasantly surprised by how well I enjoyed Warcross. :)

      Thanks so much for visiting.

  • Lauren Stoolfire March 13, 2018 at 9:23 PM

    A Shadow Bright and Burning was awesome! Have you gotten to the sequel? :)

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 5:40 PM

      I haven't, Lauren! Is it good, too? :)

      Thanks so much for visiting.

  • Captivated Reader March 13, 2018 at 9:31 PM

    I will be adding some of the books you've listed to my ever growing reading wishlist!!

    Here's a link to my TTT post for this week: https://captivatedreader.blogspot.com/2018/03/top-ten-tuesday-books-that-surprised-me.html

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 5:41 PM

      Cool. Hope you enjoy those you added. :)

      Thanks for visiting.

  • Anonymous March 13, 2018 at 9:50 PM

    I too was surprised by Misery Loves Company. Enjoyed it. :)

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 5:43 PM

      It's such a fun, and interesting story! Glad I'm not alone in being surprised by it. :)

      Thanks for visiting.

  • Alicia AKernelofNonsense March 14, 2018 at 12:23 AM

    I've been hesitant regarding Warcross because I, too, am not a gamer. But seeing that you actually ended up enjoying it is making me want to finally check it out.

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 5:46 PM

      I did, Alicia! Such a fun concept with interesting characters. The real downside is that it's one part of a duo (or series?), which I didn't realize at the time. So now I'm all about WHERE'S NEWS OF BOOK TWO!? ;)

      Hope you enjoy if you read it – and let me know what you think.

      Thanks for visiting.

  • Lupe March 14, 2018 at 3:36 AM

    If I stay was beautifully written! I still need to read Warcross! Awesome TTT post!

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 5:46 PM

      Agreed. 'Stay' is a lovely story. :) Hope you enjoy Warcross, and thanks so much for visiting.

  • Amanda Holmes March 14, 2018 at 3:52 AM

    I will have to add The Start of Me and You to mu TBR list, since it looks adorable!

    • Rissi March 14, 2018 at 5:47 PM

      Emery's book is indeed adorable, Amanda. :) Hope if you read it, you enjoy. Let me know what you think if you do.

      Appreciate you visiting.

  • Lauren March 14, 2018 at 6:13 PM

    I'm like you in usually being good at choosing books that I'll enjoy so it's rare to really be disappointed by something. I really liked If I Stay and The Fault in Our Stars, but I do kind of love that "depressing, realistic" fiction kind of thing. haha I was surprised to love Anna and the French Kiss as much as I did!

    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.net

    • Rissi May 25, 2018 at 7:42 PM

      I do too! In the end, it makes reading even more enjoying. :)

      'Anna' is so cute!! Love the story there.

      Apologies for the reply delay, Lauren – but thanks for visiting!

  • Lindsey @ Lindsey Reads March 14, 2018 at 8:42 PM

    Warcross and A Shadow Bright and Burning are still on my TBR so I'm happy to hear they surprised you in a good way!

    • Rissi May 25, 2018 at 7:42 PM

      YAY! Hope you enjoy. Both were unusual genres for me, but I did enjoy!

      Apologies for the reply delay, Lindsey – but thanks for visiting!

  • Anonymous March 15, 2018 at 1:44 AM

    I loved If I Stay! But did you read the second book Where She Went? It was such a let down to me :( Happy readings!

    My TTT https://wp.me/p3ftwe-UF

    • Rissi May 25, 2018 at 7:43 PM

      I have not read Where She Went. I do plan to read it… just because, though I've heart that it's not nearly as good. Thanks for sharing!

      Apologies for the reply delay – but thanks for visiting!

  • Andi March 15, 2018 at 5:01 AM

    I loved The Fault in Our Stars and I didn’t think I would at all.

    • Rissi May 25, 2018 at 7:44 PM

      I was very much the same with this book, Andi! Apologies for the reply delay – but thanks for visiting!

  • Hanne T May 25, 2018 at 12:21 AM

    Maybe I heard about If I Stay on your blog?? I was at a book fair last weekend and Gayle Foreman was there, and although her name was familiar, I couldn't place her.

    Also, I picked up Warcross at the library the other day per your recommendation; I still need to read it though!

    • Rissi May 25, 2018 at 7:45 PM

      Could be, Hanne! I have talked about If I Stay before (and even reviewed the book too!).

      *bites nails* Ooo… I do hope you enjoy Warcross. *fingers crossed*

      Thanks for visiting. :)

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