Friday, December 27, 2013

2013 DNF Round-Up Post

Just a few years ago, I never would have considered the possibility of not finishing a book. No matter how much it enraged me, how bored I was, how much I hated the characters, I read through to the last page to see if it could possibly redeem itself. All too frequently it didn't. Sometimes, some things made more sense than originally, but 99% of the time I was still too mad, disappointed and just didn't care anymore.

So I started trying to drop the books that weren't working for me. Maybe I'm missing out on some great revelation in some dropped book, but with so many books out there, and the possibility for so many good books, I just can't be bothered to worry about that anymore.

So here are the books that I dropped, and a quick (sometimes more raging than quick) bit of the reasoning on why I did.

Tempestuous Eden by Heather Graham

I made it, barely, through the prologue and a little over a page into Chapter 1.

My problems:
1. In the prologue you're reading a bunch of email exchanges back and forth between a military man and his CO (commanding officer)*. He's whining about his orders - to go to Central America - and protect a US citizen, bringing her home if necessary.

Um, excuse me? WTF? First of all, highly frowned upon (and I use that term as a insane understatement) in the military to argue with your CO in such a manner. Secondly, not very heroic. I was pretty much done with him then.

2. POV shifts. Sentence to sentence we were in someone else's head - with no real clues to tell us whose POV we were looking through. Three times it switched POV inone paragraph.

I was done.** As I only got about 2% in, I can't really recommend or discourage anyone from reading this.

*Disclaimer: I didn't get far enough to know for sure he was military, but by the lack of consultation, options, and general orders I figured there's no other option.

**Addendum: This was originally written in the '80s. It's pretty obvious. And I know things were generally more lax in some of my complaint areas (in books, that is) at that time.

Three - Legends of the Duskwalker, Book 1 - by Jay Posey

DNF at 21%.

I just can't anymore.

Some reasons I quit:

1. I have no idea what's going on. What kind of world this is, how it got this way; what kind of people these are, how they got this way. Where it is, when it is, how it is....I've got nothing. This is best as I can figure it.

We're in some vague science-fiction world; maybe earth, maybe some place else. Weirs populate the outside (and it took until 18%ish to get a name/idea of what they were). FYI: They're zombie like creatures with glowing blue eyes that track based on a multitude of things, including characters 'linking (I'll get to that). I have no idea how they came about though. Because of the weirs, humanity has closed themselves up in cities that are locked up tight after dark - apparently the weirs only come out at night? And it's got to be full dark, none of this partial-dusk, mostly dark crap. Also, they apparently communicate with screams and/or screeches.

The characters have some sort of 'link to a central 'net? They can link and find out their global positioning, have access to internal time, get information, and track based on use of this. I don't know why, or how this came about.

There are weird drugs (chems) that people can take to become super strong/fast/smart - but they become addictive to the point where you need them to function later.

2. Characters act in ways that are inconsistent with the world-building.

Enter Three. He's a mercenary? I guess. That was what I imagined him to be considering he was claiming a bounty on someone when we first meet him (unless that's him in the prologue - but I don't really know who that was to be honest). Then he randomly decides to save this woman and child. Next, he continues to help them for a really long time, protecting them despite the woman being an ungrateful person who berates and yells at him for not doing enough (apparently). Also, I have no idea why the mother was in the bar with her son when she first meets Three, and asks him for help. Obvious authorial hand here.

Additionally, Three can kick weir ass. Yet, the rest of humanity can't band together to find the weir and fight them or eliminate them. They're all weak cowards, I guess.

3. Characters that piss me off.

Enter Cass. Previously mentioned mother. She's a quint (the previously mentioned chem) addict with a special son (you know the type - the ONE). She alternates between helpless, bitchy, ungrateful and downright mean. Not to mention that she apparently can't really do anything for herself, and allowed herself AND HER SON to get into a very shady dealing. Though now she is on the run, so at least I can give her that for getting her kid out of it - though he is SEVEN so it took her long enough.

