Top Ten Tuesday is a feature hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s theme is: Ten Books I Struggled to Get Into But Ended Up Loving or Ten Books That Were A Chore To Get Through or Ten Books I’ve Most Recently Put Down (the theme is…books you had a hard time with…tweak it how ever you need)

Look, books are hard sometimes, okay? Sometimes the payoff ends up being totally worth it, and you’re giddy that you kept reading, even though it was a struggle at some point. Sometimes… you want to hit yourself because why did you finish that thing? And sometimes you just give up, and that’s okay too!

And sometimes, love it or hate it, you just have no freaking clue what you just read. Sometimes it is just a hard book to read- perhaps it’s very descriptive, or has very intense world-building that takes a few hundred pages to get. In these cases, I’m pretty sure I am the problem, not the book, so take this list with a grain of salt. Oh, and I adored some of these, don’t misunderstand- they just were harder to read!

1) I still don’t think I fully understand why I am supposed to like this book. And for a short book, it took me a hell of a long time to read, because I think I stopped giving any fucks. (My Review)

2) So. Slow. You’d think murder would be quicker to read about, no? 🤔 (My Review)

3) This book was awesome but the language and intricate world building took me a hot second to get down. And it was very detailed and took a bit to read- but totally worth it! (My Review)

4) I will be reviewing this when I (finally) finish all the Indecision Games books, but… I don’t know, I don’t think I “get” this book? I moderately liked it, but I was also moderately bored.

5. This is an epic fantasy, for sure. And the world building is exquisite and definitely equally epic. But my brain is not epically inventive, so I had to spend a lot of time grasping the world. Definitely a “me problem”. (My Review)

6. This is another Indecision Games book, so I’ll spare you the details. But I felt like it was basically Harry Potter meets The Hunger Games… in space. And I was kind of bored. Spoiler alert: This won’t be winning the Games.

7. I had all sorts of trouble with this one. I was simultaneously bored and confused, so that was a thing that happened. (My Review) 

8. GAH, I know guys! Look, this does not mean that I didn’t like it- I did! It just took me a realllly long time to get into? (If it helps, I had much better luck with Crooked Kingdom!)

9. This was the most confusing book I have ever read. I still don’t know what it was about. I begged for help on Goodreads, but I suppose no one else has any idea either? (My Review)

10. Ugh, this was 725 pages of the same damn other five books I read before it. I wish I was better at knowing when to give up. (My Review)

11. Okay, again, I didn’t not like this one! (I am reading AGoS right now, actually!) Look- this book (and clearly Victoria) has a much better literary mind than I do. I just asked Val yesterday if any of the Londons are real. See? It’s me. (My kind-of review)

12. I hate to even list this bullshit alongside actual books, but it fits the list basically more than any of them. This… this is garbage, and I hated reading it because it made me mad and cringey. But I was feeling stubborn and wanted to yell about it, so I finished it. (My “Review”, aka, My Rant)

So, lovies, there you have it! What are some books that you just had a really hard time getting through? Did you hate them, love them, or both?

Posted September 5, 2017 by Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight in Top Ten Tuesday / 56 Comments

56 responses to “Books are Hard Sometimes

  1. I see we have one book in common on our list. 🙂 (Or should that be a frowny face?) Regardless, what you said. Just, no.

    The only other one on your list I’ve read is Uprooted which I really enjoyed. There are a few others I want to read that you name–like Six of Crows for example. I just haven’t gotten to it yet.

    I hope you have a wonderful rest of the week! Thanks for sharing.

