The Rec League: Expectations Were MET!

Fist pump baby - high expectations of new book: met! I have been thinking about the awesomeness that is the feeling you get when you had high expectations of a book, and those expectations were met.

Do you know what I mean?

Sometimes it's the fact that I paid more than I wanted for the book, or it's that the last book was so good, I worry like a weird person that the next one won't live up to that enjoyment. But there are times when I worry that my expectations of a book are too high. (I am assuming I'm not alone in this. COMFORT ME PLEASE.)

The last book I felt that mild worry about was It Happened One Wedding ( A | BN | K | ARe ), which I ended up enjoying SO so much. Reading it just made me so freaking happy. I was hoping for awesome, and I got happy, funny, clever, smart character awesome. Hell to the yeah. But yet, that worry was there in the beginning. 

I asked RedHeadedGirl, Elyse, Carrie and Amanda if this has ever happend to them, too. 


The Heiress Effect ( A | BN | K | ARe ) and Unraveled ( A | BN | K | ARe ) met and exceeded those expectations.  (It does not escape me that both of those had happy law related plots by Courtney Milan).  Like, I loved Unveiled.  I liked Unclaimed okay (but I note that I haven't reread it, and don't really want to).  I LOOOOOOOVED Unraveled like I love cake.  And I really love cake. 

It's a feeling that sits in my chest like a warm, happy weasel, curled up and perfectly content with the state of the world at that instant.


Reading. It's like weasels. Only better!


In movies, Marvel keeps meeting expectations and raising the bar every time.  When my expectations are really high, I get nervous and try to adjust them to more realistic levels.  But Marvel is like, “Oh, it's too hard to handle a weird character like Wonder Woman?  Whatever.  We have a space-faring raccoon.” and I'm all, “Oooooooooh”.

Book A Week to be Wicked In books, I am halfway through A Week To Be Wicked by Tessa Dare ( A | BN | K | ARe ) and I'm just goggly-eyed with joy about it.  I thought it would be good, but it's just SO good.  Another example is when everyone was talking about Saga, and I read it, and I just about died I was so happy.

I think I'm unusual as a reviewer because even though as a reader I like to read bad reviews (they are often very funny, and they tell me what to avoid and why) as a reviewer I vastly prefer  writing good reviews and that affects what I choose to review.  Telling someone what I don't enjoy is useful but doesn't make me enthusiastic, but writing a good review makes me incredibly happy.  It's because when something is good, I feel so excited about it that I become very evangelical.  I want the whole world to read Saga.  Now.  I think we should all drop what we are doing and go watch Belle again.  It's like the author gives me this great present, and the more I pass on the present, the better the present becomes.

Also, warm happy weasels.  Really?  Weasels?  They are sort of smelly, right?  I'm thinking more like kittens, personally.



Yeah, maybe they are smelly, but when ferrets do that boneless thing and they curl up and are just the most content little furry things, only with nicer fur (so weasles or minks or something).


I'm not sure I want this statement shared with the world but right after I read something really good – not just an A, but an A+++++++++, it's a warm, contented, emotionally happy and physically relaxed feeling that is remarkably similar (although not exactly the same for obvious reasons) to the feeling after having great sex. Did I just say that out loud?


OH yes. Good Book Noise ™ is very similar to post-orgasm noise. One time I finished a book I just loved, and let out this huge happy sigh, and Hubby said, “So. Good book, then?”




Well heck, if it's universal, quote me!


The Bride by Julie Garwood ( A | BN | K | ARe ). I did it for a reading challenge on GR. I was not prepared.

Oh my efffffffffff. It definitely got me into reading historicals again.


Oh yes, I have book afterglow too. In fact I was teasing Maisey Yates on Twitter that Avenge Me was so satisfying I wanted to blurb the book and I wanted that blurb to be “I'll be in my bunk.”

Three Weeks With Lady X totally met my expectations ( A | BN | K | ARe ). It made me so content. It made feel all happy warm.

Book Still Life Also I love the Armand Gamache series by Louise Penny. They are mysteries that take place in rural Quebec. You may like them, Sarah. There is no gore, no children in jeopardy. The detective is almost Victorian and it's all very cerebral.

But the writing.

OH SWEET JESUS THE WRITING. Her books are so achingly beautiful I have to pace them out.

I just read A Brutal Telling ( A | BN | K | ARe) and it was absolutely gorgeous.



So, what about you? What books met your expectations and gave you happy reading ferret weasels? Any books lately? (And do you have a suggestion for what to call that feeling other than “happy reading ferret weasels”?)

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Tabs says:

    I often get a lot of unreasonable pre-book-reading anxiety about highly anticipated books in ongoing series. Will it be as good as previous books? Will it resolve on-going plot threads satisfactorily?  Will the whole series go to crap with one book? Will people who NEED to do the nasty finally tear it up?

