Wednesday, April 13, 2022

DNF&Y [41]

DNF&Y is used to explain why I gave up on certain books, and what about them just didn't work for me. What I disliked about a book might be something you love, so it helps to share your thoughts even when they're negative! 

Heartless (Immortal Enemies, #1) by Gena Showalter

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Vengeance is irresistible…

Kaysar the Unhinged One, fae King of Midnight, can drive anyone to madness with his song. A ruthless warrior forged in hate, he lives to force his enemies to their knees. He will stop at nothing to succeed—even abduct and seduce his foe’s beloved bride, ensuring his own child one day sits on the male’s throne. Except, his prize escapes to the mortal realm before the first kiss, her heart transplanted into a mortal beauty with dangerous secrets…

Chantel “Cookie” Bardot is a professional gamer girl great at trash talking, bad at peopling. After a long awaited surgery, she begins to morph into a powerful fae princess. Catapulted into a strange land ruled by a cruel but seductive villain, she must battle flesh and blood monsters and navigate royal intrigues. But the true danger is Kaysar, whose every wicked touch tempts her beyond reason. Should she run…or descend into the darkness with him?

When I saw a book by Gena Showalter on NetGalley, I immediately requested it. Unfortunately, it was the second book in a series (really wish they'd listed that somewhere in the description), and after doing a little research realized it would be better if I read them in order. Luckily, my library had a physical copy of Heartless that I was able to snag. Sadly, this book was a major flop, and not at all what I expected from Showalter. 

For starters, both of the main characters were fucking psychopaths that needed therapy and possibly a padded room somewhere. Chantel "Cookie" said she was "murder curious" before ever leaving the human realm, and didn't really balk when she inevitably killed others. Kaysar's vengeance was understandable, if a little over-the-top. Although, I wasn't sure why the need to destroy his enemies overpowered his desire to search for his sister. Sure, one was more easily accessible than the other, but he seemed like a pretty motivated dude. 

Also, Cookie??? Do you have any idea how distracting it is to be reading about blood and gore only to have the character referred to as a snack? Every time I read the word "Cookie" it lessened the severity of the story. I think it was a poor choice in character names, and the one Kaysar eventually gives her isn't much better. Briar Rose? Seriously? It was unoriginal and unimaginative. I also have no idea if I'm pronouncing his name correctly, and stopped trying to sound out his last name entirely. 

The worldbuilding was lacking, the characters were dull and simple, and the story was repetitive and unnecessarily long. Additionally, the mental whiplash from the main characters was exhausting and exasperating in equal measure. Basically, it went like this:

Chantel: "You lied to me! I'll never forgive you!"
Kaysar: "I promise to do better."
Chantel: "Okay! One more chance."
Kaysar: *allows another truth to surface*
Chantel: "You lied to me! I'm leaving!"
Kaysar: "I will give you jewels! Also, I will do better."
Chantel: "Of course! You're sexy! One more chance, okay?"
Chantel: *gleefully murders everyone*
Kaysar: "You are perfection."
Chantel: "I think I want to go home now."
Kaysar: "MINE."
Chantel: "You're so hot when you're angry."

It was basically this for 200+ pages. There was no character growth, no exploration of the world, and just mind-numbing dialogue between two unhinged people. Chantel assumes she can navigate Kaysar's world because - get this - she played a VIDEO GAME that was similar. Killing in the game and killing in real life? Why would that be different? It was obnoxious. Her understanding of the world was limited, yet she thought she could just survive without too many problems. I got about halfway before calling it quits. (★★⋆☆☆)

You Have a Match by Emma Lord
๐ŸŽง Narrated by Eva Kaminsky

Synopsis (via Goodreads): A new love, a secret sister, and a summer she'll never forget.

When Abby signs up for a DNA service, it’s mainly to give her friend and secret love interest, Leo, a nudge. After all, she knows who she is already: Avid photographer. Injury-prone tree climber. Best friend to Leo and Connie … although ever since the B.E.I. (Big Embarrassing Incident) with Leo, things have been awkward on that front.

But she didn’t know she’s a younger sister.

When the DNA service reveals Abby has a secret sister, shimmery-haired Instagram star Savannah Tully, it’s hard to believe they’re from the same planet, never mind the same parents—especially considering Savannah, queen of green smoothies, is only a year and a half older than Abby herself.

The logical course of action? Meet up at summer camp (obviously) and figure out why Abby’s parents gave Savvy up for adoption. But there are complications: Savvy is a rigid rule-follower and total narc. Leo is the camp’s co-chef, putting Abby's growing feelings for him on blast. And her parents have a secret that threatens to unravel everything.

But part of life is showing up, leaning in, and learning to fit all your awkward pieces together. Because sometimes, the hardest things can also be the best ones.

The lack of communication in this book was slowly driving me insane. There were soooo many secrets and "missed opportunities" for honest conversations. And it wasn't just the kids . . . the adults were equally shady and evasive. At one point I actually wanted to SCREAM IN FRUSTRATION. That's when I knew I needed to stop trying to finish this book. It clearly wasn't working for me, and I'm not going to force myself to continue something I'm not enjoying.

The narrator was great, so bonus points for that. 

Unfortunately, everything else about the book made me cringe. The awkwardness between Abby and Leo, her reluctance to confront anyone about anything, and even the relationship between her and Savvy. Abby had so many opportunities to talk to Leo, Connie, her parents, Savvy, and yet she chose to avoid, avoid, and avoid some more. Every time I thought a conversation was inevitable, something would conveniently happen that kept her from being able to talk about it. I can excuse one or two "unexpected" disruptions, but it can't happen over and over again and still be believable. (★★☆☆☆)


  1. I'm sorry to hear Heartless didn't work for you. I still have this book on my list to read at some point.


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“Stuff and nonsense. Nonsense and stuff and much of a muchness and nonsense all over again. We are all mad here, don't you know?”
― Marissa Meyer, Heartless