Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Recent Books I Didn’t Finish

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers share their own bookish top ten lists based on the topic of the week.  You can check out Ten Tuesdays here.

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Ten Recent Books I Didn’t Finish

There haven’t been a lot of books I’ve loved lately, but there have been a bunch of books I DNF’d, so I thought I’d share those 10 books instead.  Here are ten recent books I couldn’t finish.

  1. A Little Something Different by Sandy Hall.  This sounded so cute, but there were way too many narrators, and it made me feel distanced from the actual romance to care about the romance.  It’s a shame, too, because the idea of a romance told by everyone except the couple is a really interesting concept.
  2. Anastasia And Her Sisters by Carolyn Meyer.  I can’t even remember why I didn’t finish this one.  I really can’t.
  3. Out Of Darkness by Ashley Hope Perez.  This is another one where I can no longer remember why I didn’t finish it, but I think maybe I didn’t like the multiple narrators, and I vaguely remember being slightly confused at the beginning…maybe?
  4. Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.  The story sounds so cool, but the audio drove me crazy!  It was my first time listening to a full cast, and it was really distracting.  It took me out of the story to the point that I didn’t want to keep going.
  5. The Sacred Lies Of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes.  I was so excited about it, but then I wasn’t into it at all. I got bored, and the flashbacks were weird and not integrated into the story well…from what I remember, which isn’t a lot.
  6. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raash.  I was bored reading it, and the beginning was kind of confusing.  But mostly, I got bored.
  7. The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima.  I couldn’t get into it, even though the idea is pretty interesting.
  8. This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp.  I really wanted to like this book, but it was so hard to get through. The multiple narrators made it more confusing than it needed to be, and it made it hard to get a good handle on the shooter, and the narrators themselves.
  9. Salt To The Sea by Ruta Sepetys.  I loved her first two books, but I couldn’t get through this one.  The multiple narrators didn’t work for me, and it made the story a little too weird.
  10. Fallen by Laury Falter.  I found the implied hints that there was something paranormal going on to be really frustrating.  Not only that, but you’re just thrown into the world with no explanation of what’s going on, and nothing is really explained, and it just made me not care about what was going on.

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Recently Quit

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the lovely folks over at The Broke And The Bookish.  Every week, bloggers share their own bookish top ten lists based on the topic of the week.  You can check out Ten Tuesdays here.

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Ten Books I (Sort of) Recently Quit

One of the things that I really started doing after starting the blog was either not finishing books I wasn’t into or putting them aside to finish at some other point.  There are all sorts of reasons why, but I thought it would be fun to split the list between books I stopped reading and will never pick up again, and books I stopped reading that I do want to finish.

Books I Temporarily Quit:

  1. Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier.  I tried listening to it back in February, but I was so stressed and unable to focus on anything that I zoned out for massive chunks of the book.  I really liked the parts I actually remember, so I’m hoping to pick it up again soon.
  2. Days Of Blood And Starlight by Laini Taylor.  I’ve tried reading it a few times, and also had to put it down because I wasn’t in the mood for it.  I want to finish it, though, but I’m really leaning towards the audio, especially since it’s narrated by one of my favorite narrators, Khristine Hvam.
  3. The Romanov Sisters: The Lost Lives Of The Daughters Of Nicholas And Alexandra by Helen Rappaport.  I can’t remember why I put it down in the first place, but I really need to pick it up.
  4. By The Light Of My Father’s Smile by Alice Walker.  I really liked it, but I was just reading it at the wrong time, so I put it aside for another time.
  5. Winter King: Henry VII And The Dawn Of Tudor England by Thomas Penn.  I love Tudor-era England and picked up this one because I didn’t know much about the events leading up to that point.  I can’t remember why I put it down, but one day, I will go back to it.

Books I Permanently Quit:

  1. Fun Home by Alison Bechdel.  Recently, I’ve decided I needed to read more graphic novels, and since this is one of the few I know about, I thought I’d pick it up.  Unfortunately, I was bored out of my mind reading it and gave up a quarter of the way through, but just based on that, I can see why people love it so much.
  2. Confessions Of The Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford.  I loved How To Say Goodbye In Robot, and thought I’d give this one a try.  The sisters were spoiled, and I could care less about what happened to them, or what they did to get cut out of their grandma’s will.
  3. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.  I know people love it, but I had a hard time with it.  Mostly because of the verse.  It made each chapter feel like a random, disjointed memory instead of something more cohesive.
  4. The Grace Of Kings by Ken Liu.  I wanted to like it, and it does seem like a really interesting, epic fantasy.  It was a little too detailed for me, and I couldn’t stay interested long enough to keep reading.
  5. The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith.  The Alex Crow seemed really intriguing, but I didn’t care about the one expedition, I hated the relationship between the two brothers, and overall, the story made no sense to me.  At all.

