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Topic: Worst of 2014

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Subject: Worst of 2014
Date Posted: 12/28/2014 11:11 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,402
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Did you slog through any disappointing reads this year? Let's share some of those titles and perhaps prevent an unsuspecting forum friend from stumbling into the same morass we did. (In other words, please help me cull some books. What do I NOT need to read?)

The books that did not appeal to me and that I would be reluctant to recommend to anyone include:

  • The Food Tester, Peter Elbling
  • The Anatomist’s Wife, Anna Lee Huber
  • Mortal Arts, Anna Lee Huber
  • The Infamous Army, Georgette Heyer (There are many, other better choices if one wants to read about the Battle of Waterloo.)
Date Posted: 12/28/2014 6:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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I read a lot of bubblegum HR this year, which I won't bother listing.  Of HF, only one really disappointed me:

Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield.:  RETRACTED!!!

I really wanted to like this but I gave it three or four tries and it just doesn't hold my attention.  A good deal of it is probably that it's in first person, and I really don't care for that, unless it's so well done, I no longer notice it.  It's not.  I'll probably finish it in the next few days, but it's been five months since I started it.  Eh...

 

UPDATE:  I don't think I've ever seen a book finish so strongly that it obliterates the prior "eh, have to FORCE myself to finish it", but this one totally did.  It blew me away at the end.  Once the "present" narrator and his framing dropped from view, this just ... wow.  Vicky said this one stayed with her for a long time -- I'll go farther than that, and say this one caused a  shift in the tectonic plates of my ... consciousness, overall view/perspective, whatever one should call it.  It will forever be part of me.



Last Edited on: 1/8/15 12:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/28/2014 7:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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I'm with Sharz, most of my dogs of the year are bubblegum HR. The #1 dog of the year for me is not HF, but I have to mention it anyway, it's so bad. Prince Lestat by Anne Rice. 

Date Posted: 12/28/2014 8:31 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2008
Posts: 379
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Hated

A Lady Risks All,  Browyn Scott

Date Posted: 12/29/2014 3:53 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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I really wish you all would have voiced your lack of enthusiasm for these books BEFORE I had spent credits on four of them but I do appreciate knowing that I can now remove them from my TBR pile, which is no small thing -- so, thanks.

Date Posted: 12/29/2014 9:09 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,402
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Maybe not the worst - those would be a DNF - but there were these four that were disappointments, had looked forward to them for one reason or another and then found them lacking (IMO)

  Little Century, by Anna Keesey

  The House I Loved, Tatiana de Rosnay

  The Winter Palace, Eva Strahniak

  Care and Management of Lies, Jacqueline Winspear


 

Linda

Date Posted: 12/29/2014 10:20 AM ET
Member Since: 3/23/2008
Posts: 2,482
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My worst 5 h/f reads of 2014 are:

The Queen's Vow by C.W. Gortner

The Secret Speech by Tom Rob Smith

Constantinopolis by James D. Shipman

In the Shadow of Gotham by Stephanie Pintoff

The Anatomist's Wife by Anna Lee Huber

Date Posted: 12/29/2014 11:18 AM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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I'm with Cheryl on the Gortner book. Hated it, if it had been library I would have closed it after a few chapters and walked away. It was from Vine, so I soldiered on until 50% and then I yielded. I didn't care for The Winter Palace either, especially using the first person POV of some minor servant. Bah.

Date Posted: 12/29/2014 11:45 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2010
Posts: 754
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My absolute worst is Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens.   I listened to the audio book and not even the great Simon Vance could save it.   I've been wanting to read Charles Dickens for a while, and this doesn't bode well.  Maybe I picked the wrong book to start.  

Date Posted: 12/31/2014 10:57 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 929
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The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent.  I didn't enjoy being in the joyless, gloomy world that this author created.

Island of Bones by Imogen Robertson.  Not awful but predictable and too long and drawn out.  I love the characters, though, so I will continue with the series.

I agree with The Queen's Vow, a DNF for me.

Also, I think I'll avoid The Winter Palace, which is on my TBR shelves.  Life is too short for bad books.

Date Posted: 12/31/2014 12:55 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,402
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Donna, I agree with you re: Island of Bones! If it weren't for the characters, I would drop this series. As it is, I really have to be in the mood (or it needs to fit a challenge category) before I pick one up.

I enjoyed The Heretic's Daughter, but mostly from an historical standpoint. Being educated in Oklahoma, the Salem witch trials and that period of history got only a passing glance in my high school history classes. But I agree w/ you about the joyless, gloomy world. I read it with a kind of fascination, as in, "My gosh. Did this really happen?" Maybe more than anything else, for me, the book (and the other one) seemed like worthwhile reading. I got something out of it, learned something, etc., and thus it ended up in the "like" column.

Kelly

 

Date Posted: 12/31/2014 12:58 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2010
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This thread is not looking too good for Anna Lee Huber's books either, LOL. 

Date Posted: 12/31/2014 1:51 PM ET
Member Since: 7/15/2008
Posts: 4,035
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I've enjoyed Anna Lee Huber's series. Seems I'm in the minority. Speaking of Catherine the Great, I'd recommend Annette Motley's Men on White Horses over the Stachnick (sp?) book. Prices for the MMPB edition seem to have stabilized, so you can get it for around $4 with S&H. The book only covers her early years and ends when she becomes Empress.

