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Pleasant Surprises: Books That Exceeded Our Expectations

Description: Our List of the Month this August is devoted to those pleasant surprises that come into our reading lives—books that exceeded our expectations, and ending up providing far more enjoyment than we thought they would. Each participant may vote on ten titles.

Members: 120 participating members (show all)

All members' list: [1] 2 3 4Sort: Score | Title | Author | Date
1
8,584 members, 591 reviews
4.31 stars (4.31 stars)

Lists: RMiller30 (1), dandalf (1), finnleyjames (1), MaryKay1822 (1), rvd0359 (1), nagasravika.bodapati (1), VioletL (1), Tadams862 (1), Bethlehem_PL_NH (1), sturmer (1), saraLucilleIngram (1)11 more, terran (1), erinclark (2), moc2902 (2), ahef1963 (2), deldevries (3), knerd.knitter (3), rmarcin (3), bogopea (4), dara85 (6), conhauf (7), LDVoorberg (8)

Score: 77.43

2
1,018 members, 75 reviews
4.13 stars (4.13 stars)

Lists: Vegas_Fiber_Arts (1), kxn11 (1), ominogue (1), nancjones (1), bookmuse56 (1), RBeffa (1), dandalf (2), VioletL (2), sturmer (2), saraLucilleIngram (2), elkiedee (2)1 more, magneticvoyager (4)

Score: 43.65

Explanations:

bookmuse56 (1): I fell in with the writing, the time period, and the characters - perfect for armchair travelers.

elkiedee (2): I had no particular expectations of this book but picked it up because it was shortlisted for an award and it was excellent.

3
15,098 members, 1,142 reviews
4.28 stars (4.28 stars)

Explanations:

ConantheLibrarianJr (1): Great "hard" Science Fiction. The book reminded me that if you are marooned on Mars, humor is your most important survival skill.

bookmuse56 (2): I could not put down this book and it felt so real to me and I kept wondering what I would in the various situations.

perennialreader (4): I don't read much in the way of Science Fiction but read a review and thought I would give it a try.

4
4,060 members, 320 reviews
3.98 stars (3.98 stars)

Lists: darsaster (1), RMiller30 (2), magneticvoyager (2), Dammie (2), steller0707 (2), Yarnucopia (2), Vegas_Fiber_Arts (3), HeatherMoss (4), dandalf (5), VioletL (5), dara85 (5)1 more, noveltea

Score: 37.39

5
14,992 members, 791 reviews
4.29 stars (4.29 stars)

Lists: kara.shamy (1), somca (1), rvd0359 (2), terran (2), bogopea (2), dandalf (3), nagasravika.bodapati (3), deldevries (4), 3togetready (4), RBeffa (5), conhauf (9)

Score: 34.81

6
8,597 members, 286 reviews
4.11 stars (4.11 stars)

Lists: CDVicarage (1), ManWithAnAgenda (1), HeatherMoss (2), dewasus1 (2), RMiller30 (3), kxn11 (3), Vegas_Fiber_Arts (4), LowProfile (4), saraLucilleIngram (5), dandalf (6), erinclark (10)

Score: 33.94

7
4,548 members, 365 reviews
4 stars (4 stars)

Explanations:

anglemark (5): I don't like zombie stories. Color me surprised at how good this book was!

8
14,960 members, 413 reviews
4.32 stars (4.32 stars)

Lists: maewharton (1), MaryKay1822 (2), kxn11 (2), erinclark (3), pussreboots (3), Yarnucopia (4), RBeffa (6), Cecrow (6), dewasus1 (7)

Score: 27.21

9
39,655 members, 1,692 reviews
4.02 stars (4.02 stars)

Lists: JuliaMaria (1), Dammie (1), pgmcc (1), ConantheLibrarianJr (2), finnleyjames (2), deldevries (2), perennialreader (2), nagasravika.bodapati (5), knerd.knitter (8)

Thumbs down: Thelamon1, EMS_24

Score: 26.51

Explanations:

EMS_24 (0): It's all about expectations and what you like in a book

JuliaMaria (1): Ich habe die Serie erst gelesen als der Hype vorbei war - und war dann traurig, dass ich sie nicht doch früher schon für mich entdeckt hatte.

