Books shelved under “Did Not Finish”

26 reviews found

  1. Book cover for Espionage in the Divided Stuart Dynasty

    Espionage in the Divided Stuart Dynasty: 1685-1715

    by Julian Whitehead

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    I can’t do it. Why do I have such bad luck with non-fiction British history on NetGalley? First The Tragic Daughters of Charles I and now Espionage in the Divided Stuart Dynasty. Thanks to NetGalley and publisher Pen and Sword History for the eARC, but unfortunately, I did not finish this book.

    Here’s what I was anticipating based on the description of the book: I was hoping that Julian Whitehead would explain,…

  2. Book cover for Bloodwitch

    Bloodwitch

    by Susan Dennard

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    I have completely forgotten the first two books of this series, and I’m having a hard time getting into this book as a result.

    Like completely, completely forgotten. And I have zero interest in going back and re-reading the previous books.

    Maybe this is just the wrong time for this book and I’ll come back to this series one day. I’m not writing it off completely. For the moment, however, this is not the right…

  3. Book cover for Space Opera

    Space Opera

    by Catherynne M. Valente

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    I stuck it out for 50 pages or so but was pretty sure 10 pages in that Space Opera isn’t for me.

    Surprised? Me too. This has everything I usually like in humorous, Douglas Adams–inspired science fiction: lengthy infodumps, absurd alien species, human characters so over the top they might as well be on Everest … but it just … didn’t work.

    Catherynne Valente’s prose just tries too hard for me. That’s not really a…

  4. Book cover for The Witch Who Came in from the Cold

    The Witch Who Came in from the Cold

    by Lindsay Smith

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    I made it through four or five of the “episodes” of The Witch Who Came in from the Cold over several days. Then I looked at how much more of the book I had left to go. I looked at my colleague, who has been reading very, very long, semi-serialized work on places like Wattpad. And I gave her this book, having not finished it, because I think she might like it more than I…

  5. Book cover for The Tragic Daughters of Charles I

    The Tragic Daughters of Charles I: Mary, Elizabeth & Henrietta Anne

    by Sarah-Beth Watkins

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    Reader, I finished the first chapter but could not go any further. The writing (or maybe copyediting) of this book is atrocious.

    I know that in this day and age commas are misunderstood beasts of punctuation. As someone very invested in eradicating comma splices from my students’ writing, I tend to lean on the side of using fewer commas when in doubt. Yet this book takes that position to the extreme. The result are torturous…

  6. Book cover for Crosstalk

    Crosstalk

    by Connie Willis

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Reader, I have done something I didn't think I would ever do. Not only have I had to DNF another book just before the end of the year, but I …

    … I skipped to the end!

    Yes, I know! Sacrilege! But I could not finish Crosstalk. The constant storm of interruptions from Briddey’s phone and the people in her life was literally causing my introvert brain to feel anxious and stressed. If…

  7. Book cover for Sofia Khan is Not Obliged

    Sofia Khan is Not Obliged

    by Ayisha Malik

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    This is somewhat outside my usual reading remit. I actually kind of bought it accidentally. I gave it a try, but honestly this weekend is just kicking my ass, so it’s not the best time to be reading something that doesn’t immediately appeal to me.

    DNFing this because if I finish it I’m not going to like it, and that isn’t really the book’s fault. It’s not a bad book, but I’m not in the…

  8. Book cover for The Devil You Know

    The Devil You Know

    by Mike Carey

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    I don’t remember how The Devil You Know ended up on my to-read list, except maybe that a lot of people compare it to The Dresden Files, one of my favourite fantasy series of all time. Yet it’s worth noting that I like The Dresden Files in spite of its noir elements, and I like Harry Dresden in spite of the streak of casual chauvinism that runs through him. The Devil You Know is…

  9. Book cover for An Ember in the Ashes

    An Ember in the Ashes

    by Sabaa Tahir

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    Probably a mistake to start this just as Desert Bus for Hope started; I should have known I wouldn’t get any reading done last week.

