A Few DNF’s

Sometimes we have a streak of reading books where it seems like a lot of books just didn’t work for us. Here are a few recent ones. DNF stands for “Did Not Finish.”

That Old Black Magic That Old Black Magic By Michelle Rowen
Reviewed by May

Eden Riley is a black witch possessed by a powerful cursed demon/former incubus named Derrak who has his own body during the day, and possesses hers at night due to a curse. As a half angel, Eden has a battle going on inside her and an amulet that she wears shows the gauge of how good (or bad) her soul is. If she uses her black magic and goes dark, all is lost. They need to find a way to un-bind Derrak without harming either of them, and find a way to make their lives such that their love has a chance.

I had to sit down and chart out all the insanity that is thrown at us in the first few pages. Eden’s special angel power (aka celestial energy) is limitless and changing Derrak in good ways from his possessing her each night, but she doesn’t want him to know. Also, a sex magic spell has been causing big problems for them, the two times they slept together have to never be repeated because of it. Unless, of course, Eden removes it:

Go now, she thought. Leave here. I no longer need you.
As she thought the command, sending out the magic through what she now knew was her soul, she felt it respond. It was as if the spell had a personality – like a puppy. It recognized her magical signature and wagged its tail. And then it extracted itself from Darrak to return to her and… disappeared.

So at page 40 we have a former incubus/arch demon spawned from hell that also has a significant amount of celestial energy and humanity from possessing humans turning him good and battling the bad inside him that is madly in love with our angel-black witch heroine and can now have sex with her.

That’s convenient.

By the end of chapter six we also have the return of her dead mom, a euro-trash wizard, a visit and kiss from Lucifer (which helps purify her soul), and our heroine is feeling nauseated at the thought of most food (let me guess why that might be). We see that an angel (her father, is my guess) is imprisoned and that is just the beginning. (Goodreads)


UnwrappedUnwrapped by Cari Quinn
Reviewed by Mandi

I was immediately put off by the heroine in this book as she came across immature and a little whiney. Caitlyn Sachs is a twenty-five year old virgin who is ready to pop her cherry. What she really wants is one of her best friends, and roommates, Tristan or Dan to do the deed. As she works up the nerve to ask them, she comes home and hears and sees Tristan and Dan having sex with each other.

I don’t love the set-up to this book, and when the heroine discovers they are having sex together, this is her initial thought:

Their earlier conversation flashed through her mind, tinged heavily with a sense of betrayal she couldn’t repress. She never liked being left out, but this brought that feeling home with a vengeance. Just when she’d made a decision to take a definitive step toward embracing her sexuality, they had to reenact some kind of tawdry movie mere feet away from her own bed.

And if they really are her BFF’s, how in the world did she have no idea they had feelings for each other? I just didn’t like the heroine’s attitude at the beginning of this book, and chose not to continue. (Goodreads)


Forever MineForever Mine by Delilah Marvelle
Reviewed by Mandi

I actually finished this short novella, but I can’t recommend it.

It felt like one big set up for future books in this series. The romance was rushed…and there is a lot of time spent in the beginning setting up Lady Augustine’s evil father and missing brother – and not really any resolution to it at all. The story just didn’t feel complete or wrapped up. It also looks like the first full length book in this series starts 30 years after this one, but I assume must be related somehow. I don’t know. This book just didn’t feel like a complete story. (Goodreads)


  1. Sara says

    I keep reading Michelle Rowen’s books and I have no idea why. Probably because I’m super loyal to Canadian writers in the urban fantasy/paranormal genre (there are so few!). But man, they frustrate me… I’ve never once been able to understand the logic or the characters’ motivations in her books. Still, I’ve got this on my TBR pile.

      • Sara says

        The opening to Nightshade is one of the best I’ve ever read, but for me, the rest of the book fell a bit flat. I think, other than that opening scene, I never really feel a sense of tension in her books. But again, I keep reading them, so it’s safe to say I might be a little cracked out in my opinions.

        I agree with the other commenters that DNFs are sad, but I really love when bloggers post about them.

  2. May says

    DNF disappoints because it to me is worse than a fail. I wasn’t even intrigued enough to finish.


    I had another DNF (silver sparks) that I couldn’t even muster a DNF review for last week.

  3. Eb__Rai says

    I read Nigtshade and the first book in this series but had no interest in going any further. In both of the books I just didn’t care enough about the characters to follow them. This series especially seemed disjointed. I also think for me both of the heroines seemed interchangeable. It’s like seeing an actor over and over on the same network but in different shows.

    My most recent DNF was the first in the Elemental Assassin series. Didn’t care for it in the least bit and gave up around the second or third chapter. I bought it when it was on sale for 2.99 in the Kindle store, so at least I didn’t feel like it was a totally loss.

  4. says

    “…they had to reenact some kind of tawdry movie mere feet away from her own bed.”

    Umm. Wow. So she’s also a judgmental bitch who figures that any sexual relationship that she’s not a part of is somehow less worthy than if her golden vagina were involved? Why would you want to be in a relationship with a woman who thinks that gay/bi sex is “tawdry”? Oh and she was stupid too as you point out. :-)

    • says

      I assume there is a HEA for all three of them by the end of the book. But her attitude to start just really put me off. I get she would have some level of surprise at finding them together, but I just didn’t like her at that point.

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