ConantheLibrarianJr (2): Powerful. What Solander goes thru is horrific, but she proves she is more than just a heroine. She is a survivor!

perennialreader (2): Not my kind of book at all, but I took a chance and have read the whole series, even the ones by David Lagercrantz. Just love the Lisbeth Salander character.… (more)

10
3,502 members, 196 reviews
3.99 stars (3.99 stars)

Lists: magneticvoyager (1), conhauf (1), mahsdad (1), nancjones (3), VioletL (4), saraLucilleIngram (4), LDVoorberg (5), Vegas_Fiber_Arts (6)

Score: 25.93

11
41,082 members, 978 reviews
3.91 stars (3.91 stars)

Lists: nyowh (1), Localhostess (2), kara.shamy (3), kleo (3), sturmer (4), dougb56586 (6), knerd.knitter (6), dandalf (7)

Score: 23.84

12
66,234 members, 1,278 reviews
3.53 stars (3.53 stars)

Lists: larocco (1), Moomin_Mama (1), Jjean7 (1), Thelamon1 (1), tina1969 (1), Bethlehem_PL_NH (2), nagasravika.bodapati (7)

Thumbs down: HeatherMoss

Score: 23.82

13
22,763 members, 392 reviews
4.32 stars (4.32 stars)

Lists: deldevries (1), ElizaAnderson (1), CDVicarage (2), oreseur (2), amanda4242 (2), Minthe (4), nagasravika.bodapati (6)

Score: 23.48

14
11,869 members, 321 reviews
4.06 stars (4.06 stars)

Lists: CDVicarage (3), LDVoorberg (4), erinclark (5), Yuki-Onna (5), bogopea (5), Vegas_Fiber_Arts (7), Minthe (7), nagasravika.bodapati (9)

Score: 21.12

15
3,030 members, 90 reviews
3.6 stars (3.6 stars)

Lists: Xotomix (1), Porua (2), RBeffa (3), RMiller30 (5), kara.shamy (5), elkiedee (7), Vegas_Fiber_Arts (8)

Score: 20.59

Explanations:

Porua (2): I rarely read books I know nothing of, from authors I know nothing of. Both were true for this book and yet I not only read and enjoyed it, I actually bought a print copy of it.… (more)

16
16,243 members, 887 reviews
3.99 stars (3.99 stars)

Lists: erinclark (1), RMiller30 (4), rmarcin (4), CDVicarage (5), kara.shamy (6), dandalf (9), noveltea

Score: 19.87

17
394 members, 24 reviews
4.33 stars (4.33 stars)

Lists: librookian (1), 3togetready (1), magneticvoyager (3), sturmer (3), nancjones (4), Vegas_Fiber_Arts (9)

Score: 19.22

18
6,998 members, 447 reviews
4.39 stars (4.39 stars)

Lists: steller0707 (1), LDVoorberg (2), Yarnucopia (3), CDVicarage (4), CarltonC (4), nagasravika.bodapati (8)

Score: 18.44

Explanations:

LDVoorberg (2): A long book set in Russia?! I kept expecting tragedy upon tragedy but I got the enjoyable, daily happenings of a gentleman in a hotel!

CarltonC (4): I didn’t expect that I would find this as unexpected, seemingly short and warm hearted as it is.

19
7,855 members, 377 reviews
4.28 stars (4.28 stars)

Lists: Algernon11 (1), vwinsloe (1), kara.shamy (4), CarltonC (6), dandalf (8), nyowh (8)

Score: 18.14

Explanations:

CarltonC (6): Wowed by the imaginative rewriting of the epic from a different perspective and in such readable prose.

20
25,275 members, 734 reviews
3.95 stars (3.95 stars)

Lists: amanda4242 (1), steller0707 (3), RMiller30 (6), CDVicarage (6), Boand (8), ManWithAnAgenda (9), Vegas_Fiber_Arts (10)

Thumbs down: Thelamon1

Score: 17.09

Explanations:

Boand (8): Original tales of magic, madness and mystery set in the early C19th. Clarke constructs a fantasy world like no other where customs and fey characters collide. Endless fun and brilliant imaginative twists make this a book to cherish.… (more)

21
8,957 members, 189 reviews
4.03 stars (4.03 stars)

