A Few DNF’s

We all have DNF’s (Books we “did not finish”) and usually we just put the book down and move on. But every once in awhile, we like to explain why we didn’t like the book. Here are a few:

Moonshell Beach: A Shelter Bay Novel (Shelter Bay, #4)Moonshell Beach by JoAnn Ross

Reviewed by May

If you are looking for a very community focused small town on the Oregon coast where everyone knows the business of everyone else book, this may be one you really like. I have read and really liked some of this author’s previous books, though none based in Shelter Bay as this one is. It is made very obvious that there are other books in the series as the author gives us numerous recaps and details on the love lives of everyone we meet in the first few chapters.

Indeed, if anyone walks onto the page, we’re told all kinds of information from their marital status to where they went to school to what they like to eat. It was both bizarre and painful to read, as I just wanted to read the story of a former Marine (there’s no such thing as a former Marine, we’re told, at least 40x) in a deep depression and the actress/screenwriter celebrity that has a bit of psychic ability.

I couldn’t read their story, because everyone in this small town wants to cram onto the page and get into the limelight. Here is one example:

“I’m Colleen Dennis, mayor of Shelter bay.” Her fingers were stained yellow, which went along with the cigarette rasp in her voice. Apparently not everyone in Oregon lived up to the state’s reputation of being populated by physical-fitness buffs. “And it’s an honor to welcome you to Oregon.”

“It’s Mary. And the honor’s mine. I’m delighted to be invited, Mayor Dennis. I’ve known many people with the Dennis surname back home. Would your family have Irish ties?”

“They certainly do,” the mayor said proudly. “My maiden name was McLaughlin and John McLaughlin fought with the Jacobites at the battle of the Boyne in 1690.”

“As did my ancestors,” Mary said, causing the mayor to beam to have something in common with the celebrity guest. “It was a sad time for many.” The battle had established Protestant rule over the Emerald Isle, which lasted until the Anglo-Irish war in the 1920s.

Honestly, this is how it goes on and on with every single person. Our heroine and hero can’t get a lot of together time at this rate, and I can’t see how all of this information is making for a richer story. I love detail and good conversation but I like it woven into the story in a way that doesn’t seem like we take a step forward in the plot only to stop and listen to somebody else’s story.

I did not see any possible way that I would enjoy reading this, so after 11 chapters I peeked at the ending and that sealed it. (Goodreads)


Messenger's Angel (Lost Angels, #2)Messenger’s Angel by Heather Killough-Walden

Reviewed by Helyce

I really looked forward to reading Messenger’s Angel by Heather Killough-Walden. I have a thing for the fallen angel trope and this one seemed interesting even while similar to others out there. Here’s the main premise from Goodreads:

Since the beginning of time, the archangels have longed to know true love. When four female angels were created for the four archangels, Michael, Gabriel, Uriel, and Azrael, a chaos spurred by jealousy erupted, and the archesses were secreted away to Earth. The four favored archangels followed, prompting a search that has lasted millennia…

Messenger’s Angel is book two in this series. In book one, Uriel finds his archess, so the archangels now know that these archesses really do exist and the remaining archangels are ever hopeful that they, too, may at last find the one woman created especially for them. In this book, Gabriel is featured and when he realizes that Juliette Anderson is his archess he of course does everything he can to make her his. This story, in and of itself, is not bad and initially I liked it. You have the usual conflict with the bad guys, you have Gabriel, who while trying to win over his archess, does all the wrong things and you have the other archangels who are there trying to help him out because if Gabriel can win over his archess, there is hope that they too will find their one and only.

What really ruined this book for me, though, was the author’s writing style. Just as a scene was getting interesting or information was being provided to further the story along, there’d be a break and it’d move to one of the side stories. It was choppy and frustrating and it really began to hinder my comprehension to the point that I couldn’t follow it. I read through to page 266 before I gave up. I found I was spending too much time trying to keep so many different story lines straight that there was no clear flow and I just couldn’t fall into the story as I normally do.

Mandi knows how much I hate to DNF a book and this book is no exception. It’s unfortunate, as I feel this series has potential, but a story should just unfold before you; you shouldn’t have to take notes to keep track of the players. (Goodreads)


Decoy (A Noel Casey Novel)Decoy by Michaela Debelius

Reviewed by Mandi

I actually read this whole book, but I had many, many problems with it. I decided to read it based on the blurb. When I read the hero is, “a genetically engineered soldier designed for exceptional strength and intelligence.” I couldn’t resist. The heroine works with stolen samples of other countries biological weapons and tries to create vaccines for US soldiers. Hello, over the top plot. I like it. Except once I read the book, it all fell apart. And if you do want to read this one, there are spoilers coming. First of all, every man in this top secret, military fort pretty much sexually harasses the heroine. Yes, she is one of the few females that work there, but in a profession as high ranking as this fort encompasses, why would they allow this type of behavior from every man? And, would this really happen in real life? Next, the hero at one point, breaks through impenetrable glass to save the heroine from a rape attempt, yet the soldiers replace the glass and put him back in his cell. Um, but he can break through it. There are many more examples of things that don’t add up, but I’ll leave it at that.

What comes of the whole thing is that actually the hero is an alien! Ah – that makes perfect sense. Not really. The heroine never acted like she had any type of degree, although she was suppose to be super smart. The romance is flat and never develops. I don’t recommend this one.


  1. Selena Mc says

    It takes a lot for me to DNF a book. Usually I plow thru it slowly & just end up not reading the sequels. I totally agree with Helyce. I can’t stand reading stories that make me have to keep a character chart, lol. Drives me nuts!

  2. sandy haber says

    I too have trouble not finishing a book, especially if it’s part of a series and/or by an author I like. If I haven’t ‘gotten into it’ by 50-75 pages, I’ve been known to read the last chapter! Usually the ending is what I’ve expected!

  3. says

    I also don’t always finish a book I have started. Sometimes they will get a second chance though, if the second book promises more goodness or if I think it is just my mood making me dislike the book.

    But I have to admit, the things you explain are just bad.

  4. says

    Some do seem to go over on the detail. I remember some friends complaining about an m/m book that had details ad nauseam about the food, the detail of how he made a sandwich was excruciating. Detailing cutting the bread, spreading the butter, getting the meat, slicing it, putting it on the plate. Arrrgghh. Unless he’s in a relationship with that sandwich, I don’t care!

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