Monday, February 20, 2017

TTT: Books That Exceeded or Disappointed my Expectations

The delightful bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish host this weekly list challenge.  If you want to quadruple the size of your TBR AND find a bunch of great book blogs to follow head on over and check them out!

The topic this week is Ten Books I Loved Less/More Than I Thought I Would (recently or all time). That's a bit challenging!  I decided to come up with five of each, all of which I've read in the past six months or so.  

Liked more than I expected:
One Plus One by Jojo Moyes.
It sounded like a rich boy/poor girl romance, but there's a lot more to it.

The Plot to Kill Hitler: Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Spy, Unlikely Hero by Patricia McCormick
Digs into the moral quandary of a priest deciding that murder is justified in this particular case.  Lots of information I didn't know about how the German church let itself get co-opted by Nazis.

Bubonic Panic: When Plague Invaded America by Gail Jarrow
If you can make it past the super gross photos on the first few pages, this is a fascinating look at the history of plague, continuing into the 20th and 21st centuries!

Neil Armstrong is My Uncle (and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me) by Nan Marino
I just bought this middle grade novel set in the summer I was born because I teach at a school named Neil Armstrong.  Kids voted to have me read it to them, and we enjoyed it quite a bit.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
I know, I know, it won a ton of awards and accolades, but I kept putting it off, thinking it might be dour.  It's fascinating and wrenching and beautiful.

Liked less than I hoped:
This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
I really wanted to like this one, or at least to find it interesting and disturbing.  Instead, it took a terrifying situation and filled it with bland, two dimensional characters that read like a list of "diverse people" rather than actual teens and adults.  

One Death, Nine Stories  edited by Marc Aronson and Charles R. Smith Jr.
Another one that takes a fascinating premise and kills it with so-so execution.  This is often a problem with multiple-author books, which I suspect are more interesting to write than to read.  I'd love to see a similar premise done by one author.

Illumnae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Unpopular opinion, I know.  It's not the formatting--I'm a fan of untraditional narratives.  It's the plot.  Space romance clichés abound.  It's not that it's a bad book--I liked it--but it definitely isn't as amazing as I'd been led to believe, and I had no interest in reading the sequel.

The Accident Season b
Here's what I said on Goodreads: 

I can totally see why others might love this book, but--I didn't love it. It wasn't bad or anything. The premise is awesome, and the magical realism should have been awesome. I just couldn't get close enough to the characters to actually care much.

I stand by that.
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
Okay, maybe I just don't like books with girls floating on the cover?  I couldn't stand the love interest.  I felt that the mystery/creepy angle was underutilized.  And I had no interest in continuing Mara's story.

I actually have a Goodreads shelf called "Didn't live up to premise," and that's where I pulled these last five titles from.  I do not have one called "Exceeded expectations," but maybe I need one!

Please don't yell at me if you loved any or all of the last five.  To each their own, right?  


  1. I totally agree on Code Name Verity and One Death, Nine Stories. I loved Verity and was super disappointed in most of the nine stories.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

  2. I really need to read Code Name Verity. I finally broke down and read Me Before You by Jojo Moyes last year. It was my first book by her and I'd been putting on reading her forever because she was so hyped and I was afraid it'd be too angsty but I absolutely loved it. I'll have to check out One Plus One.

  3. I've liked everything I've read by Jojo--even the older ones. I've put the Bonhoeffer book on my list--he's a hero of mine. Thanks Really interesting list.

  4. Funny. My book club discussed Me Before You tonight and I ended up taking home After You. Now I need to look for One Plus One!

  5. Sadly, I have heard similar things about This Is Where it Ends. But then some people seem to like it, so I will probably still read, I am just less eager. I liked Illuminae and The Accident Season (well fine, loved them haha) but yes, to each their own of course! The plague one actually sounds REALLY fascinating, I will have to check that one out!

  6. This is where it ends is such a disappointment :( and I really need to check out the "One Plus One" ! I hope you're having a great week.

  7. I have heard such great things about Code Name Verity, and I loved the only Jojo Moyes book I read, so I want to be sure to get to One Plus One. I'm glad to see you enjoyed them so much!

    Great list.


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