Posts Tagged: Michelle Madow

Friday, March 07, 2014

DNF Round-up [2014: Part 1]

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This is our first DNF Round-up of 2014! We both have a couple of 2014 books that we didn’t finish and since we don’t post official reviews, we decided to at least list our reasons why these ended up as DNFs for us.


Maybe One DayMaybe One Day
Melissa Kantor

Goodreads Purchase

Critically acclaimed author Melissa Kantor masterfully captures the joy of friendship, the agony of loss, and the unique experience of being a teenager in this poignant new novel about a girl grappling with her best friend’s life-threatening illness.

Zoe and her best friend, Olivia, have always had big plans for the future, none of which included Olivia getting sick. Still, Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for her friend.

Even when she isn’t sure what to say.

Even when Olivia misses months of school.

Even when Zoe starts falling for Calvin, Olivia’s crush.

The one thing that keeps Zoe moving forward is knowing that Olivia will beat this, and everything will go back to the way it was before. It has to. Because the alternative is too terrifying for her to even imagine.

In this incandescent page-turner, which follows in the tradition of The Fault in Our Stars, Melissa Kantor artfully explores the idea that the worst thing to happen to you might not be something that is actually happening to you. Raw, irreverent, and honest, Zoe’s unforgettable voice and story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

DNF at 17%.

I just can’t do it with this book. I am finding absolutely no details about it to be realistic at all. Olivia woke up with a fever on Sunday morning, went in and was diagnosed with Cancer on Tuesday morning and was receiving chemotherapy Tuesday afternoon. Now, I admit I am not fluent in the American medical system but I know my mom had weeks of tests and meetings, fuck there was even a chemo class she had to go to before receiving treatment! I don’t find it realistic that she would be admitted and treated the same day as being diagnosed. I also don’t find it realistic that Olivia would ask her doctor to come back and explain everything to her BFF (the MC) after having explained everything to Olivia and her family already and the doctor would actually do it. Why would this doctor take the time out of her busy day in the cancer ward to explain everything to someone’s friend? Make a special trip for it and all.

Then we have the MC. Oy, this girl had no idea what leukemia was, only that people could die of it and then upon arriving at the hospital saw the word oncology and immediately knew it was cancer. What high school aged person doesn’t know leukemia is cancer? Hell, I would know the word leukemia way before the word oncology. Oh and what about the moment that she walked into the hospital room where her friend was getting her super fast chemo treatment and noticed the view out the window first and foremost. Then she proceeded to see Olivia’s brother and have a fantasy in her head about how he was actually the one with cancer and she was just mistaken. She felt bad about this thought for a second and then RATIONALIZED IT AND FELT OK ABOUT IT. And don’t forget about how she danced onto a curb minutes after finding out her friend had cancer… but I guess at that point she didn’t know it was cancer because she’s an idiot.

I can’t do it.

The Secret Diamond Sisters

The Secret Diamond Sisters
Michelle Madow

Goodreads Purchase

Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip’s most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

DNF page 113

I won’t be finishing this one. I made it to page 113 and none of it is working for me. The 3 girls were grating on me, all in their own way, and I found the text quite repetitive. I can’t count the number of times Peyton thought about how she would take nothing from her father because he had abandoned them. Every time something was brought up to be from him she would go through the same thought process in her head. After the first 1-2 times she could have just said no and the reader just KNOWS why without the repetitive explanation.

Lauren Oliver

Goodreads Purchase

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

I am adding this one to this list with a very heavy heart. I tried reading this novel for 4 days and made it to 35% and felt absolutely nothing. I wasn’t connecting with the writing (not a huge third person perspective fan) and the story just wasn’t sucking me in. It felt like, in the little bit that I did read, that the story was full of random conveniences that I wasn’t going to be able to buy as the reader. I know that her working on the farm serves some purpose in the game of Panic as the story goes on and I mean COME ON! She could have been working at this farm when the story started and that’s just all we ever knew but no, she has some random dog run up to her on the street and is given a job farming on the spot and it was just a ploy to get these tigers written into the story. Anyway, I was annoyed and wasn’t getting into it so I set this one aside.


