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Trying Books With Bad Average Rating, Part 2: The Results

Hello friends! I’m so excited for today’s post, a follow-up to my previous post where I shared five books I own and am on the fence about reading due to their low(-ish) average ratings. If you haven’t read that post yet, I recommend you do so before reading this one, as it features a discussion about the topic at hand, as well as my expectations for the books I planned to try.

For today’s post, I read a few chapters of each novel, and I’m going to tell you all about them – did they work for me? why/why not? will I continue these books, or get rid of them? Find out that and more from my post.

DIAL EM FOR MURDER
Marni Bates

average rating: 3.11

number of ratings: 238

thoughts: Wow, this is… bad so far. I purchased it because I enjoyed two of Bates’ previous novels; they are not the pinnacles of literature, but they are fairly well-crafted, heart-warming contemporaries. Dial Em For Murder is the author’s first venture into mystery, and sadly, it shows. The start is incredibly awkward – aspiring author Emmy is waiting for her coffee at Starbucks when an elderly man approaches her, scaring her as he gives her all kinds of dire warnings. It’s far from being an interesting or unique start, and it doesn’t help matters that Emmy reads as a really, and I do mean really, young teen. To be honest, Emmy feels more like an adult’s idea of a 16-year-old, rather than an actual 16-year-old.

verdict: I seriously doubt I’ll pick this up in the future. It’d probably be better suited for younger readers and/or those who are new to the mystery genre. (But who am I kidding? Based on the reviews it is hardly for anyone.)


SUICIDE CLUB
Rachel Heng

average rating: 3.31

number of ratings: 2400

thoughts: I’m on the fence about continuing Suicide Club. I didn’t find anything overly wrong with the story, but it didn’t fully manage to capture my attention either. I like the writing – it’s quite flowery and wordy, but it works well so far. However, the characters feel sterile and interchangeable at the moment, and didn’t make me interested in where their life is heading.

will I continue? Perhaps. I’ll definitely read a couple more chapters to see if the characters manage to pique my interest. I think for a story about life and death, about the challenges of near-immortality, it’s essential to care about the characters to truly get into the story.  So if they’re unimpressive, I doubt there’s a reason to read this.


I’M THINKING OF ENDING THINGS
Iain Reid

average rating: 3.38

number of ratings: 22,388

thoughts: As with the rest of the titles, I set out to read a few pages of I’m Thinking of Ending Things… then read a few more, and a few more… until I finished the whole thing. 😅 It was a bit like opening a box of chocolate intending to only see how it tastes, just to realize that it’s two hours later and there’s barely any chocolate left. I was definitely intrigued from the get go – and what makes a good thriller if not that – and even though the novel had its ups and downs, I could barely put it down. As for my rating, I’m sticking to four stars right now, but I might end up lowering it, as there were a few things – key things – I was dissatisfied with.

I’m also in a difficult place, because the novel clearly needs some serious trigger warnings, but telling them could very well spoil the whole novel – so if anyone needs TWs ask in the comments? I guess that’s the best I can do at the moment.


CERTAIN DARK THINGS
Silvia Moreno-Garcia

average rating: 3.65

number of ratings: 1992

thoughts: It’s obviously hard to tell after one chapter, but oh boy, I’m 99% sure I’ll love this one to pieces. The writing is very engaging and I’m incredibly fascinated by the characters – so far we’ve met Domingo, a young man who lives off of collecting garbage, and Atl, a vampire who pays him to let her drink from him for a period of time. It’s a unique premise with characters who have already captured my interest, and I can’t wait to continue it.

will I continue? HELL YES. It seems exactly like my kind of book, and even though I’ve read a lot – like, a lot – of vampire books, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s vampires seem rather different from anything I’ve seen so far. 

THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME
Jennifer E. Smith

average rating: 3.68

number of ratings:  30,472

thoughts: This is fun and cute so far! The Geography of You and Me starts off with a meet cute – the hero and heroine end up stuck in an elevator together – and I love meet cutes. I have the feeling this is going to be very trope-y and fluffy, which is worrying me a tad, but it’s all good as long as the author is able to utilize said tropes in unique and creative ways.

will I continue? Yes! It has the potential to be a relaxing and lovely contemporary novel, and I’m a sucker for those.


My conclusion:

Overall, I really enjoyed this experiment, although it was weird to start five different books in any day, with the intention of putting them down exactly when the story really starts. Three out of the five managed to capture my attention, which goes to show that the average rating doesn’t necessarily reflect what my opinion, my rating would be. I mean, we all knew this, right? But it was nice to get proof of this.

Let’s chat!

I already asked this in the previous post, but for those who haven’t been here – have you read any of these books? What books are you unsure about on your tbr – either because of the average rating, or other reasons? Can you recall any books you LOVED that had bad averages?

