DNF Review: The Afterlife of Holly Chase

The Afterlife of Holly Chase


What in the ever loving heck was this book. Seriously. What was it? I love a good classic retelling but I’m sorry to say this was not one of those. I DNFd 20% into the story and it was a painful 1/5 of the book. I cannot imagine what the rest was like.

This is supposed to be a (loose?) retelling of Scrooge but it isn’t a version of the story I have ever heard of before. The protagonist, Holly, is the most shallow, self absorbed, bitch of a spoiled brat I have had the displeasure of reading. After she died in a freak accident, she was recruited to be a part of a Scrooge organization that helped people realize the error of the ways and redeem themselves. Holly was recruited to be the Ghost of Christmas Past? You need to go somewhere else and sell that because I’m not buying it. This girl had the personality of a wet bag. She was only interested in being a bitch to everyone around her because her father had money and she was never told No a day in her life. She talked like a stuck up valley girl, which is always a huge pet peeve of mine. She was already vapid enough, don’t make it worse by making her sound like the only things she had worth living for were good manicures and sushi. I don’t have time for that nonsense. The way she treated people in real life and in death was offensive. She yelled at her housekeeper for turning the heat on during a very cold day and you want me to cheer for this girl? Get out of my face with that noise.

I decided to DNF when, after a debrief of “Scrooge #(whatever)” Holly was introduced to the next “Scrooge”, Ethan, and she fell lust-over-heels instalove with him. He was just as shallow, spoiled, and rotten as Holly. That was when I threw in the towel. We all know if there is one thing I cannot stand in a book is instalove. This story had it in spades. You want me to believe that Holly suddenly had the holiday spirit and wanted to “do her job” after seeing a photo of a hot guy? Reference above note about the character being shallow and self-absorbed. I had no cares to give about what happened after that. Holly’s character was given a chance to make other people happy but she chose to be bitter to the core about it. That made her so much worse! I wanted nothing to do with her or her story so I quit. I have read more than enough books in my day to know when a story is up my alley or not. This is most certainly not one for me.

If you made it through this book, let me know. I wish I could have read it through your eyes. I wanted a feel good holiday story and I really thought this would hit the spot. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Oh how wrong I was.






Review: An Enchantment of Ravens

An Enchantment of Ravens


If I said it once, I’ve said it a hundred times: stunning covers like this always make me want to read the story. I don’t care what it is about because I want it in my hands. Well, my darlings, do not let this cover fool you. This story was just ho-hum at the very best of times. The rest of the time it read like every other fae story out today.

Short recap: Isobel has a gift for painting human emotions into the paintings of her fae clients. The fae love anything and everything that is a human craft as they cannot do that on their own (cook food, clean laundry, etc). But when the mysterious Rook has his painting done. Isobel is swept away by Rook into the Fae lands to answer for the crime she has committed.

Are you as confused as I am? I sort of understood that Isobel (not her real name, by the way) had a gift for painting portraits but the fact that she could paint emotions into them baffled me. Why was that such a big deal to the Fae community? Did they not express emotions themselves? And then for Rook, the mysterious Fae prince, to wish Isobel away for crimes against him just had me scratching my head. So what if she painted emotion into his likeness? I never understood why that was such a big deal. Maybe it was explained and I missed it, or maybe it was supposed to be a conclusion I came to on my own (I never did, in case you were wondering). Either way, that made zero sense to me.

The other thing that stood out to me was the dreaded instalove. GAH! My arch nemesis! It burns! It burns! I cannot stand instalove but yet there it was, bold as brass. Instead of the romance between Isobel and Rook developing gradually and naturally, Rogerson made it instalove from the start. Yes, their relationship does continue to develop over the course of the story but to force it upon me from the very start made me disbelieve it even more.

