DNF Review: Beasts Made Of Night

Beasts Made of Night

 

This had been on my radar for a while before it became available through my library. Once I started it, I quickly discovered that it was not for me and I DNFd.

Short recap: I’m going to guess here. The MC is a magical person who is able to “eat sins” of people before they die. As a result, they are branded with a tattoo-like image on their skin.

That still sounds like a great premise since this story pulls from Nigerian storytelling and mythology. I just wish I could have connected to it or even gotten into it. Instead it never grabbed my attention. I found my mind wandering as the story continued, zoning out more and more. That is when I decided to DNF and cut my loses. The actual story telling is what caused me to not pay attention. I think I know what the author was trying to accomplish but I’m not entirely sure. The writing style itself lacked a sense of structure. Everything felt choppy and forced, nothing was actually fluid.

I couldn’t figure out the actual plot of the story so how could I force myself to sit through the entire story if I didn’t understand what it was all for. The characters were not explained or properly introduced. I know that the MC is a person named Taj but that is all I really know. I don’t know anything of substance about him and that bothered me.

This will not be a super long DNF review, but you get the idea of why I stopped reading. I tried so hard to listen and absorb what was going on but it didn’t work for me. This story did not work for me. I never connected, the plot and pacing were bad, the characters were nothing more than cardboard cutouts. If you read this story and liked it, please let me know! I am not trying to trash on the book, I’m just pointing out why I walked away from it.

 

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DNF Review: The Authentics

The Authentics

 

**CAUTION! SPOILERS AHEAD!**

 

Welcome to my first DNF review of 2018! Now please remember that I don’t like DNFing books, nor do I like writing DNF reviews. But, what I do like is the ability to express myself and voice my concerns or reasons why I felt the strong urge to stop reading a book. I did DNF at the 35% mark of the audio and I’ll explain why.

Short recap: Daria is Iranian-American and very proud of her heritage and always being real. So much so that she and her friends have started calling themselves The Authentics. Things change for Daria after she does a school project and learns some very disturbing information about her past. Maybe she isn’t as “authentic” as she thought she was. How will everyone handle the news?

Here’s the thing… I wanted to love this story, I really did. This quickly turned out to be not a story for me. I realized, accepted, and moved on. I did like Daria’s heritage and how she was always so proud of where she came from. She had a great relationship with her family, parents, and friends. But I did not like how the actual plot of the story was revealed and laid out, along with some other issues.

I did not like how immature Daria’s voice sounded. She and her friends were teenagers, yes, but the way they came across made them sound like they were 12 or 13. Every time Daria did not get her way, she whined like a spoiled entitled child. I have little to no patience for those characters. She was very well taken care of by her parents and wanted for nothing (these girls were carrying Prada bags, for Pete’s sake) so when Daria’s mom talked about her upcoming birthday, Daria threw a tantrum about how she didn’t want a party. Excuse me, missy, but some people (LIKE ME) did not have the luxury of being thrown birthday parties when they were your age – or any age – so how about you be a little grateful that your parents still want to celebrate your milestones?

I also did not enjoy reading how Daria and her group of friends gave themselves the pretentious name “The Authentics” and would only refer to themselves that way. OUT LOUD. IN PUBLIC. They were all so quick to judge other girls in their school and label them things like “Nose Jobs”. Isn’t that the pot calling the kettle black? No need to be so petty. I was thrilled that they always “kept it real” but being so petty to others outside of their circle of friends was not so awesome to read about.

Now here is where I stopped the story: After paying a 3rd party company to genetically map her DNA, she discovers that she is adopted. That’s when Daria lost it. I can understand being upset by not being told this information by her parents but she found out – not only by having her DNA tested without talking to her parents – she illegally snooped in a lawyer’s office to find the paperwork. She found the paperwork confirming that her parents are not her parents and her culture is not really her culture. If the book had focused on that and that alone – this would have been a great story. But it didn’t. I didn’t read any of that. What I read about was this:

Daria’s real mother had a stepson, Enrique, who Daria had instalove with and started to date.

That above sentence is why I DNFd the story. I felt the forced, unnecessary instalove/romance did not need to be in this story. This should have focused on Daria, her adoption, and possibly finding out about her true culture/heritage. Did it? NOPE. It was all about how hot Daria thought Enrique was and how much she wanted to see him shirtless… or some other pointless teenage hormone related thing. I lost all connection to the story, cut my losses and moved on.

Did I like this story? Obviously not since I DNFd. I didn’t like how it was fully of women bashing and judging. (Don’t judge someone because they carry a specific brand of bag or have their nails painted. Judge not lest ye be judged. Always remember that.) I didn’t like how the overall topic was lost in a sea of teenage hormones. This had so much potential but for me fell incredibly short.

