Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well.
For the most part, it’s been a good week. I have three (yes, three) exams all on the same day next week, so that’s…fun…but I’ve managed to get my studying under control. My mood’s continued to be a lot better than last October, and I’m glad to say, again, that I’m in a better place. I know I must sound like a broken record by now, but last October was absolutely abysmal…
As far as reading goes…you ever just have one of those weeks where you read something FANTASTIC and then everything else you read that week just…sucks? Yeah, that’s how it’s been. Two 1-star reads, one of which was a DNF. But I got some more books from the library yesterday, so hopefully things should pick up. (I finished the Shades of Magic trilogy and I don’t know what to do with myself now…) I’ve been making steady-ish progress with my current WIP as well, and I passed 100 pages last night!
Other than that, I’ve just been eating leftover cake, studying, getting my pumpkins for Halloween, and watching The French Dispatch! I saw the latter on Friday night, and it was an instant 5-star movie for me. You can just tell that it’s exactly the kind of thing that Wes Anderson has been waiting years to make, and the creativity and love just radiates from it in waves. 100% in my top 3 Wes Anderson movies now. (I’m seeing Dune tonight too!! Finally!!)
Indeed I do. It happens less these days, what with my taste slowly being fine-tuned over the years, but I still end up DNFing a handful of books every year.
2. IF YOU DO DNF, DOES IT COUNT FOR YOUR FINISHED BOOKS FOR THE MONTH?
I’ve only started to keep track of the amount of books I read per month this year, but I still count them. I read part of them, anyway, and they still count towards my Goodreads goal, so I still think they count.
3. IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DNFING & JUST PUTTING THE BOOK DOWN FOR A LITTLE BIT?
Well…uh…I’ve never had an experience where I just put the book down for a little bit (I can’t read more than one book at once unless there’s a book for school involved), so I wouldn’t know…
4. WHAT POPULAR BOOKS HAVE YOU DNFED?
I DNFed A Curse So Dark and Lonely, Red Queen, and An Absolutely Remarkable Thing at different times for different reasons (didn’t like any of the love interests/couldn’t hold my interest, every bad YA trope known to man, and some SERIOUSLY iffy bisexual rep, in order), but everybody else seems to love these ones…not my cup of tea, really.
5. WHAT ARE SOME BOOKS YOU WISHED YOU DNFED?
When I read Night Owls and Summer Skies, I didn’t know that it was acceptable to DNF an ARC, so I tried to plow through it…I ended up finishing it in about an hour and a half, but it just sucked the whole way through. I felt obligated to finish Deep Blue because I’d bought it, but it didn’t get better. At all. PAIN. And Wings of Ebony…man, I feel really bad about giving this one such a low rating, but the only good thing I have to say about it is that I loved the unapologetic approach to racism/colonialism. Otherwise…yikes.
6. HAVE YOU EVER RE-ATTEMPTED TO READ A DNF, AND WAS THIS SUCCESSFUL FOR YOU?
Nope. Usually when I DNF a book, I hate it with a passion, and even if middle school Madeline did it a bit too frequently, there’s usually no going back with DNFs for me.
7. WHAT DO YOU DO WITH DNFED BOOKS?
If it’s on my Kindle, I’ll delete it, and if I borrowed it from the library (which is most often the case), I derive great joy from forcefully shoving it in the return machine. Usually I don’t end up DNFing books that I bought physical copies of, but in that case, I donate them.
I’ve been wanting to do a post like this for a little while, so here goes nothing…
We all know the feeling. We’ve picked up a book because of the seemingly endless 4 and 5 star reviews and the high praise from friends and fellow readers and book bloggers, and then it turns out to be a steaming disappointment. For me, popular YA books live up to the hype about 50% of the time for me, and the other 50% is either just…not feeling anything from it, or not liking it at all. And there’s plenty of hyped books that I’ve loved! But sometimes, a lot of these books just haven’t worked for me.
And before I start, I just wanted to say this – if you liked any of these books, this post isn’t meant to shame anybody’s reading preferences at all. If you liked them, good for you! These are just my opinions here, and as per the Latin proverb, to each, their own is beautiful. I just wasn’t a fan of these books.
