DNF Confronting Destiny

 

 

Why I Couldn’t Finish This Book:

It’s a real shame that I have to shelve this story for now because it held a lot of promise for me. The story sounded interesting and the characters made for a good first impression. However, it has taken me a while to try and get into this book. I read for a few pages and then get distracted by something else, so I’ve only read a few chapters at this point. I think the biggest problem was the writing style, not that it was terribly written or sounded awful, it was just really hard to get into at the moment. The writing style wasn’t difficult to read, but it reminded me some of my dad’s old high fantasy books. At times there was information woven into the sentences that, while important for world building and character development, felt a bit extra for the given moment the author was trying to write. I’m not completely giving up this story, I still would love to read it one day. But at the moment I have several other books that I need to get to and review as well. So for now, I’m going to shelve this book and hopefully when there is a lull in requested reviews I can pick this one up again and read in earnest.

Details:

Title: Confronting Destiny

Author: A.L

Publisher: Self-published

Release Date: May 18th, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Action/Adventure

Pages: 247

Synopsis:

The once proud kingdom of Rekhia is being rebuilt with the character of her conquerors. They lost their freedom when they lost the war. Over the years, their foreign overlords had caused the erosion of their customs, their language, their way of life. They were losing their identity.

Kaleen, heir to the Rekhian throne, grew up in the peaceful sanctuary of the Misty Mountains, protected by its fiercely independent citizens. For almost two decades, she had been groomed by her uncle to take back what is rightfully hers, to return her country back to her people.

The time has come for her to be what her family expects her to be, what her people need her to be. She embarks on a quest that becomes a journey of self-discovery. She fights new dangers, battles evil in the form of man and monsters. But it is doubt, both in her desires and her abilities, that is her greatest foe.

Her cousins Milan and Milena travel by her side, holding her up when she needs support. Nobles, peasants, monks, knights… help her along the way. But it is ultimately up to Kaleen, to save her kingdom, to free Rekhia, to find her true self, and to confront destiny.

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Book Review: Heartbeat (Morta Fox #1)

Note: I got a free copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review, which reads as follows:

 

Synopsis:

When I first saw the monster hidden in the dark, teeth sharp and face covered in blood, the first thing I did was jump over Boston’s Wall of Protection to warn the people inside it. Turns out the people already knew, and all I did was turn myself into a delicious little snack for the most terrifying creature to have ever existed.

I was sure he’d kill me. He didn’t. Instead, he turned me into one of them.

Being saved against your own will is no fun, especially when the knight in shining armor is a vampire who calls himself Hammer. He’s arrogant, flirty, and even more stubborn than me. Left with no other choice but to make a deal with him, I soon find out that I’m not just your usual bloodsucker. I’m something far worse. But at least I’m no longer all alone.

Promises are not to be broken in my newfound world, and when my part of the deal is done, Hammer has seven days to complete his.

If he does, I will no longer be alive.

My First Thoughts:

The premise for this story sounded very interesting and I’m always looking for a good vampire story to read. Seriously, it’s hard to find good vampire fiction anymore which is a real shame. If you find the right vampire fiction it can be a whole bucket of angst and drama or a blood bath, anything else jut gets too boring or cliché.

Overall Thoughts/Opinions:

Warning: Mentions of attempted suicide, suicidal thoughts and tendencies, and attempted rape.

For the life of me I could not finish this story and it really upsets me. I really wanted to like this book and I really wanted to read it to the end because it reminded me of a bad movie that people still found enjoyable because of its flaws. Unfortunately, I lost all interest and will to read this book and could only read a few pages a sitting before I got bored or frustrated. So, for the sake of all the other books I need and/or want to read I’ve decided to put this one down and I don’t think I’m ever going to pick it up again. At nearly 20% of the way though the book I had to shelve it.

In the beginning of the story I was a bit intrigued. Dystopians can be hard for me to get into, so most of the time I stay away from them unless they have an interesting story. So far I had never run into a dystopian novel that also had vampires, so that acted as the initial hook for me. However, it kind of dropped from there.

