Monday, April 22, 2013

Top Ten Books I Thought I'd Like MORE/LESS Than I Did


hosted by The Broke and Bookish

So, obviously first impressions are very often wrong.

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As Lizzie Bennet taught us, discovering a book (or a boy) is better than you thought it (he) would be is one of life's greatest pleasures. But when a book that looked so lovely and pretty on the outside isn't as good as you thought it'd be... well, it's kind of like the time I unknowingly put spoiled milk in my cereal. Or the time I put salt in my coffee.

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Not good.

Books I thought I'd like MORE, aka the disappointments:

1. Taken by Erin Bowman

Simply put, I found practically nothing in this book to enjoy. I was in love with the concept, smitten with the cover, and overjoyed to receive an ARC. Finishing it was like pulling teeth. With rusty pliers. That have been dipped in acid.

2. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes

Oh, God, this book. I adore high fantasy. It's my first literary love. But this book was just flat, flat, flat. The characters that did have any depth to them I positively hated, but at least that was something. I felt nothing else for any of the other characters. The plot was a Game of Thrones rip off. And INCEST. Incest. And not even in a provactive-those-scheming-Lannisters kind of way. Just a way that made me go "NO."

3. Undeadly by Michele Vail

When I saw the cover of this book and read the synopsis, I was salivating. By the end, I wanted my money back. Not only was the plot shallow, and not only did it waste an awesome premise, but Molly was written as the most juvenile, simple-minded, cliche of a teenager I've ever had the misfortune to read. If you click on my review above, you can read me rant about it for ages and ages, because I was actually insulted by it.

4. Easy by Tammara Webber

I'd been hearing all over the place how inspirational and powerful and moving this novel was. And it almost was, except not quite. I got almost zero feels from the book. There were a lot of cliches and Jacqueline felt cardboard flat to me for most of it. I was expecting so much from Easy, and the high expectations just ensured disappointment.

Tied for 4. Prophecy by Ellen Oh

To me, this book did not live up to the potential of its cover and synopsis at all. I got no feels and no deep characters. I think I actually compared reading this book to playing a video game, because that's how uninvolved I was emotionally and how little impact the many dry action scenes had. 

5. Strands of Bronze and Gold by Jane Nickerson

Oh, you beautiful book. Why didn't you enchant me? Why didn't your perfect prose and haunting atmosphere seduce this fairy tale lover? Why was I bored instead of beguiled and frustrated instead of frightened? I'm still upset about it.


Note: These are not necessarily all books I hate. Just because I was disappointed in them doesn't mean I didn't find something to like. It just means they didn't meet my high expectations.

Not-so-honorable mentions: The Selection by Kiera Cass, Alice in Zombieland by Gena Showalter (it has nothing whatsoever to do with Alice's Adventures in Wonderland), Matched by Allie Condie, Confessions of an Angry Girl by Louise Rozett (still worth reading), Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin (which I ended up quite liking in the end).


On to one of the most glorious experiences as a reader: the moment a book SURPRISES you.

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Books I thought I'd like LESS, meaning the unexpected delights:

6. Dark Star by Bethany Frenette

This book was recommended to me by Lili, and though I'd never heard of it before, I gave it a shot. I must admit, since the book had never come across my radar, that I didn't have my expectations up too high. Well, that just goes to show that you can't put much stock in kneejerk opinions (emphasis on jerk). This book is so much fun, and while it wasn't at all what I was expecting (this is not a superhero book), I had such a blast reading it. I love these characters.

7. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick 

There are some contemporary reads that I adore, and there are some that, to be blunt, annoy the heck out of me. My Life Next Door is one of those reads that I completely got. I went into it sort of, ho hum, boy next door, how original, but I'm in the mood for something easy to read and highly romantic. And then I basically fell in love.

8. The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Again, contemporary is a very hit or miss genre for me. The cover, which I like, is usually the kind of cover I find on books I don't like. But I LOVE THIS BOOK. I've been planning on doing a Literary Public Service Announcement on it for a while. I love Bianca, a bitter, confrontional package of awesome, and I love Wesley, and yes, there are a few cliches in here, but I love how Keplinger plays with them and how she realistically depicts modern teenagers. (Fitting, since she wrote this when she WAS ONE.) I read this book in a day. I was mildly obsessed with it, and it was so much more than I was expecting.

9. Catching Jordan by Miranda Kennealy

More surprise contemporary reads. I love, love, love football, but I admit I loathe the cover. It makes the book appear like it's going to be cheesy when in actuality Catching Jordan is a cheese-free zone. Jordan's awesome. But obviously the real star of this book is SAM HENRY my god hello Sam Henry come into my life and my bed as soon as possible please.

10. Legend by Marie Lu

I thought this would be "just another dystopian", but it's so much more. Action-packed but brimming with relatable characters, Legend is ten different kinds of awesome. Only after reading it did I hear that Lu was partially inspired by the Jean Valjean/Javert dynamic, and if that doesn't make you more interested, I don't know what to tell you. Get yourself a copy STAT.

