Bad Romances and Boring Thrillers: My 1 Star Reads from 2013
Awkward Romances and Mediocre Fantasies: My 1 Star Ratings from 2014
The Fault In Our Chick Lit: My 1 Star Reads from 2015
YA Gone Wrong: My 1 Star Reads from 2016
Regency Rejects and Nothing Non-Fiction: My 1 Star Reads from 2017
…Anyone else noticing a theme?
Most years my 1 star reads take up one post. This year…there were a few more.
A Drink Before the War by Dennis Lehane
This book is supposedly a detective novel featuring two sleuths: a womanizing, lecherous creep who constantly sexually harasses his partner (the “good guy”?) and his partner, a victim of domestic violence. The book tries to be an exposé on racism and domestic abuse or something. At first, it works. Maybe. However, as the story continues, and the characters refuse to get over their hang-ups, it just gets more and more dreary and boring. The plot tries to be a mystery and fails, tries to be a thriller and fails, and finally ends up in some weird tweener state of hard boiled grit and boring psychological drama. Altogether not worth it.
Happy Hour at Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta
As far as free Kindle books go, I did not have high hopes for this one. However, it promised me an Ivy League, Latina heroine who accidently becomes a vampire and I figured, why not? She sounded different from the usual heroine mold. Unfortunately, she was not. The book was one, long soap opera with little humor and loads of drama. Not the worst chick flick I’ve ever read, but not worth it at all.
Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors
This novel purports to tell the story of the building of the Taj Mahal. Unfortunately, it is a melodramatic tale that plays fast and loose with historical accuracy and the reader’s patience. The characters are either Good or Evil. Good characters are modern and tolerant in their attitude towards life and other religions. Evil ones are Evil because…plot? The modern viewpoints of the characters really jar with the story, especially as the characters only abandon the views when it benefits the plot (like, forcing a daughter into an arranged marriage with an old, gross man and doing nothing when he obviously beats her because historical accuracy.) The final nail in the coffin where this book is concerned is the mingled boorish and boring sex scenes thrown in for shock value. This whole book is just…unneeded.
Game Over by Adele Parks
Another chick flick gone wrong. I was totally on board with how unlikable the main character was. I even didn’t mind her avowedly immoral behavior. It was nice to have a main character with brains and work ethic. Sure, her behavior was reprehensible, but following the Hallmark nature of this plot, I figure it would predictably wrap up with some gush about true love overcoming bad morals. But instead the main character goes from a tough, hustling woman to a sobbing puddle of goo because of a man. It was well-written, and the first half was interesting, but the second half was so bad. It isn’t even that the book stoops to clichés. It just flat destroys the interesting female character.
Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions by Rachel Held Evans
It is difficult to summarize my views about this book in a paragraph. Evans talks about attending Bryan College and living in Dayton, Tennessee, coming to terms with her faith, and eventually giving up the “fundamentalism” she was raised with for her own “fundamentals.” I am sympathetic. I too attended Bryan College and experienced many of the things she talks about in Dayton. I too came to terms with my faith while in college and took a hard look at the “fundamentals” of my faith. But whereas I returned to those fundamentals with more wisdom and discernment, Evans seems okay with clinging to emotions and not actually engaging with the fundamentals she so easily dismisses. And because she only talks in terms of emotions, this book really gives very little because there is nothing to bite into. This is “her experience” and not an actual conversation about fundamentals or faith.