 

 

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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.

 

 

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DNF Review: Spindle Fire

Spindle Fire (Spindle Fire #1)

 

I don’t always enjoy writing DNF reviews but I feel they are necessary. I always like to put into words the thoughts and emotions that lead me to stopping a book before the end.  Who doesn’t want to love a Sleeping Beauty retelling?! This one had such potential but it was just not delivered correctly.

Short recap: Aurora and Isbe along with Malfour and Belcour are the primary characters in this story. Two sets of sisters have their grudges to work out and paths to follow. Or something like that.

I want to point out that you would think with two sets of sisters as the main characters this would be a story that involved sisterly-love and/or family. WRONG. I don’t ever remember reading anything about the families being present. They are just POOF gone. If they do exist they were not written into the story. Guess the author didn’t have time for nonsense like logic. Along with no family, these sisters are just nasty towards one another. There is so much hatred and resentment. It goes on throughout the entire story and I didn’t have time for that much negativity in one story with no happy ending in sight. (I know the pun I just delivered and I stand by it.) I also feel like following two sets of sisters is too much. That’s too much to keep straight.

The overall story (the bit I read anyways) felt unoriginal and downright boring. The entire thing was drug out and badly written. There was supposed to be a mystery spin to this story but maybe my copy didn’t come with those pages because there was nothing mysterious about this. It was frightfully dull and oh so confusing. I have yet to figure out what the point was supposed to be as this did not follow any Sleeping Beauty story I heard before.

Want to know what the final nail in the coffin was? Love. Triangles. That’s right, everyone! Multiple love triangles between characters that were flat and underdeveloped. There was nothing remotely interesting or appealing to these love triangles. They did not cause me to sit at the end of my seat screaming, “But who will she choose?!”. I was not ever invested enough for that much emotion. I’m actually surprised I remember this much of the story because it was just so… blah.

I don’t recommend this to anyone. There is no way I could. It is boring, uneventful, long winded, and unexciting. The characters are just there. I cannot think of any other way to describe them at this moment in time. I happily DNFd because of these reasons. I just didn’t care. I won’t finish a story, even a super short one, just to say I finished it if I’m not vested in it and I was not with this one. Do yourself a favor, do not fall for the pretty cover. Move on and find another story.

 

 

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DNF Review: Children of Eden

Children of Eden (Children of Eden, #1)

 

I know a lot of vloggers are getting into the writing business and I am one of those readers/bloggers that has some issue with that. There are writers that work their butts off for years to get published, but someone that is popular on YouTube suddenly has the knowledge to write a book AND get it published? Please forgive me if I’m not jumping out of my chair to buy their book. I also know there is a LOT of controversy around this particular book because the guy probably didn’t write it himself but the ghostwriter isn’t credited. That doesn’t sit well with me either. But those (massive) points aside, I gave this a try. I went in with low expectations and I was still disappointed.

Short recap: If you have read one dystopian, you’ve read this story line. Rowan is an illegal “second child”. She and her family live in Eden where there is a strict one child law. Her parents feel they are beyond the law and kept her hidden away for sixteen years. She sneaks out one night in an act of rebellion and soon becomes addicted to the sights and sounds of Eden… until things go wrong.

There are so many reasons I DNFd this:

  • Unoriginal storyline
  • Far too much time was spent on world building and not enough time on character development
  • Rowan, the MC, was badly, badly written
  • Odd writing style
  • INSTALOVE

Let’s expand on these topics, shall we?

Unoriginal storyline. This felt like nearly every other dystopian I have read and know that I have read a great majority of them. Rowan and her family live in a time when the world has died because of what Man did almost 200 years before. It simply cannot support a large population anymore so a select group have been chosen to live in Eden, a city that is self-sustaining.  Everything is controlled – including the population. Adults are only permitted to have one child. In the case of twins, one is either terminated before birth or after. Pretty straight forward but nothing original at all. It continued this way for a major of the story I read. There was just a massive info dump about everything that goes into keeping Eden running – including what happens to people’s bodily waste. Are you serious. That is totally unnecessary, must like the exact details given in this story.

Far too much time was spent on world building and not enough time on character development. There really was a massive info dump about Eden, the place these characters are living but that was it. There was almost no character development from any character. How am I supposed to connect with anyone if I don’t know anything about them? I didn’t know their likes, dislikes, thoughts, feelings, emotions, nada. These characters felt completely devoid of all emotions. The author (or ghostwriter?) could have put robots in place of the people and the end result would have been the same.

