DNF Book Review: Unwritten (Zweeshen Chronicles #1)

Title: Unwritten

Author: Alicia J. Novo

Pub. Date: May 8, 2021

Pages: 324

Pub: INtense Publications

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: DNF @ 24%

Goodreads


Books whisper to Beatrix Alba. But they aren’t the reason she has never fit in. Bullied at home and school, she keeps a secret—a power of violence and darkness.

When the spell that keeps her hidden fails, she’s catapulted into the Zweeshen, a realm where all tales live, and her dream of meeting her favorite characters comes true. But wishes are tricky, and behind its wonder and whimsy, the Zweeshen is under attack. A character is burning bookworlds in pursuit of a weapon to rule both stories and storytellers. To succeed, he needs a riddle in Beatrix’s keeping.

Now he’s hunting her down.

Joining forces with William, a cursed conjurer, Beatrix must face an enemy who knows her every weakness in a realm where witches play with time, Egyptian gods roam, and Regency heroines lead covert operations. And with her darkness as the only weapon, she may have to sacrifice everything to save a world that rejects her.
Continue reading “DNF Book Review: Unwritten (Zweeshen Chronicles #1)”

DNF Review: From Fire and Shadows (A Tale of Six Sources #1)

from fire and shadowsTitle: From Fire and Shadows

Author: J. F. Baptista

Pub. Date: August 15, 2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️(DNF at 19%)


A girl with a dangerous power.
A warrior they call the shadow of death.
A world divided and slowly dying.

Six-year-old Theodora grew up at the House, a place for girls born without power. Abandoned as a baby, she has no memory of her past beyond the melody that invades her dreams. So when an ancient presence starts whispering in her ear, she answers.

Continue reading “DNF Review: From Fire and Shadows (A Tale of Six Sources #1)”

Book Review: Lanterns in the Sky (The Starlight Chronicles #1)

lanterns in the skyTitle: Lanterns in the Sky (The Starlight Chronicles #1)

Author: P.S. Malcolm

Pub. Date: March 5, 2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️ / DNF at 50%


Everything was normal for Lucy Maisfer until the day a star fell from the sky and knocked her out. Upon waking, she comes face-to-face with Jason Woods, who also happens to be the mysterious new guy in her best friend, Valarie’s, life.

Then the strange dreams begin, and she learns about the Starlight Princess— who must not under any circumstance be reawakened. Driven to uncover the meaning of it, she finds herself caught up in a strange twist of events that eventually lead to bigger danger than she ever anticipated. Before long, Lucy is forced to make a choice between saving the world, or saving her best friend; only to discover that Valarie cannot be saved… that she has an even darker secret, and that her supposed star-crossed romance with Jason might not be so destined after all…


This will be a spoiler free review, and I want to thank NetGalley for the free eARC in exchange for an honest review.

The cover is what initially drew me to this book, and then I read the synopsis. I pretty much impulse requested it on NetGalley and got the approval email. My expectations weren’t high for this book, but based on the synopsis, I did have high hopes. It sounded really unique and something I’d like.

Ya’ll this book just didn’t work.

I tried to convince myself to finish it, but between the writing style, the messy plot full of plot holes, the world building and the one-dimensional characters I just can’t stay invested.

Right off the bat, I wasn’t a fan of the writing style. It was really bland and basic. Writing style isn’t a make it or break it thing for me, so I pushed through my dislike, since the concept of the book sounded really interesting and cool.

Then there’s the plot.

Things happen in this book.

Well, obviously. I don’t know where I was going with that sentence.

Things happen in this book, some of it makes sense, other things are just weird and there’s such a strange mix of fantasy elements that it all just gets confusing and lost. I also didn’t quite understand the magic system, or how there are magical princess, aliens and angels…like I said, lots of fantasy elements that don’t quite mesh together. So much happens, but also like nothing happens of any real consequence? It’s like all the emotional weights were gone?

