The 5 Most Disappointing Books I’ve Read So Far This Year (Happy National Book Lover Day)

It’s National Book Lover Day so naturally, it’s time for me to rant about disappointing books!

I feel like it’s been a while since I’ve been truly salty for a blog post, and that’s an issue. One day all my bitterness is going to explode from me and I’ll become a husk of dry despondency.

So today, I decided to talk about the 5 most disappointing books I’ve read in 2019 so far!! I forgot it was National Book Lover Day when I wrote this, but honestly I think it’s very fitting that I’d be salty about books on a day meant to celebrate loving books.

(Actually, though, the real reason behind me writing this post is that I tried to write two other blog posts and completely lost motivation for both of them, so I decided to go back to something that will never fail me: Ranting and being salty!! And it’s going to be FUN.)

Before I get on with it, I just wanted to say the biggest, most heartfelt THANK YOU, because I recently reached 2,000 followers on my blog, and… I don’t know how to describe how much that means to me. There are a lot of reasons why this particular milestone is so jaw-dropping to me, but in general, it just means the world to me that you guys support me and the work that I do. I love and appreciate you all endlessly!!!

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GIRLS OF STORM AND SHADOW

Girls of Storm and Shadow (Girls of Paper and Fire, #2)It absolutely kills me that this book is first on this list, because I think everyone and their grandmother knows I loved Girls of Paper and Fire with my whole heart, and it means the world to me. But this one was just… ugh.

The plot was so very repetitive to me, and it felt like the characters were doing the same thing multiple times without really accomplishing that much. And in the beginning, it wasn’t as obvious because the dynamics of the character !! ! ! !! squad ! !! !! were really fun, but once that went away, it was just like. why am I reading the same thing over and over again.

I’m very conflicted over this book because there were definitely parts where I was emotionally invested, and I actually teared up at a scene??? And I think I actually was moderately enjoying the book, up until the point (maybe about 1/2 or 2/3 through the book) I realized that everything was repeating and it felt like it was GOING NOWHERE.

Also, I love my beautiful girls Lei and Wren, but their relationship was annoying me in this one!! I think it could have been made a lot more complex, but it wasn’t pulled off, and lack of communication in relationships always makes me so irritated to read, and that was the case here too. Look I’m sorry but please stop having sex and have an actual conversation about the things you need to!! Please!!!!

*Note: When I talk about their lack of communication, I meant lack of communication in regards to something in the plot that was a source of conflict for them! I didn’t need or want them to open up about their trauma!

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WE SET THE DARK ON FIRE

We Set the Dark on Fire (We Set the Dark on Fire, #1)I didn’t hate this book! But I actually spent money on it because I expected a without-a-doubt 5-star book, and I didn’t get that. It was still 3.5 stars, which is not a bad rating at all, but I really thought it would become a new favorite and everything, so that’s what made it so disappointing to me.

I honestly can’t quite put my finger on exactly what about this book was lacking to me?? I think I just didn’t care as much about the characters as I should have been/wanted to be, and that affected my reading experience.

There was just a disconnect from me reading the story and actually experiencing the story, if that makes sense. It was more like I was reading this book about these people going through these things, but not actually being IMMERSED in it. But I still enjoyed the book, and the writing was really pretty and I loved the themes and messages!!

(I really should have known this was going to be a disappointment when I held this book in my hands for the first time and was absolutely disgusted by the rough sandpaper feel of the dust jacket. Why does it FEEL like that!!!)

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WE CONTAIN MULTITUDES

We Contain MultitudesThis was a whole mess and a half.

First of all, I went in expecting Aristotle and Dante, because that’s literally what it had been marketed as, and it was NOTHING like Ari and Dante. The whole book is written through letters? There is no slowburn? Beautiful relationship where?

I mean, hi, I know I like to think any book with “crows” in the title is Six of Crows, but at least I’m not comparing every gay m/m book to Ari and Dante.

Second of all, the age gap in the romance made me SO uncomfortable. It was between a 15 year old and an 18 year old (sophomore and senior repeating the year) and it was just disgusting to me. Homeboy out here not even able to properly drive yet and he’s having sex with someone who would have been a freshman in college!!! Hello!!! No!!!

Third of all, there were just some really weird consent issues and cheating going on, and it was just very much a mess. I really should have read the reviews before picking it up, but I was completely brainwashed by whoever blurbed this and decided to compare it to Ari and Dante. (TERRIBLE marketing.)

