the month of DNFing [ july - august tbr ]
this month, I read a bunch of really good books, but at least half of the ones I started I never finished. some because I didn't like them, some because I lost interest over time, and some because I just didn't connect with the story at all. *sighs* I'm usually not bummed out over not being able to finish books, but several of the ones I didn't make it through were books that I had high hopes for. maybe I'll come back and give them another shot, but for now I'm content to let them be.
the first book I genuinely enjoyed was Saint Anything. I mentioned it in my randomosity post, along with Breakaway, saying how it was good, but it wasn't really anything new. and that's true. it's the story of a girl, who meets a guy, and they fall in love. but the side characters really sold it for me--I loved Mac and Layla's family, and the friend dynamic that grew around Sydney was so great to read. I love books with tight nit family groups and friendships, and Saint Anything really had that. and yes, I am a sucker for a good love story, even if it's not anything really extraordinary. I have a soft spot for Sarah Dessen books, sue me!
Queen of Shadows was high on my TBR list, but surprisingly, I didn't like as much as I thought I would. I mean, I liked it--more Manon, Aedion, and the constant question of "Is Dorian still there?" loved that part! did not love how Rowan and Aelin became a thing. I said in a comment a while back that I shipped Rowaelin, but after reading this book, I realized I actually shipped them as platonic friends and fighting partner more than romantic interests. does any one else do that? you look at two characters or two people and realized how amazing they are together...but then you also realize that they aren't amazing as a couple? just me? okay. but Lysandra definitely made the book worth reading, just saying. I'm looking forward to Empire of Storms, but I have no idea if I'll like it.
Lying Out Loud was an unexpected reread--I was browsing at the library, and it jumped off the shelf at me, literally. I'd forgotten about it, and I have a fond place in my heart for Sonny and Ryder. that name, man. love that name. and the story is interesting in that it has many layers to it--you have complexities between Sunny and Amy, Sunny and Ryder, Sunny and her mom, and they all come together in a way that reminds you that you shouldn't make a habit of lying, make sure to log out of other people's emails, and don't be afraid to be vulnerable and ask for help. I think I will always like this book, but I don't think of it a lot. it's just a nice little thing to reread every now and then.
The Symptoms of My Insanity confused me. I didn't love it, I didn't hate it. I was just kinda 'meh' about it. I knew certain characters weren't what they were seemed, I knew who Izzy was going to end up with, and I knew that something bad was going to happen to her mom from the first chapter. I did like the girl friendships in this book, though. I would love to read more hypochondriac characters, because I didn't quite connect with Izzy in the way that I wanted to. the cover was pretty. the rest was just kinda 'ehhhhhh...'
I already talked about This Savage Song a little in my last post, but man do I love that book. the characters are so interesting, the world very life-like and eye-catching, and the writing is so artsy and UGH I JUST LOVE IT SO MUCH. very excited to see where Schwab takes the story next--plus it's just a beautiful book, both inside and out.
Shadow and Bone proved to be better than the hype. I've heard people fangirl over this series for a while, and I never got the urge to read them. I read the first chapter, almost put it down and didn't pick it back up, then kept on with it and fell in love. After I met the Darkling and discovered Alina's secret talent, I was hooked. I really don't love Mal very much, and I have mixed feelings about the Darkling, but I'm holding back any judgements until I read the rest of the series. I also didn't love Alina's character half the time; sometimes I liked her and found her relatable, but other times it seemed like she adapted a little too quickly to things or that she trusted people far too easily in my opinion. but the plot was clever and had me sort of on the edge of my seat.
The Raven King! I finished it! Yay me! but also not yay me because it's been forever since I read the other books, and I'm pretty sure I was a gluten zombie when I read them, so...yeah. nothing made sense. I was mucho confused. and that ending...although I was happy (because how could you not be happy with that ending, all that demon-slaying, man) I kind was expecting something else. something...sadder (I'm trying to be as non-spoilery as possible). but maybe when I reread the series eventually, I'll be able to enjoy it more fully.
