Being a Grinch on Christmas Day, aka my Most Disappointing Books of 2019


It’s Christmas, which, in my opinion, is the most famous holiday of the year! Though I must admit that I’m not much of a fan. My family and I don’t take part in most Christmas traditions, and it’s been years since I felt the holiday cheer. So I thought that it would be fitting to celebrate this holiday by being the neighborhood grinch. Today, I’m going to be talking about the most disappointing books I read in 2019!

I specifically titled this post “disappointing,” instead of “worst,” because most of these books aren’t that bad. The expectations I had for them were simply so high that the actual thing paled in comparison.

While I was making this list, I thought that I was gonna have—at most—five books to mention, but….. I ended up with 15. *awkward silence* I was able to narrow this list down to ten books though!

A Thousand Fires by Shannon Price

I think this is only the second book I’ve given 1 star to in my entire life. *sigh* There was such a golden opportunity to subvert the abusive love interest trope, but no: This book embraced it full stop. Also, it tried to tackle issues like gentrification and mental health, but it did so in such a simplistic manner.

I haven’t gotten around to writing my review yet because I’m a mess, but in the meantime, check out CW’s excellent review.

The King’s Men by Nora Sakavic

(I’ve lowered my rating of this from 4 stars to 3 stars.) I pushed through the entire All for the Game series with the intention of FINALLY seeing these difficult characters open up to each other, and start at least trying to be good people. And I got that. But not to the extent I wanted? I guess that’s my fault.

Wayward Son by Rainbow Rowell

I had heard of the controversy surrounding Rainbow Rowell, but I was still willing to give her the benefit of the doubt. I regret that now because 1) I read more about the things she’s been called out on, and I’ve decided that I no longer want to support her, and 2) Wayward Son wasn’t even that good. Carry On’s strength lies in its ability to not take itself too seriously, so the more somber tone of this sequel didn’t work for me. Also, I can’t remember Simon and Penny being this annoying.

I’m done with all of Rainbow Rowell’s works from now on, because she still refuses to apologize for all the microaggressions she’s committed. You can read about Eleanor & Park’s problems here. And there are other controversies surrounding her that I won’t get into. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t support her, but I personally won’t.

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

There were SO many things that didn’t work for me, but I feel like other people would love those same aspects.

Read my mini-review!

Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

I should’ve known that I wasn’t gonna like this! From the synopsis and reviews, it seemed like generic YA™, and it WAS. I hated the usage of popular YA clichés and the insta-love. I’m sure Black readers will enjoy this more than I did though.

I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver

I was so excited for this because the author’s nonbinary, and they’re writing about a nonbinary protagonist! That’s representation we almost never see in literature! But there were so many moments wherein Deaver could’ve gone deeper (with Ben’s emotions, the themes—everything), yet they didn’t. I’ve read an entire book about Ben, yet they still feel like a stranger to me.

Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray

It pains me that this book is on this list because I scream about The Diviners on a daily basis. I still recommend The Diviners series with my whole heart, but its second book felt like a filler—a 600-page filler, at that. This added NOTHING to the overall plot of the series, and not a single thing happened until the last fifty or so pages.

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang

Romance books wherein the two main characters feel an attraction to each other immediately after their first meeting are boring to me. I like it more when there’s pining and slow burn okay. I also felt super distant from the characters—maybe it’s because I haven’t read The Kiss Quotient? On top of that, reading Shealea’s review opened my eyes to all the “yikes” stuff about Khai and Esme’s romance.

The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

Oof. This is probably the most beloved book on this list. It was inevitable that it wouldn’t live up to the hype, because my expectations were sky-high. Whilst listening to the audiobook, the only thought going through my head was “When am I going to love this?”, which ultimately ruined my reading experience.

Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan

If I rated this based on rep and themes alone, I’d give it 5 stars. But on a plot and character basis? This book is nothing new. Sorry.

Read my full review! (Though it’s one of the first reviews I ever posted on this blog, so it’s probably shitty.)

I’m writing this with less than a week left in 2019, and it’s a silent prayer to the gods not to let me read any more disappointing books this year.

Merry Christmas again (if you celebrate)! ❤️ I would love to know how your day is going so far, and how you celebrate Christmas. I’m currently in Japan with my family, and I’ve experienced snow for the VERY FIRST time!!!!