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HER ROYAL HIGHNESS

Her Royal Highness (Royals, #2)This book was just. so poorly written. One of the first thoughts that went through my head when I finished it was, “I, an unpublished barely half-decent writer, could rewrite this and it would end up at least 5x better than what the end result was.” And it may sound mean (because I am mean sometimes) but it’s true!! It was just so badly written!!!

In my opinion, it had pretty terrible pacing: the relationship was badly developed after the characters get together, and the ending was abrupt and felt unfinished. And as a whole, the book just jumped to events with no buildup; I swear, one thing was happening on this page and then literally like three pages later it was completely different.

On top of that, because of the lack of development, I just didn’t feel very connected to the characters. It was a shame because the book was lowkey enjoyable and fluffy, and the romance could have been so much cuter!!! But alas, little high school me could do a lot better.

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THE LADY’S GUIDE TO PETTICOATS AND PIRACY

The Lady's Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (Montague Siblings, #2)I never loved Gentleman’s Guide as much as everyone else seemed to, and if I’m honest, I wasn’t exactly surprised that I didn’t like this book. The only reason I was able to get through Gentleman’s Guide was because Monty was hilarious and there was a lot of gayness. And in this book… Felicity was much less funny and there was like one instance of gayness!! I mean she’s aroace, so it’s completely fine that there was only one gay part (I wasn’t even expecting any gay moment because of her being aroace), but usually gayness is what gets me through historical fic books and because that wasn’t present… I struggled.

It was just so monumentally boring. I took 2 weeks to read it, which is SOMETHING considering it was summer and I had a bunch of time to read. It also felt like the actual plot started about halfway through the book? Hi sorry I don’t really want to read 200 boring pages of buildup to get to the Real Meat of the story.

I think my experience with this book can be summed up with this one sentence: Seeing Percy and Monty show up for a total of approximately just 5% of the book made me more excited than the rest of the 95% of the book.

But! Mackenzi Lee is not that great of a person so I’m glad I didn’t like this! My POWER for reading this and hating it right before her whole misgendering blurb debacle!!


shall we chat

what books disappointed you this year? have you read any of these books? do you agree/disagree with any of my opinions? and in celebration of NBL day: what’s a recent book you loved?

p.s. I know I JUST got back into being active on blogs, and I’m so sorry that I’m less active again!! I just started school again and it’s thrown me off a little but I’ll be back!!!

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57 thoughts on “The 5 Most Disappointing Books I’ve Read So Far This Year (Happy National Book Lover Day)

    1. Yes I’m so sad that there was that really big age gap! It was just really wild and made me so uncomfortable fhdshfhds. And haha I honestly just had no motivation for any other post, but a favorite books post makes much more sense! 😎

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  1. fgfdfgdffh May. of course you posted this on national book day. of course. (legit I find that amazing, but also hilariously on brand for you)

    also I still can’t believe you disliked gosas. and hhggf I did really like WSTDOF, but at the same time I definitely get what you mean? like I was invested, and it was super good, but at the same time there was just a disconnect?

    and jhgjghf honestly I almost wish Lady’s Guide had been more disappointing to me, cuz instead I have to deal with mackenzie lee being shitt but also having written a book that meant a lot to me, and that is Not Fun 🙃

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LMAOOO THANK YOU IRIS I love your reaction to me posting this 😎

      And aaghh I’m still so sad about not liking GOSAS!! Like when I started the book I knew it wasn’t going to be a 5-star read but I didn’t expect it to go so downhill! And ah yeah I know someone else who loved WSTDOF and said they agreed with the “disconnect” aspect as well so I’m glad I’m not alone in that (though that’s super interesting!)

      And lmaooo!! I hope you don’t feel too bad that she wrote a book that means a lot to you, since that’s not something you can help. But I can’t imagine the dilemma fdsfhsdh

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  2. Alright, so now I’m scared for Girls of Storm and Shadow aah It’s one of my most anticipated sequels of the year, so I really hope I love as much as Girls of Paper and Fire ♥ I actually had a lot of fun with Her Royal Highness, but I can definitely see why you didn’t enjoy it!
    Some of my disappointing reads of the year include We Hunt the Flame (I know, I really thought it was going to be a five-star read but here we are) and Daisy Jones & The Six which are both three stars when I was expecting so much more 😦

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    1. Aahh I really hope you love GOSAS!! I’m so sad I didn’t like it but I’m crossing my fingers that I’m in the minority ❤ And I'm also glad you liked Her Royal Highness! I understand why you liked it — it's definitely a cute and fluffy read!

