DNF Mini Reviews: Collision by J.S. Breukelaar and Mammoth by Jill Baguchinsky

Welcome to another installment of DNF Mini Reviews! As a reader I value negative reviews just as much as positive ones in determining what books to pick up, so I thought I’d include the occasional mini review post to round up my thoughts.

Please remember that these reviews are based on my own personal reading experience! No two readers read the same book: just because a book wasn’t for me doesn’t mean that you will not enjoy it. I’ve actually picked up and enjoyed books that received negative reviews because we all have different reading tastes.


Collision
by J.S. Breukelaar
Adult, Horror, Short Stories

A collection of twelve of J.S. Breukelaar’s darkest, finest stories with four new works, including the uncanny new novella “Ripples on a Blank Shore.” Introduction by award-winning author, Angela Slatter. Relish the gothic strangeness of “Union Falls,” the alien horror of “Rogues Bay 3013,” the heartbreaking dystopia of “Glow,” the weird mythos of “Ava Rune,” and others. This collection from the author of American Monster and the internationally acclaimed and Aurealis Award finalist, Aletheia, announces a new and powerful voice in fantastical fiction.

DNF @ 32%

I really wanted to like Collision: Stories, but ultimately I am just not the reader for these short stories. The stories are all rather strange and fantastical, but I was left wanting more understanding of what was actually going on and was disappointed with what I found to be unresolved endings.

Just because these stories were not for me doesn’t mean that they weren’t for you. Based on the four and a half stories that I read, K.S. Breukelaar’s got a fantastic imagination, drawing from horror, science fiction, and the weird places in between. The stories I read all had characters dealing with loss in some way, and I appreciated the various looks.

Many thanks to the Meerkat Press for sending me an eARC for review.


Mammoth
by Jill Baguchinsky
Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

The summer before her junior year, paleontology geek Natalie Page lands a coveted internship at an Ice Age dig site near Austin. Natalie, who’s also a plus-size fashion blogger, depends on the retro style she developed to shield herself from her former bullies, but vintage dresses and perfect lipstick aren’t compatible with prospecting for fossils in the Texas heat. But nothing is going to dampen Natalie’s spirit — she’s exactly where she wants to be, and she gets to work with her hero, a rock-star paleontologist who hosts the most popular paleo podcast in the world. And then there’s Chase the intern, who’s seriously cute, and Cody, a local boy who’d be even cuter if he were less of a grouch.

It’s a summer that promises to be about more than just mammoths.

Until it isn’t.

When Natalie’s hero turns out to be anything but, and steals the credit for one of her accomplishments, Nat has to unearth the confidence she needs to stand out in a field dominated by dudes. To do this, she’ll have to let her true self shine, even if that means defying all the rules for the sake of a major discovery.

DNF @ page 45

This is a case of right book, wrong reader. Unfortunately, I found myself triggered by Natalie’s obsession about weight (guessing the weight of other people, second guessing her food choices because there are people around her) and the snapping of a hair elastic on her wrist. I don’t think this representation will necessarily bother other readers, but for my own well-being I needed to put this book aside and pass it along to another reader.

This is an important book with anxiety rep, body positivity, and a dash of women in STEM for good measure. Thank you to Turner Publishing for sending me an ARC for review.


Have you read any of these books that didn’t work for me? If so, I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!spacer_w

Let’s go on another adventure together!

22 Comments

  1. Lindsi

    August 18, 2019 at 8:47 PM

    I’m unfamiliar with these books! It’s always a little disappointing when they don’t work out, because you’ve already invested the time and energy. However, it’s better to DNF what you’re not enjoying so you can find something else you’ll love! I do a DNF&Y post at the end of every month if you want to link up. 🙂

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

    1. Kal

      August 19, 2019 at 6:00 PM

      Yea, I am always sad when I wind up not enjoying a book but it’s way better to not force it in my opinion. I love the idea of DNF&Y, I will have to check that out!

  2. TheCaffeinatedReader

    August 19, 2019 at 1:19 AM

    I might have to give Collision Stories a try but Mammoth sounds interesting but I’m uncomfortable with books that focus too much on weight and diet in particular

    1. Kal

      August 19, 2019 at 6:01 PM

      You should! Most other reviews I saw were very positive for Collision Stories! I was really sad about Mammoth, I didn’t expect it to be so triggering for me, but alas.