Lists: HeatherMoss (1), Minthe (2), MaryKay1822 (3), nagasravika.bodapati (10), saraLucilleIngram (10)

Score: 14.9

22
16,093 members, 306 reviews
4.2 stars (4.2 stars)

Lists: Yarnucopia (1), Minthe (3), conhauf (5), magneticvoyager (6), steller0707 (7)

Score: 14.73

23
2,923 members, 202 reviews
4.2 stars (4.2 stars)

Lists: Jjean7 (2), VioletL (6), RMiller30 (7), sturmer (9), knerd.knitter (9)

Score: 13

24
49,067 members, 1,259 reviews
4.19 stars (4.19 stars)

Lists: DoomLuz (2), MaryKay1822 (7), dara85 (7), erinclark (8), dandalf (10)

Score: 12.91

25
5,158 members, 254 reviews
4 stars (4 stars)

Lists: Kiwi_des_neiges (1), TheDivineOomba (1), sturmer (6), Minthe (9)

Score: 12.87

26
38,019 members, 1,017 reviews
4.31 stars (4.31 stars)

Lists: timspalding (1), larocco (2), ConantheLibrarianJr (3), RMiller30 (8)

Score: 12.78

27
2,605 members, 208 reviews
3.83 stars (3.83 stars)

Lists: DoomLuz (1), igorken (2), pussreboots (4), steller0707 (9)

Score: 12.5

28
4,505 members, 243 reviews
4.26 stars (4.26 stars)

Lists: ominogue (2), finnleyjames (3), ahef1963 (3), steller0707 (5)

Score: 12.12

29
7,312 members, 634 reviews
3.83 stars (3.83 stars)

Lists: LDVoorberg (3), terran (3), Boand (5), kara.shamy (7), PitcherBooks

Thumbs down: EMS_24

Score: 11.89

Explanations:

LDVoorberg (3): You must listen to the audiobook: the narrator makes the series amazing.

Boand (5): Another recommendation of a whodunnit led me to the first of this quirky series and sealed it as one of my all time favourites. What’s not to love about a pesky teenage girl who beats the grownups at their own games, negotiates troublesome sisters and adores her father while they all mourn her mother and saves Britain from evil masterminds.… (more)

30
8,421 members, 171 reviews
3.96 stars (3.96 stars)

Lists: hipdeep (2), RBeffa (2), saraLucilleIngram (6), elkiedee (8)

Score: 11.66

Explanations:

hipdeep (2): My only other experience of Hemingway was The Old Man And The Sea, which bored me to tears. But these autobiographical vignettes were captivating.

31
671 members, 51 reviews
4.02 stars (4.02 stars)

Lists: 3togetready (2), bookmuse56 (3), rmarcin (6), saraLucilleIngram (7)

Score: 11.42

Explanations:

bookmuse56 (3): Just a wonderful read that I finished in one sitting!

32
5,494 members, 103 reviews
4.1 stars (4.1 stars)

Lists: ManWithAnAgenda (3), MaryKay1822 (4), Bethlehem_PL_NH (4), erinclark (6)

Score: 11.25

33
6,316 members, 273 reviews
4.13 stars (4.13 stars)

Lists: merrystar (1), msemmag (6), RMiller30 (9), VioletL (9)

Score: 11.18

34
779 members, 15 reviews
3.64 stars (3.64 stars)

Lists: Localhostess (3), Boand (3), conhauf (6), sturmer (10)

Score: 10.88

Explanations:

Boand (3): As a Londoner born and bred the Thames is part of my heritage and consciousness. Ackroyd weaves a wonderful historical journey covering millennia as well as miles as he follows the river from source to sea. It’s a really fascinating and captivating book which was a joy to read. For those who are interested there is also an accompanying TV series with highlights from the book and wonderful camera work.… (more)

35
3,057 members, 189 reviews
3.91 stars (3.91 stars)

Lists: bogopea (3), perennialreader (3), kara.shamy (8), sturmer (8)

Score: 10.84

Explanations:

perennialreader (3): I did not like Eat, Pray, Love but someone recommended this one and I actually like it.

