Bookish Fun!

Worst Books Of 2020

Hey Guys! I am Max and I will be attempting to construct one of the articles in my “end of the year series” today. This series consists of Worst Books of 2020, Best Books of 2020 and Most Anticipated Releases of 2020. Today, I will be manufacturing the most controversial article in this series and that is the Worst Books I’ve read in 2020.

Disclaimer: Please do not get offended if some of your favourite books are on this list. The books that are mentioned on this list are based solely on my own opinions and taste and please, just take my words with a grain of salt.

*Side Note: this list will go according to my least disliked to my most disliked books of 2020. So, we will start off with my least disliked and make our way down to my most disliked.

So, without further ado, let us dive right into the list!


9. Blue Ticket By Sophie Mackintosh

Blue Ticket is more of a disappointment than a straight-up egregious book. I had high hopes going into this novel because I really thought that it would blow me away with the story and the writing as the synopsis of this novel suggested that I can and should put all my expectations on it as it has everything that I love: notions on feminism, dystopian society, discussion on body rights, segregated society and it is written in a literary fiction style and instead of getting those, the final product of this novel is a confusing and convoluted plot, the lack of world-building and a plethora of chances for the story to swirl in the right direction but the author decided to let the story bite its tail. Therefore, it made it on my Worst Books of 2020 list.

Here’s the full review for this novel that I had constructed in July if you are curious to see the ups and downs of this novel.

Final Verdict: 50% (D)

8. Midnight’s Twins By Holly Race

Young Adult fiction has been a hit or miss for me this year and this is, no doubt, a miss for me. The characters in this book, other than the protagonist and the protagonist’s brother, have zero character trait and radically, they are just caricatures and their foremost objective there is to advance the plot. Also, I did not say this in my review but the names of the characters, especially the name of the protagonist’s mom, are way too fantasy-like. They are supposed to live in our world not in some fantasy world with unique sounding names. In addition, the world-building for the dreamscape land called Annwn is very weak and it does not make sense on several levels. Therefore, it is number 8 on the list.

Here’s the full review for this novel that I had constructed in mid-December if you are curious to see the ups and downs of this novel.

Final Verdict: 45% (E)

7. The Other Americans By Laila Lalami

The writing style for this novel is, no doubt, beautiful and easy to absorb. The story, however, is a different situation altogether. It is extremely forgettable and it does not have re-read value. The characters in this novel have different motivations and most of the time, I do not understand why they do the things they did. The pacing is atrocious; it is a hybrid of both slow and fast and it is very unevenly distributed. Every time I put this book down, I do not have the urge to pick it back up. Besides, there’s a drug abuse scene where the protagonist’s sister is about to confess to her but did not manage to do so and it is never brought up in the novel again. This can be potentially triggering to people with a history of drug abuse and I do not fancy how the author executed this element in the story. Moreover, topics on racism are brushed under rug so often in this novel. I do not understand why the author would bring it up and put it aside as quickly as possible.

Oh, let’s not forget that I thought this book was a literary thriller but apparently, it is not. The synopsis of this novel makes this book sound like it is a literary thriller and I think it is purely for marketing purposes only. If you want to read this book, keep in mind that it is more of a character study (although the characters are not that exceptional to study anyways) than a thriller/mystery.

Final Verdict: 40% (E)

6. In The Shadow Of The Wolves By Alvydas Slepikas

Going into this book, I was expecting to love it and instead of enjoying it, it made it on this list. The writing style for this novel is both beautiful and over-the-top. It is beautiful when it has amazing quotes like:-

“Lotte poured some boiled water from the teapot into a cup, and gave it to Helmut. There hadn’t been any wolves around for a long time; these days they existed only in fairy tales. People were like wolves now.”

-but the author had to switch it up and made it over-the-top without any reason. Sometimes, the children in this novel do not even sound like children. They sound like dramatic poets in the making.

Although everything in this book is morbid, I do not feel attached to anyone or anything in the novel because of how inordinate the author had written this book. I tried really hard to get into the right headspace and to immerse myself into the story but I could not do it. The writing style made it impossible for me to get into the story and therefore, it is on this list.

