Books I Didn’t Finish: April 2020 (the slump continues)

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on May 8, 2020 | 0 Comments

Oath Taker by Audrey Grey
Series: Kingdom of Runes #1
Published by Starfall Press (5.23.2019)
Genres: High Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: eBook, 317 pages
Source: I own it

Light magic is forbidden.
Dark magic spells death.
Haven has both.

After the Prince of Penryth saved her from captivity, seventeen-year-old Haven Ashwood spends her days protecting the kind prince and her nights secretly fighting the monsters outside the castle walls. 

When one of those monsters kidnaps Prince Bell, Haven must ally with Archeron Halfbane and his band of immortals to rescue her friend. 

Her quest takes her deep into the domain of a warped and vicious queen where the rules are simple: break her curse or die.

Lost in a land of twisted magic and fabled creatures, Haven finds herself unprepared, not just for the feelings she develops for Archeron, but for the warring powers raging inside her. 

Her rare and forbidden type of magic may be their only hope . . . but mixing light and dark comes with a steep price. 

Haven’s soul.

Faced with impossible love, heartbreaking betrayals, and a queen intent on destroying the realm, only one thing remains certain. 

Haven must shatter the curse or it will devour everything she loves. 

DNF @ 50%

I wanted SO badly to love this one. (I’m sorry Nicole!! *cries*) In the beginning, I was really enjoying it, too. I don’t know what happened!! I was intrigued by the world, especially the Noctis vs. Solis and the magic system.

But, the farther I went, the less I enjoyed it, and the more certain things started really grating on my nerves. First, it feels like a Throne of Glass rip-off. The overall feel of the world and magic, as well as the main character – it’s like Aelin all over again *rolls eyes* I hatedHaven. At first, she seemed cool. But she was WAY too cocky about things, immature, and overly badass without having any redeeming qualities to make me want to root for her. Her entire persona is just ‘badass.’ But not the cool kind of badass, just the annoying kind. There’s confident…and then there’s cocky. And only one of those is something to be admired. She definitely crossed that line. The funny thing is, she was constantly getting her ass whooped, despite all the crowing and swaggering about how badass she was.

Despite hating Haven, the side characters were pretty cool. Acheron was kind of intriguing, although he just felt like a typical Sexy Alpha Male (*coughs* SJM style) so he didn’t have much depth. I was intrigued by the Shade Lord guy, but he was only in a few scenes. Most importantly, though: I loooved Surai!! She was awesome! If she’d been the main character, I’d have been all about this book. I’d 10/10 read a spin-off of Surai and Rook (who just happens to turn into a big cat and that has absolutely nothing to do with why Jessi would want a spin-off heh)

In addition to feeling generic – like something I’ve already read a thousand times before – I wasn’t a fan of the writing style, either. It felt sophomoric. Not to mention I was getting extremely irritated at constantly being TOLD things. I wanted to chuck the kindle across the room after the 29348th “something is wrong.” OKAY I GET IT, something doesn’t feel right, can you please stop freaking TELLING me that and let me figure it out for myself based off of the fact that something is obviously wrong?! Yet you still feel the need to point it out verbally, really?? This is one of my pet peeves!!

Mortal Danger by Ann Aguirre
Series: Immortal Game #1
Published by Feiwel & Friends (8.5.2014)
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 384 pages
Source: I own it

Revenge is a dish best served cold.

Edie Kramer has a score to settle with the beautiful people at Blackbriar Academy. Their cruelty drove her to the brink of despair, and four months ago, she couldn’t imagine being strong enough to face her senior year. But thanks to a Faustian compact with the enigmatic Kian, she has the power to make the bullies pay. She’s not supposed to think about Kian once the deal is done, but devastating pain burns behind his unearthly beauty, and he’s impossible to forget.

In one short summer, her entire life changes, and she sweeps through Blackbriar, prepped to take the beautiful people down from the inside. A whisper here, a look there, and suddenly… bad things are happening. It’s a heady rush, seeing her tormentors get what they deserve, but things that seem too good to be true usually are, and soon, the pranks and payback turns from delicious to deadly. Edie is alone in a world teeming with secrets and fiends lurking in the shadows. In this murky morass of devil’s bargains, she isn’t sure who—or what—she can trust. Not even her own mind…

DNF @ 50 pages

Yeahhh, this is a solid not for me. I don’t know what I was expecting, but this book is so not what I thought it was. I’m not into the ‘super hot boy is immediately interested in “ugly, ordinary” girl who magically turns skinny and gorgeous and super speshul.’ No thanks. Everything feels super cliche and I’m not enjoying it at all, time to move on.

Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Series: Kate Daniels #1
Published by Ace (3.27.2017)
Genres: Adult, Urban Fantasy
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 261 pages
Source: I own it

The world has suffered a magic apocalypse. We pushed the technological progress too far, and now magic returned with a vengeance. It comes in waves, without warning, and vanishes as suddenly as it appears. When magic is up, planes drop out of the sky, cars stall, electricity dies. When magic is down, guns work and spells fail.

