Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Surprised Me (in a good or bad way)

Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Surprised Me (in a good or bad way)

March 13, 2018

books graphic TOP TEN TUESDAY

top ten tuesday

I’m linking up today with That Artsy Reader Girl for Top Ten Tuesday: Books That Surprised Me (in a good or bad way) and with Modern Mrs. Darcy/Quick Lit: March. If you’re here because you’ve clicked over, welcome!

Books That Surprised Me in a Good Way: (in no particular order)

News of the World

News of the World by Paulette Jiles

It surprised me how much I loved this book because it’s a Western! However, because it’s also historical fiction I took a chance and it became one of our (mine and my hubs) favorite reads of 2017! Trust me…….Give this one a chance!
Brief Review Here
Amazon Information Here
Movie Talk Are in Process With Tom Hanks

Hillbilly Elegy

Hillbilly Elegy by J.D. Vance

I ignored this memoir for many months before I decided to give it a try. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would, and I found it to be a worthwhile read. In addition, I learned a great deal about poverty, the working poor, and the Appalachian culture. Readers have a variety of opinions on this book and reviews vary greatly….please consider my positive review as well as others.
Full Review Here
Amazon Information Here

How to find love in a bookstore

How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

I read very little chick lit and when I do, I’m unlikely to rate it higher than 3 stars. Frankly, chick lit is boring because I enjoy more substantial reads with significant themes. This totally surprised me! The reason I took a chance on it is because a few reviewers whom I respect were giving it positive reviews. Keep in mind, one needs to be in the right mood for a light, romantic, cozy, delightful, and purely escapist read, and this came across my radar at exactly the right time when I needed a break from some intense historical fiction and dense nonfiction reads. I loved the interesting characters, the quaint idyllic bookstore, the amazing sense of place (England), and the multiple perspectives/story lines. I appreciated the brain break! If this is the type of read you’re looking for, it delivers! The full review will be a future blog post.

Amazon Summary and Information Here


Refugee by Alan Gratz

This intense and dramatic cover is as great as the read. I’m amazed once again at how much I enjoy some middle grade reads. This story of three refugee families from Cuba, Syria, and Germany will engage and captivate adult readers as well as its (mature) middle grade intended audience. Fast paced and a page turner, this historical fiction story covering multiple decades and several locations might be an excellent story to read together with your family because of its thoughtful themes of perseverance, determination, courage, and hope in the midst of difficult circumstances.

Full Review Here
Amazon Information Here

A Gentleman in Moscow

Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

I almost missed out on the rich reading experience that this book offers. I started it (read Part 1) and then set it aside for weeks, only to read a bit more (Part 2) and set it aside again. At this point, I was tempted to shelve it DNF. However, enough reviewers kept raving about it that I had to give it another chance. Because of the reviews, I felt it was a book worth finishing and that I would take it in chunks and read other books in between. In addition, I decided that I would discipline myself to appreciate the beautiful writing of Amor Towles and enjoy this literary fiction reading opportunity. As I relaxed about the reading, it because easier and more enjoyable and I found that I didn’t need the breaks. In fact, by the end, I was quite engaged (and it helped that the story picked up the pace a bit in the last part). This is a book I’m glad to say that I’ve read because it’s touted as a modern classic.  The premise of the story is intriguing: a well-respected Russian Count is sentenced to spend the rest of his life in a hotel in Moscow under house arrest. Readers meet a true gentleman and are inspired to make the best of all life’s circumstances. If you enjoy literary fiction, beautiful writing, and well crafted stories, give this a chance.

Amazon Summary and Information Here


Wonder by R.J. Palacio

I bought this book because as a teacher it was expected…..I was recommending it to students and yet I confess that I hadn’t read it myself. In my defense, I would say I was preoccupied with my “adult” reads. When the movie was announced, I knew I had to pull this off my TBR shelf and read it before I saw the movie. I don’t know why I procrastinated because I loved this story with its positive messages for ALL of us!  Don’t miss out on this book because you think it’s for kids. It is, but good literature can be enjoyed by all. This would also be a fabulous family read with the movie as a follow-up. We can all be inspired by Auggie’s courage and be inspired by the national Choose Kind Campaign that grew out of the book.

Full Review Here
Amazon Information Here
Movie Trailer Here


A World War 11 Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption

by Laura Hillenbrand

I was reluctant to read this book because of the prisoner of war section. However, after I had the privilege of meeting and hearing this dear man speak at an event, I knew I needed to read his remarkable story of faith, endurance, and perseverance against all odds.  Even though I had to skim over some of the prisoner of war sections, I am glad that I read this memorable and captivating story to honor and celebrate his life.

Amazon Summary and Information Here

Movie Trailer Here

Hunger Games

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins

No one was more surprised than me when I read all three books in The Hunger Games trilogy in one week during Spring Break! Don’t be afraid to read out of your usual genres! I really enjoyed all three books….much more than I expected! I especially appreciated that the books were able to delve more into the moral dilemmas, ethics, and personal angst that the movies couldn’t replicate. I enjoyed this series so much that I eagerly gobbled up Divergent and Insurgent  (Veronica Roth) that same year (I skipped #3 in that series because of negative reviews).

Hunger Games Amazon Summary and Information Here

Hunger Games Movie Trailer Here

Books That Surprised Me In a Bad Way:

Everything I Never Told You

Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng

This is a book that has received lots of hype and some very high reviews but it wasn’t the right read for me. Although it was beautifully written and constructed, the story was extremely sad and depressing. Some other readers and reviewers disagree, so I urge you to check out other opinions before making your reading choice. (***triggers: death of a child) Her second book, Little Fires Everywhere (my review here) was one of my favorites of 2017 (and I almost didn’t read it because of my reaction to her first book). Celeste Ng is a gifted writer and I would seriously consider reading her next work; this one just didn’t work for me.

Amazon Summary and Information Here

everything everything

Everything Everything by Nicola Yoon

*Unpopular opinion alert* It was the ending of this YA book that didn’t work for me. The ending was a complete surprise to me because I read it soon after it had been released and I wasn’t prepared for such a major plot twist. I can’t say too much without it being a spoiler, but the ending left me feeling punked by the author. In fact, after I read the book, I didn’t desire to see the movie. Others, however, have loved the book… you might want to give this popular YA read a chance.

Amazon Information Here

Movie Trailer Here

Happy Reading Bookworms!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Looking Ahead:

On Friday, I’ll be providing a full review of How to Find Love in a Bookshop by Veronica Henry

How to find love in a bookstore

Amazon Information Here

What are you reading this week?


You might be interested in this thorough “Wrinkle in Time” book to movie review and analysis by trusted blogger and Madeleine L.Engle super fan, DefinitelyRA.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society coming to theaters April 20! 

Sharing is Caring

I’d be honored and thrilled if you choose to enjoy and follow along, promote, and/or share my blog. Every share helps us grow.

 Let’s Discuss!

Which books have surprised you in a good or bad way?

Have you seen Wrinkle in Time?

What are you reading this week?


  1. ‘Bookshop’ looks really cute! And I think maybe that one is being adapted into a film? Either way, it’s one I should look up. Thanks for the introduction. 🙂

    Happy Top Ten Tuesday.

    • Thanks for stopping by to comment! The cover is great and really drew me to the book…..I haven’t heard if a movie is in the works but it would be a good one!

  2. I love being surprised by books! Sort of. I love when I like a book more than I expected but being let down is rough. I guess what I’m saying is that I like good books lol. I need to read Celeste Ng this year! I haven’t read either.

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