Saturday, December 26, 2015

Books I have not finished in 2015 #3

It's coming to the end of the year and it's time for me to round out the books I have not finished reading for the year. There are a few left to talk about and then I'm done for the year. I hoping between now and December 31st there will not be any DNFs but if there are, they will go into next year's bucket.

If you're at all interested, the previous two posts for what I have not finished can be found here and here.

Please take my DNF reviews with a grain of salt. I do not mean to be unkind or mean in any way. These books and stories simply did not work for me. I'm sure others may disagree with me and find them enthralling. Good for them. We all have different tastes in what we like and don't like.

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Review: Bittersweet by Jennifer Labelle

I picked up this book to read because my friend Bambi asked me to read this with her. I don't think I read the blurb properly when deciding if I would read the book. I knew the husband had died but I didn't know he comes back. In the full blurb, we find out he comes back. Anyway, it was a while ago when we decided to read the book and I do not recall. I agreed to read it with Bambi cos it had a hunky Irish guy for a hero and at the time, we were planning a trip to Ireland in 2016 and we were pretty excited about all things Irish.

This book did not start the way I would have liked it to start. It detailed the tragedy of Tyler's death and from a personal perspective, the death of a husband is a very sore subject for me and not something I want to read about in detail. Not the death and not the grief that follows as a life falls apart from the loss. I read another book which started off similarly and it had the same effect on me. By the time, she is grieving, I have tears pouring down my cheeks, I'm sad and depressed. It doesn't make me want to keep reading. It sets a very bad tone for the book for me with it starting this way. It's something that is difficult for me to recover from when it comes to reading the book. I'm okay with the loss of a spouse, if the story starts a few years later, after the death. I cannot deal with the vivid descriptions of the cause of death, the death, the funeral and the grieving that follows.

Apart from the rather inauspicious start, Ms Labelle did too much telling. I felt I was being fed information and I was watching a news channel rather than reading a story where everything was being revealed to me, which to me is more like watching a gripping movie rather than watching a newscast. I did not feel engaged in the content of what I was reading (besides the crying over the death of a spouse, but that's my personal stuff coming up!).

I also got rather bored rather quickly and didn't want to keep going after a while. I only read to 12% of the book before I gave up. I have a personal rule that I always give a book to at least 10% before I make a decision whether to keep going or not, if the story is not gripping me. This one made it to 12%. I kept getting distracted, then I skipped to the end to find out who Jenna ends up with since I felt the blurb was rather ambiguous about it.

Of course, I still have some unanswered questions, like what happened to Tyler? Did he manufacture his death? Why did he come back from the dead? Is Brady the hero? Does she leave Brady to go back to Tyler? How does Brady come back into the picture and them getting back together again? Unfortunately, I wasn't motivated enough to spend the time reading for another 3 hours and 20 minutes (according to my Kindle app) to find out. If you've read it, can you please give me a summary?

Here's what my constant status updating on Goodreads resulted in:
7.0%     "I hate when books start like this. It's a sensitive, taboo subject for me personally and I hate that so early on in the book it's making me cry. I can't stand that kind of grief."
7.0%     "I had to skip to the end to see who she ended up with."
10.0%     "I get the opening is set up for the rest of the story ... But ... Anyway, lots of telling, not enough showing  ..."
12.0%     "I give up. I'm past the 10% mark which is what I give all books before I give up on them, if I do. I've been checking the % mark of this one after every few pages I've read. It is not a good sign."

My regret is giving this book a DNF. I should have read the blurb more carefully. I probably would not have picked up the book to read. On one hand, I feel like I am being unfair to Ms Labelle and her work, on the other, I can't bring myself to invest the time in it after such a depressing start.

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Review: True Deceptions (True Lies #2) by Veronica Forand

I had a hard time getting into this book. It was slow to get started and there was a lot of background building. It took a long time to get to the point of the story since there was so much prep that was going on where Simon was resisting having Cassie as his new partner and him preparing Cassie.

I did not get to know Simon too well in the little I read about him but he seemed to be the typical alpha male with a bit of alphahole thrown in. He's good at his job, shut off from him emotions and keeps everyone at bay. Yeah, he's that type of guy!

Poor Cassie. She's really been thrown into the deep end and Simon doesn't give her an easy time of it. She's really struggling when we meet her and there's no one to help her find her way in an assignment she is clearly unsuitable for. I liked her awkwardness and naiveté but again, I didn't read long enough to get to know her very well.