It’s been about three years since I’ve read this one, but it was a pretty quick DNF for me. Red Queen felt like every bad YA trope melted into a single book – an unoriginal dystopian world with the “plain heroine that doesn’t realize how beautiful she is and is THE CHOSEN ONE” and gets into an insta-love romance…gah, I forget how long it took before I put it down, but this was just painful.
Holly Black is a hit-or-miss author for me, but The Cruel Prince definitely fell among the misses for me. The worldbuilding was great here (and I loved the little ink drawings at the beginnings of the chapters!), but all of the characters were astronomically unlikable. Everybody just seemed intent on bullying and backstabbing everybody else, and there wasn’t any balance with a character with a slightly better moral compass. And don’t get me started on Jude and Cardan being a thing…WHY? If I remember correctly, Cardan spends about 3/4 of the book relentlessly degrading Jude, and then gets down on his knees and tells her that he loves her…HUH?
HOW MUCH MORE TOXIC CAN YOU GET? And somehow, Cardan’s up there with Kaz Brekker and that dude from ACOTAR (I don’t remember his name, I haven’t read the books and don’t intend to) with the brooding YA dudes that everybody fawns over? Makes me lose a little faith in humanity sometimes…
Here’s one that everybody recommended to me…should of listened to that guy in my class in middle school who did a book report on this one and didn’t like it
Okay. Maybe this one’s a little skewed. I read most of Throne of Glass when I was home sick with a stomachache, but even then, I think I wouldn’t have been a fan. The ✨fantasy names✨ were a pain to pronounce, Calaena came off as a very static character with very little development, if any, and everything seemed to worked out a little *too* well for her in the end. The worldbuilding was interesting, though. I guess. Probably not gonna pick this one up, but I don’t think I’ll go for ACOTAR or Crescent City either. Meh.
My main problem was the same one I had with The Cruel Prince – the toxicity of the main relationship. Mirnatius spends about 3/4 of the book being borderline abusive towards Miryem, and then, ✨poof!✨ Happy relationship!
Yeah, no, that’s just weird. Also, wasn’t there a significant age gap between the two of them? Final nail in the coffin, really…
This one lured me in with a gorgeous cover and the promise of mermaids, and…well, we got a mermaid, but the rest of the book didn’t make up for it.
All the Stars and Teeth felt very formulaic for me, right down to the conveniently-placed puppet show to explain the worldbuilding. We’ve got a protagonist with dangerous magic, the mysterious love interest…it just felt like every other YA fantasy in the last few years. Not much to distinguish it from the others, if anything at all.
Out of all of the books here, Cinderella is Dead is probably the one that I had the highest expectations for. I mean, what could possibly go wrong with a book with a sapphic, POC lead taking down the patriarchy in a world sculpted from the myth of Cinderella?
…several things, as it turned out.
I found the worldbuilding to be full of holes, none of the characters were very distinct, the villain was an irredeemable caricature, and all of the attempts commentary on abuse and misogyny and such relied way too much on telling, as opposed to showing. For me Cinderella is Dead was just a case of a great idea, but poor execution. Shame…
This one was another DNF for me about two years ago. I still really appreciate that Kemmerer chose to have a disabled character at the forefront of a YA fantasy (Harper has cerebral palsy – not sure how accurate the rep is, though), but otherwise…meh. On top of the obvious attempt to make this Beauty and the Beast retelling as Dark And Gritty™️ as possible, the love triangle (and both love interests, if memory serves) put me off in the end.
This was my first exposure to Jennifer L. Armentrout, and I don’t think I’ll be reading anything of hers after this. Again, this falls into almost every YA trope that I hate – the Chosen One who is so very clearly Not Like Other Girls, the Sarcastic Bad Boy Love Interest (Zayne still makes me squirm)…I forget where I DNF’d this one, but I just could not take another page. Yikes.
Instant Karma was a sore disappointment…I’ve loved almost everything else of Marissa Meyer’s, but I just didn’t click with this one. I loved the premise of a magical-realism rom-com and all of the Beatles references were great, but Pru really got on my nerves, and the romance never made me feel anything.
TELL ME WHAT YOU THINK! What were your thoughts on these books? What’s a popular YA book that you didn’t like?
