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text 2017-08-24 03:57
Legion
Legion - Julie Kagawa

I'm quitting this series with this book. At the end of the last book, there was a cliffhanger that reminded me of the author's previous series. I decided if she pulled the same move, I would be done. It didn't take long into the book to confirm the exact same thing was happening, so I'm going to quit because I think I'll just be frustrated otherwise.

 

In case you want the specific reason:

this book had a love interest death fake-out. The last book ended with Ember's human boyfriend dying. This book began with him getting saved by getting a blood transfusion from a dragon, so he's perfectly fine and alive. It just made the end of the last book feel cheap. Plus Ember's relationship with him was the weakest element of the series for me, and I just don't feel like reading two more books of it.

(spoiler show)
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text 2017-07-21 04:08
DNF Rambling: The Law of Attraction
The Law of Attraction - N.M. Silber

The Law of Attraction
by N.M. Silber
Book 1 of Lawyers in Love

Rating:  DNF'd at 26% || No Rating

 

 

Once upon a time two lawyers fell in love across a courtroom...

Gabrielle Ginsberg was a public defender with plenty of nerve, and Braden Pierce was an assistant district attorney with a whole lot of swagger.  Gabrielle wanted Braden and Braden wanted Gabrielle.

And Cameron wanted Gabrielle.
And Marla wanted Braden.
And Cole wanted Gabrielle.
And Mrs. Mason wanted Braden.

And an anonymous letter writer wanted to keep Gabrielle and Braden apart.

Together Gabrielle and Braden discovered many important things, like which doors at the courthouse actually locked, and that desks could be useful for more than writing.  They also found out that the path of love was not always smooth, and it was sometimes tread upon by some really wacky people, like a confused fanny grabber, an eighty-two year old pothead, and a gentleman who threw a wine and cheese party in his pants.  Could true love overcome a lack of privacy, interference by jealous rivals, and the insanity of the criminal court system?



I really tried to make myself finish this book.  It's only 242 pages, a fairly bite-sized novel, which would have only taken me approximately 4 to 5 hours to complete.  Except that that would have been about 4 to 5 hours too long, and 200 pages too many.  I might have sighed and rolled my eyes a few times before finally throwing in the towel after giving the book another hour of reading time and still finding myself frustrated.  And to be totally honest, I have several other books I'm more interested in reading to waste anymore time on this one.

This book was just ridiculously tedious, boring, and overly juvenile.  For a bunch of up and coming, hotshot lawyers in their mid-to-late twenties, our main couple and their friends all behaved like a squealy gaggle of teenagers.  The squealy kind who sit around gushing about the new girlfriend or the new boyfriend.  I'm not trying to stereotype or anything, but to be totally honest, grown men don't talk to each other the way Braden, Mark, and Adam do; and neither do grown women, if we really want to be honest with ourselves.

When in the universe of ever has one bro commented to another bro, that third bro's new relationship of two days is "strangely adorable"?

And then, whenever Gabrielle talked about Braden, I kept picturing that one girl in high school who got all excited because her crush happened to walk by and say "hi" to her, or picked up her pencil and handed it back to her with a dimply smile.  She got so super gushy about the fact that she flirted with Braden... and "OMG!" he flirted back!

Maybe I'm just irritated, but this book just didn't do it for me, and pulling the DNF trigger will probably save it from getting a one star review in the long run.

I'll admit that the first chapter was pretty cute, with the silly court cases and Gabrielle's strange defensive arguments.  But after that, the book just started rolling downhill.  I just couldn't make myself continue on.  I couldn't get past the squealiness of it all.  And while this might seem a bit over-extreme, I couldn't get past Gabrielle's use of the word 'tummy,' three times within one chapter, to describe her state of nervousness around Braden.

And even if I could have gotten past the squealiness, I'm not sure I could have unburied myself from all the details.  All the painstakingly, unnecessary details of every part of a first date conversation that sounded awfully similar to a character biography description.  All the tedious, overly wordy details about every action and every back story and every little step of Gabrielle's day.  All the extra, tangential details to describe the very mundane, banal evening of a date and a subsequent group get together, none of which was even remotely interesting.

Then there was the boob scene.  The boob scene?!  I swear, I might have seen that scene in a high school flick or something, it was so juvenile.  "Could you just show me your boobies before the guys get here?  Please?  And let me touch them?"  Well, he didn't actually say those words in the book, but he might have done so in my head with the way the scene was written.

Anyway...

Maybe this book is just not my cuppa, and maybe I'm just a bit far removed from my mid-to-late twenties.  Except... that I have read books about characters in their mid-to-late twenties, and they don't act like this.  In fact, I've read books about teenagers who don't act like this.