The one thing that really made this story hard to read were all the plot holes that were just so glaringly obvious that it became frustrating. Morta made decisions that made absolutely no sense just so that the author could have her in the right place to progress the story. The author describes how vampires were created, which at first I thought it was clever until I really started thinking about it. The author used a virus to create vampires. When infected, the body’s organs all fail and stop working except for the brain, which needs blood to survive. At first, I thought it was an interesting idea but then I really started thinking about it. If the stomach is no longer functioning, then how does the blood get to the brain? When the blood is consumed it goes down the throat and to the stomach. First thought is that the new blood just gets absorbed into the blood stream and is taken to the brain. However, that’s not how things work. For something to get into the blood stream it must either be immediately be absorbed into muscles, directly supplied by injecting into a vain, or it must be digested by the stomach. If swallowed, blood to my knowledge can’t be absorbed into the muscles so it would have to be digested, if that’s possible, which it can’t be because the stomach is no longer functioning. Also, if the heart stops beating then how would the blood, if it could, get to the brain? The pumping of the heart is the main mechanism for blood circulation, so how does the new blood get to the brain if the heart isn’t beating? There were several other issues I had with the virus approach, but I’ll stop there and spare you from my rant.

The mistakes I found in this book made it obvious that this was a self-published piece. At first they were quite humorous. Occasionally the author would use the wrong verb, ex: “I heard the smell of blood…” Other times there were issues with continuity, one minute a character would be one thing and the next they were doing an action that completely contradicted what they had just done with no real mention of it. After a while the mistakes just kept piling up and it made the story a little hard to follow, all of which could have been avoid if there was an experienced editor involved with this story.

I think I could have gotten past all of the errors in this story, because they really were funny most of the time, if I even liked the characters I was following. I hated Morta and I liked Hammer only a smidgen more than her. Morta is a pessimistic, childish, and frustrating character. It was like the author didn’t want to make her a Mary Sue, or the perfect heroine, but in doing so made an unrealistic character that just became too annoying to even care for. She doesn’t want to be a monster so she tries to commit suicide. At least four times she tries to kill herself within the first few chapters after she becomes a vampire. She is so determined to die that she keeps doing things that may get her killed and honestly I can’t stand those characters. As someone who had to talk a friend out of suicide I was extremely uncomfortable with this and many times pissed with how the author handled it. I can’t imagine what someone who actually has attempted suicide would feel when reading this.

Like I said, Hammer was a little more likeable than Morta but not enough to make me care what happens to him. When you first meet him he’s a cocky show off who just tries to convince Morta to sleep with him. Ignoring the impossibility of vampire sex, it made him come off poorly because he kept insisting until Morta gave him a firm, hard refusal. After Morta told him no though, he dropped the subject completely and then it felt like he was a teacher mentoring a young bratty child which doesn’t scream romance to me. Also, outside those two main characters nine out of ten people were complete scum and completely unredeemable. For instance, for some reason the doctors Morta ran into in the beginning tried doing nonconsensual experiments for no immediate reason. Slightly later, when Morta leaves the city she is immediately set upon by a group of men that try to coerce her into having sex with them. Not even a chapter later another guy tries forcing her to have sex with him and no one tries to stop him. And of course, because it’s a dystopian all government officials and law enforcement are sadistic, murdering scum.

Rating:

I got about 19% of the way through this book and decided to quit. This book needs some serious editing work because it read like the first draft of a manuscript, before an editor takes their red pen to the pages and make them bleed. The characters are unlikable. There are plot holes everywhere that distract from the story. The word building is lazy and reads like the author just took our reality and slapped a bunch of cheap stickers on it. I feel like I could have finished this book if I found that I had even a grain of compassion towards Morta and Hammer. Instead I doubt that I will ever pick this story up again. It’s possible that the story gets better from where I left off, but I have no motivation to find out.

I would recommend this story to anyone who likes dystopian or vampire stories, I feel like people should still give this book a try if they really want to. However, I must warn you that there are mentions of attempted suicide, suicidal thoughts and tendencies, and attempted rape. If you are someone who has any experience with suicide I seriously suggest staying away from this book because the main character only wants to die and attempts to kill herself several times. If these things don’t bother you, then by all means give this story a try if you really want to.

Details:

Title: Heartbeat (Morta Fox #1)

Author: D.N. Hoxa

Publisher: self-published

Release Date: October 16, 2016

Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Dystopia, Romance

Pages: 326

Short Story Review: The Grey Woman (Chilling Horror Short Stories)

Title: The Grey Woman (Chilling Horror Short Stories)

Author: Elizabeth Gaskell

Genre: Short Story, Horror, Gothic

Pages: 32 (162-193)

Thoughts:

Again, this was another short story that I just could not bring myself to finish and I honestly don’t know why. Originally published in 1865, this story is written in what is now considered to be old English. Most people nowadays may not like this kind of writing style, especially since it can take some time to decipher, but I found that for the most part it was much easier to understand than some of the previous short stories that I’ve read in this selection. The author even did a wonderful job varying the lengths of her sentences and paragraphs, steering away from the long winded passages that have made other stories dull and tedious to read. I will say though that it takes a while for the story to really go anywhere.

