Top Ten Tuesday #39: My First 10 Book Reviews

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that was created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish but is now managed by That Artsy Reader Girl. This week’s topic:

(First Ten) Books I Reviewed

I didn’t know about this week’s prompt until I saw the post on other blogs and because I thought it would be a treat to revisit my early book reviews, I decided to do this post too. I enjoyed reading the early book reviews bloggers chose to share, and it was interesting to see how the style and skill of some bloggers has changed since their early reviews.

That’s the treat I seek in doing this post. I plan to reread my first couple reviews and reflect on how much my writing has developed and what has remained the same. Well, here are the first 10 books I reviewed on this blog.

The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan

The first book I reviewed on my blog was the second novel in Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series, a middle-grade fantasy series that builds on his Percy Jackson series that is about the son of the Greek god Poseidon. Unlike the Percy Jackson series, the Heroes of Olympus books focus on the adventures of more than one demigod.

I did not like this book. It was a disappointing sequel to the first book, The Lost Hero, which I enjoyed. I’m currently rereading Riordan’s middle-grade books, so it will be interesting to see if I feel the same about this one when I revisit it.

Inheritance by Christopher Paolini

This is the fourth novel in Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle, a fantasy series about a farm boy named Eragon who learns that he is the last dragon rider.

I enjoyed this book although I thought it has some pacing issues, and I was glad with how it ends but was annoyed that Eragon and Arya, his elven love interest, did not hook up. For some reason, I really wanted that to happen. I’m also rereading this series, so I wonder if I will be as annoyed by Eragon’s virginity as I was when I first read the novel (lol).

A Feast for Crows by George R.R. Martin

This is the fourth behemoth in Martin’s Song of Ice & Fire fantasy series, which is not completed, but the final season of the TV adaptation is now out on HBO.

I did not like this book and many readers share the same opinion. The perspectives Martin focuses on aren’t popular ones and although I liked some of the characters, that wasn’t enough to keep my interest, so I was often bored. I was rereading this series but I kept losing interest. It seems like a pointless task to reread it when the series hasn’t been completed and there’s no telling when the next book will be published. I’ll instead wait for all the books to be published before rereading the series. For now, I might try the TV show again.

Available at Barnes & Noble

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow & Other Macabre Tales by Washington Irving

A collection of some of Irving’s stories, including the popular Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

I enjoyed reading the stories. I think I sped through the book in maybe a day or two. The stories are gripping and kept me on the edge of my seat as I wondered what would happen next or how the story would end. I’d like to revisit this book because I read it too fast so now the details aren’t very clear.

Redwall by Brian Jacques

The first novel in Jacques’s middle-grade fantasy series about a mouse who saves the day…?

I’ve forgotten what it’s about and my review didn’t mention what exactly the plot is because I spent the entire time ranting about it. I didn’t like it. I hated it and gave up on it at about 200 pages in. The plot is too predictable and the characters are too one-sided and I hated how the birds speak. I didn’t mention that last bit in my review, but I remember that being a major annoyance. I refuse to ever read it again or to try any other books in the series.

Style: The Basics of Clarity and Grace by Joseph M. Williams

A nonfiction book about grammar and punctuation. It’s a style guide for writers that can be just as useful to readers.

I enjoyed reading this book and learned loads from it. It was so easy to read and understand that I quickly completed it and marked it as a favorite on my Goodreads. I highly recommend it. Now I want to reread it.

Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

A classic novel about the narrator’s expedition up the Congo River to retrieve the enigmatic Mr. Kurtz, who has developed an odd relationship with those native to the region.

Although I thought this story was disturbing and was uncomfortable reading certain parts, I consider it one of my favorite classics and would like to try more of Conrad’s work. My reviews have always been a little long, but this was one of the first I recall packing in as much as I can because I wanted to include all the things I thought of while reading. The story is interesting and the writing is compelling; I highly recommend it.

Sparknotes: Heart of Darkness

Pretty self-explanatory: It’s a reading guide for Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness that also provides some analysis on characters, plot, and themes.

Lol, yea I reviewed a Sparknotes guide. It was one of the shortest reviews I’ve ever posted. (It probably is the shortest one.) I read the guide because I had just graduated college at the time and no longer had anyone with whom to discuss and analyze books, so I entertained myself with this guide. Thinking back on that reason for reading a Sparknotes guide cracks me up. Lol! Haaa…!

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

The popular YA dystopian novel about a girl who volunteers to enter a cruel challenge that pits children from different districts in the country against each other.

I was so surprised when I first read this. The hype made me avoid it but when I started reading it, I got hooked and was grateful for the Barnes & Noble bookseller who placed it in my hands and made me buy it. I’m currently rereading the series.

A Love Noire by Erica Simone Turnipseed

A romance novel about the relationship between a young African American woman studying for her Ph.D. in New York City and a young man from the Ivory Coast who’s working as an investment banker on Wall Street.

This is one of my favorite books. My review of it on this blog was a reread because I first read it while in college. I love the story and that it contains various elements of the African diaspora, and I love that I learn some history from it. I recommend that you all try it out.


It’s been a while since I’ve looked at these reviews. For the most part, my voice is the same but I have changed how I structure my reviews and how I write certain things. I’ve also stopped my excessive use of “anyways” to transition between paragraphs but have stuck with using a personal story about why I got the book or became interested in it to lead into the review. It was fun to observe all this, but I’ll need to return to some of these posts to edit them a bit.

What was the first book you reviewed on your blog?

25 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday #39: My First 10 Book Reviews

  1. This was so fascinating Zezee!! I feel like I started my blog to talk about what I didn’t like in books and now I talk about what I loved about books. hahaha it kinda sounded like the same with you. I’ll check out that style book and your classic review. How fascinating that it making you feel uncomfortable made it stick out in your mind. ❤️

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  2. I enjoyed this week’s theme too! I cringed at my early review formatting, but like you my voice is still the same.

    All 10 of my first reviews were of historical fiction books since that is the genre I mostly read in when I started blogging. I’m happy that I’ve branched out 🙂

    I’m sad to see you didn’t enjoy Redwall. I just purchased a copy to read with my son… hopefully we will enjoy it more than you did.

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  3. You had some great books to review! I only started reading Percy Jackson series last month, hoping to get to the 2nd book as soon as possible.
    My very first review was of «Gone Girl» by Gillian Flynn! The most mind-boggling book I’ve ever read.

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    1. Those Percy Jackson books are such fun. They are a treat.
      Lol! True of Gone Girl. I saw the movie first — that’s what made me want to read it — and even so I was anxious about the end and hooked.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi Zezee – if I remember correctly, the first book I reviewed on my blog was Aminatta Forna’s The Hired Man. Actually I am thinking about re-publishing some of my earlier pieces because I like a lot of them and they were posted when I only had, like, a single follower!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey Leslie! 🙂
      I think that’s a great idea to repub some of your earlier pieces. I was considering to do something similar earlier this month but didn’t get the chance to.
      It’s the first I’ve heard of The Hired Man.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I saw my namesakes book up there!

    I read ‘Heart of Darkness’ in High School. I liked it well enough at the time.

    I had not heard of ‘Sparknotes’. They had ‘Cliffnotes’.when I was younger. They are sort of like condensed books. I always disdained them. ‘Sparknotes’ sounds much better. That is pretty cool that you would review reference material like that. 🙂

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    1. Indeed! lol Have you read Legend of the Sleepy Hollow?
      Cliffnotes was popular when I was in high school. I guess they fazed out and Sparknotes took its place and also Schmoop.

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