Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday: I was skeptical, but then I loved it!

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week's topic is...

I was skeptical, but then I loved it!

This week, I am talking about books that many people had panned, had received lower than expected ratings, was surrounded by some sort of drama, or had a synopsis that made me think the book wouldn't work for me. But, lo and behold, I ended up really liking these books. I subscribe to the idea, that there are different books for different readers, and sometimes, one's person's trash is another person's treasure.


Turtles All the Way Down
John Green
Series: n/a
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers

It had been so long since we had a new John Green book. That meant that me and a million other people were waiting with bated breath for this book. About a million reviews popped up the day it was released, and a lot of reviewers expressed great disappointment with the book. This made me sad, but I put my name on that library wait list any how. I really liked this book, and the ending Green wrote was so beautiful and different for him. I am getting happy tears in my eyes right this second just thinking about it.

Once and For All 
Sarah Dessen
Series: n/a
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

Sarah Dessen is one of my go-to authors. I just adore her books. Once again, early reviews were lukewarm. I actually waited three months to read this book, and then finally caved and checked it out of the library. Ambrose won my heart, and when I finally found out what happened to Louna's boyfriend, my heart broke in half. I totally understood why she was the way she was, and I just loved this idea of appreciating every moment we have. *tears*

Far From the Tree
Robin Benway
Series: n/a
Publisher: HarperTeen

When I saw this one up on NetGalley, I was like "nope, too emotional". Then everyone started posting their reviews, and with each great review, my interest grew and grew until finally! I read it. I absolutely adored this book, and commend Benway for being able to write a story like this and keep it so hopeful, heartwarming, and not bogged down by sadness.

99 Days
Katie Cotungo
Series: 99 Days, #1
Publisher: Blazer + Bray

This book is loathed by many. In fact, my own co-blogger wrote a very negative review for this book, but I liked it.  I concede, that Molly made some bad decisions, but she grew and changed during this book. She learned a lot about herself, and eventually accepted her part in the whole mess. In the last part of my review, I wrote: "I was not totally rah-rah about the ending, but I did like that Contugno did not shut the door on all the relationships," and I was right! The sequel to this book is one of my anticipated reads for this year.

The Passion of Dolssa
Julie Berry
Series: n/a
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers

I had never really read much historical fiction, and I did not have too much interest in the time period, but we had the book, so why not? Well, this ended up earning a solid 4.5 stars from me. I was absolutely enthralled by this story, and found myself very emotionally invested. Berry changed my mind about historicals, and I went on to read another one of her books, All the Truth That's in Me, and that one blew me away too.

Ramona Blue
Julie Murphy
Series: n/a
Publisher: Blazer + Bray

There was a LOT of drama surrounding this book, even prior to ARCs going out. People, who had not read the book, were condemning it for the bisexual protagonist ending up with a male love interest. All the drama + Julie Murphy made me want to read this #OwnVoices book, and it was a rather wonderful story about finding one's identity, and I for one, am glad I read it.

The One Memory of Flora Banks
Emily Barr
Series: n/a
Publisher: Penguin

So many people HATED this book, but one of the things they hated, was something I thought was so brilliant about it. Flora suffers from having no short-term memory, and this story is told from Flora's perspective. Though it took a while to get used to, I really appreciated how Barr helped me understand what it was like to be Flora.

Nowhere But Here
Katie McGarry
Series: Thunder Road, #1
Publisher: Harlequin Teen

I had tried to read an adult MC book, and it just was not my thing. So, when I heard Katie McGarry was writing a series centered around members of a motorcycle club, I was not jumping for joy. But, on a whim, I checked the book out of the library, and it was still classic Katie McG, and I grew to love this series, and am kind of sad that it's over.

Holding Up the Universe
Jennifer Niven
Series: n/a
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers

This book also had a bunch of drama surrounding it, but Jennifer Niven wrote it, so I had to give it a try. This book made me happy, and as I said in my review: "Thank you Jennifer Niven for another very special and heartfelt book (and for no soul crushing deaths.)

The Graces
Laure Eve
Series: The Graces, #1
Publisher: Amulet Books

I got this book at BEA one year, and my co-blogger and I were really pumped, because we love witch books. When the early reviews started rolling in, they were NOT very complimentary. In fact, this book has a 3.28 average on Goodreads, well below my required 3.50. However, I took a chance, because my co-blogger liked it, and you know what? So did I, and I am looking forward to the sequel too.




Are there any books you loved, but were initially skeptical of?
Let us know in the comments!

