DNF List #6

The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

Here is the blurb:

Angrboda’s story begins where most witches’ tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.

Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin’s all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life – and possibly all of existence – is in danger.

With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she’s foreseen for her beloved family…or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age.

Couples Wanted by Briana Col


I love that Bridget & Roman are open minded and experimental in their sexual lives. Bridget’s POV would’ve been fun to read throughout. What turned me off quickly was Corinne’s POV. She feels forced into the swingers lifestyle to please her husband, with hopes it’ll save their chemistry, so I’m not interested in reading how she sacrifices who she is and her self worth to make Patrick happy. I’d recommend this to readers who enjoy drama, lust, and nontraditional sexual experiences. I’d like to give props to the author for including transgender characters.

Here is the blurb:

Too much of a good thing…can be dangerous.   

Adventurous and open-minded, newlyweds Bridget and Roman are determined to keep their relationship exciting. So, when they meet married swingers Corinne and Patrick, they’re instantly drawn to their carefree glamour and warm promise of friendship. And after swapping spouses for one passionate, exhilarating night, Bridget and Roman feel fulfilled and closer together than ever….   

Until Corinne and Patrick start turning possessive, wanting more of them than Bridget and Roman can ever give. Soon, the young couple is plunged into a nightmare of suspicion, lies, and secrets in which they can’t trust each other — or what they think they know about themselves. Pushed to the breaking point, they must uncover the truth behind the other couple’s machinations. But when the dust settles, there’s no guarantee Bridget and Roman will have their love — or anything else — left to save….

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak


This was one of the most unique novels I has experienced, especially regarding the writing style. It was staccato, choppy, and switched back and forth between first person and second person & I think third person as well. It had strange formatting with inserts in the middle of the pages, like “A Reassuring Announcement,” “Some Other Small Facts,” “A Spectacularly Tragic Moment” that all had headings but were within chapters. I don’t like books where I know how it ends before the story starts, it gives me much less to care about. This may be a revolutionary book that I need to retry in a decade, but for now, it’s not my style nor did it captivate my interest.

The blurb:

It is 1939. Nazi Germany. The country is holding its breath. Death has never been busier, and will become busier still.

Liesel Meminger is a foster girl living outside of Munich, who scratches out a meager existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement. 

In superbly crafted writing that burns with intensity, award-winning author Markus Zusak, author of I Am the Messenger, has given us one of the most enduring stories of our time.

Sparks Like Stars by Nadia Hasimi

The prologue has beautifully written, poetic prose but I wasn’t able to follow the train of thought easily. The imagery was jolting back and forth from one sentence to the next like a bouncy ball. A load of info was crammed into a tight space and I’m unsure what to focus on.

Chapter 1- we meet a 14ish year old girl, her little brother, her mother, her (fake)-cousin and their temporary residence in a palace. Her father is an advisor to the president of Afghanistan & we’re already shown themes of women equality.

Chapter 2- I love the sneaky curiosity of these teen girls and their intrigue to witness the opening of the box. Learning about a mysterious, ancient underground city with Greek god inspired relics is definitely a good hook. But how will these items relate to our heroine’s journey?

 Chapter 3- we learn a bit more how Sitara views her world through the eyes of a child and her perception of the guards. She’s a bit naive to reality yet simultaneously exposed to situations most others her age aren’t aware of due to her political family. I like that each chapter ends in mysterious metaphor. Hopefully she finds the treasure she’s searching for soon so action commences.

Chapter 4- tension between leadership/countries and their quaint family might not be safe for long. Quote- “The truth my brother had yet to learn- that closing his eyes would not make him invisible to those determined to find him.”

Chapter 5-This is the first time I feel part of the scene instead of “observing” the story.

Chapter 6- I’m not certain of their fate. Will it be made more clear? Shair… that sucks!

Chapter 7- quote- “You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.”

Chapter 12- I wonder if Antonia will be viewed as the saviorism issue by some readers.

DNF. I made it to page 100/444. She suffered through astronomical loss but the story was such an overwhelming downer, I just wasn’t in the mood to continually read about how she has nothing left, no one left, no reason to keep going. I was hoping the ring and treasure would be more literal but up to this point, it’s more of a symbol for her to get through her hardships and grief. She probably picks up the pieces of her life, heals & forms new relationships… but at this point I’m feeling burdened and not as I vested as I want. It’s a slower read than my typical book. I recommend this to readers who like to sink into a heavy story. 

