DNF Review: Three Dark Crowns

Three Dark Crowns


Oh how I hate writing DNF reviews. I enjoy giving my opinion on books, how they made me feel, etc. but when I am forced to stop a book because of reasons, I don’t enjoy that. This book simply had too much going on and it was beyond confusing.

Uh… I think this was a story about three sisters, triplets, who all fight to kill each other until one is left and they can be crowned queen. That’s what I got out of it anyways. Every generation the current queen births triplet girls, without fail. Then these three sisters are taught to develop their natural talents (magic?) and the dark arts of killing discreetly. Everyone knows it is going to happen but nobody cares. And that’s as far as I got.

The portion of the story I made it through was a huge info dump of history. I was hit with a tidal wave of information that I didn’t know how to process because I didn’t know how it related to the overall story. There is no real backstory to prepare the reader for what is going on, other than what I mentioned above. The chapters were back and forth with names of people/places/events and I never knew if they were current or in the past. The alternating POVs all sounded like the same person talking, I couldn’t tell which sister was talking. I felt the three sisters of this story were obnoxious. I didn’t care what happened to them. I didn’t care who died and in what way. They were that annoying to me. I felt there was no world building, no characterization, nothing to help me understand what is going on. This story felt incredibly flat. The plot itself was soooo slllloooowwww. I found myself rolling my eyes too many times so that’s when I knew I was done. I finally had to give up and move to another story.

I know others raved about this story and loved it until the last page, but it just was not for me. This feels like the perfect example of how not every story is for every reader. I have started to enjoy high fantasy stories more and more, but this was not for me.




Waiting on Wednesday: Bad Blood

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

This week’s pre-publication “can’t-wait-to-read” selection is:

Bad Blood by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Bad Blood  (The Naturals, #4)


From Goodreads:

“When Cassie Hobbes joined the FBI’s Naturals program, she had one goal: uncover the truth about her mother’s murder. But now, everything Cassie thought she knew about what happened that night has been called into question. Her mother is alive, and the people holding her captive are more powerful—and dangerous—than anything the Naturals have faced so far.

As Cassie and the team work to uncover the secrets of a group that has been killing in secret for generations, they find themselves racing a ticking clock.

New victims. New betrayals. New secrets.

When the bodies begin piling up, it soon becomes apparent that this time, the Naturals aren’t just hunting serial killers.”


I don’t know about you, but I love this series and cannot wait for this book to come out!



Top Ten Tuesday: Books to Get You in the Mood for Halloween

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they have a different theme for bloggers to post their top tens about, and this week I’m listing my…

Top Ten-ish Books to Get You in the Mood for Halloween




Dracula by Bram Stoker



Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice

Interview with the Vampire (The Vampire Chronicles, #1)


The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Gris Grimly

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow


Frakenstein by Mary Shelley



It by Stephen King



The Omen by David Seltzer

The Omen


Amityville by Jay Anson

The Amityville Horror


The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

The Exorcist


Dark Places by Gillian Flynn

Dark Places


The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

The Picture of Dorian Gray



What books would you recommend reading to get someone in the Halloween mood? Let me know!



ARC Review: A Darkly Beating Heart

A Darkly Beating Heart


This is the story of an extremely trouble teenage girl, Reiko, who leaves the States to live with her relatives in Japan. While in Japan she accidentally finds a way to slip backwards in time to Japan 1862. She is so angry and full of hatred. This is not normal teen angst, this is full on murderous anger.

First and foremost, this book is extremely well written. Smith did an amazing job writing time travel into a story. It did not feel sci-fi or cheesy, but fluid and natural. The whole thing was full of brilliant characters. The one character that stood out to me was the protagonist, Reiko. Her constant hatred felt over the top. This wasn’t the normal type of “I hate my parents” type of teenage anger, this was so much more than that. It honestly made me uncomfortable at times. Reiko is hellbent on making her ex-girlfriend pay for the hurt she caused by dumping her. I can understand being upset that someone broke up with you, but wanting to cause them bodily harm is something entirely different. The amount of rage Reiko carries with her throughout the entire book almost caused me to put the book down. There was no real need for that in this story. Thankfully Smith did an outstanding job of developing Reiko as the story continued. This was not an overnight fix, rather a slow burn realization and growth for Reiko. That was refreshing to read.