I’m still at a loss of words for this story. I wanted to like it so much more but there was no way I could. When the story morphed into an adventure through the fairylands it quickly became every other fae story that is out and has been out. Nothing felt original or unique. The fae characters had the same qualities: they had to bow if someone bowed to them; they were wearing glamours to hide any imperfections; they spoke in riddles; the food they offered to humans guaranteed the humans would be trapped in the fairyland; magic spells spoken by fae people often had loopholes; etc. You get the idea. It had all been done before many many times. I grew bored while reading those parts because I felt as if I was reading plagiarized work from another author. Cruel to say but nevertheless true.

I did not enjoy this like I thought I would. The ending left me wondering what the hell was going on and what happened. I’m almost kicking myself for not DNFing this when I lost interest the first time. This was one of my most anticipated reads yet I walked away feeling completely disappointed. I really wanted so much more from it. In good faith I cannot recommend this to anyone. Do not fall victim to pretty covers like I did.



Review: Mask of Shadows

Mask of Shadows (Untitled #1)


I know I have struggled when it comes to reading fantasy books but this was one that I truly enjoyed. The story flowed and the characters worked. I really liked this one.

Short recap: Sal has not had an easy life. She was forced to become a thief and defend herself at a very young age. Her homeland was destroyed by shadows and her people used as bait. After years of sneaking around and training, an opportunity presents itself for Sal to audition to become a member of the Queen’s Left Hand. Sal is trying out to become the new Opal, but she must survive and prove herself worthy to carry the title.

I already mentioned how much I enjoyed this book and I cannot saying that. I really enjoyed Sal’s character and her story arc. I felt as if I really connected with her and her struggles. What stood out to me the most about her was that she was the first gender-fluid character I had read as a MC. How awesome is that?! To be able to read a character that changed their entire wardrobe based on their mood for the day was enjoyable. I know that sounds weird to say about a fantasy book but that’s how it was for me. I was not ever confused about how Sal was on any given day, it was very clear and concise. Miller did such a wonderful job that I cannot give her enough props.

I think I have just nailed down why I enjoyed this fantasy novel – it was a rather generic plot and those are the easiest for me to follow. Anything more than what this book gave and my brain stops functioning. I know that may sound confusing or crazy but high fantasy books throw me off my game. This was a wonderful plot with the right amount of fantasy to make it more than regular fiction story, if that makes sense. There was nothing complex or utterly mind blowing but it was still very enjoyable.

Mask of Shadows does have a Hunger Games feel, which I really liked. Sal was warned early on that s/he would have to survive the other players and their murder attempts. If one of the competitors died, oh well, one less person to beat later. Marvelous! The competition starts within three chapters of the start so Miller wasted no time in getting the action started. I am not going to give a lot of this story away because I want everyone to read it.

While parts of this story were predictable, it still held my attention to the very end. I cannot wait for the second book! Please, give this one a try and let me know your thoughts.



Review: The Future of Us

The Future of Us


What in the ever loving actual was this. I wasn’t sure there was a way to screw up a sci-fi time travel-ish story but Asher and Mackler found a way to do it.

I’m not even giving a short recap. What you need to know is that this is set in the early 90s when the internet is still BRAND NEW and AOL is the only way to get internet access. Emma has just gotten a computer and her bestest friend (and crush) Josh has graciously brought her an AOL computer disk.

Let me stop here. Anyone born before or during this period of time will have no freaking clue what AOL disks are. *sigh*

Moving on. Emma creates an AOL email and suddenly has a “favorites” bookmark to Facebook. She cannot help but wonder what this is about so she clicks and discovers it is a way to see into the future! She realizes she can see what she is doing in 2011 and what everyone else is doing as well. This girl quickly becomes obsessed with making sure she is happy in 2011. If she sees she’s married to XXX, then she obsessively stalks XXX until she finds out who he is, what he does, and if she is happy. She cannot stop thinking about herself in the future.