53 comments:

  1. I liked the first Katie Cotugno book I read recently and would definitely read more of her books! And I do want to read Turtles All The Way Down.

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    1. I am a Cotugno fan. She doesn't take the easy route with her stories, but they always hit me in some way. I love John Green and Turtles worked for me.

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  2. There are a couple on your list that I've been holding off on reading because of early lukewarm reviews. Sounds like I should really give them a chance, especially Once and For All.

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    1. I put many of those books off too, but I am so glad I read them. I think you need to look at what the reviewers are feeling negative about. For me, a lot of the things weren't enough to deter me. This was especially the case for the books written by some of my favorite authors.

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  3. I love it when I'm skeptical about a book but then it ends up wowing me! I so need to read a bunch of these books in the list. I did love Nowhere But Here and Far From the Tree though!

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    1. For the ones with drama or mediocre reviews, I think I went in with a more critical eye, but I still tried to keep an open mind at the same time.

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  4. I definitely agree with you saying one's person's trash is another person's treasure. Some of my favorite books are ones other people disliked, and it's part of the reason I'll still give a book a try even if it is getting a lot of bad reviews. I've been holding off on reading Turtles All the Way Down and I don't know why. I love John Green, but I think I'm worried about the hype. I 100% agree with you on Once and for All. I was worried going into it, but I really enjoyed it. Did I love it as much as Sarah's earlier books? No, but it's still pretty darn good.

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    1. I am getting chills just thinking about Once and For All. I think when I read the meh reviews, they are disappointed that the romance isn't a bigger part of the book, but this book wasn't a romance for me. It was about healing and recognizing that a love can be real and important, no matter how much time you had together.

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  5. I really enjoyed 99 Days, Ramona Blue and Far From the Tree too. I have Turtles I want to get to this month and Holding Up the Universe sitting on my shelf. I need to get to them. I try to ignore drama around books if I can and give them a chance if they interest me.

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    1. Honestly, I think the drama usually makes me want to read a book more, because I get really frustrated when people who have not even read the book, start an online campaign against it.

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  6. I haven't read any of these sadly, but I do enjoy John Green and have Turtles All the Way Down on my TBR list. Great list!

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    1. I thought Green was really sharing a big part of himself with Turtles and that ending! I cannot stop raving about what he did there.

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  7. I haven't read any of these but I do hope to read The Graces soon now that the second one is out. I'm glad these books worked out for you.

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    1. The Curses is coming out soon. It was postponed last year, which was disappointing, but I am hoping to get my hands on an early copy if possible.

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  8. I love John Green and I have Turtles, so I need to read that one soon. I'm glad you ended up really liking it. I also want to read Far From the Tree.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. I hope you get to them both. Lots of feels from that pair of books.

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  9. Ooh, great list! I also was surprised by just how much I enjoyed Far from the Tree and Ramona Blue. Hearing that you liked Once & for All makes me feel more inclined to read it! It seemed to get a lot of mixed reviews, but I really don't think Sarah Dessen could do wrong by me, you know? I love historical fiction, so The Passion of Dolssa is one I will be looking into!

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    1. I wasn't sure about Far from the Tree, but I devoured it and loved each and every bit of it. I am a Murphy fan, so Ramona lived up to my expectations. I understand why some readers were frustrated with Once & For All. It wasn't a straight romance. I felt the romance was really secondary to Louna's story, but her story was heartbreaking and beautiful. *crying* Berry defiantly sold me on historicals.

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  10. I'm glad to hear you liked The Graces, I've seen quite a lot of negative reviews for it, so it's nice to see someone who liked it, it's a bit disheartening when everyone is hating on a book on your TBR that you think actually sounds decent!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2018/01/30/top-ten-tuesday-144/

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    1. I get a little sad when people hate books I loved, but you know, I cry and then acknowledge that there are different books for different readers.

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  11. I've heard there is quite a bit of cheating going on in 99 Days which makes me question whether or not I want to read it? I own it already though xD I haven't liked ANY John Green books yet but I think I will give this one a go. I didn't like a lot of Dessen novels either but I recently read and absolutely fell in love with Just Listen so I might give this latest novel of hers a try! Glad you could love all of these in the end.

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    1. That whole propaganda bugs me, because her and her boyfriend were on a break, when the actual incident took place. Technically, not cheating. I will say doing that with brothers is in poor taste, but there was so much more to this story than that. You kind of hate all of my go-tos, but you read a lot more SFF than me. I am totally contemporary girl.

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  12. Turtles All the Way Down By John Green is a book I've been avoiding reading like the plague. I've heard great things about it and I've heard bad things about it. I don't know how to deal with all that information at the moment. Though I'll probably break down and read it, eventually.

