Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Deluge of DNFs

I'm woefully behind in reviews, so here are some DNFs from all the way back in September (oof, Gillian). SLOWLY BUT SURELY, I WILL CATCH UP. Ish. Kinda.

Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter
Length: 296 pages
Publisher: Tor Teen
Release Date: September 20th, 2016
Source: ARC from the publisher

In the enchanted kingdom of Brooklyn, the fashionable people put on cute shoes, go to parties in warehouses, drink on rooftops at sunset, and tell themselves they’ve arrived. A whole lot of Brooklyn is like that now—but not Vassa’s working-class neighborhood.

In Vassa’s neighborhood, where she lives with her stepmother and bickering stepsisters, one might stumble onto magic, but stumbling away again could become an issue. Babs Yagg, the owner of the local convenience store, has a policy of beheading shoplifters—and sometimes innocent shoppers as well. So when Vassa’s stepsister sends her out for light bulbs in the middle of night, she knows it could easily become a suicide mission.

But Vassa has a bit of luck hidden in her pocket, a gift from her dead mother. Erg is a tough-talking wooden doll with sticky fingers, a bottomless stomach, and a ferocious cunning. With Erg’s help, Vassa just might be able to break the witch’s curse and free her Brooklyn neighborhood. But Babs won’t be playing fair…

I think this book is probably really good, but I could tell almost immeditely this was noooot going to be a Gillian read. The writing is gorgeous, the atmosphere vivid, the imagery original, but holy shit is this book way too weird for me. I want to be the kind of person who likes WTF books--sometimes I worry that I love commercial fiction too much and need to branch out (I don't, commerical fiction is the best, I AM A BASIC BITCH)*-- but oh boy, with a few exceptions, I generally can't do weird on this level. Like, it's not the pseudo-magical realism aspects of the fantasy that got me. I can roll with a supermarket on chicken legs, no problem. But the plot...I have no idea wtf is going on, who to root for, do I ship, what drugs are we on, WHAT IS HAPPENING, abort abort, not for meeeee

*my god can I go on tangents

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige
Length: 375 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Release Date: September 20th, 2016
Source: ARC from the publisher

First kisses sometimes wake slumbering princesses, undo spells, and spark happily ever afters.

Mine broke Bale.

Seventeen-year-old Snow has spent her life locked in Whittaker Psychiatric—but she isn’t crazy. And that’s not the worst of it. Her very first kiss proves anything but innocent…when Bale, her only love, turns violent.

Despite Snow knowing that Bale would never truly hurt her, he is taken away—dashing her last hope for any sort of future in the mental ward she calls home. With nowhere else to turn, Snow finds herself drawn to a strange new orderly who whispers secrets in the night about a mysterious past and a kingdom that’s hers for the taking—if only she can find her way past the iron gates to the Tree that has been haunting her dreams.

Beyond the Tree lies Algid, a land far away from the real world, frozen by a ruthless king. And there too await the River Witch, a village boy named Kai, the charming thief Jagger, and a prophecy that Snow will save them all.

Hooooo boy.

I'm just going list my grievances in a mad word rush because god, no: The asylum setting is beyond ridiculously unrealistic and utterly boring, I can see bad mental health rep coming from a mile away, if you walked into a mirror the mirror would shatter and you may get cut but you caN'T WALK THROUGH MIRRORS SO YOU WON'T BE ENTIRELY DISFIGURED WITH SCARS, stiff dry writing, her "true love" with broody Bale is the most boring thing in the world,  I'm sure he's not end game, but it's literally ALL HER CHARACTER THINKS ABOUT AND IT'S SO BORING, what even is a Bale what is he like what does he do, same goes for Snow, and just.....*slow sad deflating noise*

Cliche overload. It's like she fed Alice in Wonderland, the Snow Queen, Snow White, Narnia, and YA madlibs into a blender and then just kind of poured it out and said THERE YOU GO.

I didn't even make it to the part where this book becomes a snowy fantasy magicstravaganza. I gave up when the second of the cabal of male love interests arrived and introduced himself as Jagger, thereby ensuring that I sing Maroon 5 in my head for the REST OF ETERNITY, which was so rude I had to DNF on the spot.

Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton
Length: 368 pages
Publisher: Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins)
Release Date: September 6th, 2016
Source: e-ARC via Edelweiss

Aspiring reporter Piper Baird decides to write a scathing exposé on the overprivileged students at an elite Washington, DC, school, only for her life to change when she begins to fall for the story's main subject, in this new realistic contemporary romance from Brodi Ashton, the author of the Everneath trilogy.

Raucous parties, privileged attitudes, underage drinking, and diplomatic’s all part of student life on Embassy Row.