Atlanta would be a nice place to live, if it weren’t for magic… One moment magic dominates, and cars stall and guns fail. The next, technology takes over and the defensive spells no longer protect your house from monsters. Here skyscrapers topple under onslaught of magic; werebears and werehyenas prowl through the ruined streets; and the Masters of the Dead, necromancers driven by their thirst of knowledge and wealth, pilot blood-crazed vampires with their minds. In this world lives Kate Daniels. Kate likes her sword a little too much and has a hard time controlling her mouth. The magic in her blood makes her a target, and she spent most of her life hiding in plain sight. But when Kate’s guardian is murdered, she must choose to do nothing and remain safe or to pursue his preternatural killer. Hiding is easy, but the right choice is rarely easy…

DNF @ 75 pages

I think maybe Adult UF is just not for me anymore. I used to love it, but I’ve since grown out of that interest. Or maybe this book was just not the right book for me.

I couldn’t get into this at ALL. I didn’t care. About anything. Not the MC, not the world, not the paranormal creatures….the ONLY thing that sparked an iota of interest in me was Curran, the werelion/Lord of Beasts. But sadly, he wasn’t enough inspiration to continue.

The world building is honestly shoddy. I had no grasp of the world or its hierarchy of paranormals, and ZERO grasp whatsoever of the magic system. So, magic and technology can’t work at the same time? One goes out while the other is working and vice/versa? How often does this happen, why does this happen, what makes it work?? No clue. Nothing is explained. You’re just thrown into the world. There’s also a lot of talk of agencies and things with capital letters that are clearly important but NOT EXPLAINED AT ALL. Like what/who is People?? It was obviously important and was mentioned repeatedly, but just thrown in the sentence and never explained. Is it the general public? Non-magic? Who knows.

I didn’t like the main character, either. She grated on my nerves and I can’t quite put my finger on why. On the surface she seemed badass, but I guess it just felt like she was trying too hard? Too cocky, too devil-may-care, too confident. Give me some flaws for crying out loud.

I’ve heard that this series gets better after the first book, but I just didn’t care enough to continue. I doubt I’ll ever try again.

The Martian by Andy Weir
Series: The Martian #1
Published by Crown (9.27.2012)
Genres: Adult, Science Fiction
Format: eBook, 369 pages
Source: Library

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars.

Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.

After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded and completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive.

Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment, or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first.

But Mark isn’t ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills — and a relentless, dogged refusal to quit — he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?

DNF @ 100 pages

Why can’t I just like the stuff that everyone else does? Literally every single person on my friends list that’s read this gave it at least 4 stars. The reviews for this book are INSANE. Average 4.40 rating, which is stupid high for as many ratings as this book has. Read: basically everyone but me loved this book.

Trust me, no one is more disappointed than I am. It started off strong! I was intrigued, and looking forward to finding out how Mark would survive. However, the farther along this book went, the more the writing style grated on my nerves. I usually enjoy a nerdy POV, but Mark’s voice was dorky to the point of being immature. It’s hard to take a life-or-death situation seriously when he’s constantly saying things like “yay!” or “bwa ha ha!” and many other ridiculous things and stupid puns that just completely ruin the gravity of the situation he’s in. I assume it was an attempt at making Mark seem plucky and witty, but it just did NOT work for me. And it only got more and more irritating the more I read. Also, I usually love sarcasm, but I would have appreciated his sarcasm a lot more if he hadn’t felt the need to point out that it was, in fact, sarcasm.

Yeah. This all sounds like a great idea with no chance of catastrophic failure.
That was sarcasm, by the way.

I don’t appreciate when books explain things that don’t need explained, it feels like an assumption that their readers are stupid. We can deduce simple things on our own, thank you very much.

The solar cell array was covered in sand, rendering it useless (hint: solar cells need sunlight to make electricity).

NAW, really?! They DO?! Who’da thunkit. Stuff like that just pisses me off and rips me out of the story. What’s worse, this book is full of scientific jargon that will go over the heads of many people (unless you’re a chemist or engineer, or currently in the process of studying these things – normal people aren’t going to know the details of in-depth chemical processes) yet he needs to explain how a fucking solar cell works? Give me a break.

Speaking of the scientific jargon – I don’t consider myself a stupid person. I’m fairly well read, and I did great in math and chemistry in high school. Haven’t studied them since, so obviously I’m a little rusty. But the parts where he was droning on and on and ON AND ON AND ON about math equations, chemical reactions, and the making of H2O was honestly making my eyes glaze over and I found myself bored and distracted. It was a bit TOO in depth for me, and I don’t feel like reading a textbook, sorry. I appreciated the science aspect, and how much technicality went into it, but it just made me bored out of my mind.

I lasted 100 pages before I started skimming and just decided it wasn’t worth it to continue. I skipped to the end and was unimpressed.

Here’s a couple of other reviews that explained my issues even better:
Davy-Gravy gives a good explanation of the overall issues I had
Althea Ann has a great representation of how irritating the prose was
Carmen reiterates how boring the book was

The ‘M’ book crisis

Okay, so the requirement for Herbology class for the Magical Readathon was to read a book that started with the letter M. That doesn’t sound too hard, does it?! BUT. After DNFing the three M books above, I started getting worried. There weren’t many other books on my list that sounded interesting at the time. I even made a post on one of my bookish groups asking for recommendations! Here’s a look at the books I downloaded:

  • M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman
  • Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • Morrigan’s Cross by Nora Roberts
  • The Midnight Thief by Livia Blackburne
  • The Merciless by Danielle Vega
  • Menagerie by Rachel Vincent
  • Minders by Michele Jaffe
  • Mort by Terry Pratchett

I downloaded all of these from my library, hoping that something would catch my attention. I think my slump is just kicking my arse, honestly. I will say that Mists of Avalon did intrigue me, so I want to try again on that one soon!

Jessi (Geo)

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