Honorable mentions: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson (while I really liked the first one, I still had some doubts. CoE BLEW ME AWAY), The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen (READ THIS NOW), Scarlet by A.C. Gaughen, Defiance by C.J. Redwine.

As always, what books surprised you the most, good or bad? Leave me your links if you've got them, please, so I can come visit!



40 comments:

  1. I thought I was going to be a little less enthusiastic about Where'd You Go Bernadette but ended up loving it!

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    1. Ooooh, I loved that book. It was absolutely HILARIOUS.

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  2. I was really disappointed in Fallen Kingdoms too. It was a Game of Thrones rip off by someone that has neither read the books or seen the TV show but based what they wrote on the Wikipedia entry. It bothered me because I'm a RABID GRRM fan and my own "YA Game of Thrones" is being shopped right now and I know it's better than that was. Made me sad because I wonder if it will hurt editors from taking a chance on another epic fantasy. I recommend, very highly, "Throne of Glass" if you want some epic high fantasy goodness.

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    1. Exactly. EXACTLY. I am a total GRRM fangirl and Falling Kingdoms almost made me angry. I'm obsessed with Throne of Glass also. Don't worry, I've read it like three times and plan and semi-stalking Sarah J. Maas at BEA. I will do ALL I CAN to get my hands on an ARC of Crown of Midnight! Good luck with your YA Game of Thrones. I would soooo love to read a good one!

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  3. I've seen almost nothing good about Taken thus far. It sounds interesting, but I think I'm going to stay away from it for now. Falling Kingdoms is sitting unread on my bookshelf and now I'm scared to read it, lol. I also loved My Life Next Door - such a cute contemporary book. The Selection could have easily been on my 'disappointed' part of the list. Ugh. Anyway, lovely post, as usual! :)

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    1. I've read one or two positive Taken reviews, but I hated it, to be blunt. I also was not a fan of Falling Kingdoms, but again--some people whose opinions I highly value truly did. It's all a matter of taste. But I really, really loved My Life Next Door. It was so SWOONY. And ugh. The Selection. I wanted that book to be soooo much better than it was.

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  4. This is a wonderful list! I totally get what you mean about not hating the books that you didn't love. You just didn't love em and that's okay!

    My TTT

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    1. I never want people to feel like I'm attacking them because I dislike the books they love. Often times, it's a matter of personal taste, OR the good just outweighed the bad for me. I'm glad you like my list! :)

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  5. Some interesting books on your list! I've heard loads of good things about Easy, but haven't got round to reading it yet. It just hasn't appealed to me that much.

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    1. I would skip it, honestly. I didn't much get what all the fuss is about. If you want a good issue book about rape, I would recommend SPEAK instead.

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  6. oooh so many of your disappointments are on my to read list I guess I"m in no hurry for those. And totally agree with Crown of Embers I just adore that one!

    My Top Ten

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    1. Haha, oops. I don't mean to discourage you from all your books! But YEAS Crown of Embers is the complete best.

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  7. I feel like I should talk about things other than gifs when I comment on your blog posts BUT I CAN'T BECAUSE THAT OPENING GIF SEQUENCE IS SO GOOD I JUST CAN'T TURN OFF THE CAPS LOCK. I CAN'T AND I WON'T. Girl. GIRL. I haven't read the 6 disappointments you listed, but I have read The Selection and Matched and YES I agree with you. But I think HYPE is the criminal in these cases (I'm not sure about the others). As for the ones that surprised you, it's funny because I LOVE contemporary and My Life Next Door dragged out the happy times a little more than I wanted and only got all WHOA WHOA WHOA in the last 100 pages. But I still loved.

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    1. I swear, the inspiration for those gifs just came form the gods. "I need a gif for first impressions, first impressions... FIRST IMPRESSIONS, YOU SAY? WHY LIZZIE BENNET YOU ARE UP TO BAT."

      Hype is the culprit. Without a doubt. If Matched and The Selection hadn't been hyped, perhaps my opinions would have been slightly more favorable. Especially for Matched, and DEFINITELY for Easy.

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  8. While I enjoyed Taken, I agree with the issues people were having with it. I just were okay with the issues? I know that sounds weird but I hope you know what I mean. But again, I see why people hated it. Plus if everyone agreed on books it would be a scary world. I mean, people love 50 shades. JUST SAYING. I do agree with Prophecy though. Such a let down. I do have this need to update my TBR list with the other books you have that you said you enjoyed. Because you don't make me do that enough on twitter. :P

    Also, excellent use of the Lizzie Bennet Diaries gifs.

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    1. Makes perfect sense! I would hate a world were everyone agreed on books. Then there would be no point in having different blogs! Yeah, Prophecy. I was so sad about that one.

      Thank you for the gif love :)

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  9. I only read My Life Next Door, and I really liked it as well, but it didn't exceed my expectations.. :)
    Top Ten Tuesday
    Check This Out! :)

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    1. AHHH you did a cover compilation!

      I loved My Life Next Door, and a lot of it was because I DIDN'T have high expectations. That always colors the way I feel about a book.

