Book Reviews

Hype or Like Friday: December 2nd

Hype or Like Friday is a meme created by Larkin, Britt and Jill . Check out the Goodreads group to know more about it and stay up to date with the weekly discussions and book of the month.

Book of the month: A Thousand Pieces of You

December 2nd 2016 : Pleasant Surprise – What books did you read in 2016 that you weren’t expecting much from but ending up completely loving?Β 

Some books talk to you before you’ve even opened them. The cover attracts you, the blurb intrigues you, the length scares you. But some books stay silent. It doesn’t mean you don’t want to read them. You just don’t expect much from them. You are neither eager or reluctant to pick them. It’s a blank. You might have chosen them because of the hype, thanks to a friend’s recommendation, or due to the successful marketing plan the story benefited from. It does not matter. You don’t have expectations, or they’re too low to be noticeable, like my interest for what shade of pink looks better on a wedding cake.

Then, out of nowhere, you’re wrapped up in a story. You care about characters. You refuse to go to bed until you reach the end. That’s love, my dear. Unexpected love. It knocks you off your feet and sends you into rehab to fight a book hangover you never saw coming. I am starting to believe it is the best kind of love. With anticipated reads, you start the book with the relationship level already high, you’re kind of cheating. But with surprises like the ones I am about to talk about, it’s fireworks and surprise dates with roses and champagne.

#1 Queen of Shadows

I had no intention on reading the Throne of Glass series. I remember stumbling across the cover on different blogs and thinking “No way.” I never fell in love with those covers. It was also categorized as fantasy and my last trip to Fantasy land had been Harry Potter. Go try to compare to that! Last but not least, a strong young assassin recruited to be the King’s champion?

Still, when Jill suggested I read it when I asked for recommendations, I thought “why not?”. This was strongly influenced by Liam’s brilliant and hilarious Throne of Glass read-along (find the fantastic Liam on @Β Hey Ashers! ) So I dived into Throne of Glass and discovered a flawed story with an interesting bigger picture and an array of characters from which you could find someone to root for. Sort of. Okay, someone you would enjoy reading about a little more than the others. It took the series four book before it slapped me in the face. It hurt because the book is quite lengthy, at least in my opinion.


When I decided to buddy-read Queen of Shadows, I was not expecting anything. I was just curious about what would happen and if Lady Celaena would finally start being a badass. Yes, I snarked when I read it. Yes, I complained about some senses being overused (I don’t want to keep reading about people’s smell.)


But I soon forgot those niggles to face battles, great characters developments, and a story that finally made sense. I forgave the author for killing a character I liked (the only one I had actually really liked …) and for destroying the ship I was rooting for. I actually had fun. Lots of fun. It is hard for me to admit I loved Queen of Shadows.

#2 The Maze Runner

Some titles get mentioned only as a reference for a bad book. I had only heard one blogger say they had actually liked The Maze Runner. All others seemed to agree on how this book could easily be forgotten. When so many opinions are similar, I grow suspicious. The blurb sounded good enough, the green of the cover was not appealing but hey, kiwis look ugly but they taste good. Curiosity made me pick The Maze Runner with low expectations.

the maze runner

Why all the hate, mate???

why do you hate me.gif

What did The Maze Runner do to deserve this reputation? The first book in the series had me rushing late to work because I just couldn’t stop reading. I loved it all. The maze, the idea behind it, the community and its different characters. Taken separately from the others, this book was a real discovery. I was in love.

I wish the author hadn’t destroyed everything with the second and third book. I heard The Fever Code was good so I’ll give it a try and hope to see my love reignited.

#3 Rebecca

If you’ve been around, you know classics are not my best friends. I’d never take them out to the park or eat a waffle with them.


I am a bit ashamed to say Rebecca ended up in my TBR because I liked the name. Okay, it was not the only reason for me to decide to read it. I had heard it was a different kind of classics. The one you can really enjoy. I was skeptical. Very skeptical. For me, the only use for a classic was to put you to sleep or knock you off with intricate never-ending sentences filled with weird metaphors and images your brain can’t process.

When I did not yawn after the first chapter, I thought there was hope. I thought maybe I’d found the only old book that would keep me awake. I thought miracles were uncommon but might happen. Then I don’t remember anything because I was too engrossed in the story to even take a minute to realize I was actually tremendously enjoying a classic. I loved Rebecca. The mystery, the gothic atmosphere, the writing. I understood Rebecca. I loved Rebbeca. I saw a miracle happen right before my eyes.

bewitched me.gif

This is the story how i found love in places I was not expecting it to be. It fell on me like snow on my car the day before an exam.

Did you fall in love with a book for which you had no or low expectations this year? Has a story ever surprised you with waves of unexpected love? Has 2016 brought you a pleasant surprise?

61 thoughts on “Hype or Like Friday: December 2nd”

  1. I absolutely adore “Rebecca.” One of my all-time favorites.

    I was pleasantly surprised by “Revenants: The Odyssey Home” by Scott Kauffman. You can read my review here: revenants-the-odyssey-home-by-scott-kauffman/


  2. Great post. It is always great to find a book that ends up surprising us. I like the sound of Rebecca and glad to see that it worked out for you. The book that ended yup surprising me the most this year is The Last One by Alexandra Oliva. It had mixed reviews and it was also my first Dystopian so I had really low expectation but I ended up liking it.

    PS: I like the snow flakes(I assume that is what they are).


    1. Thank you! πŸ™‚ Rebecca was a real surprise and I wish more classics would follow its example. I remember your review for The Last One, it did sound good but the reality TV is not my thing so I decided to put it on the waiting list.
      O_o I hadn’t realized there were snowflakes on my blog! It looks like it has decided to celebrate without me!


  3. I really enjoyed this post Donna! I love diamonds in the rough, those hidden little gems!

    I am glad to see that even if it took four books, ToG grabbed you. Very promising for me since I enjoyed the first 😘

    The biggest and most pleasant surprise for me had to be Vassa in the Night! That poor book had received so many negative reviews and remarks that I had all but given up hope upon cracking it open! It turned out to be one of my top reads this year ❀


    1. I only like surprises when they come from books πŸ˜€ I was lucky to discover more than one this year.
      ToG and me. Such a complicated love/hate story πŸ˜‚ But now my hopes for the next book are high!
      I remember your enthusiastic review for Vassa in the Night, it was refreshing after so many mixed reviews! I’m so happy it was a winner for you!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Rebeca… haven’t read the book but I LOVED the movie so much. You know, I read a book this year that it had a “similar” feeling… The Vanishing Year. Not too much, but some details πŸ™‚


    1. I have the DVD for Rebecca but I don’t like old movies so it has stayed wrapped and sitting on top of the TV haha! Oooh, interesting! I should give it a try!


    1. Maas’ magic worked on me too, even if I resisted for three books πŸ˜‚ It was Sorscha, she was so sweet and pure 😦 Yep, it’s like me to fall for a secondary character who doesn’t last an entire book xD

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I still have to start Throne of Glass series. I told myself I’ll do it this December. Now it’s December, and I told myself I’ll do it in January a book per month (of course, if I end up liking the series).
    You also have the snow on your page! How did you put it? I want one too!


    1. It’s a hit or miss when it comes to Throne of Glass but the key is to go into it with low expectations! πŸ™‚
      I had no idea there was snow on my blog! I haven’t even decorated my house, now my blog is getting into holiday-mode without me!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post… I’m still not sure about SJM books… I’m a rebel like that πŸ˜€ … and I’ve seen the Maze Runner movie so not sure if I’d like to read the book (the idea behind it was enjoyable and I believe the books are always better than movies)… but Rebecca…now that’s something I do want to read… I want the miracle of Rebecca, the gothic and the mystery… Sold! πŸ™‚


    1. I was skeptical about Maas’ books… and I still am! πŸ˜‚
      Oh, don’t get me started on the movies, they destroyed everything! EVERYTHING!!!! I was so mad my hubby had to take the remote from me to prevent it flying right into the TV screen! They took so many liberties it did not feel like I was watching a story I had loved so much. It’s been months and I’m still angry!!!!
      Yay, love for Rebecca!! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow… maybe I should read the Maze Runner.. sounds like two totally different experiences! I just watched the movie and thought- Ok, this is cool but re experience it in the book? Nah! … The movie just didnt seem like it would be a good book… and thats freaking my fault because books ae always better! πŸ˜‚


          1. I’m interested and challenged now… I must take a trip to the library and have a go πŸ˜‰ Thanks for the encouragment.. wouldn’t want to miss a good read! πŸ™‚


  7. Ahh so so glad you glad you lived Rebecca!!! That’s one of my all time favorites!!! And in answer to your question, I have read books that I had low expectations for- but it’s Friday afternoon, I’m falling asleep at work and my brain is like a magic 8 ball saying “ask again later” πŸ˜‰


  8. I’m one of those people who didn’t like The Maze Runner series haha. The slang was really annoying and I just wasn’t convinced in general… And that is after finishing the trilogy AND novella. I did enjoy Queen Of Shadows though, but then again I loved the series (up until I read book five, but let’s not go there). πŸ˜‰


    1. I forgive you πŸ˜€ I heard people say the slang was a terrible idea, but it helped me feel immersed in the story. I can understand not liking the series, but I can’t forgive the movies πŸ˜‚ Oh oh, I have a feeling my love for ToG will be crushed with the next book!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha I did like the first moviea lot better than the the book, which almost never happens. I’ve seen bits of the second one as well on TV, although I still have to watch the full movie.
        And brace yourself for Empire Of Storms! It’s going to be completely different than the first four books for sure…


  9. AAAAAAH I’ll never get over the joy of knowing my silly snark has helped people dive into and fall in love with a series. You’ve filled me with all the happiness, I can’t even tell you. ❀

    Rebecca's been on my TBR for, uh, most of my life (it feels like), but I keep forgetting about it. And then some lovely person reminds me of it, and then I forget again. I WON'T FORGET THIS TIME. (Yes, I will.)

    I'll keep my fingers crossed that you love The Fever Code! Keep us posted. =)


    1. I just realized I hadn’t put a link to your blog!! 😱 I’ll add it right away!! I owe you my insane curiosity for the series ❀ I had too much fun reading your posts! ❀
      Hahaha, don't worry, Rebecca will keep hunting you until you finally give in and read it!
      I promise to let you know about The Fever Code. It might encourage me to finally write my big post about the series!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. This is a super creative blog post Donna, I love it! I have Rebecca sitting in a closet somewhere in my spare bedroom as I bought it years ago and never read it…I think I need to pull it out! I was thinking about books I had low or no expectations of but ended up being consumed with and one that comes right to mind is A Little Life. I didn’t know much about it, the cover is horrible, it’s super long and takes about 200 pages to get into but then I became obsessed, staying up until 3:00am to read, ignoring the family, everything and then the end destroyed me to top it all off and it took me about 6 weeks to get into another read. So yes that was LOVE:)


    1. Thank you so much! I had missed taking part in the Hype or Like Friday posts and was inspired by the theme! Rebecca is definitely worth unburying and checking out πŸ™‚ I’d love to read your thoughts on it. Wow, indeed, you fell hard for A Little Life! I might need to go past that terrible cover and give it a try!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I will definitely be unburying Rebecca today and my library has it on audio as well so maybe I’ll squeeze that in after I’m done listening to The Ice Princess. Yes If you can get past the horrible cover of A Little Life and the tragic sadness that’s a part of one of the characters lives, it might be one to give a try…if you do remember you have to get through first 200 pages as the author is truly setting up the story and characters but it kind of seems like nothing is going to happen but it will:) Let me know if you try it!!


  11. Great post! I think Burial Rites was my biggest surprise of the year. I had heard it spoken about, then discovered the author was an Aussie so thought I would give it a shot, and I loved it – one of the best books I’ve read this year.


      1. One of the reasons I love it so much is that it’s completely unlike any other Aussie book I’ve read. The language is beautiful and rich – it’s set in Iceland in the 1800s. Let me know if you decide to read it 😊


  12. There have been more than a few books I’ve read so far this year that have surprised me. Honestly I feel the whole of the Throne of Glass series can go on there, even the first book actually because I had really really low expectations there was nowhere to go but up, and I didn’t find the book too bad while I was reading it. Either way the series has just got better and better and now I can’t wait for the sixth book. Have you read Empire of Storms yet?
    I liked The Maze Runner but I could not stand the last book in that series, just because of what happened at the end. The Kill Order is good as well, have you read that one yet, and I have The Fever Code on my to-read list too! πŸ˜€


    1. I haven’t read Empire of Storms yet but the comments I’ve read about it make me want to stay away, haha! I know!! The Death Cure was a joke. I did not read The Kill Order because I wanted to stay with the previous characters, that was me rebelling xD

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I haven’t seen many reviews for it but I really enjoyed it. Still I’d recommend picking it up after the sixth book has been released just so you don’t have to deal with the ending for long!
        I actually enjoyed The Kill Order more than the original series, which I guess wasn’t hard to do after The Death Cure! :/


  13. Ahahahah @Queen of Shadows. You should definitely gear yourself before jumping into fantasy books from now on. They tend to all be lenghty, bulky, strong and heavy. Who knows how they dangerous they could be! πŸ˜€ Awesome list!

    – Lashaan


  14. OK so everyone knew about Rebecca except me it seems :-). Well you brought it under my attention now so thank you. I don’t like classics either (movie or book) so I’ll keep this one as my go to book if I ever want to give it a chance ;-). For someone who like her thrillers as much as I do, you have really opened up to other genres, and I’m glad you liked them! Oh my god it’s snowing, wow !!


    1. I am glad you’ve decided to keep Rebecca in mind if you feel like trying a classic πŸ™‚ I hope it’ll be a pleasant surprise.
      I know, I was doing a bit of a recap and I realized just how much my reading world has expanded, I’m really happy about it. Yes!! My blog has decided to celebrate without me!!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. For the first time ever several books have wowed me that I didn’t particularly expect to including Five Rivers met on a Wooden Plain and The Museum of You which are also two books outside my preferred genre… it’s always especially good when that happens I think.


    1. I remember your review of Five Rivers met on a Wooden Plain, it seemed like a great read. I love unexpected books surprises πŸ™‚ It often comes as a reward for stepping out of our comfort zone.


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