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T10T: Books That Surprised Me (For Better or Worse)

March 13, 2018

TTT-Big2

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly blog meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.

This week’s prompt was to pick ten books that surprised me, in a good or bad way! I decided to pick 5 of each.


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1. Furyborn — Claire Legrand: FOR WORSE
This was my most recent major disappointment. I didn’t go into it with particularly good vibes, but I thought I would at least like it a little bit. Unfortunately, I found very few redeeming qualities in it and DNFed it about 200 pages in.

2. The Hunger Games — Suzanne Collins: FOR BETTER
A lot of people have no idea, given how much I adore the trilogy to this day, but it took a ton of my friends begging me to, before I ever picked up THG for the first time. Of course, I was hooked instantly.

3. Caraval — Stephanie Garber: FOR WORSE
I love the whole tournament/game trope in books, and I love twisted carnival settings. Between those two details, and the hype, I thought I would LOVE Caraval, but I was actually really disappointed. 🙁

4. Royal Bastards — Andrew Shvarts: FOR BETTER
I wasn’t pessimistic about this book, but I really had no clue what to expect. The synopsis sounded okay, but it was one of those that just kept calling to me, for some reason, so I finally requested an ARC of it… and ended up devouring it in one day when I got approved. I already have an eARC of the sequel, and I’m just trying to make myself wait until a little closer to its June release.

5. Final Girls — Riley Sager: FOR WORSE
This book came so highly recommended by sooo many of my friends that I was ecstatic when I was sent an ARC, but I hated it (almost) every step of the way and gave it 1 star in the end.

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6. The Lightning Thief — Rick Riordan: FOR BETTER
I was really worried that I had missed the train on Percy, but I was so pleasantly surprised when I picked this one up last summer, and each subsequent title in the series has impressed me just as much. I feel like I can safely say I would now purchase anything Rick writes.

7. Fables, Vol 3 — Bill Willingham: FOR WORSE
After how much I enjoyed the first two volumes, I figured the whole series would be a gem, but I was soooo not into this 3rd one, and actually still haven’t continued the series.

8. Captive Prince — C. S. Pacat: FOR BETTER
This series gets such controversial responses that I had resigned myself to not expect very much from it besides what I assumed would be a trashy, junk food sort of experience. I never thought I would love the trilogy so much or obsess over the characters to these lengths.

9. All Rights Reserved — Gregory Scott Katsoulis: FOR WORSE
A dystopian novel about a world in which the very words we say or gestures we make are copyrighted? Sign me up! … or so I thought. This was such a disappointment, mainly due to what was ultimately just poor writing, in my opinion.

10. Stalking Jack the Ripper — Kerri Maniscalco: FOR BETTER
I love hist-fic and stories about serial killers, but for some reason, my hopes weren’t particularly high for this one until I picked it up and immediately fell in love with Audrey’s character (and Thomas’, too). <3


What was the last book to surprise you – good or bad? Let me know in the comments!


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  • Reply Kelly | Another Book in the Wall March 13, 2018 at 12:23 am

    I was disappointed with Caraval as well. I was expecting it to be really great, but thought it was average at best. :/

  • Reply Kay Wisteria March 13, 2018 at 12:27 am

    Loved Lightning Thief! And I’m glad to see you liked Stalking Jack the Ripper since I want to read it!

  • Reply Anne@Headfullofbooks March 13, 2018 at 1:01 am

    I remember that I was just blown away by Hunger Games and my expectations were low going into it. My TTT

  • Reply ChrissiReads March 13, 2018 at 1:41 am

    I’m sorry to read that you didn’t enjoy Caraval as much as you wanted to. I’m worried I’ll feel the same so I keep putting it off!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries March 19, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      Oh no! I hope you enjoy it more than I did, Chrissi. Don’t let my “meh” feelings about it hold you back, haha!

  • Reply lilisblissfulpages March 13, 2018 at 2:59 am

    Weird, I haven’t seen any good review about Caraval and yet it’s hyped… 🙂 It’s the reason why I haven’t read it yet. Glad you liked SJtR , I loved it too and the sequel. So excited with Book 3.:)

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries March 19, 2018 at 4:24 pm

      Isn’t it strange? I also think it’s weird that it was hyped SO HARD before it released, when almost nobody got to read ARCs of it… *shrug* Good marketing, I guess? Haha yesss, I cannot wait for Escaping From Houdini! I need more Thomas and Audrey in my life ASAP <3

      • Reply lilisblissfulpages March 19, 2018 at 8:20 pm

        *Nodding here* … Maybe it really is good marketing. hehe… I was trying to get an ARC of book 2 bcoz I thought maybe I’ll be motivated to read Caraval if I have its sequel for free.. Sadly I didnt get it. 🙂
        Me too.. I need Thomas and Audrey…

        • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries March 19, 2018 at 8:25 pm

          Oh no! Sorry you didn’t get it. I didn’t request it because I didn’t want to risk hating it. I always feel bad when I hate ARCs, lol!

