DNF Review: Layover

Layover

 

I really do not like DNFing books but we all know it has to happen sometimes. There are some books that are just not for us and we must make the decision to stop, cut our losses, and move on. That was me when it came to this book. My only regret is that I did not stop it sooner.

Short recap: Three kids are traveling to meet their parents in a tropical paradise when they are in LA on a layover. The youngest kid spills the beans about why they are going to meet their parents. The three make the decision right then and there – in the airport – to not make their connecting flight. They choose to leave the airport and have an adventure in LA.

Yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah. I had so many issues with the small part of the story I could stand to sit through. First, the characters are absurdly naive and weirded me out. The girl, Flynn, apparently had feelings for her brother-yet-not-brother Amos. I’m sorry but WHAT. Amos was just as attracted to Flynn but both hid their feelings from one another. That alone should have been enough to make me stop but I seemed to be under the impression this story would get better. (Spoiler alert: it didn’t) Then we had Poppy, the youngest. She apparently had some sort of condition that was always hinted to but never truly addressed. She was on specific medication and a very strict diet but threw it all out the window as soon as she knew adults were not around. That, my lovely readers, was a HUGE problem for me. The personalities of these kids did not feel fully flushed out. Flynn felt like a cardboard cut out, Amos had a subscription to his issues and refused to deal with anything, and Poppy was painfully young, naive, immature, and unnecessary. All three of these characters were given POV chapters but Poppy was the worst. She droned on about how she wanted a birthday party when she was young(er) but there was a blizzard that kept everyone away or how she couldn’t play with the other kids unless her shoelaces were tied *just the right way*. She also claimed to be an “old soul”. She was obsessed with classic Hollywood and wanted to be like them when she got older. I never connected with her nor could I care what she was going on about. She was more excited about ice cream and donuts than the fact that she didn’t have her medication to take daily. None of these kids thought it would be a big deal – at all – to simply not catch their next flight and have a day in LA.

Also, instead of turning their cell phones off so they couldn’t be tracked via GPS – they threw them in a trashcan. Get out of here with that nonsense.

I think I know what the author was trying to accomplish but I can only guess. The storyline made zero sense to me. I could not continue listening to a story where the nine year old character was the main voice and the two siblings-yet-not-siblings denied feelings for each other (that relationship was never fully explained in the portion I read so I don’t know if it ever was…). This story felt like a complete waste of my time.

 

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DNF Review: These Rebel Waves

These Rebel Waves (Stream Raiders, #1)

 

Que the sad noise because I’m not a fan of writing DNF reviews. They certainly happen to most readers and there is nothing to be ashamed of. I did not click with this book as I always say that not ever book is for every read. I gave this book two chances to win me over – in both print and audio – and it failed both times.

I won’t give a short recap because I am not sure what this book was supposed to be about. It was blurbed to be about gay pirates on the seas, but I am here to say there were no gay pirates nor were there seas. Nearly everything took place on land so that should tell you something.

One of the biggest reasons I chose to DNF at 35% because it was dry and boring. There was nothing engaging about this story. There was no sense of urgency, no sense of danger, no battle that had to be won.  Instead, the big topic seemed to be around magic. Well, if that was really the point of the story, why have a cover that screams PIRATES and THE SEVEN SEAS instead of something magical? Regardless, it never clicked with me and I quickly – and I do mean quickly – gave up caring what the bloody hell was going on. It could have been royalty bickering about what was for lunch for as entertaining as it was.

There was mention of gay relationships, which I was very much interested in reading about, but it felt like they were there in mention only. They all fell flat as if they were just a passing glance over a shoulder. They certainly did not add anything to the overall story as the setting of the book had these types of relationships happen every day and they were norm. If they were norm, why make it a point to blurb about it? If they were as common as bread why make a big deal? They were brushed over and felt unnecessary.

What this story was instead was a heavily political book and I do not like reading about politics. There was also a lot of talk around healing some sort of strange Shaking Sickness. This sickness and politics were it. That was not what I signed up for and couldn’t stand hearing “Shaking Sickness” uttered every other sentence so I chose to cut my losses and walk away. I’m not sorry I did but I will not be continuing this series. It wasn’t bad but it felt like false advertising and it did not fulfill the promises made by the blurb.

 

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DNF Review: The Astonishing Color of After

The Astonishing Color of After

 

I always state this with DNF review but I feel it needs to be repeated: I do not enjoy DNFing a book. I feel like I let the book down in some way when I don’t finish but there are times it is necessary. I quit reading this at 35% and I will explain why.

No short recap because I am struggling with the premise of the book. I know it was about a teenage girl grieving over the suicide of her mother. She swears that her mother came back as a bird and is essentially guiding her, giving her clues. I have lost both of my parents so I understand the need to hold on to every aspect or hope that they are still with me, alive in some way. I wish I could have read this as a grieving child but instead I read this as a girl who is in absolute denial about what happened to her mother. I don’t feel she truly let anyone in to help her deal with her loss. She chose to keep her visions to herself and became incredibly combative when/if someone disagreed with her. I just feel there was a better way for her to react/deal/cope but she chose not to.

I never truly felt connected to the characters because they never gave me a chance to do so. Leigh was such an angsty, stand-offish character that it made it difficult for me to care what was happening. Please believe me that I wanted to, so much, but I just couldn’t. She would get into these manic fits where she shut everyone out and became obsessed with finding the bird she swore was her mother. Part of me gets that but then the other part of me is really upset that no adult stepped in to try to help her. No friend, no parent, no teacher. It felt sad to me.

Then again, I am not a fan of magical realism stories so maybe that is another reason I did not connect to this one. I really did try but I found myself hesitating to start the story after putting it down. Quickly the idea of just not finishing it became too strong too ignore. I wish I could have read this from the eyes and mindset of a reader that connected and loved the story. Sadly, it just was not for me.

 

 

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DNF ARC Review: The Universe Is Expanding And So Am I

The Universe Is Expanding and So Am I (The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things #2)

 

**I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review**

 

This was a struggle for me, so much so that I DNFd the book. I knew about the sequel before I knew about the first book so of course I had to read the first. It was no secret that I was not that big of a fan of The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things. The sequel proved to be just as rough as its predecessor.

The protagonist, Virginia, doesn’t seem to have matured much since the first book. She fat shamed a lot in the first book and had a Disney-style attitude adjustment towards the end, but it seems it didn’t stay around very long. She started out this book with yet another list of things that larger girls should do to get a guy – and hooking up with guys on the down low was on the list. I beg you pardon. I cannot and will not condone that at all. I did not find that humorous or even the smallest bit entertaining. Virginia’s parents still walked around fat shaming people and Virginia did a lot of skinny shaming girls (is that a thing? I feel it should be a thing.) Both are wrong and I felt the topics were glossed over. This would have been a great opportunity for the author to discuss how and why this is bad but it never happened.

The other topic that felt brushed over was the sexual assault allegation against Virginia’s brother. It was not handled well in the first book and barely handled in this book. I didn’t get far enough in to find out if there was a resolution because I couldn’t stand to read anymore of Virginia’s nasty negative attitude. She was still self centered and hateful to people that were smaller than her. Character arcs felt lazy and probably didn’t come to a resolution either but I’m guessing there.

 

I had such high hopes for this sequel but it was just not meant to be for me. If you read this and loved it, I truly wish I could have read it through your eyes. It was just not for me. I quickly set the book down and walked away. Life is too short to read books that are going to upset me in a bad way.

 

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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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