DNF Review: Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt

Dream Things True

Title: Dream Things True
Author: Marie Marquardt
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Publication date: September 1, 2015
Pages: 336
Source: Netgalley
Summary (via Goodreads): Evan, a soccer star and the nephew of a conservative Southern Senator, has never wanted for much — except a functional family. Alma has lived in Georgia since she was two-years-old, excels in school, and has a large, warm Mexican family. Never mind their differences, the two fall in love, and they fall hard. But when ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) begins raids on their town, Alma knows that she needs to tell Evan her secret. There’s too much at stake. But how to tell her country-club boyfriend that she’s an undocumented immigrant? That her whole family and most of her friends live in the country without permission. What follows is a beautiful, nuanced, well-paced exploration of the complications of immigration, young love, defying one’s family, and facing a tangled bureaucracy that threatens to completely upend two young lives.

 

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I did not finish this book at 12%. The summary sounded great and I love finding diverse books to read, so when Netgalley approved my request, I couldn’t wait to read this book. But the writing wasn’t for me.

 

Within the first 3%, I realized Alma’s father was a douche. Then it kind of got worse because the characters weren’t very interesting. I was looking forward to an author taking on the issue of immigration and undocumented workers, but this book wasn’t doing it for me. Maybe if she’d introduced some of those issues sooner I would have stuck it out and kept reading.

 

I adore romance, especially interracial romance, but things felt off between Evan and Alma. The interaction between the two of them wasn’t very good unfortunately. It felt stereotypical and just weird in a way. I don’t really even know how to describe it. I guess it just didn’t feel like a strong romantic connection was being portrayed, especially when all they seemed to be focused on was how hot the other person was. I know teenage hormones are probably running rampant, but it was a little too much for me.

 

Final note: I had high hopes for this diverse novel, but it fell short. I wasn’t really invested in the characters at all, and therefore I stopped reading.

DNF Review: Hunter by Mercedes Lackey

Hunter

Title: Hunter
Author: Mercedes Lackey
Series: Hunter #1
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Publication date: September 1, 2015
Pages: 400
Source: Netgalley
Summary (via Goodreads): Centuries ago, the barriers between our world and the Otherworld were slashed open allowing hideous fantastical monsters to wreak havoc; destroying entire cities in their wake. Now, people must live in enclosed communities, behind walls that keep them safe from the evil creatures constantly trying to break in. Only the corps of teen Hunters with lightning reflexes and magical abilities can protect the populace from the daily attacks.

 

Joyeaux Charmand is a mountain girl from a close knit village who comes to the big city to join the Hunters. Joy thinks she is only there to perform her civic duty and protect the capitol Cits, or civilians, but as cameras follow her every move, she soon learns that the more successful she is in her hunts, the more famous she becomes.

 

With millions of fans watching her on reality TV, Joy begins to realize that Apex is not all it seems. She is forced to question everything she grew up believing about the legendary Hunters and the very world she lives in. Soon she finds that her fame may be part of a deep conspiracy that threatens to upend the protective structure built to keep dark magic out. The monsters are getting in and it is up to Joy to find out why.

 

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I did not finish this book at 10% because there was too much backstory and it wasn’t holding my interest; it was even confusing me. The summary sounded amazing and I love the cover, so I was ecstatic when Netgalley approved my request. But I just couldn’t get into the book.

 

The first 10% was just info dumping about their society and Joyeaux’s life/childhood. And it was kind of confusing the crap out of me to be honest. There was too much to remember that I couldn’t keep it all straight. I don’t like being confused. I think the author could have left some of the explanations for another time, later in the book.

 

I might have stuck with the book if I bonded with the main character, but I didn’t feel a connection while I was reading. I really don’t think she needs to be on a train for over 10% of the book. Get her off the train. I want to see the Apex and the reality TV that makes her question her life.

 

Final note: As I stated, the summary and cover hooked me into requesting the ARC. But the info dumps made me put it down.

DNF Review: Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell

Mechanica Cover

Title: Mechanica
Author: Betsy Cornwell
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publication date: August 25, 2015
Pages: 304
Source: Netgalley
Summary (via Goodreads): Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.

 

But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

 

Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn’t want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

 

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I did not finish this book at 10% because there was too much backstory and it wasn’t holding my interest. I was looking forward to reading this book because I love fairy tale retellings, so I was happy when Netgalley approved my request. But the book wasn’t entertaining me, so I had to put it down.

 

I love backstory, but when there really isn’t much happening except flashbacks and descriptions for 30+ pages, it’s a little too much for even me. I wanted to see some action, to see some other characters besides the ones inside Nicolette’s memory. And I know her mother’s workshop is important, but I don’t think that much time should have been spent on it, especially right at the beginning of the book. Save some descriptions for later on.

 

Another thing that I didn’t like was that there wasn’t even a mention of the “prince” Nicolette finds in the first 10%. Does he not show up until halfway through the book? Is he actually a prince? I like to at least see the love interest early on in the story, even if the romance is slow-burning. I love romance, so it’s a hard sell if romance is an afterthought, or not present, in a book.

 

Final note: The book has an interesting premise, but it’s WAY too slow to hold my attention. The writing wasn’t that bad, so I might give it another try sometime.

DNF Review: Awake by Natasha Preston

Awake

Title: Awake
Author: Natasha Preston
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication date: August 4, 2015
Pages: 336
Source: Netgalley
Summary (via Goodreads): Don’t miss the latest gripping, high-stakes thriller from Wattpad sensation Natasha Preston, author of the runaway hit The Cellar.

 

Of course, the dress was white. This is what I’m supposed to die in, I thought. Not many people knew what their last outfit would be.
I pulled it over my head. It fit me perfectly. It had long, loose fitting sleeves, a modest neckline, and waves of material on the skirt. I hated it.
There were no shoes, and I was afraid I’d have to run through the forest barefoot but there weren’t a lot of options. Besides, I’d run barefoot over a bed of nails to get away.
“Scarlett, are you ready?” he called.
I looked in the mirror and took a deep breath. Time to fight for my life.

 

Scarlett Garner doesn’t remember anything before the age of four-until a car accident changes everything. She starts to remember pieces of a past that frighten her. A past her parents hid from her…and a secret that could get her killed.

 

 

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I did not finish this book at 10% because I knew it wasn’t for me. I was looking forward to reading this book, so I was happy when Netgalley approved my request. But even on the first page I could tell it wasn’t what I expected.

 

I know the characters are teens, but I just felt like the conversations happening were way out there. They seemed to range from sounding like something younger kids would say to kind of sexual. I did not like Scarlett as a main character. As soon as a guy shows up on the first page, her and her best friend Imogen practically claw each other’s eyes out over him.

 

Then you have Noah. He was giving off a seriously creepy vibe to me, and I just didn’t understand how both girls wanted him. The plot progressed so quickly that it seemed really unrealistic to me. Do people really become obsessed with someone after only a few days? Then I felt like the book was doing too much telling, not enough showing. It was just so heavy on the dialogue, which I’ll say again didn’t seem realistic to me. I was kind of curious to figure out what was going on with Noah and his family, but not enough to keep reading.

 

Final note: It just didn’t draw me in like I’d hoped. The writing style just wasn’t for me.