DNF Mini Reviews: Monstrous Beauty and The Spirit Clearing

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Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth FamaMonstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Rating: DNF/1 of 5 stars

Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect . . . or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean—but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

It was clear to me from line one of the prologue that Monstrous Beauty probably would not be the book for me. I thought I’d give it a shot, anyway, but you tell me – when you read this line, does it seem like it’s worth it to continue, or would you have abandoned ship, too?

Syrenka wanted Pukanokick.

p. 3

I mean, come the fuck on. Syrenka accidentally drowns this Pukanokick guy while she’s trying to take his pants off underwater. How did Elizabeth Fama’s editor find the gall to include that scene – that situation – and not cringe the entire time? Someone should’ve spoken up about that. Really. Even worse is that’s the thing that hardens her heart against ever allowing herself to love again.

Please, please, get real.

Some other time, though. ‘Cause I’m done here.

The Spirit Clearing by MarkThe Spirit Clearing by Mark Tufo

Series: Michael Talbot Adventures

Rating: DNF/1 of 5 stars

After a horrific accident Mike wakes to find himself blind in one eye. He now sees things that others can’t and nobody will listen to him.

That is until he meets Jandilyn Hollow. Will she be able to pull him out of the depths of his despair?

Can love transcend even death?

What. No, seriously, what. This is lit that fifth graders write and think is so awesome, but when they look back on it a few years later cringe at the thought of. I’m literally almost halfway through this book, but I feel like the story never started. I keep waiting for the point of no return, for the tension to build, for something interesting to happen. Nothing. Ever. On any front. At all. Just Mike Talbot. Moping about how bad his life sucks. And people being horrible to him. And so many POV shifts within paragraphs that I must resort to cliches like “I caught whiplash from it!” because it’s the only way to accurately detail how bad it was.

I thought for a while that I could tough at out, and things would get better, or at the very least seem a little interesting, but as I progressed, I cared less about the characters (who were all unrealistic anyway), and the writing quality declined (which isn’t to say much because it started off shitty).

I think that prolly pisses me off the most – here I am busting my ass as an independent author to try and get taken seriously (because it’s ridiculous how many reviewers state in their policies they don’t read self-published novels), and here Mark Tufo is, giving readers everywhere a reason to shy away from the indies. Fuck, man. I’m sick of the stigma, but it’s there for a reason – indie books are shit. The Spirit Clearing does nothing to dispel that notion. Ugh.

There really just isn’t any hope for this or Monstrous Beauty. I’m definitely ready to move on to bigger and better reads.



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