          • lilisblissfulpages March 19, 2018 at 9:02 pm

            Lol.. im a little thankful i didnt get it. hehe…

  • Reply Annemieke March 13, 2018 at 3:47 am

    Oh I just read the first two volumes of Fables and have the third ready to read. 😮 Now I am nervous haha.

  • Reply louise ☆ March 13, 2018 at 4:20 am

    I still need to read Stalking Jack the Ripper so I’ll have to see if my library has it! And it’s been such a long time since I read The Hunger Games, I should probably give it a reread sometime this year 🙂

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries March 19, 2018 at 4:25 pm

      I hope your library does have it! It’s such a great series. 🙂 I’m rereading THG this summer and can’t wait!

  • Reply Love, Bee (@nbeewrites) March 13, 2018 at 4:33 am

    I adoooored Royal Bastards and I need more of this gang! I loved the banter especially. And I keep wanting to read Stalking Jack the Ripper but I just never get to it for some reason.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries March 19, 2018 at 4:25 pm

      Yessss! I’m so glad I’m not alone. I never hear anyone talk about Royal Bastards but I thought it was SO much fun!

  • Reply judithcmoore March 13, 2018 at 5:30 am

    I’m really hoping that the Caraval sequel will have a little more bite to it!

  • Reply everythingalyce March 13, 2018 at 5:47 am

    This is why I’ve been too nervous to read Caraval. I was so excited to get my hands on a copy, but there was SO MUCH HYPE and I knew that it wasn’t going to be able to live up to my expectations. I’m hoping to get it read before Legendary releases, but I’m sure I’m going to end up disappointed.
    Here’s my TTT.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries March 19, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      Right, exactly! The hype was wild for Caraval. I’m kind of surprised Legendary isn’t getting more hype, but I guess it’s because so many people were bummed by the first one. :/

  • Reply Olivia March 13, 2018 at 5:50 am

    You just pushed Furyborn and Caraval further down my list! But I’ll be checking out the Royal Bastards.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries March 19, 2018 at 4:27 pm

      I hope you enjoy Royal Bastards! <3 It's not the most amazing thing I've ever read or anything, but it's really fun and lovable.

  • Reply Holly March 13, 2018 at 6:10 am

    Aww I loved the Percy Jackson series when I read it in middle school! <3 I haven't read much by Rick Riordan since then, though… I'll have to fix that!

  • Reply Carmen March 13, 2018 at 7:10 am

    Yes to that cheese-fest called “Caraval”. The premise was so intriguing, but the characters were one-dimensional and that insta-love was plain terrible. Also, the writing style was a joke.
    Carmen`s Reading Corner

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries March 19, 2018 at 4:28 pm

      Bahaha, cheese-fest indeed! Thank you! Oh man, the insta-love – Y I K E S. That was honestly some of the worst “romance” I’ve ever seen.

  • Reply paperbackdreamer March 13, 2018 at 7:32 am

    I have heard such bad things about Furyborn, I think i’ll be steering clear of that one! 😀

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries March 19, 2018 at 4:28 pm

      I don’t blame you. 🙁 I know a lot of people loved it, but it just wasn’t for me at all.

  • Reply LMOORE March 13, 2018 at 10:34 am

    I’ve seen so many conflicting opinions on Caraval! I’m not sure what to expect! I ordered it and it’s on its way. I’ll have to see for myself 🙂 Sorry, you didn’t like it!
    My Top Ten Tuesday

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries March 19, 2018 at 5:12 pm

      It is DEFINITELY a polarizing read! Hopefully, you’ll be on the pleasantly surprised side of things. 😀

  • Reply Cholla March 13, 2018 at 10:58 am

    I have heard exactly that from so many people about Final Girls. It sounds so good but yikes.
    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday. Thanks!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries March 19, 2018 at 5:15 pm

      It’s honestly kind of comforting that I’m finally not alone, because when I first posted my review, I think mine was literally only one of 2 or 3 reviews on Goodreads that gave it less than 3 stars, and I was stunned! :/

      • Reply Cholla March 20, 2018 at 11:09 am

        I know how you feel. Even though I haven’t read it yet, at first, all I was seeing were five-star OMG-you-have-to-read-this reviews. And then the flood of WHAT WAS I THINKING started pouring in. Definitely something I’ll borrow from the library. 😀

        • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries March 20, 2018 at 2:30 pm

