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
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
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
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
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 this 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
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!