I give a rating to all the books that I read on Goodreads and sometimes depending on how I feel a book that I do not finish will either get a 1 star rating or no star rating. I do this not to be mean to the author but because (1) I like to keep track of my reading and (2) I feel that as a reviewer, I need to be honest about what books work for me and what don't.
It's now June and halfway through the year. Fortunately, 6 months into 2015, there have not been many books that I have not finished. While I will post individual reviews for books even up to 2 stars in my blog, I feel like it's too much negativity to post them as individual posts and yet, I still want to be able to tell people why the books didn't work for me.
Here are the 4 that have not hit it big with me this year that got either a 1 star or no star review. There are two others that I did not finish, but they both got their individual reviews posted and 2 stars. I explained my reasons in those posts too and they were part of a broader post on Regency romance that I did.
Review: The Violet Widow? by K E Osborn
I was originally sent this book to beta read but it fell off my radar as the Christmas and New Year holidays overwhelmed me. When I apologized profusely to Kim, she very kindly forgave me and then offered to let me review the book and then prep to beta read the second book which was due out shortly after the release of this book. I agreed.
I finally had time to sit down to read this book and I have to confess that what I read shocked me. The prologue started off rather maudlin and sickly sweet with ramblings and declarations of love and bliss which was quickly turned on its head by tragedy. The second part of the prologue was disturbing, traumatic, emotionally violent and rather morbid. It was also very confronting for me because it dealt with an issue that hit rather close to home for me. It made it almost unreadable and I almost didn't get through it.
To be honest, I only go through to about 11% of the book before I had to give up. The whole premise of the book was just too disturbing for me to read. It just was not my sort of thing.
I won't judge because they were extenuating circumstances for Violet, but her choice of career and her choice of closing herself off to the world and people was very extreme, violently do. I had trouble relating to her even though I tried to sympathize with her.
Then what she did on the 5th anniversary of a very tragic event left me with a rather bitter taste in my mouth. Not because she did it, not even because of what happened after she got home but more because of how she reacted to her own behavior and how she behaved as a result. It was at this point that I realised that I could not keep going on.
I felt like I was watching a train wreck or driving past a bad accident on the roadside. Morbid curiosity keeps me going but it does not leave me with a pleasant feeling then and afterwards. I felt sorry for Violet. I was distressed by what I read. I just couldn't keep reading to find out what happened and continue on her journey with her, but I did skip to the end and the end surprised me. All I can say about the ending is that I'm glad for the sake of people who enjoyed the book that the second book is being released so soon after the first.
Review: Keep Me Safe by Skye Warren
I loved Skye Warren's Beauty series and His For Christmas and her writing is excellent but this just is too dark for me. I know it is branded as dark erotica and I thought that I would take a chance on the novella / prequel to the series to see how I would manage with it. Nope, not for me. Too dark. The writing is very good and she really draws you into the characters and the crazy that is going on, but it was a lot more than I can handle. I have friends who would love this because of how dark it is, but it's just not for me ... okay, I'll stop now. I think I'm repeating myself.
Review: The Last of the Red Hot Cowboys by Tina Leonard
I really hate it when I come across a book that I do not want to finish for whatever reason, but I'm coming to own the fact that not every book is for me and as I read more and more to review books for the blog, read books I've been sent, etc., there are bound to be a few that don't work for me.
This one didn't work for me. The writing was decent and the story seemed like it would be engaging but it was slow to get started and even slower to get moving.
One of the things that did not sit well with me in this book is that the mayor of the town has a plan that she is plotting. It comes across as sneaky and conniving and she's scheming to get something she wants. All that backhanded-ness just doesn't work for me. I'm a pretty straightforward sort of person, so when I come across sneaking, conniving themes in a plot, it just turns me right off.
I got to about 15% of the book and just lost interest. At that point of the book, I still hadn't been able to figure out what was going on and there was still a lot of mystery around what was happening, what the mayor was plotting, what the motivations of everyone were. I don't expect that everything is laid out point blank at the start of the story, but I do expect enough to hook me in without me feeling like I'm being deliberately left in the dark and that it's supposed to make me excited to want to read the book. Nope! Sorry, that just doesn't work for me. I like things to reveal itself progressively as I read and by 15% if you've revealed nothing and you're not holding my attention, that's all the time I'm going to invest in the book.
I did skip to the end to read that Trace and Ava ended up together and to read Trace's declaration, but I always do that with books that I don't finish. I like to read the ending but I just don't care enough to want to go on the journey with the characters.
I'm supposed to read the next book in the series to review, we'll see how I go with that one. I hope it engages me better than this one did.
Review: Risk It by Jennifer Chance
I guess I should have read the blurb of this book more carefully before attempting to read it. I knew the heroine was a con artist but I was so focused on the hero that I did not stop to consider what that would mean to the character of the heroine.
The story starts off with Dani pulling a con on Rand. Rand realises he's been conned and insists that she delivers the painting he was conned into buying in order to engage with her again. Rand is attracted to Dani and wants to spend more time with her but all she is concerned about is the next con and winning the next game.
Within the first 2 chapters of the story, Dani cons Rand, lies to him, steals from him and prefers to go to jail rather than have dinner with him, all in the name of winning. I got to the point where Dani is released from jail and Rand is going through and tallying all the times that Dani had stolen, lied to and conned him all within moments of meeting him that it just completely put me off the story.
I can understand a well intentioned lie to protect someone or to soften the blow but to have the characters come clean shortly after, all the while realising that the lie and deception is not the right thing to do.
This was not the case for Dani and I could not stomach it. I could not deal with her intentional deception and questionable morals right from the get go. I also did not like the constant one-up-manship that she felt she needed to have over Rand. The fact that she would do anything to win, even go to jail.
I did not get too far into the story before I gave up because of this but I did skip to the end and read the last parts of the story.
It seemed to me that Dani as a heroine fought Rand every step of the way in the relationship and I'm rather fed up of reading heroines / stories like that.
There was wasn't enough positive going on in the story to keep me reading. My Kindle was telling me I had 4 hours left to go in the story up until the point I stopped reading and I realised that this book was not the way I wanted to invest 4 hours.
I'm sorry Ms Chance but this story just didn't do it for me even though the writing itself was good and compelling. It pushed all the wrong buttons, or should I say, all the right buttons to make me not want to read the book.
Oops! I seems that there was one more book that I didn't finish but I don't seem to have written a review for. For the sake of completeness, I'll include it here.
So there you have it. The 5 books that I've read so far this year that did not work for me.
Tell me, are there any hot buttons that don't work for you in books? Something that will make you shut the book and not keep reading? How many books have you not finished so far this year?
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