Books I Didn’t Finish: Fall & Winter 2018

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on December 29, 2018 | 1 Comment

Ace of Shades
 by Amanda Foody
The Shadow Game #1
Published by Harlequin Teen (4.10.2018)
Genre: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook, 411 pages
Source: Audible (returned)

Enne Salta was raised as a proper young lady, and no lady would willingly visit New Reynes, the so-called City of Sin. But when her mother goes missing, Enne must leave her finishing school—and her reputation—behind to follow her mother’s trail to the city where no one survives uncorrupted.

Frightened and alone, Enne has only one lead: the name Levi Glaisyer. Unfortunately, Levi is not the gentleman she expected—he’s a street lord and a con man. Levi is also only one payment away from cleaning up a rapidly unraveling investment scam, so he doesn’t have time to investigate a woman leading a dangerous double life. Enne’s offer of compensation, however, could be the solution to all his problems.

Their search for clues leads them through glamorous casinos, illicit cabarets and into the clutches of a ruthless Mafia donna. As Enne unearths an impossible secret about her past, Levi’s enemies catch up to them, ensnaring him in a vicious execution game where the players always lose. To save him, Enne will need to surrender herself to the city…

And she’ll need to play.

I wanted SO BADLY to get into this one. This wasn’t the first time I attempted to get through this book. I had tried to read it right after it first came out, and couldn’t get into it, so I decided to try again on audio. Sadly, the audio didn’t do anything for me either. I was bored out of my mind, I didn’t care about any of the characters, and despite the world being unique and intriguing, I just didn’t care about any of it either. And I gave it a good go – I listened to nearly FIVE hours of the audio. That’s five hours of my life I’m never getting back. At least I got the Audible credit back.



The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
Seven Realms #1
Published by Hyperion (10.6.2009)
Genre: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook, 506 pages
Source: Audible (returned)

Times are hard in the mountain city of Fellsmarch. Reformed thief Han Alister will do almost anything to eke out a living for his family. The only thing of value he has is something he can’t sell—the thick silver cuffs he’s worn since birth. They’re clearly magicked—as he grows, they grow, and he’s never been able to get them off.

One day, Han and his clan friend, Dancer, confront three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to keep him from using it against them. Soon Han learns that the amulet has an evil history—it once belonged to the Demon King, the wizard who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece that powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Meanwhile, Raisa ana’Marianna, princess heir of the Fells, has her own battles to fight. She’s just returned to court after three years of freedom in the mountains—riding, hunting, and working the famous clan markets. Raisa wants to be more than an ornament in a glittering cage. She aspires to be like Hanalea—the legendary warrior queen who killed the Demon King and saved the world. But her mother has other plans for her…

The Seven Realms tremble when the lives of Hans and Raisa collide, fanning the flames of the smoldering war between clans and wizards.

Okay, this is the second time I’ve tried to read this book and it’s bumming me out! I think the first time it was a mood thing, and this time it was a narrator thing. I didn’t dig the narrator at all. But I am DETERMINED to finish this darn book! I really do think I’d enjoy it if I could get past the stinkin’ beginning.



Rosemarked by Livia Blackburne
 Rosemarked #1
Published by Disney-Hyperion (11.7.2017)
Genre: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 390 pages
Source: I own it

A healer who cannot be healed . . .

When Zivah falls prey to the deadly rose plague, she knows it’s only a matter of time before she fully succumbs. Now she’s destined to live her last days in isolation, cut off from her people and unable to practice her art—until a threat to her village creates a need that only she can fill.

A soldier shattered by war . . .

Broken by torture at the hands of the Amparan Empire, Dineas thirsts for revenge against his captors. Now escaped and reunited with his tribe, he’ll do anything to free them from Amparan rule—even if it means undertaking a plan that risks not only his life but his very self.

Thrust together on a high-stakes mission to spy on the capital, the two couldn’t be more different: Zivah, deeply committed to her vow of healing, and Dineas, yearning for vengeance. But as they grow closer, they must find common ground to protect those they love. And amidst the constant fear of discovery, the two grapple with a mutual attraction that could break both of their carefully guarded hearts.

This smart, sweeping fantasy with a political edge and a slow-burning romance will capture fans of The Lumatere Chronicles and An Ember in the Ashes.

