DNF 2013 (part 2): We Try to Read Them So You Don’t Have To

December 14, 2013 DNF 2

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We do our best to only accept books for review that we think we will enjoy, but it is impossible to safeguard 100% against bad reads.  These are the books we Did Not Finish (DNF). We do not give up on books lightly.  In fact we hate not finishing a book, even a bad book, but there are times when for one reason or another, we just can’t bring ourselves to reach the end.  We’ll be posting them when we collect a few DNF reads once or twice a year depending.

Born of Illusion

by Teri Brown

Born of Illusion (Born of Illusion, #1)

 Anna Van Housen has a secret.

A gifted illusionist, Anna assists her mother, the renowned medium Marguerite Van Housen, in her stage show and séances, easily navigating the underground world of magicians, mediums, and mentalists in 1920’s New York. As the illegitimate daughter of Harry Houdini—or so Marguerite claims—sleight of hand illusions have never been a challenge for Anna. The real trick is keeping her own gifts secret from her opportunistic mother. Because while Marguerite’s own powers may be a sham, Anna possesses a true ability to sense people’s feelings and foretell the future.

But as Anna’s powers intensify, she begins to experience frightening visions of her mother in peril, which leads her to explore the powers she’s tried so long to hide. And when a mysterious young man named Cole moves into the flat downstairs, introducing Anna to a secret society that studies people with gifts like hers, she is forced to confront her past and rethink everything she’s ever known. Is her mother truly in danger, or are Anna’s visions merely illusion? And could the great Houdini really be her father, or is it just another of Marguerite’s tricks?

From Teri Brown comes a world bursting with magic, with romance, and the temptations of Jazz Age New York—and the story of a girl about to become the mistress of her own destiny.

The premise of this story had me very excited, but that initial momentum could only carry me so far.  The narrative style of BORN OF ILLUSION felt very amateurish, with nonstop “I’s” and “He’s” and clunky exposition.  Feel free to try a sample and judge for yourself, but this style just stopped me in my tracks. – Julia

Witch Fire

by Laura Powell

Witch Fire (Burn Mark, #2)

Lucas and Glory are hard at work in WICA (Witchkind Intelligence and Covert Affairs). As part of their training, they learn more about the witch-terrorist organization Endor. It is believed that Endor has infiltrated a boarding school for young witches in Switzerland, so WICA sends their two youngest agents—Lucas and Glory—to the school undercover. There, they learn more about an experimental brain implant that blocks the power of the fae. It’s a dangerous procedure . . . more so than they could ever have imagined.
The story seemed okay but I started to get bothered by things being prefaced with witch like witch-court or witch-counselor. The terminology used was distracting and some of the descriptions and situations just didn’t make sense logically to me. I am very picky about YA novels and this one just didn’t have enough pull to make me want to finish it. It has pretty good reviews on Goodreads so its more of a ‘its me not you’ situation with this book. – Kristina

Fangs for Nothing

by Erin McCarthy

Fangs for Nothing (The Fangover, #2)

When one of their own ties the knot with a dominatrix (no pun intended), The Impalers—a vampire rock band—are ready to party down. But trouble awaits them once again when they wake up…

Attending their bandmate Saxon’s wedding seemed simple enough for Johnny Malone and Drake Hanover. But after waking up in a dominatrix’s dungeon, they realize their cash and cell phones have been stolen—along with the bride’s wedding dress and the groom. And then there’s the matter of the two women in the room…

Loose cannon Johnny is handcuffed to Lizette, an uptight paper pusher. She wants to help save Johnny from the horrible fate in store for him at the hands of the Vampire Alliance, but he won’t sign the paperwork. Then there’s Josie, the waifish caterer from the reception, who rescues Drake from a sex swing. Josie may be cute and make a great cupcake, but Drake knows she might also be the thief. Or it could have been that gang of drag queens all dressed as Cher…

Regardless, Johnny and Lizette need to get out of these handcuffs. Drake and Josie need to find their missing belongings. And Saxon needs to be located before the Vampire Alliance comes down on them hard

I gave FANGS FOR NOTHING a good hundred pages (according to my Kindle that was about a third of the book) before I gave up. There were a few issues which alone may not have been so much of a problem, but together added up to a bit of a disaster. First of all, in what I did read, nothing happened that I didn’t already know about based on the book description- in other words, pretty much the slowest beginning ever. Also, the point of view changed so often between as many as six characters, with little to no warning, that I was constantly confused. And lastly, I felt no sympathy for the main character. Since I spent most of the time trying to figure out who was narrating at the moment, I didn’t want to stick around to see if he was redeemable. -Kate

Lord of Snow and Ice

by Heather Massey

Lord of Snow and Ice

 An innocent Beauty. A fearsome Beast. A dangerous passion.

Mystery and speculation surround “the Dark Prince,” a sorcerer who dwells in a kingdom cursed by endless winter. Though shunned by all, Prince Stellan secretly crusades against a zombie plague unleashed by his tyrannical father against the Five Lands. But only an alliance with Aldebaran will provide the support he needs to eradicate the plague once and for all.

Clarysa, daughter of the Aldebaran king, struggles under the weight of her role as princess. She yearns for adventure, but her father prefers to keep his youngest daughter safe within the palace walls. During one of her rare sanctioned trips beyond the walls of the castle, Clarysa comes face to face with the answer to her prayers.

She’s heard the tales of Stellan’s dangerous nature. She knows a romance with him is forbidden. But one smoldering glance draws her deep into a world of dark magic and sensuous rapture.

CONTENT WARNING: Magic, mayhem, and epic snowfall

LORD OF SNOW AND ICE was a total gamble that unfortunately didn’t pan out the way I expected. I didn’t get much further than 50 pages in- the frequent descriptions of a naked woman our hero discovered surreptitiously and spied on really turned me off from the rest of the book. I’m sure this book will totally work for some people, but it just wasn’t for me. -Kate

Life’s a Witch

by Brittany Geragotelis

Life's a Witch (Life's a Witch, #2)

Hadley Bishop, Astor High clique queen, has recurring nightmare about ancestor Bridget Bishop, hung at Salem 1692, who spoke telepathically to her daughter. The same evil Reverend Samuel Parris who led the betrayal of Bridget kidnaps Hadley’s mother. With other teen witches comes a war that will change their magical world forever.

The first book in this series was candy coated frivolity that totally took me back to the 1980’s guilty pleasure movie Teen Witch. This sequel, however, wasn’t nearly as fun with a super shallow, super self absorbed protagonist who failed to grab my attention after the first 100 pages. Apparently, LIFE’S A WITCH is the original self-published book that caught the attention of S&S and it’s now been reworked as the sequel in the series.  What that means is it’s a totally different character from WHAT THE SPELL?  The problem was that it had all the vapidness of  the debut, but none of the guilty pleasure fun.  This one is probably only going to appeal to tweens.

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