Finally, the book tries really hard to be witty and cute.  It's not really, but points for effort, I guess.

Maybe this book gets better.  Maybe it gets worse.  Some other reviews I happened to skim mentions that the second half loses appeal.  I'm not sticking around to find out.  I've got other books I'd rather be reading.

My first DNF of the year 2017.  I don't like to DNF, but sometimes it just has to happen.


***

 

Free Friday #5:

Page Count:  DNF'd at 26% (approx. 63 pages)
Cash Award:  +$2.00

Updated Bank Balance:  $221.00

 

 

 

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2017/07/dnf-rambling-law-of-attraction.html
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review 2017-02-18 08:00
Review: King's Cage (Red Queen #3) by Victoria Aveyard
King's Cage (Red Queen) - Victoria Aveyard

Quick review for a not so quick read. Short version: This book was a hot mess. I'm basically ending my journey with the series here because of how things were (mis)handled through the narrative. Read on for details.

 

Yeah, I'm a fair shade of vexed, might as well get the hot air out of me before I dive into the bulk of my review. I feel like I just wasted a day and a half's-worth of reading time just to do, what - power through close to 500 pages of filler? Anti-climatic self-indulgent character tokenism with incomplete scenes that seemed to jump willy nilly? Vital scenes that could've been interesting to watch/see/experience are skipped while others about bland place details or character self-loathing go on for page after page? Side characters, who have interesting motivations on their own, keep marching to the chain of centering on the heroine while their own stories and revelations get shafted?

 

I just...can't, man. Argggggh.

 

Okay...hot air gut reaction released. Now into the reasons why I'm so thoroughly vexed at the journey of this book. I'll put this in list form just to make it easier to digest.

 

WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD!!![

 

 

1. Poor pacing which is both anti-climatic and over focused on details that don't matter in the scheme of the story. This book could've easily been shaved about 200-250 pages. I'm not kidding. The story summary of "King's Cage" summed up in a nutshell has Mare being held captive by Maven, wallowing around in her own misery for a good 200 some pages while waiting either to be rescued or for some political conflict she witnesses to give her an opportunity to act like a badass and escape. (Though many times she's like "What's the point? I'm just gonna get captured anyway. Can't use my power. They're all too powerful, blah blah.") And then after said revolt comes into play, she has a momentarily happy reunion with Cal, some time with the family, jumps back into the fray of conflict, leaving less than 15% of the book to put in some key scenes of conflict. Much of the narrative felt like wasted space and time.

 

Granted, I'll give credit for a few scenes that furthered the political rift between the Reds and Silvers. I can name them on three fingers really:

 

Mare being marched like a puppet and causing doubt among the Scarlet Guard in their respective role for things - but we've seen this before.

 

Mare witnessing the union of Maven and his new bride to be a show of power and prominence. (including an awkward bath scene for sexual tension when Maven and Mare have a conversation about said pending union).

 

And lastly: Mare and Cal having to deal with the aftermath of a key battle that didn't go according to plan.

 

But even then, considering how much time it takes to get to these key points, was it really worth wading through about 500 pages just to get to those points? (Answer: nope, nope, noppity, nope, nope.)

 

2. Misuse of multiple POVs: This could be contentious because, for what it's worth, I liked reading Evangeline and Cameron's perspectives and I wanted more of a deeper experience with their roles in the story. Definitely not when they were essentially tooting Mare's horn, leaving less room to dig into their own motivations and contentions within the overarching conflict (and it's pretty bad when you feel like one of the characters highlighted basically has her sexual identity shoehorned into the story just to add conflict and not for the time and connection that it truly deserved. Same with another character whose sexual identity really didn't have a lot of time to expand or develop, these are things that happened off scene and left me wondering "Wait, where the heck was I when this happened?" )

 

That served to piss me off on several occasions. Dude, when you have multiple POVs, it's to get into the heads and motivations of the characters you're writing about specifically, not toot the horn of the main character. Mare has her own space for that. It doesn't need to be spelled out. I get that Cameron has a like/hate relationship with Mare, she doesn't have to tell me this. I get that Evangeline reluctantly has to call a truce with Mare because she has her own reasons for acting the way she does, that can be shown as well. I get there's a purpose to their POVs in the novel, but the way they were done just felt...very fillerish and empty. Definitely not what they deserved through the whole of this narrative.

 

3. Mare. Yes, Mare still continues to be the Achilles' heel of this series. This is unfortunate because for a while, I was willing to follow her journey even with how insufferable she was through the last two books. It was hard to care, but at least I still cared enough to continue.