That’s it for this post! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
For the most part, I really enjoyed reading Off Planet, the first book in Aileen Erin’s Aunare Chronicles; I read it on vacation, and I loved the fast-paced action. So on a whim (and because it was pretty cheap), I bought book 2 on my Kindle and read it between library hauls.
Oh god, I can’t believe that these books are from the same series…Off Balance took everything that I didn’t like about book 1 and made it the main focus of the plot, making for a mess of a sequel that I had neither the will nor the patience to finish.
(find my mini-review of book 1, Off Planet, here!)
On the run from Earth and SpaceTech, Amihanna di Aetes flees to the other half of her heritage, the powerful, spacefaring Aunare. Even surrounded by the riches of her father’s estate, her life is one of constant fear – fear of Spacetech, and fear of the aliens who look at her like vermin for her half-human heritage. But as tensions within the royal family begin to rise surrounding her, she must think on her feet to make it out alive.
TW/CW: discrimination, trauma-related nightmares, frightening situations, violence, bombing, 10+ year age gap between protagonist and love interest*
*yeah, you heard me right…see the fourth paragraph for me freaking out about that
DNF at 68%
Oh god…where do I begin with this one? It pains me to write DNF reviews these days. Really. It’s so rare for my ratings for a series to drop this much…I gave Off Planet a solid 3.5 stars, and here we have Off Balance with a measly 1…I feel pretty bad about it, but YIKES.
I really wanted to like Off Balance. I really did. But it just kept getting more and more frustrating with every page, and with around 500 pages, there came a point where I couldn’t take any more of it. It’s like everything that I didn’t care about in book 1 was emphasized, and then made 10 times worse…
First off, let me talk about the Aunare for a second. I was excited to see what their culture and physiology and such was like, but…there were hardly any differences from humans. I tried to brush off the fact that Lorne looked like an ordinary human in book 1, but, alas, here we have the “aliens that look exactly like humans but with ✨pretty eye colors✨ and they’re all ✨ridiculously attractive✨” trope. And they glow this time. Oh, joy. Furthermore, other than some of the food and the whole glowing business, all of the culture that we got was just…wild parties in ballrooms and messy stuff with the royal family? If nobody had told me that this was a space opera, I could have passed this off as a fully human cast. All those parties got mind-numbing eventually, which…maybe that was the point? I don’t even know…
And then there’s the issue of Lorne. I don’t judge love interests by whether or not I’m attracted to them, which, I’ll admit, doesn’t happen a whole lot to me in books. He already put me off a bit because of my association of his name from Lorne Malvo from Fargo (oops), buthe was just all kinds of frustrating in this book. He was just such a startlingly bland character – there was nothing that distinguished him from any other YA love interest. And the whole thing with him and Amihanna…I just felt…nothing? I wasn’t invested in their relationship in any way, and all of the lines that were supposed to be tender or heartwarming just made me roll my eyes. And…IS NOBODY GONNA TALK ABOUT THE FACT THAT THERE’S AN 11-YEAR AGE GAP BETWEEN HIM AND AMIHANNA?
WHY IS NOBODY ADDRESSING THIS??
ALL KINDS OF CREEPY. AND NOBODY SEEMS TO BE BATTING AN EYE. WHY?
[waves hands around] okay, okay. Lemme cool off a minute.
Okay. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest…
Other than that, the plot just seemed to be completely absent. It was an endless cycle of Amihanna doing some training, drama with the royal family, drama with Dylan, drama with Lorne…just drama. If I didn’t know any better, I would have thought that this was a book from an entirely different series than the first book. I’m still so puzzled as to how we got from such an action-packed first book to…whatever this was.
In the end, I just couldn’t stand to read another page. The plot started to pick up a little, but by that point, I’d lost all will to read Off Balance. So it was a DNF for me.
All in all, a bitter, messy disappointment of a sequel that lacked in everything that made Off Planet a reasonably compelling read. Off Planet is still worth a read, but…maybe just stop at book 1. 1, sad little star.
Off Balance is the second book in the Aunare Chronicles, preceded by Off Planet and succeeded by In Command (#2.5, a novella) and On Mission (#3).
That’s it for this week’s Book Review Tuesday! Have a wonderful rest of your day, and take care of yourselves!
Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you all well.
This week’s been fairly quiet – lots of reading indoors and outdoors. I got through all of the books that I bought last week, plus a couple on my Kindle and a bit of my summer reading. Of course, I had another unfortunate DNF, which…why did I escape them in the first half of the year, only to have all of them in July?
Writing-wise, everything’s going fairly smooth! I think I’m…oh, maybe a third of the way through where I want to be with my WIP, and my word count’s steadily been going up!
Other than that, I’ve just been making some fan art, volunteering at the library, watching Loki, hiking, and watching one of my close friends get through Fargo. (She’s coming up on one of my favorite twists in season 3…) I also had my first in-person guitar lesson since the pandemic started, and it’s so good to be back!
Happy Sunday, bibliophiles, and for those of you in the U.S., happy fourth! I still find it hard to be proud of my country sometimes, but it’s my personal belief that recognizing the flaws in your country and wanting to change them is patriotic. And hey, at least Trump’s out of office, right? It’s been so nice to not have to worry about my human rights being taken away…
(I swear it’s a coincidence that I’m reading The Handmaid’s Tale today…)
[ahem] anyway, it’s been a pretty nice week. We got a whole lot of rain last week, and now it’s starting to get warm again, which is always nice. I got a lot of reading done, but part of it’s because a) I read a lot of somewhat short books and b) I ended up having my first DNF of the year, so… [sad harmonica]
Writing’s been going well too! I started Camp NaNoWriMo on Thursday, and I’d say it’s going well so far. I accidentally misunderstood the word count goal feature for the whole “working on a draft you’ve already started” thing, and now that’s a little screwed up, but I’m trying to get it fixed, so it should be fine.
Other than that, I’ve just been making/organizing my playlists, watching Loki (AAAAH THAT LAST EPISODE) and Mars Attacks!, volunteering at the library, and playing Minecraft. I also got to make a trip to my favorite bookstores, and I have some books I’m super excited for lined up next week!
I have a whole load of book tags that I want to do soon, and I figured I’d give this one a go, it sounds like a lot of fun! I was tagged by Stephanie @ My Book Throne, (thanks so much!) and the tag was originally created by Marc Nash.
Let’s begin, shall we?
🔟THE LAST 10 BOOKS TAG🔟
LAST BOOK I RE-READ
The Netflix adaptation of Shadow and Bone made me go back and read the Six of Crows duology. Needless to say, tears were shed.
LAST BOOK I GAVE UP ON
I haven’t DNF’d anything in a while, but I got to about the 70% mark in Falling Kingdoms(on my Kindle) before I couldn’t take it anymore.
LAST BOOK I BOUGHT
I went down to my favorite bookstore on Thursday morning and got three books that I’ve been really excited to read! The Ones We’re Meant to Findis one of them.
LAST BOOK I SAID I READ BUT DIDN’T
I…never really do that, and even if I did, I probably wouldn’t remember…
LAST BOOK I WROTE IN THE MARGINS OF
In most cases, I’m firmly against writing in books, but we’re supposed to annotate while we read for school books, so…
Weeeeeeeeell…this doesn’t *really* count since it isn’t out yet, but I preordered a signed copy of Aurora’s End,so that’s about as close as I can get. I haven’t really been to a whole lot of book events other than Denver Pop Culture Con, and I can’t remember the last trade paperback that I got signed off the top of my head…
LAST BOOK I LOST
(Why do I keep putting books I read for school in this tag?)
I rarely lose books, but I panicked for a bit last year when I lost my copy of Macbeth for a short time. I think I found it behind the headboard of my bed, or something…
LAST BOOK I REPLACED
Uh…I’ve never really replaced any of my books…I rarely lend them to other people and I try very hard not to damage them, so…
LAST BOOK I ARGUED OVER
I mean, I don’t remember the last time I’ve full-on argued with somebody about a book, but I’ve had several people insist that I try reading Throne of Glassagain, and…nah. Not for me. True, I was grumpy and sick when I read it, but I really don’t think that contributed to the low rating.