Final Verdict: 38% (E)

5. The Ghost Bride By Yangsze Choo

Are we even surprised The Ghost Bride made it on this list?

I had not thought about it ever since I finished writing the review in May and I could not really remember the story (but have a vague idea of it) and that shows how utterly forgettable it is.

The romance in this novel is laughable. It is purely ‘love at first sight’ material and the protagonist of this novel is a dumbass. Like what I commented in my review: “He could be a kidnapper or an en masse murderer and I bet Li Lan will still be languishing over him and not see the facet he is wearing.” The pacing of this novel is an abomination and it should never have seen the light of day. 

I have a full rant review up on my blog and if you are interested in that, you should click into it. What I wrote above is just the icing on the cake and there’s a more in-depth review of this book on that rant review article.

Final Verdict: 35% (E)

4. Vanishing Girls By Lauren Oliver

The only pro in Vanishing Girls is the astounding writing style. Other than that, it is all cons.

First of all, that closing is one of the worst closings I’ve ever read in my entire life. The conundrum or rather, the centre of the mystery falls flat towards the end of the novel. It is inconceivably anti-climatic and it is eminently predictable as well. When I read a thriller, I want to be pleasantly startled by the plot twists and the structure of the story but this did not assuage any of that. 

Second of all, the pacing of this novel is disastrous. Normally I am okay with slow-paced books but this novel is so slow from start to finish and nothing happens for about 70% of the way through this book and things only pick up towards the end and even that can’t save the book. Note that this book is only under 300 pages.

Lastly, the young adult characters are the exact image of any other thriller novels you will find under the sky and they are one-dimensional characters. I expected better from Lauren Oliver because she wrote one of the best Young Adult books I’ve ever laid my eyes on and that book is Before I Fall. For that book, she manages to capture the essence of a teenager but for Vanishing Girls, the essence is gone and it is replaced by amateur character structure.

Final Verdict: 25% (E)

3. Tuck Everlasting By Natalie Babbitt

To summarize my review for this novel, it would be:-

-the writing style has more “tells than shows”, this book promotes pedophilia despite being a classic children novel, the pacing is shambolic, the messages the author is trying to convey are not evergreen and they have been talked about time and again in recent years.

Here’s the full review for this novel that I had constructed in 3 days ago if you are curious to see the ups and downs of this novel.

Final Verdict: 15% (F)

2. Angels’ Blood By Nalini Singh

Where do I even begin?

This book is, undisputedly, smut. It does not really have a plot. The author makes it seem like the plot of this novel is secondary and the smut is the primary focus of the novel. Everything else is tertiary and not important. The ‘everything else’ includes character development, world-building, writing style and atmosphere. None of those is present in the story, the only thing that the author wants you to know is that there are smut and an overabundance of sex in this book and those are the primary focus. 

The plot of this novel is quite absurd and it does not make a lot of sense. Characters that got together do not have any chemistry or anything in common and do not even get me started on the number of times the protagonist screams “NO!” to the mind-controlling thing that her alpha-angel-boyfriend does to her. I cringed inside every time she says “NO!”. Consent is basically non-existent in this novel.

The ending of this novel is another one of the worst endings I’ve ever deposited my eyes on. It does not make any sense! How did they surgically sew a pair of angel wings on the protagonist’s back when no one in this world knows that that is a possibility? It is remarkably ludicrous and it made me laugh like a horse.

Final Verdict: 10% (F)

1. The Cheat By Marita A. Hansen

The only reason I requested for this book on Netgalley is because I want to read a book that is from a genre I’ve not explored before to get out of my comfort zone but… I would pretty much like to go back to my comfort zone now.