  2. I haven’t read any of the books on your list, but I do still have Six of Crows waiting for me for once I’ve read Ruin and Rising. For some reason I had trouble getting into the swing of reading the first two books in the series but I did still like them. Maybe the length of the chapters took me some time to get used to 😅

  3. ‘I hate to even list this bullshit alongside actual books.’ HA. I actually laughed out loud. I can totally agree with you about it. I read the whole series so I could be rightfully annoyed by it! 😀

  4. Uh yeah, the Fifty Shades… I try to forget that I read it as well. I justify it by saying that my 2 female co-workers at a hostel at that time were also reading it and it was fun to buddy read. And to see what the hype was about. I regret spending money on this horribly written & over-hyped pile of trash

    • AH I borrowed it from a friend so I didn’t pay for it, which I think is the only reason I bothered haha. BUT I can see the appeal of the buddy read, too. Think of it this way- it’s an investment to deter others from buying it 😉

  5. I wish I had read The Smaller Evil so that I could help you like you’re always helping me understand books!! I do plan on reading it at some point bc I LOVE Stephanie Kuehn. I also wasn’t WOWED by Genuine Fraud. I read it really fast bc I wanted to know if what I thought was happening was happening– and it was, and I was like ???? I was hoping I was wrong because what I thought was happening wasn’t a very good premise for a book??? Or at least I didn’t think so. Meh– her earlier books were WAY better and I hope she goes back to those types of stories.

  6. E. Lockhart’s stuff seems to have a polarizing effect, some seem to love We Were Liars and some don’t (I’m in the ambivalent camp). This one, I don’t know. Don’t think I’d like it either. And I am so glad to hear I’m not the only have having trouble with Six of Crows- I’m like 5 chapters in and kinda bored?? But I’ve already seen it on like 3 lists so far so maybe it just takes a while to get into?

    • I was pretty ambivalent to We Were Liars too. I didn’t hate it, but I also guessed the “twist” VERY early in the book, so I wasn’t super excited to keep reading? This one was even weirder, more boring, and made less sense, so take that for what it’s worth hah.

      Six of Crows DID pick up for me, and I got very invested in the characters, and I ended up really, really liking Crooked Kingdom. AND, I like Leigh’s other books. Idk what happened with Six of Crows, but it took me two full weeks to read it, which is very, very rare. And like you said, everyone else seems to adore it, so who knows. I DO think it definitely starts off slow though, if that helps!

  7. I also find Red Rising hard to read, and ended up DNF it! ADSOM and SoC were also pretty hard to get through, but I really liked them that I decided to pushed through. It was worth it!

  8. I have loved the E. Lockhart books I have read, but I am not hearing great things about it. (sad face) I love the Shadowhunters, and I thought Clare wrapped up a lot of loose ends in CoHF, but yeah, her books are long, and maybe even a little longer, because she has a lot to say about things that don’t necessarily move the story along, but she has a voice and wants to use it. I do agree that Schwab’s book take some getting used to (sort of like Stiefvater is for me too), but once I got into the groove, it was magical. I immediately loved SoC, so I got nothing there. I am surprised to see a book with a bird on the cover on your list.

    • Well, I do know a few people who LOVED Genuine Fraud, so maybe that will be you! If it helps, I didn’t love We Were Liars either? I was honestly just done with the damn Shadowhunters at that point. Idk why I even made myself read it. And yes- I agree about Schwab and Stiefvater both! Good books, but kind of dense, too. Idk what the deal was with me and Six of Crows, I have loved Leigh’s other books.

      And right? Why the hell is a bird on the cover of a Lizzie Borden book anyway? It’s like they were trying to piss me off 😂

  9. Oh no, I’m sorry to hear you weren’t the biggest fan of See What I Have Done – I’m planning to read it soon, the arrival of autumn always puts me in a dark, 19th century mood. And I 100% agree with you on Uprooted! It’s not a bad book it’s just… a bit meh. Not for me, sadly!

    • I LOVE me some Lizzie Borden, but this felt like a damn chore. If you are interested, Sweet Madness is a much more exciting take on the Lizzie case, IMO- I read the whole thing in one sitting! BUT the atmosphere of Seee What I Have Done was really good, so maybe it will work better for you!

