Tag Archive | DNF

Review: Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts

blue smoke -nora robertsReena Hale grew up with an intimate knowledge of the destructive power of fire. When she was a child, her family’s restaurant was burned to the ground, and the man responsible was sent to jail. The Hale family banded together to rebuild, and Reena found her life’s calling.She trained as a firefighter and then as a cop, always with the end goal in sight: to become an arson investigator.

Now, as part of the arson unit, she is called in on a series of suspicious fires that seem to be connected-not just to each other, but to her. And as danger ignites all around her, Reena must rely on experience and instinct to catch a dangerous madman who will not stop until everything she loves has gone up in smoke.

1 Drink Me Potion

DNF’d at ~25%

I was itching for a good mystery with a sprinkling of romance, and I thought, Hey I really adored some of Nora Robert’s mysteries before. Let’s give another one a try. Unfortunately, Blue Smoke may have sounded interesting in the synopsis but it’s really such a bore to get through.

The synopsis states in a concise manner how our protagonist Reena first encountered a fire and thus, set her on the path in becoming an arson investigator. But oh no! The prologue in this novel isn’t like, one chapter long like you may think. It stays in the good ol’ past for several chapters when Reena was 11. And then, when there’s finally a flash forward (thank heavens!), it only moves 7 years to when she’s 18 and in college and experimenting with things.

The pacing is way too slow in my opinion. Yes, the mystery and the fires revolving around her start in her past but I swear Roberts could have written it in a more concise manner. Descriptions of everything , from the food laid out (’cause they’re Italian so there’s gotta be a lot of food) to wedding decorations and planning, it just gets overwhelming. Not to mention, the names of different people coming in and out of the story in just the first several chapters.

Honestly, I think this plot had a lot going for it, but I just can’t make myself go through 20 more years of Reena’s life in this slow cadence of things. I hate giving up on books, but this one really deserves my DNF shelf.

And by the way, I could already tell who the culprit of all these mysterious fires was even from where I stopped.

Overall Recommendation:
With plenty of intrigue that has become one of Nora Roberts’ signatures, Blue Smoke seemed to have a lot of potential. However, with the slow progression in plot, moving in increments by the years through Reena’s life since she was a child, I just couldn’t make myself follow along with the intensity I wanted. It just became so boring, especially with the ridiculously in-depth descriptions of the tiniest details. I’m a little disappointed as I’ve loved some of her mysteries in the past, but if you’re okay with a slow pace and detailed paragraphs, then this might be an okay book for you. As for me? Hasta la vista.

Review: It Wasn’t Always Like This by Joy Preble

it wasn't always like this -joy prebleIn 1916, Emma O’Neill is frozen in time. After sampling an experimental polio vaccine brewed on a remote island off St. Augustine, Florida, she and her family stop aging—as do the Ryans, her family’s business partners. In a way, this suits Emma fine because she’s in love with Charlie Ryan. Being seventeen forever with him is a dream. But soon a group of religious fanatics, the Church of Light, takes note. Drinking the elixir has made the O’Neills and Ryans impervious to aging, but not to murder—Emma and Charlie are the only ones who escape with their lives.

On the run, Emma is tragically separated from Charlie. For the next hundred years, she plays a cat-and-mouse game with the founding members of the Church of Light and their descendants. Over the years, a series of murders—whose victims all bear more than a passing resemblance to her—indicate that her enemies are closing in. Yet as the danger grows, so does Emma’s hope for finding the boy she’s certain is still out there . . .

1.5 Drink Me Potions

**It Wasn’t Always Like This comes out May 17, 2016**

Thank you Edelweiss and Soho Press for this copy in exchange for an honest review

DNF’d at 58%

I honestly thought I would enjoy this book. At first, I thought my discontent was from the writing style. This is my first book from Joy Preble, although I was very intrigued with her previous novel, Finding Paris. I laid that aside and just kept going.

I thought it’d be more romantic. Two protagonists who loved each other. No matter how long their separation was (like, seriously a 100 years?), they’d somehow find their way back to each other and try to get rid of the threat from some lunatic religious organization hell-bent on destroying them, unperturbed by killing other innocents whom they’d mistaken for her.

Unfortunately, it just fell flat. The boy never really makes an appearance in her life for the most of the story that I reached. Just the occasional flashback of what happened in their lives that changed everything (i.e. how they practically became immortal). He wasn’t physically present in her current and modern life. Kinda hard to appreciate that aspect of the story if he was all but just a fond memory.

I told myself to keep on reading. It’ll just get better, ya know? Right? But once I stopped for a break (at 58%), I just couldn’t continue and pick it up again. I was just so tired of the constant fear from some crazed church group who could be hiding in plain sight and re-branded from their original name. So with huge regret, I’m sorry to say that It Wasn’t Always Like This just didn’t end up working for me. I gave it my best shot.

I just hope that at the end of it, they find each other and get their second chance, after everything.

Overall Recommendation:
Well, I couldn’t really finish this book, stopping at 58%. However, it could’ve just been something that personally didn’t click with me. There was suspense from being chased by religious fanatics – who were also killers, by the way. The romance didn’t work for me because, well, they hadn’t seen each other in like 100 years. It’s not that I hated this novel, but I just couldn’t bring myself to finishing it, try as I may. Maybe it’d be a better read for others.

Review: Eyes on You by Kate White

eyes on you -kate whiteA rising media star must battle a diabolical enemy in this riveting tale of psychological suspense from Kate White, the New York Times bestselling author of The Sixes and Hush.

After a painful divorce and losing her on-air job two years ago, Robin Trainer has fought hard to regain her career. Now, as the popular cohost of a nightly entertainment show and the author of a hot new bestseller, she’s being dubbed a media double threat. In a business full of rivals eager to see you fail, making a comeback was tough, and Robin isn’t about to do anything that could jeopardize her newfound success.

But suddenly things begin going wrong. A few small but nasty incidents shake her confidence: a vicious note tucked into her purse at her book signing; the photo on her book jacket slashed in her office; a doll that looks just like her—but with its eyes gouged out—left on her desk chair. Soon the meanness turns threatening.

Someone has eyes on Robin, an adversary with a dark agenda who wants to hurt her and see her fall, and the clues point to someone she works with every day. As she frantically tries to put the pieces together and unmask an enemy hiding in the shadows all too close to her, it becomes terrifyingly clear that the person responsible isn’t going to stop until Robin loses everything that matters to her . . . including her life.

In this nail-biting thriller full of stunning twists, Kate White takes you behind the scenes of the glamorous, high-intensity world of television and ratchets up the suspense, page by page, to the shocking end.

1 Drink Me Potion

DNF at approximately 25%

I’m sad, but this is my very FIRST did-not-finish book I’ve ever opened. Sure, there were books that I may have put aside for a while, but I always eventually got back to them.

I just couldn’t stand the beginning. Robin was not a very interesting protagonist. It opens with her successful debut of some book that she wrote while also being co-anchor to some show that was slowly rising in fame and success as well. Yay, I’m glad for you, Robin, but OH MY GOODNESS, White really dwells heavily on the details of Robin’s career in the TV biz. I get that the author has experience in this area prior to writing novels, but this was getting on my nerves. I didn’t sign up to read this book because I wanted to know the intricate details of being an anchor. I opened it to read a juicy MYSTERY.

The mystery started off fine, I guess. Someone left a scary note in Robin’s purse while she wasn’t looking during the book launch party. Whoop-dee-doo. Maybe it got a ton better with the scary stuff later into the novel, but it was just so hard to pick up again when I knew she was just at her office prepping for her work that day.

It wasn’t just the mystery that was somewhat ruined for me. The romance! Where to start with that? I did NOT like that co-anchor of hers. So what if he was just recently available after some break up with his girlfriend? I don’t care! Maybe I’m just way too young to care about some “bad-boy” forty-one year old man and his love life, but seeing him flirt with Robin and vice versa just sat weirdly in my stomach.

Overall, I guess if this wasn’t listed as part of Overdrive’s Big Read project and was readily available, I probably would have NEVER picked up Eyes on You.

Overall Recommendation:
Expecting a deliciously scary and suspenseful novel with a freaky psycho stalking our protagonist, Eyes on You dwindled all those expectations bit by bit. It was slow in starting, and particularly focused on minute details of Robin’s life that seemed unnecessary. My interest levels dropped rapidly, and then took a plummet when the love interest was introduced. As co-anchor to Robin’s successful show, the chemistry felt too scripted and cliche. I couldn’t finish this book for all these reasons above and more. You can definitely find better mysteries with similar plots elsewhere.