36
2,067 members, 139 reviews
3.78 stars (3.78 stars)

Lists: amanda4242 (3), kleo (5), kara.shamy (9), noveltea

Score: 10.7

37
1,980 members, 132 reviews
4.26 stars (4.26 stars)

Lists: Tosta (1), anglemark (1), saraLucilleIngram (9)

Score: 10.31

Explanations:

anglemark (1): A nice surprise after the boring feelgood The long way to a small, angry planet

38
2,737 members, 87 reviews
4.3 stars (4.3 stars)

Lists: TechThing (5), VioletL (8), kleo (9), PitcherBooks

Score: 10.04

39
18,741 members, 766 reviews
4.15 stars (4.15 stars)

Lists: MaryKay1822 (5), erinclark (9), RMiller30 (10), PitcherBooks

Score: 9.91

40
4,778 members, 142 reviews
4.24 stars (4.24 stars)

Lists: CarltonC (1), dewasus1 (3), kxn11 (4)

Score: 9.87

Explanations:

CarltonC (1): So much more than I expected, funny and perceptive.

41
4,885 members, 299 reviews
3.96 stars (3.96 stars)

Lists: Localhostess (5), kara.shamy (10), steller0707 (10), BornAnalog

Score: 9.85

Explanations:

BornAnalog (9): One of the few books that everyone talked up to me, and then it actually delivered. And then some.

42
4,326 members, 59 reviews
4.26 stars (4.26 stars)

Lists: ahef1963 (1), maewharton (2), aprille (8)

Score: 9.74

43
3,966 members, 282 reviews
4.05 stars (4.05 stars)

Lists: barefootsong (1), Her_Royal_Orangeness (3), msemmag (5)

Score: 9.71

44
3,763 members, 232 reviews
4.06 stars (4.06 stars)

Lists: edparks (2), conhauf (3), sturmer (5)

Score: 9.08

45
1,071 members, 27 reviews
4.04 stars (4.04 stars)

Lists: -Pia- (1), gypsysmom (9), noveltea

Score: 8.98

46
7,994 members, 112 reviews
3.79 stars (3.79 stars)

Lists: JalenV (2), ManWithAnAgenda (4), sturmer (7)

Score: 8.65

Explanations:

JalenV (2): I picked it because it was a classic, but the characters and their stories were much more interesting than I expected. BTW The Wheat and the Tares chapter is old name for the parable of the Wheat and the Weeds.… (more)

47
3,981 members, 91 reviews
3.81 stars (3.81 stars)

Lists: Moomin_Mama (2), knerd.knitter (4), CDVicarage (7)

Score: 8.65

48
7,079 members, 158 reviews
3.75 stars (3.75 stars)

Lists: Cecrow (2), dougb56586 (5), CDVicarage (8)

Score: 8.42

49
874 members, 60 reviews
3.52 stars (3.52 stars)

Lists: tina1969 (3), Bethlehem_PL_NH (5), erinclark (7)

Score: 8.17

50
511 members, 17 reviews
3.75 stars (3.75 stars)

Lists: kxn11 (5), terran (6), 3togetready (6)

Score: 7.79

51
11,416 members, 169 reviews
4.01 stars (4.01 stars)

Lists: Localhostess (4), msemmag (7), Dilara86 (7)

Score: 7.75

52
13,148 members, 335 reviews
4.22 stars (4.22 stars)

Lists: steller0707 (4), gypsysmom (7), Bethlehem_PL_NH (8)

Score: 7.67

53
46,734 members, 448 reviews
4.53 stars (4.53 stars)

Lists: timspalding (5), dewasus1 (6), kleo (10)

Score: 7.48

54
96,645 members, 923 reviews
4.4 stars (4.4 stars)

Lists: timspalding (6), Bethlehem_PL_NH (7), MaryKay1822 (8)

Score: 7.39

55
185 members, 47 reviews
3.58 stars (3.58 stars)

Lists: hipdeep (1), conhauf (2)

Score: 7.36

Explanations:

hipdeep (1): Took a flyer on this one through Early Reviewers. It blew my mind as an introduction to leisure studies.