14 thoughts on “Trying Books With Bad Average Rating, Part 2: The Results

  1. I tried to comment on your previous post yesterday, but I wasn’t able to…I don’t know if it’s an issue with my browser, but since I had already commented via Twitter on another WP blog, I couldn’t seem to do it here as well. I clicked on “Post Comment” several times,and nothing happened. I even tried to logout and login again, but to no avail. Would you hold me a grudge if I told you I HATE WP? 😜

    Basically, my reasoning was, we owe books a bit more than glancing at a rating and decide they’re not worthy. Also because we review books ourselves, so other people’s reviews should matter to us. I know there’s never time enough to read many of them, but for instance – I start with the lower ratings and see what threw off people about a certain book, then proceed onto the highest IF the things those reviewers mentioned didn’t discourage me. One of the series I love most (The Dark Passages by Ilsa J. Bick) had some of the lowest ratings I’ve ever seen just because – it seems – people got confused and didn’t have the patience to keep up with a complex, but marvelous and rewarding book-world…the more they kept mentioning things that didn’t work for them at all, the surer I was I would LOVE it…and love it I did.

    I’m Thinking of Ending Things is still on my TBR list, though some clever and kind soul on GR loathed it so much that decided to write a super short, but totally spoiler-ing hate-review 😡. So, I’ve been on the fence about it since then. I still want to read it, but now that I know the twist beforehand…I mean, as you know, I reread all the time, so I revisit lots of books where there’s no surprise awaiting for me anymore – but at least the first time around, I would like to go into the story with no prior knowledge of what’s to come…especially if it’s a HUGE twist that will flip my whole world around…

    So – your experiment went well, at least to an extent…3 out of 5 is not that bad, especially if one of those books you’re LOVING so far. Which shows that ratings alone (or backed up by only a few reviews – aren’t reliable enough…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no, that sucks. I checked and your comment didn’t appear in the spam section either – Sam’s, for instance, nearly always end up there, and I have no idea why. I’ve had trouble with wordpress comments a few times.. but I’ve also struggled with blogger haha. Thanks for writing such a thoughtful comment anyway. 🙂

      I definitely agree with you. I didn’t make it clear at all in my post, but when I’m very interested in a book I’ll go to a lot more trouble than just glancing at the rating – it’s those that I was less excited about that get deleted so easily. And I definitely agree about reading reviews (if possible) to see what’s the problem with the book.

      Damn, that’s awful! I was reading reviews of I’m Thinking of Ending Things for part 1, and THANKFULLY I managed to avoid that review. I’d have been so mad… especially when it’s really easy to mark parts of, or your whole review as spoiler on goodreads… I understand why the book lost its appeal now that you know the end – I don’t think I’d have read it had I known the ending, to be honest. It was all the questions and weird things that kept me going. Although on the other hand, you’ll be able to analyze various scenes as you’re reading now that you know what’s so weird/what’s happening. 🙂

      Like

  2. I haven’t read any of these books specifically, but I’ve had the same sort of experiences with 3-ish star books. Sometimes a story is best for a very certain type of audience rather than having a broader appeal. That can lead to lower star ratings, but it can also mean that general-you may love it if you try it!

    So 3-ish star ratings definitely don’t deter me from trying something that catches my eye. It’s good to hear you aren’t deterred by them either.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great wrap up of this awesome experiment! I’m tempted to give it a try too, even if it’s just as a way to take books off of my ridiculously large Goodreads TBR list 😂 It’s good to see that you actually did enjoy some of these books and that for the most part, the majority of these were kind of “wins”? That first book sounded really awkward though (I cringed when I read that part about an old man coming up to the MC in Starbucks and starts spouting dire warnings)! 🙈Do you think you’re going to continue doing this in the future and for other books that have an overall rating below 3.7? Do you think it’ll change how you feel about having books with a lower rating on your TBR?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! I’m really glad you enjoyed the experiment. 🙂 I’d love to see your own twist on this, and what conclusion you’ll draw at the end. Oh my god, the first one was REALLY awkward and weird haha. I don’t think I’ll make more posts with this idea, but I’ll definitely keep trying out books before deleting them from my tbr – by reading the amazon sampler, for instance. I don’t know, to be honest! 🙈 I feel like this experiment opened my eyes to lower rated books still being good (in most cases at least), but because my tbr grows SO FAST I can definitely see myself going back to deciding what to read/buy based on average ratings. 🙈

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, that’s definitely the great thing about Amazon ebooks! Being able to read a sample of them has helped me decide what book to read so many times and I’m really glad that they have the option 😊 My TBR grows ridiculously quickly too. I think I’ve (embarrassingly) added 350 books to my list since December 2018 😂Hahaha it’s kinda crazy. I think this kind of experiment would definitely help and might make a cool blogging series!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I hope Certain Dark Things continues to be a hit for you! The only one of these I’ve read is The Geography of You and Me. It was the third I’d read by Smith and the one that made me realize that I just did not click with her brand of YA.

    Liked by 1 person

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