About the time she slapped her son because he wasn't able to find the way out to save them - yes, she needed her son to save himself and her - I lost all interest in her as a character and pretty much came to hate her.

And that pretty much ended my ability to read this. I was going to keep trying to go, but when my whole weekend went by without me picking up my Kindle because I just couldn't make myself. Time to just stop.

I do think this has potential, and that it's probably going to work great for others. It just isn't working for me.

Perhaps I'll come back to it at some point. Right now I doubt it, though.

Caged Warrior - Dragon Kings, Book 1 - by Lindsey Piper

DNF at 85%.

I dropped this book back in the beginning of August, 2013. I said I was going to write a short review/list as to why I didn't finish it, but I apparently never did. Going from memory here, which is admittedly not that great in regards to this book.

The heroine lusts after the hero while he's abusing her. He's been brainwashed by his captors to think, act, and be a certain way - and I thought the possibilities with this character were absolutely fascinating. Such room for growth and potential for twists and development. Unfortunately I couldn't get past a heroine that was attracted to a guy that was continuously being such an ass to her. I mean, he wasn't just mean, he was seriously injuring her at every other turn. Not okay. That was all in the first 20% of the book.

I'm not sure how I managed to keep reading, but I think it was plain and simple boredom that made me give up. The insta-love and implausible plot turns made me scoff and roll my eyes one too many times.

Crave - The Dining Club, Part 3 - by Marina Anderson

So, this is a serial, and I got the first four parts of it from Net Galley. After reading, and not really enjoying part 1 or part 2 I went into this one with some trepidations.

32% Done.

I just can't continue. I had one moment's hope for David when he turned down sleeping with Amber at the club behind Grace's back....but then he soon pulled out the emotional manipulation: "Darling, I hope you're not going to disappoint me." the moment that Grace shows some reservations, and hesitation to bare her body and soul to two other people that are !SURPRISE! going to be in the room with her during her next 'trial'.

Ugh. Done.

One Hot Winter's Night by Serenity Woods

DNF at 13%

Just can't get into the story, don't really like either of the characters - and then throw in DECEPTION*, and I'm done.

There were also nit-picky things (I studied archaeology and history quite a lot) that bugged me.
1. Archaeologists are not generally the ones selling artefacts from digs - most archaeologists don't fund their own digs, which means what they find isn't theirs.
2. The head of the National Museum of Rome is likely to know Latin, or have a few resources to ensure that his Latin is correct.

*Deception as in: she lies about who she is and seduces him under false pretenses because they have a professional rivalry going and she wants the necklace he'd gotten to first.

Not okay.

Together in Cyn by Jennifer Kacey

Okay, I admit it, I picked up this book thinking I wasn't going to like it - but I was trying to go outside my comfort zone. I thought I'd likely have a problem with the brothers being in a threesome with a girl, but that was the least of my issues.

First person erotica isn't my favorite and it really affects my reading here. There is getting to be more and more telling, instead of showing, and I've lost interest in the characters and where they may be going… Additionally, the writing style just doesn't mesh well with me - the descriptive terms literally make me cringe in sympathetic pain.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

DNF at page 133 (30%).

It's not you, it's me.

Meh. That pretty much sums up my overall feeling about this book. I'm just bored.

The writing is good, the characters are developed, the external plot is non-existent and I forced myself to read each and every one of those pages.

In truth the book is all about Cath's journey - While Cath is much more extreme than I ever was, I understood her. She's very introverted to the point where social interaction literally gives her anxiety and she chooses to be almost a hermit to avoid it; she prefers living and interacting in a fictional world to the real one, and she's incredibly giving to those she loves - even if they don't always appreciate it.

But nothing happens. At all. Cath goes from one encounter to the next, and I felt like I was told more about each one than shown anything. Additionally, I didn't love the fanfic portions that were written - I found myself skimming them and they took me out of the story every single time. And with Simon Snow obviously being a stand-in for Harry Potter, I'm not sure about the weird and random HP reference in the book. It doesn't make logical sense how there can be both of them in this world, and I figured where Simon Snow existed Harry Potter wouldn't - so that kind of threw me too.