Both of the protagonists of this novel do not have the basic knowledge of consent. There’s a ridiculously large amount of fatphobia in this book which is absolutely infuriating to read about. The scene where the mother of the female protagonist who is frantically watching the male protagonist stripping and practicing onanism by his window scarred my eyeballs. There’s cheating in a relationship in this novel which did not get resolve by the end because this is a 4-part series. Also, the female protagonist watching the male protagonist strip by his window is weird (she thinks he doesn’t know she is watching) but what’s weirder is that the male protagonist does it on purpose and he did it with pride and he knows she is watching so he does it. *allow me to retch in the toilet.*

The writing style of this novel is amateur at best. It does not have the most ludicrous writing style and it does not have the most lucrative writing style either. It is just… there.

Final Verdict: 5% (F)


And that concludes my ‘Worst Books Of 2020!’ Be sure to let me know what your worst books of 2020 are in the comment section below! I hope you all enjoyed this article and follow me with your email/WordPress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

Tuck Everlasting By Natalie Babbitt | Book Review

Hey Everyone! I am Max and I will be conducting a book review for Tuck Everlasting By Natalie Babbitt today! Tuck Everlasting is classified as a classic of modern children’s literature. I would like to thank Pansing for sending a copy of this novel to me in exchange for a review!

So, without further ado, let us get into the book review section!

Synopsis:

Doomed to – or blessed with – eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

Review:

Since this is not an exceptionally long book (this edition of the novel that I owned has 215 pages and the font is pretty huge), this will not be a long review as well because I do not want to give anything away if you are attempting to read the novel. Therefore, we will start the review by elucidating on the writing style of the novel.

The writing style of this novel is pretty straightforward which is fine for a children novel but it does not have anything distinctive going for it. It is not saturated with purple prose nor is it written seamlessly. Some of the sentences did indeed fall short while a modicum of them extend beyond what is necessary. Besides, there is more telling instead of showing. For example, “The constable was fat, and he was sleepy. He wheezed when he spoke. And he spoke quite a bit as they started off, he and the man in yellow suit.” I did not fancy the way it is written, I thought it would be better if the author were to switch it up and describe the scenes instead of taking the easy way out. However, the word selections and the composition of the writing are easily digestible and it can be read comfortably by a child. 

Now, I would like to express my distaste for the so-called “romance” in this novel although, it did not head to that stage (thank goodness!). Winnie, the protagonist of this novel, is an innocent ten-year-old child who is out wandering in the woods one afternoon, comes across this pond that will proffer immortality if you drink its content. The Tuck Family is a family of immortals because they drank from the pond decades before decides to abduct Winnie and tries to reason with her on humanity and whatnot to obstruct her from drinking from the pond. Here is where the book promotes paedophilia. Jesse Tuck who is an immortalized seventeen-year-old likes Winnie and he gives her the water and tells her to drink it when she gets older so that they can be together forever. When I read this, I was absolutely disgusted and it boggled (and it still boggles) my mind as to how the author thinks this behaviour is acceptable and put it into a children book where it will probably go unnoticed. I cannot tell if this is done intentionally because later in the novel, Winnie grows up and dies without drinking the water from the pond, but it did not sit well with me.

Although I did capture the messages that the author is trying to convey through this novel, I feel like the messages are quite stale and they are also messages that are ratiocinated in the world. It did not bring anything new to the table and if it had indeed brought something innovative once upon a time, then I will safely say that this book is not evergreen in terms of the lessons that the author would like us to learn.

The pacing of this novel makes everything bearable for once. Since it is written like a piece of old tackle and it has more ‘tells than shows’, the pacing of this novel quickens with ease. I read this novel in 2 hours because there’s something happening in almost every scene and it held my attention until the very end of the book but unfortunately, it just isn’t a good book.

Thus, my final verdict for this novel is 15% (F). Normally I love reading children classics because they are such a delight to read to children or to read by yourself but this is just not it.


This is the end of my review for Tuck Everlasting By Natalie Babbitt! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Book Review

Midnight’s Twins By Holly Race | Book Review

Hey Guys! It is Max here and I will be reviewing Midnight’s Twins By Holly Race today! I would like to thank Pansing for sending a copy of this novel to me! Before we dive into the review, I would like to bestow the prerequisites upon you.

