My Most Disappointing Books of 2022

Ahh the dreaded disappointed books list. Love em or loathe em, I can only say I wish the day would come when I have nothing to put on one of these lists. BUT IT IS NOT THIS DAY! Because, even though my list is reasonably short, there were still books that MADE ME WANT TO GOUGE MY EYES OUT WITH A SPOON! Ok- enough clichéd references- there’s definitely enough lame things in these books…

Atlas Six– guys I don’t get the hype- this was a messy book with messy characters. I realised halfway through that not much had actually happened in terms of plot yet. Overall, I was simply unimpressed by this tiktok “sensation”.  

Little Thieves- it pains me to put this on here. But this book stole my time and I’d like to get my own back. Sold as a retelling of Goose Girl, except from the villain’s perspective, one of my biggest gripes with this book was the characterisation of our wicked main character. Because (***spoiler alert***) she’s not actually wicked at all. As much as we are told that she stole someone’s whole life… the sting is taken out of that concept, since we learn said character wanted her to. It kinda undid the hard work of the concept for me, as she’s now not much of a villain. I was looking for a redemptive arc or a morally grey character with dubious justifications or even an anti-hero origin story- yet I got none of that. Add to that a host of gods who don’t quite fit the story and a romance I didn’t buy into and it’s no wonder I was left cold. This was not a bad book by any stretch of the imagination- there were even things I quite liked- only ultimately I was left mildly irritated and VERY disappointed.

God of Small Things– frankly, this made it onto this list because of the ick factor. If not for the small (okay HUGE) matter of including incest, it would’ve just been another booker prize book I didn’t love, nothing to see here. Unfortunately, because of that ending, I will now remember this book for all the wrong reasons.

When You Disappeared– how can something work in one book, but not in the other? I was really impressed with how twisted John Marrs’ book the One was… but the darkness was too much for me in this one. It just sickened me one too many times. Spoiler warning: this has a bit of everything I can’t stand- from child death to rape (a twist that didn’t work for me at all). Plus, the male perspective pissed me off. Which I suppose was half the point- it’s just a shame it put me off the book.

Fire and Blood– this is an odd one for me, as I predict I will doubtless really enjoy the show. But this book made it to one of my most disappointing reads of the year, due to the off-putting writing style. Written in the style of a historian maester, it sadly reads as very dull. With heinous and unlikeable characters, this makes it a very hard book to connect to. It was more like a damp disappointment than something to get all hot and bothered over.

The Constant Princess- I can’t say I was wholly disappointed by this book, since I generally know what to expect from Gregory these days… and that’s not a whole lot. This book was the same old ahistorical historical fiction, with a bunch of gross bits thrown in and a half-crazed unlikeable heroine. Add to that the fact it made THE TUDORS boring, rambling and pointless… and perhaps you can see why I was unimpressed.

Annnd… a (dis)honorable mention goes to The Time Traveller’s Wife– because as I mentioned in my DNF post, I frickin loathed it. I just didn’t finish it for it to cinch the official title of worst book of the year!

And that’s all for now! Time for the moment of truth- what did you think of these books? Have you read them? Do you agree or disagree? Did I go too far with any of these? Let me know in the comments!

Monthly Monkey Mini Reviews – OOH IT’S OCTOBER 2022!

Hello all! Hope you had a splendid September! Mine certainly was! As I mentioned in my previous post, I needed to take a couple of weeks off from blogging for a very good reason…

Annnd that wasn’t all! I also went back to Scotland for a few days (which inspired some more paintings I’ve been sharing over on insta) Needless to say I’m a bit zonked! 

And there’s more to come on the travel front soon! But for now- onto the books!

Lady’s Guide to Fortune Hunting– by golly, I’m smitten. This regency inspired comedy of manners was incomparable. Following a wicked young schemer who wishes to snag a rich man, this is not your conventional love story. Full of mischief and wit, but it also had great characters and a swoonworthy romance. I loved how it maintained a sense of history whilst also having a modern twist. A really fun and well written drama for those who are fans of Bridgerton… And also those who are decidedly not fans! 

