Usually any books that’s a 1 or 2 stars I don’t finish.
So, here is a list that didn’t get a star rating. Some of these novels were because of personal preference of style or story, some I didn’t get through because of the mood I was currently in, and others because of the prose/writing. Though, check them out because one of these books may be your next favorite.
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman- felt jarring, like stage directions. Also, the chapters felt too disjointed from one another. Lastly, the long sections in italics were hard on my eyes and had me skimming those portions. I recommend this to literary fiction readers.
The Vanish by Jayne Ann Krentz- Too much “explanation” which slowed it down. I wanted a little more action and a litter less chatter. I would recommend it to those who think like an investigator. I recommend this to suspense readers.
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini- I wanted to like this because it’s so popular. Unfortunately, I found it dry and slow. This one seemed to have too much back story in the beginning so I didn’t feel captivated in the moment with the characters. There were many filtering words that distanced me from the emotions. I had high anticipation, but this novel is probably intended for those who enjoy a slower read, or maybe history and those who love more introspection. I recommend this to literary fiction readers.
Dare Me by Megan Abbott- May have appealed more to a younger version of me. I think I’ve hit a benchmark in my life that I gravitate towards novels with characters who aren’t doing “high school” things. The intensity increased as it went along but it was predictable for me based on the vibe of the prologue. I recommend this for 17-18-year-old teen girls. I recommend this to contemporary readers.
The Firm by Robin A.H. Waterfield- I had trouble even just starting the opening chapter because of the obvious arrogance of the white, upperclass male characters. I recommend this to contemporary readers.
The Queen of Tearling by Erika Johansen- Made it to page 140. “Something” exciting finally started to happen around the time I stopped, but after putting it down for a few days I realized I had no interest in continuing and was procrastinating picking it back up. It felt too slow for me. Not much happened for 120 pages. The chapters are long and felt “burdensome.” I bet if I were more patient it would all have been woven together beautifully by the end. I recommend this to Fantasy readers.
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver- I learned I’m not a fan of Groundhog Day stories. I felt it was redundant and became annoyed. I would recommend this one to teen girls who want to dig deep about themselves. I recommend this to YA contemporary readers.
The Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard- This is the Sequel to the Red Queen. I was interested about if Mare and Cal would end up together, but it felt like such a small side plot point compared to the revolution plans. I read all the way to page 250/440 and gave up because I just didn’t care enough about what would happen. I skimmed ahead to the end and learned I wouldn’t have been satisfied with the way it ended. I recommend this to Fantasy readers.
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty- I made it to page 150. It was too slow for me with heavy descriptions, too much history/backstory & not enough emotion engagement. There were lots of names to keep track of which was confusing at times. On one page there were all these proper nouns- Nahri, Daevastana, Daevabad, Dara, Anahid, Shafit, Suleiman, Geziri, Rub al Khali, Zaydi al Qahtani, and Maghreb. I also wish the stories of the two main protagonists crossed sooner. I recommend this to Fantasy readers.
The Girl in Red by Christina Henry- I was super excited for a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood with a dystopian vibe. The writing distracted me. There was too much explaining to the reader, as if the author was talking down to me and giving me information I didn’t need so that factor made me feel removed from the plot/goal/emotion. I also didn’t connect with the style of phrases in parenthesis. That narration voice on top of the internal thoughts in italics was too much and didn’t feel streamlined. I recommend this for YA readers who enjoy retellings, fairy tales, dystopian, action, and fantasy.
Dance of Thieves by Mary E Pearson- I got 5 chapters in to page 45 and the story felt too chaotic. The sections went back and forth between different times without a clear transition. I was unsure when the scene was in the present moment. Then I’d be whiplashed to when a past character died in the backstory. Then I’d be whiplashed to that family member interacting with the main character. It was too much without feeling connected or flowing. I bet if I was a more patient reader than it would all come together beautifully. I think readers who read slow and love to immerse themselves in a full culture will enjoy this, as well as those who love fantasy with heavy history and backstory.
Four Winds by Kristin Hannah- This was a popular Book of the Month selection. I didn’t want to read about a father slapping his daughter for not approving of what she wore. I’d rather focus my energies on reading about strong, powerful, leading ladies in novels. Since I didn’t finish this book, there’s a high chance that her character arc demonstrated her transition to self-confidence, yet I felt tired of the passive, quiet, self-conscious heroine as the starting point.
Sula by Toni Morrison – I felt too distanced from the events and emotions, as if I was being informed of the story instead of participating in the scenes. I wanted to hear, smell, and feel the situation and breathe in the air of the character. Also, I think my personal preference is experiencing the plot over a shorter period of time. When multiple decades pass, I don’t connect as fully.
Ariadne by Jennifer Saint- I read to page 50. This was a book of the month selection. Others who have more patience to read further may love it, especially if the readers like back story. The style of writing wasn’t for my taste. It felt too heavy, slow, and full of info dump. I recommend this to those who like history and an olden-storytelling vibe.
Dead Girl Running by Christina Dodd- I was disappointed in the second chapter because it felt like a thousand new characters were introduced with excessive backstory. I decided to keep trying and read the third chapter but was turned off by the physical abuse from the woman’s ex and her perception about it so I didn’t want to keep reading a story about the character overcoming physical and emotional abuse. I recommend this to suspense and thriller readers.
