Monday, October 5, 2015

Books I have not finished in 2015 #2

It's been an interesting year book-wise since I seem to have had more DNFs than usual. Perhaps I've been reading more books and more variety, with experimentation comes risk! Perhaps I've become more critical as my reading progresses and I'm less tolerant of the books I have been reading. I don't know the reason but here is my latest instalment of books I have not finished so far this year, picking up from where the last lot left off.

I am always sad when I find a book so difficult I cannot finish it. When I review a book I have not finished, I do my best to be constructive to say why it hasn't worked for me and present an unbiased and balanced view. Sometimes I cannot help but be ranty, some books simply make me crazy. Take my criticism with a grain of salt. What doesn't work for me might be something you love.

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Review: Her Sudden Groom (The Grooms #1) by Rose Gordon

I was listening to this one as an audiobook and two things struck me as part of the listening experience. One, I do not like listening to historicals on audio. There is not enough action to keep it interesting and I found it rather monotonous. This makes me think I will stick to romantic suspense novels for audiobook in the future, perhaps some paranormal. Two, I think I prefer a male narrator (okay, my obsession with Eric G Dove might be showing a little here) over a female narrator because I do not like the way a female does male voices. I'd rather listen to a male do female voices because I like my men to sound manly and masculine.
Back to the story itself though, there was one particular moment which was a highlight to me. I don't remember the specific context now but it's a moment when there were so many penis puns, it was simply hilarious. Laugh out loud hilarious. That was the best part of the story for me. It all became a bit meh after that.

Here's are my status updates of the story as I read to illustrate my point.
35.0%     "OMG!!! The double entendres and sexual innuendos."
60.0%     "Well, now that that's done, what's going to happen next? Do I want to find out?"
60.0%     "I think I'm done with this. I've lost interest. Don't think I'll continue."

As for Caroline, she seemed a rather nice if somewhat bland girl. She was tolerant and rather put upon, after having been tortured most of her life by a rather heinous cousin. I was glad for to her to have found happiness and being able to get out from under her awful cousin's influence but otherwise, nothing about her made me feel strongly with her or connect with her in any way.

For a hero, Alex was rather bland too. He is described as a stick in the mud and rather boring, but he has flashes of humor along the way too. He's not a terrible hero but he didn't cause my heart to go pitter patter. Again, I had trouble connecting with him as a hero.

The story built to a crescendo at about the 60% mark and I was quite interested in the outcome of Alex's pursuit of Caroline. However, we got to 60% and he got what he set out to do and I lost interest. It made me wonder what else could happen to hold my interest for the remaining 40% and I didn't care enough to find out. Perhaps Caroline would get upset with Alex for deceiving her about his experiment? Perhaps the awful cousin would do something so terrible that someone would die (unlikely!), perhaps they discover who the mysterious scientist is ... but you know what? I didn't want to hang around and find out.

It always makes me sad when I don't finish a book for whatever reason. I don't think I'm curious enough to check out Ms Gordon's other series (preceding this one) or the other books in this series though.

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Review: Perfect Chaos (Unyielding #1) by Nashoda Rose

I should have read the blurb more carefully with this book but I was sucked in by the super hot guy on the cover and it was pretty much the cover that sold me the book. Unfortunately, beyond the cover, I have not been able to get into the book. I don't think I made it past 15%. I didn't like the style of writing and I didn't like what seemed to be building into some really dark, tortured, angsty stuff.

The heroine, Georgie is one messed up, tortured girl and there are hints to some rather shonky stuff that she might be into. I have a serious problem with lies and lying to the hero or vice versa, and you'll know this if you've read any of my DNF reviews. It's probably the number one reason I DNF a book. Georgie's whole life is based on how messed up she is after her brother's death and a whole lotta lies. I don't know what the lies are because I haven't read far enough into the book and my friend Bambi tells me that they are some crazy ones which don't entirely reveal themselves right to the very end.

The hero Deck is your typical strong, silent, uber alpha male. I did like Deck for the little bit I read of him and I could already tell he was struggling with his attraction for George. With George it's obvious, her panties melt every time Deck is around, but with Deck, you can't tell aside from the super duper protectiveness and warning everyone else off and saying that Georgie is "off-limits" though he uses the excuse it's because she is his best friend's little sister.

There are hints to what the suspense aspect of the story could be like, but again, I really didn't read far enough to figure out what it was.

It makes me sad whenever I DNF a book. I think I grieve a little each time. Hopefully the next book I pick up will capture my attention more.

Update: found out that the cover is a photo out of Michael Stokes' book "Bare Strength" which explains getting totally sucked in by the hot guy on the cover.