  10. Hi! I can’t believe I forgot to put 50 Shades on my list. I missed a wonderful opportunity to rant about that book again! Ahhhh! I just put Uprooted on my TBR list. We’ll see what I think… Great list!
    My TTT

  11. Red Rising. Yes! I actually couldn’t finish it. I wanted to because EVERYONE seems to rave about it, but I was so, so, so bored. I don’t mix well with Rosamund Hodge. I can never get into her books. For some reason, I find them very confusing. Honestly, I’m determined to finish The Mortal Instruments … someday (I’m still on book three). I actually enjoy them, but OMG the chapters are painfully long. If I am enjoying the book, it shouldn’t matter, but somehow it does ¯\_(ツ)_/¯. Like, 30 page chapters? REALLY?

    • DUDE, right!? I actually read til 10% once, stopped, and then tried AGAIN years later. And it wasn’t really any better! I don’t think Rosamund and I mix well either, honestly. I found that one SO confusing, and I don’t think I want to bother with the others. I think… The Mortal Instruments may just not be for me? I get the appeal, but that series lost me somewhere around book 3 I think. (And I also HATE long chapters, so I feel you!)

  12. I liked Genuine Fraud but it wasn’t my MOST favorite. I also really loved A Darker Shade of Magic, but I don’t usually read a lot of fantasy, so it just worked for me I guess. Granted, I still need to read the other two…and like every other book Victoria has ever written. LOL

    I’ve definitely gotten better with DNFing books that are just NOT working for me, but sometimes I’m curious enough to want to know what happens – and I suffer through. LOL


  13. Usually when I have a hard time with a book I end up not liking it but there have been exceptions. Lackey’s Hunted series bring one.

    I loved so many books on this list! Uprooted, Red Rising, Six of Crows, A Darker Shade of Magic. I agree with you on City of Heavenly Fire though. Underwhelming finale.

    • GAH I have missed yoU! How have you been!? I feel like more often than not, I feel the exact same way and don’t like it, but there are exceptions- and those exceptions are why I am afraid to DNF 😉

      And honestly, most people loved these books! And I actually ended up liking SoC and ADSOM, I just had some trouble at the start, and okay, maybe the middle. I just finished AGOS actually- I loved the end of that one!

  14. Kate

    I’ve only ever not finished 2 books: The Count of Monte Christo (Dumas Snr.) and Moby Dick. I’ve always loved reading the classics but these two? I drowned the first in the bath & the second ended up as bedding for guines pigs!

  15. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who has had trouble with Six of Crows! If I wasn’t listening to the audiobook I probably would have give up already. It’s not that it’s bad I’m just having a hard time getting into it as well!

  16. I’ve read 2 E. Lockhart books, and I just don’t understand. Why do people love these? Why do they win so many awards? What am I missing? I also agree with you on The Mortal Instruments and 50 Shades. I don’t understand the hype around those, either.

  17. Even though Six of Crows is one of my all-time favorites now, I reaaaaaally struggled with it at first. The first time I tried to read it, I made it through two chapters before putting it aside because I was so bored. ADSOM is one that I adore, but I totally understand why so many people struggle with the first book. It’s a lot of world-building and beautiful prose, but not a whole lot of plot. And as much as the Mortal Instruments series will always hold a place in my heart, I fully understand that they’re objectively kinda terrible. They’re by faaaaaaaar Clare’s worst writing. Uprooted and Genuine Fraud are two that I struggled through and just… did not enjoy. I hate when that happens. Anyway, awesome list this week, Shannon!

  18. A few of these are on my TBR right now! And I’m laughing at your commentary on Fifty Shades of Gray. I read a few excerpts and was astounded at how bad some of the writing was.

    Here is our Top Ten Tuesday. Thanks!

  19. I also mentioned A Darker Shade of Magic on my Top Ten Tuesday post, but after a while of getting introduced to the world and magic system, I ended up loving the book. I’ve also heard mixed things about Naomi Novick’s Uprooted. It’s supposed to be witchy and captivating, but some people didn’t get the story either. This post was great, thanks for all your thoughts!

  20. Ha! I hear you on 50 Shades of I Actually Have No Words For This! The only way I got through it was because a friend and I were live tweeting it 😅
    And much as I love the Shades of Magic series, the first two books started out so slow…

    Here’s my Top Ten Tuesday if you’re interested ☺️

  21. Well I’m glad that you kept with ADSOM, and who cares if I had to explain it to you (LOL), because at LEAST YOU ARE STILL READING IT. I say as I have still not finished Crooked Kingdom

  22. I’ve heard SO many good things about ‘Crows.’ When the second book released, I saw it everywhere on Bookstagram which is what prompted me to pick up ‘Crows.’ So, yeah… I do hope I enjoy it! 😉

  23. I struggled with Six of Crows the first time I read it too, so you’re not alone.😂😂But I mean LOOK AT ME NOW. I’m wholly obsessed and all I do is think about how much I love Kaz freaking psycho Brekker and how much I want 87 more books about him. SO THERE’S THAT. I also struggled to get into Uprooted but didn’t like it in the end.😂 And what the heeeeck was going on with Genuine Fraud?! I still don’t understand.😂😂

  24. Gia

    Whenever I have a hard time getting through a book, I almost always just DNF it. I just don’t have time for books that I’m gonna struggle to get through! Maybe I’m missing out on something by doing this, but oh well, I want to spend my time on books that I can’t put down!

  25. Still laughing at your commentary on Genuine Fraud. Stopped giving any fucks. Not much to say after that. LOL I’ve had to Elise Kova series on my radar for ages. Not sure if it’s because I’m actually interested or if it’s because the covers are so freaking cool. But your comments on the world building makes me think it’s probably not for me. I struggle with fantasy as it is. Anything that epic is sure to leave me glazed over. City of Heavenly Fire – I think your comments broke my heart a little =p

  26. I haven’t read many of these books on your list but I HAVE read A Darker Shade of Magic and I loved it! I actually finished it in one day which is very rare for me! I also struggle to get into Cassandra Clare’s books. I love them but I do find them hard to get into at first!

  27. OMG! How could you not get into Six of Crows it was amazing! The characters were just so unique and did you notice the world building? Because it was flipping fantastic! I do agree that Crooked Kingdom was ten times better (if thats even possible) but still can’t believe you didn’t like it! A book I’ve recently had trouble getting into was To All the Boy’s I’ve Loved Before. The first 100 pages were torture… and then I fell in love with it! hahaha 🙂

  28. Oh I am with you on the not knowing when to give up. Since everyone is shouting about Lady Midnight I ended up actually buying that and it is currently staring me down from my shelf as we speak. Why can I not just quit you?

  29. I literally jumped to your review of Fifty Shades, directly after this, and I liiiived. I spoiled the whole series for myself already (I read bits and pieces of Book 1 and 3 shamefully, but I never encountered Book 2 weirdly/thankfully?), but now, I’m tempted to review them myself. I’ve been only *slightly* interested in Genuine Fraud because I’ve been seeing that cover absolutely cover, but honesty is everything. Also I thought We Were Liars wasn’t the greatest too. :/

  30. I totally agree with you sometimes you just tough out reading a book to know what is going to happen in the end and hope that it is totally worth it. I haven’t read a lot of these, but I might have to put them on a maybe list.

  31. The only one of these I’ve read is The Alchemists of Loom, and I was sort of forced to read it really quickly (since I waited to read it right before my review needed to go up) and that actually worked for me somehow. I think that powering through all the complicated stuff made me get to the part where it all made sense faster. LOL! And I REALLY want to read Island of the Exiles. I don’t know why I haven’t yet.

  32. I LOVED The Alchemists of Loom, but that’s probably just because I love my fantasy books and don’t read it nearly enough. I think my brain is hardwired to fantasy and world building because I get it so quickly. But I can see how that would be a tricky one. As much as I love The Mortal Instruments, even I didn’t really love the last book :/

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