Thanks to blogging, I feel like I have a better understanding of my reading tastes and I read enough reviews that when I pick up a book I always expect to enjoy it. Fortunately, very few books disappointed me in 2020, but there were seven that I want to talk about. Most of these weren’t bad books in any sense of the word, they just didn’t work for me!
The Wives is the one book on this list that I have major issues with. The first half was strong, but the twist was problematic. I often find that the use of mental health in thrillers makes me deeply uncomfortable. There were so many other ways that this story could have gone and it would have been incredible, but I was ultimately left frustrated and a little bit angry.
I don’t think All the Stars and Teeth would have even been on my radar if it were not for a buddy read on Bookstagram. What is it about mermaid books that makes them so hit or miss? This one was a miss for me and many others in the group. I think it was just too predictable and full of the typical fantasy tropes. I wanted it to surprise me, but it never did! I also never felt invested in the characters, so it was difficult for me to care about what happened to them. That said, plenty of other readers loved it and the sequel has been getting great reviews!
This is an unpopular opinion, but I just did not love The Simple Wild. I adored the setting and it was fast-paced, but the relationship made me angry. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy hate-to-love romances, but I felt there were times in this book where the hate became cruel. These characters were truly awful to one another, and I found myself actively rooting against them, which definitely wasn’t the author’s intention. So many people adored this series, so I am definitely an outlier here. I have read one other K.A. Tucker novel and also didn’t enjoy it, so I just don’t think her books are for me.
I finally read a Riley Sager novel and it ended up being an average read for me. I also read Home Before Dark this year and felt the same way about it. Neither book was bad by any means, and they both had some interesting twists, but I guess with all of the hype I just expected more. I am very particular about my thrillers, so I am not sure I will read more from him, though the book he has coming out next year does sound interesting!
I think it is safe to say that Crescent City will be my first and last SJM novel. I also read this for a buddy read on Bookstagram, and it just isn’t my kind of book. Fae romance is not my genre! I am definitely in the minority here, as this book has a 4.43 on Goodreads and even won in the Best Fantasy category this year. I just wasn’t invested and thought it was entirely too long!
This makes me sad because I really did enjoy Serpent & Dove, but Blood & Honey suffered from “second book syndrome”. This was originally supposed to be a duology but was made into a trilogy, and you can tell. This definitely felt like a filler book and a lot of what I loved about the first one was missing. However, the ending broke me and I will read the final book in the series.
I am so sad that I didn’t love this! I thought that it would be a cute holiday romance that I could recommend, but it fell flat for me. I loved the idea of a parallel universe, but this is a romance and I couldn’t get behind either of the love interests. This is one of those things where there is a love triangle but it is evident from the start who the main character is going to end up with. That is always frustrating to me! I will say that I felt the anxiety rep was well done and Kara McDowell has a book called Anxious Girl Summer coming out in 2022, which I would be open to reading.
What is the most disappointing book you read in 2020?
39 thoughts on “My Most Disappointing Books of 2020”
It´s great that you have found your reading style that is so important. My most dissapointed read this year was Night Cirkus. Everyone seemed to have loved it and I thought it was a good story but I never got into it, still I finished it because everyone said it was amazing and I just did not like it at all sadly.
I agree with you about The Night Circus. I read it a few years ago and was underwhelmed. I thought it would be more whimsical!
If you want a similar book but better I can recommend Caraval if you haven´t read them yet 😀
Finding your reading style is so important and I am glad that you found it this year 😊
I have heard really mixed things about Blood & Honey which has made me really hesitant about picking it up which sucks since I did enjoy Serpent & Dove
It really is important!
I still think Blood and Honey is worth reading for the ending. It gives me hope that the last book will be amazing!
That’s great to hear!
It is nice that you found your reading style, I still am not able to find it! Sometimes I like it sometimes I do not! 🙁
The disappointing read for me this year was “Hunted By The Sky” and another book named “Forbidden Treasure” which did exceptionally well on Goodreads.
I have Blood and Honey as well as Crescent City on my TBR, well let’s see what happens!
Hope you have great reads next year! 🙂 <3
It’s definitely a journey!!
I’d be curious to see what you think of both of those books!
totally ok to not be in love with books that have tons of 5 star reviews! we all have our own tastes, and it’s a good thing to know what you like, and what doesn’t work for you. The blogging world is tricky, because everything looks so good, and we want to read EVERYTHING! but just like our favorite foods, we all have genres and styles of books that we love, and other ones that just aren’t our faves.
it’s funny with disappointing books – I can never quite tell if the book wasn’t for me, or it was just a badly written/edited book, or maybe i just wasn’t in the mood for that kind of book when I read it. Sometimes I’ll bounce right off of something, and then try it again a few years later and do fine with it.
Exactly! I have found books I loved based on a review from someone who didn’t love it.
I am also a mood reader, so I do think that can affect how I feel about a book!
It’s completely fine to not like books that are uber popular. My most disappointed read was six of crows. I was so looking forward to it because it was so hyped but it completely destroyed my expectations. I had to dnf it 4 times and then eventually finished it somehow.
