When the hype fails you | books I didn’t end up loving

In the bookish community, we’re well aware of the dangers of the hype train. It’s incredibly exciting to see people anticipate a book’s release, or to hear all your favorite bloggers and vloggers talk about the same book. It peaks your interest in the book too, and might lead to you discovering a new favorite novel. Some of my favorite books are ones I never would have picked up without a little push from the online community.

However, there are downsides to hyped books as well. We’ve all picked up a book everyone raves about, and ended up disappointed because it just didn’t read our high expectations. Can you really blame us for expecting the best, though? When it seems like every person you know has given a certain book a 4- or 5-star rating, you expect to fall in love with it as well. It’s those high expectations that do us in, people. The book might be good, but we were expecting something great.

Today, I’m talking about some books that disappointed me. These may not be bad books, but I just didn’t end up loving them as much as I was hoping or expecting to.

 

The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn
This is a very recent read for me. I picked it up after seeing it was one of the nominees for the Goodreads Choice Awards in the mystery and thriller category, which is one of the genres I want to read more of. I somehow find it really hard to be truly captivated and thrilled by mystery/thriller books, and this was no exception. It wasn’t necessarily boring, but I was just annoyed with the main character throughout the majority of the book. She kept saying that she needed to prove that she was right, and that she would figure it out on her own, while downing bottles of wine and abusing medication at the same time. “I need to keep a clear mind! This bottle of wine will help.” Yeah, sure.

An Ember in the Ashes (Ember in the Ashes #1) by Sabaa Tahir
An Ember in the Ashes is such a hyped book! I find that YA novels, especially YA fantasy, are very susceptible to the hype train in the online bookish community. When this first released, everyone kept raving about it. They adored the Roman Empire-inspired world, the brutality, and the romance in this novel, and it popped up in quite a few favorite books of the year lists. I finally read it in 2018, and was quite disappointed. I did love the world and the brutality, but was not a fan of the ratio of action and romance. The romance took over here, and I was not on board with it.

 

The Girls by Emma Cline
I think this was a case of misunderstanding what the novel is actually about. When this released, so many people were talking about it. It was a historical fiction about a girl who got involved in a cult – like the Manson family. I’ve always been fascinated by cults (don’t judge me), and that synopsis really sold me on this book. However, I believe this novel is more of a coming-of-age story that involves a cult. The actual Manson family stuff doesn’t come in until 70% of the way through, and I was very uncomfortable with the focus on sex this book had since the main character was only around 14. I understand that may have been (historically) accurate, but it made me uneasy either way.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
For a while in 2017, this book was everywhere. It was one of the most read thrillers, not to mention the amount of times the trailer for the movie was shoved down my throat. I finally decided to read it when I saw a copy at my local library. Wow, am I glad I borrowed it from the library instead of buying it. This book was so utterly boring. Just like The Woman in the Window it features a female protagonist who is only unreliable because she’s an alcoholic.

 

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Classics are probably some of the most hyped books, as generations of people have loved them. I haven’t read many English/American classics because I grew up in Belgium where they obviously aren’t required reading. When I first wanted to give them a try, I figured I’d start with The Great Gatsby. It’s a very short book so I thought it would be a somewhat easy read. Boy, was I wrong. It took me 3 days to read about 140 pages because this book is so utterly boring. Nothing happens! At all.

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
At this point in time, Milk and Honey has received some mixed reviews. When it was first released, however, everyone loved it. I haven’t read much poetry because I always feel like it goes way over my head, but I do want to broaden my reading horizon and include more poetry works in that. Why not start with one of the most popular collections right now? Sadly, this book didn’t work for me. I didn’t connect with the poems, and I guess I’m not a fan of the incredibly short poems that are just one sentence. Nothing against this style of poetry – we all like different things – but I didn’t love it.