Reiko and her anger issues aside, the other characters in this story were really good. Jiro, a samurai from the alternate 1862 Japan, was very well developed. Jiro is the one that helps Reiko learn to let go of the hate she has been carrying with her for so long. Miyu is also from alternate 1862 Japan. She is the person Reiko takes over while in the past. Miyu is also set on revenge but her hate is not as strong. Together the make one heck of a team.

The plot of this story is what really stood out the most to me. The plot was so well developed that it kept me entertained the entire time. The story line of present Japan with past Japan blended together seamlessly. The time travel portion of the story is explained in a way that didn’t leave me scratching my head. This book truly was written flawlessly. The writing style was beautiful, the settings were rich and descriptive, and the characters were though out. However, I can only give this book 3 stars for two reasons:

  • Reiko’s unnecessary constant rage, anger, and hatred. Again, it made me uncomfortable and I struggled to get past it.
  • Triggers of suicide and self-harm. Those are two extreme topics that not everyone will like. The way Reiko casually talked about them left a sour taste in my mouth.

If you do give this book a chance, do it with the knowledge of the above two main take away points. I can see how this book will not be welcomed with open arms by all readers, but I urge you to give it a chance. The second half of the book gets better, I promise.




Books Left Unread #48


Books Left Unread

Welcome to my blog post where I talk about the books I have been meaning to read, but just have not yet. You know what I am talking about – the books that have remained unread for various reasons yet when you see them you think, “You know, I really need to read that.” Instead you get distracted by another book, series, or something in your TBR pile. It happens to the best of us. I want to spotlight those books in the hope that I can persuade myself to move them up on my TBR list.

This week’s post is dedicated to:

The Archived by Victoria Schwab

The Archived (The Archived, #1)


This book sound fascinating to me but I just haven’t pulled it off of my shelf yet. I even met Schwab and got her to sign my copy! Tell me, should I read this soon?



Review: The Night Circus

The Night Circus


I finally caved in and read this book. Well, listened to the audio anyways. After the announcement of Caraval (amazing book, btw) coming to shelves in January 2017, people that read that book swore it reminded them of this book, The Night Circus. I gave in to my curiousity and marked this off of my TBR. I was not as impressed with this as I wanted to be. Honestly, I was a bit bored with it. Let me explain.

This is the story of Celia and Marco. When they were very young, two men promised these kids would battle against each other until there was one victor. Now this isn’t the type of match where they fight a bloody battle, instead it is one of magic and illusion. Celia and Marco are both trained very differently on how to use their gifts. They both know they are fighting for the honor of their guardians, but they don’t know who they are fighting until much later. Enter the Le Cirque des Rêves, a mysterious circus that comes only at night. This circus is where the battle takes place. In front of fans that don’t know this is a competition, Celia and Marco try to outdo each other. Everything changes when Celia discovers that Marco is her adversary. Soon, these two change their battle to a collaboration. They use their gifts to start impressing one another, not trying to win the game. And before they know it, these two start to fall in love. Their masters certainly do not like where this is going so they step up the consequences and things start to become very dangerous for the two. Will the two young illusionists continue to battle one another until only one remains? Or will they find a way out of this night circus so they can be together?

The only way I could compare this book to Caraval is by the use of illusions and a circus/carinval setting – that was it. I fully believe that Caraval is a book all its own. The book I actually compared this to is The Crown’s Game. It felt like The Crown’s Game took a huge portion of its storyline from this book. Here is what I mean: two performers (a male and a female) with extrodinary talent for magic and illusions, raised from a young age and told they had to destroy the other, forced to battle one another and in the end, fall in love with each other. Sounds like the same book, doesn’t it? If I don’t tell you which book is which, you won’t be able to tell which I am referring to. As a result, I couldn’t read this as a seperate story as I felt like I had already read it. Granted, this book came out a while ago but it doesn’t change the fact that it has been redone only with the stage as a kingdom, not a circus. Still, you get the idea. That bothered me so much about the two books and I ended up not liking this as much as I could have.

