Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Thought I’d Like MORE/LESS Than I Did

April 23, 2013 Top Ten Tuesday 24


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature/meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s topic is Top Ten Books I Thought I Would Like MORE/LESS Than I Did

I limited the list to books I’ve read in the last few years, rather than over my entire lifetime.  (Hey, I can’t remember some of the awful ones from childhood, anyway!) Even so, there are more than ten. And the titles are in no particular order, although I’ve grouped them by books I was disappointed in, and books I was pleasantly surprised by.  If you’d like to read my full reaction to any of these books, click the title link to see my review.

Books I was disappointed by, or liked LESS than I thought I would:

Spellbinding, byMaya Gold.  It wasn’t bad… but it could have been (and I was expecting) so much more.
Copper Beach, by Jayne Ann Krentz.  After the tight suspense and cool world-building of the Arcane Society novels, I found this book a bit uneven.  The second book in the trilogy started to redeem it, though.
Pirate King, by Laurie R. King.  I love the Mary Russell series.  I love Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas. When I heard King was putting them together, I was over the moon.  Sadly, when I read it I was alternately bemused and annoyed because Russell kept behaving in a most un-Russell-like way.  (She missed far too many clues; Russell isn’t usually that unobservant.)  And the whole book felt slightly “off” compared to the rest of the series.  Don’t get me wrong; parts of it were a lot of fun.  But taken as a whole, it’s now my least favorite of the entire series.  Which is to say, it only got three stars instead of four or five.  (I never actually reviewed this one.)
The entire Friday Harbor series by Lisa Kleypas.  I haven’t hated any of them, and I’ve liked most of them all right… but Kleypas’s historical romances are head and shoulders above these, so I found these a little disappointing in comparison.  (Reviews: Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor, Rainshadow Road, Dream Lake, Crystal Cove)
Home from the Sea, by Mercedes Lackey.  It was all right, it just wasn’t up to Lackey’s usual standards.  Actually, that’s been true of Lackey’s books as often as not over the last few years. She’s still coming up with good ideas, but the execution isn’t always up to par.  Perhaps she needs a tougher editor.  It’s frustrating, when I know she can do better. 
The Colour of Magic, by Terry Pratchett.  I’ve dipped into enough Discworld books to know that Pratchett is a good and funny writer.  So I thought I’d start at the beginning of the series.  Unfortunately, although I finished the book, my reaction was mostly “meh.”  I wish I’d taken the advice of a few friends, and started with one of the later books. (I haven’t reviewed this one, either.)
Murder on the Rocks, by Karen McInerney.  I like cozy mysteries, I like B&Bs and the New England coast – and the book was getting good reviews.  But this one really disappointed me. The heroine was an idiot when it came to the police, or rather, to staying out of jail.  And if the detective was as out to get her as he seemed to be, he could have arrested on several counts of obstruction and tampering.  I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief.

Books that surprised me, and I liked MORE than I thought I would:

A Discovery of Witches, by Deborah Harkness.  Oh. Wow.  I’m not much of a vampire fan, so I was a bit unsure when I borrowed DoW from the library.  I was so blown away by it, I had to buy my own copy.  Then I had to buy the ebook so I could reread it on vacation.
His Majesty’s Dragon, byNaomi Novik.  Given my daughter’s excitement over the series, I expected to like this book about dragons during the Napoleonic Wars.  I didn’t realize how much Temeraire (the dragon), Laurence (his human captain), and Novik’s whole world would capture my attention — and my heart.

The False Prince, byJennifer A. Nielsen.  I loved this MG fantasy, where I was only hoping to like it. 

Love Saves the Day, by Gwen Cooper.  A non-fantasy book with a cat as a character? I wasn’t sure, but Cooper’s wonderful memoir about her blind cat – and the ARC I won in a Goodreads giveaway – convinced me to give it a try.  I loved it.
Keeping the Castle, by Patricia Kindl.  I was surprised to find it so delightful, charming, and humorous.  An engaging YA  confection for lovers of Austen and Regency romance.

24 Responses to “Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Thought I’d Like MORE/LESS Than I Did”

  1. Susan

    I think I’d actually have to put THE FALSE PRINCE in the opposite category because I didn’t like it nearly as much as I was hoping to. I’d heard it was amazing and I thought it was good, just not mind-blowing. I have a thing against unreliable narrators, so that’s a big part of why it irritated me …

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I don’t always like unreliable narrators, either, but sometimes it’s a perfect device for the book, which I think is true in this case. And I became rather fond of Sage — not all at once, but over the course of the book. But I can see why you would feel that way.

      Thank you for stopping by!