I am going to stop again because this is where the book seriously started to piss me off. Emma’s character was so vapid and self-absorbed that she cared about nobody but herself. She could not stop trying to change every single thing about her life 15 years in the future. Example: She found out she was living in Ohio and blew a gasket. She then swore that she would never move to Ohio, checked FB, and BAM! She was living in a new city. She did stuff like this throughout the entire book. Not once did she stop to ever wonder why she had a link to a website 15 years in the future. *bangs head against desk*

Josh’s character was just as bad. He found out who he was married to in the future and then could not stop obsessing over it. I guess “obsessing” was the theme of this book. Anyways… he finds out he is married to the hottest girl in school and proceeds to walk around with a boner for the rest of the story. This boy was running on hormones and nothing else. That is all he could talk about and all he could think about. Gross. Emma was all about boys and “fixing” her loveless marriage so I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised. These were badly written characters in a badly written story.

I think this was supposed to be an attempt at a light hearted, somewhat comedic story but I never read it that way. What I read was pages and chapters of Josh and Emma reading their FB status updates from the future. SNOOZEFEST. Who cares?! Nothing happened. This was not a fantastic throwback to the 90s type story. There was so very little that linked this to the 90s other than the reference to AOL and a modem. Oh, there is heavy reference to the Dave Matthews band so be prepared for that. But outside of those few items, this could have been set in 2007 and had the same effect. Writing a book for YA readers that were born in the same year as the story probably wasn’t the smartest idea. Again, pretty damn sure not all teens today even know what cassette tapes are, or Walkmans for that matter. Stop trying so hard to be hip and cool.


This was so much more than a let down for me. Maybe if I was a much younger reader I would be fascinated by this story but as I am not, I was not into this story. It was painfully dull and boring. The overall plot was weak at best. The characters were self centered, shallow, and lifeless. I didn’t care what they were doing or who they ended up with. I had zero cares to give about this book. The premise and cover promised a cyber-type mystery but I’m here to tell you, my friends, that was not the case. Don’t be fooled, this is not the best use of your reading time. Find another book and move on.



Review: Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls

Suicide Notes from Beautiful Girls





Do not be fooled by the blurb of this one. It promises a story of betrayal, suicide, and hidden pasts full of secrets. What it actually turned out to be was something much different and I don’t mean that in a good way.

Short recap: June’s friend, Delia,that she distanced herself from has committed suicide by burning herself in a fire. June doesn’t believe it and vows to find out what really happened. What she uncovers shakes her to her core.

Well, after writing that recap maybe I should change professions because I made this story sound good. I struggled to finish this book and often thought about DNFing. Once it was over and the big plot twist was revealed, I wish I had DNFd. It was not that much of a twist, I saw it coming a mile away. The story started out with so much potential – a suicide that may possibly be a murder instead. Who did it?! What happened?! Lies! Mystery! Betrayal! Secrets! Sigh This story just did not deliver the suspense and mystery I expected.

Let me start with the characters. I could not stand June. She was in school when it was announced over the speakers that her former best friend Delia had passed away. It is a sad and tragic announcement, as it should be. But what really stood out to me is that June took it personally. She openly admits that she and Delia used to be inseparable until June decided to distance herself. June decided that Delia was not a good friend anymore and chose to not talk to her. But after the announcement, June felt it was her responsibility to find out what really happened? Riddle me this – WHY. This girl chose to not be friends with the one person who was nice to her and then, what, out of grief chose to get to the bottom of Delia’s suicide? Why was it any of her business? She chose to leave Delia’s life, that doesn’t entitle her to anything. It felt like a long (boring) story of June sticking her nose where it didn’t belong. Now Delia. What a cluster eff of a character. I felt bad for her home life after learning her side of everything. I stress it that way because we are talking about the churched up version of what happened from a very troubled teen that didn’t like being told what to do. Let that sink in and soak for a few moments. The friendship Delia and June did share was nothing but toxic. Delia was a very bad influence on June and she used that to her advantage to get what she wanted. June just wanted a friend to like her so she went along with whatever Delia told her. Everything between them got worse as the story continued and I ended up despising both characters.

