Tag Archives: 1 star

Bookworm Problems

Last night I resisted the voice in my head that said I should do homework and curled up with a book instead. Unfortunately, it was very lousy read. I felt super cranky that my evening off was devoted to something so unworthy. A 1 star read. So, I finished another book. A better book. A 5 star book. And I couldn’t sleep. 

I tried for a little bit before restlessly picking up a third book. An average book. I haven’t finished, but I suspect a 2 star read. 

All of this meant that when I finally did fall asleep, it was much later than I planned. And when I woke up, it was much later than I expected. So much for early to bed and early to rise. It all would have worked out so well if that first book hadn’t been so bad!

 

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A Bad Beginning: My 2018 Reading Challenge

Of the 11 books I have read so far in 2018, 4 of them have been 1 star reads. 4! And not one of the remaining 7 books were worth 5 stars. I’m quite dismayed about this beginning. I hope it is not a sign for the rest of 2018!

P.S. My reading goal this year is 118 books, but I’m not sure I’ll make it. Especially if I continue choosing such lousy books! 


Regency Rejects and Nothing Non-Fiction: My 1 Star Reads from 2017

My least favorite reads from 2017: 

A Civil Action by Johnathan Harr

After a semester spent discussing civil procedure, I understand why my professor assigned us this one to read. It served a purpose. My classmates almost universally loved this book; I hated it. It was over-wordy, extremely biased, and sloppy with details. For most of the book, I was ready to give it two stars and call it “excessively dull,” but the last hundred pages were too egregious to ignore. I wouldn’t accept this kind of bathos in my fiction; I fail to see why I should tolerate it in my non-fiction. 

The Ishbane Conspiracy by Randy Alcorn

Reading this book was a lot like tying a millstone around my neck and jumping into the ocean: dangerous, painful, and a waste of time. The message that comes across is  that if you avoid dating, prom dresses with a slit, and Harry Potter, you’re a good Christian who won’t let sin in. Besides carrying a dubious moral message, the book itself is awful. The writing is heavy-handed and over the top. The characters are one dimensional and boring. The climax is out of nowhere and completely dramatic. Not worth it!

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Somewhat interesting plot idea…less than thrilling results. The writing was poor and the characters annoying. The plot never really went anywhere. The villains were super predictable. The relationship between the main characters was unhealthy and concerning, full of unhealthy emotional dependence. The menfolk have no personality. Not interesting or worth the time. 

A Jury of Her Peers by Jean Hanff Korelitz

This might win Most Disappointing Read of 2017. You know what is sexy? Lawyers flirting over their ACLU cards, said no one ever. Except possibly this author. A boring legal thriller that shoots itself in the foot by creating a self-righteous, dull heroine; an annoying romance; and a story line that revolves around a giant, government conspiracy. 

Plato and a Platypus Walk Into A Bar…: Understanding Philosophy Through Jokes by Thomas Cathcart

This is a very brief look at different philosophies. If you took a basic philosophy course, this will be old hat. I’d give it two stars for the philosophy portion and negative two for the jokes. This book was completely un-funny. The jokes are either old and well-worn or so vulgar I almost didn’t finish. 

In The Woods by Tana French

A dark mystery about missing children and murder. Unfortunately, also a story full of angst, angst, and more angst! Though it began promisingly, the book drags on and slowly kills all the things I liked about the beginning. Relationships are ruined for stupid reasons. The main character was a bore. A boring, angsty read! 

Lament: The Faerie Queen’s Deception by Maggie Stiefvater

 Yet another promising YA novel ruined by raging hormones. I liked that the heroine takes things in stride. She discovers she can see fairies and doesn’t wuss out. However, she mainly accomplishes this by obsessing over her love interest instead of worrying about imminent death. The writing and plot are sloppy, definitely can tell this book was an early work for Stiefvater.

A Marriage of Inconvenience by Marion Chesney

I. Hate. This. Book. So. Much. Definitely the worst read of 2017. A Regency romance about a woman who hates men and a solider forced to become her fiance. I hate this book for its awful, inaccurate use of regency slang, weird Freudian philosophy, and terrible conclusion. Just…bleh!! 

The Forrester Inheritance: A Regency Entertainment by Daisy Vivian

Miss Mariana Porter stands to inherit a great deal of money – provided she marry one of her cousins. Obviously that cousin will be the one she takes in immediate aversion for absolutely no reason. One of those one-star reads that left me feeling more amused than infuriated. The characters are one dimensional and lack basic personality. 

Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us by Seth Godin

A leadership book about…leadership? The internet? Something? Vague, repetitive, and cocky without the substance to back it up. Not bad ideas necessarily but the book alienated me.

The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan

“A female Sherlock Holmes”…except not.  This book is full of weird, switching POVs and a mystery that takes backseat to a confusing insta-romance. The book is super poorly paced. Action scenes are glazed over and character “change” comes out of nowhere. Half of the book was unnecessary and the other half didn’t fit anywhere. It lacked transition entirely. There are weird footnotes that don’t fit with the story. By the end of the book, I sort of forgot what the point of the mystery was in the first place and I am still confused about the motivation of the killer and his minions. I loved the title of this book and nothing else.

 


2017 Reading Goal: January

Thus far this year I have read 11 new books and 7 of those books received 2 stars. 1 received 1 star. It is not a very promising beginning. What makes it even more annoying is that all but one of these books came from my to-read list! My list is failing me! 

To remedy this, I picked up a book from the library that I remember reading once before and enjoying…Sorcery & Cecelia by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer. Would you believe it is not nearly as enjoyable the second time through?! Also, I think I’ve changed my mind on which hero I like best. This is quite distressing. I knew I should have re-re-re-re-read Dealing With Dragons (by the same author) instead! 

Actually, though, I think the real moral of the story is that I’ve been reading too much Young Adult fiction. I went to the library and collected a nice stack from both the children’s section and the adult’s. I’m hoping my ratings go up. 


YA Gone Wrong: My 1 Star Reads from 2016

While I had a record breaking amount of 5 star reads in 2016, I also rated fewer books 1 star than I ever have before. I like to think this is due to the fact that I was reading really good books and quitting early on stories that annoyed me. In reality, it it is probably because I finally gave up on finding a decent chick flick.

Whatever the cause, here are the 5 books I most regret reading in 2016:

The Crime at Black Dudley by Margery Allingham

This book is supposed to be the debut of Margery Allingham’s detective, Albert Campion. Unfortunately, someone forgot to tell the plot that. The book actually focuses on a boring, insufferable, “cherubic faced” doctor named Abbershaw. I hated him from the beginning. Campion is around but plays a very limited role. The whole book is slow, confusing, and way too long. A British whodunit gone horribly, boringly wrong. Stick to Agatha Christie.

The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx

I don’t know if this is a book I would necessarily say I regret reading; I was going to read it at some point. However, I was rather disappointed by this one. I have read so much about Marx and Engels that I expected a lot more from their famous volume. It started off strikingly but the writing and logic quickly went downhill. I disagreed with just about every sentence. Literally, the antithesis of what I do every day.

Angels & Demons by Dan Brown

I have thrown books across the room, but this was the first time I actually threw a book in the garbage after finishing it. While I acknowledge Angels & Demons had a decent twist, anything redeemable was quickly lost in bad writing, atrocious characters, and random plot. The main character is a professor who (the reader is frequently reminded) is hawt and emotionally traumatized.He meets a hawt, intelligent woman who runs around with little clothing on, admires his brilliance, and occasionally provides exposition. (So much for female empowerment.) There is an Evil Bad Guy who is so entirely villainous that it is morally proper to cheer for his downfall. Cue nearly 600 pages of this. I hate this book.

The Twin’s Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

This was supposed to be “an engrossing Gothic novel of betrayal, jealousy, and treacherous secrets that will keep you guessing” but unfortunately it turned out to be a dark, disturbing and, honestly, stupid novel that I can’t wait to forget about. I enjoy a dark YA story done right (see Plain Kate) but this book was absolutely disgusting. It was badly paced and had bi-polar characters and too much sexual innuendo. Lots of potential but none of it is realized.

Red by Alison Cherry

Welcome to Scarletville, a sanctuary for redheads. Felicity St. John is a high school girl with the perfect life thanks to her coppery curls. However, Felicity has a secret and someone is blackmailing her about: she dyes her hair! Gasp! With a synopsis like that, I was hardly expecting my new favorite novel, but I had no idea how bad this book would be. Well, perhaps I did know but I was really hoping to be proven wrong. The book was super shallow and dumb. It has the usual teenybopper romance and cliche characters. There is supposed to be some overarching lesson about discrimination but it gets buried in bad writing and contrived plot elements. Such a waste of time.

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

This book was the 4th and final installment of the Raven Cycle, a series I previously enjoyed. Unfortunately, The Raven King falls dramatically short of its predecessors. The plot was incoherent and full of deus ex machina moments. There was a lot of vulgarity and language. I had to force myself to keep reading because every time I put it down I didn’t want to pick it up again. Most of all, though, I was frustrated by the lack of real sacrifice in the story. There was no emotional punch. This book wasn’t so much a conclusion to the series as a ramble involving extremely changed characters. I was greatly disappointed.

