Books I read so far this year that you should read or not read, or do whatever, what do I know.

You see the link over there, in the blog crouton, to Princess Nebraska? One of my favorite kind of posts that Elizabeth does is when she lists all the books she’s been reading and does a really brief summary of her opinion of them. Not even really what the book is about or anything, just what she thought of them. I like that. I don’t care what the book is about. Well, I care, but all I want to know from a person is if you liked it or not. If your opinion makes it sound like something that I also might like, I am perfectly capable of going and reading the summary. Then, I combine your like or dislike with the summary I am perfectly capable of locating on my own and use that combination to decide if I want to read the book.

Basically what I am saying is that I hate book reviews that start out with, “This book is about…,” and also that I like Elizabeth and I’m pretty much modeling this post off of her style and I wish all book review blogs would, even though that is not practical, as much as it makes sense to ME that the world conform to my needs. But really, I do subscribe to a bunch of book review blogs, and what I do is read the title of the book, the genre of the book, and then scroll down and read the rating of the book. If it’s good, I look it up on Goodreads, and if it looks interesting, I add it to my list. Elizabeth cuts out a lot of scrolling for me. I like Elizabeth.

Anyway, I set a goal to read 130 books this year. The year is half over and I’m not half done, so. We’ll see, eh? (All titles link to Goodreads pages)

1. The Forgotten Garden – I think this was one of those books where if someone had been secretly adding pages on to the end when I wasn’t looking, I probably wouldn’t have noticed and would have gone on reading happily for one long ass time before I was like, wow, it’s 2015, I am one hell of a slow reader.

2. Gathering Blue – The second in The Giver series. I guess I read The Giver in 2011. Middle grade isn’t for me. I felt like I was supposed to like it.

3. Messenger – The last of The Giver trilogy. I didn’t really get a boner for the trilogy as a whole, and I definitely had a limp noodle for the ending. Finished out of obligation. Though I can see why if I had read these at the appropriate age I might have held some fond memories for the three.

4. Speak – This book can go right the hell to hell. I get that it’s dealing with an important subject, and I get that everyone deals with trauma differently, but I swear to pete, the main character is the least sympathetic female in the history of ever, and I hated her stupid face. AND? AND? Some of the most ridiculously unforgivable authorial bullshit shenanigans, the author’s authory fingers should be TAKEN AWAY. “fizz ed?” “toolz eye kan yooz?” WHY? WHY? WHY DID THAT HAVE TO HAPPEN? WHY WAS THAT A THING THAT HAPPENED IN THIS BOOK?

5. Pretty Little Liars – Okay, I don’t really remember much about this book, other than that it was fast and fun and that I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.

6. Flawless – Second book in the series. It wasn’t as good as the first one, but kept my interest in following the series.

7. Unwind – This was the book that made me need to add a “conflicted” tag to my bookshelves. I don’t know if I liked it, but I don’t know if I disliked it. I don’t think I liked it or disliked it. I… neither. I liked it. I didn’t. I don’t know. I’m not unhappy that I read it. I do know that this book made my mind go down thought paths that I consciously needed to stop. Like, WHOA THERE, BRAIN. LET’S JUST END THAT TRAIN RIGHT THERE. CABOOSE THAT. Parts of this book were quite disturbing, and will force you to think about some disturbing things.

8. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer – What in the hell even? I don’t even? I can’t… is this real life? Does this book exist on this plane of existence? Of all the convoluted bullshit… once again, fine sirs, I don’t even.

9. If I Stay – I have literally zero feelings about this book.

10. Hate List – It feels weird to say I enjoyed a book about a school shooting, but there you go.

11. The Midwife’s Confession – This book was kind of Picoulty. I mean, it’s basically a Picoult in different author’s clothing. I personally enjoy a nice Picoult.

12. The Art of Fielding – High fives all around. I was just so FRICKIN’ DELIGHTED by this book. Probably the best thing I’ve read this year.

13. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks – Frankie is one irritating whiny bitch. And for someone who is so determined to show that girls are just as good if not better than boys, she sure does spend a lot of time and effort working for male attention and approval.

