Book Posts

Least Favorite Books 2021 🍵 discussing the disappointments of the year


Hello fellow bookworms ⚡️ It’s that time of the year to reflect on the books that I sadly didn’t end up liking and spilling a bit of tea 🍵 It’s the case that you cannot like all the books you read and this year there were a few books that ended up disappointing me or rubbing me the wrong way. Like the last years, I’m including 1 and 2 star-rated books, as anything above that means that I enjoyed at least some aspects of the book. I’ve provided a quick explanation for each book and you can also click the cover to get to my full review in case you want to read more about my thoughts about these books. {Good News: I had less 1/2 star ratings compared top last year!} Finishing off with my obligatory disclaimer, that all these are my personal opinions about the books listed below!


Furiously Happy (Jenny Lawson)

⚡️ The most infuriating story I’ve ever read ⚡️

“I wish someone had told me this simple but confusing truth: Even when everything’s going your way you can still be sad. Or anxious. Or uncomfortably numb. Because you can’t always control your brain or your emotions even when things are perfect.”

Furiously Happy by Jenny  Lawson

Furiously Happy didn’t make me happy but it did make me Furious!! Seriously though, I had a bad time reading this book and if it hadn’t been on audio, I had been tempted to simply DNF it. There was barely anything I even liked about the book apart from the bits about mental health and sadly it was a chore to get through. This book had no structure or direction. I knew this would be a memoir but I didn’t expect it to be so disorganized and chaotic. There was no overarching narrative and no cohesion anywhere in the storytelling. I truly had no idea what story Jenny Lawson was trying to tell and she jumped from anecdote to anecdote to random lists and impressions without any connection. It also bothered me how she would include her editor’s notes in the story and basically say that she didn’t accept the feedback. It was played for laughs but I found it cringe-worthy that she thought a lack of editing wouldn’t be a problem for her book. Sadly, I have to say that the editor’s notes had a point. It felt like the author was rambling about anything that came to her mind and then put it into a book without polishing anything 😅


A Dark and Hollow Star (Ashley Shuttleworth)

⚡️ Lots of potential, but suffers from slow plot and jarring worldbuilding ⚡️

“Forget that you loved me, if you must, but please . . . do not forget you loved at all, and do not forget you loved so fiercely it made you the best of your name.”

A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth

This sadly didn’t work for me at all despite my anticipation! I thought the book had promise but there were so many aspects that hindered my enjoyment. 1). The worldbuilding was mismatched and felt jarring. I was confused with all these different influences and mythologies the book used, as they didn’t come together to form a cohesive worldbuilding. The attention was on too many different things at once, so none of them felt well-explored. Apart from the idea of the Ironborn – human/fairies hybrids – this book felt like a blend of as many fantasy tropes and creatures as possible with no original twist. 2.) The plot was SO slow and tedious to get through. The book felt like a prologue for a big fantasy series and entirely like setup, which wasn’t good for this first book as it made me lose interest in the story. I was also so confused because the author didn’t manage to give the story structure or a clear direction.


Igniting Darkness (Robin LaFevers)

⚡️ A spinoff series that wasn’t needed at all ⚡️

“I have never seen a man work so hard to ignore the parts of the world that are inconvenient to him.”

Igniting Darkness by Robin LaFevers

This was a wild ride … and not in a good way 😅 I’m sad to say that I wish the author had left the original His Fair Assassin books alone and not tried to do a spinoff as it really didn’t work for me. Courting Darkness at least had some redeeming features but Igniting Darkness left me frustrated and disappointed. I read this back in April and I’m still annoyed because this book was a complete mess. I was hoping it would be better than the previous one and granted Gen was a lot less frustrating to read about. I like Sybella’s character so much, but the plot was a mess and didn’t go how I hoped it would. The political intrigue that is usually so well done was missing here. Instead, we got bland storylines that felt directionless and a complete change of pace in the very end. The King got on my last nerves, there are 4 POVs when only 2 are really needed and the last 30% introduced a completely different storyline for some reason … it was all just a mess.


The Taking of Jake Livingston (Ryan Douglass)

⚡️ One of my most anticipated releases disappointing me ⚡️

“It doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, you can’t change yourself. So you have no choice but to be yourself. Fuck everyone who has a problem with it.”

The Taking of Jake Livingston by Ryan Douglass

This was one of my most anticipated releases and it was sadly such a disappointment 😭 The book has a lot of good things going for it and I appreciate what it was trying to do, but the actual execution left a lot to be desired. The entire book felt incredibly underdeveloped and didn’t make use of a great idea. I didn’t enjoy my experience reading this book, though I hope it might appeal to other readers, as I think highlighting diverse Horror books is important! That being said there were many things I didn’t like. The worldbuilding is superficial and the writing style didn’t work for me at all. Because the world was only explained very surface-level I didn’t get invested in it as well. I also didn’t feel like Sawyer’s POV was needed. This book was already so short and I felt like Sawyer’s POV gave away so much information, which made the plot less interesting. Generally the plot was predictable and didn’t engage me. One issue was that it was very clear who the big bad is and how he’s connected to everything.The book is on the shorter side with 244 pages, but it felt like it took me ages to get through it, as I wasn’t engaged at all.