I wanted to love this, I really did.

Onio by Linell Jeppsen

Monster-Pron Group-Read, Attempt 1: DNF at 17%. Bored out of my mind. Too many info-dumps, and I just couldn't get behind the sasquatch as beautiful.

Plus, the cover… What the hell kind of bait-and-switch is that??

From what I hear from friends that finished this, I was lucky to have given up as it got crazier and crazier the further into the story they went.

Deadly Game - Follow Me, Part 1 - by Cara Lockwood

With the huge influx of serial novels coming out this last year, I was bound to try more than a few. Unfortunately, most of them didn't end up working for me. This one is no exception - though to be fair, my problems here didn't have anything to do with the serialized format.

Meh. I just don't like the main characters - Cal and Daniel. They're childish, immature, self-centered and completely unsympathetic. They find their roommate dead, in their bed, between them, naked. They have no idea what happened. Do they mourn? Nope. They run - worried about their own skins. I do understand that, but I didn't even realize she was their ROOMMATE until later - when the police showed up there and found pictures/mentioned it. Seriously? How can you not even be concerned that your ROOMMATE, whom you've been living with and presumably know pretty well, is DEAD! Grief? Anything? Bueller?

Then they break into some house to apparently trying to get off the island and back to the US, but then they decide to have sex on the floor (where Daniel gets his choking fantasy on). Maybe it was an affirmation of life, I don't know. By this time I just didn't care. I read the entire sex scene with a look of disbelief on my face.

The other two, apparent, main characters - Nico and Thena - just bore me.

I give up. This might just be me. But I doubt it.

Raw - Torn Between Two Lovers, Book 1 - by Jo Davis

I admit, the unconventional idea of allowing the fans to choose who Anna got her HEA with drew me to request this book. I wanted to see how the author set this up and handled something where both characters would have an equal chance - something that often doesn't happen in love-triangles.

Unfortunately, I didn't make it more than 16% into Raw because of some pretty serious issues that are incredibly personal to me.

At about 9% Anna is walking home after a long night at her new restaurant; she's tired, but alert (supposedly) when she's suddenly grabbed and pulled into an alley and ... saved from being raped by a strong rescuer. Here's my first problem - why do authors feel the need to use rape and near-rape as a plot or character point? It's traumatizing, defeating, and can be so incredibly hard to come back from. Even a rape that you're saved from can have some devastating effects on a person. This portion of the series is only 80 pages, so I didn't have a lot of hope that her recovery from this traumatic experience would be at all realistic, but I pushed on.

So, Grayson turns out to be her rescuer and scares off the would-be rapist. Grayson then offers to walk her the rest of the way home...her response?

"On, that's not necessary."

Really? Not necessary? I don't care if it's just across the street, or down the block, or you're right outside your front door (in fact that all kind of makes it worse). This is independence to the point of idiocy. But fine. I keep going.

Next, Grayson mentions that they should file a report...

"I think that'll be a waste of time...

Look, I do kind of get it, but c'mon! I'm sure as Grayson was fighting him (especially as he's an FBI agent based on the book blurb) he got a decent look at him. It's just a good idea to file a report - it will likely never lead to anything (as most of them don't), it's still something that should be done. But okay, moving on...

Anna finally relents and lets Grayson walk her up to her apartment, and he starts crowding her space, and she starts getting turned on, disappointed when he doesn't kiss her. Look, I also get the whole reaffirmation of something that feels good, I get that not everyone reacts in a horrible way to such an attack, but it's now like it NEVER HAPPENED. In which case I'm left wondering why the hell was it included in the first place?

If this stuff isn't a hot-button issue for you, I freely admit it is for me, then the writing is good and I do think that the story has potential. I can't get past this though.

I quit.

Cum for Bigfoot - Cum for Bigfoot, Book 1 - by Virginia Wade

Monster-Pron Group Read, Attempt 2

I got about halfway through.