LAST BOOK I COULDN’T FIND
Whew, here’s a throwback…
I LOVED the SkulduggeryPleasantbooks in middle school, but I had to stop at book 3 because I just couldn’t find Dark Daysanywhere. ANYWHERE. Such a shame, these were so much fun…
Do each of the prompts unless you have never read that type of disappointing book
For some of the prompts, you can twist them into what fits your book. For example: Sequels where the characters change in a bad way could change to Good story, Bad characters or good characters, the rest was meh
Let’s begin, shall we?
😑THE DISAPPOINTMENTS BOOK TAG 😑
A DISAPPOINTING DEBUT
Part of why Crown of Coral and Pearlwas so disappointing for me was the fact that I thought that there would be mermaids (oops), but even with that aside, I found this novel to be rather dry. Save for a creature or two, there’s hardly anything “fantasy” about it.
AN AUTHOR WITH A NOVEL YOU LOVE AND A NOVEL YOU DISLIKE
Adam Silvera is a hit-or-miss author for me; I liked They Both Die at the End a lot, but I had to DNF Infinity Sonbecause it was such a mess. Maybe contemporary is just more his speed.
A DISAPPOINTING SEQUEL
Speaking of books that were kind of a mess…
Book 1 was a lot of fun, but Blood & Honeyjust dragged so much…so much filler, and then a whole bunch of twists that made no sense crammed at the end.
GREAT IDEA, POOR EXECUTION
It always pains me to think about this one…
Cinderella is Dead was one of my most anticipated releases of 2020 – the premise of a dystopian kingdom 200 years after Cinderella found her prince sounded incredible! Alas, the worldbuilding was sloppy, none of the characters had much personality, and the commentary on misogyny/abuse/etc. was very forced, and relied more on telling than showing.
SEQUELS WHERE THE CHARACTERS CHANGE IN A BAD WAY
I wouldn’t say that it was the characters themselves in Cold Falling White that changed in a bad way, but the way Prendergast handled them. Most of the characters that died in Zero Repeat Forever were resurrected in a really weird way, and the characters that survived were either separated or shoved into a plot that made no sense. Sigh…
Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you well. Just under a month left in this cursed year, we can do it…
It’s definitely been an okay week, considering that awful feeling of having to go back to school after break. I beat my NaNoWriMo goal of 35,000 words on Monday, but after that, I started getting rather unmotivated for that particular WIP, so I think I’ll take a little break from it. I’ve been meaning to go back and edit my sci-fi WIP that I finished in June, so maybe I’ll start on that once I’ve gotten over the finals hump.
And speaking of finals, chances are, I’ll be posting a lot less in the next few weeks. My finals start in two weeks, so I’ll be studying a lot next week, so I doubt I’ll be terribly present or consistent. I’ll be back once Winter Break rolls back around, though. So just a heads up.
On a much lighter note…I’ve gotten out of my reading slump! I ended up DNFing the first book of the week, but after that, I read a whole bunch of great books. I also got to the season finale of Fargo, and I’ve started re-watching it, too. We also put up our Christmas ornaments and decorations, so that’s given everything a cozy, festive air.
Happy Sunday, bibliophiles! I hope this week has treated you all well.
It’s nice to be back to blogging, and I think I’m finally back in the right headspace academic-wise to be back again. I mentioned a little of what I’ve been up to in my back from the void post, but it’s definitely been a good week.
Aside from…well, y’know, having to write lab reports and take some tests at the end of the week, it was a good week leading up to break. Lately, my weeks have revolved around the new episodes of Fargo coming on Monday nights, and Noah Hawley blessed us with “East/West,” which was, without question, my favorite episode of the season. So that’s been on my mind for the whole week. I read some decent books from the library, and got a bunch more when I went back on Thursday, so I’m fully stocked up for break. We watched Blood Simple on Friday night too, and that was thoroughly enjoyable.
Something I failed to mention (and probably shouldn’t have, since it would have made the post painfully long) in the last post was NaNoWriMo! I’m at about 70% to my goal of 35,000 words by the end of the month (I’m still in the Young Writer’s Program, so I’m working my way up to 50,000 so I’ll be prepared once I graduate). At this stage, I’m getting to a part in the WIP that I’m liking, but I’m worried that it’s going to be too short. I feel like this happens with everything that I write, so I suppose I’m prepared, but it’s still not a pleasant feeling. We’ll see how it goes.