I had to stretch this week’s topic a bit, since there are so many great books coming out this year that I’m really looking forward to! I had a surprisingly hard time finding hyped books that I wasn’t so interested in reading. Even the books that I did find were not books that I could confidently say I would never read. Most of them are things that I’m not particularly interested in now, but can’t really rule out reading forever. Looking back on previous posts I’ve made on a similar topic last year and even back in 2019, I very quickly realized that this was the most difficulty I’ve ever had compiling this kind of list. I can’t complain though, since it means there are a ton of exciting books coming out this year! I also went back to a few hyped releases from 2020 that I’ve never really had the chance to mention, but definitely fit this week’s prompt.
1) Midnight Sun by Stephanie Meyer
I was never particularly interested in Twilight to begin with, and the only reason I read the series at all was to see what all the hype was about. I rated each of the books either 2 or 3 stars, although I suspect my ratings might be slightly higher now. At the time, I think I got a little swept up in the “anti-Twilight” hype and went into them really not expecting much. I thought the overall storyline was fine, but didn’t care for the characters or for the writing. I’ve been mildly interested in trying the series again since it’s been so long and seeing if my opinion has changed, but I’m not sure if I really want to devote the time to it since I didn’t really like it the first time. If I do that, I’d probably end up reading this one too just for the sake of completion. This book retells Twilight from Edward’s perspective, which I think could be very interesting. On the other hand, we’ve already had a gender-swapped version of the original book which seemed kind of pointless to me. From what I’ve heard about that version, the story was identical, but the genders of the characters were flipped. I’m hoping and expecting that this book would do more than that, but I’ve heard some pretty mixed reviews even from people who loved Twilight, so given that my initial interest in the series was already low, it puts me off trying this one too.
2) Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore
This was a hyped book all through 2020, and one that I never had much interest even though the synopsis does sound like something I’d like. It is about a young woman named Oona who faints as the countdown to the New Year begins, and wakes up 32 years in the future, when she is 51 and living in a house that she is told is hers. She soon learns that with each passing year, she will leap to another random age. It sounds like such a cool concept, and I love the idea of a character hopping around to different times in their own life. This is going to sound incredibly shallow, but I think the main reason I haven’t been interested in reading this one is because I find the cover very off-putting. I’ve often seen it mentioned by others as a favourite cover of the year, and I’m not even sure what it is exactly that puts me off, but I find it very weird and almost creepy. It’s a stupid reason to not want to read the book though, and for that alone, I will probably end up picking it up eventually. I do tend to love time travel stories, especially where the main character tries to cope with jumping back and forth in their own life, so it does sound like something I should enjoy.
3) To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini
This is another book that I’m theoretically interested in trying, but realistically think that it’s unlikely. I never read the Eragon series, despite having the first book my shelves for decades now. It’s one of those series that I wanted to read when I was younger but never got around to, and now I feel like it might be too late to really enjoy it. This book mildly caught my attention last year just because I recognized the author’s name and was surprised to see he had written something new. It is about a girl named Kira who finds an alien relic while on a mission on an uncolonized planet, and soon finds herself caught up in a war, with Earth and its colonies on the brink of destruction. This does sound very interesting, although I don’t read sci-fi or first contact stories very often. I actually have quite a few books involving space on my TBR already for this year, so if I enjoy those, I might be a little more motivated to pick this one up. It also puts me off a bit that this one is nearly 900 pages, so that’s quite a commitment for a book that I’m only on the fence about. I definitely didn’t pick this one up at the height of its hype, and I’m still not sure if it will be like Eragon and just sit on my list unread forever, but I can kind of see myself trying it eventually.