 

Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
Like The Great Gatsby, this book seems to be universally loved. People adore the novel, and they adore the movie adaptation of it. All of the praise it has received made me pick it up and try it for myself. To be honest, I thought this was just okay. I don’t really understand why everyone loves this book so much? If this is one of your favorite books, please message me on Twitter or email me so we can talk about this! I simply don’t understand.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany & Jack Thorne
We’re going out with a banger. Oh, this book… Or should I say, this play? Before everyone comes at me, I know this is a play and that it wasn’t written by J.K. Rowling. I also knew that before starting it. That still doesn’t make this a good book/play. It invalidates so much of the original series out of convenience which is just lazy writing. Don’t even get me started on the obvious queerbaiting in here. I can’t deal with it.


In all these instances, the hype surrounding these books partly caused my disappointment in them. I think that if I hadn’t gone into these with high expectations, I would have enjoyed them more – aside from The Cursed Child. Have you read any of these books? Which books were negatively impacted by the hype for you? How can be battle the hype? Waiting for years to read the book clearly didn’t help me either, because that’s what I did with An Ember in the Ashes… I could use your tips!

6 Disappointing Books I’m Glad I Read Anyway

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Artsy Reader Girl. Each week I will make a list of 10 books, authors or other bookish things surrounding a certain topic. Today, I’m talking about 6 books that left me disappointed. Yet somehow, I’m still glad I read them? I only chose 6 because I really wasn’t feeling glad I read any of the other disappointing books I’ve read and I didn’t want to lie to you just to make it to 10. 

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by Jack Thorne & John Tiffany // I’m going to be honest: I absolutely hated this script. Sorry not sorry. But I’m glad I read it, because I want to keep up to date with the Harry Potter franchise. Even though I hated everything about this.

The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald // Another one that I intensely disliked. Yet I’m glad I read it, mostly because it is such a classic. I always hear everyone talking about this book, so I felt like I had to give it a go too. I did. Hated it. But at least I tried, you know? 

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger // Another one I’m only glad I read because it’s such a cult classic. Everyone seems to love this book, and I really wanted to watch the movie adaptation too. Guess what? I definitely won’t be watching because I didn’t enjoy this book (and thought it had a lot of problematic aspects).

Before I Let Go by Marieke Nijkamp // I’m glad I read this book because I want to support Marieke. I know it may seem silly, but you got to support the Dutch or Belgian authors if you’re Dutch-speaking. And I really loved her debut! This one just wasn’t for me.

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins // I can’t remember when I read this, but it sure was one of the most disappointing books of that year. I just found myself bored and annoyed throughout the whole read, which isn’t a very good sign when you’re reading a thriller. But I am glad I gave it a go, because I want to read more thrillers and people really seemed to enjoy this one. 

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness // I’m also glad I read this because of the hype surrounding this series (and this author in general). I want to read all of your favorite books too, and this seemed to fit the bill. And it’s not like I hated it… The writing style just really wasn’t for me. This book was a tad too chaotic (ha!). 


Have you read any of these books? What did you think of them?

DNFs and Disappointments of the Year | 2016 in Review

I’ve talked about my favorite reads of the year. Obviously, I also read some books that I didn’t like. So today, I’m talking about 2 types of books: ones I did not finish, and ones that I didn’t necessarily hate but felt really disappointed by. 

Fat Girl Walking by Brittany Gibbons // DNF
Shadow of the Raven (Sons of Kings #1) by Millie Thom // DNF

Fat Girl Walking had so much potential. I’ve been really into body positivity, the instagram posts on it and so on. So I figured this was going to be a really body positive book that would empower me. No. This should have been called: “a collection of stories that will make you cringe and feel incredibly uncomfortable by a woman who says she is body positive, but doesn’t appear to be so in the first however much I read of it”. I felt extremely uncomfortable by some of the skinny-shaming I read, and the story of her waking up with puke and her dog’s period blood on her. (WHAT?)

