Not What I Expected … // 2020 Surprises & Disappointments

Hi, hey.

My dad is currently cooking us a very belated Christmas dinner. It smells so good and I’m so hungry but we’re a few hours out from eating yet so I need a distraction. Today’s distraction comes in the form of talking about the books that were most surprising and also most disappointing to me this year.


We’re starting off with the negatives first because why not? These books aren’t necessarily bad books but the sight of them definitely does still sting because I had expectations that were not met and sometimes that’s worse then a “bad” book.

The Secrete History by Donna Tart.

2020 was meant to be my year of reading and loving Dark Academia. That plan came to a screeching halt when I read and ended up low-key despising The Secrete History, one of the most popular of it’s genre.

This book made me feel stupid. I can feel like that on my own, I don’t need a book to pry those feelings from me. Also the characters were incredibly unlikeable and the murder aspect of the book wasn’t as prominent or as interesting a I was expecting. And finally the ending: a certain thing happened and my reaction was an unimpressed “seriously?”

Serious Moonlight by Jenn Bennett

Jenn Bennett had become an absolute favourite author of mine after finally getting around to reading her books last year but Serious Moonlight was lacking the usual levels of romantic cuteness I’d come to expect from her books.

This features a romance between Birdie, a mystery novel enthusiast, and Daniel, a magician. What I initially thought was cool and different about there relationship was that they hooked up once before, a total random one night stand, but meet again when Birdie starts a new job where Daniel also works.

In my eyes this had the potential to be a adorably awkward romance with a new and different dynamic then what I’ve read before but as the story progressed I really didn’t feel the chemistry and I remember cringing a lot.

Also there’s a mystery element to this that I did not like the pay off for. The representation of a Japanese love interest and a character with narcolepsy(?) was interesting though.

The Love Hypothesis by Laura Stevens

Stevens debut YA novel was one of my favourites so I have been excited for her newest release since it’s announcment but this book was not it sis.

This book follows a girl called Caro, a science genius, who orders experimental drugs that are said to boost her pheromones, or something along those lines, and get her crush finally interested. As soon as she starts taking these drugs the boy whose never shown any interest in her before suddenly becomes smitten, as does everyone else around her.

The whole premise of these drugs making a boy interested in her only when he was around her really didn’t sit right with me and sure the main character came to this same conclusion as some point in the book but to me it was too little too late.

Another thing I loved about the authors debut was the humour and while that same style of comedy was used here it really missed the mark for me. The funniest part of the whole book was the main characters dads.

And finally there is an f/f romance within this but I thought it was sorely underdeveloped and again I didn’t like how the main character went from being totally obsessed with one guy that she bought drugs to make her irrisistable to him but then suddenly realises she likes this other girl instead.

The Guinevere Deception by Kiersten White

The way I hyped this book up in my head for no other reason then because it was a King Arthur inspired story with a beautiful cover probably didn’t help but yeah I read this a couple of months ago and came away disappointed.

I was expecting a lot of magic, a lot of action, maybe even some dragons because that’s something that appears in old English Arthurian legend style stories but I didn’t get any of that.

Sure I ended up enjoying this book, it was an easy read, but it wasn’t overly interesting. Not much happened, hence the disappointment. I did read the sequel, I was part of the Blog Tour, and I do intend to read the third and final book but this trilogy does feel like a 3 star series on the whole.


Moving on to books that ended up being a pleasant surprise. These are the books that exceeded all expectations and👏delivered👏 and make me happy to think about.

Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel by Sara Farizan

I was expecting little to nothing from this book. I’d seen it as I searched for f/f books to add to my TBR and so when it was on sale on Kindle I picked it up and read it in just a couple of days.

This book had a lot of layers to in it both in terms of characters, romance and plot. I liked the main character Leila, the friendships she developed and I definitely like the twists and turns with the romance which I can’t speak too much about for spoiler reasons. Go read this book!

Kind of Cursed by Stephanie Fournet

While my attempt at reading more Dark Academia was kind of a flop, my ventures into new adult romances was a success.

I had previously not heard a single thing about this and you know what that is a crime because this book ended up being entertaining, steamy, sweet and even emotional at times.

Kind of Cursed follows Millie who comes from a family where birth control does not work for them and they all end up pregnant ten times over. When her parents die and Millie is left looking after her three younger siblings the last thing she needs is a baby and so she saves off any sort of romance for the forseeable future … until she meets the cute contractor redoing the kitchen.

Kingdom of the Wicked by Kerri Manisculco

It wasn’t until I’d actually started reading Kingdom of the Wicked that I found out this is from the author of Stalking Jack the Ripper, and also when I started seeing the good reviews flying in for this book.

I was fortunate enough to recieve an ARC of this book and I’m really grateful for that because I don’t think I’d have ever picked this book up otherwise.

I loved the main character Emilia, she was so easy to read from and root for, I loved the building blocks being laid for a enemies to lovers style romance and also the setting. I can’t speak to how accurate the italian culture and setting was represented because I’ve never been to Italy but what was described in this book was very atmospheric.

And so there we have a few of books that took me by surprise this year and a whole bunch of books that left me dissapointed.

As always I’d love to know what you thought of these books and also what books did you read this year that weren’t what you expected?

Elli xx

7 thoughts on “Not What I Expected … // 2020 Surprises & Disappointments”

    1. I definitely recommend checking out her other books. I also read Alex,Approx this year and it was one of my favourites, I really liked the classical movie elements and the romance was miless better then Serious Moonlight! If you get around to picking it up I hope you enjoy it more.


  1. Strangely, I really liked The Love Hypothesis but do completely agree with you about it’s problems. I think I was just in the right mood for it, but I’m not sure if it would hold up to a re-read.


  2. Great post! That bit about The Secret History “This book made me feel stupid. I can feel like that on my own, I don’t need a book to pry those feelings from me.” cracked me up so much, hahaha! I really hyped up The Guinevere Deception too but all the mixed reviews since its release have cooled my jets a little…


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