 

At least until this book. It showed me just how this series badly wants to paint her as a badass, TCO character only to actually portray her as being very passive and a product of the plot points this series pushes her through. This is said even knowing that the experiences she's going through are supposed to be traumatizing and noting the PTSD that she suffers towards the end of the novel. I didn't feel convinced by how this was framed because other dystopian/fantasy novels have done it with much better conviction and connection and didn't drag their heels while doing so. When her powers return, basically she has moments of returning to her self worth, but in the end it's dampened by her self-centeredness yet again. Which leads me to:

 

4. The climax/the ending. Oh heck no to all of it. I honestly think if the pacing and characterizations were more solid, this could've not led into another book. That may be up for debate in itself, but there were two things about the last 15% of the book that upset me. From the scheme of events, Cal and Mare are training for a battle against Maven and his respective forces. Okay. (Even if some scenes feel like they're lifted too closely from The Hunger Games or Divergent.)

 

They get into that respective battle and fight with a few harrowing scenes to match (never mind that none of the extra characters here are relevant other than passing mention. There's even a point where Mare says she doesn't remember a character, and I'm like "What goes with the main character mind, goes with the reader" so whenever Mare says she's bored or doesn't remember someone, how would one expect the reader to feel?)

 

I was thrown from the story towards the very end because a key scene felt like it was missing between the battleground and the direct aftermath (which switches to Evangeline's perspective). I couldn't get past how it just took that leap and the climax/promise of that scene just felt relatively unfulfilled. Maven escapes their grasp, but...you barely get to feel that sense of defeat or frustration from the main characters involved because of the change in POV and how it just sums up events.

 

The second point of frustration: Mare's selfishness creeps up again in the epilogue, leading to the next book for obvious *drama*. "Choose me or your kingdom, Cal!" essentially is what it boils down to without rehashing the whole of the exchange. Never mind all of the political tensions the book has established up to this point. Never mind that Mare knows very well what's at stake and is like "I don't care."

(spoiler show)

 

 

At that final point, to the effect of seeing this series through to the end? My reaction was much the same:

 

description

 

So I think I'll wait to see what other series Aveyard writes because this one's lost me. And that's unfortunate really, because there's so much potential in the ideas this series has, but the execution isn't there. Not at all.

 

Overall score: 1.5/5 stars.

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text 2016-07-11 13:23
DNF Trigger Pulled: When Day Breaks
When Day Breaks - Maya Banks

When Day Breaks

by Maya Banks
Book 9 of KGI

Rating:  DNF -- No rating
Progress:  159 of 296 pages (54% read)


I really wanted to finish this book--just as much as I wanted to enjoy this book.  But I guess sometimes you need to learn to cut your losses and move on.

Maya Banks' KGI series has been quite enjoyable since the beginning.  Having loved the first three books and continuing to like the next couple books, I found a guilty pleasure read in following the warm and amusing Kelly family as each story progressed.  After all, these were fairly standard romantic suspense books with enough feels and enough whatever-else that made me really like them.

To be totally honest, I want to say that KGI started going down hill about two books ago (possibly earlier, but I hadn't really noticed until Forged In Steele).  Before then, we were still getting a good balance of action and suspense with the romance.  Sure, the dialogue started getting a bit smaltzy.  Sure, actions and conversations became very mushy.  But there was enough action to keep things exciting.

About two books ago, Forged In Steele began giving us full out mush.  There was just SO.  MUCH.  DIALOGUE.  It was hard to keep from rolling my eyes, or even taking the book seriously when our main couple started breaking out two pages worth of flowery love declarations that spanned eons of "meant to be" announcements in essay format.  I may have never been in a romantic relationship before myself, but people just don't talk like that--all poetic and repetitive and dramatic.

The next KGI book didn't fare any better either.  Wanna know what I liked and disliked?  Here's my review for After the Storm.


The Story in Brief:
When Day Breaks had a promising premise, even if not quite unique.  I'm always a fan of bodyguard story lines, and much like every other KGI fan out there, have been curious about the type of story that Swanny was going to be featured in.

Eden Sinclair is a top supermodel, touted as "the world's most beautiful woman."  Daryl "Swanny" Swanson is a current KGI operative, scarred inside and out from his captivity that he almost didn't survive.  Eden needs a top-notch security team to keep her safe, as her father requests.  During his military years working in black ops, a mission went FUBAR, subsequently putting a crime lord and his son on Daddy Sinclair's tail--his wife was killed, and now Eden is in danger.

And so KGI is called in to babysit.


My Rant:
What really bugged me about this book was pretty much everything since the first few pages.  How I even managed to make it so far was purely stubborn will to finish the book; after all, I have a special square on my COYER bingo card I'd been planning to insert When Day Breaks into.  And also, I wanted to persevere for Rusty's sake--I've always liked this particular character and would love to see what kind of story Banks will come up for her... but I'm afraid that's not going to happen now.  And with the way the books have been, I'm not even sure I want to know what will become of Rusty's story.

