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Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I Loved More/Less Than I Thought I Would

I’m a little late with my TTT today, but I had an exam today and I used up my assigned blogging time by studying. Luckily this is a pretty easy one today and I had to narrow down my original choices to fit this list. As always, Top Ten Tuesday is run by the thoughtful and creative bloggers from The Broke and the Bookish.

Books I Loved MORE Than I Expected To:

I didn’t exactly have low opinions of all of these books, but when I picked them up I expected them to be mediocre at best and was pleasantly surprised. This feeling was definitely strongest with Cruel Beauty, which I had previously heard was boring and predictable, best described as “meh,” and Slave to Sensation, which not only features a cover I’ve only seen mirrored in my grandmother’s impressive romance novel collection, but is also by an author whose books I hadn’t enjoyed in the past. Both of these had me hooked less than half of the way through and although I’m still on the fence about the rest of each author’s books, these two are fantastic.

For the others, I simply hadn’t heard anything about any of them, and picked them up mostly because I liked the way the covers looked. It’s always great when a book that looks gorgeous or enticing ends up having the pages to back it up, and that’s exactly what I found in The Forbidden Wish, Walk on Earth a Stranger, and Learning to Swear in America.

Books I Liked LESS Than I Expected

This list was a lot harder to narrow down than the ones that exceeded my expectations, which is sad but true. Not all of these were terrible, but I didn’t enjoy them as much as I wanted to. The ones that disappointed me the most were by far A Gathering of Shadows (click to see my review) and Alphas: Origins. I did enjoy the majority of AGOS, and I am over the moon about today’s release of A Conjuring of Light. I simply didn’t feel it was as good as ADSOM and the entire Games plotline was poorly executed background noise to an otherwise stellar novel. However, I HATED Alphas. HATED IT. Ilona & Gordon are my all-time favorite authors, and I absolutely abhorred that novella. It was so bad and such a disappointment. I’m still trying to find words to express how let down I felt.

The Winner’s Crime was also just not good. I gave it a generous 3 stars because I finished it without wanting to stab myself in the eye. I’m still getting around to picking up the sequel. Meanwhile, I had to DRAG myself through Siege and Storm. Not a single meaningful thing happened in that book and by the end I was glad it was over. I did finish the sequel and enjoyed it, so that counts for something, but good lord that had “middle book” written all over it. As for Truthwitch…I just don’t care for Susan’s writing. I haven’t enjoyed a single book of hers yet and it sucks because she’s a really sweet person, but me and her writing style do not click at all.


Do you agree with any of my picks? What’s on your Top Ten list this week? Share a link to your post in the comments below! 

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31 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I Loved More/Less Than I Thought I Would

    1. I’ve been telling people to pick Truthwitch up if they feel like it; I DNF’ed it so I don’t feel qualified to be like “it sucked, don’t read it” not knowing what the last 40% of the book was like. But I’ve also seen it on a lot of people’s “meh” lists, so maybe that speaks for itself.

      I’m crossing my fingers that I got a good grade. There were a handful I straight up guessed on. Other than that it went well though! Thanks ❤

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a hit or miss, I think. My roommate loved it and she’s the reason I picked it up in the first place. I know a number of people who gave it 4 stars and were pumped for Windwitch. It’s up to you if you want to give it a shot (although if you didn’t like Something Strange and Deadly, her other series, I wouldn’t recommend Truthwitch.)

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      1. I have it on my shelf but I’m not really reaching for it. If I ever don’t have anything to read I’ll pick it up but it’s not on the top of my TBR

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  1. As much as I adored ADSOM and everything about V.E. Schwab, I have to agree that AGOS wasn’t as strong–but, then again, what could be since ADSOM was perfection? I am also over the moon about A Conjuring of Light; my pre-order arrived in the mail today and, of course, I was like a little kid dancing around when I saw the box.

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  2. I’m honestly really glad to see Cruel Beauty exceeded your expectations! I’ve heard a lot of not-so-great things about it, but the book itself sounds really good. I’m not surprised to see The Winner’s Crime on here. I haven’t read it (and don’t think I will) but that series seems like one that readers either adore or hate.

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    1. I am SUCH A SUCKER for Beauty and the Beast retellings. I might have already said that in the post but I’ll shout it from the rooftops. I went into Cruel Beauty like HAHAHA, THERE’S NEVER BEEN A BELLE STORY I DIDN’T LOVE and so far I’ve been right! Admittedly I didn’t enjoy Crimson Bound nearly as much, but it’s cool. I’m firmly on the ugh side of The Winner’s trilogy, unfortunately. I don’t recommend it very often.

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      1. I love fairy tale retellings in general although I rarely ever actually read any of them. 😛 I’ve heard so many bad things about The Winner’s trilogy. I doubt I’ll ever try to read those books. I’ve got too many other (better) books on my TBR, haha.