The plot. This was supposed to be about misdirection and betrayal. I’m here to tell you that nothing was really as mysterious as Weingarten was trying to make it out to be. She tried to include a plot twist about 40 or 50% of the way into the book but it is painfully obvious what it was going to be. There was to shock factor or gasp moment. What did throw me for a loop and really made me dislike the story was how it started out as a typical high school drama story where a teen doesn’t like how her parents are trying to parent her (rules! OMG!) and it turned into a story about running away, lies, stealing, and murder. That’s right! MURDER. This went from high school stuff to MURDER. Slow down, Speed Racer. How did that escalate so quickly?!

The pacing of the story was bad. There were long stretches of moments where nothing happened and longer chapters where nothing made sense. There were weird flashbacks thrown into chapters randomly – either at the end or they were chapters all on their own. Regardless, they did not make sense, they did not help propel the story forward, they did not give great insight into the characters. They felt like weird fillers to make the story longer.

You can probably guess that I did not like this story. I’m all for a good messed up story of betrayal, secrets, and hidden truths, but that did not happen in this book. It was an unoriginal concept that I have read many times before in other books (Gone Girl, what?) I am still kicking myself for not DNFing because I will never get that time back. I do not recommend this to anyone. It was not clearly developed or executed. Do yourself a favor and pass on this one.



Review: Girls Made of Snow and Glass

Girls Made of Snow and Glass


I had a small idea of what this book was supposed to be about but what I read was so unexpected… and not in a good way.

The title of this book is to be taken literally. This a story of a girl made of glass and another made of snow. That’s all I’m going to say about that. There really is no hidden meaning, it is quite actually a story about one girl made from glass and another made from snow. While that sounds as if it had the potential to be a great fantasy story, this was anything but. It was painfully slow. It lacked that excitement to make this story good.

The girls in this story are not well developed at all. They felt flat, weakly defined, and blah. There was nothing that stood out about either of them, Mina or Lynet. Their voices came across the same so it was difficult for me to tell  who I was reading as the chapters alternated POV. I’m not sure how many ways I can say how boring and bland this story was. It just did not go anywhere. If this had truly been a Snow White retelling, which I thought it might be, it would have been loads better. Instead, I read an incredibly slow tale of two girls in an ice kingdom. One never gets cold while the other has no idea what she is really made of. Apparently she was made in honor of her mom? Either way, this story needed to be revamped, vetted, and re-edited. I saw where the author tried (and failed) to pull the reader (me) into a magical tale of fantasy but it not accomplished correctly.

Overall, it is no secret this was not a good story. I have already said it enough what I thought of this story. It is difficult for me to give more examples as I never connected with this story, nor do I remember much of it other than what I mentioned above. I found myself skimming just to finish the book. This was not good and I walked away very disappointed.



Review: This Darkness Mine

This Darkness Mine



It is a little difficult to say exactly what this book is about other than it’s a trip and it will mess with your mind. It’s dark, twisted, psychotic, and captivating. I couldn’t put this down. When people tell you that this book was confusing, believe them. The way this story started was not where it ended. McGinnis took this story down a dark and disturbing path that I couldn’t look away from.

This story focused around Sasha Stone, a good girl by nature. She was exceptional in school and music (clarinet). She never fought with her parents, never snuck out at night, never did anything wrong. She was perfect. All of that changed when she found a sonogram picture in a box inside of a closet… but the sonogram was of twins. Sasha was supposed to be a twin but her sister was reabsorbed by the mother’s body and never developed. This, along with other events, caused Sasha to change dramatically. She started hanging out with the bad boy, having sex with this bad boy (even though she had a boyfriend), started fighting with her parents, talking back to everyone, and doing everything uncharacteristic of Sasha. Let’s just say things get much darker and more intense after that. I won’t give anything away but if you want to know, pick up this book.

Now, while everything I mentioned above should be enough to hook you, know that this book was not 100 percent packed with OMG and WHAT?! moments. There were parts that were painfully boring and seemed to go on forever. The shock factors McGinnis put into this story was what kept my attention and me at the edge of my seat. When the story got into a lull, I started to lose my connection with the story. But no matter what – stick with this until the end. I want you to read it and come back to tell me your thoughts. Or if you have read it, tell me your thoughts! I cannot be the only person with so many questions.