Let's start with the five books that I loved way more than I thought I was going to...
The Pleasant Surprises:
1. A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini - This book...I'd seen so many people talk about it that eventually I caved and read it. I didn't expect to read it in one sitting, I didn't expect to fall so thoroughly in love with the characters or the book...but I did exactly that.
2. Red Leaves by Paullina Simons - I saw a lot of bad reviews of this book before I read it. Most of them were from people who read her other book, The Bronze Horseman, and went into it expecting it to be just as great so it failed by comparison. But me? I loved it. It was completely different to The Bronze Horseman -- different tone, different genre, very different characters. I can't explain why I loved it, because so much of it was just not my kind of thing or something I'd normally go for...but for some inexplicable reason, I love this book.
3. Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout - This book sounded super cheesy and there is many a Twilight comparison to be made...it sounded like it could've been kind of awful. Except it wasn't. It was just one of those really fun, cute, addictive stories that reminded me of the good parts of Twilight and I loved it. Is it cheesy? Oh, absolutely. And I love it for that reason,
4. Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - Everyone seemed to be raving about this book when it came out. The hype was literally the only reason I picked it up...I didn't think I'd like it, I just wanted to know what the fuss was about. And for more than half the book, I could not figure out why everyone loved the book so damn much. Then the last third of the book happened. And the book now lives on my favourites shelf (except when it payed a visit to my best friend whom I harassed into reading it and she loved it just as much).
5. Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel - This book was completely different to anything I'd ever read before. I didn't think I'd love it, I read it purely on recommendation and I don't know what I expected from it (maybe for it to be dull and stuffy and boring), but what I got from it was a new addition to my favourites shelf and a new found love of the magical realism genre. I've been pining for more books just like this one since I finished it.
What I've learned from (most of) these books is that I should go out of my comfort zone more...many of my favourite books have been ones I took a chance on, ones that were outside of my usual genres or styles.
And now onto the negatives... These books, they're not necessarily bad books, it was usually just that they weren't really my cup of tea or that they were so hyped up by everyone that they were kind of a let down to me. So...
1. Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge - This one was...well, disappointing. There was so much hype and it was retelling a fairy tale I'd usually love. But I didn't click with the characters, and the world that other people found beautiful was just a bit of a hot mess to me really. I had other issues with the book, but it really just comes down to this: was not my cup of tea, at all. But it should have been, which was the biggest disappointment. I really should take another chance on her books though, because she is far from being a bad author.
2. An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir - I thought I'd love this book. Everyone else seemed to...but it was actually kind of a let down. Mostly because the alternating POV's were irritating to me and it didn't begin to hook me until the book was nearly over. It wasn't a bad book at all, it just didn't deliver the amazing I was expecting from it or that other people found in it. I still plan to read the sequel(s?) though.
3. If I Stay by Gayle Forman - Well then. Yes. Again...everyone loved this. Do I think it's a bad book? No. But it was very bland. And forgettable. It's one of those rare cases where the movie is actually better (perhaps because music plays a part in the story, and we actually get to hear it in the movie while the book is just words on a page so that musical spark doesn't translate).
4. Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare - I don't think I hated this book at the time. I haven't looked up my review of it, but I don't remember loving it. It honestly just felt like a slightly altered retelling of the original series only in a steampunk-ish setting. The second book was better, but I wasn't into the first and I really disagree with the people who think it's better than the original TMI trilogy.
5. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer - ...Okay, so I couldn't think of a fifth disappointment off of the top of my head so I'm going way back with this one. The series has its issues, but I do still have a genuine soft spot and love for the first three books. This one? Will forever be a disappointment. I still remember the spoilers leaking and everyone laughing thinking it was a joke, that the excerpts leaked were fanfictions...but no, that was the actual story. *sigh* :P
And I guess that's it. Do you agree/disagree with any of my choices? Are there any books everyone else seems to love but you hate?