  3. BookerTalk

    August 19, 2019 at 8:49 AM

    i don’t know either of these and probably wouldn’t have chosen them for myself. What made you buy/aquire them – recommendations from others or personal experience with the author?

    1. Kal

      August 19, 2019 at 6:04 PM

      Both of these were arcs that sounded really interesting to me, but just didn’t pan out. Mammoth especially had me really excited because the MC is a woman in STEM who is also a blogger — while I don’t read a lot of contemporary, I was really excited for it but I just wasn’t the right reader for it.

      1. BookerTalk

        August 20, 2019 at 6:09 AM

        I’m more inclined these days to give up on books that are just not hitting the mark. Years ago I used to struggle on regardless…

        1. Kal

          August 21, 2019 at 12:10 PM

          Me too! I didn’t start DNFing books until I began blogging, actually. I had this weird sense of loyalty to see it through to the end no matter how much I wasn’t enjoying the book. Now? I can’t be bothered.

  4. Destiny @ Howling Libraries

    August 21, 2019 at 11:19 PM

    Mammoth is one I’m unsure if I want to read, because I’ve heard others say it triggered them, too! Books with prominent fat rep are so hit-and-miss for me because of that reason, so it’s definitely one I would just grab from the library so I won’t have to feel bad if I need to DNF it right away, too! Great reviews, love! ♥

    1. Kal

      August 25, 2019 at 11:18 AM

      I was really sad that Mammoth triggered me because I thought it was going to be a body positive book, and uh… it wasn’t at all based on the 40 pages I read. Good plan on picking it up from the library, though!

      1. Destiny @ Howling Libraries

        August 26, 2019 at 4:58 AM

        Oof… that’s so crummy 🙁 I honestly might pass on it altogether, the more I’ve thought about it!

  5. motifink

    August 22, 2019 at 11:20 AM

    I like this! Usually I just don’t bother writing anything for a DNF book, so this is a fantastic idea. For whatever reason, Mammoth rubbed me the wrong way, so I stayed away from it… seems like a good decision. Great post!

    1. Kal

      August 25, 2019 at 11:26 AM

      Thank you, and I started writing up mini reviews mainly for NetGalley purposes but really came to appreciate them in their own right. I am a firm believer in no two people reading the same book, and the things that don’t work for me may not be an issue for someone else so it’s better for me to talk about it! I wanted to love Mammoth but it was so triggering for me and that made me very sad.

  6. moonlight & moths

    August 22, 2019 at 2:10 PM

    Collision looks interesting, but anytime a character in a story gets obsessed with weight, I get super uncomfortable and have to put the book down.

    1. Kal

      August 25, 2019 at 11:40 AM

      Same here, and there was the added “bonus” of her habits being very similar to my own self-destructive ones. It was honestly the most uncomfortable I’ve ever been reading a book.

  7. northernplunder

    August 22, 2019 at 3:32 PM

    i think mammoth wouldve been a dnf for me too tbh, ty for the heads up

    1. Kal

      August 25, 2019 at 11:41 AM

      You’re welcome, glad I was able to rescue you from a potentially triggering reading experience!

  8. dbsguidetothegalaxy

    August 23, 2019 at 2:12 AM

    I did want to read Mammoth – like fossils are super cool and she’s a blogger? I think I would’ve managed to read this book (and probably loved it) if it had come out a few years ago, but definitely not now. Thanks for the heads up 🤗

    1. Kal

      August 25, 2019 at 11:42 AM

      Yea fossils are awesome and I loved that she was a blogger too – but it just wasn’t the right book for me.

  9. waytoofantasy

    August 24, 2019 at 4:05 AM

    Really appreciate that you’re doing these DNF reviews. I have such a hard time DNFing books myself, but I think it’s helpful if someone does DNF that it’s still reviewed, to at least say why it didn’t work for them. Great post!

    1. Kal

      August 27, 2019 at 12:46 AM

      Thank you, it means a lot that you find DNF reviews helpful. A part of me always feels guilty but I really do think they are helpful, and I’ve been known to tbr books other readers DNF’d so it’s good I am talking about it.

      1. waytoofantasy

        August 27, 2019 at 6:00 AM

        They’re definitely helpful!

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