No One Else Can Have YouNo One Else Can Have You
Kathleen Hale

Goodreads Purchase

Small towns are nothing if not friendly. Friendship, Wisconsin (population: 688) is no different. Around here, everyone wears a smile. And no one ever locks their doors. Until, that is, high school sweetheart Ruth Fried is found murdered. Strung up like a scarecrow in the middle of a cornfield.

Unfortunately, Friendship’s police are more adept at looking for lost pets than catching killers. So Ruth’s best friend, Kippy Bushman, armed with only her tenacious Midwestern spirit and Ruth’s secret diary (which Ruth’s mother had asked her to read in order to redact any, you know, sex parts), sets out to find the murderer. But in a quiet town like Friendship—where no one is a suspect—anyone could be the killer.

Being a huge fan of thrillers and mysteries like these I was really excited to start this one, though I wasn’t very far into it when I realized it was not at all what I expected. For one I could not stand the protagonist at all. She was so very awkward and kind of ridiculous. The best she could do at her best friend’s eulogy was to say Okie Dokie. Gah! Then there’s this small town setting and its annoying quirks that were probably supposed to be charming and atmospheric instead it was simply… weird, I dare say even exaggerated – being from that small a town myself. I only read a little bit of it before I was convinced it was not for me, so feel free to take this semi-review with a grain of salt, maybe I simply wasn’t in the mood for the kind of nonsense story this was already starting to be.


Ann Redisch Stampler

Goodreads Purchase

Emma is tired of being good. Always the dutiful daughter to an overprotective father, she is the antithesis of her mother — whose name her dad won’t even say out loud. That’s why meeting Siobhan is the best thing that ever happened to her…and the most dangerous. Because Siobhan is fun and alluring and experienced and lives on the edge. In other words, she’s everything Emma is not.

And it may be more than Emma can handle.

Because as intoxicating as her secret life may be, when Emma begins to make her own decisions, Siobhan starts to unravel. It’s more than just Dylan, the boy who comes between them. Their high-stakes pacts are spinning out of control. Elaborate lies become second nature. Loyalties and boundaries are blurred. And it all comes to a head at the infamous Afterparty, where debauchery rages and an intense, inescapable confrontation ends in a plummet from the rooftop…

I really really tried with this one. I noticed fairly early on that the writing was not my favorite but I still kept going another 100 pages, and I just could not get into it no mater how much I wanted to. The writing style is not one that clicks with me, I felt detached and distracted. I found a lot of sentences were unnecessarily long, filled with parenthetical expressions and/or endless rambles that made it exhausting to read. Few examples:

“The skin on my fingers wrinkles in exact inverse proportion to the unfolding of the furrows in my brain where all the sludge has lodged, until my mind is a blank plane that stretches like that fat blue California sky, all the way to the almost invisible horizon.
I read this 3 times and I still can’t figure out what’s wrong with these wrinkles but I’m fairly sure she should get medication. O_O

“Just as she’s telling me how welcome I’d be in levels of the temple higher than the basement where the food bank is, say in youth group, where I could be part of my own little community, my dad — who volunteers himself every couple of weeks, partly to help heal the world and partly to check up on me — bundles me into the car and starts making cracks about the place.

“Also in the good column, all the way on top, I cart sacks of brown rice around and teach eager eighty-year-olds (and kids who only know how to operate, say, late-model Macs) how to log in donations on the world’s oldest, slowest computer at the food bank where I volunteer — the place that my dad, in a giant breach of good-father decorum, slips up and calls Temple Beth Boob Job.”

I listed more quotes on Goodreads here. It’s like the narrator is the kind of girl who rambles on and on without ever taking a breath – and now I’m stuck in her head!