Rating: 5/5 bananas

Our Crooked Hearts– be still my beating heart! This witchy wonder was straight up one of the best books I read last month. From creepy beginnings, we are introduced to a haunting mystery, intertwining past and present. Beyond the beautifully crafted writing is an intense character study, shown through dysfunctional familial relationships and the dark side of sisterhood. More than anything I loved how this exemplified the ways we are crammed into spaces and forced to be half of ourselves to please others… Even though that often leads to disappointment for both parties. A coming-of-age story like no other, I definitely recommend this for anyone looking for a ghostly tale to keep them up this Halloween season!

Rating: 5/5 bananas 

Fire and Blood– oh dear. This was a struggle. I nearly DNF’d it many times (I should’ve just DNF’d it). For some reason, GRRM decided to write this as a dull maester would have written it and it is, in fact, rather dull. Even though it’s about warring dragon factions… annnd writing that out makes me even more disappointed that this didn’t work as a book. Yet with the distance the narration provided, it was impossible to connect with the story. And, to be honest, I can’t see any way that I’d ever have connected to any of these characters. They were all vile. Which made me realise that the Targaryen dynasty wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. That, coupled with the gratuitous violence and the insane level of brutality toward women, made me look at Game of Thrones in a whole new light… and that’s not a good thing. I had a fair number of reasons to be attached to the original story- but with everything Martin puts out, I’m less and less interested.

Rating: 2/5 banana

Run Time– this was actually kinda fun… until the clock ran down to a disappointing end. With a voicey storytelling style, this tells of an actress whose career has hit the rocks. So of course, she goes to a remote filming location with a bunch of odd people she doesn’t know, for a weird script that seems to bear too much resemblance to the disturbing goings on. Surprisingly, the heroine in this isn’t a total idiot (one of my least favourite thriller tropes) plus it also had a sufficiently creepy isolated setting (one of my favourite thriller tropes). It also had a great story-within-a-story concept. So it should’ve been plain sailing. Unfortunately, the plot ended up being a little too convoluted and what started as an intriguing premise faltered. While there were a few good (but guessable) twists, the finale wasn’t nearly as exciting as it could have been.

Rating: 3/5 bananas

Gallant– and V E Schwab strikes again! With this spiky, spectral, dark fairy tale. In this voicey narrative, the silent lead takes us to the shadow world of Gallant and face the dark secrets that have plagued her family for generations. In typical Schwab fashion, it’s a sharply written and intriguing adventure.  

Rating: 5/5 bananas

Book of Night– it’s dawned on me that I’m unlikely to enjoy YA author’s first foray into adult fiction. Not once have I absolutely adored their adult novels the way I’ve loved their teen lit. And that’s fine- but also disappointing. All this is to say, Holly Black’s attempt didn’t work for me. As much as there a cool magic system and a solid plot, I simply wasn’t wowed by it. Largely this came down to the writing- which felt flat and relied on far too much telling for characterisation. This left the heroine and her love interest seeming only skin deep, which in turn left me struggling to connect with their romance. Which was a problem considering this was fundamentally a romance. Ultimately, this had the makings of a great book, but missed the mark. 

Rating: 3/5 bananas

Belladonna– erm well this one turned a little toxic. I was all set to fall in love with this intoxicating YA fantasy mystery… And yet sadly this went from deliciously intriguing to a dull affair that turned my stomach a little. Let me explain. To start with there were a whole host of interesting premises: an entire house of poisoned guests; a lifelong series of fatal accidents for all the heroine’s nearest and dearest; a connection with a paternal and protective death. But the story didn’t exactly follow any of those plots. Instead we were supposed to be fascinated by some hastily introduced relatives who didn’t seem to care one jot for the protagonist. And even if I had been more interested in the shoddily spun mystery or the main character’s attempts at etiquette, then I still would never have been here for the romance. Spoiler alert: it’s a literal love affair with death?! And, particularly as he’d followed her around since she was a baby, this love affair left me a tad uneasy. Call me crazy, but I just don’t go for the immortal old dude dating someone he’s known from birth. So sadly, as much as there were parts I liked, this is not the story for me. 

Rating: 2½/5 bananas

That’s all for now! Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? Let me know in the comments! And I hope you all had a good month!