Genre: Young Adult Portal Fantasy

Page count: 352

So, without further ado, let us get into the review section of this article!

Synopsis:

Fifteen-year-old Londoner Fern is about to uncover a place that she could not have imagined in all her wildest dreams. Annwn is the dream mirror of our world, a place where Dreamers walk in their slumber, their dreams playing out all around them. An enchanted, mysterious place that feeds our own world – as without dreams, without a place where our imaginations and minds can be nourished, what kind of humans would we be?

But Annwn is a place as full of dangers as it is wonders: it is a place where dreams can kill you. Annwn and its Dreamers are protected by an ancient order known as the Knights – and when Fern’s hated twin Ollie is chosen to join their ranks, Fern will have to do whatever she can to prove she is one of them too.

But the world Fern discovers in Annwn, in this dream mirror of her London, is a fragile one, threatened by vicious nightmares. Nightmares that are harder and harder for the Knights to defeat. Something dark is jeopardising the peace and stability of Annwn, something that must be rooted out at all costs. And gradually, Fern realises that the danger lurking inside our sleep is more insidious and terrifying than any nightmare. Because if you can influence someone’s dreams, you can control their thoughts.

Review:

In this novel, we are introduced to the lead character christened Fern King, her twin brother – Ollie King, their common friend – Ramesh and a few other friends. Ramesh and a few other friends that I could not for the life of me remember are forgettable characters. I did not, in any way, find myself getting attached to them and I wish the author would craft multiple layers upon these characters because I did not even care when one is hurt or the other is dead. Their characterizations do not feel authentic to me, it felt like they were just there to propel the plot forward.

However, Fern and Ollie do indeed feel like people you would meet in real life. Ollie is such an asshole and every time he appears in a scene, I will get extremely annoyed because he bullies his sister with his crowd of “friends” which leads to her getting tied to a tree and the fire searing her skin. Well, why did they do that? Because she has red eyes and they think she is a witch. What the actual fuck. I did not like that the author tries to redeem Ollie as a character because how can you redeem someone who almost killed his own sister albeit, accidentally letting the fire go?

With all that egregious stuff done to her, Fern tries to distance herself from humans in general because she does not want anyone to use her or bully her so she keeps to herself most of the time. She becomes spiteful of her brother, jealous of the discrepancies between the love her father gives her brother and her (their mother is dead), grows extremely dubious to anyone who treats her well and she also becomes duplicitous in every way possible to survive. I found myself rooting for Fern with my whole being because she is a believable character and she exudes such confidence when she is proficient at something and ugh, I just loved her as a character in this novel.

If you know, portal fantasy has been gone for quite some time and now, it is making a comeback with a few well-known novels like Burn By Patrick Ness and I have not had any fluke with portal fantasy ever since I finished the Daughter of Smoke and Bones trilogy 3 years back and this is no exception. Although the world is fascinating, it is not well-built. It lacks flavor and the details that the author has provided are not intricate enough for me to picture it in my mind. I am still confused by the power that Fern wields called –inspyre – and how did that power make an army of people that cannot feel fear? In addition, the world – Annwn – does not make sense on several occasions in the novel. For example, why didn’t the old buildings change in shape in Annwn when the landscape is already different in Ithr (our world), are they not meant to coexist? Also, how did the villain build his own “fortress” using his inspyre when the landscape in Annwn still lingers in the past?

Moreover, I kind of wish the author would have lingered a little longer on the school-setting section of the novel and let the readers learn more of the world through the eyes of the protagonist because it seems a little too soon for them to go out into the world to fight all those nightmares.

However, this novel is well-paced. It does not drag the story or take the story through a tantivy speed. With that, it is engaging and it makes you flip through the pages in expeditiously and before you know it, you have already reached the final pages of the novel.

The writing style for this novel does not have anything special but it is definitely readable and it has more “showing than telling” which I absolutely enjoyed.

In conclusion, I am proffering this novel with a rating of 45% (E). I wish some things are done differently in this novel and if the things I described in my review are right up to your alley, you should give it a try. If it is not, I would not recommend it.