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Review: Masquerading with the CEO by Dawn Chartier

I thought this story would be cute when I started it, especially with the idea of girlfriends kidnapping Kylie and taking her to a romance writers convention. It was very cute when they arrived and there was squealing over the big name authors attending. I can see that happening in real life.

Unfortunately, after that, the story got a bit tedious and I did not like Kylie and her issues. I sympathised with her since she had a rotten ex who cheated on her with her maid of honor and found out about it at the worst possible time but I could not connect with her as a person and I didn't like her. I particularly did not like her lumping all men who are CEOs into one great big bucket and labeling them as "all CEOs are scum" which unfortunately puts Jake in a very difficult position.

I liked Jake well enough and I felt for him because he first was in a situation of mistaken identity and then after finding out how Kylie felt about CEOs could not easily reveal to her he was one such CEO for fear of losing her. A very difficult situation to be in.

I'm not a fan of deception of any sort so even that little bit of it, however inadvertent turned me off the story as well. I did not have the patience to read on to find out how he comes clean with Kylie and how she would react (probably poorly!) and since I was not keen on the story anyway, I didn't read on.

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Review: A Good Rogue is Hard To Find (Lords of Worth #2) by Kelly Bowen

I am very sad to say that I did not finish this book. I struggled getting into it and dragged myself through about 25% of the book before I gave up entirely.

The reason? There is too much intentional deception going on, albeit the deception is well meant and it is to serve a greater good.

You see, Jenna and Worth's mother are in cahoots when it comes to swindling the rich to pay the poor, a very Robin Hood-esque scenario. I have no problem with what they are doing. What I have a problem with is what they say and do when Worth comes along, worried about his mother's reputation and soundness of mind, deciding that he will stay around to determine for himself, how much he needs to do to help his mother.

Jenna and Worth's mother put a lot of effort into their enterprise and they do not want Worth to find out about it (which is reasonable) so they spend a lot of additional effort hiding it from Worth and deceiving and manipulating him at every turn in order to keep him in the dark. All very skillfully done, mind you, but the sort of thing that does not sit well with me. So I got to 25% and couldn't take it anymore. I'm not willing to put in another 3 to 4 hours of reading effort to find out where the deception ends.

Aside from that, the story is well written, clever and witty. In fact, I really enjoyed the first book in the series (you can read my review here) and will likely check out the third when it comes out too.

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Review: Unblocked Episode Four (Timber Towers #4) by Marni Mann

I am so disappointed in this series. It started off with a bang, a big, wonderful, sexy bang and with this episode, it has petered out into crass and tedious.

Episode Three had what my friend, Bambi called a sexual overload with too much sex in it. I didn't mind it so much since I do love a good sex scene and Marni Mann does manage those well. Unfortunately, with Episode Four, the sex scenes were no longer sexy. There was no longer any sexual tension and without that, and without any emotional connection between Frankie and Derek because they are both too afraid to commit, the sex scenes came across as somewhat crass.

I get that in this episode, Derek and Frankie cross a line with each other emotionally as they explore what it means to perhaps be a couple but the scenes are not convincing. They seem more like excuses for them to have neverending sex which, without the emotional connection bordered on pornographic.

Since this is Episode Four, I was also surprised to see her introduce yet another antagonist, someone from Derek's like to stir the pot. Not that I do not appreciate a well constructed conflict but this seemed hastily thrown together and like it was only there to manufacture more conflict for Derek and Frankie to overcome and not convincingly at that.

By the time this new antagonist was introduced and Frankie is trying to navigate between balancing her work and personal life, which was about 60% of Episode Four, I lost interest. I got to the point where one minute I was reading and the next I thought "I can't go on anymore. I don't even care what happens next."
I might skip to the end to see what happens at the end of Episode Four but I'm not terribly excited about Episode Five, and I wonder if I will even bother to read the ending of the last episode.

On a final note, they say a picture paints a thousand words and I agree. With the previous 3 episodes the cover was of a male torso in flannel. I didn't mind the cover and it was enough to entice me into learning more about the book. For this episode, Ms Mann changed the cover and it completely put me off the book. I do not like the cover at all. It's terrible to change the cover so drastically midway through the series and even worse that the cover makes me not want to read the book because it's off-putting.

I'm saddened by the fact that this series which started off so well has fallen so flat in this episode.

So there you have it. The books I've read so far this year that did not work for me.

Tell me, are there any hot buttons that don't work for you in books? Something that will make you shut the book and not keep reading? How many books have you not finished so far this year?

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