    But lately, my favorite authors have not been dropping the ball.  AT ALL. (Be warned, this post made me deploy the all caps button with wild abandon.)

    Recent notable ones:

    Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews – Instead of a Kate Daniels book, fans got a full-length Andrea book and I was not the only one prepared to be disappointed.  BUT NO. IT WAS FABULOUS.  BAD-ASS HYENA SHIFTERS FOREVER.

    Gaurdian Demon by Meljean Brook – Taylor’s book.  Michael’s book.  The very last Guardians book ever?!?! SIIIIIIIGH. It was truly amazing.

    Heart of Obsidian by Nalini Singh – All I have to say about this book is DAAAAAMN.

    Bite Me by Shelly Laurenston – A honey badger shifter?  Too over the top?  HILARIOUS. ALL THE HILARIOUSNESS IN THE WORLD.

  2. 2
    EmilyD says:

    I have had It Happened One Wedding on my kindle since whenever it loaded as I pre-ordered it. I have been so scared to read it because I get so psyched up for the next book in series that I love or by authors that I adore (in this case, both of those things are true) and just need to give it time to sit. Now, I’m feeling like I can relax and read it without all the ZOMGing that would happen if I opened it up last Tuesday. I needed to let my anticipation chill the F out.

    Since I only have been reading romance for a few years, there were quite a few that I was so worried to begin, my expectations being so high after seeing reviews and recs. I think the most notable was Lord of Scoundrels because everyone everywhere was like “Ahhhhhh, soooo good”, and light shone down from the heavens when it was mentioned. It panicked me to think I might read it and be all, meh. But of course when I finally ordered my very used, very beat up copy from Amzn (this was before I had my precious ereader), it met and exceeded every expectation. And that is a phenomenal feeling and why I probably have stuck to the romance genre as my primary go-to for reading material. My expectations have been met/exceeded so often that I am more willing to try new authors, series, tropes, etc.

    And now, from the recs above, I see some more books that shall be loaded to my kindle by the end of the day.

  3. 3
    Lisa J says:

    Any of the Psy/Changeling books.  I was sure Hawk’s story couldn’t live up to my expectations and then it blew me away.  No way could Heart of Obsidian be good, it was weasel, kitten, new puppy awesome.  There have been others, but these books just keep getting better, even the novellas make me tingle.

  4. 4
    jody says:

    The three books in Emma Jane Holloway’s The Baskerville Affair made me SO happy!

  5. 5
    Elinor Aspen says:

    @Carrie, I LOVED A Week to Be Wicked. It is by far my favorite Tessa Dare, and it is on my list of favorite romance novels ever. It exceeded my expectations. I felt the same way about Loretta Chase’s Captives of the Night.

  6. 6
    vickyk says:

    Although they are definitely not in the romance genre, the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher is one of my all time favorite series. I adore Harry Dresden and his ongoing need to do the right thing and find love are catnip for me. I am halfway through the newest book “Skin Game” and it is making me so incredibly happy that I am reading it very very slowly.  Which is not usual for me but I want to make it last.  Warm furry weasels indeed. (Parkour!)

  7. 7
    Bea says:

    Yes, yes and yes to Unraveled and A Week to Be Wicked!!!!  Smite and Miranda not-a-comma Darling and Colin and Minerva are two of the best pairings in historical romance ever. I experienced that tingle mixed with apprehension with every historical by Lisa Kleypas but that woman delivers every time – I was thrilled to know she will be writing historicals again. The same can be said of Loretta Chase, even her average is good. When I approached Flowers from the Storm by Laura Kinsale I thought “no way this book can live to the expectations”. Boy, was I wrong! I remember going into a slump after I finished rereading it. Now, I have The Windflower in my TBR pile and every time I decide it’s time to go for it I fear disappointment and end up reading something else instead.

  8. 8
    JacquiCode says:

    I get these feelings from a lot of Laura Florand’s books.

    Also, just about any of Laura Kinsale’s books, particularly in audio form.  I finished Prince of Midnight, read by Nicholas Boulton, not too long ago and just couldn’t stand how good it was.  For My Lady’s Heart was even better, if that is possible, even though I started listening to it thinking it couldn’t possibly live up to Prince of Midnight.

    Lord of Scoundrels, by Loretta Chase.

    Meg Benjamin’s latest Konigsburg book lived up to all my expectations.  I just love her characters.

    The only drawback to finding a book like this is that you then despair of finding anything as a next reading choice that isn’t going to seem flat and uninteresting.  Which is why I put books like these into my “Comfort Reading” collection, never delete them from my Kindle and re-read them periodically in times of stress or reading slump.

  9. 9
    Darlynne says:

    Searching … searching … weasel!

