Top Ten Tuesday #11: Top Ten Books if You're in the Mood to Be Gob-Smacked!!

The weekly meme "Top Ten Tuesday" is brought to you by the awesome blog The Broke and the Bookish. Check out their blog and add your Top Ten to the group!!

This week: "The Top Ten Books When You're In the Mood for _________." So I guess my title should be "Top 10 Books When You're in the Mood for a Good Gob-Smacking*."

     gob·smacked [ˈɡäbˌsmakt/] adjective British informal 
     adjective: gobsmacked; adjective: gob-smacked: utterly astonished; astounded.

* Origin: 1980s: from gob1 + smack1, with reference to being shocked by a blow to the mouth, or to clapping a hand to one's mouth in astonishment.

* As if smacked ‎(“hit”) in the gob ‎(“mouth (Irish / Scottish gaelic)”).

I am a SUCKER for a well-done plot-twist, an amazing secret revealed, etc. Therefore, my list this week is my top picks of books (or series) where I literally gasped out loud, or possibly threw the book across the room … This is not to say there will be spoilers, or that there’s a TWIST in every book, but that I just appreciated that the author/s took the story in an unexpected direction. 

The best example I can give is The Princess Bride (both movie and book!) William Goldman takes all the tropes of a fairy tale adventure and turns it on it’s head. Many a smack-the-gob* moments.

1.Top of the list is, of course, The "A Song of Ice and Fire" series. If you’ve not read the books, but have seen the [Game of Thrones] series on HBO, it’s a no-brainer as to why.  Amongst many of the insane character assassinations, there was THE RED WEDDING. Yes, I’m bitter that I probably won’t live to see the series finished (I’m not ill, just have lost faith in George’s writing process…). **I have NOT seen the last season, even though I know how it ends, no [other] spoilers, please!**

2. Beloved. (Toni Morrison) 
      Staring unflinchingly into the abyss of slavery, this spellbinding novel transforms history into a story as powerful as Exodus and as intimate as a lullaby. 
      Sethe was born a slave and escaped to Ohio, but eighteen years later she is still not free. She has too many memories of Sweet Home, the beautiful farm where so many hideous things happened. Her new home is haunted by the ghost of her baby, who died nameless and whose tombstone is engraved with a single word: Beloved.

This book is as crazy as it is mesmerizing… And Oprah actually did a pretty kick-ass job with the movie adaptation. So many layers. This still haunts me…

3. Fall on Your Knees. (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
They are the Pipers of Cape Breton Island — a family steeped in lies and unspoken truths that reach out from the past, forever mindful of the tragic secret that could shatter the family to its foundations. Chronicling five generations of this eccentric clan, Fall On Your Knees follows four remarkable sisters whose lives are filled with driving ambition, inescapable family bonds, and forbidden love. Their experiences will take them from their stormswept homeland, across the battlefields of World War I, to the freedom and independence of Jazz-era New York City.

Compellingly written, running the literary gamut from menacingly dark to hilariously funny, this is an epic saga of one family’s trials and triumphs in a world of sin, guilt, and redemption.
This book begins with a HUGE gob-smack and is just amazing from there. Whaaaaat?!

4. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)

A Fine Balance, Rohinton Mistry’s stunning internationally acclaimed bestseller, is set in mid-1970s India. It tells the story of four unlikely people whose lives come together during a time of political turmoil soon after the government declares a “State of Internal Emergency.” Through days of bleakness and hope, their circumstances – and their fates – become inextricably linked in ways no one could have foreseen. Mistry’s prose is alive with enduring images and a cast of unforgettable characters. Written with compassion, humour, and insight, A Fine Balance is a vivid, richly textured, and powerful novel written by one of the most gifted writers of our time.


India in the 70’s, am I right?! I think my jaw hung open in dumbfoundment* for the entire book. It's a long one, and a doozy, but it will stay with you forever.


5. Outlander [Cross Stitch in the U.K.](Diana Gabaldon)

In 1945, Claire is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon in Scotland. Innocently, she walks through a stone circle in the Highlands, and finds herself in a violent skirmish taking place in 1743. Suddenly she is a Sassenach, an outlander, in a country torn by war and by clan feuds...

(I'll save you from reading the rest of the plot...)

In my early 20’s I could not put this book down. My disclaimer: it’s not the strongest writing, and I could NOT continue with the series (although I believe my equally addicted friends swear by every book)... One of those books that you keep reading and reading until you realize that your alarm is going to go off in 3 hours…

6. My Sister’s Keeper (Jodi Picoult)

Anna is not sick, but she might as well be. By age thirteen, she has undergone countless surgeries, transfusions, and shots so that her older sister, Kate, can somehow fight the leukemia that has plagued her since childhood. The product of preimplantation genetic diagnosis, Anna was conceived as a bone marrow match for Kate -- a life and a role that she has never challenged... until now. Like most teenagers, Anna is beginning to question who she truly is. But unlike most teenagers, she has always been defined in terms of her sister—and so Anna makes a decision that for most would be unthinkable, a decision that will tear her family apart and have perhaps fatal consequences for the sister she loves. 

Jodi Picoult is the QUEEN of “what a twist!” (The king, obviously: M. Night  Shyamalan).  I think this is Piccoult’s best, but I’ve not read all of her works, as she sometimes would force a “twist” and after a while it was old hat. Maybe she and Shyamalan were separated at birth! (What a twist THAT would be!!) 

** SPOILER** Hollywood apparently changes the ending in the movie adaptation. Of course they did.
(Lucy is being sarcastic for me.)

