Books That Let Me Down

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Today is the day I will not be ranting and raving over a book for once, but rather the opposite.

There will  come a time in every book lover’s life where you just read something that’s just… eh. And then there will be the times that make you write this post because the book you read was just so god-awful. Maybe you heard through a friend of a friend that this book in particular would be the best thing since Harry Potter and it’s so amazing that you’ll be left waiting on the edge of your seat for the sequel for as long as it takes…  but then you read it.

And it sucks.

In these cases, if I determine early on in the book that it’s not going well I’ll typically giveup on it. There are simply too many books in the world to read to waste my time on a book that I’m not going to enjoy. If it’s one that shows promise, then flops near the end, I tend to just be rather sad  about it until I move onto the next book.

BUT FEAR NOT, because guess what this post is here to help you avoid? Another over-hyped, over recommended, flop of a book that I (and possibly many others) ended up being sorely disappointed in.

And just to get this out of the way now: just like every other review on this blog, these are my own opinions and you are allowed to think whatever you want about these books I am here to discuss today. If you must say anything at all to disagree with me, I would be happy to have a discussion on the subject, just don’t be a dick about it. Easy peasy. 

 

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I will readily admit it- I am one of those people who picks a lot of their books based on a few very shallow pieces of criteria:

  • Cover art (despite the saying, it’s only natural)
  • YouTube Reviews
  • Goodreads Recommendations

I still definitely find a lot of my favorite books while I’m browsing bookstores and mindlessly clicking through Amazon’s penny books, and I’ve found a lot of favorites both ways. The first book on our list was one of these used Amazon book finds that held a lot of promise in its synopsis, then fell so, so far from my expectations.

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Normal by Cameron Graeme

The synopsis of this book lures you in by describing your every day citizen going about his daily routine. He’s described as someone you would overlook, because hey, who would think he would ever have an elaborate cage built into a secret basement under his garage? Oh, and all those snacks he’s buying at the grocery store? Those are for the girl he’s keeping captive in that secret basement. And by the way, this isn’t the first person he’s taken against their will. Don’t worry, he’ll still apologize when he accidentally bumps his shoulder against yours.

The way this synopsis made this book sound was nothing like how it played out. Our main character doesn’t come off as your friendly neighborhood sociopath at all, but a bumbling idiot about 80% of this book. I kept waiting for a when he would snap back into his senses and this book would finally get down to the dirt and grit… but that never happened. Even the interactions in this book are stiff and unbelievable and that’s even considering the situations that the main character puts himself in.

What did I expect out of this book, you ask? I certainly didn’t expect a weird, one-sided romance. I was expecting a psychological thriller that gave us a sneak peek into the mind of a man whose world view is just a tad bit skewed. I’ve seen posts online for years now about people wanting a book from the killer’s perspective, much like that of American Psycho. This book sounded like it was going to be that tale, but obviously it didn’t work out that way.

I gave this book a two out of five stars, which is pretty gracious all things considered.

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The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Aldieh

This book had a lot of hype in the YouTube community as soon as arc copies began circulating through book-tubers hands, and then when it released, it seemed like every day I had a new notification for a video review in my subscription box for this title. Everyone seemed to love it, and it sounded amazing, so I said “Why not?” bought a used copy and lo’ and behold- I did not care for this book at all.

For the life of me, I could not tell you what this book was about anymore. It was just so unmemorable that nothing stuck from one page to the next. It seemed promising in all of the reviews I watched and read, but when it came time to reading the text, my attention drifted no matter what setting I read it in. I even tried coming back to this book (which I will not normally do) just to see if it would stick a second time and I still didn’t remember a single thing.

One thing I do remember very specifically is that this book seemed to drone on and on after the first chapter. Everything everyone hyped up was how this girl was planning on avenging her friend whom a prince had married and killed… and it’s addressed and glazed over in the first ten pages. Like, “nbd guys, the thing you came for is over. Lets move on now.”

Just… what? I gave this book one out of five stars on Goodreads and will NOT be continuing the series.

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Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley

This was a book that I had some doubts over before I even purchased it.

So why did I go ahead and buy it? Well, I was trying to get over the habit of quitting books that I didn’t like a few chapters in, and figured I would extend that respect to books that I had doubts on based on their synopsis. I have not continued that thought process since this book and will continue on my own merry way as I ditch books I do not like after a handful of chapters because my TBR pile is much to large for that, thankyouverymuch.

I will give credit where credit is due, this story had a lot of potential. The world that the author was trying to create was certainly interesting and one-of-a-kind, but the way it was executed killed this story for me. There were SO many details crammed into this book in such a short span of time that it felt like every page some new fragment of information was being thrown at you. You might think, “Well, yeah… it’s a book, that’s what it does…” Nope. Not this one, okay? Not this one.

This one, for one, felt so forced when it was delivering information that it made me cringe. It was like when a book version of when the weird dude at work comes up to you out of the blue one day and tells you his Aunt Mable’s birthday is January 12th…but it’s currently July.

I think with more thorough planning and maybe a longer novel, this book could have been AMAZING. Hands down. But since this story was crammed into a little over 200 pages, the execution suffered and I would highly not recommend this read.

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Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews

I vividly remember reading this novel when I was on my lunch at my old job one day. I was sitting in the break room all alone, reading my book as I ate, reading this book with what was most likely an expression of complete confusion the entire time. At one point, I set the book down just because it was so obnoxious.

When describing this book to a friend, I literally would say this is what ADHD is in literary format, and that a lot of my dislike for this book purely stems from my own personal preferences. This book had sections of script format integrated into it, which I felt to be a bit of a cop out when it came to dialogue. Just like I stated in my Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Review, you lose a lot of a character’s personality when you read a script, which is why you need the actors to go with a script. I do know that Jesse Andrews used to be a screenwriter, but I still feel that if you’re going to write a novel- don’t take shortcuts on dialogue because it will carry your story.

Another thing might be that this book was just too immature for my preferred reading. This is certainly a book aimed more towards the 18 and under crowd, and even though I am not that far over 18… I might as well be an 80 year old lady in spirit. Overall, I would heavily advise reading at your own risk… or just not reading altogether.

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Queen of Hearts by Colleen Oakes

Well ladies and gentlemen, I saved the most disappointing for last. I heard about this title a long time ago when it was just a rumor. A book depicting the rise of the Queen of Hearts. Sounds promising doesn’t it? I envisioned a book entailing how Princess Dinah took her throne with force, or maybe even tricked her way to the top… anything would have been better than what I ended up reading.

I was so let down by this book that I was saddened by it. A character that I was looking forward to because I believed that they would be strong and deceptive turned out to be a whiny, spoiled princess. There are no redeeming qualities to this character until the last several chapters of this book, if that. You could even say the last few pages. When I finally finish this book it went straight to the donate pile. Maybe someone else who wasn’t looking forward to this book for nearly a year will like it better than I did, but for gods sake this book was such a let down that it made it to the last slot in this post.

 

That wraps up this post ladies and gentlemen! Hopefully you won’t be sorely let down by the next novel you read.

Thanks for reading!

-Rachel

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