Surprise Reads of 2017: Books that defied my low expectations

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I was contemplating my favorite and least favorite books I read in 2017 when I realized I read a lot of books this year that surpassed the low expectations I had for them. The following books are ones that I didn’t expect to enjoy, I really didn’t expect anything outstanding from, or perhaps never planned to read at all, that proved me VERY wrong and I ended up loving. Hence, reads that surprised me.


Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman

I expected this book to be a standard “office girl is brought out of her shell by handsome male coworker,” and was EXTREMELY wrong. This book is about a young woman who’s life has been shaped by trauma, and it’s sad, sweet, and hilarious. This book is about friendship and Eleanor reclaiming her life, and it knocked my socks off and had me in tears of laughter. My review.

lunarchronicles3.jpgThe Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer

These books were ones I had absolutely no interest in reading, and was a bit against reading because I really disliked the cover of the first book, Cinder, and robotic, sci-fi stuff turns me off . But then I heard a free sample of the audiobook and…. I was immediately sucked in. I think these books are so creative in their fairy tale retellings, I adore the characters and the plotline, and I became absolutely obsessed with these books. It’s my favorite series I read this year. My reviews.


Geekerella by Ashley Poston

Like The Lunar Chronicles, I wasn’t interested in book because it was another Cinderella retelling, but after reading The Lunar Chronicles I ended up wanting more, so I gave this a shot. This book was fun and sweet and a quick, cute read with engaging characters and a nice homage to fandom. I spent a Saturday reading this book all in one go and it was wonderful. My review. 


The Bells by Richard Harvell

This book was an ebook deal I bought on a whim because I was in the mood for something dark, and OH BOY did this piece of historical fiction reveal something about a slice of musical history I could have been better off not knowing, and shook me to the point that I nearly considered DNFing it. But as disturbing as the events that took place in this book were, it was also a strangely heartwarming book, and the characters were wonderful. And the author did the most amazing job at writing music and sound, it was like I could hear and feel it through his words. For a random book bought on a whim, this was certainly an unexpectedly fantastic read. My review.


Before She Ignites by Jodi Meadows

When I received this book an Owl Crate box, about a girl, dragons, and prison, I wasn’t exactly enthused about it, but that had more to do with my reading mood than anything about it, exactly. But when I gave it a chance, I ended up really enjoying it, particularly for the characters. Even though the majority of this book is set in a prison, I loved the atmosphere and world of dragons the author had built for this book, and it was a genuinely enjoyable place to be in. My review.


Heartless by Marissa Meyer

Another book I had no intention of reading, I really didn’t want to read this one because I’ve never really been a fan of Alice in Wonderland. But I was given this for Christmas last year and thought I’d give it a shot, and ended up really, really enjoying it. I loved the characters and enjoyed being the world of Alice and Wonderland and all its strangeness, and I loved the story of Catherine’s decent into the evil Queen of Hearts. I thought this book was really well done, and had a ton of fun with it. My review.


Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

I literally walked into my brother’s room, looked at his shelves, and he pointed out this one for me to take. I knew it was a movie (that I hadn’t seen and hadn’t felt any need to) but had no idea it was a book, which, for some reason, made me intrigued. And this book is a DELIGHT. It’s whimsical and fun and the characters were obnoxious and oddly lovable. For a book I started reading just minutes after I learned of its existence, it really blew the zero expectations I had for it out of the water. My review.


Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

This book I only just finished last night, but, like Before She Ignites, when I received it in my Owl Crate box this month my first impression was not exactly favorable. Then I read the first chapter, set at a luncheon full of girls wearing pink, and I was less enthused. But then I kept reading and…it got better. It was sweet and involved unexpected odes to fandom, including video games, Harry Potter, and boyband fandom (with specific allusions to the One Direction fandom, which….I related to more than so many other things I read this year WOW), and the friendships and romances were so well done. And then I finished the whole book in about 24 hours. A SURPRISE INDEED. This book was wonderful.


Those are some of my biggest surprises of 2017! What books surprised you this year??

28 thoughts on “Surprise Reads of 2017: Books that defied my low expectations

  1. The Cinder books surprised me as well, even though they averaged at 3 stars for me. I haven’t read any of the others, but I have a copy of Heartless sitting on my shelf, so hopefully I will get to that one soon!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I really felt like the Cinder books got better as they went along, because even though I did love the first one I wasn’t ~blown away~ by it, but by the end I was so invested in all the characters (and I must admit I love Snow White). Heartless is fun, though it is a bit slower than The Lunar Chronicles, but if you like Alice in Wonderland I think you’ll enjoy!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I completely agree! Although Cress was my favorite book, I do think that they definitely got better as they went along! I do have a copy of Heartless, so I’ll definitely get to it eventually!

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  2. I’m so happy you liked Foolish Hearts, it’s one of my favourites this year probably! I really loved how good it turned out to be, I was sceptic about it at first, too.
    Also, I’ll try the Cinder audiobook as I never got around to reading it in any other format so far.
    Great post! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • I totally didn’t expect to love it so much! It seemed a little cheesy at first but then Claudia’s humor gripped me very fast and the characters were all so wonderful. I’m so glad I kept going with it, and now I want to check out more of the author’s work. Have you read any of her other books? The Cinder audiobook is pretty good! It got me hooked, at least, ahah. Thank you!!

      Liked by 2 people

      • Same here, I laughed so much, Claudia was very funny and I really loved her friendship with Iris! ❤ Yes! I read First & Then and it’s a retelling of Pride and Prejudice, it’s really cute, but I’d say Foolish Hearts is so much better or it was for me.

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  3. Howl‘s Moving Castle is on your list, yay 😍 I think I‘m gonna put Heartless on my tbr for 2018, because I love every Alice in Wonderland retelling and this one sounds amazing 😊

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  4. I’m really intrigued by your review and comments here on Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, so I think that’s one I’ll be adding to my TBR for the new year. Great idea for a post too! It’s so lovely to be pleasantly surprised by a book!

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  5. Great post! I love when books turn out so much better than expected! Geekerella was a surprise hit for me this year as well — I assumed it would be much too cutesie, but I really ended up loving it.

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