It’s not you, it’s me: Genres across the board

Posted 21 April, 2014 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 33 Comments

LANDRY PARK (Landry Park #1) by Bethany Hagen
YA Science Fiction
374 pages, hardcover
Available now (February 2014)
Publisher: Dial
Review copy won via Goodreads

In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won’t allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty – her family and the estate she loves dearly – and desire.

Oh, beautiful cover. I wish your story lived up to your promise. I didn’t DNF it but had just too many questions all the way through. The US was invaded by China (for what reason and how, we don’t really know), the country splintered and a new US forms, one complete with an archaic class system and nuclear power. Madeline’s part of the ruling class, near the absolute pinnacle of her people. But she cares about the little people, those who have to haul the radioactive waste and cook for her. And she falls for David, Mr. Vanilla himself. There’s a class war a-coming (even more important that the other war against Asian forces…always a good, strategic plan to fight a war on two fronts. That definitely ends well.).

FALLING LIGHT (Game of Shadows #2) by Thea Harrison
Paranormal Romance
289 pages, paperback
Available now (February 2014)
Publisher: Berkley
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

Having finally reunited, and fought off The Deceiver for now, Mary and Michael race up the Michigan peninsula to meet Astra before police forces catch up with them. But the closer they get, the less Mary is willing to trust a woman who by her own admission will do anything to finish The Deceiver – even if it means killing Michael and Mary to try again in another life. As they face their final battle unsure if they can trust either side, Michael’s loyalties are tested, making him vulnerable just when Mary needs him most.

Sadly, this turned out to be a DNF for me. I struggled a bit with the first book but, because it was written by Thea Harrison (who I love and still love), I wanted to give the second in the series a go. Alas…it was not to be. Too much running and hiding and betrayal and nothing going right, which sounds like a *fantastic* story but it just never ends and everyone’s against these two and it just wore me out (much like this sentence). The writing’s there, of course, but the story just didn’t catch me.

ATTACHMENTS by Rainbow Rowell
Fiction (I’m not going to call it chick lit because that designation just irritates me)
336 pages, hardcover
Available now (April 2011)
Publisher: Dutton
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

“Hi, I’m the guy who reads your e-mail, and also, I love you . . . “

Beth Fremont and Jennifer Scribner-Snyder know that somebody is monitoring their work e-mail. (Everybody in the newsroom knows. It’s company policy.) But they can’t quite bring themselves to take it seriously. They go on sending each other endless and endlessly hilarious e-mails, discussing every aspect of their personal lives.


Meanwhile, Lincoln O’Neill can’t believe this is his job now- reading other people’s e-mail. When he applied to be “internet security officer,” he pictured himself building firewalls and crushing hackers- not writing up a report every time a sports reporter forwards a dirty joke.


When Lincoln comes across Beth’s and Jennifer’s messages, he knows he should turn them in. But he can’t help being entertained-and captivated-by their stories.


By the time Lincoln realizes he’s falling for Beth, it’s way too late to introduce himself. What would he say . . . ?


It’s a really cute premise and a modern-day epistolary story told mainly via email but…meh. Poor Lincoln’s kind of a sad sack and, yeah, a bit of a creeper (though he’s paid to creep through people’s emails). The girls are pretty normal girls, trading silly stories and heartbreak during their downtime at work. But it felt like kind of a grind to me. I know, I know. Rainbow Rowell, right? Y’all probably love this book but, sorry, it just didn’t do it for me and I wound up DNFing it.

ON THE ROAD TO FIND OUT by Rachel Toor
YA Contemporary
320 pages, hardcover
Available June 10, 2014
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Review copy provided by publisher for honest review

On New Year’s Day, Alice Davis goes for a run. Her first ever. It’s painful and embarrassing, but so was getting denied by the only college she cares about. Alice knows she has to stop sitting around and complaining to her best friend, Jenni, and her pet rat, Walter, about what a loser she is. But what doesn’t know is that by taking those first steps out the door, she is setting off down a road filled with new challenges—including vicious side stitches, chafing in unmentionable places, and race-paced first love—and strengthening herself to endure when the going suddenly gets tougher than she ever imagined.

