Books That Surprised Me | Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. Each week I will make a list of 10 books, authors or other bookish things surrounding a certain topic. Today, we’re talking about books that surprised us -in a good way!

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë // This book surprised me simply because I tend to have very low expectations when reading classics. I actually loved reading this though, and it’s one of my favorite classics I’ve read so far.

Red Rising (Red Rising #1) by Pierce Brown // This was a surprise because I don’t read much science fiction, and lately, not a lot of dystopian either. So I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about it. I was so pleasantly surprised… In fact, I’ve now finished the first trilogy! I loved all three books.

The Secret History by Donna Tartt // I had no idea what to expect here. I was afraid it would be a bit too pretentious at times, or that I wouldn’t understand anything. Or that it would take me ages to read. And even though it did take me a while to read, I fell in love with it along the way.

Red Sister (Book of the Ancestor #1) by Mark Lawrence // This is a book I saw mentioned often on r/fantasy and on some SFF-blogs but not many other bookish places. Which makes me sad, to be honest. Mark Lawrence is a really well-known fantasy author, but I had never read any of his work before. What a great introduction this one was! I immediately pre-ordered the sequel. 

If We Were Villains by M.L. Rio // I’ve only ever heard one BookTuber talk about this book (and I only noticed their video when I’d already read it). It’s one I picked up randomly in the library because it said ‘like Donna Tartt’s The Secret History’ on the cover. THIS IS SO GOOD. SO GOOD.

Nice Dragons Finish Last (Heartstrikers #1) by Rachel Aaron // I put this one as a surprise because I barely ever see anyone talk about this series -or this author, really. IT’s such a solid urban fantasy story though, and I want more people to read it. Like dragons? READ THIS.

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma // I was surprised by how much I like this because this is a novel about a brother and sister falling in love. That kind of makes me want to vomit, considering I also have an older brother and can’t even handle the thought. It makes me physically uncomfortable. And yet I ended up loving this book. It broke my heart.

Dreamer’s Pool (Blackthorn & Grim #1) by Juliet Marillier // I’m not actually sure why I feel like this book surprised me. It wasn’t the first Marillier book I read and loved, so I knew to expect a wonderful read. I guess it’s because I still don’t see her mentioned very often in the bookish communities I’m a part of, which makes me incredibly sad!

The Moon in the Palace (Empress of Bright Moon #1) by Weina Dai Randel // WHY do I never see this book mentioned anywhere? I really don’t understand! This is the first book in a duology of historical fiction novels set in China during the Tang dynasty (7th century AD), I believe. It follows Mei, who is a concubine at the palace, as she navigates life.

The Bone Witch (The Bone Witch #1) by Rin Chupeco // This was surprising to me because I received a review copy months before the release of this book. I didn’t really see any reviews before starting it so I sort of went into it blindly. I absolutely flew through this book! I couldn’t wait to gush about it. And then all the negative reviews started coming in, and I was devastated. This has become such an underrated book now. 

Well, those are 10 books that managed to surprise me! Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Which books managed to surprise you?

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25, reader, blogger, feminist, INFJ

16 thoughts on “Books That Surprised Me | Top Ten Tuesday”

  1. So many great picks, Jolien! The Heartstriker books are so great, but I still have to read the series finale. Dreamer’s Pool is a favourite of mine, and I really liked Forbidden too (even though I feel like that’s an odd thing to say?). Hooray for Jane Eyre! I actually took a class in uni that was 100% JE focused and I *still* love that book, which is saying something.

    The Moon in the Palace sounds incredible. Gonna try to get my hands on a copy ASAP!


  2. I need to pick up the Heartstrikers books – you’re the second blogger whose recommendations mean a lot to me who has sung their praises, so I feel like I’m missing out 🙂


  3. Lovely list! I had the same thing with Jane Eyre. I picked it up reluctantly and was just curious about that particular classic. I didn’t expect to love it as much as I did.


  4. i’m so on the fence about Red Rising because the premise sounds….i don’t know???? i’m such a mood reader xD BUT since you loved it I must now try it


  5. The Secret History is one of my all time favourites, and I also picked up If We Were Villians because of the quote likening them. I found the constant Shakespeare quoting a bit tiresome for the first few pages, but then I got completely sucked in and absolutely loved it.


  6. Jane Eyre is one of the books that got me hooked on reading classics because I unexpectedly fell in love with the story. ❤ I really need to reread it soon!


  7. If We Were Villains, Jane Eyre and Red Rising are some of my favourite books! The Moon in the Palace seems intriguing, as sometimes it feels like all historical fiction is set in Europe or America.


  8. Forbidden is one of those books that caught me off guard because like you, the thought of falling in love with my brother makes me vomit. But I actually understood it in this book and my heart broke into a million pieces reading it.


  9. I recently got The Bone Witch. I’m so curious about it as it appealed to me right from the start but then never got it last year. Nice Dragons Finish Last is not that easy to come by. ._.


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