Hi and welcome to #BiteSizeSaturday! Today, I’m straying a bit from the beaten track… I’m usually all about spreading book love, but today I’m serving a few bites with a side of meh. So far, I have read some amazing books this summer, I didn’t make a “20 books of summer” list because I wanted to avoid any kind of pressure but I did have a couple of books in mind that I was hoping to get to. And I did get to a few, but so far, quite a lot of them didn’t quite live up to my expectations. For example, there was The Chain, a blog tour read, very hyped, a great book, but I wasn’t blow away, there was a huge contrast between the two parts and some things were rather predictable, read my full review here. So not a big side of meh there, just a teeny tiny bit of disappointment, probably mostly due to my expectations that were way too high. I don’t even dare pick up Blood Orange, The Silent Patient or 55 anymore ?
But let’s have a look at some other unpopular opinions, shall we!
First up: The Whisper Man by Alex North. So what’s it about then? As if you don’t already know! But okay, on the off chance that you did miss all the raving reviews: it’s about a writer and his little boy, a police detective, kidnappings, corpse moths, imaginary friends or they might be apparitions, a creepy dude that whispers creepy things. What went wrong? I had been looking forward to The Whisper Man ages before it even came out, and then I read enthusiastic review upon enthusiastic review, so when Eva (Novel Deelights) offered me her review copy I could not have been happier. A few days later I was feeling a bit sluggish and slumpish and I decided The Whisper Man would be just the thing. Alas, it was not the thing and yes, I had totally set Alex North up to fail. Moral of this story: don’t trust Eva… I’m kidding, just KIDDING! Actual moral of the story: be careful with expectations, they are a bitch! And I know this, but the bookish heart wants what the bookish heart wants and it cannot be tempered. Overall, this is a great book, one that I did enjoy, even love, just not as much as I thought I would. It didn’t grip me as much as I expected it to, I wasn’t glued to the pages even though I wanted to be. After I’d finished it I went to Goodreads and looked desperately for people who felt the same, they were few and far between but I did find them and it was such a relief because I felt strangely guilty that I didn’t love it as much as Eva and the rest of the world. So again, just a teeny sprinkling of meh, because I was fully expecting a 5-star read and for me it was “only” a 4.
I had been looking forward to reading The Furies by Katie Lowe for ages! Literally everyone compared it to The Craft and that was my absolute favourite 90s movie so there was no doubt in my mind I would love The Furies. I saw it pop op on a list of best reads of the year so far, and I thought: this is it, this will get me out of my slump! Kids, it did not. I reiterate: expectations are a bitch. So what is it about then? The new girl falls in with three other girls, they dabble in the occult, there’s murder, there’s teenage angst, there’s teenage love and girlie friendship (including the obligatory blood friendship oath, because how else would you express your love to your BFF ?). Is it like The Craft? Yeah but also not. There’s a scene in an occult shop that’s practically a carbon-copy, but the vibe throughout the book was just off. While there were parts I really enjoyed, other parts felt drawn out or too angsty and my attention kept wavering. At one point, I even found myself pulling out weeds instead of reading, I mean come on!
Overall an okay read, that I don’t regret but that did leave me with a distinct meh feeling.
So, tell me, have you been served an unexpected side of meh recently? Or have you perfected keeping your expectations in check (if so, please tell me how!)? In any case, happy reading, hopefully without any kind of meh ☺
A hype is so dangerous, I try to set my expectations low but it’s not always easy not to be swept up in all the raving reviews. If it makes you feel better, I gave The Whisper Man 4 stars as well and The Furies was a big disappointment for me (not my type of book after all) and gave it 2. Love your honest reviews, well done!
Aww thanks Inge ? I try to set my expectations low too but it doesn’t always work. Glad to know you felt a bit meh too ??
Oh no! I have these books to read that’s the problem when they are loved. I wait until the hype dies down sometimes and read/listen to a book. There were two recently and everyone raves about them. I didn’t really like them at all. I’ve not done the reviews for them yet ? this was in February too lol xx
Ooo what were they???
Hype isn’t always a good thing. Sure, it gets a book out there and lots of people start talking about it, creating this massive buzz. But it also raises our expectations to levels that are often just not achievable. Of course, I’m somewhat sad that The Whisper Man didn’t do for you what it did for me but it is what it is and I totally get it. You happen to have one on your list of books you’re worried about getting to now that was actually “meh” for me and I was very much in the minority at the time as well.
Obviously, this means you should most definitely not read the Aidan Waits series by Joseph Knox. I don’t think I’ll be able to handle the disappointment if you don’t enjoy those as much as I have done. I mean, like, in that way when I’m going to have to stop talking to you. ??
? If I read the Waits books and don’t like them I just won’t tell you, ignorance is bliss ?
Which was meh for you? I remember you loved 55…
The Silent Patient ?
55 is another great example though. I did love that book. In the meantime, one of my friends read it and went “meh”.
Wait a minute! I need new friends! That’s what this is! ?
I did see a few meh reactions to that one, actually.
??? Yes it’s not you it’s us ?
When a book only gets glowing reviews, I become wary, so it’s refreshing to know you didn’t absolutely love The Whisper Man. It means I can dive in with normal expectations! 🙂 Great post!! xx
Aww thanks Megs ?
I LOVE your honesty! Even meh is still better than a ‘Kill it with fire! Let no other eyes than mine read this foul text!’ Not every book is a five star read and sometimes when you are constantly 5 starring things you kind of go ‘Am I even reviewing properly? Is my choosing getting better, am I more selective, 4 stars means I really liked it!What is life?’
Sometimes hype bandwagons mean you are reluctant to not like it (especially when other people are trying to shove their opinions down your throat that it should be a five star). It’s awkward and am sorry about your sprinkling of meh, but imho it means you are honest, trustworthy, and not ‘oh my gosh guys read this!’ without putting your own careful, consideration into your reviews.
There have been a few hyped and loved books that have been left on the abandoned shelf this year and honestly, I am getting better at dealing with that. Nuanced reviews matter, yours matter and you are never mean! They cannot all be 5 stars , (‘Blood Orange’ though…superb!)
Aww thanks Rach, that means the world ? I’m reading Twisted now. Also hyped but I did enjoy Steve Cavanagh’s previous works so I thought it might actually live up to the hype and so far it does, so far so good ?
Hyped books are so tricky! I tend to end up with unpopular opinion reviews whenever I try superhyped books… I’m not sure if it’s because I set my expectations too high, but hyped books and me definitely don’t get along often. It’s one of the reasons I’m afraid to pick up books as The Silent Patient, 55 and The Whisper Man (and other new titles including the new Riley Sager, Megan Miranda, Ruth Ware etc etc). My most recent unpopular opinion experience was probably with Pretty Girls and Jar Of Hearts (which I both enjoyed, but didn’t LOVE love) and Middlegame (which I had to DNF because it really wasn’t for me).
I have high hopes for Ruth Ware, but I didn’t LOVE love Sager’s last one so I don’t have such high expectations for this year’s. I did LOVE love Pretty Girls and Jar of Hearts ?
Ah, i really liked the Furies <3 I found it very atmospheric. Some parts did remind me of The Craft, but those were actual witches, so that's sorta different.
I wanna read the Whisper Man at one point. Sounds really cool!
I remember! You were one of the people who made me think I’d love it ?