This is the end of my review for Midnight’s Twin By Holly Race! I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!

Bookish Fun!

Anti-TBR Book Tag

Hello there! I am Max and I know I have not constructed a book tag article since 2018 but I will make a book tag comeback post for this forgotten category on my blog right now. Therefore, today I will be doing the Anti-TBR Book Tag, a tag which has been floating around the book community recently and I am extremely excited to answer the questions and take my own spin on this rather controversial tag!

So, without further ado, let us dive into the questions and answers.

Tag created by Nicole & Her Books

1. A popular book EVERYONE loves that you have no interest in reading?

What a pleasant surprise, am I right? WRONG. Although the first book in the Twilight Saga was pretty decent when I read it in 2018 (not sure how it would fare in this day and age), the remaining two books – excluding Breaking Dawn because I have yet to read that – were not convivial in the sparsest. I hated and still despise New Moon to this day and Eclipse was slightly (only slightly) better but not pleasant enough for me to move my hands to the last book in the series. I will probably read Breaking Dawn someday but not anytime soon because I want to know how it ends. I will not read Midnight Sun because I heard that it is basically Twilight told from Edward’s point of view so erm, no thanks honey. It sounds like a cash-grab.

P.S why is this book 662 pages long!?

2. A classic book (or author) you don’t have an interest in reading?

Is it blasphemous to say that I will probably never read Great Expectations By Charles Dickens? I know almost nothing about this book and I have never watched the film adaptations of this novel. The cover and the synopsis do not hold any interest in me. I read the synopsis a couple of times on Goodreads and I still do not know what this book is about so, this wavers me away from reading this classic.

3. A problematic author whose books you have no interest in reading?

Okay so, I read the Harry Potter series way before she who shall not be named started spewing her transphobic thoughts on Twitter through a series of tweets and threads and now I do not want anything to do with her or read any of her future releases. She basically dragged Harry Potter and her reputation through the mud by making those disgusting statements and I am pretty sure that people who love Harry Potter would not want to associate with her in the future.

Click here to read a complete rundown on what occurred on Twitter in case you missed it and do donate to Homeless Black Trans if you are able to. Click here to donate.

4. An author you have read a couple of books from & have decided their books are not for you?

None at the moment because I love to give a profusion of chances to an author before I put a stop to it and if the book from the author I did not like is hyped up, I am bound to pick it up to see what the appeal is. Therefore, none. However, if this question is worded this way: An author I have no interest in reading from, it would be Jodi Picoult.

Her books – based on the synopsis – do not really intrigue me but they definitely do appeal to a wide audience. So, it is me thing although I am quite intrigued by Her sister’s keepers. Maybe I will read that in the future, who knows.

5. A genre you have no interest in OR a genre you tried to get into & couldn’t?

None at the moment because I want to try out all the genres before I come to a conclusion.

6. A book you have bought but will never read? (this can be a book you have unhauled/returned to the library unread)

Picture #1

Ermmmm… Probably the rest of the Matched series by Ally Condie. I read the first book in that series last year and it was so astonishingly monotonous that it took me an aeon to finish. Also, maybe the rest of the Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children series… I read the first book in that series and I did not like it. I have a review for this book on my blog, you can check it out here. Yeah, well… At least I tried reading them.

Picture #2

7. A series you have no interest in reading OR a series you started & have dnf’d?

I started reading Beautiful Creatures in 2018 I think and I did not like it. I thought it was boring, the characters were 2D cutout characters, the story in itself did not push me to read the next book in the series and I utterly abhorred the ending of the novel. Maybe someday I will come back to the series with an open mind but as of right now, there are many more wondrous books out there waiting for me to pick them up.

8. A new release you have no interest in reading?

Yeah so this is totally not my type of book after reading several reviews on Goodreads about this novel.


This is the end of the book tag for ‘Anti-TBR book tag!’ I hope you all enjoyed it and follow me with your email/Wordpress account to get notifications when I post a new article! Bye!