Piper Baird has always dreamed of becoming a journalist. So when she scores a scholarship to exclusive Chiswick Academy in Washington, DC, she knows it’s her big opportunity. Chiswick offers the country’s most competitive prize for teen journalists—the Bennington scholarship—and winning will ensure her acceptance to one of the best schools in the country.

Piper isn’t at Chiswick for two days before she witnesses the intense competition in the journalism program—and the extreme privilege of the young and wealthy elite who attend her school. And Piper knows access to these untouchable students just might give her the edge she’ll need to blow the lid off life at the school in a scathing and unforgettable exposé worthy of the Bennington.

The key to the whole story lies with Rafael Amador, the son of the Spanish ambassador—and the boy at the center of the most explosive secrets and scandals on Embassy Row. Rafael is big trouble—and when he drops into her bedroom window one night, asking for help, it’s Piper’s chance to get the full scoop. But as they spend time together, Piper discovers that despite his dark streak, Rafael is smart, kind, funny, and gorgeous—and she might have real feelings for him. How can she break the story of a lifetime if it could destroy the boy she just might love?

Omg. No. What happened? I really liked Ashton's debut series, Everneath, and hear My Lady Jane is nothing short of a delight, so when I heard Ashton was writing a contemp romance in the vein of Anna and the French Kiss, I was super excited. But no, oh my god, no, no thank you, no gracias, and goodnight.

The voice of the MC really grated on me, and while I loved the setup of her family situation (money troubles, job troubles, new school with lots of rich kids) and kinda wish the book had chosen to focus on that, I could NOT with Piper herself. She wants to be a journalist, but oh dear god, she is the worst journalist in history. Yes, she's seventeen, but GIRL, oh my god. Also, I just know this is going to be one of those books where the MC is lying about A THING and that THING builds up unil I'm a total wreck of stress waiting for that house of cards to come inevitably crashing down on her head and I am just not strong enough for those books, you guys. And please stop kissing in the middle of the street I get he is cute but those are CARS they will HIT YOU I am too old for this

I just didn't find Piper endearinginly or funnily awkward--just awkward. I noped out real fast, aka in the first scene where she meets her love interest by FALLING AND RIPPING HER JEANS RIGHT DOWN THE FRONT and guYS noooo my second hand embarrassment.

The moment we learned the love interest--the son of the Spanish Ambassador Pepito--is named Rafael bloody Amador, I was done. He was so clearly being fetishized (my family is Spanish, I'm not here for this latin lover bullshit) and his name is AMADOR. AMADOR. WHICH MEANS LOVER IN SPANISH.

Adios para siempre.


  1. Too bad about Vassa in the Night. That cover is super gorgeous but weird crazy plots that have you questioning drug usage doesn't sound cool. hahaha
    And Rafael Amador? Lol That's bad.

    1. Yeahhhh Vassa was just definitely not for me, though the cover is stupendous. And oof. So bad. SO BAD, BONNIE.

  2. I applaud you for quitting Stealing Snow while you were way ahead, although I would have LOVED to see what sort of review you'd come up with. It gets so ridiculous. So so bad.

    I'm the same way with weird books, they are very often not for me :/

    1. Maybe if I'm feeling very masochistic I'll venture back but...oof, not likely.


  3. Vassa in the Night sounds like my kinda book. Sorry to hear that they were all mostly duds.

    1. I hope you like Vassa! For the right person, it would be amazing.

  4. I didn't even try the Snow book because I already knew the author is not a good writer, but I DNFed the other two as well. Vaasa was too weird and boring for me and I dislike the main character of DI very much.

  5. I angry read my way through Diplomatic Immunity. I work at an international school where many of the students have diplomatic parents. Aside from all the "no" that you mentioned there is also the fact that this is NOT THE WAY INTERNATIONAL SCHOOLS WORK. Still pissed.

  6. Thanks for the warning on Diplomatic Immunity. I hate when people fetishise characters for nationality. So easy to avoid. I have a method too. The author should reimagine the story except picture the character as a nationality that's not typically fetishised say Flemish Belgian, Northern Irish, Canadian or I dunno anyway you get the idea. If dude still plays off as sexy and cool then he's good to go. If he loses his hotness with his nationality BOOM rewrite it, cause he needs to depend on something other than country of origin. I can only apologise for the long comment but I think about the whole issue way too much.

    1. YES THAT'S A GREAT IDEA! Yeah Rafael was being mad exoticised and it was making me soooo uncomfortable.

  7. You were not missing much with Vassa in the Night....I like weird, but this one had no idea what was going on, and I just wished everyone was beheaded by the time it was finished. :/

    1. HA yeah that definitely does NOT sound like a Gillian read


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