    In any event, I couldn’t get into An Ember in the Ashes. I don’t think it’s a bad book, or even badly written (though I’m not sure its style is for me). I just didn’t connect with either of the protagonists, and the characterization is a little too clear-cut…

  10. Book cover for Tome of the Undergates

    Tome of the Undergates

    by Sam Sykes

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    Sam Sykes drops us off very much in media res in Tome of the Undergates. Often I love that kind of thing—exposition is for chumps! But as with my experience with An Ember in the Ashes, perhaps trying to read this just after Desert Bus for Hope was a bad idea. Or perhaps it was having an antihero as a protagonist.

    This reminds me a great deal of Best Served Cold. I…

  11. Book cover for Data Love

    Data Love: The Seduction and Betrayal of Digital Technologies

    by Roberto Simanowski

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    There is a school of thought rising in popularity which wants coding to become a mandatory subject in schools. I have some thoughts on this, but that is neither here nor there for this review. Rather, it’s just interesting that for all the talk of teaching kids to code because it will lead to “better jobs”, there isn’t much emphasis on teaching about the way Big Data is redefining our lives. From data mining…

  12. Book cover for Substitute

    Substitute: Going to School With a Thousand Kids

    by Nicholson Baker

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Four years ago, I moved to England to begin my career as a teacher. Fresh out of Lakehead University's Faculty of Education, the dry job market in Ontario left me looking across the Atlantic. Thanks to Engage Education, an agency that specializes in recruiting teachers overseas for the English school system so desperately clamouring for them, I managed to land a classroom right away. When I moved back to Thunder Bay, I got on the…

  13. Book cover for The Passage

    The Passage

    by Justin Cronin

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    Ain’t nobody got time for vampire fiction masquerading as high-octane thrillers hidden behind too many characters and subplots.

    I must have added The Passage to my to-read list back when it came out and received vaguely positive reviews from some quarters. To be sure, I can see why some people would like this. Justin Cronin writes with that pseudo-noir style that works well for certain types of thrillers: everyone in his books seems like a…

  14. Book cover for The Light Ages

    The Light Ages

    by Ian R. MacLeod

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    It’s a shame. I really enjoyed Journeys, but my first attempt at novel-length Ian R. MacLeod falls short.

    The Light Ages takes place in an alternative England where the ability to manipulate aether has jumpstarted steam engine technology somewhat. Other technologies, like electricity, have fallen by the wayside as too unreliable. The result is a grittier, dirtier, more magical and more chaotic industrialized England.

    My problems stem from the writing style. MacLeod doesn’t value…

  15. Book cover for Reason, Faith, and Revolution

    Reason, Faith, and Revolution: Reflections on the God Debate

    by Terry Eagleton

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I read the first 78 pages of this book so you don’t have to.

    I was trying to make it to at least 100, but I’m sorry. The body is willing but the mind is weak.

    I added this book to my to-read list after reading The God Delusion; it somehow coming up as a counterpoint to Dawkins’ atheistic arguments. I just went back and re-read my review of that book, and I’m pleased…

  16. Book cover for A Stranger in Olondria

    A Stranger in Olondria

    by Sofia Samatar

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    Could not deal.

    I looked at my progress today and realized I was only slightly more than halfway through. Every time I go to read it, my eyes feel heavy. Enormous paragraphs of description and narration make for a style of story that just does not work for me at the moment. I need something more quickly-paced, something that grabs and takes me along for the ride.

    This is not a bad book. But it’s…

  17. Book cover for In Darkness

    In Darkness

    by Nick Lake

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    I did not finish this.

    It’s a nominee for the Carnegie Medal, which is why I started reading it. Unfortunately, it didn’t engage me enough to make me want to keep reading.