Blurb:

Kabul, 1978: The daughter of a prominent family, Sitara Zamani lives a privileged life in Afghanistan’s thriving cosmopolitan capital. The 1970s are a time of remarkable promise under the leadership of people like Sardar Daoud, Afghanistan’s progressive president, and Sitara’s beloved father, his right-hand man. But the ten-year-old Sitara’s world is shattered when communists stage a coup, assassinating the president and Sitara’s entire family. Only she survives. 

Smuggled out of the palace by a guard named Shair, Sitara finds her way to the home of a female American diplomat, who adopts her and raises her in America. In her new country, Sitara takes on a new name—Aryana Shepherd—and throws herself into her studies, eventually becoming a renowned surgeon. A survivor, Aryana has refused to look back, choosing instead to bury the trauma and devastating loss she endured. 

New York, 2008: Thirty years after that fatal night in Kabul, Aryana’s world is rocked again when an elderly patient appears in her examination room—a man she never expected to see again. It is Shair, the soldier who saved her, yet may have murdered her entire family. Seeing him awakens Aryana’s fury and desire for answers—and, perhaps, revenge. Realizing that she cannot go on without finding the truth, Aryana embarks on a quest that takes her back to Kabul—a battleground between the corrupt government and the fundamentalist Taliban—and through shadowy memories of the world she loved and lost. 


Crave by Tracy Wolff


I’ve heard only good things about this book, however the distinct voice was a bit too teenage for me. Obviously it’s marketed as YA, but I’ve found that half YA are suitable for adults too and others not as much.
Don’t miss a single book in the series that spawned a phenomenon! The Crave series is best enjoyed in order: Crave, Crush, Covet, Court, Charm & Cherish

Here’s the blurb:


My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.
Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally―as the bait.

Here is the blurb:

My whole world changed when I stepped inside the academy. Nothing is right about this place or the other students in it. Here I am, a mere mortal among gods…or monsters. I still can’t decide which of these warring factions I belong to, if I belong at all. I only know the one thing that unites them is their hatred of me.

Then there’s Jaxon Vega. A vampire with deadly secrets who hasn’t felt anything for a hundred years. But there’s something about him that calls to me, something broken in him that somehow fits with what’s broken in me.

Which could spell death for us all.

Because Jaxon walled himself off for a reason. And now someone wants to wake a sleeping monster, and I’m wondering if I was brought here intentionally—as the bait

You’d Be Home By Now by Kathleen Glasgow

I picked this book because the premise reminded me of “If I Stay,” and that was one of the only books to ever have made me cry. I need a good cry so I sought out this one but I couldn’t get very far.


This is a heavy topic of drug abuse and dealing with grief for teens. It’s a fine line to balance reality and fiction for a sensitive/triggering subject. I feel for the characters and their trauma, but at the same time I’m so removed from their age that I’m in the parent’s perspective instead of the protagonists. The characters are coming of age and dealing with how to move through a crisis and manage their relationships when there’s a “before” and “after.” I don’t know how I’d react as a parent since my kids are 7 and 8 years old but it’s scary to think about. The text threads, images of posts, hashtags & comments definitely made it feel like this book is for those born between 2004-2006 specifically.

Here is the blurb:

For all of Emory’s life she’s been told who she is. In town she’s the rich one–the great-great-granddaughter of the mill’s founder. At school she’s hot Maddie Ward’s younger sister. And at home, she’s the good one, her stoner older brother Joey’s babysitter. Everything was turned on its head, though, when she and Joey were in the car accident that killed Candy MontClaire. The car accident that revealed just how bad Joey’s drug habit was.

Four months later, Emmy’s junior year is starting, Joey is home from rehab, and the entire town of Mill Haven is still reeling from the accident. Everyone’s telling Emmy who she is, but so much has changed, how can she be the same person? Or was she ever that person at all?

Mill Haven wants everyone to live one story, but Emmy’s beginning to see that people are more than they appear. Her brother, who might not be cured, the popular guy who lives next door, and most of all, many ghostie addicts who haunt the edges of the town. People spend so much time telling her who she is–it might be time to decide for herself.

Inspired by the American classic Our Town, You’d Be Home Now is Kathleen Glasgow’s glorious modern story of a town and the secret lives people live there. And the story of a girl, figuring out life in all its pain and beauty and struggle and joy.

The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

I actually wrote a whole review on this one in my blog because I was so frustrated but only made it to page 52. Check out that blog post for more info.

Published by CassieSwindon

Fiction author

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: