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DNF Reviews

Thursday, July 3, 2014
Afterlife #1, by Terri Bruce

Genre: Fantasy   Paperback: 369 Pages
Publication: January 20, 2014 by Mictlan Press

Why let a little thing like dying get in the way of a good time?

Thirty-six-year-old Irene Dunphy didn't plan on dying any time soon, but that’s exactly what happens when she makes the mistake of getting behind the wheel after a night bar-hopping with friends. She finds herself stranded on earth as a ghost, where the food has no taste, the alcohol doesn’t get you drunk, and the sex...well, let’s just say “don’t bother.” To make matters worse, the only person who can see her—courtesy of a book he found in his school library—is a fourteen-year-old boy genius obsessed with the afterlife.

Unfortunately, what waits in the Great Beyond isn’t much better. Stuck between the boring life of a ghost in this world and the terrifying prospect of three-headed hell hounds, final judgment, and eternal torment in the next, Irene sets out to find a third option—preferably one that involves not being dead anymore. Can she wipe the slate clean and get a second chance before it’s too late?

Hereafter has an interesting premise. I especially like how the only person who can see Irene is a younger guy, not a hot, mysterious guy she finds herself drawn to.  However, the story and characters fell flat for me. Irene was an especially annoying character because of the way she'll jump to conclusions and order people around. It might have been easier to relate to her had there been more internal dialogue; as it is, however, I wasn't able to connect with her. It would also have been nicer to have a more cohesive storyline with events taking place in an order that makes sense instead of skipping around. Also, the dialogue didn't flow well. Overall, it was getting tedious reading this,  though some may find it an enjoyable read to whittle away at an afternoon.

DNF 25% into the novel - story fell flat overall

Content: drinking

A copy was provided by Mictlan Press for review

Shadow Hand
Tales of Goldstone Wood #6, by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Genre: Fantasy   Paperback: 416 Pages
Publication: March 4, 2014 by Bethany House Publishers

By her father's wish, Lady Daylily is betrothed to the Prince of Southlands. Not the prince she loves, handsome and dispossessed Lionheart, but his cousin, the awkward and foolish Prince Foxbrush. Unable to bear the future she sees as her wedding day dawns, Daylily flees into the dangerous Wilderlands, her only desire to vanish from living memory.

But Foxbrush, determined to rescue his betrothed, pursues Daylily into a new world of magic and peril, a world where vicious Faerie beasts hold sway, a world invaded by a lethal fey parasite . . . .

A world that is hauntingly familiar.

I couldn't get into the world or connect with the characters. A lot has to do with a lack of world building and internal dialogue. Overall, the writing just didn't work for me.

DNF 9% into the novel - no interest in reading further

Content: N/A

A copy was provided by Bethany for review

Silver Blackthorn #1, by Kerry Wilkinson

Genre: Dystopian, Science Fiction   Hardback: 368 Pages
Publication: July 1, 2014 by St. Martin's Griffin

One girl. One chance. One destiny.

In the village of Martindale, hundreds of miles north of the new English capital of Windsor, sixteen-year-old Silver Blackthorn takes the Reckoning. This coming-of- age test not only decides her place in society – Elite, Member, Inter or Trog – but also determines that Silver is to become an Offering for King Victor. But these are uncertain times and no one really knows what happens to the teenagers who disappear into Windsor Castle. Is being an Offering the privilege everyone assumes it to be, or do the walls of the castle have something to hide? Trapped in a maze of ancient corridors, Silver finds herself in a warped world of suspicion where it is difficult to know who to trust and who to fear. The one thing Silver does know is that she must find a way out . . .

While the concept is not entirely new with so many dystopian novels out there, the English setting was promising. However, the story and Silver's character fell flat for me. Things seem to unravel too conveniently for Silver. She knows exactly what will happen and what to do (at least, in the first part of the novel), and her thoughts weren't interesting. Furthermore, she doesn't bother to explain certain things, leaving it to the reader to figure them out. For example, her relationship with Opie, which seems to be more than friends. I ended up skimming much of the first 10% of the novel in search of something that would pique my interest, but nothing really did. When Silver's place as an Offering was announced about 14% into the novel and she announced out of the blue that she figured it would happen, I decided it was time to stop reading.

DNF 14% into the novel

Content: violence

A copy was provided by St. Martin's Press for review

The Furies
by Mark Alpert

Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller   Hardback: 320 Pages
Publication: April 22, 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books

For centuries, the Furies have lived among us. Long ago they were called witches and massacred by the thousands. But they’re human just like us, except for a rare genetic mutation that they’ve hidden from the rest of the world for hundreds of years.

Now, a chance encounter with a beautiful woman named Ariel has led John Rogers into the middle of a secret war among the Furies. Ariel needs John’s help in the battle between a rebellious faction of the clan and their elders. The grand prize in this war is a chance to remake the human race.

There are things to like and dislike about The Furies. It maintains a pretty fine balance that makes it a readable book though there wasn't any wow factor for me. In the end, the negatives accumulated enough that I ended up dnfing the novel at 68%.

I like how the story focuses on a protagonist that is dragged into a war he is poorly equipped to participate in, and the action scenes are fun to read. Also, the gene mutations make this novel similar to an urban fantasy read with more scientific elements. What I wasn't expecting was multiple narrators. While it fleshes out the plot by giving insight into other activities going on in the story, I also feel like it takes away from character development, for the POV switches so often that we never really get to know any of the narrators. The lack of internal dialogue and reasoning for character motivation didn't help. Furthermore, though the story takes the time to detail setting, it feels remote from the story and didn't fully build the scene in my mind.

DNF 68% into the novel - accumulated negatives made for a tedious read

Content: N/A

A copy was provided by Macmillan for review

Star Pirate's Justice
Legends of the Seven Galaxies #2, by S.E. Gilchrist

Genre: science fiction   Paperback: 416 Pages
Publication: February 1, 2014 by Escape Publishing

Carly has one focus in her life: to return home to her terminally ill younger sister. When she learns that a Darkon traitor possesses gateway maps to Earth, she uses all her skills to track him down. But capturing the charming star pirate turns out to be trickier than she anticipated…

Volkar is determined to prove his innocence to those who drove him to a life lived on the Outer Rim, and he will overcome anyone who gets in his way. But his surprisingly sweet captor has some skills that will come in handy, so he strikes a deal: the maps for her help. Neither expect their partnership to turn into more, but as dark secrets are revealed, their lives become forfeit — and the relationship blossoming between them nothing but a starburst of happiness in the deep shadow of the sky…

The storyline is hard to follow. The dialogue is stilted. The narrative tends to jump around. For example, Carly and Volkar will have a conversation in which they seem to loathe each other only to later admit that they were hot for the other.

DNF 10% into the novel

Content: N/A

A copy was provided by Harlequin Enterprises Australia for review

6 comments on "DNF Reviews"
  1. Oh, I do so dislike DNFing books. But it happens, you know? Especially with as many books as we do. I'm taking a couple off my list, which is helpful!

  2. Yeah... There are only so many books you can read in your life. I try to spend my time reading ones that I really love.

  3. Oh man there is some major DNFing going on here. You aren't scared to totally let em go! I wish I could be more open to giving up!

    1. It's a hard struggle. From experience though, I can usually tell when I need to stop reading a book. There are so many books out there and so little time, I started DNFing to be able to give other books a chance.


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