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    1. I feel like, if you are a Green fan, you will appreciate this book. It's classic Green.

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  13. The One Memory of Flora Banks might have been my all time favorite book in 2017...I loved it oh so much. It was such a wonderfully written book with the perfect amount of twists and turns. Pretty much every other book on your list is on my TBR shelf, so I'll have to get reading. Great list!

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    1. I cannot believe I found another Flora fan. Yeah!!! I really was impressed with what Barr did there, and I just grew to love Flora so much. Be Brave!

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  14. I haven't read any of these, but I enjoy historical fiction so I might check out The Passion of Dolssa. Here is my Top Ten Tuesday.

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    1. Dolssa and All the Truth That's in Me were both fabulous.

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  15. Nice ones! I actually only read one here, The Graces. Sadly it wasn't for me at all. Glad you were one to enjoy it though!!

    Here's my Tuesday Post

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

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    1. You're weren't alone with your opinion of The Graces.

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  16. I must get to Passion of Dolssa this year. I think I hesitate because of how many times I've been recommended it.

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    1. It was so not my kind of book, but it is written so well, and actually motivated me to read more of Berry's books.

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  17. I love Ramona Blue. As you said, it's #ownvoices, so why the heck do people argue about the rep? I do want to read Turtles and Holding Up The Universe.

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    1. To sit around and tell a bisexual person that their understanding of their sexuality is not right is just so wrong. That whole mess was so frustrating for me, but because the book was written by an author I love, I was going to read it.

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  18. I'm a massive fan of Jennifer Niven as well Sam and loved that one! Turtles all the Way Down is another that I'm desperate to read and will have to make the time to pick it up, it's been sitting on my shelf since the day of release. I'll have to check the others out seeing you've enjoyed them so much, great choices Sam! <3

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    1. I loved that Niven chose to spotlight a disorder that her family members have, and it was really interesting to learn about. I loved that book. I didn't rush to read Turtles, but I am so happy I did. I missed John Green a lot.

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  19. I didn't realise Green's newest wasn't received well! I think it was well received here at least.

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    1. There were a ton of meh reviews. I think the average is still very high, but the negative ones kept sticking out. I love him though, so I knew I would read it eventually.

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  20. All these books look great! I have been wanting to pick up Turtles All The Way Down ever since it came out - since you enjoyed it I feel like I'm gonna have to go out and finally purchase it! <3

    Charlotte | https://charlotteidek.com

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    1. I was lucky I got it from my library, and it just made me happy.

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  21. Holding Up the Universe is a very powerful read. I remember going in not sure what I was getting and ended the book with so many emotions swirling around in my head.

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    1. I totally agree. So many wonderful messages and I remember thinking I wish I had a book like this when I was younger.

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  22. This happens to me so often! I'll love a book and look at the GR reviews and they're all dismal...oh well, more for me. ;) The Graces looks very intriguing!

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    1. I try not to let the reviews/ratings get to me, but sometimes they do. Especially when I have so many books I want to read and I have to make some choices.

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  23. It still continues to hurt my heart that so many people bash 99 Days. They hear cheating and instantly write it off or cannot see past that. I love the flawed characters in 99 Days. They were human, they made mistakes, they sometimes did the wrong thing, and sometimes a took a while to learn the lesson and do better. That’s real life. Not perfect people doing perfect things, but screwing up, figuring it out, and hopefully learning and doing better.

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    1. 99 Days is about so much more than that small part of the storyline (and they were on a break). It really was about what Molly learned and how she grew due to that experience.

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  24. I am completely with you on 99 Days! I mean, she's a young woman learning about life and herself, of course she'll make mistakes along the way! And I liked The Graces too. Didn't love, but solidly liked. I liked all of these that I read, actually! Dolssa, Turtles, Far From the Tree. Now you are convincing me to give a few of these that I wasn't planning to read a go :D

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    1. We all make mistakes. It's what we do after that really matters.

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  25. Till this point I was quite skeptical about 'Turtles All the Way Down' but now I really want to give it a try ;)

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    1. It was classic John Green to me, and I really enjoyed it

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  26. I still need to read a book by Sarah Dessen and my library has almost all of her books through Overdrive. Which one do you recommend I start with? Thanks for your help!! :)
    Jen @ Star-Crossed Book Blog

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    1. The Truth About Forever or Just Listen are great and probably the most popular. I thought Along for the Ride was wonderful and those characters had a cameo in her last book. Honestly, I really enjoyed them all, with That Summer being my least favorite.

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