      Oh no, I'm so sorry you didn't like WHTF! I actually was Not having a good time in the beginning of that book (it would have been 2 stars for me), but then it completely turned around and I ended up giving it 4 stars 😎 But oh god I've heard so many meh/bad things about Daisy Jones and I'm so scared to read it!!

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      1. I’m crossing my fingers too 💙 You made some good points about Her Royal Highness, I definitely agree the ending was too rushed. I was expecting more, if that makes sense.

        I actually liked the beginning of WHTF? And the very end as well, but the middle was very tedious for me. I gave it 3 stars, but I’m honestly not sure I’ll pick up the sequel. I think my main issue was that I loved the concept, the idea of the novel but the way it was done didn’t work for me. I was so sad, I was sure I was going to love it! 😔

        And I heard Daisy Jones is better on audiobook if you want to give it a try? But I wrote a review on it, and yes a lot didn’t work for me. It didn’t have the emotional impact it seems to have had on many people, on me!

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  3. Ohhh I had my first DNF on Goodreads this month. The Towering Sky series. It was pure awful. I wanted a tower story but not THAT ONE!

    It involved a girl falling in love with her (adopted) BROTHER. I wouldn’t have a problem with it if he was adopted after the relationship started, but NO! They’ve been siblings all their life!

    Sorry for that mini rant I just really hated it. It would be a really good story with an entire different plot! I loved the tower and futuristic ideas! But NO. It was just a stupid romance novel. Not even a good romance novel.

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    1. I didn’t recognize the name of the Towering Sky series but when I looked it up on Goodreads and saw what books you were referring to, I gave you a mental high-five for DNFing that because it looks like a really yikes book lmao 🙃 But yeah, incest of any kind just disgusts me!! I think it also used the bury your gays trope so that’s another reason not to read it 🤢

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  4. did i expect this post from you? no. am i surprised? also no.
    BUT! one book that was a littleee bit disappointing was THE LUCKIEST LADY IN LONDON, by sherry thomas. (it’s not YA. it’s a historical adult romance.) i enjoyed it, really, gave it 3 stars which is a very good rating for me. but it was not as great as i imagined it? i don’t know what i expected, and i don’t know what it lacked, but i wanted it to be a 5-stars-OMG-IT’S-A-NEW-FAVE kinda book. and it wasn’t. which is sad.
    AND a recent book i loved was ALL-AMERICAN MUSLIM GIRL by nadine courtney. it was so so so so so amazing and beautiful and seeing my muslim self reflected is just- *holds tears*. i loved it to pieces and i just want to hug the main character and tell her everything’s going to be okay because i’ve been through what she experiences in the book. so READ IT WHEN IT COMES OUT PLEASE.
    AMAZING POST -as usual! 💓

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    1. I gasped when I saw WSTDOF, but I get it?? Even though I loved it, I also felt slightly disconnected, which is why I didn’t give it a full 5-star 🙈
      My most disappointing read so far has been Sadie cause I was just: so fucking bored kssjsjsksjs, but my most recent absolute favorites have been The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You by Lily Anderson and A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi ❤

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      1. I KNOW CAROL I KNOW 😭😭 I even bought WSTDOF with my own money, which is when you know I expected a new favorite, and it just… wasn’t 😭

        Oh no, I just finished Sadie and I loved it! But I get what you mean about being bored — I was lucky that I switched formats and listened on audio while doing other things lmao. And aahh I love A Very Large Expanse of Sea! It’s such a beautiful book ❤

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    2. MAHA WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU DIDN’T EXPECT THIS FROM ME this is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard

      and I 100% get what you mean!! We Set the Dark on Fire was my omg-it’s-gonna-be-a-new-favorite book, and even though, like your 3 star rating, my 3.5 star rating wasn’t bad, it was still just… disappointing for it not to live up to its super high expectations lmao.

      and aahh I saw you screaming about All-American Muslim Girl on Twitter and Goodreads!! I am SO SO happy that it meant a lot to you — it was so touching to see how meaningful it was to you. I was looking forward to that book already but I will 100% read it now, for you! ❤

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  5. “Mackenzi Lee is not that great of a person so I’m glad I didn’t like this!” I’m all 😂😂. I was definitely very disappointed by The Lady’s Guide – Monty and Percy were basically the only good part, and that was a bummer! I loved Felicity in The Gentleman’s Guide, so idek how the heck this happened… We Contain Multitudes sounds like a mess, wow – I’m glad I haven’t bought it yet (double yikes for the age gap.) Her Royal Highness sounded good at first, but then I realized it seems like something I’d hate, and based on your thoughts yeah, I probably would. Either way, this was an entertaining post – I do love all the salty rants. 🖤