          Hahaha yes, exactly! I don’t blame you! Hopefully you’ll like it more than I did, though 🙂

  • Reply flippingthruthepages March 13, 2018 at 11:32 am

    Oh, I am sorry that you DNF’ed Furyborn 🙁 I am yet to read it and have high expectations from it. I hope it turns out better for me.
    My TTT: http://flippingthruthepages.com/2018/03/ten-books-with-strong-social-messages-that-impacted-me/

  • Reply journeyintobooks March 13, 2018 at 12:54 pm

    Great post, completely agree with you over Caraval as it fell way below expectations. I almost didn’t pick up The Hunger Games but am so glad I did as it’s now one of my favourites and will always hold a special place in my heart 💜💜

  • Reply iloveheartlandx March 13, 2018 at 1:19 pm

    I am super glad you were pleasantly surprised by Percy, I saw it there and was like “NOOOO, someone who doesn’t love my favourite series!”. Course you would be perfectly entitled not to, but I’m glad you enjoyed it anyway! Shame you didn’t enjoy Caraval, but I know plenty of people feel the same way. The Hunger Games, I also loved, though I was kind of expecting to anyway.
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/13/top-ten-tuesday-150/

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries March 19, 2018 at 6:21 pm

      PJO is sooooo good! I’ve 4-starred every book in the series so far. <3

      • Reply iloveheartlandx March 20, 2018 at 5:42 am

        Yay! Where are you at so far?

        • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries March 20, 2018 at 2:22 pm

          I’m about 50 pages into book 4! I had to set it aside for a bit to work on ARCs and some group reads I had agreed to do, but I can’t wait to pick it back up!

          • iloveheartlandx March 21, 2018 at 9:06 pm

            Awesome! Hope you enjoy it, book 4 is one of my favourites 🙂

  • Reply Cheryl Malandrinos March 13, 2018 at 1:59 pm

    The Hunger Games, Percy, and Jack the Ripper were ones I would enjoy. The Hunger Games trilogy made my list. I might give Final Girls a shot since it’s right up my alley.
    Hope more good surprises are on the way for you.
    http://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/2018/03/top-ten-tuesday-books-that-surprised-me.html

  • Reply Viki March 13, 2018 at 2:31 pm

    Great list! I loved Percy Jackos too and I read it in the late stage as well, alos Fury born was a dissapointment for me too but I powered trough it.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries March 19, 2018 at 6:23 pm

      I’m sorry Furyborn disappointed you, too! At least we have Percy to hold dear, haha. <3

  • Reply Lisa @ Captivated Reader March 13, 2018 at 5:31 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

  • Reply Jenni Elyse™️ (@jenni_elyse) March 13, 2018 at 5:41 pm

    I’m so glad to see that Stalking Jack the Ripper is FOR BETTER. I have it on hold at the library and can’t wait to read it! 😀
    My TTT

  • Reply Joann Downie March 13, 2018 at 7:39 pm

    I think I would read Royal Bastards!!
    https://justmeandmyblogreviews.blogspot.com/2018/03/all-event-tour-host-for-audio-blitz-of.html

  • Reply Angela @ Angela's Library March 13, 2018 at 10:17 pm

    Your list makes me so happy! Not only am I thrilled to see Captive Prince on here – it’s one of my favorite trilogies ever! – but I also feel validated that I’m not the only person who wasn’t into Caraval. So many people rave about it, but I was majorly disappointed.
    My TTT.

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries March 19, 2018 at 8:01 pm

      Thanks, Angela! Captive Prince is honestly one of the most enjoyable things I’ve ever read in my life. I binge read the trilogy back-to-back-to-back in 10 days, I think, over this past Christmas/New Year break. I couldn’t get enough!

  • Reply Lauren Becker March 14, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    So many people seem to love Caraval but honestly, it just doesn’t really interest me. I’m glad to see that you loved Stalking Jack the Ripper though – such a favorite of mine!
    -Lauren
    http://www.shootingstarsmag.net

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries March 19, 2018 at 8:06 pm

      SJTR is wonderful! Such a fun experience and I love the characters. I can’t wait for book 3 this fall!

  • Reply RedRocketPanda March 14, 2018 at 3:43 pm

    I missed T10T this week but I definitely want to post it tomorrow instead because it’s such a good prompt.
    Caraval was one of the first books I picked up as a book blogger and I felt the same as you. I really liked the premise but there were bits of it that just fell really flat for me and the end was super predictable, which is a shame because I really liked the world!

    • Reply Destiny @ Howling Libraries March 19, 2018 at 8:06 pm

      I’m glad I’m not the only one, about Caraval! Like you said, I really liked the world, too! I thought it had soooo much potential.

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