Tuesday, March 13, 2018

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

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.

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

I've never seen myself as a fan of dystopian fiction. Lord of the Flies ruined that genre for me. When my daughter was gifted The Hunger Games by a teacher in the fifth grade, I decided we should read it together in case I found it objectionable. We quickly ordered the next two books and were thrilled when they were made into movies.

I knew I would read Harry Potter one day. The series had too much of an impact on children's literature to ignore. I'm simply not a follower. So, I waited until I wanted to read them. Then I was hooked and realized why everyone was so crazy over them.  

This is a book I shouldn't have liked at all: time travel steampunk sci-fi. Could the author toss any of my other least favorite genres in there? But it worked. Charlie was a great protagonist. The action and adventure were wonderful. Romance a bit too adult for a ninth grader as far as I am concerned, but loved everything else about it.

You won't catch me running to read zombie books, but this steampunk sci-fi was another great one. It's gruesome, but hilarious. 

A dragon detective, a magical nun, and a Mensa convention--who knew that could be so funny? Probably one of the funniest books I've ever read. Great story. Nothing not to love. 

This true crime novel surprised me in how sensationalized the press coverage became, that the all male jury had to decide if they would put Mary Alice Livingston to death, and how Joseph Pulitzer put together his own jury of "twelve well-known, brainy New York women" who would follow the case and pronounce a verdict. A story ahead of its time. 

Though I like many books with a Laura Ingalls Wilder connection, I can't say a novel focusing on life of immigrants and how they assimilate into American culture is my first choice of reading material. Though the mention of the gold-leaf brooch possibly belonging to Rose Wilder Lane is what made me agree to review the book, a masterfully told, heartrending and inspiring story of one woman's journey to find her place within her family and to boldly embrace the future is what kept me reading.

I opted to review this book because I've loved other books by Rhett DeVane. But a vampire spoof? What could I expect from such a thing? I should have expected a lot since DeVane has an outstanding talent for bringing characters to life. Here is how I opened my review: "If Fantasy Island was set in Florida and hosted by a flamboyant party planner turned reluctant vampire, you might just get a taste of what Evenings on Dark Island is like." This fang-in-cheek novel is a superb read.

This is an excellent story. One day the main character wakes up and is a totally different person. Once a bully, he's undergone a transformation that impresses everyone...except Scott Beckett. This new Bryan Dennison is attracted to Scott, but he has no recollection of the way he used to treat him. I've never read a story like this before. It has a unique plot and an inspiring message. 

I can honestly say this is the first book I've ever read--and finished--where I didn't like a single character. The story is an engaging and edgy look at life in a small town during World War II. The multiple points of view tell a story that is both riveting and tragic. But I didn't like--at times despised--every character in the story. The main character garnered some occasional sympathy, but it pretty much was a book filled with shifty, unethical people who you wouldn't want to call your friends.

What books have you read that surprised you in some way?


Tanya Atkinson said...

Such interesting picks! So many of these I’ve never heard of before. I had to smile at seeing The Hunger Games. I was just re-watching the first movie last night. I really loved the adaptions of that series.

Kay said...

I am such a fan of the Harry Potter books. I was lucky enough to have a bookseller tell me about them when they weren't even available in the US as yet. I ordered my first copies from the UK (the 1st 3 books) and then the rest from the US. Such a great series!

The Hunger Games came out while I was still working at the library and I recommended them over and over to kids and their parents. :-)

Darlene said...

I still need to read The Hunger Games! My niece is a schoolteacher, and she said she loved them! I have the boxset, just waiting to be read.

I have read the first three books in Harry Potter aloud to my kids. We kinda stalled on Goblet of Fire, which is long and our interest waned. I think I probably will listen to the rest of the series on audio. I do better that way with long books!

Heather G. said...

You have some great picks that I've never heard of but want to read now! Such a diverse list.

Alicia AKernelofNonsense said...

I wasn't sure how I'd feel about The Hunger Games at the time either, but ended up really liking the whole series overall.

Cheryl said...

Tanya, I also think they did a great job adapting the The Hunger Games series to film.

Kay, that is so neat you were able to get hold of the HP books early.

Darlene, I highly recommended audio books for Harry Potter. The narrator was superb. It was the only way I could get through the series since I was on the road so much.

Alicia, I'm glad I decided to try out The Hunger Games. Those pleasant surprises are always worth it.

Heather, I hope you've found some new books to add to your wish list.

Thanks for visiting, everyone.

Flipping Through the Pages said...

Haha I guess I am in the minority who still haven't read HP. I read the 1st book last year but I surely want to read all the books this year. I loved all the movies though so I can say that I am a huge fan of that magical world! :)