Rowan, the MC, was badly, badly written now. Rowan was supposed to be the protagonist but I felt like I didn’t know anything about her. I knew she was the second twin and apparently very illegal. She was living a secret life stuck behind the walls of her house. She was still educated and had a strict physical regime but that was about it. In regards to her personally, she was a self-centered, shallow, whiny, naive brat that I would never, ever want to be friends with. I also knew that she had zero issues with putting her family at risk by sneaking out of the house. Again, are you serious. Her family put everything on the line to keep her alive and safe but she doesn’t think that’s a big deal so she starts sneaking out of the house. Give me a break. I couldn’t wrap my head around why she was the protagonist. She didn’t feel like she was standing up to anything, instead she was ungrateful and unappreciative for what her family sacrificed to keep her safe.

Odd writing style. The writing just was not good. It felt choppy and unvetted, as if it still hadn’t be put through the editing process. Example: Rowan must have had an undiagnosed mental issue or something because her emotions were all over the charts. She could be happy and content one moment, then in the blink of an eye she became super restless and demanding. I almost had whiplash from the back and forth. And should we mention the made up cuss words? Stop doing that. When Rowan became flustered she would say “bik” or something equally stupid. Uh.. huh? How was I supposed to know that was an action of frustration and not her having a tourettes moment? The author (or ghostwriter?) would spend a lot of time (again) talking about the layout of Eden, only to talk about how the streets are supposed to light up for residents but they don’t for Rowan, and then jumps back to talking about the wasteland outside of the city walls. The things that needed expanding were ignored and the things that didn’t matter were given more info than what I knew what to do with.

Instalove. My most disliked topic. When Rowan snuck out of her house and wandered the streets of Eden, she found a way to run into a girl at her brother’s school that she is obsessed with. She had never met this girl before but was hard core upset when her brother wouldn’t give her every single detail of what the girl was wearing. She threw a fit and stayed mad for hours because her brother didn’t know what shade of yellow the girl was wearing. Rowan was hung up on that detail for a long time, “Was it butterscotch or warm yellow? Why couldn’t he remember?!WHO CARES. Those kind of details meant nothing but Rowan was hung up on this. She became even more stalker-obsessed after running into the girl at a club she wasn’t supposed to be at. I didn’t like the girl (can’t even remember her name) and never understood the instalove connection.

I am always game for a good dystopian story but this was certainly not it. Maybe it was just lost in translation for me but I did not like any moment of this story. The concept itself was an interesting idea but it was not delivered well at all. This is one of those stories where I am kicking myself for even starting. My gut told me to stay away but I didn’t listen and I paid for it. 1.5 hours of my life I won’t ever get back.

 

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DNF Review: Jane, Unlimited

Jane, Unlimited

 

What. In. The. Actual. I DNFd at 25% because I couldn’t continue. Not only is the audio super long (close to 15 hours if you listen at 1x playback) but it is a super slowwwwwwwwwww. If you are set on reading this, make sure you have plenty of time and are interested in umbrella making and art. (I’ll explain in a moment.)

Short recap: Jane feels like her life has been turned upside down after her Aunt passed away. An old friend, Kiran, has come back into her life and invited Jane to join her on her family’s private island for a gala. What could go wrong?

GAH. This story made zero sense to me, at least the bit of the story I read. There are so many raving and wonderful reviews for this story that it hurt me to DNF it. I knew it wasn’t for me when I continued to roll my eyes and sigh, wondering when the story would be over. That meant I was not engaged and I didn’t care what was going on. From what I did read, I did not get what the point of the story was. I knew that Jane, the MC, lost her parents at a young age and raised by her Aunt, whom she recently lost on an adventure in Antarctica. She dropped out of college but has an obsession with making umbrellas. UH….. what. Then a friend from her past randomly shows up in her life and invited her to her family’s private island for a party. Say what again? I’m all for good random things happening in someone’s life but these random events don’t seem to mesh. They legit come across as random. Moving on. Jane takes all of her belongings with her to her friend’s family’s place – which certainly isn’t odd at all. 8-| Now is when it gets really weird – the author spent so much time describing this house in great detail, to the point it is overkill. She talks about famous painters, artists, sculptors, designers, and more. NONE of this mattered to me. Yes, I want the author to build a world that I can get lost in but throwing hard facts at me about painters or the types of theft that take place in the art world and you lose me. I didn’t care. It felt like there was just too much time spent describing things without telling any kind of a story. Don’t get me started on the umbrella making! Holy crow! I now know more about that than I ever wanted to and I never was curious about that to begin with. I’m sure there was some magic within the creepy house that had something to do with the overall story and why the art was missing, but I didn’t care.