First few pages are spent with characters that you think will be the main ones, but then it turns out that they’re actually reading the story of The Grey Woman’s protagonist. So it’s a story about a story of a woman that’s being read aloud by other people that have no relation or connection to this woman−thrilling. From what I could tell, the first third of the story is setting up the style of storytelling and some background for our true main character. All of that is fine, if it didn’t take at least ten pages to do. And within the first ten pages you gain no insight as to what the story idea is, other than a mousy German woman unenthusiastically marrying a French dandy. I can’t really comment more on this story because I couldn’t go beyond the second third, and yes, it was divided into three parts.

Rating:

Did not finish. So I can’t actually give this a rating, but I can give a list as to why I couldn’t finish.

  • Could have been because it was just too damn long to be a short story. I believe that anything more than 25 pages in a novella, which means it’s a very long short story and could actually be published on its own.
  • After ten pages I’m still not completely sure what it going on. Is the story spooky? Is it a paranormal? Murder mystery? Thriller? I don’t know!
  • I tried, I really did to pick this one up so many times but I never did get very far before my attention span burned away.
  • Also, it’s a story about a few nondescript characters reading aloud the story of another woman, who’s written her tale for a specific person who was still a bit of a mystery ten pages in.

All in all, I had to give this one up so that I could continue on to the other stories. Maybe sometime later I’ll try tackling this one again.

Short Story Review: The Murdered Cousin (Chilling Horror Short Stories)

Title: The Murdered Cousin (Chilling Horror Short Stories)

Author: Sheridan Le Fanu

Genre: Short Story, Horror, Gothic

Pages: 20 (142-161)

Thoughts:

For the life of me I could not finish this short story. It took me days to try to read it and I only got about six pages in before I just couldn’t do it anymore. At first I wanted to give myself a little break because while on their own not many of these stories scared me, but when mixed together they can be quite frightening. My brain decided to do just that and I had a rather disturbing nightmare that convinced me to take a short break from the short stories, especially since this one was titled The Murdered Cousin, which one can assume is scary. Honestly, I don’t know if it is a frightening tale because six pages in and the actually story is starting to unfold.

The first few pages of the story is nothing but backstory as to why the main character is going to the location of the story. It’s not that long of a back story, but the writing is so dreadfully convoluted that it takes forever for the author to say anything. I’ve read old stories and normally there’s a little bit of a grace period for me to switch from current writing to something older, but I just couldn’t do it with this one.

The sentence structure is terrible, while grammatically correct they can run on for lines and lines and lines at a time being separated by semicolons instead of periods. There’s no variance in the sentence structure either, their either long with multiple thoughts or they’re really short. The paragraphs are much the same way, really short or half the page. I think the longest sentence that I found was one of three in a single paragraph, it took up several lines and had about six or seven semicolons. That all bothers me because my brain just can’t stay focused on a style like that. Many times I found myself yawning and fighting sleep in the middle of the day while reading this.

Rating:

Did not finish. So I can’t actually give this a rating, but I can give a list as to why I couldn’t finish.

  • Impossibly long sentences, but actually grammatically correct, they just aren’t done anymore.
  • 6 pages in and we’re just getting to the start of the actual story.
  • 6 pages of nothing but back ground, but not a whole lot of back ground to cover, just a lot of thoughts that take up several pages.
  • After several pages I know more about the non-perspective main character than the main character telling the actually story.
  • There’s some intrigue to keep me reading, but not enough to endure the writing style.
  • Paragraphs are either short with impossibly long sentences or long with a mixture of short and long sentences.
  • Really just feels like word vomit sometimes.
  • I couldn’t stay awake enough to keep me invested in the story. A minute after putting it down, I would stop yawning and feel a hundred times more awake.

The biggest problem for me was the author’s writing style, it was not something I could enjoy even with a bit of effort. But if it’s something that doesn’t bother you I would give The Murdered Cousin a try, the idea and premise sounded interesting enough.