I am pretty selective about the books I read and over the years have really been able to identify books that will most likely work for me. I don’t take a lot of chances any more. But even when I pick books I am pretty sure I am going to like them, but these four books did not work for me. And that is okay. Not every book has to be for every one.
The Rakess by Scarlett Peckham– I had such high hopes for this book. It seemed like several of my friends were RAVING about it. But I resisted it because it is historical and I so rarely read historical romance. But then Tasha L. Harrison tweeted about how feminist the book it and I feel like calling a book feminist means it is for me. Sadly, this book was not for me. It felt like it was dragging out the conflict FOREVER. Sera is so sad. Adam is not quite as sad. Usually books about sad people really work for me. And possibly if this were in a modern setting I would have lost my mind over it. But I didn’t. I DNFed around the 60% mark, after it took me about a week to get that far. I am sure that the praise for this book is well earned, it just didn’t work for me.
Take a Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert– I absolutely loved Get a Life Chloe Brown and was really looking forward to this one. But it was another let down. Dani and Zaf are good characters, but I quickly tired of their perfectness. Even in their grumpy ways, they were still perfect. I read the first 12 chapters and then skipped to the last two. I didn’t feel like I missed anything.I think this was a case of me and not the book
Hairpin Curves by Elia Winters– I have been so excited about the Carina Adores line bringing us more f/f romance and was looking forward to this book. I have read Winters before and she really brings the heat. But I had to abandon this one early on. The two female leads are both 25. I’ve mentioned before that younger protagonists generally don’t work well for me. This is definitely a me and not the book DNF. I think if you aren’t a grumpy grump like me and like road trip romances, you would like this book.
Come Home to Deep River by Jackie Ashenden– The blurb got me with talk of second chance romance and it is described as bold and sexy. The hero returns to his hometown after he has inherited it from his bestie. He is also returning to the woman he left behind. There is a huge subplot about oil being discovered in the town and how that was going to impact the residents. It took up so much page time. Too much page time. I got bored and skipped to the last chapter. I didn’t feel like I missed anything, so I labeled the book as read and moved on.
What books have you DNFed really?
Kini, I really appreciate this post. There are so many times Romancelandia is raving about a book, & when I try to read it, it is just meh for me. Sometimes I wonder what is wrong with me that I can’t get on the bandwagon like everyone else. It is nice to be reminded that sometimes you are not alone.
Thanks Laurel! I know at least two of these books will end up on everyones best of/favorites and they were both so meh for me. And that’s fine. There is nothing wrong with US or the people that liked them. I really do wish we talked more openly about when books don’t work for us. It doesn’t make them “bad” books, just not the ones for us.
Sharonda Isadora says
I felt the same about Take a Hint Dani Brown.
Its so good to see posts like this, I feel you on reads everyone is raving about and you’re just sitting there like…what ya’ll read? lols.
I thought I remembered you saying you didn’t love this one. I try not to check reviews until after I read/decide to be finished because I don’t want to be swayed. And like to each their own, but also what did they read. LOLS
I’m accustomed to feeling “meh” about books & authors that everyone else seems to rave about; and, by the same token, going absolutely over-the-top about a book that has others shrugging. I’ve long since given up expecting my favorite romances to be popular favorites with many others. Perhaps because I’m older or perhaps it’s just a personality trait, but I tend to go for dark and angsty (well, not always dark, but always angsty) and it seems to me that “popular” books tend to focus on stories that are perceived as humorous (but never seem funny to me) or melodramatic (so much in the way of drama, so little in the way of emotionally-mature responsiveness) or bandwagon favorites (“Everyone else is raving about how good this book is, so I should too!”). I guess I’ll just continue to be a grumpy Gertrude and read my Kati Wilde, Caitlin Crews, Julie Kriss, Kate Canterbary, Molly O’Keefe, N.R. Walker, and Kelly Hunter (all of whom published very good books this year) and not expect to see them on any “Best of the Year” lists save my own.
As for the last book I dnf’d, it was Suzanne Wright’s shifter romance, WHEN HE’S DARK. It’s the first book of a new series, so I expected the usual “first book” introduction of secondary characters along with their backstories; what I didn’t expect was Wright’s clunky way of doing it. While there are ways to present expositional information organically through character interactions, this did not happen in WHEN HE’S DARK. Instead, every time a new character showed up, all action came to a screeching halt to allow a tedious info-dump of exposition. Well past the 20% point of the book, characters were still being introduced in this choppy and confusing fashion. Meanwhile, the stop-and-start narrative provided no opportunity to get involved in the plot or in the dynamic between the two MCs: a female Pallas cat shifter and a male wolverine shifter. The book kept telling us about their “insane” sexual chemistry, but there wasn’t actually any textual evidence of it. All tell, no show. Way too many characters. Life’s too short. DNF.
No dnf’s for me yet this year, but a whole pile of samples that I promptly deleted off my Kindle. Like DiscoDollyDeb, age might be a factor, but most times for me it comes down to writing style – or writing skill. Another deal-breaker for me: stupid names
*rolls out the list*
So many, Kini.
Recently it was A Sweet Mess and Twist.
I FREQUENTLY do not finish books. Most recently it was The Black Witch (Forest) but others that come to mind are Gideon the Ninth (Muir), The Ten Thousand Doors of January (Harrow), and Velocity Weapon (O’Keefe). I know that it’s often me and an abundance of choice. Were there no other books at hand, I’d likely have finished all of the books listed above. I think as I get older that I don’t have the patience for books that don’t grab me right away.
I finished both The Rakess and Come Home to Deep River, but they were not favs. If they hadn’t been review books, I probably would have DNF’ed both of them, exactly for the same reasons as you. I think we have pretty similar tastes LOL. On the other hand, I just got Dani Brown from the library but I think I’m going to love it because I adore Talia’s cinnamon roll heroes. Really, any romances with characters that are caring and marshmallow sweet have been so comforting to me in this dumpster fire of a year and she is great at those.