7. The Maze Runner Series.  I like that James Dashner doesn’t end the series tied up in a nice little bow. But then he goes and writes The Kill Order (Maze Runner “0.5”) and I was all, James! Give your readers some credit! We know dystopias happen because humans suck! We don’t need a play-by-play! (I’ve not actually read this prequel as I usually don’t believe in them, and most times are a huge pet-peeve.)

[Update: I just noticed that he has a "0.6," a "2.5" and "The Maze Runner Files." Interesting that James rhymes with SHAME...S.]


8. Bridge to Teribithia (Katherine Paterson)
Jess Aarons' greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade. He's been practicing all summer and can't wait to see his classmates' faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys' side and outruns everyone.

That's not a very promising beginning for a friendship, but Jess and Leslie Burke become inseparable. Together they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits.
I just recently re-read this one after seeing the movie and was even MORE amazed by what a lovely, heart-felt story it was, and what a hack-job the movie studio did with it. BRU-TAL.

I can't EVEN.

9. His Dark Materials Trilogy (Phillip Pullman)

Synopsis (of The Golden Compass):

 Here lives an orphaned ward named Lyra Belacqua, whose carefree life among the scholars at Oxford's Jordan College is shattered by the arrival of two powerful visitors. First, her fearsome uncle, Lord Asriel, appears with evidence of mystery and danger in the far North, including photographs of a mysterious celestial phenomenon called Dust and the dim outline of a city suspended in the Aurora Borealis that he suspects is part of an alternate universe. He leaves Lyra in the care of Mrs. Coulter, an enigmatic scholar and explorer who offers to give Lyra the attention her uncle has long refused her. In this multilayered narrative, however, nothing is as it seems. Lyra sets out for the top of the world in search of her kidnapped playmate, Roger, bearing a rare truth-telling instrument, the alethiometer. All around her children are disappearing—victims of so-called "Gobblers"—and being used as subjects in terrible experiments that separate humans from their daemons, creatures that reflect each person's inner being. And somehow, both Lord Asriel and Mrs. Coulter are involved.

While there are some amazing surprises in store for you in this series, the originality alone had me enthralled from cover to cover. One of the most underrated children's series EVER. Again, skip the movie. It was just "ok." (Great cast, though! Too bad...)


10. HarryPotter and the Deathly Hallows. Against all odds, Rowling stepped up and hit it out of the park! HOW could you meet such high expectations?! Granted, it wasn’t perfect, there were some lag-times, but I think the reader needed some down-time from all the mind-blowing-happenings. I laughed, I cried, I read it until I felt book-sick...


Honourable Mentions:

This is one of my most favourite kid's book, and it’s awesome, and was most likely my first discovery that sometimes not everything is as it appears! (Or… is it?...)

The Paperbag Princess. Along those lines, Robert Munsch brings a great unexpected ending to a fairy tale with role reversal (princess going to save the prince). Funny but also poignant, if you will!

I could go on and on, but I’ll stick with these for now… 
Love a book that keeps you on your toes!!

 Thanks for reading, Spinning Jenners!!!

~ Spinning Jenny

 * I think I should start a Spinning Jenny dictionary with all the words I pretend are real.

Relevant links:

Princes Bride pic taken from

"M. Night Shyamalan" meme from Robot Chicken


  1. OMG YES. Game of Thrones is like the ULTIMATE gob-smacker. *shrieks* I love that series, but it hurts soooo bad. xD And yes yes to Bridge to Terebithia, I watched the movie first (bookworm fail xD) but omg, still not ever that ending. NEVER RECOVERING. Plus the Maze Runner was fabulous at keeping up those twists. <3 I would also add on Dangerous Girls. THAT TWIST. OMG. I was so so soooo shocked it immediately got placed as one of my ultimate favourite books. xD

    Here's my TTT!

    1. Sweet! I'm adding Dangerous Girls to my TBR as we speak!

    2. Thanks for your comment! Couldn't connect with your TTT but followed you on all the social media!

  2. I loved Cross Stitch. I agree that the writing is not the best but I am currently doing the second book anyway. I don't plan on finishing the series since I hear it gets bad around book 6. Anyways great list :)

    1. Thanks for the comment! I think I read the 2nd (?) and even Jamie couldn't keep me interested! (And that's saying something!)

  3. Great word. Great list!


    1. Thanks for your comment!! Love your TTT!

  4. I first read My Sister's Keeper about six years ago and still haven't got over the plot twist at the end!
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2016/03/01/top-ten-tuesday-46/

    1. I'm the same! So HOW DO YOU CHANGE THE ENDING IN THE MOVIE?!?! Oh, Hollywood...

  5. I couldn't get into Outlander, and I will continue to stay far, far away from Mr. Martin's books. I don't go for books that intentionally punch you in the gut, if I can avoid them.

    1. I feel you, sister. Thanks for commenting!

  6. The Monster at the End of this Book!! YES! LOL! Love it! My TTT

  7. Awesome post, gasp out loud plot twists are the best! When I saw the post title I just KNEW that the A Song OF Ice & Fire series would be here. So many great twists to choose from! And of course Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows is a great choice also! I would love to read quite a few of the other books you've chosen.

    Thanks for checking out my TTT!

    Katrina @ Chased By My Imagination

    1. Now you're just showing off with your glamorous used of code for your TTT. ;)

  8. Love the word gob-smacked and I agree, a good plot twist that I don't see coming is one of my favorite things!
    Jen @ YA Romantics

    1. Agree! Thanks for stopping by my blog! I made sure I was entered in your YA new releases contest!

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