Jane’s character was just an odd duck. She felt underdeveloped and thin to me, if that makes any sense. She was completely forgettable because she carried herself like a meek kitten not wanting to get in anyone’s way. How can the MC of a story be that way unless she grows into a badass? I didn’t see that happening here at all. Her friend, Kiran, was just a spoiled selfish bitch. She was bored because was rich and could do whatever she wanted. Oh boo-hoo. Go cry me a river elsewhere. I think there was a love interest but who knows. There are two boys but honestly there were so many characters (SO MANY) that I couldn’t remember who was who. They did not have unique voices so they all could have been the same character for all I knew.

I just could not stay with this one. If I had finished this audio, it would have taken me nearly 7.5 hours. I didn’t make it 2 before I gave up. I did not have a dog in this fight so I quit. I struggled to quit but I did. I just wish I could have enjoyed it like everyone else.

 

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DNF Review: A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares

A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares

 

I had such high hopes for this one as nearly all of my friends have been gushing about it. I started it thinking it would be a nice, quick, light hearted read. WRONG. I had so many issues with this story.

Short recap: Esther Solar believes that she and everyone in her family are cursed. She believes they are doomed since her grandfather met Death many, many years ago. Since then, she has made a very comprehensive list of phobias (or just things that scare her) and she has stayed away from them. Everything in her life changes when she is runs into Jonah Smallwood, an old classmate from very long ago. After an awkward reunion, he is determined to help Esther overcome her fears and live her life.

Now that sounds like a right fine story, doesn’t it? Sadly, that is not what I read. What I read was two grossly underdeveloped characters, a weak plot, and two teens that cuss like a sailor on leave. Yeesh. I cuss as much as the next adult but, my word, I could take lessons from these characters.

The number one thing I remember from my very short time with this book was how the narrator’s voice didn’t match the character. I still wish publishers would realize how a narrator’s voice could absolutely make or break a story. For me, it broke it. I didn’t like the way she interpreted Esther. She made her seem like a lackadaisy idiot. The girl had issues for days but the narrator made her seem even more so, if that makes any sense. It just was not a good fit.

Esther’s character felt underdeveloped, just like the weak ass storyline. I just did not get it. I did not realize this story was “magical realism” or I would have ghosted on it altogether because me and that genre do not get along. I did just did not understand what was going on. Sutherland wanted me to believe that a girl that dresses as someone other than herself every single day since a long lost friend from elementary left her suddenly is ready to take on the world and face her fears because that long lost friend makes his way back into her life? Get out of here with that nonsense. You’re selling and I’m not buying. Esther has to be one of the most gullible characters I’ve read in a long time. She was robbed (pickpocketed) by this long lost friend and then she lets him back into her life with no issues? PFFFT. Whatever. I’m a bleeding heart as much as the next person but even I have my limits. Remember that phrase, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me”? That’s what they remind me of. The way Jonah pushed Esther into facing everything on her “Semi-Definitive List” didn’t feel believable. If the girl is honestly scared of this stuff and has phobias of others, leave her alone, dude! Let her be scared. Personally, I have a severe phobia of clowns and there is nothing on this planet anyone can do to make me or help me get over that. Don’t come at me with that noise. I’m terrified of them and that’s that. You can’t convince me otherwise. Same goes for small spaces and spiders. Those are my three phobias. Maybe I’m just not the right audience for this story because if Esther was so easily swayed into “getting over her fears”, then she wasn’t really scared to begin with. I know her entire family was terrified of other things but why couldn’t she or someone else sought professional help? Why let some strange boy she hasn’t seen in years suddenly help her after robbing her? Do you see why I’m so confused? Her fears didn’t seem to be based on anything of substance but I’m sure my phobia of clowns could be seen that way by others.

The other thing that really stood out was how dated this story was and will always be. Sutherland did her absolute best to drop every modern and outdated reference into this story. You want 90s movies mentioned? Check. You want obscure TV shows? Done. You want outdated trends that people under the age of 25 won’t understand? You got it. I could not, and still do not, believe how dated this book already is. There is a reference to the show Highlander. WHO NOWADAYS IS GOING TO KNOW THIS REFERENCE?! I grew up in the 90s so I get it but few others will. I truly believe people will either glaze over those references because they don’t understand them, or they will stop and pull up Google.

I DNFd this audio a lot later than I should have. Part of me wanted to keep listening to see if it got better but when Esther started going on about how she was scared of moths because of the obscure movie, Mothman Prophecies from 2002, I knew I was done. I am happy that so many readers loved and enjoyed this story so much. I only wish I could have been among that crowd but sadly this book was just not for me.

 

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