And the worldbuilding. I get the feel the author was going for, but a fictionalized European country, nestled amongst Easter European countries, but heavily influenced by Britain and everyone has American sounding names…

It’s also very confusing.

I get that the author was trying to go for a quintessential European feel, kind of reminded me of Switzerland in the very basic way it was described, but overall, it just felt very generic, flat and was supposed to be pretty. Almost a magical backdrop. Like, if you were to look up Travel Destinations in Switzerland, hilly, mountainous, gorgeous, that’s the vibe I was getting, but wasn’t quite picturing based on the descriptions given.

Now the characters…I wasn’t a fan of Lucy, or Valarie. Chrissy is just a stereotypical mean girl on steroids…basically Regina George. Jason was…well, to be honest, I didn’t care. None of the characters sparked anything in me. They were one-dimensional and at no moment was I rooting for them. Every character seemed to exist to further Lucy and Valarie along, adding really noting substantial to the rest of the story. For having their worlds upended, and pasts revealed, and everything else that happens, Lucy doesn’t ever really react? She sort of just takes it in stride, and suddenly with no training or anything, can just do things. I get that there’s magic involved in this, and that explains why, but come on. No one is just going to be okay with being thrust into a ever raging war, not without first losing their shit.

Ultimately, to my disappointment, this book just didn’t do it for me. Overall, it was just kind of a mess and I don’t want to recommend this to anyone. It’s just not worth it.


UPDATE: I went and read some of the Goodreads reviews once I’d finished writing my own, and I honestly feel like I read a different book form the 5-star reviews. Between the 5 and 1- & 2-star reviews, it a huge difference in opinion. I don’t know what it is, but the 5 -star reviews almost feel fake – like, they’re too glowing…if that makes sense. They just read weird, or maybe it’s just me. I don’t recommend this book, but if you’re interested, I’ll leave the GR link – here – and you can check them out yourselves.

DNF Book Review: Wicked As You Wish (A Hundred Names for Magic #1)

Wicked as you wisTitle: Wicked As You Wish (A Hundred Names for Magic #1)

Author: Rin Chupeco

Pub. Date: March 3, 2020

Rating: DNF @ Page 28


Tala Warnock has little use for magic – as a descendant of Maria Makiling, the legendary Filipina heroine, she negates spells, often by accident. But her family’s old ties to the country of Avalon (frozen, bespelled, and unreachable for almost 12 years) soon finds them guarding its last prince from those who would use his kingdom’s magic for insidious ends.

And with the rise of dangerous spelltech in the Royal States of America; the appearance of the firebird, Avalon’s deadliest weapon, at her doorstep; and the re-emergence of the Snow Queen, powerful but long thought dead, who wants nothing more than to take the firebird’s magic for her own – Tala’s life is about to get even more complicated….


This will be a rant-y, possibly spoiler-y review, but I only got to page 28, so…

I wanted to like this book.

Prior to receiving it in the December FairyLoot Box, this book wasn’t on my radar as something I wanted to read. I figured that having received an ARC, I should at least attempt to read it. Based on the synopsis, it sounded like something I could possibly and would probably enjoy.

So, I went into the book with an open mind and by page 5 I was confused. Honestly, that’s not a good sign. I took a breath and tried to focus, but that proved a bit hard the further I got into the story…which albeit, wasn’t very far.

The world is chaos and without a map (is there even going to be one in the finished copy?) I couldn’t make heads or tails of how it was laid out. I’m a pretty visual person, and I always love a map when it comes to fantasy worlds.

But it was more than just being unable to picture the world, but take every fantasy story, every mythology, lore, and history fact you know, and throw them all in a book and you’d have this. Then add a whole heaping of modern-day world problems and concerns and politics.

It was just kind of a mess, and I felt so loss amongst everything going on in the beginning of this book.

Now, maybe I’m in the minority here, but I absolutely hate it, and it’s almost always an automatic turn off, when a book includes thinly veiled, media hyped political rants that do nothing but bash the US. I read fantasy books to escape.

