Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Top 5 Wednesday: Most Misleading Synopses

Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Thoughts on Tomes. Check out the Goodreads group here.

After having had a rash of one and two star reads lately, I'm more than equipped to tackled this week's topic: most misleading synopses. Sometimes the synopsis sounds so amazing and just the right thing in the moment, but then you settle down to read the book and it just drains you because it sucks so bad!

These titles all disappointed me in one way or another. I've included the synopsis for each book as well so that perhaps you can see where I'm coming from when I explain why I disliked them after having read them based on their synopsis.

5. The Heart of Henry Quantum by Pepper Harding 

In the bestselling tradition of A Man Called Ove and the beloved film Love Actually, a quirky, socially awkward man goes on a quest to find his wife a last-minute Christmas gift and encounters several distractions—including bumping into his ex-girlfriend who was the one who got away.

Henry Quantum has several thoughts going through his head at any given time, so it’s no surprise when he forgets something very important—specifically, a Christmas gift for his wife, which he realizes on the morning of December 23. Henry sets off that day in search of the perfect present for her: a bottle of Chanel No. 5 perfume. But much like Henry’s ever-wandering mind, his quest takes him in different and unexpected directions, including running into the former love of his life, Daisy. His wife, meanwhile, unhappy in her marriage, is hiding a secret of her own. And Daisy, who has made the unsettling choice of leaving her husband to strike out on her own, finds herself questioning whether she and Henry belong together after all.

A sweet, funny, and touching debut from author Pepper Harding shows how the seemingly insignificant events of one single day can change our lives forever—perhaps, if we’re lucky, for the better.

I have read  A Man Called Ove and I love the movie Love Actually (it's one of my favorite holiday movies of all time). When this book promised that it was similar to the two, I thought it would be a great read. It was very much not what it promised. It was rife with terrible characters that didn't have a redeemable bone among them. My first thought would be I was sad about it not being what I thought it would be, but no, I was angry because the story was just that bad and  the people in it were horrible. I was glad when it was over.

4. Rebel Bully Geek Pariah by Erin Jade Lange

"The Breakfast Club" gets a modern, high-stakes reboot in this story of four very different teens and a night that changes them forever. 

The Rebel: Once popular, Andi is now a dreadlocked, tattooed wild child.
The Bully: York torments everyone who crosses his path, especially his younger brother.
The Geek: Tired of being bullied, Boston is obsessed with getting into an Ivy League college. 
The Pariah: Choosing to be invisible has always worked for Sam . . . until tonight. 

When Andi, York, Boston, and Sam find themselves hiding in the woods after a party gets busted by the cops, they hop into the nearest car they see and take off—the first decision of many in a night that will change their lives forever. By the light of day, these four would never be caught dead together, but when their getaway takes a dangerously unpredictable turn, sticking together could be the only way to survive. 

With cinematic storytelling and compelling emotional depth, critically acclaimed author Erin Jade Lange takes readers on literary thrill ride.

I almost thought this would also have a touch of How to Get Away With Murder: a group of people trying to hide their dirty deeds, or in this case, survive the deeds of others and the insane situation they got themselves into. However, I was sorely disappointed. It was supposed to be emotionally deep (it wasn't), have cinematic storytelling (if this is cinematic, then it's a box office flop), and a "The Breakfast Club" reboot (that is an insult to The Breakfast Club).

3. Mosquitoland by David Arnold

"I am a collection of oddities, a circus of neurons and electrons: my heart is the ringmaster, my soul is the trapeze artist, and the world is my audience. It sounds strange because it is, and it is, because I am strange." 
After the sudden collapse of her family, Mim Malone is dragged from her home in northern Ohio to the "wastelands" of Mississippi, where she lives in a medicated milieu with her dad and new stepmom. Before the dust has a chance to settle, she learns her mother is sick back in Cleveland. 
So she ditches her new life and hops aboard a northbound Greyhound bus to her real home and her real mother, meeting a quirky cast of fellow travelers along the way. But when her thousand-mile journey takes a few turns she could never see coming, Mim must confront her own demons, redefining her notions of love, loyalty, and what it means to be sane. 
Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, "Mosquitoland" is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.

This was neither unforgettable, hilarious, nor heartbreaking. The main character Mim reminded me of a lesser Holden Caufield, but not in a great way. I understand the use of an unreliable narrator, but I still couldn't find much to like in Mim. I thought the story would be an interesting journey based on the road trip advertised, the "quirky cast of fellow travelers", but it was a bit disappointing.

2. Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman and Lorenzo Mattotti

This all happened a long time ago, in your grandmother's time, or in her grandfather's. A long time ago. Back then, we all lives on the edge of the great forest.

Neil Gaiman and Lorenzo Mattoti both remember the horror and fascination with which they read the Grimm Brothers' "Hansel and Gretel." The writer and the artist now join forces for a brilliant reimagining of one of humanity's most enduring tales. Be brave, be bold, and keep your wits about you--Gaiman and Mattoti are welcoming you into the woods.

The smudgy sketch style of the art was good for the story, but when the synopsis advertised a "brilliant reimagining" and it's written by Neil Gaiman, I expected something amazing and what I got was the same old story. It was a big let down because there was nothing new or interesting in it. I said in my review that I think it would have been a lot better if Gaiman had just narrated it because then at least his voice, always excellent at capturing creepy goings on, would've saved a mundane narrative.

1. Disney Manga Tim Burton's A Nightmare Before Christmas by Jun Asuka

Manga publishing pioneer TOKYOPOP brings you a special edition gorgeous hardcover manga based on the classic Halloween masterpiece Disney Tim Burton s Nightmare Before Christmas. A must-have for manga fans, Tim Burton fans, and Halloween fans alike!! Collect this horrifying masterpiece!"

I will willingly collect multiple editions of a book if it has a gorgeous binding. I've got more than a few editions of the Harry Potter books, for example. When this synopsis says that this is a must have for manga fans, I think that is quite the overstatement. It's nothing special in terms of art and the story has none of the heart or fun of the original poem or movie. It most certainly is not horrifying except in that it stands as a "manga remake" of The Nightmare Before Christmas and does not live up to the quality that title deserves.

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