Monday, August 31, 2020

DNF&Y [32]

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! If you would like additional information, please click on the DNF&Y tab at the top. If you want to join, you can link up at the bottom!

The Switch by Beth O'Leary  
Narrated by: Daisy Edgar-Jones & Alison Steadman 

Synopsis (via Goodreads): A grandmother and granddaughter swap lives in The Switch, a charming, romantic novel by Beth O’Leary.

When overachiever Leena Cotton is ordered to take a two-month sabbatical after blowing a big presentation at work, she escapes to her grandmother Eileen's house for some long-overdue rest.

Eileen is newly single and about to turn eighty. She'd like a second chance at love, but her tiny Yorkshire village doesn't offer many eligible gentlemen.

So they decide to try a two-month swap.

Eileen will live in London and look for love. She’ll take Leena’s flat, and learn all about casual dating, swiping right, and city neighbors. Meanwhile Leena will look after everything in rural Yorkshire: Eileen’s sweet cottage and garden, her idyllic, quiet village, and her little neighborhood projects.

But stepping into one another's shoes proves more difficult than either of them expected. Will swapping lives help Eileen and Leena find themselves…and maybe even find true love? In Beth O'Leary's The Switch, it's never too late to change everything....or to find yourself.

DNF at 23%

I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

The Switch by Beth O'Leary was the first audiobook I downloaded through NetGalley's new program, and I had really high hopes for the story and its characters. Unfortunately, I was bored to tears by both Leena and Eileen, and I never wanted to continue listening to the book. Nothing happens for the first quarter of the book, and by then I'd lost interest in the story.

Additionally, the quality of the audio may have been a tad too good, since I could hear the wet smacks and deep breaths Alison Steadman frequently took while reading her part. She definitely sounded like someone's grandmother, and I could easily picture her as Eileen, but the sounds were too realistic in my ears (especially when I was wearing headphones), and I found myself cringing whenever her character spoke for long periods of time. However, while less mouth-noise would've been nice, the story's slow pace and uninteresting content were the bigger issues. (★★☆☆☆)

𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋𑁋

Knee Deep by Karol Ann Hoeffner

Synopsis (via Goodreads): Named after a hurricane, Camille is the rebellious sixteen-year-old daughter of a New Orleans bar-owner who grows up in the shadow of Bourbon Street, raised on stories of hauntings, lusty encounters and voodoo magic. And even though her family loses their home in a hurricane, she counts herself among the lucky until she discovers that her eighteen-year-old neighbor whom she secretly loves goes missing in the storm.

In Camille's own words: "This is the story of what happened to me on Fat Tuesday, how I ended up on the steps of St. Mary’s, the hem of my pirate’s petticoat soaked in somebody’s else’s blood. Although I know the story to be true, I don’t totally believe it myself. Like all good tales born out of the bayou, mine involves the dead, the living and the one trapped in the brackish waters between heaven and hell. It is the story of true love and true disaster, and at the end of it, I’ll leave it up to you to decide which is the harder to survive."

DNF at 8%

I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thoughts and opinions are my own. Any quotes I use are from an unpublished copy and may not reflect the finished product.

I had such high expectations for Knee Deep based on the synopsis, but as you can see, I barely made it through 17 pages of the book. Camille wasn't a likable character, and I thought her obsession with Antwone was sudden and not substantiated. Yes, she tells a story about him "coming to her rescue" after school one day, but they've had little-to-no interactions to indicate they have a connection beyond being friendly neighbors. I also didn't like that Camille seemed determined to break up Antwone's current relationship because she didn't think his girlfriend was "good enough" for him. Both of her friends (and apparently the entire student body) thought they were a perfect match. Regardless, it wasn't her business or her decision. 

Additionally, some of the dialogue felt dated and somewhat offensive. I'm not sure if the author has personally experienced some of the things she put her character through (especially since the MC is biracial), but it honestly didn't read like she did. Examples:
  1. "Mary Ellen was all over that like white on rice."
  2. "...tight little braids close to my scalp in rows as straight as planted corn."
  3. "I was not just plain old mad but burning, crazy mad, the kind that can land you in jail."
  4. "I took a moment to revel in the fact that this big bully had been reduced to a sniveling, scared little piece of shit."
  5. "I could have grabbed him and kissed him and done him right there in the middle of the front yard."
The last three quotes were things she said when she was 14, and her reactions simply weren't believable. I'm not saying a girl her age couldn't act that way, it just seems unlikely. It also felt like the author couldn't settle on an age, and the character's thoughts and actions reflected that. 

