Series I Won’t Be Finishing

Besides reading, I also love watching book-tubers talking in front of their cameras about the books they own or got from the library. Though I enjoy wrap-ups and book unhauls, I’m also interested in learning about books they didn’t like or series they are not going to finish. It’s no secret that I’m not a big fan of book series, especially those long ones because life is pretty short and I have to do a thorough selection of the volumes I’m really excited to pick up and hopefully enjoy. I know that there are some amazing series out there for every age group, but the book industry is also full of volumes I’m not interested in or I didn’t feel the urge to continue reading. Personally, I don’t believe in unpopular opinions because everyone has the right to speak one’s mind in a decent manner without tearing the book apart or insulting its author. Therefore, the six series I’m going to talk about in this article are not necessarily bad, but rather not my cup of tea.

The genres of these first instalments range from young adult dystopian to adult mystery or contemporary. I bought some of these volumes in eBook format, while others were received from authors for an honest review. The ratings for these books are between 2 and 3 stars.

1.. Gates of Heaven (Balthasar Family Saga) by Pamita Rao is a fantasy adventure series set on a planet called Myrth where the world comprises of medieval kingdoms conquered by King Creed, but he wants to rule other realms too; therefore he plans to kill his son, Prince Neelahaim, in order to find the Gates of Heaven. However, the gates reveal themselves only to the chosen ones and let them pass through. Will Alaira, Horace and their friends manage to keep the child safe and fulfil the prophecy? This is a high fantasy book with dark and elemental magic whose end was gripping and for me, it read like a stand-alone.

2. Dawn of Rebellion by Michelle Lynn is a young adult series set in a dystopian world where Britain is an empire again and the US is its colony. After Gabby is sent to the colonies for shoplifting, her sister Dawn and Gabby’s love interest (Drew) go on a mission to save her. We follow three perspectives and we get a glimpse of the totalitarian society, the US’s lost identity and the family secrets the two siblings didn’t know about. Though this story gave me the creeps, I can’t say that post-apocalyptic dystopias are my thing.

3. Maggie Elisabeth Harrington by D.J. Swykert is a fictional story based on the life of a real person. Sounds interesting, right? Well, the first chapters were enjoyable, but the young protagonist who lived in Central Mine (Michigan) began to be very annoying due to her repetitive thoughts about the world and the people around her. Though this book was pretty short, I deeply regret reading it because it was a waste of time and energy.

4. Wild Child by Mike wells was a pretty big disappointment for me because a young adult thriller from the author who writes ‘unputdownable’ espionage books sounded great, but… it actually wasn’t. Now, the idea of two teenagers finding a strange green substance that heals wounds and strengthens the body is a pretty cool concept and if you add two CIA agents who are interested in the location of the miraculous water, it’s even more intriguing. However, I didn’t like the story that much and I’m not planning to continue this trilogy. The characters were thinly fleshed out and Briana Fox was so annoying that I didn’t care too much what happened to her.

5. The Greeks of Beaubien Street  (The Greektown Stories Series) by Suzanne Jenkins is pretty much marketed as a mystery, but it reads more like a family saga – the family dynamics of the Greek-American Zamos Family) which was very interesting. When it came to the mystery aspect, it was a bit overshadowed by the other plotline of the book. Jill Zamos is a homicide detective from Detroit who has to solve the murder of Gretchen Parker and she does that with the help of her colleague and friend, Albert Wong, and her visions. I was pretty disappointed that the mystery was not the focus of the story and it wasn’t clear enough for me who actually killed the girl. This book also has some disturbing scenes, so be aware if you are a sensitive person.