I’m in NO WAY saying that fantasy books shouldn’t include real world elements, whether it be political, social issues, etc. They should, because it rounds them out and makes them better. But if you’re just going to rant for rant’s sake because you’re pissed at some media hyped and exploited, parroted political rant, I’m almost never going to finish your book.

Usually, when books do this, or any variation, I can just roll my eyes and continue reading. I can usually just ignore whatever part and enjoy the book. That is always my goal when I go into ‘new to me’ reads. Maybe there is a purpose to the rant, and I just didn’t get to it. If that’s the case, it’s a shame that I have no desire to find out what happens next. I like escapism when it comes to fantasy, and that rant just hit a bit hard and a bit real, and I decided I couldn’t continue. I’m sure we all have one or two things that we adamantly don’t like when it comes to reading.

I know I won’t be picking up this book again and I’m not going to recommend it. I can’t.

I also can’t recommend it, because I haven’t finished it and now, I’m not going to. I wanted to like this book, because it really does sound like something I could get behind and love. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t for me. If you read this, I hope you really enjoy it.

On top of that, I only got 28 pages into this book, I didn’t care for the characters, they felt very one dimensional and flat and I could not get behind the writing style.

I know there’s always going to be the argument of when it’s appropriate to show versus tell, and the opposite, but if you’re going to spend time telling me everything, you’d better make sure I understand what’s going on.

And guess what?

28 pages, and I still didn’t understand the world, the connections, the politics, any of it really. And yes, that could be because I didn’t read far enough into the book, that’s fair, but now we’ll never know. I kind of feel bad for maybe not giving this book the time it needs to capture my interest, but honestly, my interest is gone. There was a lot of info dumping, which didn’t help my confusion and didn’t clarify anything. I also want to state that I was already struggling to stay interested in this book, due to my lack of connection with the characters and issues with the writing style, but I was forcing myself to continue to read it, to give it a chance. I don’t like DNFing books, because I want to like every book I pick up. I want it to be my new favorite thing that I can yell about and convince everyone to read. This, unfortunately, just wasn’t the book for me, and that’s okay.

I don’t really know what else to say…I only read 28 pages of this book before I stopped. I can’t speak for whatever happens in the rest of this book I’m not going to recommend this book, because I don’t feel like I can, but I do urge you to form your own opinions. If you have any interest in this title at all, check it out! Read it! Potentially fall in love with it! This book wasn’t for me, but maybe it’s for you. I’m definitely going to be giving this author’s other works a go, and I’ve just been urged to read The Bone Witch, so that’s been moved up my TBR. Hopefully I haven’t put you off this book, and I hope you enjoy it if you do/have read it!

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Wardens of Eternity

wardens of eternityTitle: Wardens of Eternity

Author: Courtney Moulton

Pub. Date: January 21, 2020

Rating: DNF at p.135


Ziva Ellison has one memory of her parents, made the day they abandoned her on the streets of New York City when she was three years old. They left her with only a memory and a promise that she had a great and terrible destiny.

Fifteen years later, Ziva discovers that destiny includes powers that she doesn’t understand and can barely control. Her magic attracts vicious, otherworldly monsters, and eventually compatriots to help her fight them. Sayer and Nasira know the secrets Ziva doesn’t; that Ziva is descended from Egyptian royalty and in possession of ancient magic passed down from the time of the gods. They promise to teach Ziva to control her magic and to give her the family she’s always yearned for.

But trouble is brewing in the world around them; darkness is descending on Hitler’s Germany, threatening World War II. As the last heir of a revered Egyptian queen, Ziva is the only one with the power to prevent another costly global conflict. As Ziva navigates her newfound abilities and makes a connection with Anubis and other Egyptian gods, the Nazis are hunting for the ultimate weapon, and Ziva has caught their interest.


This probably won’t be a spoiler free review, because I feel a bit like ranting, but I also didn’t finish this book, so how much can I actually spoil? I’ll try to keep it as spoiler free as I can.

