Top 5 Most Disappointing January Reads

This month, I read books hyped books from my TBR. I expected to be blown away by every book I read.

For the most part, I was. I loved almost all of the books I read this month.

In fact, I positively reviewed 75% of the books I read.


In that remaining 25%, though, were some disappointing reads. I DNFed almost all of the following books in protest.

Here are my top 5 most disappointing reads this month.


Sometime After Midnight by L. Philips


I lasted: 61 pages

Okay, listen.

I HATE the belief that one has to hold certain opinions and preferences to be a “real” musician.

In college, because I didn’t major in music and admitted a fondness for Top 40, “real” musicians looked down on me.

Students postured themselves as “real” musicians by holding tightly to generic opinions about pop music.

To seem like a “real” musician, wait for someone to express a liking for a mainstream artist or band. Immediately pipe up, “[X] sucks! You should listen to REAL music!”

(I used to do this – I’m not immune.)

Avoid specifics about what makes said artist/band suck. Stick with vague complaints about “pop music these days” and “autotune.” Congratulations! You’re a real musician! (Let me repeat: I did this all throughout my teen years and I am so, so sorry.)

Sometime After Midnight features a “real” musician protagonist.

Nate doesn’t listen to that crap on the radio! He likes really obscure indie music!

You can tell how unique he is from his cArAzY clothes. What’s this? Cuffed jeans, suspenders, and Converse? WHAT A QUIRKY FELLOW.

I stopped reading this book because I couldn’t stand to watch Cameron and Nate bond over their “unique” musical tastes, as if hipsters aren’t a dime a dozen. YA BOYS AREN’T SPECIAL.


Odd One Out


I lasted: 81 pages

Christians love unrequited love. Nursing a crush for years and years equates to holy martyrdom.

You would not believe how many friends I counseled about unreturned affection during college.

I listened to some friends moan for years – YEARS – about the same person.

As a result, I can’t sympathize with self-torture. Why waste energy hoping someone will change their mind about you?

In Odd One Out, Coop harbors a years-long crush on lesbian best friend Jupe.



Coop complains in the narrative that hearing about Jupe’s girlfriends is tantamount to torture.

So now you’re selfish, delusional, AND toxic? Cute!

I realize Coop is only a teenager. We’ve all done stupid things in the name of “love” as teens (and, for some, as adults – review the above anecdote.)

Unfortunately, based on spoilers I read about the ending, this book supports the myth that if you’re patient enough, the person you’ve always wanted will come around.

I can’t promote that.


Gunslinger Girl

Gunslinger Girl

I lasted: the whole book

For my first NaNoWriMo, I wrote a post-apocalyptic tale about two sisters journeying…somewhere to do…something. The worldbuilding was slapdash at best, the story nonsensical, and I put a lot of importance on a romance I did nothing to develop.

In essence, I wrote Gunslinger Girl.

Reading this book opened my eyes to all the flaws in my terrible 2014 draft. If that book had been published, it would have looked a lot like this one.

My main issues with Gunslinger Girl were the unnecessary drama and the confusing worldbuilding.

I sent my brother an angry text message about the post-apocalyptic society celebrating Christmas.

How is THAT tradition still a holdover? By the way, what exactly ARE the communes? Are there other outposts? HOW DOES THIS WORLD WORK? NONE OF THIS MAKES SENSE.

Serves me right for reading a book about a circus.

I should have known better.


Stalking Jack the Ripper


I lasted: 82 pages

I’ve waited my entire life for a suitable retelling of the Jack the Ripper legend.

I love reading about possible theories and motivations for this unsolved case.

The legend is rife with creative opportunities.

The one avenue, though, I don’t appreciate is “Jack the Ripper was magic.”

This is a cop-out.

Don’t want to deal with the confusing details of the case? BOOM! HE WAS MAGIC.

To me, this shows a disinterest in the material. Making Jack the Ripper magic equates to shrugging off the mystery.

Based on spoilers I read for Stalking Jack the Ripper, the ending tips into magical territory.

In the end, the setting served as set dressing for an uninspiring romance.

I really wish this hadn’t been billed as a thriller.




I lasted: 32 pages

When I bought this book, I expected to find a surprisingly well-told tale under the ridiculous cover. (It happened with My Lady Jane, it could happen again!)

Instead, I gave up after 32 pages.

I must be getting old, because I can’t stand self-important fantasy prose anymore.

I found it hard to sympathize with a character who kept dramatically proclaiming his lack of belonging.

HIM, THE SON OF THE GREAT GUY FAWKES. He HAD to master the language of grey. IT WAS THE ONLY WAY.

Must EVERYTHING be of utmost importance? My kingdom for a quiet moment.

As much as I hate worldbuilding in my own writing, I expect the worlds I encounter in other stories to make sense.

Fawkes‘ worldbuilding is a MESS.

Everyone in this world wears masks for…reasons.

A Stone Plague turns our protagonist’s eye to stone.

He attends a school where students learn to speak the language of colors.

Read that sentence again.

Every color holds a specific power. At the end of their training, students bond with one color.

A deadly conflict exists, though, between Keepers and Igniters.

Keepers believe in keeping all the colors separate and calling on one color’s power at a time.

Igniters believe in the Great White Light that encompasses all the colors.

…did you just turn the Catholic and Protestant conflict into a nonsensical color war?

I officially lost it when protag Thomas started conversing with the Great White Light.

HOLD ON. Is this a covert Christian novel?

NO. AUTHORS. I HATE it when you do this!

Stop using fantasy to allegorize the gospel. FOCUS ON WRITING A GOOD STORY.

Because of all these things, I’ve removed Romanov from my TBR.

I no longer trust Nadine Brandes.


Those were my monthly disappointments. I have more hyped books planned for February (perfect time to read The Hate U Give.)

Do I want to be disappointed again? No.

Will I be?

What do you think?

6 thoughts on “Top 5 Most Disappointing January Reads”

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