DNF Round Up

We don’t mention every DNF (did not finish) book we read, but sometimes they pile up and we do DNF round ups.


Catch Me by Katherine Grant: My problem with this book is this – The heroine was mentally abused (at least) with a previous boyfriend. He was controlling, possessive to an extreme (at least that is what I’ve gained with only reading the first half of the book) In present day, heroine has met her neighbor who is already extremely controlling. In a different book, a controlling, colder hero can be fun..but in this book knowing the heroine’s history – and how she tells this new guy “no” but then he goes ahead and kisses her anyway and tells her – oh yes it’s going to happen – squicks me out. Also, just because there is physical ‘romantic’ contact – kissing, touching etc – that isn’t the same as emotional intimacy, which is lacking from this story. 

First to Burn by Anna Richland: I kind of feel like this story doesn’t live up to the blurb. The hero is an immortal viking and in present day serving in Afghanistan. He gets injured and is seen by the heroine who is an Army Captain medic. I expected a lot from an immortal viking but I was kind of bored. Their chemistry didn’t flow well and up to the 30% mark the paranormal stuff is very minimal. Just fell flat for me.

Arrest by June Gray: I assumed this was a marriage in crisis story based on the blurb and that the book starts with these two already married. The hero is in training to become a cop. The heroine has a miscarriage. But they seem pretty content and happy to me. Which is great, but doesn’t make for a very interesting story. After reading 30% I still had no idea where this story was headed. Time kept jumping ahead, we are only in the heroine’s pov, so we miss the hero actually becoming a cop. Didn’t work for me.



A Shiver Of Light by Laurell K. Hamilton. I’m a fan of Hamilton’s Merry Gentry series and was thrilled to be offered this for review. This book was a long time coming but the sparks that made it so beguiling in the beginning were almost non-existent.  The world building continues to evolve and enchant but it couldn’t overcome the repetitive boring sexual dialogue & scenes, the PSAs about polyamorous relationships, and the constant rambling off topic.

The City by Dean Koontz. I’ll be frank…I’m not sure what is going on with Koontz. The last book of his I truly enjoyed was One Door Away From Heaven. The last few I’ve read since then seem to be drifting away from the suspenseful & mysterious (of which I’m a huge fan of) and more into the spiritually introspective. The City bored me. I didn’t feel like I was reading a story but rather a historical text-book. Lots of purple prose, metaphors, and hyperbole drags the book down and the actual story gets lost in the clutter. Numerous characters and plot lines left me feeling overwhelmed and unsure exactly what was going on. I think from now on I’ll just stick to re reading his earlier works.


Have you read anything recently that just didn’t work?



  1. says

    I’ve got the Merry Gentry book on my list. I’m waiting on the audio from the library because I decided not to purchase. From the looks of things, it sounds like I did the right thing. I’m still going to give it a go. I can’t seem to let go of LKH yet.

    I’ve noticed in the most recent Anita Blake books, that the stories are becoming therapy sessions. It is a little annoying. I was hoping that it would stay away from Merry. I guess not.

  2. JennEllens says

    I like this feature on the blog. With so many books coming out weekly, seeing ones that didn’t work for you and reasons why helps me decide whether the books might be something I want to buy.

  3. Lege says

    Oh, no, Koontz thing is really a bummer. I also had hard time with his last books, but I keep hoping. :|

    Ah, what didn’t work for me recently:
    I started House of the Rising Sun by Kristen Painter and decided to leave it after 60%, but I hated it from 15%. It’s a beginning of new uf series and the lure was New Orleans setting. Unfortunately, heroine was rage-inducing and I finally had enough of her.
    Another dnf was Control by Mary Calmes and Cardeno C. (mm). I don’t know if I grew over these easy,gay shifter novels, but insta-sex and insta-love manged to induce only one reaction from me: eye-roll.

  4. Liz says

    My last DNF is Saugatuck Summer by Amelia Gormley. I didn’t like Strain, but I was willing to give this a try. I realized quickly that some of the themes outlined in the blurb were going to be troublesome for me, and then I learned about the trigger warnings on the publisher site that didn’t make it to Goodreads. Toooo many bad things for me to go on at that point. Disappointing, and I think I’ll be parting ways with the author. We’re not a good fit.

    • Mandi says

      I read her first self-published series – it was 3 novellas about the same couple and for the most part enjoyed. So I was excited when she signed with Riptide – but to be honest I haven’t liked any subsequent book. I’ve parted ways as well.

    • says

      I don’t mind polyamory stories but I don’t want it explained to me over and over and over and over….well, you get the point.

  5. Helen Marie says

    I also appreciate seeing the books that you guys DNF. I think we all have different reasons why some books don’t work for us (some may be poorly written or edited, some have triggers that set us off). I think it’s really helpful as a reader to see books that others didn’t like, so thank you!

    • Mandi says

      Thanks – and I agree…my dnf could be the reason someone would want to read it. I think they are helpful reviews.

  6. Celine says

    I have only recently started giving myself ‘permission’ to allow myself to dnf books. Until recently, a book would have to be horrible for me to finish but now if I’m just bored by it I’ll abandon it. In the last month I did not finish Bounty by Elise Sax because the storyline was just outlandish for me to get into easily. I may eventually try to finish that one. Then I gave up on The Devil of Clan Sinclair by Karen Ranney because I didn’t like the way the heroine was deceiving the hero and it was slow moving.

  7. Michelle says

    The Headmaster’s Wife it’s not romance but the story didn’t work for me and i figured out what was going on by chapter 4. I was hoping for more.

    Thanks for this. It makes me feel less guilty when it happens to me too.

  8. Allison says

    I, too, would love to see your DNF column run more often. I don’t want to hate on books–we all love to read which is why we love your blog–but I don’t want to waste my time on a DNF. You all are always clear and concise in why it didn’t work for you, which I find just as helpful as your books you do finish and review.

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