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  3. Great picks for this week Diana. It’s a shame to see A Gathering of Shadows is a book that made it onto your ‘less’ list for this week, but at least you’re still excited for A Conjuring of Light, which I really do hope you enjoy better in that case, and I guess AGOS must have been hard to live up to the first book was well in a way. I definitely agree with you on Siege and Storm, I enjoyed it a little less than the first book but still thought it was an OK read overall.
    Cruel Beauty is an all-time favourite of mine so I’m definitely glad to see that on your ‘more’ list! 😀

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    1. Thanks so much! I’m honestly more upset about how hard I tried to love AGOS but couldn’t get past what was wrong with it. ACOL is MASSIVE and I can only hope and cross my fingers that all of the problems I had with book 2 have been addressed. I’m going to see Victoria on Sunday and I’m so excited! She’s still a wonderful writer and a great person even though I was disappointed with that sequel.
      Siege and Storm just…gods, I couldn’t get into it. I was so bored. I needed matchsticks to pry my eyes open for the majority of that novel. I’m glad you thought it was OK, though! Saved yourself some matchsticks there, haha.
      Cruel Beauty was so lovely. I already adore Beauty and the Beast retellings, and I was more than ecstatic to add that to my list. I’m not surprised it’s an all-time fave – I really enjoyed it! I’m considering picking up the audio at some point, but I’m still on the fence. Either way I’m definitely planning a reread sometime soon 🙂

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      1. That’s all right, and yeah that is a shame but I have high hopes for ACOL so hopefully you’ll end up loving it as well. Ohh that’s great you’re going to see V.E. Schwab, that will be an amazing event I’m sure. I met her at YALC and I’m really hoping she goes again this year.
        Yeah Siege and Storm wasn’t too bad in my opinion, the third book was a little better but compared to the Six of Crows series the Grisha trilogy was a little weak.
        I adore all fairytale retellings but Cruel Beauty is one of the best of the best in my opinion. 🙂

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  4. I’m with you re: Learning to Swear in America! That book is seriously underrated – I found it really funny and charming and just very easy to read.

    And while I love AGOS (and Schwab and anything she writes, possibly), I’m also not a huge fan of Truthwitch. All the hype was great but when it came down to actually reading it, it was just kinda boring and didn’t really grab my attention. :/

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    1. Kennedy wrote a great novel there that got so little spotlight! I’m happy to talk about it if only to shed a little more light on such an underappreciated novel. I’m glad you liked it, too!
      Truthwitch was mindnumbingly boring, no matter what Schwab or Maas or any of Susan Dennard’s other writer friends say. She’s a sweetheart and I feel a little bad about it but I don’t mesh with her books even a smidge. It’s nice to hear so many people are enjoying Windwitch, but there’s no chance I’m picking it up. A Conjuring of Light has my heart and soul for the time being ❤

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  5. Glad to see that The Forbidden Wish and Cruel Beauty surpassed your expectations! I look forward to reading them more now. But awe about Truthwitch (which I read and loved, haha), and A Gathering of Shadows (which I haven’t read and am hoping to read). But we all have our own opinions, and I like that we can be so honest about them in this community, and discuss things in a mature manner 🙂

    Great post!

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    1. I can’t wait to hear what you think about those you haven’t read yet! I still enjoyed AGOS even though it let me down a lot, because Schwab still has great writing and incredible characters even when the plot is disjointed and meaningless at certain points. I’m glad to hear you liked Truthwitch, and I hope you enjoy Windwitch as well. I’m not into Susan’s writing style at all, but I have a lot of respect for her and her fans. Thanks for being so cool, you’re awesome ❤

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    1. I was hesitant at first as well, but I ended up liking it regardless of the hype that may have skewed how I felt about it. It’s a slow burn kind of story, but not so slow that it drags. The ending also has a really nice set up for the sequel!

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    1. It was a drag, I think what’s his face showed up in that book? Nikolai or something? The only redeeming character? Ruin and Rising was a definite improvement, but it was too little too late. Glad I’m not the only one who felt bummed.

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      1. I loved Six of Crows. I read both SoC and Crooked Kingdom before I read the Grisha trilogy, and I’ve often wondered if that’s why I felt so disappointed, because SoC is so monumentally better than all 3 of that trilogy combined. (In my own opinion!)

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  6. I do think I glorified my rating for Siege and Storm a bit as it relates to my enjoyment of Nikolai’s character (even if he was just one big cinnamon roll throughout the remainer of the series haha).

    I’ve always been drawn to Walk on Earth a Stranger et al. as the covers are just wonderfulllllll but at the same time when I refresh my memory of the synopsis I’m not…sold? Hah, maybe one day.

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  7. I’m SO glad to see Truthwitch on your list – I DNF’d it about halfway through and had to force myself to read that far. It did absolutely nothing for me, but I was so excited to pick it up! I thought I might be alone as everyone seems to have loved it.

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