Tag Archives: DNF

DNF Digest [5] – The Lonely Hearts Hotel

dnfdigest

I didn’t intended on making “DNF Digest” a regular thing because honestly? I always hope to finish a book! Lately, though, I’ve been more inclined to mark a book as DNF because there are just soooo many books I need to read (you’ve seen my shelves) so I just can’t afford to be pushing through books that I’m really not enjoying. If I’ve read a lot of the book I finish, it’s sort of a policy of mine to try to write a small “review” saying why it didn’t work for me, but today’s collection of DNF round-ups didn’t quite warrant reviews because I didn’t make it as far as I’d hoped.

I’ve been doing kind of well at not DNFing books lately but I have put a few on hold. Today, I’m just talking about one relatively recent DNF due to the content as well as extremely different expectations.



Title:
 The Lonely Hearts Hotel
Author: Heather O’Neill
Format I was reading: audiobook received from the publisher for review
Started reading: 2/9/17
Date marked as DNF: 2/9/17
Marked DNF at: a few chapters in (don’t know the exact due to formatting)
Reason for marking DNF: (My mini-review from Goodreads) I started listening to this audio and only made it two chapters before I turned it off. I had high hopes with nods to The Night Circus as far as timing, magic, and two orphans (and the fact that it was marketed as a NIGHT CIRCUS comparision)… But I couldn’t even make it past the beginning of the book. Only two or three chapters that only span into the first five years of the two main characters’ lives and the book was already too much for me. