Top 5 Books that Exceeded My Expectations | Top 5 Tuesdays

Hello again! It’s Tuesday, and of course that means it’s time for a Top 5 post. Top 5 Tuesdays and their topics are brought to you by Shanah @ the Bionic Bookworm. Check out her blog, she’s awesome, and this page for the list of topics for February!

This week’s theme is in the same vein as last week’s, only this time we’re looking at books that exceeded expectations. This one’s a little tricky for me, since I usually have the bar set at a medium level. Things don’t usually shock me with how good they are or with how bad, but the books on this list managed to really break the mold for me.

Let’s take a look:

A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer

This book was definitely a surprise for me. It’s another re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. I’ve read many books like this. When I read A Court of Thorns and Roses, I was really underwhelmed, so when I picked this book, I wasn’t expecting much. But Kemmerer really blew me away! Her story is very unique, despite being a retelling. Her characters and the world she’s created are really well done. I only wish her sequel had the same feel, but I really didn’t dig it.


The Radium Girls – Kate Moore

This nonfiction story of the women who painted radium onto clock dials and what became of them was so gut-wrenching and moving! I like reading nonfiction, but I wasn’t expecting just how invested and connected to the story I was when reading it. This book is definitely not your typical non-fic! The narrative makes it feel like a novel. It’s never dry and you’re not inundated with facts and figures. Moore really did her research and has brought a spotlight to this piece of history.


Landscape with Invisible Hand – M. T. Anderson

This book exceeded my expectations because I ended up loving it so much! I was expecting a quirky, fun story about aliens and what I got was really so touching and so powerful. Anderson is such a great writer and I wasn’t expecting how much this story he’s created would speak to me. I loved his inclusion of art and what makes art important, in whose eyes. And it didn’t hurt that the main character is so funny! If you like sci-fi, definitely check this book out. It’s really short and it’s such a unique piece of literature.


Six of Crows – Leigh Bardugo

This book is on this list because I had read Bardugo’s previous series, the Shadow and Bone series, and didn’t really care for it. So when I read this book, which was getting rave reviews, I wasn’t expecting to like it, even though I do like the Grisha-verse itself. I was really surprised by how much I like this book! I really enjoyed the heist plot, the mismatched group of characters dynamic, and seeing more of the world of the Grisha. I just wish I liked the second book. It really ruined my enjoyment of this series, though I’ll still look on Six of Crows in a good light.


The Inquisitor’s Tale – Adam Gidwitz

This is a middle-grade book set in the 1200s – not a time period I normally read about! The book follows the stories of three children, whit the stories eventually intertwining. There’s some magical realism, too, which I’m normally not a fan of, but I really liked it in this book! I guess I was just expecting a typical historical fiction book, but what I got was so much more. Gidwitz has created a really moving and it’s so complex and intricate for a middle-grade book. Honestly, even as an adult, I thoroughly enjoyed this book as an adult. If you’re interested, I definitely recommend listening to the audiobook.

Thoughts & Thanks!

What do you think of my selections? What are some books that exceeded your expectations? Did any of my books make your list? Let me know in the comments!

Thank you for reading this post. And, as always, happy reading!

17 thoughts on “Top 5 Books that Exceeded My Expectations | Top 5 Tuesdays

    1. Thank you! Yeah, Six of Crows really blew me out of the water! Wasn’t expecting to like it so much. And I definitely recommend Curse so Dark and Lonely. It’s good stuff!

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  1. I didnt like SAB either and hope netflix makes it better! In fact I didnt know SAB existed when I read SOC so thank God for that! I’m so glad it exceeded your expectations and bet CK leaves you broken!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I’m really curious about what it will look like as a Netflix show. I have no hope of them correcting the horrible mistake of Alina ending up with Mal, but maybe they’ll make all the characters more…tolerable? I’m sure the visuals will be stunning, though. Really looking forward to seeing the magic!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s it! The second part about the characters being more tolerable. Agreed about the first part being a hard no on fixing. I’m sure it will be visually stunning as well. Plus. Ben Barnes who I keep wanting to call Bucky Barnes

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m on twitter, but not for this blog, just a personal handle. I am thinking about starting a Twitter for my blog, but I’m so bad at keeping multiple social media platforms current!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Uuuh, I’m always up for a good middlegrade book. I will definitely look at the Inqusitor’s Tale. 🙂 I have tried to get into Six of Crows but so far I have some trouble with it. It’s such a slow read for me. 🤔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Middle grade books are the best! Definitely check out Inquisitor’s Tale! It’s one of the best middle grade books I’ve ever read (the audiobook is really great, too!). I can see that about Six of Crows, it definitely is a slow start. I’ve notice that Bardugo takes a lot of time to set up the world before the story actually gets going. If you manage to push through, it gets really good, but I understand not sticking with it if you’ve got other books calling your name 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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