Book Recommendation · Bookish List

The Worst Reads of the Second Half of 2019

Hello friends! I don’t think “worst” read lists are all that popular these days, at least I don’t really see them around, but I love to write and read them. I think ranting is fun especially if you find fellow readers/bloggers who are on the same opinion as you, or if someone tells you why a book you disliked worked really well for them.

Basically, discussing books is cool, no matter if we agree or disagree.

As long as we are all respectful, of course. Please don’t try to undermine others’ love and appreciation (or, on the contrary, dislike) for a novel! I get MAD when I see bloggers say things like “I don’t know what YOU ALL read, because this is shit.” You can say you dislike something and explain why without acting as though those who have a different opinion from yours are wrong.

Apparently, I’m already in rant-mode, god help us.

Today I brought you 13 books I really, truly disliked in the second half of 2019, some of them so much so that I didn’t even finish them. Even though the number might seem big, compared to the fact that I 75 books in the last six months, I think it’s an okay number. Also, the good news is that I had a lot more books on my best of list, so yay!

You can read my best of list by clicking here!

MYSTERY, THRILLER

THE TURN OF THE KEY
by Ruth Ware

Ruth Ware’s The Death of Mrs. Westaway is honestly one of my favorite thrillers – it has a wonderfully creepy atmosphere, fleshed out characters and it packs quite a few punches. Imagine my surprise when The Turn of the Key, a book I’ve been eagerly awaiting, ended up being an utter let down. The novel follows Rowan, the newly employed live-in nanny of a rich family, living in a smart-home. The picture seems idyllic, however, as soon as the parents leave Rowan alone with the kids, strange things start to happen. I think my main issue is how bloody predictable and unrealistic this novel is – I can’t go into it all without spoilers, but man, I’m disappointed. (★★★)


THE SILENT COMPANION
by Laura Purcell

I’ve heard pretty mixed things about The Silent Companion, and yet, I found myself wanting to read it – it sounded eerie and atmospheric, in other words a novel I’d adore. Sadly, that wasn’t the case. The Silent Companion centers around freshly widowed Elsie, who moves to her husband’s remote country estate. To her astonishment, the estate happens to be in a really bad shape, and is way more creepy and mysterious than she could have ever guessed. Despite my expectations, The Silent Companion was a slow, boring novel with an unremarkable (and, if I’m honest, annoying) heroine at the reins. I did jump ahead to read the ending, but for all intents and purposes, this was a DNF.


CAPTURING THE DEVIL (STALKING JACK THE RIPPER #4)
by Kerri Maniscalco

The romance lover in me really showed herself when it came to the books – I’ve always found the mysteries predictable and boring, but the romance at the beginning of the series? *chef’s kiss* Sadly, all the miscommunication, unnecessary drama and the love triangle in the third novel have put a damper on the romance. Yet, I pushed on and read the fourth and final novel – or rather, skimmed through it because I could not stomach the drama and the mediocre mystery. Also, I can’t for the life of me decide if the characters were always so over-dramatic and cheesy, or if that’s new? I’ve only been bothered by this since the third book, and I’m not sure if (a) I changed, or (b) the novels changed drastically? Either way, a let down. (★)

ROMANCE

THE WAY TO GAME THE WALK OF SHAME
by Jenn P. Nguyen

Expecting to adore it, my dumb ass put aside The Way to Game the Walk of Shame until I (1) needed cheering up, and (2) had the time to read it in one day. Well, friends, I should not have bothered, because I was anything but happy when I finished this. While telling a fun-sounding story, this YA romance had everything I dislike, including the hero constantly marveling over how the heroine is “not like other girls.” I’m just… I’m so done with this trope, and with the fact that male characters are given credit for treating girls respectfully – although, really, that only applied to the heroine, while he still demeaned other girls. (★★)


PROJECT DUCHESS
by Sabrina Jeffries

I hate to say this, because I don’t want to shit on the romance genre at all, but after finishing all the books by my favorites, I’ve been struggling to find good historical romances. I’m sure they are out there!! I just seem to be picking up all the mediocre ones… such as Project Duchess. The novel follows Beatrice and Grey as she is preparing for her debut with the help of him and his mother, and while it had a lot of things I usually love (e.g. hate to love romance!) it fell super flat for me. (★★★)
TW: sexual assault