56
6,573 members, 278 reviews
4.18 stars (4.18 stars)

Lists: steller0707 (6), VioletL (7), nyowh (10)

Score: 7.26

57
12,239 members, 278 reviews
4.02 stars (4.02 stars)

Lists: Boand (7), steller0707 (8), conhauf (8)

Score: 7.22

Explanations:

Boand (7): A book that has a split dual timeline and an irresistible story of star crossed lovers. Byatt’s writing intrigues and compels across different centuries and compares how social mores shape our lives bringing joy, heartache and sorrow.… (more)

58
6,687 members, 232 reviews
4.11 stars (4.11 stars)

Lists: Cecrow (7), Minthe (8), conhauf (10)

Score: 7.09

59
16,957 members, 371 reviews
4.1 stars (4.1 stars)

Lists: gypsysmom (1), Bethlehem_PL_NH (3)

Score: 7.04

60
229 members, 18 reviews
3.97 stars (3.97 stars)

Lists: AbigailAdams26 (1), nancjones (5)

Score: 6.68

Explanations:

AbigailAdams26 (1): I had no fixed ideas going into this book, and certainly did not expect it to be one of the best middle-grade novels I have ever read!

61
17 members, 2 reviews
4.67 stars (4.67 stars)

Lists: alderwand (1), AbigailAdams26 (5)

Score: 6.68

Explanations:

AbigailAdams26 (5): I expected to enjoy the artwork here, being an admirer of the illustrator (Frances Tyrrell), but I was surprised to find the story itself so beautifully-written and immensely poignant.… (more)

62
17,304 members, 494 reviews
4.05 stars (4.05 stars)

Lists: Her_Royal_Orangeness (1), msemmag (8)

Score: 6.38

63
2,603 members, 38 reviews
4.12 stars (4.12 stars)

Lists: elkiedee (1), ManWithAnAgenda (10)

Score: 6.25

Explanations:

elkiedee (1): Read by mistake from the library when I was 14 and I think I thought it was something different, but I really loved this.

64
2,913 members, 167 reviews
4.24 stars (4.24 stars)

Lists: anglemark (2), conhauf (4)

Score: 6.19

Explanations:

anglemark (2): I didn't like the Temeraire books at all, but this one was great!

65
1,433 members, 46 reviews
3.87 stars (3.87 stars)

Lists: Kiwi_des_neiges (2), RBeffa (4)

Score: 6.19

66
8 members, 0 reviews
5 stars (5 stars)

Lists: Michael.Rimmer (2), alderwand (4)

Score: 6.19

67
5,255 members, 91 reviews
3.78 stars (3.78 stars)

Lists: alderwand (3), Cecrow (3)

Score: 6.08

68
688 members, 18 reviews
3.84 stars (3.84 stars)

Lists: barefootsong (2), dewasus1 (5)

Score: 6.04

69
70 members, 2 reviews
4.07 stars (4.07 stars)

Lists: alderwand (2), BornAnalog

Score: 6.04

Explanations:

BornAnalog (8): Read this argument for an ethics-driven technology sector. . .and then contemplate how far that is from our current reality.

70
416 members, 33 reviews
4.2 stars (4.2 stars)

Lists: LowProfile (2), Micheller7 (6)

Score: 5.92

71
17,902 members, 1,196 reviews
4.15 stars (4.15 stars)

Lists: darsaster (2), MaryKay1822 (9)

Score: 5.67

72
1,075 members, 73 reviews
3.77 stars (3.77 stars)

Lists: JuliaMaria (2), nyowh (9)

Score: 5.67

Explanations:

JuliaMaria (2): Geschichten mit Tieren als Hauptprotakonisten interessieren mich normalerweise weniger, deshalb war ich positiv über die philosophische Tiefe des Romans überrascht.… (more)

73
314 members, 16 reviews
3.9 stars (3.9 stars)

Lists: Micheller7 (2), CDVicarage (9)

Score: 5.67

74
15,529 members, 146 reviews
4.12 stars (4.12 stars)

Lists: msemmag (4), hipdeep (5)

Score: 5.5

Explanations:

msemmag (4): Look, I didn't go into this book expecting C. S. Lewis to be funny. But goddamnit, he is in this. I don't agree with a lot of what he espouses, but fuck this was enjoyable to read.… (more)

hipdeep (5): Came for the theology, stayed for the clever use of language.

75
961 members, 3 reviews
4.26 stars (4.26 stars)

Lists: cpg (4), Yarnucopia (5)

Score: 5.5

Explanations:

cpg (4): Surprisingly successful devotional work.

