DNF Reviews: The Long Ride Home, Wicked Charm & The Recipe Box

The Long Ride Home by Tawni Waters 
Release Date: September 5, 2017 
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire 
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
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A road trip to scatter her mother’s ashes turns into a journey of self-discovery as Harley navigates a romance with unexpected consequences.

After the loss of her mother, Harley can barely handle her grief. But the start of summer marks new beginnings, and Harley leaves for a cross-country road trip to scatter her mother's ashes with Dean, her friend (with benefits). The two ride by motorcycle, reconnecting with people who knew her mother along the way.

But it's not long before Harley realizes she's pregnant…with Dean's child. And as Harley learns that her mother faced similar choices during her own pregnancy, Harley must come to terms with her mother's past to make a difficult decision about her own future.

DNF @ 50% 

The Long Ride Home started off well. I was excited for the road trip aspect. Harley was okay. Dean was adorable. Unfortunately, the further I got the more I began to lose interest and the more I began to dislike Harley. 

Why The Long Ride Home didn't work for me: 

1) Harley: At first I gave Harley a break for her behavior. She had been through a lot so I could understand why she would be angry and distant. Eventually, I just couldn't stomach her nastiness anymore. I hit my breaking point. I kept waiting and waiting for her to become more bearable. She didn't even need to be likable (I'm okay with unlikable characters) but I just wanted her to be more human, more aware of the choices she was making. The way she treated Dean was not okay. She was cruel in a way that I just couldn't fully forgive, and honestly, the moment at which she complete flipped out at him was the moment I was done with the book. I continued on for a little bit but I just couldn't root for her anymore as horrible as that is to say. 

2) The Writing: The Long Ride Home is written as if Harley is directly talking to the reader, and I couldn't get used to it. However, I feel like this is a me thing more than anything - these type of writing styles almost never work for me. 

3) The Rants: Harley would go on rant after rant about anything and everything, and they almost never added anything useful to the story. Sometimes they made me forget what had even been happening before she went off on her rant. 

Overall, The Long Ride Home just wasn't my cup of tea. It's hard for me to like a book when I can't root for the main character.

As always my opinion is one in a million. If The Long Ride Home seems like the book for you go for it! Some people have really enjoyed this book.   


Wicked Charm by Amber Hart 
Release Date: January 30, 2018 
Publisher: Entangled Teen 
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Mystery 
Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Nothing good comes from living in the Devil's swamp.

Willow Bell thinks moving to the Okefenokee area isn't half bad, but nothing prepares her for what awaits in the shadows of the bog.

Girls are showing up dead in the swamp. And she could be next.

Everyone warns Willow to stay away from Beau Cadwell—the bad boy at the top of their suspect list as the serial killer tormenting the small town.

But beneath his wicked, depthless eyes, there's something else that draws Willow to him.

When yet another girl he knew dies, though, Willow questions whether she can trust her instincts…or if they're leading to her own death.


DNF at 52% 

With a tagline like "An Irresistible Guy. A Murder. And Too Many Secrets" I couldn't not read Wicked Charm. It sounded like the perfect book for me, and I loved the cover. 
Unfortunately, Wicked Charm wasn't the book for me. 

What Went Wrong: 

1) Willow & Beau- 

Wicked Charm contains a dual POV. We have Willow Bell, the new girl in town, and Beau Cadwell, the high school's heartbreaker. From the moment they meet Willow and Beau feel an instant connection, but given the Bells hatred for the Cadwells, friendship let alone romance is highly frowned upon. Willow & Beau were my biggest problem here. I just couldn't bring myself to like them or even care about them. They weren't incredibly interesting. They were very cookie cutter, in my opinion. Not much was established about them beyond Beau being the reckless bad boy and Willow being the trusting new girl. 

2) The Romance -

Wicked Charm contains a forbidden romance. Everyone tells Willow Beau is bad news. Her classmates are constantly telling her to stay away, but as stories like this usually go he's just too tempting to resist. Given the fact that I didn't connect to the characters to begin with, I also felt there was no real connection here. The romance was built more on the "they can't tell me what to do" aspect more than anything else, and it got old quick. Also, I didn't see what was all that charming about Beau - he had the personality of a rock. 

3) The Mystery - 

I love mysteries. I love being surprised and held in suspense, but I felt like the mystery here was an afterthought. Usually it would go something like this..."Another girl has been murdered...she used to be involved with Beau...I wonder if Beau is involved....no, he's just too good to be guilty." It drove me insane. I wanted action and intrigue, not another round of Willow's obsession with Beau. 

4) The Writing

The conversations were stilted and awkward and there were several cases of telling rather than showing. 

Overall, Wicked Charm wasn't the book for me. My problems started with the characters and continued from there. As always, my opinion is one in a million. If Wicked Charm seems like the book for you go for it! Others have enjoyed it. 


The Recipe Box by Viola Shipman 
Release Date: March 20, 2018 
Publisher: Thomas Duane Books 
Genre: Adult, Women's Fiction 
Source: ARC provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review 
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In The Recipe Box, bestselling beloved author Viola Shipman spins a tale about a lost young woman and the family recipe box that changes her life.

Growing up in northern Michigan, Samantha “Sam” Mullins felt trapped on her family’s orchard and pie shop, so she left with dreams of making her own mark in the world. But life as an overworked, undervalued sous chef at a reality star’s New York bakery is not what Sam dreamed.

When the chef embarrasses Sam, she quits and returns home. Unemployed, single, and defeated, she spends a summer working on her family’s orchard cooking and baking alongside the women in her life—including her mother, Deana, and grandmother, Willo. One beloved, flour-flecked, ink-smeared recipe at a time, Sam begins to learn about and understand the women in her life, her family’s history, and her passion for food through their treasured recipe box.

As Sam discovers what matters most she opens her heart to a man she left behind, but who now might be the key to her happiness.
DNF at 27% 

I wanted to love this. Books set in small towns always appeal to me. However, no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't get into this. I couldn't bring myself to care about the characters. 

What Went Wrong: 

1) The main character - 

On the surface, there's nothing terrible about Sam. She's kind and sweet. She'd do anything for her family and friends, and she's experiencing a common problem: she doesn't know what to do next after her lifelong dream hasn't exactly gone as she had planned. However, while she has the qualities that make for a likable character, I couldn't bring myself to care about her. There was nothing about her that truly stood out to me, nothing that made her story feel compelling. Her voice didn't capture me, and while I did hope that she found herself again, I wasn't committed enough to find out if she did. 

2) The Set-Up - 

The Recipe Box contains multiple POVs/time periods. I understood what Viola was aiming for here - showing how multiple generations of Sam's family have found their way during tough times - but I wasn't a big fan of how it was presented. The change in POVs felt choppy, and given the length of the chapters, it was sometimes hard to remember what was going on before the change. Additionally, like with Sam, I couldn't bring myself to care about these women. I wanted to, I really did, but nothing sparkled here. 

In all, The Recipe Box unfortunately wasn't the book for me. My big problem here was the characters. The premise itself was interesting, and I feel that if you like the characters, it would be an enjoyable read. So if it seems like the book for you, give it a try! Hopefully you'll love it. 

1 comment:

  1. I keep seeing The Recipe Box around, I'm sorry it was a miss for you! I don't mind stories with multiple POVs, but I think the choppiness would bother me, and yeah, sometimes I do get confused when there are too many timelines and characters, trying to keep everything straight and remember who's who.


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