Mini Reviews of Books I Didn’t Love

I usually won’t finish reading a book I’m not into because let’s face it: there are more books available than I’ll ever be able to read in my lifetime. It’s not worth plodding through something unenjoyable. Yes, sometimes a book can make a surprising turnaround halfway through, or the ending redeems the whole thing, and how are you going to know unless you finish? If I think something like that is likely to happen, I’ll push through to the end. Sometimes they don’t deliver, and those books get 2 stars. They had potential, but ultimately disappointed.

Not everything is everyone’s cup of tea. Here are some 2 star books I didn’t love.

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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.

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Horrorstör – Grady Hendrix

★★★☆☆

What sold me first on this book is its design. It’s made to look like an IKEA catalog (in fact, when my husband saw this book come in the mail, he said he almost threw it in the garbage because he thought it was a catalog). I purposefully bought the paperback because of the design. Inside are illustrations of fictional pieces of furniture, company mottos, even an order form. A+

The order form is the copyright page
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Josefina Montoya – American Girl Doll

★★★★☆

Josefina was the sixth doll in Pleasant Company’s lineup back in 1997 when I was sixteen and more interested in boys than dolls. I still wanted dolls, but I wouldn’t admit it. Oh, my sister and I bought the Spice Girls Barbies right about then, but as a joke. I mean, nobody expected we really liked those. The whole collection. And I found a Jonathan New Kids on the Block doll on eBay to keep them company. Again, as a joke.

Totally not my Scary Spice that followed me to adulthood

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My Best Friend’s Exorcism – Grady Hendrix

★★★★★

It’s the 80s, and there’s so much of it. Abby invites everyone in school to her birthday party at the roller rink, and only one person, Gretchen, shows up. Gretchen gives a disappointing present, but the two girls become best friends. We follow them through the grades, the boys, the catty friends, until a small group of them try some drugs, try to go skinny dipping, and Gretchen gets lost in the woods. She comes back with maybe some PTSD, and she gets worse before she gets better. Stops bathing. Stops changing her clothes. Stops being normal. Everyone’s worried, but the more 

Abby tries to get to the bottom of what happened and how she can help her friend, everyone turns on her instead. Why is Abby spreading lies, they ask? Why is Abby being such a bad influence? Abby is surely the reason behind Gretchen’s downward spiral, and we don’t want our daughter associating with her anymore. If it’s not Abby . . .

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Bleach Please – Edinburgh

★★★★★

Bleach Please is a new salon in New Town, Edinburgh that first caught my eye with its PINK inside and unicorn head in the window. The next thing was their stellar reviews.

I needed a haircut. Unlike my days when I worked in a salon and my hair couldn’t grow a single inch without my co-workers wanting to “play”, I only get a haircut every six months or so. I tend to keep it long, and they’re damn expensive. You get what you pay for, though, because last time I got myself a £30 haircut at a chain salon and came home needing to un-bulk and finish the haircut at home. Lucky for me, I knew how to do that (it’s harder when you can’t stand behind yourself), but I paid for the whole service, and it upset me to have to tweak it at all.

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More than This – Patrick Ness

★★★☆☆

Seth drowns and wakes up alone in an abandoned city, or the weirdest afterlife I’ve ever imagined.

Coming from a religious background myself, the idea of an afterlife is a) ever-present and b) a total mystery (and well-worth imagining). While it seems like Seth might be in Hell, it’s not explicit. For the first 40% of the book, he’s alone (except for the occasional animal, which may or may not be in his imagination), and I’ve never been so engrossed in a book in recent memory. 

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Oink – Edinburgh

★★★★★

Oink is a pulled pork sandwich, simple as that. You know a place is good when there are more people than sitting places in an establishment (or when the line to order goes out the door, as it often does on Victoria Street). For a person like me, who gets agitated (let’s all say it, “freaked out”) by crowds, I’ll suck it up and go to Oink because it’s one of the best pulled pork sandwiches I’ve ever had.

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