  2. Bookzilla

    Agreed 100% about The Colour of Magic, as are several people I know. The Discworld series is so great, but that one…it really just is “meh.”

    I just read His Majesty’s Dragon a couple weeks ago. I liked the premise and the characters, but there was too much military talk.

    Here’s my TTT for the week. Happy reading!

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      Oh, phew, it’s not just me! About The Colour of Magic, I mean.

      Re His Majesty’s Dragon, it may have helped that I listened to the audiobook, and Simon Vance is an excellent reader/narrator.

    • Bookzilla

      Simon Vance, awesome! He narrated the version of Born on a Blue Day I listened to. He’s really great. I can see how having him narrating might have made me like the book more.

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I just looked him up. In addition to reading all the Green Knowe books by L. M. Boston (which our daughter and I love), he also reads the Patrick O’Brian Master & Commander series, which my husband loves. And James Bond novels and a slew of other things. He’s a very prolific narrator!

  3. Beth Kait

    I have had Discovery of Witches on my shelf along with Shadow of Night (I think thats the name) for FAR too long. I still haven’t got to them yet :(. Damn my indecisive nature!
    Thanks for stopping by on the Vixens blog 🙂
    <3 Beth

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      They’re both pretty good. SoN is slightly less suspenseful than DoW, but the historical fiction aspect made up for it in my opinion. I can’t wait for the third book to come out.

      Thanks for coming by!

  4. Jenna St. Hilaire

    Yeah, I didn’t love The Colour of Magic, either. Except for that one hilarious line about “if complete and utter chaos were lightning…” I’m tempted to go hunt up the Tiffany Aching books and see if they’re any more interesting than the adult Discworlds.

    Also, your review of the Novik book made me really, really want to read it! I should go hunt that out shortly. 🙂

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      I’ve heard good things about the Tiffany Aching books, and my daughter has been reading me bits of Guards! Guards! to tempt me. We’ll see.

      And judging by some of the books you and I have in common, I think you might really like the Temeraire series. If you read them, please let me know how you like them!

  5. Victoria Hooper

    Have heard quite a lot of people say that about The Colour of Magic. I would suggest beginning Discworld with the City Watch books, which start with Guards! Guards! Or you could begin with the witch books (Equal Rites or Wyrd Sisters, either is a good starting place). Or if you want a standalone to test them out, perhaps Small Gods? But the City Watch ones are the most commonly suggested starting point. I really liked The Colour of Magic, but it is so different from the other Discworld books, it’s almost like it’s been written by someone else or is part of a different series. The humour is different, the whole thing is less subtle, it’s not as tightly plotted, and kind of a mess. I thought it was a really funny and entertaining mess, but I can easily see why someone might not like it.

    I really need to read A Discovery of Witches. I’ve heard really good things about it, and I’m doing a ‘witchy books’ challenge this year which I’ve so far read a grand total of one book for!

    Great list! 🙂

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      See my note above — my daughter beat you to the punch with the Guards! Guards! recommendation! My stepdad loves the books with Mort in them, too. I will try again, just not right now. I’m swamped with ARCs.

      DoW would be great for a witchy books challenge!

  6. Jennifer @ Feminist Fairy Tale Reviews

    I was surprised at how much I enjoyed A Discovery of Witches as well! I’ll have to check out Keeping the Castle since I’m a big Regency fan. Like you, I haven’t been a huge fan of Kleypas’s Friday Harbor series. Her Travis Family books were better and, of course, her historicals blow them all out of the water. Thanks for visiting!

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      Keeping the Castle won’t take any time at all to read — well, not very long, anyway. But it’s really charming.

      I haven’t tried Kleypas’s Travis series. I think I’ll stick mostly to the historicals. I’m re-reading some of the Hathaways in my nonexistent spare time.

  7. Shelver 506

    If you loved THE FALSE PRINCE, you should definitely check out THE THIEF and its sequels by Megan Whalen Turner. Sage is like Gen (the main character) Lite.

  8. Ems

    You’re the second one I’ve seen who mentioned The False Prince. I could have included it on my list as well. I was SO glad that I ended up loving it.

    I’ve had an ARC of Spellbinding sitting around FOREVER, but I just can’t bring myself to read it. I know too many people who were sorely disappointed.

  9. Lianne @

    Same here re: A Discovery of Witches! I don’t normally read a lot from the paranormal genre but I was totally engrossed by the book, could not put it down xD The second book, Shadow of Night, was also very good =)

    • Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard

      It’s the only series which has made me rethink my position on vampires even a little bit. I do like some paranormal books very much — more the magic/ESP ones; I just haven’t gotten into the vampire and werewolf crazes — with the exception of DoW and SoN!