Underwhelming Reads of 2016

Hey all, Dani here,

2016 was a wonderful year of reading for me and I found so many books that I absolutely loved. I listed some of them in my list of top reads from January to June, and there will be another list up Saturday for my top reads from July to December. However, with great reads also comes a few that are just all right.

Now, I know there are many of you who loved some of these books, and I am so glad you did. I realize that this post can be a bit controversial but I feel like I need to post it. I should also say that there are a few books on this list that I gave 4 star ratings too. They were good books and I enjoyed them; I just expected them to be more than what they were. Hype sometimes ruins expectations.

So please, don’t hate me for any of the books that make this list.

First up: Writer with a Day Job: Inspiration & Exercises to Help You Craft a Writing Life Alongside Your Career by Aine Greaney (3 stars)

I wanted this book to be so much more helpful than it was. This book really only focused on people with more corporate or office jobs where you work 9 to 5 and have like an hour long lunch and stuff. I work in a factory and get 20 to 30 minutes for lunch.

Next: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard (4 stars)

Despite it being like a number of other YA fantasy or dystopia books I’ve read, I really enjoyed Red Queen, so I was really excited to read Glass Sword. The first 3/4 of this book really dragged for me and it took me over a month to actually finish this book, whereas I read the first one in just a day. Thankfully the ending picked up the pace and intensity and made me want to read book three.

Next up is: Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge (4 stars)

Okay, so to be honest, this one had the unfortunate timing of being right after I read Red Rising. Aside from that, though, I didn’t really connect with the characters so I wasn’t as invested in their story. It’s possible that if I read this again in the future I could like it better.

I’m sad about having this next one on my list: Soundless by Richelle Mead (4 stars)

I have loved every book by Richelle Mead that I have read so far…but this one just didn’t quite meet my expectations. I wanted more character development, but felt the story was limited by its standalone status. I liked Soundless but I didn’t love it.

This is one that I’m sure some people will disagree with: An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir (4 stars).

I didn’t think that Laia and Elias had any chemistry at all together. Also, the Elias chapters were filled with so many characters who–in my opinion–had personalities as deep as a kiddie pool. I wanted to know more from his Tribal life. Oh and I think Elias and Helene actually would make a better couple. So, I liked this but I didn’t love it…and part of me wonders if it’s because of all the hype surrounding this series. I still need to read A Torch Against the Night. I’m hoping I like it better than this one.

Next: Wink Poppy Midnight by April Genevieve Tucholke (3.5 stars)

The cover for this was so beautiful. I only wish the story inside was as lovely. All three narrators sounded the same to me, and the tone felt like a middle grade book, not a young adult one (obviously with the exception of a few curse words and instances of sex). I did like that you couldn’t quite tell who was being truthful or misleading everyone; that was interesting.

Next we have: Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley (3.5 stars)

I mostly liked the characters in this one, and the geeky friendship of Clark and Solomon was adorable. I also liked the character development within the story. My main problem was that I didn’t like the writing style. I wanted to connect with the characters more and it felt like more of a clinically detached narrative. It was still a good story though.

Now for one of my absolute least favorite books of 2016: Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown (2 stars)

I thought this would be humorous but also have some helpful tips in it…and I guess it does if you have lived under a rock your whole life. To me, it felt like this book was “talking down to me” and I didn’t appreciate being treated like an idiot. There were actual sections in this book for how to make a shopping list or that buying a lamp is a good purchase. Oh, and it tells you how to clean. It was just not a book for me. I’m sure there’s an audience for it somewhere.

Okay, well, I know this one is definitely going to make some people mad: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, and J.K. Rowling (2 stars)

Yes, I knew this was a play script. I have a B.A. in English Literature and have read numerous other plays before, so this has nothing to do with the format. I don’t feel like Jack and John had a firm grasp of the characters. So many of them acted very differently from how they were in the series. Plus all the plot issues thanks to all the time travel etc. The one bright spark in this 2016 read was Scorpius Malfoy; he was awesome.

Finally, my last underwhelming book of 2016: Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (3.5 stars)

I felt like the first 85% of this book was slow and rather uneventful, and I didn’t really connect with the characters. And even though I totally called the plot twists and revelations that would happen in the end, I was still excited to have them out in the open, and I hope it all means that the second book will be a lot more exciting.

All right, well there we are with my list of ten books that were just a bit overwhelming to me. As I said before, they were still good reads (mostly), and for the series I do still plan to continue on to the next books.

Were there any books you read this year that you were underwhelmed by? Let me know in the comments.

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