BRINGING DOWN THE DUKE
by Evie Dunmore

With its fun cover and premise, Bringing Down the Duke was one of my most awaited romances of 2019, and man, it rankles that I have to include it on this list. Annabelle, one of the first female university students, has to aid and support the suffragist movement in exchange of her scholarship. Her target is Sebastian, Duke of Montgomery and all-around influential political figure with whom she has scorching hot chemistry. I’m just going to put this out there – this is very likely an “it’s not you, it’s me case” because I was annoyed by things that, uh, I should have expected going into the novel. Besides that I simply didn’t like the characters – they felt empty and two-dimensional, and I honestly could not have cared less for their relationship. (★★★)


APPETITES & VICES
by Felicia Grossman

Appetites & Vices – which has the most precious cover, I swear – has the perfect combination: (mild) hate to love romance and a fake relationship… and yet, I did not finish it. Honest to god, I never pay attention to the writing, which is why I rarely (if ever?) mention it in my reviews, but woah, Grossman’s writing style does not suit me at all. From the get go I felt very disconnected from the story and characters, and for the life of me I could not get into the novel. (DNF)


AWK-WEIRD
by Avery Flynn

Avery Flynn is a pretty beloved member of the romance world, I feel, but her novels just don’t seem to work for me. Awk-weird was my second (and likely last) attempt at reading her novels, and I’m so so SO disappointed, friends. The novel follows Tess and Cole who, unexpectedly, are expecting a baby after their one night stand, and want to get to know each other better so they can create the kind of healthy relationship their child will need. It’s a good concept, but I really-really disliked the hero and found him petty and vindictive. My favorite part, sadly, was Tess’s flower shop, and I think that tells you all you need to know about my feelings regarding Awk-weird. (★★)

FANTASY

THE RAVEN’S TALE
by Cat Winters

There’s genuinely nothing worse than being utterly disappointed in one of your all time favorite author’s novels, especially one that was inspired by another favorite of yours. Cat Winters’ historical fantasy of teenaged Edgar Allan Poe’s life left a lot to be desired and, in fact, it ended up being one of the few novels I had to put down without finishing in 2019. Long story short, The Raven’s Tale was able to be both dull and confusing, and it’s without doubt, one of the novels that disappointed me the most this year. (DNF)


SORCERY OF THORNS
by Margaret Rogerson

After weeks of hearing nothing but amazing things about Sorcery of Thorns I was convinced it would be a new favorite; after all, Rogerson’s debut was pretty good, even if it was far from exceptional, in my opinion. Alas, I think my high expectations killed Sorcery of Thorns for me. There’s nothing overly wrong with this book – in fact, the general concept of the world is super-fascinating, but it could have been so much better! In theory, I should have loved it all, especially the enemies to lovers romance, but it did nothing for me, and there’s no one more disappointed about that than me. (★★★)


NINTH HOUSE (NINTH HOUSE #1)
by Leigh Bardugo

Besides The Raven’s Tale, Ninth House is my biggest disappointment of the year – the amount of love and praise it has gotten is overwhelming and I fully expected to adore it. I love dark books and complex, morally gray characters, so this should have 1000% been my jam, but y’all, this was just so. unbelievably. dull. And I know it supposedly gets better after the 100 page mark, but I did not care enough to continue the novel and find out if that’s true. Also, I kind of expect my books to, ya know, become bearable to read before I’m more than 100 pages in? Again, SO MANY people loved this, so you may too, but friends, do expect a slow as heck start. (DNF)

CLASSICS

JAMAICA INN
by Daphne du Maurier

Daphne du Maurier was one of my new favorites last year, so I was excited to jump into Jamaica Inn, a novel that sounded a bit dark and creepy, aka exactly what I was looking for at that moment. Jamaica Inn follows Mary, who moves to her aunt’s house expecting to see the lively woman she remembers, but instead finds her aunt covering in fear of her brutal husband. Sadly, the book never really managed to capture my attention, and even the one thing I liked – headstrong, brave Mary – was ruined by the icky, weird romance. (★★★)


THE WOMAN IN WHITE
by Wilkie Collins

I’ve wanted to read Collins’ The Woman in White for years, so I jumped on the chance to borrow it when I realized my library had it in English. I… I don’t know what to say without seeming ignorant. I’m sure it has literary merit, being a classic novel and all, but, to me, it was an overly long, silly, predictable and rather lukewarm novel, filled with underdeveloped characters. The romance, if it can be called that, was incredibly uncomfortable to read and the book itself was not what I was hoping for. (★★)



Let’s chat!

Have you read any of these novels? What are your least favorite reads of (the second half of) 2019? Have any of your most awaited releases or favorite authors disappoint you this year?