I thoroughly loved Courtney’s Angelfire series when I read it, so when I found she was writing a book about Egyptian Mythology, I was excited. Unfortunately, this book did not hold my interest. It took me days to reach page 135 before I decided that I just needed to stop. I didn’t care about the characters, the world, the conflict, any of it really. I thought the pacing was strange and I didn’t quite understand the point of setting the story at the beginning of World War II. Ziva doesn’t even remotely fit the mold of what a late 1930’s woman would be – not even in a “I’m a head of my time” kind of way. She felt like she’d been plucked out of the 21st century and dropped into 1939 New York.

Which brings me to another issue I have. Ziva has powers, and there are others who have powers, and those powers are flaunted (in life or death situations, but flaunted nonetheless) out in the open, without a care to who sees. Same with the supernatural beings that put Ziva and her friends in these situations. Like, is there knowledge in this world of magical powers? Why aren’t locals more freaked out? It almost felt run of the mill and it was weird.

Let me jump back to Ziva really quick because she confused me. Other than feeling out of place in the story, I didn’t get how she was so trusting with Sayer and Nasira. They say they know things about her, and she just trusts them. What? She’s a young woman, living alone in New York and constantly has guards up, but she just trusts these two because they look like her and know things about her. This had me rolling my eyes.

AND Ziva goes from knowing nothing, to training and is suddenly like an expert with magic and fighting after like 3 days of training, bullshit. Like, i get that she’s special, and is inherently going to be gifted, but come on. Three days of training and she’s that bad ass. Three days of training after basically being starving and malnourished. I can’t. I don’t buy it.

Maybe one day in the future I’ll try finishing this book, but today’s not that day. I wanted desperately to like this book, but between the lacking characters, the weird pacing and unbelievable actions, I can’t bring myself to finish it. I don’t buy into Ziva, I don’t care about her or her journey. I don’t care about any of it, if I’m being completely honest. It kind of felt like this could have been a part of the Shadowhunter universe, but like, in a way that just didn’t work. I don’t know and I’m bummed because it sounds really good. Maybe the second half of the book is really good – if it is, and if you’ve read it let me know.

 

 

 

September Wrap-Up

September was a pretty good reading month, despite not reading for the majority of the month. I managed to whip out quite a few in the last week/few days, and only one of them was a DNF – I just could not get into it. It sucks when that happens, but sometimes a book just doesn’t work for me. Granted I didn’t realize it was the fifth book in a series…And rather than forcing myself to read through it, I have too many other books to read to waste time on something that’s just not working.

Anyways, let’s rehash everything I read this past month. All of these have a review, which I’ll link below, so feel free to check them out!


slumber.jpgSlumber – Becky Bird

⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 / (eARC Finished: 9/8/19) / Review / GR

A fun Disney Sleeping Beauty reimaging that will allow you to turn your brain off and just enjoy!

 


capturing the devilCapturing the Devil – Kerri Mansicalco

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ / (Hardcover Finished: 9/11/19) / Review / GR

The finale in the Stalking Jack the Ripper Series, where the hunt is on for Audrey Rose and Thomas as they hunt a killer through the White City.

 


the hollow queenThe Hollow Queen – Sherry D. Ficklin

DNF / Review / GR

The fifth book in a historical fantasy series about royalty, and this one focuses on the last Romanov Princess.

 


the memory thiefThe Memory Thief – Lauren Mansy

⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 / (ARC Finished: 9/23/19) / Review / GR

In a place where memories are a commodity and power is absolute, one girl will do whatever she can to break the cycle and save everyone.

 


bid my soul farewellBid My Soul Farewell – Beth Revis

⭐️⭐️⭐️ / (ARC Finished: 9/24/19) / Review / GR

An army of the risen dead, a power-hungry ancient entity and romance, the final book in this duology, Nedra has debts to settle and things to set right.

 


these wicked watersThese Wicked Waters – Emily Layne

⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 / (ARC Finished: 9/26/19) / Review / GR 

Think, Jurassic World, but with human-hating, hungry sirens instead of Dinosaurs. Oh, and romance.