Books I Couldn’t Finish: The Random Edition #2

Books I Couldn’t Finish is a sporadic feature where I talk about the books I couldn’t finish!

It’s time for another round of books I couldn’t finish!  I feel like I just posted a couple, and now I’m posting another one! Granted, I waited a while before posting those two posts, but still…I have had a few more books that just didn’t work for me.

Silence CoverBook One: Silence by Natasha Preston

What’s It About? For eleven years, Oakley Farrell has been silent. At the age of five, she stopped talking, and no one seems to know why. Refusing to communicate beyond a few physical actions, Oakley remains in her own little world. 

Bullied at school, she has just one friend, Cole Benson. Cole stands by her, refusing to believe that she is not perfect the way she is. Over the years, they have developed their own version of a normal friendship. However, will it still work as they start to grow even closer? 

When Oakley is forced to face someone from her past, can she hold her secret in any longer?

Why Couldn’t I Finish It?  I couldn’t relate to Oakley at all, and I found that her unwillingness to talk was just really grating.  You know there’s some really big reason why she isn’t talking, and I hated how whatever got her to stop talking was just hinted at. I’m sure it’s explained later on in the book, but I just couldn’t bring myself to care.  And it seems like no one else cares that she’s not talking.  Everyone just accepted it as normal, and it was like no one even bothered to figure out why she didn’t talk.  Plus, I didn’t like Cole, and thought he was kind of a jerk.  Like, the way he started to freak out because she didn’t text him back right away…it just didn’t seem right to me, and it seemed unwarranted.  Coming from someone who doesn’t pay attention to these kinds of things…you know something’s up when I notice it.

Anywhere But Here CoverBook Two: Anywhere With You by Kaylee Ryan

What’s It About: Allison Hagan has not lived the life of a normal teenager. Her parents died in a car crash when she was ten, and she has been living with her elderly grandmother who happens to be her only living relative ever since. Allison became best friends with the boy next door, Aiden. Aiden’s family has taken her in as part of their own, which is why when her gran insists that she live in the dorms at college, Allison chooses to attend the same school as Aiden.

Liam MacCoy is a college senior and quarterback of his college football team. Liam is rumored to be first round draft pick for the NFL following graduation, as is his best friend, Aiden. Liam has one focus and that’s football, that is until his little sister introduces him to her roommate Allison. Since he met her, he hasn’t been able to think of anything else.

Liam is not a relationship kind of guy, and Allison wants it all. She wants the romance and the family that she grew up without. Will Liam overcome his fear of relationships as well as the tangle of friendships to give Allison everything she wants?

Why Couldn’t I Finish It? I normally relate a lot to characters like Allison, but I felt like she forgot about her grandma way too fast after going to college.  For someone who was so worried about her grandma, and who didn’t want to go away to college, her transition to college life was a little too unbelievable, especially for someone who seemed really shy, sheltered and studious.  Seriously, it seemed weird that she would shed that image as quick as she did.

Book Three: A Dangerous Inheritance by Alison Weir

A Dangerous Inheritance CoverWhat’s It About? In this engrossing novel of historical suspense, New York Timesbestselling author Alison Weir tells the dramatic intertwined stories of two women—Katherine Grey and Kate Plantagenet—separated by time but linked by twin destinies . . . . involving the mysterious tragic fate of the young Princes in the Tower.

When her older sister, Lady Jane Grey, the Nine Days’ Queen, is executed in 1554 for unlawfully accepting the English crown, Lady Katherine Grey’s world falls apart. Barely recovered from this tragic loss she risks all for love, only to incur the wrath of her formidable cousin Queen Elizabeth I, who sees Katherine as a rival for her insecure throne.

Interlaced with Katherine’s story is that of her distant kinswoman Kate Plantagenet, the bastard daughter of Richard III, the last Plantagenet king. In 1483, Kate travels to London for Richard’s coronation, and her world changes forever.

Kate loves her father, but before long she hears terrible rumors about him that threaten all she holds dear. Like Katherine Grey, she falls in love with a man who is forbidden to her. Then Kate embarks on what will become a perilous quest, covertly seeking the truth about what befell her cousins the Princes in the Tower, who may have been victims of Richard III’s lust for power. But time is not on Kate’s side, or on Katherine’s.

