Mini reviews — or, hey, I’ll never finish this book

It’s time I came clean. A few books have been loitering in my “currently reading” stack for ages and, though I’ve tried and tried (and tried) to get through them, I’m finally calling uncle. Life’s too short to read bad books and if I’m not totally loving something right now, I have to move on! My bookshelves aren’t getting any lighter!

So in that vein, I’m going to crack out some mini-reviews for books that I absolutely can’t finish. Like, cannot. Not only am I unable to articulately tell you where any of them are going, I honestly don’t care.

But before I begin my (gentle) bashing, it’s only fair to throw out a disclaimer: my brain has been completely occupied by daydreams lately! Concentrating on anything more taxing than a Quark document at work or an episode or two of “Grey’s Anatomy” feels like a terrible, terrible chore. So whether I’m hating on these books simply because I have so much else going on or they are truly boring, I can’t be sure. So just take it all with a grain of salt — which I know you will anyway, being the awesome and informed folks you are!

boyfriend_listThe Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart
Where I stopped: page 76

What the heck happened:
Ruby Oliver is having all sorts of boy issues — and friend issues. And family issues. And probably other issues. After something happens between she and her first “real” boyfriend — something involving kissing and a best friend and blah blah — she goes to a counselor to try and work through her issues. Doctor Z recommends she create a list of all the boys who have impacted her life in some way, and this list — the titular Boyfriend List — is what they work from in their sessions. It’s a conversation starter, if you will.

My big issue with this one? Um, boring. This is the first young adult novel I’ve read in a very long time where I really sat back and thought, “Yeah, I’m too old for this.” Ruby is whiny and unsympathetic as a narrator, and her boyfriend kissing issues just felt very . . . meh. The back stories with the boys on her list were uninteresting, and I really didn’t like the constant footnotes on every page! It was so jarring and really took away from the narrative. Nothing felt cohesive and I really couldn’t get into the story. Or make myself care about anything at all that was happening. Next!

gossip_girlGossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar
Where I stopped: page 54

What the heck happened:
I’m a huge fan of “Gossip Girl” the TV series — and the two are just too dissimilar. Having just watched all of season one over the course of, um, a week after I was sick in August, all of those plotlines are so fresh in my mind. It was too difficult to read the book and try to keep up with the differences between characters. Headache-inducing, even. Had I not gotten so into the show, I probably would have enjoyed the novel — spoiled rich kids, subterfuge, cattiness, high school. Sure! Let’s do this! But now? Meh. Plus, it doesn’t have nearly enough Chuck Bass. Next!

cassandra_and_janeCassandra & Jane: A Jane Austen Novel
by Jill Pitkeathley
Where I stopped: page 66

What the heck happened:
Of all the novels I’ve put aside lately, this one disappointed me the most! Pitkeathley’s novel of the love between the two Austen sisters — famed Jane and her beloved Cassandra — didn’t seem to present anything new or fresh to the stories we all already know. I’m a serious Austen lover, as I know many of us are, and I felt like I was reading the sketch of a story I know absolutely by heart. I thought maybe Austen’s rumored relationship with Tom Lefroy would be developed more, but the whole thing was simply glossed over and cast aside. As a lover of “Becoming Jane,” the recent film based on her life, I wanted some serious Tom action!

Plus, the novel was riddled with punctual and typographic errors! I wanted to break out my red Sharpie and just go to town on that puppy. Seriously, who proofed this thing? I’m staging a witch hunt to scope those people out! It seemed like there were one or two every couple pages. Way too distracting for an editor, trust me. If you’re looking for an outstanding novel based on the life of Miss Austen, I highly recommend Syrie James’ The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen — well-written, captivating and just different. If I wanted to read quotes from Jane’s letters, as Pitkeathley frequently quotes, I’d grab my own collection off the shelf. Pass!

11 thoughts on “Mini reviews — or, hey, I’ll never finish this book

  1. Ugh- I understand! I have a couple of books on my TBR shelves (thankfully not review copies) that I can’t even be bothered to START let alone finish!!! Life’s too short for books that don’t interest you 🙂


  2. I am so selective about Jane novels, or sequels or prequels. I thought The Lost Memoirs was cute and rather light. I loved Syrie James’ Secret Diaries of Charlotte Bronte. I though that one was fantastic.


  3. Haha, I love your criticisms! I liked Cassandra and Jane, but I don’t get too distracted by errors and I don’t have a copy of their letters!

    I have a couple of half-started books on my shelf. Maybe I should follow your lead.


  4. This is the first review I’ve ever read about books that were not worth the reader’s time. The last book was quite shocking too! I seriously understand about typos and the likes for though I am not an editor as you are, I am really conscious about them.


  5. Great idea those mini reviews!

    I’m kind of sad to hear your thoughts on Gossip Girl! I’m a fan of the show, too, and I have the book on my pile, somewhere. I’m trying to wait a little because I know it’s different from the show… maybe it will click better with me? Or maybe it won’t? Who knows…

    And yes, we never have enough Chuck! Hey, I don’t think I know another guy who can say “potato, potatoes” and making it sound that sexy!


  6. Hey Meg – late to the frey. Too bad Cassandra & Jane didn’t appeal. I read it over a year ago and liked it. Probably because I had read some other Austen drivel before which made Cassandra & Jane look like a shining beacon of literature.

    The author has another novel due out in March entitled Dearest Cousin Jane which I shall read and review. It appears to be in the same vein. Will let you know how it fairs.



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