Tuesday, February 21, 2017

10 Recent Reads That Didn't Live Up To My Expectations

This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is books we loved more or less than we thought we would. With the whole "too many books, too little time" problem, I try to only pick up books I'm pretty sure I'm going to enjoy so I don't have many books that I loved even more than I already hoped to. But once in a while there's a book that just doesn't live up to my expectations. The books below are all ones I felt sure I was going to love, but I ended up finding them somewhere between just-ok and terrible.

What books were you expecting to love but didn't?

disappointing books 2

1. The Mothers // 3 stars // Everyone loved this book, but it just rubbed me wrong right from the start. Being a military spouse I'm sensitive to inaccuracies about the military in fiction (point #1 -- you can't just take your service pistol home with you -- it stays locked up in the base armory!), and things went downhill from there; I didn't really like the plot and I never could connect with the characters.

2. The Couple Next Door // 2.5 stars // Another novel that almost everyone else seemed to love, but I didn't find much at all to love about this "thriller."

3. The Masked City // 3 stars // I really enjoyed the whimsical, bookish first novel in the Invisible Library series, but I had a hard time with book 2, so much so that I don't think I'll continue the series.

4. Today Will Be Different // 3 stars // I loved the quirky and fun "Where'd You Go, Bernadette" and I had such high hopes of Semple's 2016 release. Unfortunately, this quick little read was a disappointment.

5. American Housewife // 3 stars // Though I don't normally read short stories, this one kept catching my attention. After all, I'm basically an American housewife myself. The first story made me smile, but I didn't really enjoy any of the others.

6. The Magicians // 3.5 stars // I did like this one, just not nearly as much as I expected (I had foreseen 4.5 or 5 stars) and I didn't find the "Harry Potter for adults" comparison to be particularly accurate.

7. Redemption Road // 3 stars // This mystery/thriller got a lot of pre-pub hype but I thought it was overdone and too long.

8. Be Frank With Me // 2.5 stars // Ugh, this book had so much wasted potential! The author came up with an interesting starting plot and then squandered it.

9. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell // 3 stars // This was one of my first reads of 2016. It'd been on my bookshelf for years and I'd been saving it for the right time, fully anticipating a 5-star read. It's about magic and books and England and the Napoleonic Wars, after all! But, oh my GOD, was it a slog. The last chunk was better, but the rest... zzzzzz.

10. The Hike // 2 stars // If I were more accurate in my ratings, this would have been a 1 star read for me (i.e. I hated absolutely everything about it), which is a huge bummer because I won an advance copy in a Goodreads giveaway and I was thoroughly expecting to love it.


  1. I've only read the first story in American Housewife, and I read it and loved it before I made that rare buy. Oh dear.


  2. I didn't put The Couple Next Door on my list because I had no real expectations going in. Nope, guess that's wrong, I did kind of expect it to not be so bad. I still don't understand the hype on that one. A lot of times I can cut books a break because I know not everyone likes the same things but it's hard to do with that one.

  3. I've only read two on your list and am split with you on those. I loved The Mothers, but can definitely see how the military inaccuracies could get to you, and I never like a book if I can't connect to the characters. Today Will be Different didn't really do it for me either. It also had a lot of hype and I didn't think it lived up to all that!

  4. I liked the Mothers, but didn't "love" it. I wondered how he stayed at Camp Pendleton all those years.... Good list

  5. I'm reading the first Invisible Library book at the moment, and not loving it, so I doubt I'll read book two.
    My TTT: https://jjbookblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/21/top-ten-tuesday-97/

  6. I agree 100% with your thoughts regarding The Magicians...


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