Tag Archives: DNF

The Secrets We Keep by Deb Loughead

 The Secrets We Keep
by Deb Loughead

First she blamed herself. Now she doesn’t know who to trust.

When Kit disappeared at a party and was found drowned in the quarry the next day, Clem knew who to point the finger at: herself. She was the last person to see him alive, the last person who could have helped. If she had just kept a closer eye on him instead of her crush, Jake, maybe Kit would still be here. She knows she made a mistake, and wishes she could just forget about it — but Clem’s friend Ellie says she’ll expose Clem’s secret if she doesn’t play along with Ellie’s lies.

Jake seems to have his own difficult secrets, and when he and Clem start to talk, they make a plan to help themselves move on. But when an unexpected discovery at the quarry makes everyone question what they thought they knew, Clem and Jake decide it’s up to them to uncover the truth.

Rated: DNF
Publisher: Dundurn
Publication: December 10, 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

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The Secrets We Keep by Deb Loughead

I started The Secrets We Keep by Deb Loughead because I was just like yessss, murder mystery, young adult, possible romance, this is so great! I’m such a fan of mysteries and all that angst over characters thinking x person’s death is their fault when in reality something else entirely happened. So, I was super excited to get into this. And then, it all fell through when I actually read the words on the page.

This is a super short review because obviously I Did Not Finish-ed the book. Maybe the story itself is decent, but the writing, I could not get past it. It feels like the written equivalent of the Steve Buscemi’s gif where he is dressed like what he thinks teens wear saying How do you do, fellow kids?

The disconnect between the age the character is supposed to be, and the way it is written, the words used, is so severe and jarring, I just cannot keep going with it. It feels wrong. It feels as though the author is trying to write how she thinks teens talk and think, but at the same time, passing judgement on them?

If you can get past the writing, then I hope the story is an enjoyable one. It definitely seems like there’s something intriguing there, and hopefully my initial hunch that Ellie knows more than she’s saying is wrong, but for me, I’ll never find out. The Secrets We Keep by Deb Loughead is just a bust.

Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney

Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney

 Black Dawn
by Mallory McCartney

The end of an Empire, The rise of a Queen

Emory Fae enjoys leading a quiet, normal life. That is until two mysterious, and handsome soldiers show up at her apartment, and the life she knew is instantly whisked away. Memphis Carter and Brokk Foster come from the magical and war ridden world of Kiero, and upon Emory’s arrival she will discover she is the long lost heir to the Royal Line and is thrown into the Black Dawn Rebellion with a dynamic role to ignite the rebels and reclaim her throne.

With both men being darkly woven in her past Emory uncovers hidden secrets, a power held long dormant, and will soon realize there are worse things than supernatural humans, love, loss, betrayal, and a Mad King.

Some things are better left in the shadows.

Rated: DNF @ 50%
Publisher: Clean Reads Publishing
Publication: February 14, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.

Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney

Such a beautiful cover and an amazing synopsis. Sadly, though, Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney just didn’t do it for me. I really tried to get into it, to power through and reach the end, but just, not enough happened to make me care about the characters, the world, the ending.

The world feels flimsy. We barely get any information about it except for the party line that gets crowed, there are powers, an Academy, murder, a bad guy/jilted man. All we know (in the first half of the book at least) is what gets told to Emory, which feels like the bare minimum. As a reader, I want to care about the world I’m reading about. I want to feel how high the stakes are and root one for the world to be saved. Yet, with so little information about Emory’s homeland given, it didn’t seem to matter to me.

The characters. Emory never feels like a potential Queen. We see her flounder, which would be great, if we get to feel her frustration, her desire to be what is needed. But we don’t get it (again, in the first half at least). We get someone in Emory who is barely there, barely a character. Then, Memphis. He just, I know he’s supposed to be the love interest, but he feels skeevy. He takes memories, gives memories because he’s selfish, secretly in love with her, leading another on. It’s just too much.

With a world and characters barely fleshed out in the first half of the book, I simply had no interest in finishing Black Dawn by Mallory McCartney, which is sad because I had such high hopes. Maybe it does pick up in the latter half of the book, but honestly, I shouldn’t have to reach the end of the book before caring about the story.

Legally Gone by Sally Shanks

Legally Gone by Sally Shanks

 Legally Gone
by Sally Shanks

Children are disappearing all over the country and these abductions are somehow linked to each other.