I actually listened to an audiobook this month! normally, I don't do audiobooks, because I like to be doing something while I'm listening...and then I inevitably get distracted. but while I was painting my room and rearranging and stuff, I listened to An Ember in the Ashes and fell in love with the characters, the world-building, the strange combination of Roman and Arabic culture/politics...it was great. imagine my great pain when I found that book two comes out on August 30th. I MUST HAVE IT. I am looking forward to actually reading A Torch in the Night. audiobooks are great, but I like books best.
I love this anthology. I don't normally read books that consist of short story collections, but I saw it on a Maggie Stiefvater feature shelf at my library and said why not. I didn't not go wrong in my choice to check it out. not only do I love Maggie Stiefvater a little more than I thought I could, I also really enjoy reading the other two author's works and am considering reading their books in the near or distance future. plus I really enjoy author's commentary on their works, because you get to see into the creative and writing process in a way that novels don't allow for.
aaaaaand now for the books that I did NOT enjoy/finish.
I actually finished Breakaway. I just didn't like it. I had high hopes for it, because just like Sarah Dessen books, I have a soft spot for soccer books. also it had a sad boy in it, who lost his sister, and since I am in the business of writing about a sad boy, I thought I'd give it a read. and it definitely pulled at my heartstrings. I felt terrible for Jason. I hurt with him and his mom, and as he pulled away from his friends and suffered yet another lost, I'm pretty sure I audibly whispered "noooooo...." because it made me sad. but nothing really happened in the end. there was no overarching plot, and the romantic subplot seemed out of place and awkward. when I finished the book, I just kind of sat there and thought "...was that it?" the ironic thing is that Breakaway is written by Kat Spears, the author of Sway, which was one of my favourite books last year. and I didn't even realize they were written by the same person. whoops.
This is the Part Where You Laugh was weird. I read about half of it before I was like "Nope! To the DNF shelf you go!" yet another sad boy, only this one was jumbled and confusing and liked to throw caimans into lakes so they could eat people's cats. it was also basketball centered, which I do not have a soft spot for at all. plus, I was very furious at Travis' grandpa for about 90% of what I read, because he was a jerk. no one should do what his grandpa did. no one.
The Beginning of Everything was one that just didn't grab my attention. I think I read two chapters and put it down. for one, you have the popular kid who loses everything trope. then you have the new girl who is good at everything and looks different from "the other girls" cliche. some of my least favourite things. and then it was also kind of about debate/tennis, which was a strange combination that I just didn't get (I'm sensing a trend in July's DNFs...sad boys and sports...). maybe I'll give it another shot at a later date, but right now I'm ready to send back to the library.
I really want to read the Life and Death of Zebulon Finch. It looks cool, it's huge, and the narrator is sassy. but it's HUGE. and while Zebulon is sassy and cool, he's also a little tough to read. and since I was not in the mood to read a giant tome of a book, I decided it wasn't for me right now. but just you wait, you beautiful book. I'm coming for you.
finally, I'm a little sad that I just couldn't get into Every Exquisite Thing. I love a lot of Matthew Quick's writing--Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock is one of my favourite books, just because it's weird and it makes you think--but I didn't enjoy this read. and I tried. boy did I try. but it felt awkward, and I couldn't connect with the characters, and it just didn't grab my attention. I'm glad I didn't buy it when I almost did last month; I would have been a little disappointed. or maybe I would have forced myself to like it. we may never know.
my TBR for August? it's small. like crazy small, compared to all these books from July. maybe I'm a little burnt out on reading, especially after finding so many books that I just didn't love, but I'm hoping that I'll be able to do some rereads and find some new favourites.
+ A Darker Shade of Magic
+ The Wrath and The Dawn & The Rose and the Dagger
+ The King Slayer
+ Siege and Storm
+ Stars Above (audiobook) I'm going to try and listen to one audiobook a month, even though it may kill me.
+ A Torch Against the Night
what are you all planning on reading in August? what was your favourite book from July, or did you have kind of a bum month like me?