    G. Willow Wilson’s CAIRO, a graphic novel, which I read a couple of weeks ago. Sometimes I’m all “wha?” when others rave about books, but particularly with graphic novels. And then I cracked it open, one of the few physical books I read these days, and I was enchanted. Amazon reviews haven’t been particularly stellar, but me, I had a huge smile on my face.

    The last time that happened would have been Catherynne M. Valente’s THE GIRL WHO series. Joy between the pages and that giddy feeling from having my breath stolen away.

  10. 10
    kkw says:

    Currently having this exact thing with The Goldfinch. Everyone’s read it, everyone loved it, it sounds like all sorts of catnip, and I was a little bit dreading not having it to look forward to but actually experiencing it and inevitably being disappointed. Half way in and I am smitten. I keep putting it down because I want to savor it and then getting nervous and picking it up again because I need more. Now, I haven’t finished it, and I do find that most modern novels fall apart for me about 5/8 of the way in, plus lots of bad things have happened and I suspect it’s only going to get worse, so I can’t give an unqualified this is for everyone recommendation myself. But I also can’t say more about how deeply I love it because I need to go read it now.

  11. 11
    Bea says:

    @JacquiCode -Laura Kinsale’s audiobooks narrated by Nicholas Boulton are perfection, pure and simple. The listening is even better than the reading and I don’t say this lightly. The narration enhances instead of detracting from the experience. The same can be said from Lord of Scoundrels in audio format. I encourage everyone to listen to those books (I had already read all of them before they were released in audio format). The downside: good luck finding anything that can compare to those audiobooks.

  12. 12
    LauraL says:

    I put off reading When We Met, last month’s addition to the Fool’s Gold series from Susan Mallery. The main characters, Taryn and Angel, had appeared in last Summer’s series and Angel in a previous novel. I was looking forward to Angel’s story. More than met my expectations and I loved the way Angel was such a good guy. Damn, I’m realizing I have a soft spot for alpha guys from West Virginia.

    Last Friday, I downloaded Wind Chime Cafe by Sophie Moss, figuring it was Memorial Day weekend and there was a Navy SEAL hero in the book. From the reviews, I had some really high expectations. Again, more than met. I loved the primary and secondary characters and the setting on the Chesapeake Bay. I laughed. I cried. I did not get all I had planned done on Saturday because I couldn’t put down that surprise happy weasel of a book.

  13. 13

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for spreading the SAGA love. It was here that I first read about it, and I carried it to Desert Dreams [Phoenix RWA Con] and kept shoving it in people’s faces. “You have to read this.”

    And Belle? I’m seeing it Sunday.

  14. 14
    Xantha says:

    Every book Grace Burrowes publishes.  Every.  Book.

  15. 15
    Qualisign says:

    As I mentioned in a post about two weeks ago, Darlene Marshall’s latest, The Pirate’s Secret Baby, met and greatly exceeded expectations, pulling me, laughing, out of a nasty reading snit. I just finished Theresa Romain’s latest, To Charm a Naughty Countess, last night and was absolutely delighted. Given the basic catnip allure of a smart, virgin duke suffering from social anxiety, I simply could not imagine that it could ever meet its potential, but IT DID! I loved it. I loved that the storyline was grounded by an actual environmental anomaly and that the solutions for all issues were never glib. Lovely, lovely book.

  16. 16
    JacquiCode says:

    @Bea—I have Sweet Folly and Shadow and the Star queued up in my audio library.  I am resisting the temptation to listen to them all at once because I need to savour them!  The only one I am hesitating over is Flowers from the Storm. Such a great book (I read it in print) but so emotionally tough. I am not sure I can listen to it. But I may not be able to resist hearing Nicholas Boulton read it…

    And I agree that it is very hard to find any other audio books (and any other narrator) that lives up to these. Though I think I will definitely try Lord of Scoundrels in audio form…

  17. 17
    Elinor Aspen says:

    @Qualisign, I have To Charm a Naughty Countess in my TBR pile. Now I’m looking forward to it even more.

  18. 18
    E. Jamie says:

    I just finished JR Ward’s The King and was a bit nervous about starting that one because there are folks that believe the BDB has lost its magic and I wasn’t sure how she was going to revisit the series first couple Wrath and Beth and make it still intense, still fresh, still engaging and keep the stakes high but in my own opinion she nailed all four! Happy book sighs all around…except for Assail. I despise that character with the passion of a thousand flaming suns of hate.

  19. 19
    Layla A says:

    Um, let’s see.

    Unveiled! A Lady Awakened! any of the Spindle Cove books! Bet Me!

    And Jacqueline Carey’s Santa Olivia which then got me hooked on all her books ever (and they are all great).