19 thoughts on “The Worst Reads of the Second Half of 2019

  1. Awk-Weird has been on my radar for a while so I cringed to see it on your list. I’ll probably get around to it eventually so I’m crossing my fingers that I like it more than you did!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think you might, but it just wasn’t what I thought it would be, and in the two books I’ve read by the author I always felt the heroes… lacking compared to the heroines? I was really feeling for the heroines, but not the heroes, basically.. which made for a meh romance. I hope Awk-Weird will work better for you!

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  2. I do still really want to read Ninth House. My only issue is I am extremely picky with fantasy, and the fact that you said it is dull worries me. But, Shadow and Bone was surprisingly enjoyable for me, so I guess I’ll see!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am curious about Ninth House and The Raven’s Tale despite knowing that it could end badly for me and result in me not liking them, but I’m hopeful. I have yet to read a Daphne du Maurier novel, but I’m super curious in her work. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Haha Veronika, Ninth House actually made my best-of list this year!

    I completely understand about trying to find a good histrom, I struggle too. Have you read Scarlett Peckham?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha, I’m glad it worked so well for you! 😀

      I started to write I haven’t, but I realized I read The Earl I Ruined this year – I didn’t love it as much as I expected, but it was still a strong four star read. 🙂 I’ll need to check out more books by her, thank you for the rec! 🙂

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  5. I LOVE doing these lists hahah. I haven’t done a “worst-of” yet, but Raven’s Tale will 100% be on mine! Sad that Ninth House didn’t work- I keep thinking I’ll either love it or hate it and nothing in between, which is why I have been putting it off! Capturing the Devil is making me hesitant to even start the series, eep!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, The Raven’s Tale was so darn disappointing. I hope Ninth House will work better for you than it did for me! I think the Stalking Jack the Ripper series has really gone downhill and I have a lot of problems with it, BUT loads of people love it – even the final book which, yes, was disappointing for many readers – so I think it may very well work for you. 🙂

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  6. Oh, I am so sad (and scared!) to see Sorcery of Thorns and Ninth House on here!! I wasn’t a huge fan of Margaret Rogerson’s first book but after seeing so many people love Sorcery of Thorns, I thought I might like it, but I’ve been seeing some negative things about it recently aahh. And Ninth House is definitely a book that I’ve seen a wide range of emotions on, but the slow start seems to be a point of consensus for a lot of people! Sorry you didn’t enjoy all these books, Veronika!! (But they are definitely a lot of fun to read 😎💞)

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    1. I think if you go into Sorcery expecting a simple but entertaining fantasy, you have a big chance of liking it! I went into expecting something unique and different, and that’s really not what this book is. Also, I liked her debut more than this, but I’m definitely in the minority there. I hope you’ll love Ninth House – I know a lot of people did. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I think I am most sad to see Jamaica Inn on this list because I loved Rebecca and wanted to try more of her works! I read The Woman in White and although I really liked it in the beginning, the middle dragged like crazy!! I am also more wary of Ninth House and Sorcery of Thorns, both of which are on my TBR. I have heard polarising things about both and my excitement for both of them has gone a bit lukewarm. I loved The Way to Game to Walk of Shame back as a teen reader. I wonder what I would make of it now… but do not intend to reread 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I recommend My Cousin Rachel by Du Maurier – it’s perhaps even better than Rebecca. Jamaice Inn though… what a disappointment. 😦 I hope you’ll love Ninth House and Sorcery of Thorns, especially with Sorcery I think you’re good to go if you know what to expect. (Fun, trope-y fantasy, as opposed to the unique story I was looking forward to, haha.) Lol, I feel the same way about LOADS OF books – I loved them as a teen, but now I’d rather not revisit them and check, haha.

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  8. Capturing the Devil was such a disappointment 😦 I love Thomas and Audrey Rose but I loved that their romance was never the Number One thin in the series and I honestly felt like CtD was a romance with a tiny side dish of mystery. Which sucked because I loved books one and two so much! There was never so much cheesiness and drama in those ones, sigh.

    OMG finally someone else who didn’t like Ninth House!! I hated that book, honestly, and agree that it was so incredibly dull. Ugh. I got rid of my copy as soon as I finished it, haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, my thoughts exactly!! I *love* romance novels, but these books were fun because of the mystery solving AND the romance; those two things worked best together. Book 3 and 4 were so dramatic and boring.

      I mean, I couldn’t even finish it, it was THAT BAD, haha. Just so so SO dull and, idk, typical? It didn’t feel unique or new, which is what people were calling it. I rarely say this, but I don’t really get why many people love it. *hides*

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