Katherine finds herself a prisoner in the Tower of London, the sinister fortress that overshadowed the lives of so many royal figures, including the boy princes. Will Elizabeth demand the full penalty for treason? And what secrets will Katherine find hidden within the Tower walls?

Alison Weir’s new novel is a page-turning story set within a framework of fascinating historical authenticity. In this rich and layered tapestry, Katherine and Kate discover that possessing royal blood can prove to be a dangerous inheritance.

Why Couldn’t I Finish It?  I was really overwhelmed by the amount of information!  As much as I love Alison Weir, I just couldn’t get into it.  I love her non-fiction, and what’s really cool about her historical fiction is that it comes from people she’s researched a lot for her non-fiction.  So her historical fiction is always pretty historically accurate/authentic, because she’s done all the research.  (By the way, I definitely recommend her historical fiction if you’re a stickler for historical accuracy). Katherine Grey’s story wasn’t that bad in terms of the details, but Kate Plantagent’s story was.  Part of it is that I’m not too familiar with the Wars Of The Roses, and the events that lead to the Tudor Monarchy.  Which might be why Kate’s story felt so overwhelming.

I found that I just couldn’t care about Kate or Katherine- it was hard to care when I felt like facts were being thrown at me.  I just wasn’t a point where I wanted to get past all of the details to get to the rest of the story. And while Kate and Katherine both narrate, I felt like it was a little clunky- it felt like the book was randomly switching between the two women.  It changed frequently enough that I couldn’t really get into either character.  Just as I was getting into one narrative, it would switch to the other.  After about 50-60 pages, I got frustrated and knew it was time to just walk away.

My Overall Thoughts About All Three Books:

These books just weren’t for me.  I really wish that I liked them, particularly A Dangerous Inheritance, but they are definitely great books for other people.

Books I Couldn’t Finish: The Princess Bride

Books I Couldn’t Finish is a very sporadic feature where I talk about the books I couldn’t finish.

Today’s book is The Princess Bride, which I was going to include in my last Books I Couldn’t Finish post.  I decided not to (well, clearly, because it is its own post) because 1- that post was getting a bit lengthy, and 2- I actually have some things to say about why I couldn’t finish it, so it definitely warranted its own post.

The Princess Bride CoverWhat’s It About?

The Princess Bride is a true fantasy classic. William Goldman describes it as a “good parts version” of “S. Morgenstern’s Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure.” Morgenstern’s original was filled with details of Florinese history, court etiquette, and Mrs. Morgenstern’s mostly complimentary views of the text. Much admired by academics, the “Classic Tale” nonetheless obscured what Mr. Goldman feels is a story that has everything: “Fencing. Fighting. Torture. Poison. True love. Hate. Revenge. Giants. Hunters. Bad men. Good men. Beautifulest ladies. Snakes. Spiders. Beasts of all natures and descriptions. Pain. Death. Brave men. Coward men. Strongest men. Chases. Escapes. Lies. Truths. Passion. Miracles.”

Why I Couldn’t Finish It:

First, I have to start off why I read it.  It was basically a required reading that some friends “assigned” to me back in May, and since I’ll read pretty much anything someone recommends, I figured I’d at least try it.

And promptly failed.  I did give it a good effort, and actually kept going a bit longer than I really wanted to.  I really wanted to like it, especially since it’s a favorite of one friend.  And actually, I’ve seen it on a bunch of Top Ten Tuesdays, so that was another reason why I wanted to read it.

The biggest problem is that I’ve seen the movie.  I actually didn’t know there was a book.  I don’t remember how I found out there was a book, but somehow I did.

Seeing the movie isn’t a problem.  Well, normally, it’s not a problem.  I try to see the movie first and then read the book whenever possible.  That did not work with The Princess Bride.  I haven’t seen the movie in forever, but I found that a lot of the book made it into the movie.  I kept picturing the movie whenever I was reading the book.  I just found myself skimming…and skimming…and skimming to get to the parts that I didn’t remember from the movie.  I dreaded picking up, and pretty much had to force myself into reading it.  I was bored…and I had my moments where I was wondering why I was reading the book when I had seen the movie- to me, that’s how closely they matched.  The two did seem identical, but please take that with a grain of salt, as I haven’t seen the movie in a while.  But that really is how it seemed to me.

And…the book really seemed like it came after the movie, so I was quite surprised to learn that the movie was based on the book.  To me, it read like a cute tie-in.  Like, with the t.v. show Castle.  Now, I don’t watch Castle, but I remember something about an actual book written by the fictional character.  Or even Meg Cabot writing a romance novel as Mia Thermopolis. That’s kind of the feel I got from the book- let’s write the book the grandpa was reading in the movie.  And it’s not a bad thing at all, that’s just my impression of what I read.