6. Chiriaș la Cluj (Fiziologii extrase dintr-un jurnal) by Marius Oliviu Iacob is the Romanian contemporary story of a middle-aged man called Hipolit Sterea (or Hip as his friends call him) who lives a pretty miserable life due to its low wedges from the publishing house where he works. He blogs about real estate as a hobby and writes funny stories online, but his dream is to write a book and his friend Oli (Oliviu) is willing to support and help him make his wish come true. Hip is the type of person who doesn’t seem to blend in anywhere, that’s why he rents his apartment from Cluj and becomes a tenant himself. To be honest, besides a few jokes and literary hints here and there, this book lacked everything I love in a book, including a plot and likeable characters.

These are the series I’m not planning to finish now or anytime in the near future. I will also write an article about the series I might continue, but until then, I would like to know which series you’ve quit or want to abandon.

Review: The Greeks of Beaubien Street by Suzanne Jenkins

Detroit Detective Stories

Book 1 of The Greektown Stories

 

Title: The Greeks of Beaubien Street

Subtitle: Detroit Detective Stories

Author: Suzanne Jenkins

Genre: Family Saga, Mystery

Year of Publication: 2012

Published by: Jenkins Associates LLC

Series: The Greektown Stories

Rating: 3/5 stars

Note: I purchased this book as a freebie. However, this aspect didn’t influence the review I wrote or the rating I gave this book.  In this review, you will find only my honest thoughts and opinions about the book I’ve read! This book contains adult themes and language!

The Greeks of Beaubien Street is the first instalment in Suzanne Jenkins’s mystery/family saga series The Greektown Stories which revolves around Jill Zamos, a Greek American detective who lives in Detroit with her large family. In this first book, she works on the case of a murdered young woman named Gretchen Parker, whose lifeless naked body was found in a remote alley. At first glance, the premise of the book should form the main plot of the novel. However, there’s also a secondary plot through which we enter into the universe and day to day life of Jill’s family. Even though I’ve enjoyed reading about Jill, her father Gus who owns a grocery store and the lives of their other relatives, I felt that their family history (seasoned with problems like infidelity, misunderstandings and rivalities between the in-laws) overshadowed the plot about Gretchen’s death. There’s also an esoteric aspect thrown into the novel (Jill has visions linked to the murders) which don’t make sense here. I think that a detective should work with evidence and logic to solve a case, not with visions. However, Jill is not only superstitious and spiritual, but also intelligent, observant, professional and caring when it comes to her father and her brother who suffers from a mental disorder.

If you think that some of the issues of the Zamos family are a bit questionable, such as a dark secret that threatens to break the family apart, just wait and see (I mean read) how Gretchen’s life has been. It’s such a disturbing issue that my mind wasn’t capable of imagining it.  I know that I’m very vague, but I don’t want to get too deep into the subject because it makes me cringe. Though this book is part of a series, I hoped that the narrator would state clearly who actually killed Gretchen Parker, but the ending was very abruptly and I was still left with unanswered questions. That’s definitely not a good sign for a mystery book.

I really feel that there are too many characters and stories for a single book (or first instalment) and I totally understand why other readers were disappointed by this book because they were predominantly interested in the mystery. Though the two plots are loosely linked to Jill and the theme of family and its dark secrets, they belong to very different genres and as much as I would like to tell you otherwise, they don’t go well together. It’s like the author couldn’t decide if she wanted to write a mystery or a family saga and ended up writing about both.

Even though the novel needs another round of editing, I enjoyed reading about Jill’s extended family, her childhood, the relationships between the in-laws, traditions, Greek cuisine, Jill’s colleague Albert Wong who is a gay Asian American character I liked and Alex, Jill’s Polish boyfriend who loves art, but ended up working at the morgue. Most of the characters are pretty well-developed and there were some I liked such as Jill, Gus and Albert, but there were also some I really despised. However, now, after a few months after reading the book, I can’t say that I remember all the relatives Jill has.

In the end, I think that the novel would have been better either as a mystery or as a family saga, not both. I’m not particularly recommending it because it has some disturbing stuff in there and not everyone has the stomach to read about that subject. Also, I’m not planning on reading the rest of the series.