  20. 20
    Bea says:

    @JacquiCode: Please do not pass up on Flowers from the Storm! It’s amazing! Of course it’s an intense emotional roller coaster but Laura Kinsale’s beautiful writing performed by Boulton is a thing of awe. I call it performance instead of narration because it is so much more! He’s a solid Shakespearean actor and it shows. I don’t know how he managed to portray a hero with aphasia sound vulnerable yet strong, intelligent, determined and sexy as hell but he did it. IMHO FftS is the best of LK’s titles released in audio format. And I agree with you, you have to space listening to her backlist to better savor them and to give yourself some breathing space as well. Enjoy!

  21. 21
    Karenmc says:

    I was so glad that Rose Lerner had a new release this spring, and it’s crackerjack good. Sweet Disorder is the first in a series set in the village of Lively St. Lemeston. There are political shenanigans, poetry, sweet treats and vivid characters. I’m ready for the next book.

    And it looks like I need to add The Pirate’s Secret Baby to my Kindle.

  22. 22
    Malatt says:

    I just finished Night Broken, the latest addition to the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs. This is the eighth book in the series, and It did not disappoint! In fact, I think it’s one of the best in the series, although they are all excellent. I’m so impressed with authors who can keep a series fresh after that many installments.

  23. 23
    Jen says:

    I’m on a huge Zoe Archer binge. The one that really blew expectations out of the water was Skies of Gold—that was so, so good. But I actually just read Stranger from her Blades of the Rose series. I liked the series but it wasn’t nearly as good as the other series. So I expected to like the last book, but in the end I loved it. It totally sucked me in with it’s magic and awesome action and a hero who kind of an awkward scientist and a clever journalist heroine and OMG I loved it!

    Run on sentences—another sign of a great book. :)

  24. 24
    Melissa L says:

    Dresden Files! Loving Skin Game 15 books and this is the best yet! Harry might come across as sexist at times but he has people who call him on it so it doesn’t taint the books as a whole.  He tries so hard to do the Right Thing you can’t help but love him.

  25. 25
    Jo says:

    @vickyk- Holy Crap I can’t believe I forgot there was a new Harry Dresden out. Thank You for reminding me. That’s a book I have high expectations for, that I’m confident will be met.
    @Carrie- I love Saga so hard, thanks for introducing me to it :-)

  26. 26
    Heather S says:

    This is actually a problem for me, too – I’m so afraid of hyped-up books seeming “meh” to me that I have a hard time starting a lot of them. Example: “The Windflower”. I bought it a month ago and have only read a few pages.

    However, some that HAVE held up for me are:

    The Winter Sea – Susanna Kearsley
    Lord of Scoundrels, The Devil’s Delilah – Loretta Chase
    Ruined by a Rake – Erin Knightley (a novella, and it’s FREE CHEEZY BREAD FREE right now – I fell in love with the hero, Nicholas, so much that I haven’t been able to convince myself to read any of her other books from sheer fear of let-down)

    The Song of Achilles – Madeline Miller (amazing, gorgeous book, SO worthy of winning the Orange Prize)
    Just Kids – Patti Smith (another worthy award winner)
    Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen (because DUH. Standard set.)
    A Knight in Shining Armor – Jude Deveraux

  27. 27
    Persnickety says:

    A civil campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold. And the first chalion book by her as well- I think it is the curse of chalion? Pretty much the whole chalion series actually.

    Fun home by Alison bechdel, which is a graphic novel was surprisingly satisfying.  I already knew her work, but hadn’t expected such a good book.

  28. 28
    DonnaMarie says:

    But Marvel is like, “Oh, it’s too hard to handle a weird character like Wonder Woman?

    Carrie, I hate to do this, cause I luvs you, but WW is and always has been a DC character. Marvel bears no shame in the no WW movie issue.

    @Tabs, stop copying my reading list.

    I signed up to do an RT Challenge review Shadowdance Kristen Callihan’s latest to force myself to quit hemming and hawing and read the damn book already. I’ve reached a terrible state of inertia between must must must read and what if it falls short dread. Too bad Archangel’s Legion wasn’t nominated.

  29. 29
    Kris Bock says:

    Actually, ferrets can have very soft, silky fur, if they’re fed properly. We got ours as rescues, and once we got them off of cat food and onto high-quality ferret food, they got much softer. Also, they can be quite obsessive when they want something, just like a reader! There’s a good metaphor in there somewhere.

    I just posted a video of one of our ferrets, Zonks, on my Facebook page, where she’s determined to get HER red ball. No other ball will do.

  30. 30
    vickyk says:

    @persnickety ok this is my other favorite series; I can’t tell you how much I love Miles Verkosigan. Hard to pick a favorite book but A Civil Campaign and Memories are two that I read over and over.
    @Jo Oh boy are you in for a treat!

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