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg

This was the most disappointing book of 2016. I was super excited to read Girl Online (a book with a blogging heroine, yay!) and searched for over a year to find a copy. (See full review here.) However, this proved to be yet another book ruined by bad cliches, juvenile writing, and YA boys. I have a soft spot for sappy story lines but this was just ridiculous. It was impossible to take anything seriously. The “15 year old” heroine writes like a 12 year old and basically has the same level of emotional maturity. Definitely not worth bothering with.


Awkward Romances and Mediocre Fantasies: My 1 Star Ratings from 2014

Ah, those 1 star reviews. To paraphrase myself from last year, “while two stars may imply mediocrity, one star remains unequivocally not worth the time.” They are good only in how bad they are.

Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike

“Paying for your mistakes takes on a clever twist on The Scarlet Pimpernel…” That’s what got me.  Scarlet Pimpernel. As in Percy Blackney. As in my favorite literary hero next to the Hardy Boys and Sherlock Holmes. So I read. And read and read and remained utterly baffled to the connection between a former kleptomaniac ghost forcing some poor 16-year-old to return her stolen goods and a classic novel. The answer is…nothing. A mediocre novel with an unoriginal plot that drew its poor rating from a bad handling of teenage sex.

A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson

Normally I consider Ibbotson a guilty pleasure. Fluffy, perhaps a tad scandalous, but basically clean. At least appropriate, which was more than this novel can claim.  One dimensional characters, dull antagonists, duller heroes, an entirely unbelievable romance with an atrocious misunderstanding to create a climax. However, what takes this particular novel from mediocre to miserable is the heroine’s determination to (and success with) “ruining herself.” It left me furious.

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

This book actually had some potential. The paranormal divide between angels/demons/chimera held my interest and the struggle to decipher good and bad made an interest philosophical context. Plus, the heroine rocks blue hair. Always a positive. However, the book got dragged down by awkwardness, nudity, sexual references, and charged, sensual hype between two gorgeous people with no flaws and convenient animosity/attraction. By the end I was bored to tears.

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Read at the request of my roommate who wanted me to preview it for her. A Twilight rip-off with annoying characters and a plot so bland it doesn’t even deserve the word “mindless.”

 Confessions of a Murder Suspect by Robert Patterson

I should have known better, you say? I quite agree. It was a very stupid book. For all the characters supposed genius, the vocabulary, actions, and behavior of every single Angel child is pathetic, immature, and unbelievable. The ending, while potentially unforeseeable, doesn’t fit with the rest of the book or the characters as they have been developed and was way to open ended. What dropped the book in my estimation to one star was the caricature-treatment of the police officers. The lawyer was also joke. Justice is a mockery.

The Rose Bride: A Retelling of ‘The White Bride and the Black Bride’ by Nancy Holder

Elevatha described this one as “Cinderella meets Bambi”. A very confusing fairy tale full of insta-love and promises that make no sense. A random mix of gods (including Greek) who are utterly useless. Characters that are Evil For No Apparent Purpose or So Good It Physically Hurts. Not to mention the bunch of freaking talking roses. What a waste of time!

The Bride Collector by Ted Dekker

Sporadic POV and shallow characters made this thriller a pain to read. Because the reader has access to the serial killer’s thoughts, it isn’t very suspenseful. Overall a boring book I forgot as quickly as I read.

Love By The Morning Star by Laura L. Sullivan

If the book tried to be funny, more along the lines of the frequently mentioned P.G. Wodehouse, it might have been a success. However, the insinuations made it too mature for a young audience and the weak plot and insta-love made it too young for a mature one. Rather an insult to literature

Coffeehouse Angel by Suzanne Selfors

Spoiler: the highest promotion an angel can receive is to become a human. Strained my credulity to the point where I almost didn’t finish. Combine a sappy Christmas movie with a lousy teen flick (I can’t even say chick flick) and you get an idea.

Miss Darby’s Duenna by Sheri Cobb South

Might have been a light, semi-amusing novel if the content had not turned so unbelievably tasteless. Frequent use of Regency slang gives it the feeling of Geogette Heyer fan-fiction. Dreadful in every sense of the word.

Check out the Bad Romances and Boring Thrillers from last year!
https://fernwehscall.wordpress.com/2013/12/31/bad-romances-and-boring-thrillers-my-1-star-reads-from-2013/