Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Thought I’d Like More/Less

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

This week’s topic is: Top Ten Books I Thought I’d Like More/Less

As much as I try not too – expectations get the better of me. When I hear/see people RAVING about a book/series/author, I admit that the hype sometimes gets the best of me. And I realize it’s not the book’s fault – but I often can’t help but feel a little disappointed when a decent book didn’t blow me away like I was anticipating.

(Links will take you to my reviews. Clicking on the book cover will take you to the book’s page on goodreads)

Books I Though I’d Like More (and wound up a little disappointed):

Obsidian (Lux, #1)

Obsidian (Lux #1) by Jennifer L. Armentrout – This isn’t a bad book. I did enjoy it but I wanted more. Daemon is great but it’d take someone even better than him for me not to resent him for blowing up my computer.

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful, #1)

Beautiful Disaster (Beautiful #1) by Jamie Maguire – I love love. But I don’t love over the top jealousy and people who keep trying the same thing over and over but expecting different results.

Shatter Me (Shatter Me, #1)

Shatter Me (Shatter Me #1) by Tahereh Mafi – There’s a lot I liked about this book. And a lot that left me feeling wanting. This was one of the most talked about books of 2012. It seemed that people everywhere were praising this one. And whilst I thought it was clever I think I spent most of the time I was reading it waiting. Waiting for it to live up to my (possibly unrealistic) expectations.

Marked (House of Night, #1)

Marked by P.C. and Kristin Cast – A friend told me this book was absolutely fantastic – the best Vampire Teen series around. I think I got my hopes up and just missed things I would have liked had it not been off the back of such high praise.

Beautiful Creatures (Caster Chronicles, #1)

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. – This one I think was my own fault that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I had hoped. The trailer for the movie ruined the book and that in itself frustrated me. Also I listened to this one on audiobook and the fact that the narrator’s voice had an accent but his thoughts didn’t – it really took me out of the story.

On the other hand are books that I went in not expecting too much and being blown away. These are the best kinds of books! To quote one of my all time favourite movies… A Diamond in the Rough.

(and since I couldn’t find any appropriate gifs – here’s one from Aladdin just cause I love that movie!)

Books I Thought I’d Like Less (and ended up loving!):

Anna and the French Kiss (Anna and the French Kiss, #1)Lola and the Boy Next Door (Anna and the French Kiss, #2)

Anna and the French Kiss & Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins – There is the saying “Don’t Judge a Book By It’s Cover” but perhaps I should not judge a book on its title. These books have names similar to those I’d bring home for homework in primary school. But these books are far from simple. They’re beautiful stories about love, friendship, family problems and the complexities of growing up. These are two of my favourite teen contemporary romance novels and I’m so glad I picked them up because I very nearly didn’t..

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1)Bloodlines (Bloodlines, #1)

Vampire Academy/Bloodlines by Richelle Mead – It probably wouldn’t be a TTT without a Richelle Mead series featuring somewhere on my list. These are both series that feature some kind if paranormal creature in a boarding school but they are both so much more than that. There’s depth and consequences and the gorgeous leading men don’t hurt things either. I had read Mead’s Georgina Kincaid series before starting VA but I didn’t expect for the series to have such a profound effect on my views regarding YA paranormal novels.

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Cinder by Marissa Meyer – A sci-fi futuristic cyborg version of Cinderella? This isn’t something I ever thought I’d read let alone like. But somehow Meyer wrote a novel that’s well thought out and the fairytale links are crafted in a way that feels so right for the story.

The Fault in Our Stars

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – I thought I’d try to see if I could somehow beat the system. I’d heard so much about this book. The Best Book EVER! is a line that many of my friends and reviews had thrown around. Not having read any John Green and having nothing to compare his work to I though I’d go in expecting the worse. I’m a big enough person to admit I’m wrong because I ADORED this book. It’s beautiful and the characters are almost ridiculously perfect in their own way. I cried. So if you haven’t read this book and you’re intending to – try to ignore the hype. Make up your own mind. But this is a book that I recommend for everyone to read. Even if it’s just to be on the bandwagon and know what people are talking about when they’re talking about TFiOS and John Green.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #1)Days of Blood and Starlight (Daughter of Smoke and Bone, #2)

Daughter of Smoke and Bone / Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor – These books are beautifully written. And the covers are gorgeous. And I have no idea why I didn’t think I’d like them but I very nearly passed on the opportunity to read them.

That’s my list for another week. I love reading other people’s TTT’s and blogs in general so please leave me a comment with a link so I can visit back. All comments are welcome and very much appreciated. Thanks!

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Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction, Paris
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: October 2011
Pages: 348 pages
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion…she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit–more sparkly, more fun, more wild–the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket–a gifted inventor–steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

My Review:

Dolores Nolan (better known as Lola) is a seventeen year old budding fashion designer. Vowing to never wear the same outfit twice in a calendar year, her clothes are often somewhat eccentric but always an original. Her two dads hate her twenty-two year old on the verge of becoming a rockstar boyfriend, Max. Her birth mother is a fortune telling mess and the Bell twins, Cricket and Calliope, with whom Lola has a feud have just moved back in next door. Senior year is shaping up  nicely… and it hasn’t even started yet.

Trying to navigate through family issues and wardrobe dilemmas, Lola is just trying to make it though. But Cricket keeps popping up all over the place. In the street, in stores Lola’s frequenting – Cricket even turns up at the cinema where Lola works! After what happened two summers before, Lola doesn’t know if she can trust him. But feelings become involved and Lola becomes conflicted. Should she choose the hot glamorous older rocker Max or Cricket – the boy next door.

I loved Anna and the French Kiss and the main reason I picked up a copy of Lola was because I’d heard there was a guest appearance of Anna and St. Clair. I’m glad I decided to read Lola’s story because it’s just as adorable and sweet as Anna’s French Kiss.

Lola is fun. She’s quirky and adventurous  It’s not just her fashion sense that’s colourful. Her family life was such a delightful contrast to that of Anna’s – her dads set curfews, rules regarding boyfriends and keep an eye on just who is coming and going from their daughter’s bedroom. Her mother is an interesting character who had a very interesting relationship with Lola. I loved how they all interacted with each other – it felt authentic. Lola’s own personal conflict was more than just her love life. She becomes confused to whether it’s the girl who makes the costumes or the costumes who make the girl.

And then there’s the boys in Lola’s life. Max – whom everyone from her best friend Lindsay to her parents and even her colleagues at the cinema thinks is too old for her. I loved the contrast that he provided for Cricket. Oh Cricket. I have so many adjectives I could use to describe this character (who I absolutely adored) but I think the one that fits best is awkward. He’s delightfully awkward. In that way that makes him go from a nerd to geek chic in my eyes. I’m a sucker for romantic gestures and Cricket’s conversations and general adorableness was the kind that made my heart feel like it had grown five sizes from reading it. He’s just that dorky romantic soul that I love reading about.

Anna and St. Clair make a few appearances in this book and whilst it was great to see them again (and that was the main reason why I decided to read this book) there was something about their scenes that felt a little odd to me. It’s interesting to see a relationship that blossomed from their point of view to all of a sudden being on the outside looking in. They have certainly matured – both as people and with regards to their relationship. I have to admit that I didn’t enjoy reading about their romance as much as I did in their own book but I thought it was a lovely way to tie their story to Lola’s.

This book was a joy to read. I loved the romance and the characters. The leads were sweet and fun and the supporting characters kept things interesting and the plot moving along. Isla and the Happily Ever After comes out in September and I know for sure that I’ll be purchasing a copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon / Book Depository