    Nick Lake does a good job creating character and setting, and he makes a fair stab at plot. In Darkness is split in two time periods: one follows the Haitian Revolution; the other is set during the most recent Haiti earthquake. Through…

  18. Book cover for Narcopolis

    Narcopolis

    by Jeet Thayil

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    I don’t abandon books lightly, but it had to be done. If I hadn’t borrowed enough books from the library that I have to read about 1 per day to finish them before I move to England, I definitely would have finished this. I don’t think I would have liked it, mind you, but it’s not horrible enough to abandon.

    I should have paid attention to Jeet Thayil’s biography. Poets-turned-novelist rarely work for me.…

  19. Book cover for The Cornelius Chronicles

    The Cornelius Chronicles

    by Michael Moorcock

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    I’m not the right person to read this, at least not right now.

    I know it’s kind of my hang-up to turn everything into a generational thing, but I think that’s in operation here. I didn’t live through the 1960s or the 1970s. I don’t get what the political climate was like then, either in North America or in Europe, and I come to New Wave science fiction experiencing everything second hand. That doesn’t mean…

  20. Book cover for King Maker

    King Maker

    by Maurice Broaddus

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    There’s something about the King Arthur legends that fascinate me and tug at my imagination. It’s probably the tragedy of the tale mixed with that message of hope—Arthur’s body spirited away to Avalon to await his return. Merlin is literally the wizard who helps Arthur answer the Call, and I’ve always identified with that archetype on account of my intellectual and autodidactic leanings. So I’m always happy to try a book that attempts to put…

  21. Book cover for Green Darkness

    Green Darkness

    by Anya Seton

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    Much like The Burning Glass, I don’t think it was a good idea trying to read this during the school year. After four days I got less than 60 pages into the novel. Just no traction whatsoever.

    The romance aspect of this novel was not enough in evidence for me to comment on it—we hadn’t even jumped back to the Tudor part yet. I mean, Celia and Richard’s relationship was shallow and fraught with…

  22. Book cover for The Burning Glass

    The Burning Glass

    by Marjorie Bowen

    Unrated

    Reviewed

    This is a new feeling. I know almost nothing about this book. It’s some obscure book that was published in 1918 or 1920—when I search online for the title and author, I get plenty of listings for the book but no actual information. Marjorie Bowen’s Wikipedia page doesn’t even deign to mention The Burning Glass. I suppose this is one of those works that has faded into obscurity? I don’t know, but it isn’t…

  23. Book cover for Reason Reigns

    Reason Reigns

    by Ilyn Ross

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I have a question, for you, dear reader of this review: how many times in your life have you encountered a novel printed entirely in sans-serif font? I'm willing to bet the number you come up with is, if not "zero," then very low indeed—on the higher end, perhaps, if you read more self-published/POD fiction than I do. Reason Reigns is the first book I can ever recall reading in sans-serif font, and until now,…

  24. Book cover for Blindness

    Blindness

    by José Saramago

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Saramago's style is just totally unreadable. I generously gave the book two chapters, skipped ahead to the middle and end, and discovered that it's like this throughout the entire book: run-on sentences, dialogue offset only by commas and never separated by paragraphs, nary a quotation mark to be seen. Now, I don't mind when an author subverts a few grammatical rules to make a point or enhance his or her style. Totally disregarding them, on…

  25. Book cover for Lord of Shadows

    Lord of Shadows

    by Mary Lennox

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    I just couldn't get into this, unfortunately. Aside from the plight of Caroline Berring, who desperately wants to marry into an acceptable station in English society, there's very little in ways of a compelling plot, and that just doesn't do it for me. If you're more interested in the intricacies of Victorian English society, you may have a better time with this.

  26. Book cover for The Accidental

    The Accidental

    by Ali Smith

    1 out of 5 stars

    Reviewed

    Somehow I managed to become trapped inside a world of streaming consciousness, present tense narrative that jumped from inelegant metaphor to inelegant metaphor. I barely made it out alive, swallowing almost fifty pages before declaring defeat and making a strategic retreat to the next book on my to-read shelf.

    Thank goodness I got out in time!

    Ali Smith's writing style in this book is too jarring for me to get into the story and actually…