76
969 members, 68 reviews
4.09 stars (4.09 stars)

Lists: LowProfile (3), vwinsloe (7)

Score: 5.5

77
460 members, 7 reviews
3.55 stars (3.55 stars)

Lists: TechThing (3), Cecrow (8)

Score: 5.42

78
1,959 members, 63 reviews
3.87 stars (3.87 stars)

Lists: Cecrow (4), Localhostess (6)

Score: 5.38

79
2,992 members, 180 reviews
3.69 stars (3.69 stars)

Lists: BornAnalog, noveltea

Score: 5.35

80
855 members, 35 reviews
4.22 stars (4.22 stars)

Lists: CarltonC (5), nyowh (5)

Score: 5.35

Explanations:

CarltonC (5): I didn’t expect to be so engaged by this story, who for all his faults, comes across as very human.

81
244 members, 5 reviews
3.57 stars (3.57 stars)

Lists: Kiwi_des_neiges (5), noveltea

Score: 5.35

82
9,967 members, 239 reviews
3.96 stars (3.96 stars)

Lists: darsaster (3), CDVicarage (10)

Score: 5.29

83
2,738 members, 62 reviews
3.93 stars (3.93 stars)

Lists: Michael.Rimmer (3), Kiwi_des_neiges (10)

Score: 5.29

84
9,447 members, 770 reviews
4.08 stars (4.08 stars)

Lists: barefootsong (4), knerd.knitter (7)

Score: 5.29

85
30,690 members, 569 reviews
3.96 stars (3.96 stars)

Lists: Minthe (6), Yuki-Onna

Score: 5.23

86
13,054 members, 299 reviews
4.2 stars (4.2 stars)

Lists: ahef1963 (5), MaryKay1822 (6)

Score: 5.23

87
1,880 members, 106 reviews
4.11 stars (4.11 stars)

Lists: terran (5), Bethlehem_PL_NH (6)

Score: 5.23

88
1,469 members, 91 reviews
4.31 stars (4.31 stars)

Lists: perennialreader (5), Her_Royal_Orangeness (6)

Score: 5.23

89
1,124 members, 20 reviews
3.65 stars (3.65 stars)

Lists: alderwand (5), TechThing (6)

Score: 5.23

90
4,678 members, 136 reviews
4.15 stars (4.15 stars)

Lists: TechThing (4), ManWithAnAgenda (8)

Score: 5.21

91
9,074 members, 176 reviews
4.04 stars (4.04 stars)

Lists: hipdeep (4), Cecrow (9)

Score: 5.14

Explanations:

hipdeep (4): I didn't love Steinbeck in high school English class. I wish they'd taught this one.

92
37,569 members, 1,238 reviews
4.09 stars (4.09 stars)

Lists: ErinBraam (6), kleo (7)

Score: 5.02

93
1,607 members, 53 reviews
3.42 stars (3.42 stars)

Lists: aprille (6), perennialreader (7)

Score: 5.02

94
5,128 members, 169 reviews
4.27 stars (4.27 stars)

Lists: perennialreader (6), cbl_tn (9)

Score: 4.87

95
10,765 members, 567 reviews
4.43 stars (4.43 stars)

Lists: KarlN (6), MaryKay1822 (10)

Score: 4.81

96
3,350 members, 181 reviews
4.05 stars (4.05 stars)

Lists: alderwand (6), ahef1963 (10)

Score: 4.81

97
12 members, 1 review
5 stars (5 stars)

Lists: alderwand (7), cpg (9)

Score: 4.77

Explanations:

cpg (9): Simon has a gift for making complicated things seem simple.

98
101 members, 6 reviews
3.76 stars (3.76 stars)

Lists: alderwand (8), Kiwi_des_neiges (9)

Score: 4.69

99
341 members, 9 reviews
3.71 stars (3.71 stars)

Lists: alderwand (9), Michael.Rimmer (9)

Score: 4.62

100
12,730 members, 291 reviews
4.02 stars (4.02 stars)

Lists: Bethlehem_PL_NH (9), Minthe (10)

Score: 4.56

All members' list: [1] 2 3 4Sort: Score | Title | Author | Date

About this list

Started by: AbigailAdams26 (August 8)

Type: Numbered and unnumbered

Limit: 10 books

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