Mostly, I was just bored out of my mind. I made it more than halfway (which is over 200 freakin’ pages) and the story just dragged on and on and on, with little to no action or plot to speak of. In two hundred pages!! Basically nothing happened. It also felt pretty generic other than the plague part of it (rosemarked vs. umbertouched was a mildly interesting concept, though), and the characters were bland. It’s not to say it’s a bad story – the writing is decent and plenty of people enjoyed it. But it’s definitely not for me. :(



East by Edith Pattou
 East #1
Published by HMH (10.23.2018)
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Paperback, 512 pages
Source: From Publisher

A beautiful, new edition of the beloved fantasy hailed as “the stuff of epic tale telling” (Booklist), perfect for fans of Beauty and the Beast from New York Times best-selling author Edith Pattou.

Rose has always longed for adventure, so when an enormous white bear appears one evening and makes her a mysterious offer, she accepts. In exchange for health and prosperity for her ailing family, she must live with the white bear in a distant castle. But Rose soon realizes that all isn’t as it seems. As she tries to settle into her new life, she makes a devastating mistake. Now she must choose: return to her safe and loving family or go on a dangerous quest to fix what she has broken—and perhaps lose her heart along the way. A sweeping romantic epic as timeless as any fairy tale and thrilling as only the best fantasy novels can be.

This was a MAJOR letdown for me. I had been looking forward to this book for so long, and I had hyped it up so much in my head – I had pretty high expectations. So, no one is more disappointed than I am. I’ve been wanting to read this book for quite some time, but it just didn’t work for me :(

It’s told like a journal entry, which makes it feel clinical and detached, thus I was unable to connect to the story or characters. And it was dry. On top of that, it feels like borderline magical realism? Which I was unaware of going in, and magical realism is soooo not my jam. Sorry?

I think this is just a solid case of not for me.



Slayer by Kiersten White
 East #1
Published by HMH (10.23.2018)
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Paperback, 512 pages
Source: From Publisher

Nina and her twin sister, Artemis, are far from normal. It’s hard to be when you grow up at the Watcher’s Academy, which is a bit different from your average boarding school. Here teens are trained as guides for Slayers—girls gifted with supernatural strength to fight the forces of darkness. But while Nina’s mother is a prominent member of the Watcher’s Council, Nina has never embraced the violent Watcher lifestyle. Instead she follows her instincts to heal, carving out a place for herself as the school medic.

Until the day Nina’s life changes forever.

Thanks to Buffy, the famous (and infamous) Slayer that Nina’s father died protecting, Nina is not only the newest Chosen One—she’s the last Slayer, ever. Period.

As Nina hones her skills with her Watcher-in-training, Leo, there’s plenty to keep her occupied: a monster fighting ring, a demon who eats happiness, a shadowy figure that keeps popping up in Nina’s dreams…

But it’s not until bodies start turning up that Nina’s new powers will truly be tested—because someone she loves might be next.

One thing is clear: Being Chosen is easy. Making choices is hard.

I think the problem here is that this book was meant for Buffy fans. I never watched the show – I’m aware of the characters but could never really get into it. And it was painfully obvious when I tried to read this book, because it kind of requires *some* knowledge of the Buffy universe, which left me feeling a bit unclear about the way the Slayer/Watcher society works. The constant references left me feeling frustrated because I felt like I was missing part of the story. I didn’t realize going in that the show would be such an integral part of the book. I guess I just thought it would be a vague reference to the show? So totally my bad on that one.

Also, I think perhaps I’m outgrowing Kiersten White books. There was some cute/fun banter going on, and I love banter, but it felt a bit juvenile for me. Which makes me sad, because I’ve enjoyed a few of Kiersten’s books in the past (namely the Paranormalcy series and Chaos of Stars, since I DNFed And I Darken and didn’t like The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein).

I do think that most people (especially Buffy fans!) will enjoy this one, though!

Jessi (Geo)

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One response to “Books I Didn’t Finish: Fall & Winter 2018

  1. Ah, sorry to hear you didn’t like Slayer, I loved it. Of course, like you say, I am a huge fan of the show. But I’ve also loved Kiersten White’s books. I don’t know that her And I Darken series is something to outgrow through, it isn’t as YA as it could be in my opinion. And I’m 46 years old, and loved that series.

    I keep wanting to do a post where I go through books I have DNFed and see what others think. This post inspires me to try to do that!

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