February's DNFs

Saturday, February 27, 2016
Bluescreen by Dan Wells (Mirador #1)

Los Angeles in 2050 is a city of open doors, as long as you have the right connections. That connection is a djinni—a smart device implanted right in a person’s head. In a world where virtually everyone is online twenty-four hours a day, this connection is like oxygen—and a world like that presents plenty of opportunities for someone who knows how to manipulate it.

Marisa Carneseca is one of those people. She might spend her days in Mirador, the small, vibrant LA neighborhood where her family owns a restaurant, but she lives on the net—going to school, playing games, hanging out, or doing things of more questionable legality with her friends Sahara and Anja. And it’s Anja who first gets her hands on Bluescreen—a virtual drug that plugs right into a person’s djinni and delivers a massive, non-chemical, completely safe high. But in this city, when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is, and Mari and her friends soon find themselves in the middle of a conspiracy that is much bigger than they ever suspected.

Dan Wells, author of the New York Times bestselling Partials Sequence, returns with a stunning new vision of the near future—a breathless cyber-thriller where privacy is the world’s most rare resource and nothing, not even the thoughts in our heads, is safe.

I wanted to like this for a couple reasons -- the author has some creative ideas in the past and it has a POC main character. The premise is great and the ideas are often original but the execution just didn't engage me at all. I just was way bored and uninterested; the details didn't seem to make sense to me and I didn't really feel anything about the book.  I gave it to 100 pages to hook me or make the world clearer and I felt as uninvolved there as I did on page 1.

Read: 100/352 pages

The Word for Yes by Claire Needell

After their parents’ divorce, Jan, Erika, and Melanie have to get used to the new world order: a father who’s moved to another continent and a mother who throws herself into moving on. Jan, off at her first semester of college, has plenty to worry about, including an outspoken roommate who’s kind of “out there” and an increasingly depressed and troubled long-distance boyfriend. Her younger sisters, left at home in New York City, and dealing with all the pressures of life in high school, aren’t exactly close. Erika is serious and feels awkward and uncomfortable in crowds, though her beauty tends to attract attention. Melanie is socially savvy and just wants to go out—to concerts, to parties, wherever—with her friends. The gap between all three girls widens as each day passes.

Then, at a party full of blurred lines and blurred memories, everything changes. Starting that night, where there should be words, there is only angry, scared silence.

And in the aftermath, Jan, Erika, and Melanie will have to work hard to reconnect and help one another heal.

At once touching and raw, Claire Needell’s first novel is an honest look at the love and conflicts among sisters and friends, and how these relationships can hold us together—and tear us apart.

There are a lot of things that set me off about The Word for Yes. There are too many POVs, not enough depth, and little to no emotional connection. For a novel that tries to talk about serious issues, the depiction of characters is too shallow, cliche, or harmfully stereotypical. Very disappointing.

Read: 100/256

Into the Dim by Janet B. Taylor (Into the Dim #1)

When fragile, sixteen-year-old Hope Walton loses her mom to an earthquake overseas, her secluded world crumbles. Agreeing to spend the summer in Scotland, Hope discovers that her mother was more than a brilliant academic, but also a member of a secret society of time travelers. 

Trapped in the twelfth century in the age of Eleanor of Aquitaine, Hope has seventy-two hours to rescue her mother and get back to their own time. Along the way, her path collides with that of a mysterious boy who could be vital to her mission . . . or the key to Hope’s undoing.      Addictive, romantic, and rich with historical detail, Into the Dim is an Outlander for teens.

This was not for me because I found the first 115 pages to be dry, stilted, confusing, full of infodumps, plus a slur. I wanted to love this but the comparisons to Outlander ran too true --- that was another book that bored and annoyed me in equal turns (baa baa black sheep thy name is Jessie). I love time-slip fiction but this was far more Gabaldon's style than Kearsley's. I gave this a bit longer than I usually do for novels that fail to engage me, but I had to 100-page rule this at 115. (I admittedly skimmed the rest of the book but still won't be rating.)

Read: 115/skimmed the rest of 432 pages

A Study in Charlotte (Charlotte Holmes #1) by Brittany Cavallaro

 The last thing sixteen-year-old Jamie Watson–writer and great-great-grandson of the John Watson–wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s enigmatic, fiercely independent great-great-granddaughter, who’s inherited not just his genius but also his vices, volatile temperament, and expertly hidden vulnerability. Charlotte has been the object of his fascination for as long as he can remember–but from the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else.

Then a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Holmes stories, and Jamie and Charlotte become the prime suspects. Convinced they’re being framed, they must race against the police to conduct their own investigation. As danger mounts, it becomes clear that nowhere is safe and the only people they can trust are each other.

Equal parts tender, thrilling, and hilarious, A Study in Charlotte is the first in a trilogy brimming with wit and edge-of-the-seat suspense.

I wanted to love this but the story and characters failed to interest me. I can take or leave quirky characters on a case by case basis and Charlotte? Just didn't manage to really make me care about her or her quirks. However, I realize I am also a black sheep in the regard that all the Sherlock Holmes retellings that are coming out really fail to work for me, be they YA or adult in age. Which leads me right to our next....

Read: 120/336 pages

Art in the Blood by Bonnie MacBird

London. A snowy December, 1888. Sherlock Holmes, 34, is languishing and back on cocaine after a disastrous Ripper investigation. Watson can neither comfort nor rouse his friend – until a strangely encoded letter arrives from Paris.

Mlle La Victoire, a beautiful French cabaret star writes that her young son has vanished, and she has been attacked in the streets of Montmartre.

Racing to Paris with Watson at his side, Holmes discovers the missing child is only the tip of the iceberg of a much larger problem. The most valuable statue since the Winged Victory has been violently stolen in Marseilles, and several children from a silk mill in Lancashire have been found murdered. The clues in all three cases point to a single, untouchable man, an art collector seemingly beyond reach of the law.

Will Holmes recover in time to find the missing boy and stop a rising tide of murders? To do so he must stay one step ahead of a dangerous French rival and the threatening interference of his own brother, Mycroft.

This latest adventure, in the style of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, sends the iconic duo from London to Paris and the icy wilds of Lancashire in a case which tests Watson's friendship and the fragility and gifts of Sherlock Holmes' own artistic nature to the limits.

I was wary of A Study in Charlotte early on, but I was so sure that this book would work for me. However, I found myself putting this down repeatedly over the four days I attempted to make my way through its 300 pages. This version of Sherlock has the brains but little personality because rude and small-minded. I get that he is not a people person but I have either be interested by or invested in some characters to care about the book. With this Sherlock and the lack of development in any other characters as well, I was out before 110 pages.

Read: 105/300


  1. BOO! Bluescreen sounded like it had some real potential.....BLEH.

    Into the Dim....I had such HOPES for that one. And the use of SLUT and the girl shaming....DAMN. Yeah, I'm pissed off that there are books like this still published.

    I'm so sorry to hear about Study in Charlotte. :(

    1. I was pretty excited for all these but Bluescreen and Into the Dim were too of my most anticipated. That I couldn't even finish either... welllll, yah, that does say a lot.

      I really want to get into this Sherlock revival going on but yeah.. no retelling besides RDJ's has worked for me :P

  2. You made a smart choice with DNFing The Word for Yes -- I completely agree with what you said! I couldn't believe how shallow the book felt with such a serious topic involved. I didn't appreciate that at all.

    1. I was very disappointed in the small amount I managed. I have low tolerance for authors and that subject 0-- basically if you can't be as honest or as awesome as Summers or LH Anderson, I'm out.


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