Sometimes I read books that surprise me in a good way. It doesn’t really happen so often mostly because I tend to have high expectations with my books, and they either meet those expectations or not. (Oh, god, when did I become a book snob?! I SWEAR I’M REALLY NOT.) Occasionally, though, there are some books that pulled punches and knocked it out of the ballpark. So there ya go.
Top Ten Books That Were Surprisingly Good
Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell – Contemporary new adult isn’t something I normally enjoy or read, but I had to pick this up because A) it spoke to me, and B) it’s by Rainbow Frelling Rowell, and I loved Carry On, so I had to try this book. No regrets there. Loved this almost as much as her book on gay wizards.
Gilded Cage by Vic James – With an overglut of dystopian YAs, why would we need another one? Gilded Cage was surprisingly good for a dystopian, but it’s also because there’s fantasy thrown in here, and several perspectives I actually enjoyed.
Speak Easy by Catherynne M. Valente – Okay, this one was a stretch. I figured I would enjoy this book, and I did. But I didn’t think I’d enjoy it that much. It definitely put Valente on a priority list for me, that’s for sure.
The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden – I will say I actually liked this book better than its predecessor, and that’s a surprise considering it’s the second and sequel of an already good book. This one had a lot more adventure, though, since for the most part, character intros were made and done with in The Bear and the Nightingale.
The Last American Vampire by Seth Grahame-Smith – This is a sequel to Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Honestly, need I say more? I haven’t even read the first book before biting (hah!) into this one, but it was available on audiobook and I just had to borrow it! I will admit I didn’t take this seriously, but it was so well done.
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – IS SO SAD THO. Really, it was poetic to listen to as an audiobook. I didn’t think I’d enjoy it as much as I thought I would, but I did up until the last quarter of the book. Then I just died inside and asked the world what I did to deserve such an ending. Sigh.
Blood of the Earth by Faith Hunter – I find I’m picky with my urban fantasies. Many haven’t really appealed to me, which is a shame because I really do want to try as many as I can. They’re also pretty easy, quick reads. Faith Hunter in particular is pretty good at her craft. For some reason, I’ve actually enjoyed Blood of the Earth much more than Skinwalker, but she’s still an author I’d read more of!
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – Honestly, I don’t know why it had taken me so long to actually read this! Loved the book to pieces; it was a blast from the nostalgic past, and while I had misgivings about it, Whil Weaton’s audiobook narration clinched the deal. Surprisingly good, and I cannot wait for the movie.
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon – This was a book that I’d listened to on audiobook concurrently while I watched the show. So I can’t remember whether I’d read the final scenes first or watched them. Either way, I actually enjoyed this book. Maybe the fact that Sam Heughan plays Jamie Fraser helped. A helluva lot.
Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger – Another urban fantasy new adult mash-up! And yeah, okay, quick read, somewhat silly, somewhat dramatic. But come on. It’s a book about bartenders who have superpowers based off of the type of cocktails they cook up and drink. I enjoyed this way more than I thought I would, clearly.