Mini Reviews: Nereyda Doesn’t Know or Care What Happened

Spelbook of the Lost and Found by Moira Fowley-Doyle

One stormy summer night, Olive and her best friend, Rose, begin to lose things. It starts with simple items like hair clips and jewellery, but soon it’s clear that Rose has lost something bigger; something she won’t talk about.

Then Olive meets three wild, mysterious strangers: Ivy, Hazel and Rowan. Like Rose, they’re mourning losses – and holding tight to secrets.

When they discover the ancient spellbook, full of hand-inked charms to conjure back lost things, they realise it might be their chance to set everything right. Unless it’s leading them towards secrets that were never meant to be found . . .

At the risk of sounding entirely stupid, I will admit that I actually did listen to all of this book… and I just don’t know what the fuck happened. I heard The Accident Season by this author and I really liked it and I was expecting this really weird and twisted book for Spellbook, and it was, but I was just so lost I can’t even begin to tell you what happened in the book or what it was about. I wanna blame it on stress, I’ve been pretty stressed the last few weeks and had a lot on my mind so it was hard to concentrate on this story while listening. I also kept thinking that maybe this would be a better book for me if I would have read it instead of listening to the audiobook because I kept thinking it would be so much better if it had more than one narrator… only to find out at the end of the book that it was actually narrated by 3 different narrators. I swear, they all sounded so similar it was hard to tell the difference. I’ve seen good reviews on this book which is a shame that I just couldn’t click with it. I will say that the parts I did get were definitely weird and interesting (like her last book), unfortunately when it came time to piecing it all together and realizing which girl was narrating which part and at what time (in the present or the past), it was just too much for me to keep up with. I tried sticking with this one until the end, which didn’t help at all in this case since I was still lost at the end.

A Flame in the Mist by Renee Ahdieh

The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

Unfortunately, when it came to this book, I just couldn’t find myself caring what happened with the story or the characters. I really liked The Wrath and the Dawn but was disappointed with the sequel, however I am a huge fan of Mulan so I was really excited for this story. Right from the beginning, things didn’t start off well. Other than a few similar phrases from the Disney movie and the original story, it was really hard to tell that this was even a Mulan retelling. My biggest issue with this book is that I felt like I had already read this book so many times. There are quite a few books that feature girls disguised as boys going into war that are much better than this so there was never really anything in this case that stood out for me in terms of characters or the story. The romance… I can’t even tell you if there was some or who it was with because I just didn’t care. I always try to finish audiobooks because it’s easier to listen to a book as opposed to wasting your precious reading time if you don’t like a certain book. I actually got to 65% of the book when I realized that I was spacing out more often than not, that I was bored and that I just didn’t care what happened. This one was a DNF for me and looking at some of the reviews on this book, I’m kind of glad I didn’t waste my time.

Have you read any of these books? Have you ever read a book where you weren’t sure what happened… or didn’t care? Let me know in the comments!

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Nereyda is a 31 year-old mother of two girls with addiction to Friends, fashion, books, Pinterest, Netflix, the color black and a little bit of everything else. Also, the world's worst texter...
  • I don’t listen to audiobooks so I can’t relate to your struggles with listening to Spellbook of the Lost and Found but I get it would be confusing not even realising there were three narrators. Maybe if they had sounded more different you would have been able to spend more time focusing on the story and would have noticed the transitions better. I do know i have The Accident Season on my TBR so I’ll stick with trying that one first and see how it goes.

    I also have the Flame in the Mist on my kindle. I am way behind on my ARC reading and this was one I was looking forward to but I did see a few negative reviews which put me off (which is why I should never read reviews for books I have to read). I do think there have been a few books like this one so it sucks it didn’t distinguish itself more from the others.

    It’s not often I get completely confused by a book and what’s going on. With books I’ve failed to get into I normally find myself getting really confused with who characters are. I’m not the best with names anyway and if I’ve been distracted when reading I can fail to remember anyones name in a whole book. It’s embarrassing really but oh well.

    • I felt so dumb when I realized that there was in fact more than one narrator… after I finished the book. But then another avid audiobook listener commented that she didn’t realize there were 3 either and I felt much better…
      Sometimes I may be confused but then things tie together eventually… in this case it didn’t haha.

  • Oh boo about Spellbook. I kind of loved it but read it so I didn’t have the narrator issues. I loved how it all came together but can see how it could be confusing. Sorry it didn’t work for you!