14. Angelfall – This book was good. But it was dark. And I don’t mean, like, Voldemort kills Cedric, shit just got real dark, I mean like mutilated experimental cannibalistic zombie children with razors for teeth dark. Like, whoa, I am reading this through cracks of my fingers dark. I liked it!

15. Poison Study – I enjoyed the shit out of this book, but you know what REALLY stands out? Bad hairstyles. I mean, REALLY BAD. Read this book, and pay attention to the way hair is described. God awful. You will have to make an effort to substitute in your own hair ideas.

16. Perfect – The third in the Pretty Little Liars series. They remain quick, entertaining reads that have kept me interested.

17. Unbelievable – The fourth in the same series as above, which can now fuck right off.

18. Wither – A crappy cross between The Handmaid’s Tale and The Truman Show with writing that I did not enjoy. Yet I will probably read the next in the series. And hate it.

19. Private – Book about bitchy cliquey chicks at a private school. It was nothing like the Caitlin books but it made me want to reread the Caitlin books.

20. Ready Player One – Fun! For nerds! And other people, I GUESS. You should read it. It basically ruled. Frickin’ delightful.

21. Now You See Me – Irritating. The main character/narrator figures things out, but doesn’t share with the reader. Uh, then don’t be the narrator. Half-assed hints toward a romance that never develops. Tenuously-woven, really thin plot, and everything was just so CONVENIENT. And the “twist” was just annoying because I was ready to be finished and it just made the book LONGER.

22. Under the Never Sky – I don’t know. I guess I’ll read the next one. I think this is one of those “first book in the trilogy” things that is kind of neutral in terms of hate or love and just kind of lays out the rest of the series. Also, why is everything a trilogy?

23. I’ve Got Your Number – I want to go back in time and read this on a plane and then just leave it in the airport. Also, I hated the lead female. Shut up.

24. The Scorpio Races – I recognize that this is probably a good book, but I didn’t like it. Does that make sense? Too bad, review it yourself, then.

25. Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares – This book is the exact reason why only John Green should be allowed to write teenagers because oh my god, fuck these two pretentious assholes.

26. Neverwhere – Maybe I should have picked a different Neil Gaiman for my first, because this book made me feel exactly like the main character in this book must have felt. Just kind of dragged along, bewildered, with no real clue about what was happening around me or why it was happening and just kind of wishing it would end and I would wake up in my own bed. Alone. Maybe with some cake.

27. The Fault in Our Stars – Oh, just fall in line and go read it.

28. City of Bones – I remain undecided on whether or not I will follow up with the rest of the series, but I found this one to be reasonably enjoyable.

29. Legend – Same as above. I read this one, I liked the set up. I liked the worldbuilding, I liked the two leads. I also am kind of just fine where this one ended, I’m not clamoring for the next one. But if I find myself looking for something to read, I’m not saying I’d kick the next one out of my Kindle.

30. Fifty Shades of Grey – The “inner goddess” thing was pretty intolerable. Otherwise, my sense of shame went on a permanent vacation once I cracked this one open.

Also, I have a pretty low tolerance for the whole, “ugh, I can’t believe people are READING that” shit, so take it somewhere else. Also ALSO, if you did read it and then did the whole, shrug, I don’t get the fuss thing, oh, shut up. Of course you get the fuss. Just because you don’t feel like MAKING a fuss, don’t act like you’re above even understanding why there IS a fuss. In shorter words, a lot of people have made themselves look like HUGE assholes over these books, and I have written down names on a post it note right here.

Anyway, I wish Ana wasn’t such a… I mean, come on. Who doesn’t own a cell phone? Who doesn’t Internet? Why does every female innocent need to not just be a virgin but also need to be like, completely shut out from the whole world ever?

31. Fifty Shades Darker – More plotty. It was kind of better than the first one.

32. Fifty Shades Freed – Maybe, if you’re okay with being a non-completest, you can just not read this one. There’s this one part, it’s kind of disturbing, when Ana is pregnant, and look, everything is ruined forever.

33. Hush, Hush – Oh, this was the worst. This was just the worst. What an ugly mess of a book. Don’t even. I mean, seriously. DO NOT EVEN.

