At the beginning of the year, I had such high hopes. I think most of us did, especially when all those eyesight memes were being shared on Facebook. While most of my hopes and goals for the year were dashed with seemingly endless amounts of horrible horridness, there was one goal that I ended up attaining. At the start of 2020, I wanted to read 45 books. As of Christmas Eve (when I’m writing this), I’ve read 83 books. By the end of the year, I think I can get another two read which would top my 2020 Reading List at 85.

I guess the one upside to not being able to go anywhere is that I had a lot of time to read.

Since I’m a grinch when it comes to literary books, I’d like to share five books that I don’t recommend reading in 2021. This list is not in any particular order.

1. Malorie, written by Josh Malerman
The sequel to Malerman’s hit debut, Bird Box, I wasn’t sure why exactly it was written. The way the first ended, I thought it was a satisfying ending. However, the original book was so popular that it inspired a Netflix movie and a challenge that had people wear blindfolds and try to navigate their surroundings. It is my assumption that Malerman wrote Malorie with the original title of Cashgrab. While there were some cool things that Malerman included in the sequel, the main character was bland and there were too many plot conveniences and a returning antagonist that was ultimately impotent. If Malerman does write a third, I think I’ll read it with a blindfold.

2. Shadow of Night, written by Deborah Harkness
For some reason, most of the books I hated, most people loved. My mother suggested the All Souls Trilogy and I was a bit trepidatious to attempt them. The first book was just okay in my opinion. For some reason, modern day authors want to use vampires, demons, and witches in their novels, but they don’t want them to be the original versions. They want the names, but they want them to be fresh and different. I get it. When the first book ended with time travel back to Elizabethan London, I groaned. I also thought that it would only take up maybe half of the book, but no. It took up the entire novel and by the end of things, nothing really changed as far as plot or character development. It was just about insufferable. Needless to say, I haven’t started the final novel yet and I’m not sure when I will.

3. Once Gone, written by Blake Pierce
The first in a series of a mystery series, this book reads like a sequel. I say that because most of this novel is spent on the main character, Riley, trying to overcome the trauma she received from the events that should have been the first book. While the main character is interesting and has these flaws, Once Gone really should’ve been the second in the series. Plus, the characters are American, and the setting is in America yet the author refers to flashlights as torches.

4. The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes, written by Suzanne Collins
Prequels are difficult for many reasons. You have to try to include enough nostalgia from the beloved source material yet try to keep things fresh and new for readers. Apparently, Collins has never heard the phrase about putting all the eggs into one basket. I’d read the Hunger Games trilogy right before the prequel, so I identified all those eggs easily. The problem was that the book tried to connect every little thing to the antagonist of the trilogy. Honestly, it was cringy. It could have been better had she not tried to focus the story on Snow.

5. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child: Parts One and Two, written by John Tiffany, Jack Thorne, and J.K. Rowling.
There’s a large disparity between Goodreads ratings and the BookTube community when it comes to this sequel. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of a Harry Potter fan that enjoyed this screenplay. It goes against the original character’s stories and natures. Seeing Harry and his friends as grown ups is depressing because they became what they fought against as children.

Those are brief summaries of why I don’t recommend these five novels. Any of the books I’ve listed that I have reviews for have been linked. Check them out if you’re wondering whether or not to actually read them.

To these five, I say bah humbook!

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