The reason I didn't finish this book was twofold. One, I didn't connect with the book. The pacing was slow and I felt it dragged somewhat. Two, this is the second book in a series and I hate starting a series in the middle. I usually always check when it comes to a series because I'm OCD enough not to want to fall in the trap of starting in the middle, it has happened to me before! However, nothing about this book indicates it's part of a series. I checked Amazon, Goodreads and the publisher's site and it reads like a standalone book. Only, you get into part of the book and there are two characters who get introduced and if you read enough series, you immediately know, these two people appeared in a previous book. If it was just a mention, it would have been okay, but it gave a lot of information away from what happened in the first book and also looked like these characters were playing a decent sized role in this current book. That really put me off. Anyway, this stopped me in my tracks. I did not finish the book. I will probably go back to read the first book before continuing with this one since the writing is pretty decent and I feel like I'm being unfair to the author.

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Review: Amaury's Hellion (Scanguards Vampires #2) by Tina Folsom

This book made me super ranty. In fact, I got so ranty, I made a ton of status updates while reading / listening because I could not keep the rant inside to myself. Here, I'll prove it:
18.0%     "Good grief. Idiot heroine with a boatload of misconceptions and a chip on her shoulder. That's going to make her endearing. Not."
21.0%     "Oh great. A heroine with men issues."
26.0%     "Kinda need this to hurry up with the pacing. A lot of blah blah, I hate vampires, blah blah, revenge right now."
31.0%     "Blah blah, slow, blah blah boring. Plot is dragging. Lots of nothing being said and nothing happening."
31.0%     "I'm also not liking Nina at all. She rubs me the wrong way."
32.0%     "Oh hell no! Even when I could tell that was what she was planning, still no. That's just wrong."
33.0%     "Good thing I stopped listening to the audiobook and reading it instead. The pace of the audiobook along with what was happening would have been intolerable. At least with reading I can skim or read fast."
35.0%     "Ugh. I still hate her no matter her reasons."
37.0%     "I love the vampires and all the Scanguards crew but man, I hate the heroine."
41.0%     "I'm all for suspending disbelief but I'm not sure how believable this is. My apologies for the ranting too. This book makes me ranty. I should probably stop reading it but I'm not sure I hate it enough yet."
45.0%     "Well, this might soften me up to Nina a bit, but the whole "woe is me" act comes off as a bid to get sympathy from the reader considering how unpleasant she has been so far."

Let's start with Nina. I HATED her. She's out for revenge. She thinks her brother was killed by vampires so she's out to kill them to avenge him. It's stupid. She doesn't even investigate to see if her suspicions are right or wrong. She just starts tracking the vampires and killing them. Then she meets Amaury and he's not what she expects from a vampire and oh no, she needs to stay strong, she can't believe him, he's a vampire, all vampires are bad, blah, blah, blah. She also does something early on in the story which I think is pretty despicable. She tortures Amaury in order to get information out of him. While he's not badly hurt and it's only a small, short scene, I can see it coming and even when I did and it happened, it did not sit right with me. Let me say that kind of behavior, no matter her justification against the hero is unacceptable. It is never okay in my book for the heroine to do something like that to the hero. NEVER.

As for Amaury, for someone who claims to be a tough, scary, bad boy vampire, he's a pushover and totally ruled by a certain part of his anatomy that is not his brain. Even when he says he's using sex to keep from going mad because of his gift / curse, and he doesn't really want it all the time, he's totally led around by his little head where Nina is concerned. He can't control himself around her and he doesn't understand why, even when she's trying to kill him, he's protecting her and making excuses for her. No, he is not a strong, alpha male, vampire at all. The best I can think to describe him is he is a limp dick. Pathetic. Still, I do not dislike him nearly as much as I do Nina, though this is one of the rare times when I also can't stand the hero.

I was listening to this as an audiobook and it got so intolerable, I stopped listening and decided to read instead since I wanted to know if Amaury does find a way to cure his problem and get rid of his curse, but even the reading got unbearable and I became impatient. I didn't even skip to the end to find out what happens. I might still do that, but I can't bring myself to read more of the book because Nina is so annoying.

I'm making my way through this series because I want to get to the point where I pick up the books where my favorite narrator is narrating the books. I do not know if I can make it that far. I'm not sure if I will pick up the next book in the series to give it a shot.

So there you have it. That's all the books I've read this year that have not worked 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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