Surprise surprise

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Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme where every Tuesday we look at a particular topic for discussion and use various (or more to the point ten) bookish examples to demonstrate that particular topic.  Top Ten Tuesday (created and hosted by  The Broke and Bookish) is now being hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl and future week’s topics can be found here.  This week’s topic is :

Books That Surprised Me (in a good  way)

The following are all fairly recent reads and they’re books that I enjoyed.  It’s not so much that I was surprise to like them more that they exceeded my expectations:

  1. Dogs of War by Adrian Tchaikovsky – this was a surprise for me.  I expected it to be a bit too much of a military style story and whilst there is some parts of the story that fit that theme this is an excellent book with characters that you can feel for.
  2. The Naturalist by Andrew Mayne – I have to say that the cover for this would probably never have enticed me.  I picked this up on a strong recommendation and I’m so glad I did.  A serial murder case and a professor who is determined to solve it – even though on the face of things it looks like all the deaths were natural causes.  Brilliant.
  3. A Time of Dread by John Gwynne.  This was the very last book I read in 2017 and it was excellent.  I haven’t read the previous series by this author and I think in a way I was a bit daunted – there was no need.  This was an excellent read and I highly recommend it.
  4. The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden – I suppose, I was worried that this might have second book syndrome. I was blown away.  I think enjoyed this one even more than the first.
  5. Hazelwood by Melissa Albert – a very good, compelling dark fairy tale.  I thoroughly enjoyed this and can’t wait to read No.2.  This does seem to be a book that has divided opinion a little so I guess I had concerns going in but, as with the others, there was no need.  This book just worked for me.
  6. The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock by Imogen Hermes Gowar – this book is amazing.  I can’t recommend it highly enough.  A romping, classical style type story that is just wonderful.  I had my doubts because there’s very little fantasy involved here – but this book is amazing and absolutely deserves all the recognition it receives.
  7. The Gone World by Tom Sweterlitsch – a time travelling murder mystery, cutting edge, bleak, twisty turny mind bender that was very clever.  The surprise here is that I don’t always enjoy time travelling books but this one worked.  Even if I confess to not always understanding everything that took place.
  8. Age of Assassins by RJ Barker – this is one of those books that has enjoyed a lot of hype and I’m pleased to say it’s all well deserved.  I enjoyed this so much that I read the second book immediately.
  9. Kin by Snorri Kristjansson – Vikings and a murder mystery with a hint of Norse Gods.  This has a rather stark cover and the setting itself is similar but it just transported me more than I ever expected.
  10. This one is free for you to tell me which book surprised you recently – good or bad.
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38 Responses to “Surprise surprise”

  1. Siobhan @ Novelties

    Love your choices!

    I can’t wait to read Hazel Wood. And Girl in the Tower is definitely on my TBR list.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Girl in the Tower was Amazing. Hazel Wood is a dark fairy tale story of two halves really because the first half has a very contemporary setting. I loved it but it seems to have been divisive. I hope you enjoy it.
      Lynn 😀

      • Siobhan @ Novelties

        I’ve heard quite a few mixed reviews for Hazel Wood. Thank you for telling me about that setting though. I know it threw off some readers.

        You’d think from reading the blurb that it isn’t though.

  2. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    The ones I’ve read here all surprised me too…mostly good, with The Gone World being the only exception, but that was probably due to me not understanding it 😛 Now I really want to read Kin. A Viking murder mystery – somehow I think that will work perfectly for me 🙂

    • @lynnsbooks

      I definitely didn’t understand everything in Gone World and I thought the end was a bit much but I did enjoy it and read it very quickly. I loved Kin – thought it was really good. Vikings and murder you kind of expect, vikings and murder mystery feels like something unique.
      Lynn 😀

  3. Joey @ thoughts and afterthoughts

    I’ve been a bit torn on the mass hype for Hazelwood mixed in with the “meh”-ness of some reviews I’ve seen (not to mention the plot doesn’t exactly excite me) — BUT IF LYNN UPVOTES IT…

    • @lynnsbooks

      Haha – keep in mind that it’s my kind of book – I love fairytale style books and darkness so this fit the bill in me.
      Lynn 😀

  4. pagesandtea

    I have three of these at the top of my TBR pile – Mrs Hancock, The Girl in the Tower and A Time of Dread. I haven’t read the previous series by that author either so wondered how much I would get this, but the story sounds really good.
    Am now off to check out some of the other choices that made your list this week and no doubt add even more books to my endless TBR pile 😀

    • @lynnsbooks

      Those three are so good. And, you don’t need to have read the previous Gwynne books before picking up A Time of Dread – although having read this I would like to revisit his back list.
      Lynn 😀

  5. Barb (boxermommyreads)

    The Dogs of War has been on my wishlist for some time. I have reason to believe I might be gettiing Gone World in a subscription box this month so I’ll have no excuse ot to read it. I’m also asking that my library order Kin after reading your review!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Ooh, I hope you enjoy them all. Dogs of War was great, I was worried it would be just to military for my tastes but it was a great balance. Gone World, well, I can’t deny that I didn’t probably follow everything – but it was a gripping read. Kin was great – I loved it, vikings and murder mystery – who would have thought that up!
      Lynn 😀

  6. Astilbe

    I’m glad you liked The Hazel Wood.