Shadow of the Raven is a book I DNFed, but would still recommend. I know that sounds odd. I just DNFed it because this book wasn’t for me. I wasn’t attached to the characters, and felt like the story line was moving in a weird direction. But I do think that many people would really enjoy this historical fiction novel. 

The Grace of Kings (Dandelion Dynasty #1) by Ken Liu // DNF
Once Upon a Dream (Twisted Tales #2) by Liz Braswell // DNF

The Grace of Kings is a book I was really excited to read. Not only had I heard amazing things about it, it’s an Asian-inspired fantasy. I’ve been wanting to read more fantasy books inspired by non-Western European places. I just couldn’t get into this one. I wasn’t a huge fan of the narration, I wasn’t invested in the characters and I sometimes couldn’t follow the timeline and thus the story. I am definitely in the minority with my opinion on this, because so many people love this. So if this interests you, I’d still recommend you to try it out. It just wasn’t for me. 

Once Upon a Dream… I quite enjoyed the first book which was a retelling of Aladdin. That might also be because I love Aladdin. I don’t quite love Sleeping Beauty as much, and I certainly didn’t enjoy this book. I thought it was really quite boring, and I disliked the main character who literally watches dust float around her room for an entire day. I wasn’t intrigued, a lot of it didn’t make sense to me and I just lost all interest. Sorry.

Settling the Score (Summer Games #1) by R.S. Grey // DNF
Paradise Fought: Abel (Paradise #1) by L.B. Dunbar // DNF

Settling the Score is a book I was so excited to read. I do love me some New Adult, especially sports-related ones. This book is set during the Rio Olympics! But I quit after 47%. I know that new adult is quite cheesy at times, but this was so over the top I nearly gave myself a headache rolling my eyes. Aside from that, I thought there wasn’t nearly enough sports in this one. It took me about 30% of the book to figure out that Andie is a goalkeeper in her football team. Don’t even ask me what positions her friends play in, because I have no idea. Don’t you think that should’ve been more prevalent in an OLYMPIC GAMES STORY? 

Paradise Fought: Abel… Can I hear you say HELL NO? (Hell nooo). HELL NOOO (hell noo). Please tell me you sang that in your head. I had so much problems with these characters I can’t even begin to tell you about them all. First, they meet on a beach and talk, but don’t recognize each other even though they were in the same class in high school and only just graduated. What? Then he pays her tuition if she will help him pick up girls. What? She doesn’t even thank him for lending her the money, but instead ignores him. HOW FUCKING RUDE? Then they decide they belong together even though they literally DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT EACH OTHER! Just, no.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan // Disappointed
The Tiger and the Wolf (Echoes of the Fall #1) by Adrian Tchaikovsky // Disappointed

The Royal We, a book I was so excited to read. It’s been marketed as a real-life fairy tale, or something like that. It should have been called the most depressing royal romance. If reality means never going outside or being able to tell anyone about your relationship for years, and being hidden in the backseat of a car under a blanket, count me out.

The Tiger and the Wolf had so much potential. I quite enjoyed the book Empire in Black and Gold by the author, so I was expecting a lot from this. It’s a fantasy world with different tribes of shapeshifters, and one girl who can shapeshift into both a tiger and a wolf. I just thought this had so much potential, but the actual execution was quite boring. Nothing really happened throughout the whole book! 

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins // Disappointed
Never Never by Brianna Shrum // Disappointed

The Girl on the Train, possibly one of the most hyped mystery books of the year. Especially with the movie being released. But I thought it was just okay. I didn’t really connect with the character, got annoyed with her most of the time and the big surprise didn’t blow me away either.Not bad, but not as good as praised -in my opinion. 

Never Never, which was supposed to be my first (and amazing) Peter Pan retelling. Instead, it was the boring tale of James Hook who said he wasn’t a kid but acted like a kid. And whined a lot -although he whined on a ship. 


Those were my DNFs of the year, and the books I felt disappointed by. Like I said, this doesn’t mean they are the worst books I read this year. Just, I was disappointed.