The characters were endearing at times and I did enjoy Celia and Marco. I did like Marco a little bit more because he just felt more sincere. Celia was trying so hard to impress her dad that she started to lose track of who she was. Marco never lost that in himself. With that being said, there were so many minor characters that it was hard to keep up with them. All of the circus performers had a role in the story and as such they all had backstories. That felt like just too much to keep up with.

The pacing nearly put me to sleep. I’ve already admitted that I had moments were I was bored with this story. I also had moments where I wanted to stop the audio and move to another story because this was just not doing it for me. There would be pages and pages (or several very long minutes?) where the author went into great detail about the dress a guest was wearing or the paintings on the wall of the house she was visiting. That’s fine and all, but it was overkill to me. It is one thing to bring the reader into the narrative but it is another to beat them to death with details.

Overall I am glad I read this story but I think I fell for the hype. This did not blow my hair back and it did not wow me. I was looking for that but I just could not find it in this story. I am on the fence about recommending this book to anyone because I did not enjoy it like others did. I will only say this: If you liked The Crown’s Game, then you should read this book.



ARC Review: The Twelve Days of Dash & Lily

The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily


I have been in the Dash & Lily fan club since I read their story in 2014. I loved their crazy games and following clues. They were two lost souls that found each other and it was beautiful. I was over the moon excited to discover there was a continuation to their story! Sadly, I was let down by this book. This is not the loving and adorable story of Dash & Lily we have come to know and love.

When the story opens, Dash & Lily were coming up on their one year anniversary. They have been so happy dating each other, getting to know each others families, and make memories together. But not everything has been rainbows and sunshine for these two, Lily’s grandfather suffered a heart attack and his recovery has not been easy. Lily put it on herself to take care of him, along with everything else she insists she needs to do. Lily has become distant and short with everyone, Dash especially. Christmas is supposed to be Lily’s favorite time of the year so Dash makes a plan to help remind her how great the holidays really are. Twelve days before Christmas he puts his plan in to motion with the help of his good friends. Dash may be a little thick headed at times, but he knows one thing – his feelings for Lily are real and true and he is going to do whatever it takes to remind her that she is loved.

This entire story felt rushed. It did not feel thought out or substantial. It was not upbeat and cheerful, but instead one disaster after another. Lily is in a depressive state and refuses to let people help her, which will bring any reader down as well. I felt so sad for her throughout this entire story. Everything she or Dash tried to do to lift her spirits did not end well. The adventures that were planned in the first book that brought these two together are few and far between in this story. In fact, they are barely mentioned because they are overshadowed by traumatic events happening in Lily’s life. Reading a Christmas-time story with a heavy sad undertone is not as enjoyable as you would think.

The characters were still very much Lily & Dash, don’t get me wrong, but Lily is trying to be older than what she is. She is still a teenager that but she feels she needs to shoulder the weight of everything with her grandfather. She feel she needs to be his caregiver so he can stay at home simply because she cannot handle change. She felt immature in the fact that she didn’t want to accept that her grandfather is growing old, has serious health risks, and requires constant medical care. There is no way she could take care of all of that but she was in denial about it. I was frustrated with that character flaw. Would that be a flaw or more of an annoyance? Either way, it made me like her a little less.

Dash is not without his troubles but nothing like what Lily was going through. He had issues with his parents, as explained in book one. He was a little thick headed when it comes to dating someone, but it was so sweet and endearing. It felt genuine and real. I will forever cheer for Dash, but Lily seriously needed some professional medical help in this story.

The other thing that really bothered me about this story is the beat-you-over-the-head-nearly-every-page references to NYC. If you have not been there, you will not understand most of the references made. I recently visited NYC and have a general idea of the areas, but I feel bad for those readers that don’t know the area and cannot picture them. They are not described other than by name.

Overall, this story was not what I was hoping for. I have said it before – I wanted more. This story did not feel thought out or developed at all. It was all over the place, depressing, and it did not put me in the holiday spirit. I felt this was a 2.5 star read. Some of the humor is still there but do not expect to walk away feeling super warm fuzzies, there is too much seriousness that keeps the reader from feeling upbeat. After this story, I’m not sure I will continue with Dash & Lily on their adventures.