I was already leery of When Day Breaks upon the first description of Eden by her father.  And I agree with a lot of other reviewers out there that this book seems to be taking many, many pains to make sure people know that Eden isn't the stereotypical supermodel: that she's sweet and innocent and lovey and nice and she's pretty much a saint rather than a human being.  She walks into a room and sunshine and magic happens.  She is Mary Sue times ten, except for the fact that she's so malleable it's kind of sad.

Her father and brothers tell her to "just go with" their plans and not ask questions.  So she does.  They change her security detail from two guards to five, they hustle her off to bed and force her to take pain pills to help her sleep, they talk in cryptic sentences and hushed whispers around her.  They pretty much act out of character, as far as she knows, and she even suspects that there's something going on.  And so she asks one question, "What aren't you telling me?"  And when the answer is, "Nothing.  We're not keeping any secrets from you."  She's all "Oh, okay," and happily goes on her way.

The security detail from KGI is also a big joke as well.  I've seen a one man crew in other books set up better security than this entire team.  For one, they have her staying in a two bedroom suite with only one guard.  The rest of the team are staying in different hotel rooms.  That is three different rooms that they have to clear before going inside--that is a LOT of ground to cover, considering the kind of danger that's supposed to be lurking in the shadows out to take Eden's life.

At one point in the book, the KGI team rushes Eden back to the hotel after an entire morning and afternoon of modeling work.  So they have been away from the hotel an entire morning and afternoon.  And what does Swanny do?  He hustles Eden into her room and then LEAVES HER ALONE IN THERE, so he can rush off and have a quick meeting with his team.  Because the guy has sex on his brain and wants to get this meeting done and over with so he can get back to Eden as quickly as possible.  In the meantime, he just tells her to take a shower and get dressed for bed.

What kind of security firm leaves their client ALONE in a two bedroom suite without first clearing it and making sure some killer isn't lurking in the shadows?  This reeks of poor outlining.  No matter that the meeting was a brief one right next door, ANYTHING can happen in only a few seconds time--it doesn't take long for an intruder to take Eden and run off... or to slit her throat while she's showering.


But anyway, that's only the tip of what bothered me about this book.  The romance bugged me the most.  But the fact that the entire first half of the book is about nothing, but the romance kind of bugs me.  It's like, we've completely forgotten why KGI is even on this babysitting mission in the first case.  I've seen other bodyguard stories wherein the guard will balk at the idea of their client being in a place with a large crowd--because crowds make for a harder security detail to set up.  But no one in the entire KGI team even questions the fact that Eden needs to be at two different fancy dinner soirees where she'll be surrounded by people--people that KGI won't be able to keep tabs on during the night.

Let's face it, this book was mainly created to give Swanny a soul mate, and damn the rest of the book and logic.

Meanwhile, when the couple finally does have sex, it takes a whole chapter of dialogue between Swanny and Eden about how they both don't feel like they're good enough for the other, or how they're both equally afraid of being hurt, and how they view each other as "the most beautiful person" in the world, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah... This went on for a whole chapter and then some!  Maybe.  I had to skip a few pages because I got tired of reading Swanny's inner dialogue about how he can't believe that Eden would want him, out of all the men she knew.  This particular mind ramble went on for two chapters at random, and still continued on after the two of them start having sex.

And even after Eden assures him that he's beautiful to her, he still continues to rehash the same inner dialogue about his scars and how it makes him ugly.  Blah, blah, blah...

And then continued to go on repeat.

And then halfway through sex, Swanny is still able to wax poetic for an entire paragraph or two about how he still doesn't believe he's good enough for Eden, how she's so beautiful, how he'll never hurt her, how he doesn't want to be just a distraction, and blah, blah, blah some more...  And then I skipped the rest of the sex scene to the next morning when Eden needed to leave for her next shoot.

I finally had a conversation about the book with my BFF, and we both wondered why I was even still reading the darn thing.  I read some other reviews to find that the rest of the book doesn't get any better--more stupid security goof-ups that would be unacceptable for an organization as powerful and strict as the KGI teams claim to be; more flowery prose declaring love and the like.

This kind of stuff really jars you out of the story and leaves you wondering whether you should be frustrated, amused, or resigned.

I'm definitely done with this book.  And I'm probable done with KGI.

 

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/07/dnf-trigger-pulled-when-day-breaks.html
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review 2016-04-17 19:07
THE READING Book 21: Silent Night (Stanley Weintraub)
Silent Night: The Remarkable Christmas Truce of 1914 - Stanley Weintraub
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