Tuesday, January 3, 2012

DNF: My Un-Fairy Tale Life by Anna Staniszewski

I used to post my DNF explanations in my weekly recaps because they're not really reviews and I didn't want them to be confused as "real reviews." But, since I'm not doing weekly recaps anymore (sorry, they're getting cut with the new year!), I had to decide what to do with my DNF explanations.

I considered getting rid of them completely, but I didn't for three reasons:
  • I know some of you like them.
  • I'm nosy. If I see someone reading a book and then they don't review it, I wonder why. Did they hate it? Was the review just not coming? Did they even finish the book? I figure if *I* want to know, maybe other people do too.
  • Just because I couldn't finish a book, doesn't mean someone else might not love it. Chatting about books is what Small Review is all about, so why should a book get hidden away just because I didn't finish it?
So they're staying (unless, of course, you don't want them to). But instead of getting posted in a recap, I'll post them on an "as needed" basis.

Please remember, these aren't "official" reviews. These DNF explanations are simply me chatting about why I didn't finish a book and, as you'll see, I DNF books for all sorts of reasons (and not all of them because I didn't like the book).

Enough babbling? Ok, onto the DNF explanation! 

Received: ARC from publisher, via NetGalley
Pages read: 100 of 192

My Un-Fairy Tale Life really is very cute. There are unicorns (at least in the first scene) and it IS funny, though I think younger readers would laugh out loud more than I did (I sort of snickered once or twice).

But it's also bizarre, with clowns and magic spells that remove mouths, and a kingdom of talking sheep (that I kept picturing like those sheep in the Serta mattress commercials). I can see kids enjoying these more unique features, but it was all a little too weird for my tastes. I'm not one of those readers who appreciates weird. I like my standard fare, thank you.

I also am far too old for this book. Some MG books work well as YA or even Adult crossovers, but My Un-Fairy Tale Life is not one of those books. This would be perfect for a 8-10 year old, and they'd probably get a kick out of the zany events, fast-pace, and emotional issues touched upon. But for me, it all rang a little too thin and young.


  1. I love the DNF post-you always give such interesting insight in to why I might not enjoy the book myself. I am also impressed with your strength; if I was more than halfway through a book that short, I think I would have powered through no matter how much I hated it. At least it would count towards books read for the year. This is why I sometimes have meh reading streaks-an inability to DNF.

  2. Oh, I was too old for this book too!
    I did finish it though! I persevered!
    But yeah, i totally see your points.

    I think that it had it's cute moments, but it mostly was a bit over the top.

  3. Don't stop the DNF posts :p We are so close on what we like, that area really useful for me.
    And it's always nice to see someone's else POV :)

    As for the book above, since it's nice i guess it depends on the mood. So i will have it in mind. Once in a while i like reading books for small kids XD

  4. I'm sort of glad I stay away from MG books, for this reason. I never know when it's going to be too MG, you know?

    - Asher (from Paranormal Indulgence)

  5. I find your DNF posts interesting. Sometime when I write a low rating review, it may sound like I'm being too harsh. Now I'm thinking I should do something similar to soften the blow.

    There's clowns along with unicorns? Really? Hrm..never thought I find the two in the same book. This one just seems way to young for me even. I can usually look over look that.

  6. Bookworm1858, haha I don't know if that's strength of weakness on my part! I thought about pushing through, but I'm a slower reader and 90 pages would have taken me over an hour to read. My huge TBR just wouldn't let me waste that hour on a book I wasn't loving :P

    Alex, I remember your review! I sighed with relief when I read it :P

    Yiota, I'm so glad you find them helpful! I'll keep them :) Yes, this one was cute, and certainly different!

    Asher, I know what you mean, but then you're missing out on all the good MG books! :)

  7. I'll miss the wrap-ups! They're always nice if I've been too busy to stay on top of my RSS feed for the week, lol!

    I wound up reading the first chapter or so of this one and determining that I wasn't in the right frame of mind to read it because I wasn't interested...but it could just be that I'm too old for it! It's such a shame. I really did look forward to this!

  8. I think DNF posts are very valuable - when they're done like you do and don't trash the book. Your DNF explanation still makes me want to read the book - mostly because of the talking sheep. I love sheep!

  9. I know exactly what you mean! I read a ton of MG books and always run into those that are just far to silly for someone my age!! Love your DNF posts!

    La Toya (La Toya, Literally.)

  10. I"m thrilled you are doing posts like this. Its important to me to know why bloggers didn't enjoy certain books. Many of them, I may still enjoy.

    That being said, I don't think this is one of them. I am great with middle grade as long as its a mature middle grade book. For example, books like Plain Kate and Artemis Fowl work well for me.

    This one sounds like the writing style is too young for me. Thanks for the great explanation. I'll look forward to reading more of your dnf "reviews". They really do give me perspective.

  11. I'm glad you're sticking with your DNF posts because I find them helpful.

    I like MG but I wasn't really interested in this one because I thought the cover looked a little childish. It seems like I was right; I don't like weird stuff in my books either.

  12. That's a pretty good reason to DNF! I love to read about your DNF books. Your thoughts are always fair.

  13. I do like your DNF posts - it's always interesting to see what makes someone put a book down. Maybe I'll copy you and start doing my own DNF posts - you know what they say, "Imitation is the highest form of flattery!"

    I feel a little guilty for saying this, but I don't think I'll miss your weekly wrap-ups. I read your blog all the time anyway, so the wrap-up wasn't really needed.

    I think that's my problem with early chapter books and younger middle-grade reads. They are SO on target for their audience (7-11 year olds) and SO not right for anyone else. It's the rare early chapter book that really wows me, which makes it all the more impressive when I find one that does!

  14. I like seeing DNF reviews but I'm curious and I want to know what happened. Glad you are going to keep them.

  15. Bonnie, Aw, well I'll have a monthly wrap up now! I also have a post archive on the left sidebar. I looked forward to this one too! Disappointing, but at least the target age will probably love it.

    Alison, Thank you! These sheep are...interesting. :P I'm curious to see what you think of them.

    La Toya, Yes, exactly!

    Gina, That's what I was going for with the DNF explanations (actually, I was thinking of you a lot when I decided to keep them). Yes, books like Plain Kate and Artemis Fowl are WORLDS apart from books like My Un-Fairy Tale Life.

    A Canadian Girl, I'm so glad you find them helpful! I was dying to read this one long before the cover came out, but you're right, the cover does set the age very young. Glad I'm not the only one who doesn't want weird :)

    Belle, Thank you!

    Madigan, Copy away! It's hardly an original idea on my part :P I'm glad you enjoy them. Don't feel guilty at all! I'm relieved to hear it (and flattered). Yes, what you said about early chapter books is it exactly with this one.

    Alexis, I'm glad you do! I'm also happy to hear someone else is curious like I am :)

  16. I know exactly what you mean. Some books just don't crossover as well and I've read books I couldn't get into for the same reason. Also, I like your DNF posts because it makes me feel better for not being able to finish all of my reads. :D

  17. I like the DNFs. Always interesting and since you explain yourself so well, it helps me to know if I should give it a pass. I have a hard time with most MG so this wouldn't be for me either.

  18. Jen, Yes, exactly that. lol, well I'm happy they make you feel better :) I am a ruthless DNF-er :)

    Alyssa, I'm so happy to hear you like them! I have a few more coming up in the next few weeks.

  19. LOL alright, I do like these posts. And you know what? Since I like reading them so much, I may start writing some too.

    This book does look cute, but it's probably not for me either.


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