34. Attachments – I liked this book. It was fun, and quick, and cute, and spoke to my old school inner nerd, and my only minor irritation was that it was one of those books where I felt like I was just supposed to ACCEPT that there was some kind of magnetic draw between the dude and the girl. I mean, there were two girls, and I didn’t even know which was the romantic interest until it was spelled out for me.

35. The Declaration – This book was… fine.

36. Ender’s Game – I want to go back in time to one day before I started this book so I can read it again, fresh.

37. Ender’s Shadow – Reading this book was almost as good to going back in time to one day before I started Ender’s Game and reading it again fresh.

38. 11/22/63 – I really loved this book, except could happily have done without huge parts of it. Like, all of the parts that were part of the plot. I just want to read about time traveling back to the 50s and living there. I’ll read about that all day long.

39. A Monster Calls – This book can shut the fuck up. I wish I owned a real copy, I’d tape it shut.

40. Insurgent – I was bored. And Tris? Why, Tris? Why?

41. Bitterblue – If you haven’t read Graceling and Fire yet, you should. And then read Bitterblue. I’ve seen some complaints that Bitterblue was kind of unnecessarily long, but I disagree. I could have read Bitterblue forever. I will read a billion books set in this world.

42. Fair Coin – Okay, stuff happens because science. And then some people die, and that’s unfortunate, but it’s okay, because it’s not us. And suspense, used in a really annoying, boring kind of way. Hate.

43. Magic Study – This is the book that comes after Poison Study, which I loved. Magic Study was actually kind of bad. Which was surprising and sad. But I held out hope. There was a lot of that “ONLY I CAN HANDLE THIS SITUATION!” type crap which, in the framework of the world, makes ZERO SENSE. And also a lot of convenience. Like, “Oh yeah, and suddenly I have this power. And in this situation my power also does this. And… oh yeah, I have this magic.” Disappointing.

44. Fire Study – YET I PERSISTED TO THE THIRD BOOK. You guys. Read Poison Study. It’s great. AND THEN STOP. Life is too short for shitty books.

45. Bared to You – A little convoluted, a lot dirty. Another female lead who solves her problems by storming off, another male lead with a damaged past, another couple brought together by lots of sex, but at least these two wipe down afterward.

46. The Selection – This book is supposed to be like The Hunger Games combined with The Bachelor, which sounds REALLY FREAKING AWESOME until the author ruins it with the worst female lead I have read in a thousand years. It’s like she tried to write a Katniss but accidentally Bella Swanned her.

47. Unwanted – I was seriously really enjoying this book until the end, until the “twist,” which was a bit of an unconventional kind of twist, but not in the kind of way that you’re like, “Oh, that was innovative,” but more in the kind of way that you’re like, “Oh, fuck you then.”

48. Cinder – This was okay. It just didn’t grab me like it seemed like it was supposed to. I didn’t get sad, or feel the righteous fury at the injustices, no suspense even though I could see I was supposed to. The male lead was uninspiring, the female was meh and I couldn’t pull for her. Maybe this was a laying the groundwork book. We’ll see.

49. When You Reach Me – This one went quick. I guess it was fine. I don’t really have particular feelings one way or the other.

50. Backstage Pass – There’s actually a good story under all the filth. I liked Myrna, and it was nice to read about a mature female lead in one of these trash books. Also, hint: backstage means butts.

51. Rock Hard – Far fetched, filthy and emotionally manipulative, just like a lady likes.

52. Thoughtless – If you can put aside the fact that the main female character has not been developed with any sort of characteristics except for the fact that she’s terrible, this is a good trashy romance.

53. Effortless – The follow up to Thoughtless, which you will want to read because you will be in love with Kellan Kyle, but too bad for you, because I already dibbsed him.

54. Love Unscripted – Yeah, I’ve been on a trash streak, and I point my shame finger straightly at Jonniker, but mostly I have no shame. I liked this, and you will, too. It will allow you to imagine your eventual and inevitable whirlwind romance with Ryan Gosling.