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    1. Yes, I agree!! Monty and Percy were pretty much the only thing I enjoyed in the book, everything else was just super meh. And yeah, I definitely wouldn’t recommend We Contain Multitudes, the age gap just made me feel really icky :/ And ah I love the concept of a “normal” girl falling in love with a royal, but it was just… badly executed in my opinion 😭 Thank you so much, Veronika, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post!! ☺💖

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  6. omgggg I really hope I won’t dislike these as most of them are still on my tbr hahaha! I read Alice by Christina Henry this year and although the plot was really awesome and I’m a sucker for retellings, I would’ve liked some kind of trigger warning for the content because that’s what made me “nope” it all.. I read the whole book but didn’t particularly like it 😦

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  7. I did not like A Gentleman …so I haven’t tried the sequel! My biggets disappointment this year has been Kingsbane by Claire Legrand. I loved Furyborn but loathed Kingsbane …

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    1. I hope you still love GOSAS and WSTDOF!! I’m really hoping my negative opinion about GOSAS is one that only a minority of people have :// (also I’m pretty sure I remember you being the one to sing “We Didn’t Start the Fire” to that title so I just have to say that you’ve influenced me to start doing that too)

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  8. Ahh, I love the salty posts from you so much, but I’m also sorry that these books disappointed you.😭A lot of them are on my TBR so hopefully I like them?? All the ones on here besides GoSaS I didn’t know anything about and hadn’t heard too much so I didn’t really have any expectations/point of reference for them until now.

    Agh, age gaps in YA can make it so hard for me to read a book!! I don’t read adult books that much, but I feel like a three year age difference in an adult book wouldn’t bother me at all but in YA it can actually mess up the reading experience for me because I’m just thinking “a freshman and a senior??” the whole time.

    Also, CONGRATS ON 2000 FOLLOWERS!! I’m so happy because you deserve it so much and you and your blog are amazing!! *confetti* 💖🎉

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    1. Ah I’m so happy you enjoy my salty posts lmao!! And oh no, I’m sorry I was the first point of reference for you for most of these books, hopefully I didn’t ruin your perspectives on them too horribly 🙃😭

      And yes!! 3 year age gaps don’t bother me in adult relationships, but when you’re in high school? That’s just gross, and it also makes me apply that relationship to people in real life (not anyone in particular, but just imagining someone from this grade with someone from this grade) and it’s just NASTY.

      And AAHH OLIVIA!!! You are too sweet, thank you so much 😭💖

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  9. Ahhh that sucks about Girls of Storm and Shadow 😭 And I felt much the same way about Her Royal Highness, unfortunately…

    Also, I don’t think you meant it this way, but I just want you to know that it’s kinda hurtful to say there’s not enough gayness in a book with an aroace protagonist? Obvs it’s totally fine to want books with great queer romance, but it’s also really important to have books with aroace characters that don’t have love stories, since that’s the experience of plenty of people! As a sapphic aroace person, I just thought it was important to say that, since Lady’s Guide meant a lot to me in terms of representation and the fact that there was “only one instance of gayness” was a good thing in my opinion. Aromantic and asexual ppl face a lot of gatekeeping in the queer community and I just wanted you to know that that remark could be read as exclusionary 😊 Okay that’s all sorry for the super long comment!! And congrats on 2k followers!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aahh I’m so sorry, Margaret!! I didn’t think it was bad at all that there was just one instance of gayness in Lady’s Guide. I too was glad that there wasn’t a lot of gayness in it, as a sapphic demi person myself!! (I was actually surprised that there was a gay moment haha.) It was really poor wording on my part and I totally see how it might be interpreted as exclusionary! Again I’m so so sorry you were hurt by my words and I just edited my post ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Omgg, I am so happy you said what you said about We Contain Multitudes!! I felt the same way! I did end up giving the book a pretty high rating because I did enjoy the whole letter aspect of it, and the beginning before it got super weird. But. The age gap threw me off a ton. Before reading it I thought they were just a year apart and then at the beginning I was sure there was an issue because the age gap was just *so much*.

    And the ending!! Got me so mad!! Like the cheating was the worst, and there were some SERIOUS consent issues with that scene that are just brushed over. I’ve seen people say it’s not technically cheating, but I felt like the sister got off so scott free at the end of the book, it really bugged me.