A contentious divorce and custody battle leaves Brooke Sherman and her children emotionally battered but moving forward with their lives while ex-husband and father Marc Sherman is left with an anger so overpowering he would stop at nothing to secure his revenge. Brooke comes home from a much needed night out with friends to discover her children are gone. They’ve been taken by strangers from outside her parents’ home and now she must find a way to get them back.

With the help of Eli, a local town sheriff and another parent whose daughter has been stolen from him, Brooke embarks on a journey to recover all of the lost children. Could the children really be test subjects in secret technological experiments? Why the children have been taken is a mystery that has to be solved in order to save them from a conspiracy bigger than anyone suspects.

Rated: ★/DNF @ 47%
Publication: September 28, 2015
Genre: Mystery
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.


Legally Gone by Sally Shanks

I was really intrigued by the synopsis, and since I really liked her husband’s book, I thought Legally Gone by Sally Shanks would be really fantastic. Unfortunately, I just couldn’t get into it and had to give up 47% into the book. Most of the book is tell and not show. We are told all of these things that happened, but we don’t really see much of it happening. Even the kidnapping, we’re told about it after it happened. Then, there’s the involvement of father’s rights and men’s rights activists and I’m just not interested. I mean, it’s an interesting angle to go, but I still just didn’t feel right about it. The pacing was slow and the characters felt one dimensional. Even once we got to the kidnapped children in the facility, I simply couldn’t care what the tests were for or if they were going to live.

It just wasn’t the right book for me but it does have really good reviews so I’m sure there is an audience for it.

Nightmares a New Decade of Modern Horror

Nightmares A New Decade of Modern Horror

Nightmares A New Decade of Modern Horror
edited by Ellen Datlow

Unlucky thieves invade a house where Home Alone seems like a playground romp. An antique bookseller and a mob enforcer join forces to retrieve the Atlas of Hell. Postapocalyptic survivors cannot decide which is worse: demon women haunting the skies or maddened extremists patrolling the earth.

In this chilling twenty-first-century companion to the cult classic Darkness: Two Decades of Modern Horror, Ellen Datlow again proves herself the most masterful editor of the genre. She has mined the breadth and depth of ten years of terror, collecting superlative works of established masters and scene-stealing newcomers alike.

Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Publication: November 1st, 2016
Genre: Horror
I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this title.
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Rated: ★ / DNF

Nightmares A New Decade of Horror edited by Ellen Datlow

Sad to say, but I just could not get through Nightmares a New Decade of Horror to the end. I got to around 40% and was just bored out of my brain. The stories did not scare me a bit. I think every single creepypasta I’ve read has gotten more of a rise out of me than all of the short stories I read in this collection. Most of the stories in the collection were just talk and descriptions with nothing happening. No building up of suspense. No thought that this could happen to me. It all fell flat, especially compared to other horror collections and stories I’ve read. The scariest thing to me was the cover.

Review: A Beast in Venice

A Beast in Venice by Michael E Henderson


While strolling the misty streets of his beloved Venice in search of a good martini, middle-aged ex-lawyer-turned-artist Brigham Stone sees a man walk through a brick wall. His wife, Rose, blames the booze (doesn’t she always?), but his gondolier friend, Mauro, is convinced ghoulish creatures known as “shroud eaters” have returned to Venice after a centuries-long absence.

As Brigham struggles to succeed as an artist in Venice and gain representation in a gallery in the world of Italian protectionism, a rich new patron, Charles Raymond, finds him. Charles seems like a kindly old man with money and a taste for art, but he has other, more sinister, tastes lurking behind his dapper clothes and friendly manner.

Meanwhile, strange things are happening in Venice, and Brigham finds it more difficult to ignore Mauro’s shroud eater theory. Bodies, butchered and devoid of blood, are found floating in the canals, and Brigham is attacked by unknown assailants, but when he meets an alluring young woman who introduces him to the world of underground vampire clubs, he can no longer bury his own curiosity.

Drawn into a hidden world of torture, blood, and murder, Brigham must grapple with a hideous evil that on the one hand grants him eternal life, but on the other threatens to claim his humanity, his marriage, and his life.

A Beast in Venice
Michael E. Henderson
Publisher: Gemelli Press
Publication: June 2014
Genre: Fantasy, Dark, Horror, Supernatural
I received this title for free in exchange for an honest review
Locate: amazon | b&n | worldcat
Rated: ★ DNF @ 65%