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s had very split reviews but it’s my type of book.
      Lynn 😀

  7. Greg

    The Gone World and The Hazel Wood are two that I’m interested in. and I just saw a review of Kin and now I want to read that too!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Wanting all the books – book blogger problems – but good to have.
      Lynn 😀

  8. Gabby

    So with you on The Girl In The Tower! I loved the first one and was worried the second one would be blah but it was so good instead!

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s a lovely series – of course it’s perfect for me because I love fairytale/folklore/myth style stories.
      Lynn 😀

  9. Ash

    I haven’t read any of these yet, but I am super excited for The Hazel Wood!

    Here’s our tuesday posts:
    TTT: http://jennreneeread.blogspot.com/2018/03/top-ten-tuesday-books-that-surprised-me.html

    Teaser Tuesday: http://jennreneeread.blogspot.com/2018/03/teaser-tuesday-last-night-by-kerry.html

    • @lynnsbooks

      Thanks – hope you enjoy it. It seems to have divided opinion.
      Lynn 😀

  10. Amanda @Cover2CoverMom

    You have some books on here that I’ve been hearing great things about!

    You have me very interested in The Mermaid and Mrs Hancock now… I’ve seen a handful of reviews and they are all overwhelmingly positive.

    I totally agree with you about The Girl in the Tower! What an action packed & wild ride it was!

  11. Annemieke

    I still need to read the first book by Katherine Arden but I should finally start that next week. 😀 I’m also very curious about The Hazel Wood. It seems to be very hit or miss.

    • @lynnsbooks

      I loved the Hazel Wood, but I’m a sucker for dark fairytales. I think the things that seem to have been a bit divisive are that the first half of the book is a contemporary setting – I really enjoyed it, it’s a great build up with creepy things becoming more and more consistent, I also think that some people felt this half was a little slower in place – I just enjoyed it so it’s a personal thing. Also the main character can be a bit abrasive – you will realise why this is as the story unfolds but I suppose that put some people off a little. Overall though I thought it was great and will definitely read No.2.
      Lynn 😀

  12. proxyfish

    Ooh! You have to read Gwynne’s The Faithful and the Fallen series – it’s amazing. I keep meaning to write up my reviews but I keep losing track! I really can’t wait to read A Time of Dread 😀

    The Dogs of War is also waiting for me on my shelf… I think March might be the month I crack it open!

    • @lynnsbooks

      Yay for March. I absolutely loved A Time of Dread – whether I’ll ever find time to go back and revisit the others remains to be seen but hopefully.
      Lynn 😀

  13. maddalena@spaceandsorcery

    A Time of Dread was the book that helped me discover a new-to-me amazing author, and now I intend to read his previous books. All of them… 🙂

  14. ChrissiReads

    I’m really not familiar with any of these books. It’s always intriguing when a book surprises you though.

    • @lynnsbooks

      It really is – especially if, like me, you’re always trying to second guess the ending.
      Lynn 😀

  15. Lisa (@TenaciousReader)

    I haven’t read any of these! But I do really want to read The Gone World and and Kin, and start the R. J. Barker series. And Time of Dread. Shoot. I probably actually want to read almost all of them.

    • @lynnsbooks

      Haha – too little time. If I was going to say you definitely need to start with one of these in particular, I’d struggle to choose but would probably plump for the RJ Barker series.
      Lynn 😀

  16. iloveheartlandx

    I’m reading The Hazel Wood at the moment, and whilst I’ve enjoyed it, I haven’t loved it as much as other people seem to have.
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2018/03/13/top-ten-tuesday-150/

    • @lynnsbooks

      It’s been a divisive book hasn’t it. I really liked it but I can appreciate that the modern start to the story might not be for everyone – particularly if you’re expecting the fairytale feel from the outset.
      Lynn 😀

      • iloveheartlandx

        Yeah it was just a little different to what I was expecting!

  17. sjhigbee

    Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton would be my surprise read – it is an extraordinary book and certainly wasn’t expecting dragons living in a Victorian world…

  18. imyril

    I’ve just finished Dogs of War and it’s definitely intriguing (although I found it a bit dissatisfying). My biggest surprises this year have been the Rupert Wong novellas – who knew cannibal chefs could be funny, and heart-rending and that you could throw all the gods and monsters in the world in one cookpot and have it work?

    • @lynnsbooks

      I did enjoy Dogs of War but some of that was probably the fact that I was surprised by the style – it ended up going into a courtroom type drama and not being quite as ‘military feeling as I feared it might be. I read your reviews for the Rupert Wong books – I’m definitely intrigued.
      Lynn 😀

      • imyril

        I loved the courtroom bit! I was just sad there wasn’t more of it…

      • @lynnsbooks

        I must admit that I could have read more from the courtroom – it was so unexpected in this book that I found myself loving it.
        Lynn 😀

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