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  10. Ohh, awesome list :D Sigh. Yes. I hated Taken. It just wasn't worth it at all. Yet it could have been so good. Sigh. But ohh. Legend! Awesome book :D Glad you loved it too. <3

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    1. Thank you, my lovely :). I'm still bummed about Taken. It should have been SO MUCH MORE.

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  11. I absolutely LOVED Catching Jordan! And Stealing Parker was just as good!

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    1. YAY! I'm so happy to hear that. I'm dying to get to it.

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  12. Oh my gosh, I love your Lizzie Bennett gifs. I could sit and watch that and giggle all day. lol I JUST finished catching up and watching those this past weekend so the 'awwws' are still fresh. Okay, anyways, the books. I actually DNF's both Masque of the Red Death and Strands of Bronze and Gold so I can commiserate. Legend and The False Prince are currently gathering dust on my TBR, but I'm glad to hear you enjoyed them!
    My Top Ten Tuesday!

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    1. I'm feeling the need to rewatch the last ten episodes. I'm in serious Lizzie/Darcy withdrawal and I need the squeeing and 'awwws' back in my life! Yeah, I almost DNFed Masque of the Red Death. Araby bugged the crap out of me, but I ended up liking some things about it in the end. And Strands of Bronze and Gold was a big old letdown. READ THE FALSE PRINCE. I mean, Legend is really good and all, but THE FALSE PRINCE. I was totally obsessed with that book for days.

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  13. Love, love, love the LBD Gif! It's the best thing ever. I still haven't read Easy, but for the most part, people have been raving about it. I have to not get my expectations up too high.

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    1. I'm loving that everybody is loving the LBD gifs. You people are my people. If you're going to read Easy, I would recommend you try to keep your expectations lower, because that will definitely affect your enjoyment of it. Mine were so ridiculously high, and they didn't deliver.

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  14. I'm sorry to hear about Falling Kingdoms, I was really hopeful about this title. Oh dear, Prophecy. Catching Jordan and The DUFF have favourite places on my shelf as well. Legend I found a bit... short. Rae Carson is AWESOMENESS in book form. :-) I shall definitely give The False Prince a go! Thanks!

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    1. Falling Kingdoms was a big old fail for me, as was Prophecy. It breaks my heart when fantasy disappoints me. Catching Jordan and The DUFF are some of my favorite contemporaries, and do you mean short as in length? Maybe it's because I read it way before it was the big deal it is, and wasn't expecting much, but I really enjoyed Legend. And I am a total devoted Rae Carson fangirl. AWESOMENESS INDEED. So you should definitely check out The False Prince!

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  15. Falling Kingdoms is one I haven't read yet but have seen SO many mixed reviews. I think I'll pass now. And I also loved The DUFF, great list!

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    1. Yeah, not a big fan of Falling Kingdoms. I think high fantasy lovers should look elsewhere. But yes, The DUFF is awesome. :D

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  16. All of your happy books made me grin, but do you have any idea how long it took me to finish this post? I couldn't move past the LBD GIFs at the beginning! I just kept staring... and sighing... and staring...

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    1. I admit to a good deal of staring and sighing while putting this post together. In fact... *zips off to watch some LBD*

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  17. Lol, this was a difficult one for me, but you nailed it, as you always do! :D

    I really enjoyed The Duff too, and I also never really ended up loving The Selection and Matched( I hated this book with all my life).

    Great Post!

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  18. Easy is one of those depending on my mood, I'll praise, but overall it was "ok." I thank Webber for talking about rape, but I wish she had written a better story. Ah man, Falling Kingdoms, looked like an interesting read-thank goodness I opted not to pick it up.

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    1. Yeah, that's how I felt about Easy. Just okay. Love her subject matter, wished the story had been better and more plausible, just like you said. And yeah... I did not like Falling Kingdoms at all.

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  19. Okay, I'm definitely commenting with everyone else to say LBD! I swooned. And got goosebumps. And longingly stared at the computer. I saw about the person who ranted about how you "spoiled" it for her. HAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHAHA. Fools.

    Now your list. Is it really bad that I haven't read your "main" one? I guess it's good for the expectation crushers, but I really need to get on the good books!

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  20. My disappointed list looks a lot like yours, which means I should probably get around to reading everything on your pleasant surprise list, huh?
    (Also: if you're not emotionally involved in video games you are clearly playing the wrong video games)
    (Also Also: never stop using Lizzie Bennet gifs)

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  21. I just adore the fact that there are Lizzie Bennett Diaries GIFs in this post. Seriously. And the fact that Darcy is featured in one of them. YES PLEASE.

    Distractions aside, I have FEELINGS for you. I totally agree on Undeadly. Undeadly was such a disappointment to me because I was expecting one thing and things just did not pan out the way I wanted. It was an unfortunate miss for me, but maybe I will encounter a similar premise one day and LOVE it.

    I'm also pretty excited to read The Duff after seeing that you enjoyed that one. I wasn't sure if I wanted to read it, but I did have friends who really liked it and pushed me to get it at a signing. I can't wait to read it!

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  22. As you know, I was somewhat disappointed with PROPHECY too. And THE DUFF. However, that was my first sort of anti-hero book, so I wasn't gonna just drop it, you know? haha

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