    • I think I wouldn’t have been so confused/lost if I would have read it instead…

  • the hype around Flame the Mist was kind of big and so when the utterly disappointed reviews came out on release date, I knew I shouldn’t read it. as much as i’d like buy the Mulan premise, i don’t really want to waste my time reading something that everyone around me ended up DNF-ing or rating poorly, yours included now. i might still try The Wrath and the Dawn though 🙂

    • I just rewatched Mulan last night and it was great, made me wish we had a worthy retelling. The Wrath was good, but the second book was a letdown…

  • Omg girl you’re not alone with Spellbooj. I thought they were one narrator too! And yeah I was expecting a lot more. I can’t tell you what happened.

    • You don’t even understand how good this makes me feel! I even texted Nick to tell her that you didn’t know there were 3 narrators either haha. I’m just not even sure who is who, which timeline was which or what the hell happened *shrugs*

  • Aww sorry to hear that neither of these books ended up working out for you. I’ve heard some good things about Spellbook but I haven’t gotten to check that one out for myself yet. I read Flame in the Mist and I really enjoyed it, but I actually didn’t know that it was supposed to be a Mulan retelling until I was already reading it. lol! I hadn’t read too many books with a female MC disguising herself as a boy so maybe that helped it feel “new” to me. I hope you enjoy your next reads much more!

    • I’ve heard good reviews about Spellbook so I think this was simply an audiobook fail for me.

  • My heart is breaking right now. I love Fowley-Doyle and I loved Spellbook, but I get it, different readers, different tastes. I am impressed you can listen to these types of books. I only do audio for contemporaries and usually only contemporary romances. I tried several paranormals and fantasies, but they stories are usually too complex, and I feel lost since I am a visual learner.

    • I liked her last book a lot and I have heard a lot of great reviews for Spellbook so I really think this was more of an audiobook fail for me. I don’t think I would have been so lost if I would have actually read the book instead since the audiobook was hard to follow with the timelines.

  • Amanda @ Vivalabooks

    I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy Spellbook of the Lost and Found or Flame in the Mist. I’ve been hearing really great things about it, but I might end up having the same confusion as you. I really wanted to like Flame in the Mist too, but I found myself having the same problems as you.

    • I think the audiobook was hard to follow because of the timelines. If you try it, definitely read it instead of the audio 🙂

  • I’m going to be living for more Nereyda doesn’t give a shit reviews. I haven’t started The Wrath and The Dawn despite buying it after seeing your glowing review. I’ve actually never seen Disney’s Mulan, I know! Gasps all round. Spellbook of The Lost and Found sounds like one I would really enjoy, do you think the terrible narration made the difference? I might add this one and grab it on sale. Brilliant reviews Nere 😀

    • Hahaha, I kind of love that for a feature name 🙂
      You haven’t seen Mulan?? I watched it again this weekend, it’s one of my favorite and most underrated Disney movies. The narration for Spellbound wasn’t terrible, the execution was just off.

  • Why you no rate Spellbook 5 stars? You don’t have to understand a book to give it a high rating.

    • ‘I’m not sure what exactly happened, but it was great! 5 stars!’

  • I also love TWATD, but I agree that the sequel is a dissapointment. I also felt dissapointed with FitM. IT’S NOT A MULAN RETELLING, it’s just a cross-dress story. And again, while I’m fascinated with the magic system, I feel like it’s going to end in dissapointing explanation in TWaTD.

    • The sequel was so disappointing…
      I can’t even tell you what was the magical explanation in Spellbound because I was that lost 🙂

  • Is it bad that your review of Spellbook makes me even more intrigued by it? Hahaha. If I do pick it up, I’ll definitely opt for the print version over the audio one though. How bizarre that the three narrators sounded almost identical.

    The more I hear about Flame in the Mist, the less interested I am in the story. Honestly it sounds very cookie cutter, standard YA fantasy. In other words, no thank you!

    • Haha, definitely read it if you do try it since the audio was very confusing for me. I am so done with cookie cutter YA period!

  • I’m so sorry you didn’t enjoy Flame in the Mist! I read it and really enjoyed it, but I’ve heard that some other people haven’t been feeling the same about it. I had been told that it didn’t resemble Mulan as much before starting the book, so I wasn’t expecting it to be. I hope you enjoy your next read!

    • I’m glad you liked it, I think I was expecting more and more of a Mulan connection to it…