Books I Didn’t Finish: Summer 2019

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on November 22, 2019 | 0 Comments

Blood and Sand by C.V. Wyk
Blood and Sand #1
Published by Tor Teen (1.16.2018)
Genre: Historical Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 320 pages
Source: I own it

Forged in battle, from the dust of the arena, a legend will rise…

Roma Victrix. The Republic of Rome is on a relentless march to create an empire―an empire built on the backs of the conquered, brought back to Rome as slaves.

Attia was once destined to rule as the queen and swordmaiden of Thrace, the greatest warrior kingdom the world had seen since Sparta. Now she is a slave, given to Xanthus, the Champion of Rome, as a sign of his master’s favor. Enslaved as a child, Xanthus is the preeminent gladiator of his generation.

Against all odds, Attia and Xanthus form a tentative bond. A bond that will spark a rebellion. A rebellion that threatens to bring the Roman Republic to its end―and gives rise to the legend of Spartacus…

In the beginning, I was enjoying it for the most part. Until I wasn’t. I think the introduction of the instalovey romance ruined it for me. I actually made it about halfway through, and basically nothing was happening, so I gave up.

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell
The Last Magician #1
Published by Simon Pulse (7.18.2017)
Genre: Historical Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 500 pages
Source: I own it

Stop the Magician. Steal the book. Save the future.

In modern-day New York, magic is all but extinct. The remaining few who have an affinity for magic—the Mageus—live in the shadows, hiding who they are. Any Mageus who enters Manhattan becomes trapped by the Brink, a dark energy barrier that confines them to the island. Crossing it means losing their power—and often their lives.

Esta is a talented thief, and she’s been raised to steal magical artifacts from the sinister Order that created the Brink. With her innate ability to manipulate time, Esta can pilfer from the past, collecting these artifacts before the Order even realizes she’s there. And all of Esta’s training has been for one final job: traveling back to 1902 to steal an ancient book containing the secrets of the Order—and the Brink—before the Magician can destroy it and doom the Mageus to a hopeless future.

But Old New York is a dangerous world ruled by ruthless gangs and secret societies, a world where the very air crackles with magic. Nothing is as it seems, including the Magician himself. And for Esta to save her future, she may have to betray everyone in the past.

I made it about 200 pages in and just got bored of it. May have been a mood thing, though? But, looking back, I feel like nothing actually happened in those 200 pages, so then again maybe not. I haven’t decided if I want to try again or not. Maybe someday!

Once & Future by Amy Rose Capetta & Cori McCarthy
Once & Future #1
Published by Little, Brown (3.26.2017)
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 336 pages
Source: Borrowed

I’ve been chased my whole life. As a fugitive refugee in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.

Now I’m done hiding.

My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.

When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.

No pressure.

I was so onboard in the beginning because the concept is awesome, but when the romance was introduced it ruined things for me. I liked that there was LGBT relationships, but one couple had known each other already and I have trouble investing in that type of relationship because there’s no time to become invested. And the other one annoyed me because Merlin was all high and mighty and whatnot, then turned into a sniveling schoolboy with a crush after just meeting the guy and it was just too much of a quick turnaround for me. Everyone knows how Jessi feels about romance to begin with, heh.

The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan
The Draconis Memoria #1
Published by Orbit (7.5.2016)
Genre: Adult, High Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 592 pages
Source: Library

Throughout the vast lands controlled by the Ironship Syndicate, nothing is more prized than the blood of drakes. Harvested from the veins of captive or hunted Reds, Green, Blues and Blacks, it can be distilled into elixirs that give fearsome powers to the rare men and women who have the ability harness them—known as the blood-blessed.

But not many know the truth: that the lines of drakes are weakening. If they fail, war with the neighboring Corvantine Empire will follow swiftly. The Syndicate’s last hope resides in whispers of the existence of another breed of drake, far more powerful than the rest, and the few who have been chosen by fate to seek it.