Graphic Novels that disappointed me

⚡️ These just didn’t impress me ⚡️

Stepping Stones by Lucy Knisley Monstress, Vol. 1 by Marjorie M. Liu This One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

  • Stepping Stones (Lucy Knisley)
  • Monstress Vol 1. (Marjorie Liu)
  • This One Summer (Jillian & Mariko Tamaki)

I have read much more graphics novels in 2021 than in the previous years. However, among the many good books there were also some I didn’t enjoy. I have picked out the three graphic novels I liked the least. One of them was Stepping Stones, which was one of the most uncomfortable books to read. It excused the emotional abuse of the stepparent and left all the change to be done by the main character, who was actually the victim. Monstress is so very beloved, but I had trouble keeping up with the story. The world is so vast and not explained at all. I was confronted with characters, settings and had no idea what their motivations were supposed to be. last but not least, I was disappointed by This One Summer. It was a slice of life summer story, that didn’t have much of a direction. The internalized misogyny of the main character was never addressed and her obsession with an older boy and the hatred for his pregnant girlfriend was so bizarre 😅

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Have you read any books on my list? What is your least favorite book of the year? ⚡️

29 thoughts on “Least Favorite Books 2021 🍵 discussing the disappointments of the year

    1. Relieved that I’m not the only one who found Furiously Happy more furious than anything else 😅 I was prepared to like it, but I’m definitely put off from reading more by this author now!
      Very sad about This One Summer, it sounded like a fun, summer graphic novel but wasn’t what I was hoping for 🥺


  1. I haven’t read Dark & Hollow Star, but I often struggle enjoying fantasy books if the plot is too slow. It sucks when an anticipated release doesn’t live up to the expectations, though I did enjoy reading your thoughts on Jake Livingston! Sorry these didn’t work out for you Caro 😓 I recently read a graphic novel called The Girl From The Sea and thought the execution of many elements felt rather plain and predictable (in my opinion), that’s probably my most disappointing read this year. Really enjoyed reading this post Caro! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A Dark and Hollow Star just was way too slow and confusing to me, it tried to do too many things at once 😞 Same with Jake Livingston, it had potential but just fell flat for me! I actually did like The Girl from the Sea, but I can totally see that it isn’t the book for everyone, sorry to hear that you didn’t like it 🥺 Thank you so much! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sad that A Dark and Hollow Star isn’t as good as it looks! It has been on my radar for a while, but I also wouldn’t enjoy a worldbuilding that just doesn’t come together in a coherent way. And while I love Monstress, I’m five volumes in and it really seems to have something against explaining things…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A Dark and Hollow Star was sadly such a disappointment! It was pretty long in general and the worldbuilding confused me from start to finish, as did the plot 🥺 I’m happy that you like Monstress, I just couldn’t deal with the overload of information 😅

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m still a little sad you didn’t enjoy Jake Livingston. I liked that it was almost more of a novella and flew through it in less than a day (which is super rare for me). I also very clearly remember crying, so it definitely touched me emotionally. It’s interesting though, how very different reading experiences can be!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Courting Darkness Duology was sadly a big disappointment to me! As a fan of the original His Fair Assassin books, I just expected something better and more unique. In my opinion, revisiting the world like that didn’t work out 🥺 Happy Holidays to you as well! 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so sorry Jake Livingston didn’t work out for you, but at the same time you know I’m glad I’m not alone with my thoughts about it. I think of all the new releases of this 2021 it’s the one that has surprised me the most because of the amount of negative reviews it’s getting, which is a shame.
    INCREDIBLE post, honey! ❤️❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sad that Jake Livingston just didn’t work for me, as I was looking forward to it so much! It has gotten so many mixed reviews, though I’m happy for all the people that have enjoyed it! I wish that had been me 🥺
      Thank you so much, Sofi! ❤️


  5. Ahh I’m sorry to hear that you were disappointed in a Dark and Hollow Star. I haven’t read that one but it’s been on my TBR for a looong time. However, I totally get you with the whole slow plot in a fantasy. Sadly it’s either a dynamic fantasy plot for me or else it’s an instant DNF. I really enjoyed reading this post and hope you have a wonderful rest of your year! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A Dark and Hollow Star had much potential, but I feel like it tried to do too many things at once which turned out to be confusing and inconsistent 🥺 I can deal with a slower Fantasy, but only if the characters and world are really strong! Thank you so much! 🥰

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I do quite enjoy reading least favourite books of the year posts, it is nice to share in disappointments in a way. Although I haven’t read any of these books, A Dark and Hollow Star is one I would like to read. I do remember hearing mixed things when it came out. I do own it so I shall definitely be reading it. Sometimes slower fantasy books can work for me but the jarred worldbuilding… 😬 that might be more of a struggle. I have heard quite a few mixed things about The Taking of Jake Livingston too, such a shame because the cover is stunning. I hope you have fewer disappointments in 2022. Great post 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m always curious what books people have hated as well 👀 I hope you like A Dark and Hollow Star more than I did! I feel like it had much potential with the world, but tried to do a bit too much. I hope you like the characters though, that can always help with a slower book! The Taking of Jake Livingston had such a great premise and cover, which makes it even sadder!
      Thank you so much, Sophie! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t heard of any of these books except Furiously Happy, and honestly even though I 100% believe your review it kind of made me want to read it just to see the editors notes and things hahahah. It seems so chaotic that a hate read might be needed.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. My therapist recently recommended Furiously Happy to me and I was like “that sounds dreadfully terrible”. I don’t think it is a book I would enjoy at all.

    Sad to see you didn’t enjoy The Taking of Jake Livingston. It definitely fell into some pitfalls of a debut and could have been developed more, but I enjoyed it overall.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Furiously Happy has a very specific type of humor and writing style that just didn’t vibe with me, it was too over the top and sadly made me cringe 😅
      I’m happy to hear that you enjoyed The Taking of Jake Livingston! It had so much potential and I’m still sad that I didn’t like it 🥺


  9. i’m so sorry that you didn’t love monstress! the worldbuilding is definitely overwhelming and honestly i don’t quite know what’s going on even though i’ve read most of the released volumes haha. but i agree on this one summer—i remember feeling confused when i read it because i really hated all those aspects you talked about and didn’t know how other people were loving it so much!

    Liked by 1 person

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