Have you read any of these books? Were you disappointed in them too? What were your most disappointing reads of 2019? How is Christmas going so far? How do you celebrate Christmas?

33 thoughts on “Being a Grinch on Christmas Day, aka my Most Disappointing Books of 2019


    felt the same way about lair of dreams like why did it happen what even happened in the book apart from dream-walking?? nothing. girls of paper and fire is one of the most terrible books i’ve read im sorry like it was so meh and boring. like yes!! for the rep but the rest…it aint it. im shocked to see the 7 husbands on this list!! i was planning to read it this year but didnt get a chance but its so hyped and have hardly seen anyone NOT like it. the devouring gray was one of my most disappointing of the year…like the raven boys x stranger things? SOUNDED AMAZING. the execution was just not there :((

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 🐸☕

      i swear, we had the exact same thoughts on lair of dreams lmao. lol, i didn’t hate gopaf with a burning passion, but it definitely was super meh to me. i feel bad because it is an important book, but i’m a reader who primarily focuses on plot, character, worldbuilding, etc., and sadly gopaf didn’t do those things well :((
      i think the fact that it became everybody’s favorite book of all time is the reason why i DIDN’T like it. it’s just… the hype was too high, and i started expecting so much from the evelyn hugo that it was impossible that it would deliver. i’m sad because if i hadn’t had such high expectations, i probably would’ve enjoyed it way more!
      i’m super sad that the devouring gray disappointed you! it’s still on my tbr even though i’ve heard mixed things lmao. idk, it’s atmosphere just calls to me, and if i hate it, at least i’ll have content for a rant review, i guess. here’s to us finding better reads in 2020!


  2. i absolutely LOVE the fact that we both had the same idea of making a grinch post on christmas, hahah. great minds think alike indeed!
    i was really hyped for a thousand fires, because i read the outsiders last year and it sounded so much like a modern re-telling of it. but i haven’t heard the best, sadly, and i’m really debating whether i should actually give it a chance or not.
    PROPS TO YOU for continuing the all for the game series. i have yet to push myself through it, lol, and i’m not even sure if i will. i really didn’t like the first one, but i still have a little bit of hope.
    i felt the exact same way about seven husbands of evelyn hugo. taylor jenkins reid is such a hyped author that i’m think i’m bound to feel disappointed by all her books. i spent the entire time wanting to love the book and finally, when the plot twist happens, it felt too little too late, and i definitely didn’t love this as much as everyone else did.
    (ALSO IT’S SO EXCITING YOU SAW SNOW!!!!! experiencing snow is one of my biggest dreams! hope you have an amazing time in japan and a good end of the year in general 💞)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG YES. i laughed when i saw your post, because we both had the same idea!!
      ehh, i really don’t think you should. like, the love interest is borderline abusive, but as a whole, the book just isn’t great. i have no idea how it got published, actually. like, the characters are all super two-dimensional, and the author did try to tackle important issues, but for me, she didn’t really succeed. yeah, basically a thousand fires has nothing going for it, and i’m pretty sure that most other books are way more worth your time!
      i hope that bit of hope is well-placed and you end up liking the series more than i did!! idk.. it was an ok series i guess? it’s pretty mediocre on all fronts, but the one thing it does SUPER WELL is the found family trope, and i think that’s why it’s so beloved. (still don’t get the hype around andrew though, honestly)
      omg i’m so happy that someone else didn’t like it that much :(( it feels like i’m the only person in the world who doesn’t. yeah, it’s just that the hype surrounding her and her books is what’s ruining them for me! i don’t even remember much from my reading experience of evelyn hugo except the fact that i was impatiently waiting to see what everyone else was seeing about it. and the plot twist! omg, was i the only one who was…. underwhelmed? i had set the twist up so high in my head, so when the actual reason was finally revealed, i was like, “thats it?” i mean, it was horrible, but i was expecting something that would completely blow me away, and again, my expectations were sadly too high.
      ahhhh, it was one of my biggest dreams, and i’m so happy that i’ve finally realized it!! i hope you can too 🥺 yes, i did have an amazing time in Japan, and i think this year did end on a good note ❤ that's so sweet, thank you 💕💕

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my gosh THAT TITLE!! DYING!!

