Friday Favorite Five: Books I Was Surprised to Love

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For previous posts and future FFF topics check out my Friday Favorite Five page here.

Favorite Five Books I Was Surprised to Love

Sometimes I go into a book thinking ‘eh, I don’t think this one is going to be for me but I’ll give it a try’. Could be that I got a book for review out of the blue and feel obligated to try it, or may be that it’s a friend’s favorite and they are urging me to check it out, or it could be some sort of reading challenge or book club. Whatever the reason, something is making me pick up a book that might otherwise be out of my ‘comfort zone’. When this works out well, it tends to work out really well. I think because expecations often play a big role in our enjoyment of things. If I’m not expecting to like something at all and I end up finding it to be a fulfilling read then it brings me tons of satisfaction as a reader. Can’t ask for me than that. So, here are a few books that I was pleasantly surprised by.

1. Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin

winters-tale

This book has a lot of my biases working against it — it’s by a dude, it’s super long, it’s literary. And yet. I really loved this book. It’s weird. It doesn’t try to explain its weirdness, it just is. It doesn’t follow a single protagonist and the story structure is odd, normally things that don’t work for me, but the weirdness just won me over in the end. Honestly this book made me think ‘what’s this about’ and it’s something I’m still thinking about two years later. I loved this book so much. You can read more about it here.

2. Rabbit & Robot by Andrew Smith

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This book was just so delightfully WEIRD. See above where I said I love weird shit? Yeah, I have been discovering that sometimes a book is just weird enough for me to love. This one also has all of the self-discovery of YA intertwined with the weirdness. Really didn’t expect to like this one much based on the blurb, but it was a crazy ride in the best possible way. What a trip. Check out my review here.

3. Blood of Heirs by Alicia Wanstall-Burke

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Here is where I admit that I have a small bias against self-published books. Despite having read a good amount of self-published books and liking them and having friends who are authors and have great books that are also self-published. The thing is, you just never know what you’re going into, but I’m also discovering there’s some real gems out there and Blood of Heirs is one of them. I also tend to be real picky about epic fantasy, so this one had two of my biases working against it going in but really I had nothing to worry about because this book is fucking awesome. I also read the sequel recently and it’s even more amazing and I didn’t think that was possible. Can’t wait to share my review of that with you all, in the meantime you can read my review of Blood of Heirs.

4. Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson

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This is kind of an odd one in this bunch because I did think I’d like it going into it, but I thought it would be an average book and was pleasantly surprised by how much thisΒ  hit all the right spots for me. Honestly, I hate to say it, but I thought this was going to be just another ‘meh’ YA read for me. Sometimes they blend together after a while. But man. What a ride. Emotional depth, some twisty turns, some great tension between the protagonists and antagonist, fun world building, and the characters! Absolutely fell head over heels for this book. You can see me blathering on about it here.

5. The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson

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This is an author that I had tried to read before and just didn’t gel with for whatever reason. Maybe it wasn’t the right time to pick up thier book or something. When I saw The Bird King on netgalley, I admit that most of the appeal for me was that beautiful cover. The story seemed interesting, enough for me to give it a shot, but I wasn’t expecting to love this one so much. It very much as some magical realism going on (another thing I’m usually not super keen on because it’s so literary) and it’s used to best possible effect here. I love the way the story ramps up and things just get very very very weird at the end and I DO love the literary aspect of it where you are questioning what it all means, what it’s a metaphor for, etc. Sometimes I do like a book that is both lovely to read and makes you think. Anyway, check out my review for more thoughts if you want.

Well, that’s it for this week. What are some books that surprised YOU with how much you ended up loving them? Thoughts on mine? Leave a note in the commnents, I’d love to chat! Enjoy your weekend!

22 thoughts on “Friday Favorite Five: Books I Was Surprised to Love

  1. Mischenko says:

    Sorcery of Thorns sounds so good. I came really close to picking it up from my library recently. Maybe after Christmas. Winter’s Tale sounds interesting and I love the cover! Excellent post. ❀

  2. Kaya @ afictionalbookworm says:

    The Bird King has SUCH a gorgeous cover wow!😍😍😍 I’m glad to hear it’s pretty on the inside too XD
    I’m glad to hear that Sorcery of Thorns is good, because sometimes I think that’ll be another cliche YA read? Great post!πŸ’œ

  3. @lynnsbooks says:

    Yup, Sorcery of Thorns also surprised me with how much I enjoyed it – well,like you, I thought I’d like it but I liked it much more than I thought I would.
    Lynn πŸ˜€

  4. nen & jen says:

    I’m really keen to try Sorcery of Thorns. I started it a few months back but don’t think I was in the right head space for it. Here’s to trying again! πŸ˜€ I’m also a fan of the occasional weird book. They’re completely unpredictable and fun to read!! Jen

    • waytoofantasy says:

      I think the beginning of that one is a little weak if I’m being honest. It really gets going though once she’s out of the library.
      Yes, I think that’s the thing I love about weird books too, the unpredictability! πŸ™‚

  5. Kitty Marie's Book Reviews Blog says:

    Wow I’m going to have to look into some of these, feel like I’ve heard of everything but the only one of this list that I’m familiar with is Sorcery of Thorns. The Bird King & Rabbit & Robot look especially unique. Also this statement- “This book has a lot of my biases working against it β€” it’s by a dude, it’s super long, it’s literary.” I can relate to this statement so much lol. Finding appealing outliers is always nice.

    • waytoofantasy says:

      Sometimes it’s really hard to figure out why you wind up liking a book, but for some reason I loved all of these even if some of them were a bit out of my normal reads. If you have the chance to check some of them out, I hope you like them!

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