Thursday, February 19, 2015

DNF Mini Reviews: February

I don't normally post reviews for books that I don't finish reading but lately my TBR has exploded and I have decided that I really need to not read books that I'm not enjoying so that I can give other books a chance. It's not fair to me, it's not fair to the book I'm reading at the time, and it's not fair to the books I could be reading. Plus this month I DNF'd more books than I usually do.

So I decided to to a few quick posts to explain my thoughts on the two books I shelved as "DNF" this month. Writing DNF reviews is a tricky subject. I didn't want to do full reviews on the book because I don't really have a well-rounded enough view on it. But I also wanted to explain why I didn't quite like the books because I try to be really honest here. So I based this post on Nikki at There Were Books Involved's DNF Q&As. This allows me to explain why the book didn't quite work for me without giving a full review. So here you go, my DNF Reviews for February:

Title: We Are Pirates
Author: Daniel Handler
Published: February 3, 2015 by Bloomsbury
Source: NetGalley
(Amazon / Goodreads)                                                                                          

Synopsis: A boat has gone missing. Goods have been stolen. There is blood in the water. It is the twenty-first century and a crew of pirates is terrorizing the San Francisco Bay. 

Phil is a husband, a father, a struggling radio producer, and the owner of a large condo with a view of the water. But he'd like to be a rebel and a fortune hunter. Gwen is his daughter. She's fourteen. She's a student, a swimmer, and a best friend. But she'd like to be an adventurer and an outlaw. Phil teams up with his young, attractive assistant. They head for the open road, attending a conference to seal a deal. Gwen teams up with a new, fierce friend and some restless souls. They head for the open sea, stealing a boat to hunt for treasure. 

We Are Pirates is a novel about our desperate searches for happiness and freedom, about our wild journeys beyond the boundaries of our ordinary lives. Also, it's about a teenage girl who pulls together a ragtag crew to commit mayhem in the San Francisco Bay, while her hapless father tries to get her home.

Why it Didn't Work For Me:
I was hoping for something with a little bit more action. The synopsis for the book makes it sound like a fast-paced adventure story about characters who take to the seas. What I found was a quirky character-driven story about a father and his daughter who are going through a tough time and not dealing with it very well. It's much more of a Contemporary Adult novel than I was expecting. But I think what really didn't work for me was the pacing. It's not a very long book and I thought I would power through it, but I read half of the book before much of anything even happened. I couldn't see the direction that the book was going in and I wasn't invested enough to wait around for something to happen that would capture my interest.

How Much I Read:
50% of the e-ARC

Will I Go Back to It:
Maybe. Lately I have been enjoying Contemporary novels more than I have in the past so maybe after I get a few more under my belt I can go back to it.

Title: The Marriage Game
Author: Alison Weir
Published: February 10, 2015 by Ballantine (Random House)
Source: NetGalley
(Amazon / Goodreads)

Synopsis: In this compelling novel of Tudor drama and suspense, acclaimed author Alison Weir brings to life one of England’s most scandalous royal love affairs: the romance between the “Virgin Queen” Elizabeth I and her courtier Lord Robert Dudley. 

 Only twenty-five and newly crowned, Elizabeth vows to rule the country as both queen and king. But her counselors continually press her to form an advantageous marriage and produce an heir. Though none of the suitors have yet worked their way to her throne, the dashing—though married—Lord Robert lays claim to Elizabeth’s heart. Their flagrant flirting, their unescorted outings, and the appointment of Lord Robert to Master of Horse inspire whispers through the court, and even rumors that Elizabeth has secretly given birth to Lord Robert’s child. 

 Events take a dark turn when Robert’s wife is found dead. Universal shock is followed by accusations of murder. Despite the scandal, Elizabeth and Robert manage to navigate the choppy political, economic, and religious waters around them. But the greatest obstacle to marriage between the Queen and her true love may come not from outside forces, but from within. 

With intricate period detail and captivating prose, Alison Weir explores one of history’s most provocative “Did they or didn’t they?” debates. The Marriage Game maneuvers through the alliances, duplicities, intrigue, and emotions of a woman intent on sovereignty—over her country and herself.

Why It Didn't Work For Me:
This one really pained me to DNF. I was so excited to read it. It is Historical Fiction about Queen Elizabeth I and elaborates on a very specific part of her life and rise to power, her thoughts on marriage. I'm not a big fan of romances but I've really loved some sort of anti-romance kind of stories so I had high hopes. And despite a great portayal of QE1 as an empowered feminist, I just wasn't connecting with it. I think what I forgot going into this book is that I don't like stories about forbidden love. It just doesn't work for me. The pacing of this book was also a lot slower than I like. At times it felt incredibly repetitive and the general plot of the story hadn't kicked in yet. For me this was one of those books that just seemed longer than it needed to be. In a week of reading I had only gotten through a quarter of the book and I wasn't ready to invest the amount of time reading this book was going to require.

How Much I Read:
26% of the e-ARC

Will I Go Back to It:
Probably. I am doing a Historical Fiction month in April and I may pick this one up again. It's going to take more time than I expected but now that I know what I'm getting into I may like it more.

Have you read We Are Pirates or The Marriage Game? What did you think? What makes you DNF a book and do you ever go back to it after you put it down for an extended period of time? Leave me a comment with your thoughts. Thanks for stopping by and happy reading.


  1. This is such a good idea! I often find myself struggling through books which I don't want to DNF but am simply not enjoying. Pacing is also another issue I find myself dealing with! I'm stealing this idea from you, if I manage to allow myself to DNF ;)
    Loved reading your thoughts on both these books!
    Juli @ Universe in Words

    1. I'm the same way, I hate DNFing. When I do talk myself into it I say I plan to go back to the book but I rarely do. Recently I have been DNFing a lot more than I used to. Forcing myself to read a book I'm not enjoying not only makes me recent that book but prevents me from reading something I will enjoy. I think my recent reading slump was because I wasn't DNFing books I should have.

      Haha, steal away. It wasn't an original idea so I can't take credit for it. These sort of mini review are just my way of not having my thoughts on them hanging in limbo. I get them out but I don't give a full review.

  2. I hate DNFing books, but I feel the same way as you - life's too short to force myself through a book I'm not enjoying! I haven't heard of either of these and I don't know if I would ever pick them up, but thanks for pointing me away anyway :P

    Tracy @ Cornerfolds

    1. I always feel like such a quitter when I DNF a book. Plus a few times I have put a book down only to pick it back up and for it to get interesting finally. That's probably why I do the two days off, one day on policy. Neither of these were bad books, they just weren't for me. For the right audience I think they would be killer.

  3. Bummer about The Marriage Game! I had high hopes for that one. It feels like it should have been a perfect fit for you. I hate it when things don't work out like that. Hopefully your next one is better.