 


the navigatorThe Navigator – Erin Michelle Sky & Steven Brown

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 / (eARC Finished: 9/29/19) / Review / GR

It’s time to fly back to Neverland with the second installment in The Tales of the Wendy series. London is in danger, identities revealed, and a potential budding romance between a pirate and a Wendy.

 


img_6313Marrow Charm – Kristin Jacques

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5 / (eARC Finished: 9/30/19) / Review / GR

Magic has raged across the surface of the world, forcing humans below ground. Barely scraping by, one girl decides to brave the surface in order to find and save her brother and forms strong bonds along the way…but there’s something different about her.

 


I’m already four books into October and getting ready to start my fifth. So many amazing books come out and have already come out this month, so be ready for some packed Haul and Wrap-Up posts in November!

QOTD: What was your favorite read in September?

 

 

 

Another Short and Sweet DNF

I honestly don’t know. I don’t know if it’s because I’m still hung up on Marrow Charm or if these books just haven’t been for me, or if they’ve just been not good books. But Cursed by Frank Miller and Thomas Wheeler wasn’t my cup of tea. My goal for this week wasn’t to DNF two books in a row, and my goal wasn’t to post reviews about them either…at least not DNF reviews.


cursedTitle: Cursed

Author(s): Frank Miller & Thomas Wheeler

Pub. Date: October 1, 2019

Rating: DNF at page 50


The Lady of the Lake is the true hero in this cinematic twist on the tale of King Arthur created by Thomas Wheeler and legendary artist, producer, and director Frank Miller (300, Batman: The Dark Night Returns, Sin City). Featuring 8 full color and 30 black-and-white pieces of original artwork by Frank Miller.

Whosoever wields the Sword of Power shall be the one true King.

But what if the Sword has chosen a Queen?

Nimue grew up an outcast. Her connection to dark magic made her something to be feared in her Druid village, and that made her desperate to leave…

That is, until her entire village is slaughtered by Red Paladins, and Nimue’s fate is forever altered. Charged by her dying mother to reunite an ancient sword with a legendary sorcerer, Nimue is now her people’s only hope. Her mission leaves little room for revenge, but the growing power within her can think of little else.

Nimue teams up with a charming mercenary named Arthur and refugee Fey Folk from across England. She wields a sword meant for the one true king, battling paladins and the armies of a corrupt king. She struggles to unite her people, avenge her family, and discover the truth about her destiny.

But perhaps the one thing that can change Destiny itself is found at the edge of a blade.


This will be a very brief, spoiler free review.

I DNF’d this one early, fifty pages in and I wasn’t interested in the slightest. I wasn’t a fan of the artwork and found I highly distracting. I was excited for this going in, but it just doesn’t work. After reading a couple of reviews (something I rarely do before finishing but wanted to know if it was worth slogging through it) I gather that Thomas Wheeler is a screen writer and this book probably would have been much better in script form.

It’ll be interesting to see this adapted for Netflix, where I think it will probably thrive.

I didn’t feel any connection with Nimue and didn’t care about her journey – albeit I only read a small portion of it. Nothing in the first 50 pages hooked me enough to make me want to continue reading. I went in thinking that this was a gender bent King Arthur – it’s not, not really and that’s kind of disappointing and a common thread I’ve seen in YA recently. Market it as one thing, only for that story to not be reflected in the actual book. It sets readers up to have certain expectations and then they are not met and it’s highly annoying.

Anyways, this book wasn’t for me – I’ll watch the show when it hits Netflix (if it hits Netflix). I like the idea of art in the books, on the pages. I think it’s a really cool idea, and I’m totally on board. But maybe something a little less stylized. (Not knocking the artist, just not my style).

As far as Arthurian Legend retellings, I’ll keep my eyes on The Guinevere Deception and hopefully that one works out better for me.

Let me know if you read this and thought it was worthwhile to finish. I can’t promise I ever will, but maybe.