55. Across the Universe – Another one that will make you think thinky and somewhat disturbing thoughts. I don’t know if I’ll pursue the series. It depends on how many thoughts I’m prepared to have.

56. Unbearable Lightness: A Story of Loss and Gain – I mostly do not usually end up liking celebrities books, not because I find them shallow or anything like that, I’m just not a big non-fiction writer. I actually ended up kind of liking this one, but skip the epilogue, it gets preachy and ruiny.

57. Everlost – Ooooh. I love a well set up alternate world, with good rules that are stuck to and all thought out and logical. I will read this whole series. Unless the next book sucks. Then I will probably still read it, but with a scowl.

 

36 thoughts on “Books I read so far this year that you should read or not read, or do whatever, what do I know.

  1. Tric

    I loved the shit out of this post. We have very similar opinions about every single one of these books that I had already read. I too wanted to stab that freaking inner goddess directly in the eye. By the way, Fever (Wither’s sequel) is even more terrible. I’m halfway through it and contemplating giving up even though I will guilt myself for the next ten years for not finishing a book. I’m a firm believer in finishing series, but there is just no hope for that one.

  2. Charleen

    I also don’t like reviews that summarize the book, ESPECIALLY posted on GR. I can get the point of doing it in a blog review (although, like you, I usually skip over them) but on GR the summary is already right there, what’s the point of repeating it? Just tell me if you liked it (or not). Why you liked it (or not). I try to keep my GR reviews brief, since that’s the type of review I’d rather read.

  3. Elizabeth

    So basically for YEARS I have been castigating myself for being too effing lazy to actually summarize the book plot in my reviews, and now my laziness is TJ sanctioned! Woo hoo! Best day ever.

    In other news, based on these reviews, you and I have exact opposite book taste, so from now on, only read the books I hate, maybe.
    Also “I wish I owned a real copy, I’d tape it shut.” = Best Book Review Ever.

  4. Claudia

    Never commented before but couldn’t resist after you listed so many books I’ve read and feel similarly about. Also, wanted to mention:
    City of Bones – In my opinion, read the next two, but don’t read the ‘second cycle’/4th, 5th, or 6th books. Do read the authors other series, the Infernal Devices, though. Similar, but deliciously steampunk and Victorian England.
    The Declaration – Whatever you do, DON’T read the other two books in the series. They get steadily worse and by the third I honestly just wanted to throw it out the window. Intensely poorly written.
    Everlost – Definitely continue the series, I haven’t read Everfound (the 3rd) yet but everything I’ve heard has been positive and the 2nd was great.

  5. Marc

    I like this style of review. I didn’t go through them all but some of your opinions are intriguing and might get me to read something outside of my norm. If i had started with a summary of that book I’d have moved on long before I got to the opinion part.

  6. Katy

    I like this style of book summaries, particularly when I’ve read some of the books and can relate to your feelings on them.

    I’ve added some books to my library queue based on your reviews that got my interest. Thanks!

    I just finished Everfound in the Skinjacker series and I really liked the whole thing. I think the first book is my favorite because it’s the least complicated, but I loved the events and the additional rules/information we get about Everlost in the second book. The third book is just a big cluster pile of “how is this all going to fit together in the end?… Oh!… That works.” I’m usually left wanting at the end of a book series but I felt as good of closure as I’m capable of with this series. I read this series after reading, and thoroughly enjoying, Unwind.

  7. Tessa

    Weird fact, Jodi Piccoult’s patents live in Phoenix, and are basically the nicest people ever, the end.

  8. Abbie

    1.) I just added all of the books you gave positive reviews to my Nook wish list.

    2.) If you like YA-medieval-fantasy-awesomeness, try Crown Duel/Court Duel. They’re two separate books, but I bought them a few years ago as one of those sets where they are bound together and sold FOR THE PRICE OF ONE BOOK. Which was a steal, because they were both entertaining and great.

  9. Veronica

    THANK YOU.

    I am pregnant and mostly stuck laying on the couch or in bed (broken joints and high risk thingies) and I NEED more things to read.

    I read 50 Shades and got so grumpy at the judgey I was seeing on the Internet that I wrote an entire post about it. It was great escapism and exactly what I wanted. Like cake. No one expects cake to be all thinky.