4) The Final Revival of Opal and Nev by Dawnie Walton
I first heard of this book because it was a recent Book of the Month choice. I’m Canadian so I don’t have Book of the Month here (unfortunately), but I’ve heard this one mentioned in almost every video on every channel that I watched. For some reason, every time I heard this one mentioned, my instinctive reaction was “Nope, not interested” even though I can’t find any reason why not. It is set it the 70s and it’s about a young woman named Opal who believes she can be a star, and she teams up with Neville, a British singer-songwriter who discovers her at a bar’s amateur night. Just as she’s starting to find her place in the music industry, a rival band on her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a concert, and Opal’s protest sets off a chain of events that serves as a reminder of the repercussions for women, especially black women, who speak out. In 2016, as Opal considers reuniting with Nev, a journalist seizes on the chance to create an oral history of their career, but digging into what happened brings up an new allegation that threatens to ruin everything. To be honest, I have no real reason why my first reaction was to pass on this book, aside from the fact that I’m not particularly interested in books about fame or the music industry. This one reminds me quite a bit of Daisy Jones and the Six, which I loved, so I might be willing to eventually give it a chance. I’d consider it more a book that I’m on the fence about than one that I’m adamantly against reading.
5) Eternal by Lisa Scottoline
To be fair, I’m not entirely sure how hyped this one really is, but I feel like I’ve been seeing it everywhere lately. I like historical fiction in general, and I’ve liked Lisa Scottoline’s books in the past, but somehow I’m not really interested in the combination of the two. All of the Lisa Scottoline books I’ve read so far have been thrillers, and I think this is actually her first historical fiction. This book is about three best friends who grew up in Rome. Sandro and Marco are both hoping to win Elisabetta’s heart, but everything begins to change in 1937 when Mussolini asserts his power by allying with Hitler. As anti-Semitism begins to take root in the country and WWII erupts around them, the three friends start to realize that Mussolini was just the beginning, especially after the Nazis occupy Rome. To be fair, all of Lisa Scottoline’s books have been 4 star reads for me, which is always a little frustrating because the concepts sound so amazing but the execution never quite hits the mark. I’m wondering if a book from such a different genre might be a better fit, since it was often the very ending of her thrillers that fell a bit flat for me. I’ve read many books set during WWII but none set in Italy, so that alone is enough to put this one on my radar, although I’m not particularly interested in picking it up just yet.
6) Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir
Again, I’m not totally opposed to reading this, but I haven’t read any books by this author yet. I’m sure that if I decide to pick him up, I’d start with The Martian first. This book is his most recent release coming in a couple of weeks, and it is about a man named Ryland who is the sole survivor on a last-chance mission, where his failure could mean the end of Earth itself. However, Ryland has been asleep for a long time and wakes up to find himself millions of miles away with his crew dead and his memory fuzzy. I skipped The Martian when it was at its most hyped because I didn’t have a strong interest in reading books set in space, and especially because I heard it had a lot of technical descriptions of machinery, which really doesn’t appeal to me much. Over the years though, I’ve started to become a little more intrigued by it and would vaguely like to eventually try it. To be honest, when I first saw this one it seemed like a very similar storyline and I was a bit confused about whether the books were meant to be a series somehow, but as far as I can tell, they are both standalones. I think of all of his books, after looking at the synopses of all three in detail, this is the one that sounds the most interesting. I may need to add Andy Weir to a “priority authors to try” list at some point in the future, if I decide that I actually do want to try his books.
7) Arsenic and Adobo by Mia P. Manansala
I didn’t really expect this book to be so hyped, but I’ve been seeing it everywhere lately. If I remember correctly, it was another Book of the Month pick, so I’ve probably heard a lot of vloggers mentioning in. This book is a cozy mystery about a woman named Lila, who moves back home to recover from a bad breakup. Lila is forced to help save her Tita Rosie’s struggling restaurant and also has to deal with matchmaking aunties trying to involve themselves in her life. However, when a notoriously harsh food critic drops dead moments after he and Lila have a confrontation, she finds herself treated as the prime suspect. Lila is left with no choice but to investigate the incident herself and figure out what really happened, especially to ensure that her family can keep their restaurant. I like mysteries in general, but I’ve never really gotten into cozy mysteries. I tend to like mysteries that have a bit more of a thriller element to them. I’ve also burnt myself out a bit on books that are set in restaurants lately. I have a few that are already on my TBR for this year, but don’t have much interest in picking up any more just yet. This is another book that I probably won’t skip forever, but I’m not really interested in trying it right now.