I hate to review books so far out but I really just needed to cross this one off my review list. I picked it up because I like running books. They can be inspirational (especially as I’m in an endless Couch to 5k cycle) and this one is about a girl who’s coping with a big rejection, trying to pick herself back up. Unfortunately, Alice is someone I’d never want to know in real life. She’s rude and acerbic, rips down anyone who tries to get close to her (or who is close to her), and entitled. Plus, she’s never run before but is training with long-distance runners within a few weeks. Um…no. That doesn’t even happen with teens, especially ones that aren’t very fit or athletic to begin with. Alice irritated me so much I had to DNF it. Sorry, Alice.

About Mary @ TheBookSwarm

33 Responses to “It’s not you, it’s me: Genres across the board”

  1. Aww, sorry Attachments didn’t work out! I adored it, but then again, I’m a huge fan of the epistolary novel. Landry Park, though, is one I don’t think might work too well for me either. Wonderful, helpful reviews, Mary!

  2. Oh no, I’m sorry you didn’t like Attachments. I don’t think it’s as good as Fangirl and Eleanor & Park. I hope you like those better! Haha, “Mr. Vanilla himself”. 😀 I do not for one second regret deserting that one. Great minis, sorry these didn’t work!

  3. Big batch of MEH, huh? No bueno . . . I got Landry Park as soon as it came out b/c it does have an awesome cover and was described as a dystopian Downton Abbey. Then I saw all the reviews, and I decided to wait awhile . . . still waiting. Sigh. And I love Thea Harrison too, but I haven’t started this series. Rainbow Rowell . . . you pretty much covered it for me when you said, “felt like kind of a grind.” Glad I’m not the only one 😉 I’ll think I’ll pass on the rude, entitled teenager too. Hope you’ve since read some better books!

    Jessica @ Rabid Reads

  4. I had some issues with Landry Park as well Mary. I thought the world was horrifying and fascinating at the same time, but Madeline didn’t work for me until the very end. I struggled as you did with the first book in Thea Harrison’s series, and decided just to stick with the Novels of the Elder Races because I love those something fierce. I’m sad to learn the second book didn’t improve upon the first though. *sobs*

  5. I’ve never read any of these. Not even Rainbow Rowell’s books. But I have been looking forward to Landry Park, but eh, no so much anymore. Hope the next few books you read are going to be awesome.

  6. I actually read a bunch of tricky reviews about LANDRY PARK, Mary, so I didn’t pick it up. It sounds like there were too many plot holes and questions to be the type of story I could become fully invested in…which is unfortunate.

  7. I’m afraid to read anything by Rowell. I have both Fangirl and Eleanor & Park but whenever EVERYONE loves an author it scares me that I’ll be the lone dissenter lol

  8. I’ve heard similar things about Landry Park. I agree it’s a great cover though. I read Attachments before it came out (so it was years ago now) and actually really loved it! So I’m sorry you didn’t. The others I’ll pry just skip as they don’t sound like something I’d read anyway. Sorry you had so many disappointing ones though.

  9. Bummer about Landry Park, I removed it from my wishlist.Too many questions would frustrate me. None of the other books are in my pile or on my list. Hopefully you read something soon that makes these all a distant memory Mary 🙂

  10. I’m so bummed about the Thea Harrison book. I don’t think I’d like the other 3 either. Same kind of things irritate me. Like in the last one… I have to like the protag at least a little. LOL

  11. What a disappointing lot, but I can’t blame you for DNF all of these. They really don’t sound appealing, any of them, and I hate wasting my time on a read I don’t enjoy. I’m just done doing that now. I’m in the middle of a book that might end up a DNF. I just hate the feeling of thinking and hoping things might get better when really I should just let it go. *sigh*

  12. Aw, I had high hopes for Landry Park. And I really enjoyed Thea Harrison’s other series, but heard this one was harder to get into. Hope your next batch is more enjoyable, Mary 🙂

  13. I love Attachments! But I can see where it isn’t a fit for everyone and is slow for a while. I’ve been warned off of Landry Park – I agree, it looked so promising!! I love Thea Harrison so it’s disappointing to find one you don’t like, and you’re right, no way on that final book. IT would take much longer to work up to running like that. Thanks for your honesty on these.