I will say that I like the idea of the book- a guy hunting down his favorite childhood book and re-writing it so that only the good parts are in the book.  It’s an interesting way to tell a story, but I could have done without the side-notes.  And, I kind of hate to say this (but not really) but The Princess Bride worked so much better as a movie than a book.

To Sum Up:

The Princess Bride didn’t work as a book for me, and I think the structure of it worked better in the movie than in the book. Even though I couldn’t get into, I’m still glad I gave it a try.

Books I Couldn’t Finish: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

The Book Thief CoverEarlier this month, I decided it was time to read The Book Thief.  I’ve seen so many good reviews about The Book Thief, and I’ve seen it pop up on so many Top Ten Tuesdays that I finally starting reading it…only to not be able to get through it.  It’s rare for me to not finish a book, and even rarer for me to talk about the books I don’t finish.  But The Book Thief is such a big book in YA that I felt like I really needed to talk about why I had to not finish it.

I think I’d like to start off by saying that I got to page 155 in the Nook edition of the book.  I know numbering can be a little weird depending on what edition you’re reading, but the best I can tell, I got about a third of the way through.

I think the biggest problem for me is that I went in with such high expectations of The Book Thief that it was likely not going to live up to.  It definitely suffered from me really hyping it up.  I’ve seen so many raves that I wanted to love it.  And, of course, be able to finish it.

Here’s what it really comes down to.  The Book Thief is just not the book for me.  It definitely seems like it would be something I would like.  In fact, let’s start off with what The Book Thief is about, since that is one of the reasons why I didn’t finish it.

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

By her brother’s graveside, Liesel Meminger’s life is changed when she picks up a single object, partially hidden in the snow. It is The Grave Digger’s Handbook, left there by accident, and it is her first act of book thievery. So begins a love affair with books and words, as Liesel, with the help of her accordion-playing foster father, learns to read. Soon she is stealing books from Nazi book-burnings, the mayor’s wife’s library, wherever there are books to be found.

But these are dangerous times. When Liesel’s foster family hides a Jew in their basement, Liesel’s world is both opened up and closed down.”

So, I honestly thought that books would have a much bigger role than they really did.  Granted, I really didn’t look at the summary before I started reading.  And all I knew was that it was set during World War Two.  Keeping in mind I got through a third of the book before giving up, I really felt like books were much more important in the summary than they were in the part I read.  I have no problem admitting that I put it down, and that book thievery played a bigger role later on in the book.  But I really didn’t get a sense of a love affair with books.

Another thing that didn’t work for me was Death, who narrated the book.  It’s definitely different and unique, but not a different and unique that worked for me.  It felt like I was passively observing what was going on, instead of actively participating.  And because I felt like I was casually observing, I felt very disconnected from what was going on…and something about it seemed a little clinical to me.

Death as a narrator wasn’t completely horrible, but I felt like he went off on some random tangents that had nothing to do with the story, and the random bolded headlines and lists throughout the novel broke up the flow of the novel for me.  It was something I found really distracting.

When I was deciding whether or not I should DNF The Book Thief, I considered whether it was a book that I wasn’t reading at the right time.  Because sometimes, when I’m reading a book, I’m totally reading it at the wrong time, and need to read it when I’m in the right frame of mind for it.  And The Book Thief was not one of those books.  I usually know when that happens- I don’t know how, but I just do.

And I also considered whether I was reading in the right format: sometimes, print books or e-books don’t work for me, but I’ll totally listen to something on audio book.  However, The Book Thief was also not one of those books.

What I came to realize was that I was dreading having to read it and didn’t want to pick it up.  I was also forcing myself to read something I wasn’t into because seemingly everyone under the sun seems to love this book.  That was really when I knew I had to not finish it.  Yes, everyone seems to love it, and that’s okay, because I don’t have to love something just because everyone else does, you know?

I will say that there are a couple things I appreciate about The Book Thief.

I really like that it’s actually SET IN GERMANY.  I don’t read much historical fiction set during World War 2, but I feel like something set in Germany, about a German girl is rare.  Then again, I’m not too familiar with that part of historical fiction so I could be wrong.  I like that it focuses on what life was like in Germany during that time.

Overall, I did like the idea of Death narrating the novel- and especially narrating something during World War 2.  While I didn’t like it in this case, it’s an interesting way to narrate the novel.

While it didn’t resonate with me at all, I’d definitely recommend it if you haven’t read it yet.