    I guess I’m just easy to please because a lot these are books that I at least liked or predict liking… welp calling myself out.

    Totally with you on Girls of Paper & Fire, I just wasn’t vibing with that book. I liked the world and writing but didn’t connect with the characters nor the romance. Which is unfortunate because I still haven’t any good luck with f/f romance.

    I still haven’t read CoBab, I’d like to so I can see what everyone was talking about. But the whole Twitter drama put me off just a smidge. Ya know??

    YAY FOR SNOW!! Currently having a book hangover. It’s fine IM FINEEEE

    Liked by 1 person

    1. haha, i am the resident grinch of the book community 😈

      nooo, ruby, your taste is amazing! ahh, i’m so happy that you enjoyed these books more than i did (and honestly a little jealous 😥)

      yeah, lei and wren were… pretty bland honestly. i liked the diversity of their relationship, but otherwise, it wasn’t doing anything for me. i think that there are f/f books with great romances out there though! (i’d recommend the never titling world and we set the dark on fire, hehe. plus, there are a lot of amazing-sounding ones coming out in 2020!)

      i hope you enjoy it more than i did! i read even though i had this feeling that i wasn’t going to like it, because everyone else was hyping it up and i can see why. the sequel just came out, and honestly… i’ve seen NO ONE talk about it, and it’s confusing because COBAB was so hyped lmao. OMG YES!! what tomi adeyemi did really made me question my respect for her. like, accusing nora roberts of.. plagiarizing her? what. the. heck? and she didn’t even have the decency to apologize for her actions even though she was clearly in the wrong!

      omg the snow was so beautiful. like, yes, my body was frozen solid but it was a winter wonderland over in Japan!! I HOPE YOU GET OVER THAT BOOK HANGOVER SOON!!! ❤ (also what book caused it hehe)

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 1000% agree,,, super bland?! Def a goal to read more f/f romance in 2020.

        Just c’mon authors, social media is not your place to rant. Honestly its so frustrating and makes me lose their trust. Even with that whole Angie Thomas thing, any author who went on about it just made me want to scream. Like okay I think they get it…. ya know?

        Queen of Nothing caused it HA. OH MY!! (Read my 2019 favourites hehe *wink wink*) WHO WOULD’VE THOUGHT?! Actually who am I kidding, we all know I’m the truest of trash. Can’t change who I am

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Sorry you didn’t enjoy these books! It sucks when they don’t live up to your expectations. I’m currently reading Children of Blood and Bone. I’m really enjoying it but I can completely understand why you didn’t enjoy it. I can see all the cliches and such the book possess. I think I’m enjoying it mostly because I really enjoy the writing style 🙂

    Amber @ Escape Life in the Pages

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, that’s ok! Most of them were just ‘meh’ reads instead of ‘I hate this so much’ reads, so it’s not that bad! I’m glad that you’re enjoying Children of Blood and Bone more than I am! I listened to it in audio, so I didn’t really get to experience the writing style, which is a shame 😦


  5. Eep, a lot of these books are on my TBR! Don’t worry, they have been lowered a little in prominence after reading this post because we seem to have pretty similar reading tastes.😉I’m sorry these disappointed you…here’s to many non-disappointing reads in 2020!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh my gosh I am literally SO HAPPY to find someone who also didn’t like Children of Blood and Bone! I’ve been feeling very alone 😉 But right? It was so underwhelming? So cliche and tropey and the characters were so so so flat 😦 I was extremely disappointed.

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  7. I loved both Girls of Paper and Fire and Descendant of The Crane with my whole heart, and I’m so sorry they did not work for you. It’s always sad when books you think you’ll have end up being disappointing 😦
    One of my most disappointing reads of the year would probably be Daisy Jones & The Six. Everyone seemed to simply love it and I was certain I would to. I thought I’d love the format, but in the end, that’s one of the main reasons this book did not work for me. Sad 😦

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ahhh, i’m sad that i didn’t like them as much as you did :(( but i am glad that you enjoyed them more than I!
      i’ve been on and off about whether or not i want to add daisy jones to my tbr for months. i’ve been hearing such mixed things about them,plus i didn’t like evelyn hugo that much, so i’m just ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ i don’t think i’ll ever read it though, because though i think i could like it, i don’t think i’ll love love it! i hope you find better reads in 2020!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I was all here for you being the Grinch 😄 I’ve been saying that I want to read Girls of Paper and Fire ever since it came out, but I’ve been hearing a lot of mixed things recently (compared to some of the gush right when it came out) so my expectations are already lowered 😮 (Also: I hope you had a fantastic Christmas in Japan! Snow is SO amazing 🎄❄🥰)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe, I think I fit the role pretty well :)) I think that it’ll work for a select few people, but not for others! If you’re the type who can focus on themes, representation—all of that without taking into account the more technical things, I think you’ll love GOPAF!