    Clicking through the rest of your list now.

  10. Megan B.

    I wanted to like Insurgent so badly, because I loved Divergent. But it was just…lacking. I can’t explain why. I ate up Divergent in about two days. It took me a week to read Insurgent.

  11. Melissa

    Is it bad that I want to read all your ‘Don’t do it!’ books. I’m intrigued by their terribleness!

    Alorina Reply:

    This! So this!

  12. Leigh

    I don’t pay for books (library for the win!) but would gladly pay to read your book reviews.

    I also LOVED LOVED The Art of Fielding. I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to the hype but it totally did.

    And speaking of books with lots of hype, yesterday I finished Beautiful Ruins and I wish I hadn’t because I liked reading it so very much, and Gone Girl is just as good as all the reviews say it is. I highly, highly recommend it.

  13. Life of a Doctor's Wife

    I love it when Elizabeth does this kind of post. And now, well, I love it when you do this kind of post.

    #4 – This review makes me want to read the book, just to know for myself how awful it is.

    #7 – This is EXACTLY how I felt about Little Bee. If you haven’t read it… well, I don’t know if I would recommend it or not recommend it. Very dark and made me think about dark things.

    #46 – “Bella-Swanned” is one of the best verbs ever.

    All the filth? Added.

    Andrea Reply:

    Ditto Bella-swanned. Loved that!

  14. Brooke

    I read a lot of these to Dan and he thinks I am 1. drunk (35% or maybe 55% true) and 2. crazy (92.3% true) but I liked it. I don’t know what that means since all I read was your emotional review of books.

  15. Katie

    I could read you reviewing books all damn day. I don’t even always agree with you but most of the time I do and when I don’t, yer still funny.
    “This book is the exact reason why only John Green should be allowed to write teenagers because oh my god, fuck these two pretentious assholes.”
    Dy.ing. Seriously.

    Anyway, I have several of these on my library list and am now adding several more so thank you. Keep reading.

  16. Hayley

    Unorganized thoughts: Dash & Lily’s Book of Dares was just awful. I liked Ender’s Game, but the ending made me want to throw the whole book down a well. I tried to read the beginning of Fifty Shades of Grey, but Ana annoyed me too much for me to carry on.

    This whole brief review thing is really helpful! I was thinking about reading The Selection but probably won’t now. Same goes for Now You See Me. I’ll read Everlost and Ready Player One instead.

  17. Andrea

    Thank you! I have the hardest time selecting books to read, and this is the perfect format for book reviews. I’ve already put library requests in for several of the ones you liked. I’ll have to check out your friend’s reviews as well.

    “…accidentally Bella Swanned her.” Love it. I have to throw in a recommendation for YA vampire fans – Vampire Academy is a really good series.

  18. Amy K

    Yay, thank you for giving me more books to add to my library list, and for weeding a few off. I’ve had similar reactions to Gaiman books, but especially Neverwhere. His Sandman graphic novel series is awesome though. Have you read any Garth Nix? I really enjoyed his Abhorsen trilogy.

    I can’t decide which group is irritating me more right now about 50 Shades: the group that makes fun of people who read the trilogy and enjoy it, or the group that makes fun of the people who think the books are shitty. The author apparently has a savant-like skill when it comes to writing sex scenes that get a lot of women off. Great for her and great for them. Win-win. I still thought 50 Shades of Grey (or the first half, which was all I read before I got bored and moved on to something else) was terrible in pretty much every way, and I’m going to have myself a hearty chuckle at the expense of anyone who says that makes me a literature snob, because COME ON. Why can’t we all just get along and go read whatever floats our boats?

  19. Megan

    I loved the crap out of this post and your reviews! I’ve added about 20 new books to my TBR pile. And if I may? I loved the Mortal Instruments series (#28). Of course, I’ve only read the first 3 and apparently there are at least 2 more. I’m re-reading now so I can buy the new ones as I get to them.

  20. -R-

    I liked The Art of Fielding but didn’t love it. To me, the character of Owen was so unrealistic that I couldn’t get over it.

    I am now quite curious about this book that will let me have a romantic rendez-vous with Ryan Gosling. Hmmm… You have piqued my interest.

  21. Maggie

    Thank you! I’ve added the max amount of holds to my library book list and removed some books I was on the fence about.

    I too am starting to get irritated that everything has to be a trilogy these days. In the last several months I’ve read at least three books that pissed me off because I liked them but refused to get involved in two more books. Just wrap up your damned stories authors! Sorry for the rant, evidently, I feel strongly about this…

    Andrea Reply:

    Agree! And it also seems every other book is titled “Blah Blah Blah: A Novel”

  22. the flashbulb

    So much agreeing with your reviews – esp. for Poison Study, Magic Study, etc. Such a strong start and then such a steep drop off.

    I also love the Bitterblue world. Did you see Kristin Cashore has an eSampler (http://www.amazon.com/Kristin-Cashore-eSampler-ebook/dp/B007SPIV2Y/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1341322685&sr=8-9&keywords=kristin+cashore) that includes some new material – letters from those characters.

    Two recommendations for you:
    1) The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
    2) Starcrossed by Elizabeth Bunce

    Both are the first books in triologies (you ar right: trilogies = inescapable) but have strong female leads, great world building, romance, etc.

  23. Laura Diniwilk

    And now this post gets the same treatment as Elizabeth’s do…copying and pasting into word so I can pick my next 10 books.

    Can I tell you how much I adore your Goodreads bookshelves? Crack my shit up every time.

  24. molly

    I totally love this style of book reviews/lists too and stole Elizabeth’s idea to keep track of the books I read. I loved the forgotten garden so much!

  25. Rachael

    I kind of loved this post, and feel inspired to click over to Princess Nebraska after I’m done here.

    One of the reasons I love you is your opinion up there of Speak. For so many reasons. Because I woudl say thes ame type of theing, and because now I will never, ever read that book because I would want to stab it’s eyes out.

    I also like your thoughts on The Midwife’s Confession because that is exactly true.

    Basically, often times I feel like you have given words to some of my jumbled thoughts and also you make me laugh out loud and it’s awesome.

    “It’s like she tried to write a Katniss but accidentally Bella Swanned her.” LOLZ.

    Now I’m off to add several of these to my goodreads list which is already too long, but it just keeps growing out of control.

  26. Rachael

    I kind of loved this post, and feel inspired to click over to Princess Nebraska after I’m done here.

    One of the reasons I love you is your opinion up there of Speak. For so many reasons. Because I woudl say thes ame type of theing, and because now I will never, ever read that book because I would want to stab it’s eyes out.

    I also like your thoughts on The Midwife’s Confession because that is exactly true.

    Basically, often times I feel like you have given words to some of my jumbled thoughts and also you make me laugh out loud and it’s awesome.

    “It’s like she tried to write a Katniss but accidentally Bella Swanned her.” LOLZ.

    Now I’m off to add several of these to my goodreads list which is already too long, but it just keeps growing out of control.

  27. Elsha

    So, I remember really liking The Giver (I think I read it when I was 12? Ish?) and then reading Gathering Blue years later and thinking they didn’t seem related at all. Am I thinking of the wrong book?

    Definitely read the rest of the City of Bones series.

    I now have many books to add to my “to read” list.

  28. Jennifer

    I just stumbled upon your blog. I won’t tell you what I was trying to find..well, yea I will.

    “Shitty book blogs”<~~ My search terms I kid you not, ha ha!

    Anyway, I totally agree with what you like in a book blog..I'm the same. I guess I just don't need the flowery description or fancy literary analysis? I don't know. I'm on the hunt for decent blogs. So many run together in my mind and look/read the same.

    Disclaimer* I have found some really great ones, don't get me wrong!

  29. Crossy

    I love this, I don’t agree with everything but I very much agree with others *cough*poisiomstudydissappoimtment*cough*

    When reviewing private, you said you wanted to re-read the Caitlin books. What are these? X

  30. Pingback: Temerity Jane » Blog Archive » Books I read last year that you should read or not read, or do whatever, what do I know, part 2.

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