Starting with the underage (I got the impression high-schoolers) kids, one girl being screwed by her friend's father (who is married also) in the woods.

Then three of the girls being taken and straight up raped by Big Foot - I couldn't handle it anymore.*

I have a very bit hot-button about rape, I couldn't get past that. I get the rape-fantasy, I do. But this just…No.

*A few more details about the rape: he rapes her two friends - and while he's raping them, his MOTHER is using a vibrator on them and calling them dirty wh*res for enjoying themselves… and then he takes the main character and starts raping her, but, lo and behold! - she begins to enjoy it. She decides she's going to give him a blow job - and I that's where I quit.

My Favorite Mistake - My Favorite Mistake, Book 1 - by Chelsea M. Cameron

DNF at 3% (some quotes from further in the book are at the end - which makes me feel completely justified in stopping this hot mess.)

I just can't do it. I can't handle another 'strong woman' who is actually a bitch and abusive. I don't accept this behavior in men, I won't accept it in women.

The book starts by saying that the MC (Taylor) hits Hunter the first time she meets him...

The first time I met Hunter Zaccadelli, I punched him in the face. Granted, he completely and totally deserved it. He also asked for it, in so many ways.

I decided right then and there that when I saw what precipitated the punch in the face would be the thing that determined if I kept reading.

Taylor and 2 friends are moving into their dorm - which is coed. They're waiting on their fourth roommate, who is being assigned by housing. Hunter shows up. A guy.

Taylor, in her strong, bitchy ways, immediately goes on the defensive; telling Hunter he can't live there. She immediately categorized him as a 'douche' - all because he's good looking, has a tattoo, flirts, and is cocky.

I get she's uncomfortable, but she doesn't have to take it all out on him. Throwing her phone when she can't get ahold of housing. Throwing a fit in general.

Hunter, despite Taylor's insane 'welcome', seems determined to continue to be nice, try to start conversations, and flirty - shamelessly. He offers to buy them lunch even. Obviously he's attracted to bratty women.

Now, for the punch to the face. He invades her space. Purposefully, flirting, crowding her. She, in response, immediately punches him in the face and knees him in the groin.

I'm guessing there's some sort of assault in her past, and I get the instinct, but you can't go around hitting people just because they get in your space. Telling him to back off would be a good first option.

She then storms out of the apartment.

I was surprised no one chase after me, but Darah and Renee [her friends/roommates] knew about my freak outs. They knew to leave me alone and give me my space. It hadn't been the first time they'd seen me like that.

Healthy. You regularly freak out and hit people and no one thinks this is a problem? Just let her walk it off. This all just screams abusive personality to me. If it's not her way, then she's liable to freak out - and you should just get out of her path.

She calls her sister to talk it through, tells her that she punched Hunter.

"Aw, Kid, why did you do that?"

"He cornered me, what was I supposed to do?" My hand was red and starting to turn a lovely purple shade.

"You could have told him to back off. That would have been the logical thing to do."

"You know I'm not a logical person."

O-Kay then.

"Don't you think you should talk to someone again?"

"Because that worked so well before. No thank you."

It didn't work that one time, so we will never, ever again seek help for our issues. I'm done.

My friend Sarah managed to finish this book - so here are some quotes that she shared from further in...I'm so glad I quit this because these quotes put me straight into rage-territory.

"I’m not coping with it, according to my therapists. There have been many."

"Fuck them. If breaking things and punching people every now and then helps you, I’ll be your punching bag and we can get you some stuff to throw off the roof. Deal?"

Are you fucking kidding me? Imagine if we read about a girl offering this deal to a guy? Why is this in anyway acceptable??

"I’m still sorry I beat you," I said, touching his perfect face.

"How’s my face looking?"

I glanced up. He was going to look quite pretty tomorrow. "A little battered."

"That’s okay. I’ll just tell everyone I was in a bar fight."

"What, you’re ashamed to say you were hit by a girl?"

"No, but I’m worried you’ll get hauled in for domestic
violence," he said with a smile.

"Okay, fine."


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