The author also speaks from a Black woman's perspective, mostly when Camille is getting her hair done, and the narrative felt false. Like the author was trying too hard to seem knowledgeable about something she in reality knows very little about. When I have this many issues with a book early on, I know there's no point in trying to continue reading it. (★★☆☆☆)

20 comments:

  1. I REALLY love life switch books, so I enjoyed this, but I definitely see where you are coming from. Someone else (maybe on IG?) mentioned the breathing noises, but since I listen while outside in a city, either I didn't hear it or it didn't bother me. I agree that the pace was ...leisurely. I've come to expect this from a lot of UK "romance" (including the Flat Share, her prior book) which to me feels more like fiction with a very peripheral romance side plot. This one didn't seem to me to be marketed as a romance, so I think I went in with the correct expectations. Anyway, sorry this didn't work for you!

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    1. I'm trying to think of another life switch book and I'm drawing a blank... I really wanted to like this one, since I loved the idea of a grandmother and granddaughter switching places and finding love; however, the slow pace really killed it for me. That and the breathing noises, haha. I have the Flat Share, but I haven't read it yet! 😬

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  2. I've been having some bad luck starting a book lately too. It seems I can't strike the right mood for the ones I'm supposed to be reading.

    I was very interested to see what you thought of the NetGalley audio player. My latest review is for a book I listened to on there, and the interface/quality was a bit rough around the edges. I've heard that they have since improved it though, so now I'm looking for another book to listen to through that platform.

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    1. Yes! I keep picking up books that I need to read, but can't seem to lose myself in them. Instead, I'm grabbing books from my shelves and devouring them. Mood readers unite! ;) NetGalley has updated their app twice now, and I haven't had any issues since the most recent one! Definitely give it another shot.

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  3. Ooh, yikes, I DNFed Beth O'Leary's last book, and this doesn't give me high hopes for this one!

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    1. Bummer! I have a copy of Flat Share, but haven't gotten around to reading it yet.

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  4. I can see what you mean on the second book. Some of those quotes sound much more like an older woman...weird!

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    1. It definitely didn't sound like a teenager was talking! Some of the cultural references threw me too, and I even Googled the author to see if maybe there was something about her personal life that influenced her writing - - nothing.

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  5. Sorry The Switch wasn't very exciting, and that audio sounds awful. LOL Bummer about Knee Deep too. Based on those quotes you shared, I don't think I'd like the writing either.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

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    1. It just felt like someone was wet-whispering in my ear, haha. ;) I don't think I would've had better luck with a physical copy (the pacing was too slow), but the audio was just suuuper clear. Too clear.

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  6. I haven't read any of those. Sorry to hear you didn't like them more.

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    1. No worries! Plenty of other books out there. :)

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  7. Just the thought of mouth noises has completely grossed me out. Especially if you're listening with headphones, no one wants that in their ears. Did it feel a little creepy? I'm not sure you can tell someone's age from their mouth noises either.

    Knee Deep sounds like a mess. I haven't heard of the saying white on rice in over twenty years, I shit you not, teens no longer talk like that. Even just by those few examples, it feels like an adult writing how they think teens talk, not how they actually talk nowadays. Can't blame you for not being able to get through these Linds, I hope your current read is knocking your socks off!

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    1. I have no idea how old the narrator is, but she nailed the grandma-vibe, haha. I just think she may have been a little too convincing, or the audio was out-of-this-world good. ;) It DID feel a little creepy! Like when someone tries to whisper in your ear, but they're too close and it feels wet.

      Right?? Knee Deep was a hot mess.

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  8. Don't blame you one bit for either of these DNFs. And once things get into a smoother routine with school, I am definitely going to join up...if I get State of the ARc done first, lol.

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    1. I'd love to have you! I typically post my DNF&Y post on the last day of the month, and my State of the ARC post on the first. Did you ever post a State of the ARC for September? I finally got mine posted, but haven't seen a link-up. My son starts school tomorrow... we'll see how it goes! :)

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  9. I had a bit of issues with one Netgalley audio. The quality wasn't that good, but I didn't haven't that problem with the next two. Maybe they worked out the bugs?

    Anyhow, I can understand why you'd DNF both books. If it isn't working then why continue? Life is too short and time is so limited I wouldn't waste it on a book I'm not enjoying.

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    1. The first audiobook I listened to through NetGalley kept skipping chapters (super frustrating, especially when you're driving in the car), but haven't had any issues since the updates. Truth! Life is too short to waste in on something you're not enjoying. <3

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  10. I know what you mean about audio being too good! I had an audiobook where you could hear the narrator licking her lips and it drove me insane!

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    1. I'M SO HAPPY SOMEONE UNDERSTANDS. I tried explaining it to my husband, and he just didn't get it. Finally I stuck headphones in his ears and told him to listen for 15 minutes - - he didn't make it 5. ;)

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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