    A Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy also took me FOREVER to read. It just dragged on so much, and Felicity wasn’t such a likable main character, she came across as a bit bratty and entitled throughout most of the book.

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    1. I’m glad you agreed with me with We Contain Multitudes!! Yeah, I didn’t go in expecting there to be an age gap (and even afterwards when I looked at reviews, not a lot of them mentioned it), but it’s like. not hidden or anything. It’s very clear that they’re 3 years apart, especially at the end when the older one whose name I forgot (I vaguely remember something like Kirk or Kurt ??) was talking about college :// And YES, the cheating was so bad, and the consent was just so blurry and weird and really badly discussed.

      And yeah, Felicity really wasn’t much of a likable character! But I think that’s fine, since there are a lot of unlikable fictional characters and the likable vs unlikable thing is most hurtful to female characters — I just got annoyed by her because I felt like she was just saying the same things over again lmao

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  11. A Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy!!! I ahve to agree!! I found Felicity to be rude and annoying most of the time and the story… I honestly think the plot was totally random and unbelieveable T_T I am sorry but that’s my tea xD

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  12. Ohhhh no about GoSaS. I will adjust my expectations accordingly. I was worried some of the things I didn’t like in GoPaF would carry over to the sequel. I was hoping it would improve.

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    1. Aahh Marta!! I’m so sorry if I’ve contributed to your fear by not liking GOSAS — I’m really hoping I’m in the minority when it comes to disliking it! And I would say you could just read GOPAF and not GOSAS, but it’s a pretty cruel cliffhanger 😭

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      1. Everyone keeps recommending GOPAF so I’ll likely check it out myself and try to go with a clear mind!! Anyway, it’ll take a while for me to get to the books so it’s probable I’ll forget how you didn’t enjoy the sequel by then (I’m not kidding,my memory is awful) xD

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  13. I’m honestly a bit worried about Girls of Storm and Shadows, but I will still try it!!! And I did love Felicity’s book and I GET that it was about her whole “not like the other girls” attitude being dismantled, but it was still hard to read. But then Monty was a complete asshat in his book too so I’m trying not to be like…more forgiving of him? But I guess he was more endearing because he was so oblivious. 😭I actually felt Felicity lost her sense of humour which I loved her for in bk 1. But yes anyhow. I’m really disappointed in Sorcery of Thorns. 👀 It was excruciatingly boring (it’s about BOOKS. it should not be BORING gah) and basically ripped of Clockwork Angel so…oop.

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    1. Ah I hope you love GOSAS! People have been saying they’ve seen a lot of disappointed reviews lately (I haven’t seen them personally) so I really hope those don’t continue 😭 And I agree!! I also feel like Mackenzi Lee could have introduced a bunch of new feminist concepts for Felicity to explore besides her saying the same thing over and over again. And oh no, I’m so sorry to hear you didn’t like Sorcery of Thorns! I actually heard a lot of amazing things about it that made me want to read it even though I didn’t like the author’s debut, so I’m not sure anymore :/

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  14. I haven’t read any of these haha BUT I am surprised by the first one! I don’t even know what those books are but I’ve seen them EVERYWHERE!

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  15. this is the most on brand post from you. laying on the salt and bitterness🤭✨💫🌠 i cant believe you didnt like girls of storm and shadow omg what a tragedy, does this mean i can opt out of girl of paper and fire?? 🤠 we contain multitudes sounds like a BIG YIKES bye

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  16. enter me, being so sad because i somehow was unsubscribed from you!! but yes yes yesssss lady’s guide was so so annoying and oh i didn’t know about the whole misgendering thing!!! going to look uno that, it’s so sad 😦 and ohhhh gosas nooooo i wanted this!!! and we set the dark on fire i think i’ll still try… if i can find it!! bc no way i wanna buy it now 😦 thank you so much for compiling these, now i know what not to read xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah I’ve accidentally unfollowed people so many times, no worries!! And aahh yeah, Lady’s Guide was just boring and a bit annoying for me to read :/ (Yup, the whole misgendering thing was a really big yikes) And ah no, I really do think I’m in the minority when it comes to We Set the Dark on Fire! I feel like you might really love it 💖

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  17. Sorry these were so disappointing for you! I know how it is when you just don’t connect with a book for whatever reason. I’ve only read Lady’s Guide, but I really loved that one. I can definitely see your point about it though. 😀

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