Aside from the writing I found the story had a lot of potential, but the characters were just too much. Think of the most overbearing, strict father ever. Then think of the worst case of a “bad influence best friend”, and here we are. And they do random things like steal a horse. I just wasn’t convinced by these personalities. Anyways, this may just be an “it’s not you it’s me” situation, I don’t know, but this writing is not for me.

Have you DNFed any 2014 books?

Timeless Cover Reveal + Giveaway

Posted by on 08/23/2012 • 21 Comments

I’m excited to be part of the Timeless cover reveal as I’ve gotten to know Michelle over my blogging “career” and she was actually my first review request where I ended up loving the book – Remembrance. This is the third and final part of the Transcend Time Saga.

TimelessMichelle MadowPublication date: November 20th 2012by Dreamscape Publishing


The final novel in the Transcend Time Saga. To make things right, they must go back to when it all began …

The Transcend Time Saga.:  Read my review of Remembrance here!

 If you haven’t started the Transcend Time Saga yet, the e-version of Remembrance is only $2.99 and can be purchased at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iBooks, and Kobo.

Michelle’s Blog / Goodreads / Facebook / Twitter


Project Tell Taylor Giveaway Hop

Posted by on 02/01/2012 • 5 Comments

Michelle Madow’s debut novel Remembrance was inspired by Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” music video. She talked all about it in a blog entry a few months ago, and even sent a letter to Taylor Swift along with a signed book!

It’s been a few months now, and she has yet to hear back from Taylor that she received the letter and book. She really wants to tell Taylor about how inspiring she and her music have been to her, but since Taylor Swift is an international superstar, she’s a little hard to reach. This is where YOUR help comes into play! Michelle is giving away the biggest prize pack she’s offered yet, and the ways to enter to win are by telling Taylor Swift about Remembrance.

The Goal:…

Project Tell Taylor

Posted by on 01/18/2012 • 6 Comments

With a couple of other blogs, Xpresso Reads is co-hosting a fun, creative event to help Michelle Madow get her book noticed by none other than the lovely Taylor Swift.

Remembrance by Michelle Madow was inspired by Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” music video. (How? Click here to find out.) You can also click here to read the letter Michelle wrote to Taylor about her book back in August. Michelle really wants Taylorto know  how inspiring she and her music have been to her, but since Taylor Swift is an international superstar, she’s a little hard to reach. This is where YOUR help comes into play! Michelle is giving away the biggest prize pack she’s offered yet, and the ways to enter to win are by telling Taylor Swift…

Vengeance Cover Reveal Blog Hop

Posted by on 10/17/2011 • 14 Comments

I think most everyone has heard about Michelle Madow’s debut novel, Remembrance, around the blogosphere. For those who have read it, I’m sure you’ll be happy to hear that a short story happening right after the events in Remembrance is going to be released during the holiday season. It’s titled Vengeance, but it seems to be missing it’s cover. *gasp* During this Cover Reveal Blog Hop, each blog will tease you with a piece of the cover and give you a fun fact about the upcoming book. As a bonus, Michelle will be answering fun questions about Remembrance. So make sure to follow the participating blogs during the week so you can take in all this excitement! On the 21st, Michelle will reveal the full cover on her blog…

Remembrance by Michelle Madow: Review, Interview & Giveaway

Posted by on 09/30/2011 • 55 Comments

I’m very happy to have author Michelle Madow stop by Xpresso Reads to talk about her debut novel, Remembrance – which you must definitely check out if you haven’t already. To add fun to the mix, Michelle has offered up an ecopy of her book to one of YOU! That’s right! *Throws confetti*

Interview with Michelle Madow

Q.What inspired you to become an author?

I’ve always loved writing, but decided to write for the goal of publication about two years ago when I turned the first chapter in for homework in my Intro to Creative Writing class. I was surprised when my classmates and teacher loved it and wanted to read more! Their enthusiasm made me believe I could succeed in finishing a novel if I put my mind…