Mini Reviews of Books I Didn’t Like

It’s the one-star edition, folks. I didn’t just not love these books, I disliked them. Many apologies to the authors.

I once had a co-worker berate me because I started reading 50 Shades of Gray, and abandoned it when I found it poorly written and uncomfortable. “How do you know you don’t like it if you won’t even finish??” she kept screaming. Not just the first book, either. Read all three of them. Only then can I hand out criticism.

Sometimes you just know. A few chapters in, and nothing’s happened? Maybe let’s call it a day. Is the protagonist doing something “problematic” and you can’t get on board with rooting for this person? Move on.

For me, a 1 star book is one that had enough pull for me to finish a forth to half of it (the ones where I can’t get past the first few pages, I won’t review at all because something’s so fundamentally not for me, my opinion on it doesn’t matter).

Here are my 1 stars.

Half Girlfriend – Chetan Bhagat


Did not finish.

Problem: problematic protagonist (and author horn-tooting)

Opens with the death of a woman. But what happened to her? Well, I’ll tell you in my novel-long flashback …

Madhav meets and falls in love with Riya (who eventually dies — see above). The only problem is Riya doesn’t want to be pursued by Madhav, tells him repeatedly to either a) leave her alone or b) that they’re friends and nothing more. Madhav mopes, he pursues, he gets rapey (!) and I couldn’t for one second get on board with the two of them getting together (which was how the story was shaping up). 

Not only that, one of the characters asked another if they’d ever read Chetan Bhagat’s books (i.e. the very author you’re reading), that he’s a very good author. I couldn’t believe the blatant ego boost. That might have been the point at which I stopped reading.

Her Final Hour – by Carla Kovach


Did not finish.

Problem: purple prose where there should have been tension.

Part of the official description of this book is that Melissa Sanderson is the perfect wife and mother, which should have raised some red flags, but calling a character’s life perfect at the beginning is so overused, I glossed right over it.

The book’s dedication, urging people with depression, anxiety, and addiction not to give up was positive for me. Always good to hear words like this.

However, in the first chapter I imagined the comments I might get back from my editor if this were my book: too many rhetorical questions, too much “telling”, infodump, repetition. All this while the “perfect” character is being murdered.

For me, the story was lost in the clunky writing.

Somewhere in Time – Richard Matheson

Did not finish.

Problem: problematic protagonist, and super slow pacing.

My Goodreads progress

I mean really. He finds a picture of her and falls in love because of it, wills himself back in time, and follows her around. The dialogue (where there is any) is stiff and boring.

Actually got halfway through the book, but only because I’d heard from so many people that this book was so magical. I mean, it’s got time travel and a love story: it should have worked. It was just… so … slow. And why does Romance have to mean “guy pursues girl even though she doesn’t want it”?

Dark Museum is now available on Amazon

Please review if you’ve read it (even partially). Every review helps another person find this book.

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