      Ah, thank you Caro 😭😭💗playing in the snow was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget! I hope you had a fantastic Christmas! What’d you do on the 25th??

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Awww I want snow sooo badly now, we haven’t had anything more than a bit of snow/rain this December, so I hope for a bit more snow in January ❄ Thank you, I had a nice day! A yummy dinner with family and then we watched a Christmas movie 🎄

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah, i think that’s a bit of a blessing :”) It was so cold in Japan! And I had to put on so many before going out, haha! I hope the snow makes an appearance in January though!
        Ah, I’m so glad! That sounds so fun ❤ me and my family haven't celebrated christmas in a long time. we just continued our touring in Japan lmao :')

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Okay, I came here to RELATE to your disappointing books, and instead I find that you’ve mentioned not one, not two, but four books I really love. 😭 You truly are the Grinch. 😭 I’m kidding, obviously, but I’m sad these didn’t work for you. Namely, I loved Evelyn, Lair of Dreams, and The Bride Test + I Wish You All the Best, though I do agree with your criticism of it. The author could have dug deeper, but even so, I did enjoy it quite a bit.
    My feelings about Children of Blood and Bone are confused at best, haha. I read it shortly after its publication and I kind of got the hype carry me? I had my fair share of problems with it, but still ended up rating it five stars. I can’t even explain it, but I feel bad giving a low rating to beloved books, particularly if they have important representation. 😭 I do think it did some things well!! But yeah, would not recommend today, even though I said super-nice things about it when I read it. I can’t even with myself.
    Either way, this is a great post! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’M SORRY!! 😭😭 I know what it’s like when someone doesn’t like your faves, but i mean zero offense to you ❤ actually, i'm kinda jealous that you enjoyed these more than i did!
      Oh, that's happened to me multiple times! sometimes a book is so hyped that i just can't bear the thought of not liking it as much as everyone else! I did that with Red. White & Royal Blue. I gave it a 5-star review, but when I look back on my experience, the book deserved more of a 4 stars from me, though I want to reread it some time to see how i would feel about it!
      Ahh, that's my problem. some books that i'm disappointed by have A++ rep, and I recognize how important that is. But i'm a reviewer who prioritizes writing, plot, characters, etc. WAY more. i feel so bad whenever i give #ownvoices books a bad rating!
      Honestly, i feel like I would've rated COBAB higher if I had read it physically, because i'm not a good audio listener at all. but i just think that other works will be more worth my time. plus, i've heard nothing about Children of Virtue and Vengeance!
      Thank you! (And I'm sorry again 😔)

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I love how you shared this post on Christmas! Hahaha! I’m sorry that so many of these were disappointments! It’s always a huge bummer whenever we have huge expectations for books and then our hopes end up withering and dying once we actually read them. I still haven’t read Descendant of the Crane yet, but I’m hoping I’ll like it when I get to it. Although I did enjoy Children of Blood and Bone, it is SO generic! I happened to be in a really good mood when I read it last year, so I ended up not caring much for many of the cliches; but, I honestly don’t have that much desire to pick up the sequel. lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, seeing as I’m not a big Christmas fan, it was very fitting :)) YES!! The ratio of disappointing books I read last year to the ratio of amazing books I read last year…. it’s pretty sad.
      I hope you like DOTC more than I do! I do see why people love it so much! I think that I would’ve enjoyed COBAB way more if I had read it physically, because I tend to enjoy audiobooks way less (though, I’m starting to like them more)! it’s still pretty generic though, but I’m glad that you were able to enjoy it ❤
      And yeah, I'm definitely not reading the sequel! I've also heard next to nothing about it?? which is so weird because COBAB was all the rage when it came out


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