13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher- I had trouble reading so much of the font in italics. It hurt my eyes and was hard to read for longer periods of time. It was also a little jarring that the character’s voice on the tapes were in italics. It didn’t flow as well as I would’ve wanted. I’d recommend this for teens who have a support system to process to the suicide theme.
Cyclone by Janie Crouch- Page 59 + 70 just rubbed me the wrong way and I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but the way it was presented I couldn’t get on board with. I would recommend this to those who like romance with an edge from past tension.
Gold Fame Citrus by Claire V Watkins – I didn’t feel anything happened until page 48. I would’ve wanted more clear direction and understanding of the motives before then. I also felt there was a lot of telling instead of showing. The little girl Ig is sweet but being a mom of young kids, I didn’t really want to relive moments with diapers and worrying about the toddler’s safety. I would recommend this book to those who are looking for something unique.
Boy, Snow, Bird by Helen Oyeyemi- I didn’t feel a specific goal/objective/purpose that the main character was striving for. It started to feel aimless.
The Immortals by Jordanna M Brodsky- I got through chapter 6/48 but it ended up feeling dry and burdensome. Something about that theme turned me off. I may be tired of reading about women being victims. At this point, I want to read about kick-ass heroines. (If I was more patient then that’s probably exactly what this main character, Selene, accomplishes). The writing is narrative-heavy when I prefer dialogue. I recommend this to those who love Greek mythology stories, suspense and mysteries/revenge stories.
Everything Under by Daisy Johnson-I didn’t connect with the second person. Even though it wasn’t used throughout the whole story, those sections took me out of the story so much that I wasn’t interested in continuing. I’d recommend this to readers who enjoy second-person point of view and a mixture of past and present with flashbacks thrown in for a different tense.
The Scorch Trials by James Dashner- I didn’t finish this series but not for any fault of the author’s. I’m only in the mood for leading heroines these days. Multiple/alternating POV who also have a male is fine but this series seemed to be only from Thomas’s point of view. Maybe if I was more patient I’d be proved wrong and there would be a POV from a female too. But I’m not super interested in reader from only a male’s perspective. I recommend this for YA readers.
Did you Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg- The writing style had me since the sentence structure was too repetitive for me, with so many of them starting with a pronoun. I became easily frustrated with the monotony since it didn’t flow well. I would recommend this book for those who enjoy family related elements in the theme
A Pho Love Story by Loan Le- There too many words in Vietnamese in each paragraph that ended up too distracting for me. I couldn’t get in a good flow. I recommend this novel to rom com readers who enjoy reading about food, families, love and diverse cultures.
The Enemy Within by Noel Hynd- I found myself going back and rereading after zoning out. I felt distracted by the monotonous sentence structure, filtering words, & telling instead of showing. I recommend this to suspense readers.
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken- I felt It wasn’t a YA novel that can cross over towards adult readers. I recommend this to young teens who won’t have the critical eye.
Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho- There were 16 instances of negative form of writing in the first few pages (use of: not, can’t, unlike, unusual, no, only, hardly, incalculably, unfortunate, etc). So many of these were distracting. When I flipped and skimmed later on, other chapters showed the same trend. So, this is being not picky… but I couldn’t get invested in the characters or story when that was distracting me. I recommend this to Fantasy readers.
Super Sad True Love Story by Gary Shteyngart- The overall “creepy” vibe of the character turned me off to the story. I recommend this to literary fiction readers.
The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton- The tense switches mid-paragraph distracted me. There were multiple abrupt scene breaks that were jolting. Also, the writing was heavy on narrative description and had minimal dialogue, so I didn’t feel emotionally invested. I recommend this to readers who might not notice the above details, likes heavy descriptions and slower reads.
Legend by Marie Lu- I felt this was only for young teens and didn’t fall into the category of books for adults who enjoy reading YA. I’d recommend this for 14-15 year olds who won’t notice the difference between showing and telling and love dystopian.
The Sight by David Clement-Davies- I’m not a fan of talking animals. There was lots of “growling.” I recommend this to those who like wolf stories. I recommend this to younger teens who like Fantasy.
Two Years Eight Months and Twenty Eight Days by Salman Rushdie- It was narrative/exposition-heavy and had minimal dialogue. I recommend this to readers who enjoy literary fiction.
You Deserve Each Other by Sarah Hogle- I didn’t connect with the cynical, sarcastic, complaining voice of the main character. I recommend this to readers who like rom com with wedding/engagement shenanigans gone wrong.
Wings of Fury by Emily R King- The story felt heavy, dry, and slow. I’m not sure why because the spot I stopped had action, but it felt weighed down. All the names of the gods and goddesses also felt distracting when I just wanted to know what was going to happen to the character. I recommend this to readers who like mythology and Fantasy.
The Cove by Catherine Coulter- I felt the head-hopping within chapters was a bit too much for me to thoroughly enjoy. Unfortunately, I needed to go back and reread sections to confirm which character’s POV the internal thought was in. I recommend this to suspense readers.
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemison- Started with too much government-type writing. I don’t care much about Councils and such. I recommend this for high fantasy readers.
Year One by Nora Roberts- Since this story starts out with a pandemic, I couldn’t get through it due to causing stress/anxiety related to Covid. I recommend this for dystopian readers.