I had similar feelings about Six of Crows. It is so hyped and I was expecting way more. I still have read Crooked Kingdom and not sure I will.
I am conflicted about crooked kingdom too. The only reason I even started the duology was because of the upcoming Netflix show. Maybe I will eventually read it someday but I don’t want to force myself to read a book that I know I might not enjoy. It’s just too much pressure.
Luckily I haven’t read any of these and they aren’t on my TBR either 😀
I think that’s the right choice!
I agree with you that Blood and Honey was disappointing after how great Serpent and Dove was! I still enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong, but it wasn’t as impactful to me as Serpent and Dove. I felt like it took a little while for the novel to pick up to a good pace as well.
I hate when publishing extends a series like they did with this one!
Good to hear that there haven’t been that many bookish disappointments this year. I find that no matter how well you know your own taste, there will always be a few bummers. Sometimes it may even be a matter of reading the wrong book at the wrong time or having too high expectations to begin with.
I 100% agree. It’s part of why I rarely truly dnf a book. I often put a book down me return to it when I’m more in the mood for it!
i know what you mean when it comes from hate to love or enemies to lovers books. some authors be having me looking at the book like “i don’t even want these people to get together” and that’s not their intention but lord…
I totally get your feelings about The Simple Wild. It was actually one of my favorite series I read this year but I did have MAJOR problems with Jonah and found him to be very controlling/cruel. I love pretty much everything else about the books (settings, friendships, familial relationships, etc) and in the later books the relationship dynamic between Jonah and Calla evens out more but I would say the actual romance part of this series is the thing I like least about it!
I also loved so many of the other aspects of the book. Her relationship with her father was my favourite and did make me emotional! Maybe I will read the sequel one day and it could change my mind about the romance? That’s good to know!
It’s such a bummer to read an overly hyped boook and find it to be a total flatpiece. Popular opinions doesn’t work with me ever, so i totally get you! I think it’s mostly because they just raise your expectations and when you find it not meeting the bar you set, well its a downfall from there.
I have logged onto wordpress today since august and reading your posts is making me so happy!!! (I’m not sure if you remember me haha)
Of course I remember you and so thrilled you are back!!
I agree that books can really suffer from hype!
The most disappointing book that I read in 2020 was Southernmost. A friend recommended it and lent me his copy. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have finished it. The first 50 pages held my interest. From there the story was simplistic, cliché and implausible. I don’t understand the book’s success at all.
Thanks for your sharing your list.
Ah I hate the pressure of reading a book that a friend lent to you and loved!
my worst would be the fifth season by n. k. jemisin
i don’t know, i just kept skipping through. it didn’t hold my attention the way the reviews go
next year, maybe, i’ll try book 2
The Fifth Season was one of my favourite books of the year but I so get why it wouldn’t grab your attention!
I feel like I discovered my reading taste this year too! A disappointing read for me this year was The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – I was so excited for it!
I bought that book then saw all the bad reviews and haven’t read it!
it was okay but compared to the original trilogy it doesn’t hold up, it really felt as if it was missing something, plus it was longggg and not a lot really happened
To be fair, Final Girls was my least favorite Riley Sager book (I haven’t read Home Before Dark yet but have heard less than stellar things about it) HOWEVER, you should give Lock Ever Door a try. It is (in my experience) the universal favorite of his books out right now. He has been steadily improving for me after Final Girls, which I despised (though I LOVED the concept), so it might be worth a try.
Also- I have seen similar comments about All the Stars and Teeth which has pushed it back on my priority list. Such a shame too. I am SO picky about fantasy books and I was hoping that would be a good one. Oh well, on to the next I suppose!
I do own Lock Every Door, so I think I’ll get to it one day. That is good to know that it seems to be the favourite of his!
All the Stars and Teeth had a great premise but I feel like it’s hard to write mermaids well!
Shame about the wives- I’m hearing the same complaints quite regularly. I felt the same about crescent city- I don’t think Maas is for me anymore. Blood and Honey was really disappointing for me too- definite middle book syndrome there.
Yeah The Wives is one I would skip!
I still have hope for the last book in that series!
I haven’t read any of these yet, is it weird that this kind of made me want to read them…? I’m currently in the process of writing my first novel and, from a writers perspective, it’s really interesting hear what readers DIDN’T love as well as what they do! Thanks for sharing.
Not what at all! You will probably find things that inspire your writing in a positive way as well!
I totally agree about All the Stars and Teeth! After seeing the cover I totally expected to absolutely love it but man that book was such a flop! I was SO disappointed and honestly I cant even remember anything about it now. That right there proves how forgettable it really was.
I was kinda disappointed with Serpent and Dove, mainly bc I just saw the cover and heard witches and got all hype and didnt read the blurb to find out that it’s mainly a romance book and has themes of marriage. I wanted more witchy things and more about the magic system and I got an enemies to lovers romance. I mean I really feel it was a case of false expectations, but I didnt pick up Blood and Honey and I dont really feel the need to.