Claydon Torcreek is a petty thief and an unregistered blood-blessed, who finds himself pressed into service by the protectorate and sent to wild, uncharted territories in search of a creature he believes is little more than legend. Lizanne Lethridge is a formidable spy and assassin, facing gravest danger on an espionage mission deep into the heart of enemy territory. And Corrick Hilemore is the second lieutenant of an ironship, whose pursuit of ruthless brigands leads him to a far greater threat at the edge of the world.

As lives and empires clash and intertwine, as the unknown and the known collide, all three must fight to turn the tide of a coming war, or drown in its wake.

I gave this one a valiant effort, I really did. It sounded like a Jessi book, so I picked it up. The first chapter with the dragon was awesome! But then it got boring AF. I tried twice reading, then I even attempted listening to the audio. Which was equally boring. I really do think this would be a me book if I could just get into the darn thing, so maybe I’ll try again someday!

Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst
 Queens of Renthia #1
Published by Harper Voyager (9.20.2016)
Genre: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 368 pages
Source: I own it

An idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first book of a mesmerizing epic fantasy series, filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure

Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . .

But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.

With the position so precarious, young women are chosen to train as heirs. Daleina, a seemingly quiet academy student, is under no illusions as to her claim to the throne, but simply wants to right the wrongs that have befallen the land. Ven, a disgraced champion, has spent his exile secretly fighting against the growing number of spirit attacks. Joining forces, these daring partners embark on a treacherous quest to find the source of the spirits’ restlessness—a journey that will test their courage and trust, and force them to stand against both enemies and friends to save their land . . . before it’s bathed in blood.

I started this one on audio, and in the beginning I was actually quite enjoying it. But then when the main character got to the castle, things got really boring and I lost all interest in reading it. I’m not sure if I’ll try again to be honest.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
Published by Doubleday (9.13.2011)
Genre: Fantasy
Format: Hardcover, 391 pages
Source: I own it

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.

But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.

True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus performers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.

Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

I actually got quite a ways into this one, at least 100 pages. And I was just soooo not in the mood for it. It wasn’t doing it for me at all! It felt a lot like Caraval, which might have ruined it for me (I wish I’d read it first, stupid Caraval), but I just had zero interest in continuing so I gave up. I may try again some other time, who knows. I’ve actually tried it once before on audio, and I didn’t care for the narrator.

The Beautiful by Renee Ahdieh
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons (10.8.2019)
Genre: Historical Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: ARC, 448 pages
Source: I own it

In 1872, New Orleans is a city ruled by the dead. But to seventeen-year-old Celine Rousseau, New Orleans provides her a refuge after she’s forced to flee her life as a dressmaker in Paris. Taken in by the sisters of the Ursuline convent along with six other girls, Celine quickly becomes enamored with the vibrant city from the music to the food to the soirées and—especially—to the danger. She soon becomes embroiled in the city’s glitzy underworld, known as La Cour des Lions, after catching the eye of the group’s leader, the enigmatic Sébastien Saint Germain. When the body of one of the girls from the convent is found in the lair of La Cour des Lions, Celine battles her attraction to him and suspicions about Sébastien’s guilt along with the shame of her own horrible secret.

When more bodies are discovered, each crime more gruesome than the last, Celine and New Orleans become gripped by the terror of a serial killer on the loose—one Celine is sure has set her in his sights . . . and who may even be the young man who has stolen her heart. As the murders continue to go unsolved, Celine takes matters into her own hands and soon uncovers something even more shocking: an age-old feud from the darkest creatures of the underworld reveals a truth about Celine she always suspected simmered just beneath the surface.

It’s no secret that I hate Historical Fiction, but I was hoping that Renee’s prose would be enough to save the genre for me since I’ve loved her other books. Sadly, it was not. I made it 50 pages and was bored AF and had no desire to continue.

Books I wasn’t in the mood for

Here’s a few I picked up, only made it a handful of pages or a couple chapters, and just couldn’t get into.

Jessi (Geo)

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