Date Posted: 12/31/2014 2:20 PM ET
Member Since: 6/5/2007
Posts: 2,507
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My absolute worst is Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens.   I listened to the audio book and not even the great Simon Vance could save it.   I've been wanting to read Charles Dickens for a while, and this doesn't bode well.  Maybe I picked the wrong book to start.  

 

I've never read Little Dorrit, but I highly recommend A Tale of Two Cities

 



Last Edited on: 12/31/14 2:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 12/31/2014 2:34 PM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2008
Posts: 1,756
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I had a few DNF this year but these are the ones I finished and was disappointed in.

  • Gold Digger - Vicki Delany
  • Fallen Beauty - Erika Robuck
  • China Dolls - Lisa See
  • Fallen Women - Sandra Dallas
Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 1/1/2015 8:59 AM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 40,375
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A couple I did not like are

Bittersweet by Colleen McCullough

Ruin and Rising by Leigh Burdugo YA

Kelly I agree about the Jacqueline Winspear Historical mystery. I love her Maisie Dobbs series but this standalone was not very good

Cheryl I was not too crazy about Queen's Vow either.


 

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 9:43 AM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 3,107
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Okay --- I suppose someone has to enjoy the books no one likes.  The Anna Lee Huber books I found enjoyable.  Immediately after this posting I will be taking the Jacqueline Winspear off my wishlist, if it is not up to Maisie standards, which are good but not the best in the world, I will not even begin.  "Island of Bones" --- that is disappointing news, as I believe I just purchased that one used since I was tired of waiting for it on my wishlist.  Those books have been some of my favorites so I will likely pursue it and see if I am able to finish.  Funnily enough I enjoyed all of the Stephanie Pintoff books too.  You all may have to delete from membership in this forum for my unsound reading opinions.

As far as really bad books --- I never have them any longer, as I just do not put up with it.  There was one just recently that I put away after a few pages by Frank Tallis and I cannot even remember the name.  It actually has two names, one with Vienna in the title and then the other one.  It had a wishlist, so someone is now able to either enjoy it, or toss it as did I.

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 10:44 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,710
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I just typed a whole response and lost it! How does that happen??

Anyway, thanks for the heads-up ladies! This was interesting reading. I have to stick up for one of my favorite books: Gates of Fire by Steven Pressfield. I LOVED this book.  It could be because I'm sort of an ancient history nerd (my minor in college even!) and I love any and all things Greek.  This book stayed with me long after I put it down.  I'm sorry you're not enjoying it Sharla!  

I didn't read a lot of HF this year; I went through all of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone books, and all of Jodi Picoult.  But I did read all of Will Thomas, which shouldn't be in this list!  My dog of the year was Rhys Bowen's Hush Now, Don't You Cry (Molly Murphy series).  It was awful, and convinced me to quit the series.

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 11:21 AM ET
Member Since: 8/17/2009
Posts: 1,588
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Ancient is not my thing, Vicky, and Greece least of all.  Only recently did I start becoming interested in Rome, and mostly the fall and aftermath.

Funny thing about Gates of Fire ... I was reading more last night and it turned a corner for me about 2/3 of the way into the book.  Not sure if the last third will be enough to completely transform my opinion of the book.

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 11:43 AM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2005
Posts: 2,402
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Becky! Never you fear, My Dear ... your membership is never in jeopardy with this crowd! We embrace all tastes & interests ... and we all adore you!

Your mention of Jacqueline Winspear is exactly my point - I agree with you that Maisie Dobbs "are good but not the best in the world"; but there are some of us who really, really enjoy her books. And there are some of us who would place Crowther & Westerman at the top of their HM series lists ... just not me (& well, maybe one or two others).

And Vicky - agree completely w/ the Molly Murphy assessment. Rhys Bowen is better than what she turned out with this series. Almost like she had a substandard ghost writer or something.

Kelly
 

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 11:58 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2007
Posts: 4,710
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Sharla...keep going, it just might turn around for you!  But yes, if ancient is not your thing, I can see how it would be tiresome (at least). 

Kelly...I really enjoyed the first 3-4 books in the series.  Books 5-7 were okay, but sliding downhill. Crashed and burned with Hush Now. I hate it when a series I love takes bizarre turns, or seems to be phoned in.  

Becky...you would have to do a LOT to get kicked out around here.  I can't even THINK of a transgression grave enough...maybe stealing someone's wine and chocolate? And how likely is that?? wink  I love to hear everyone's opinion, good, bad or lukewarm.

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 1:19 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 3,107
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When one thinks of how many books Rhys Bowen puts out, it seems that she would have to have someone else doing a good bit of the writing and perhaps she edits and approves.  James Patterson definitely has about a dozen folks who write for him!!  I suppose I sound grumpy about that don't I???  My grumpy side thinks some authors perhaps prostitute themselves for dollars when one sees so many books coming in rapid succession ---

Date Posted: 1/1/2015 5:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 318
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Last Edited on: 2/3/15 1:56 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/1/2015 6:04 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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<...maybe stealing someone's wine and chocolate? >

Well, in my book, that would be a serious transgression indeed -- so, DON'T DO THAT!  

But voicing opinions about books that may not jive with the majority opinion? Nah, that doesn't merit expulsion -- though we do reserve the right to make fun of you behind your back.

 



Last Edited on: 1/1/15 11:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Alice J. (ASJ) - ,
Date Posted: 1/1/2015 8:28 PM ET
Member Since: 5/13/2009
Posts: 40,375
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Tess I agree I could not get into Frog Music at all it was a did not finish for me.

Alice

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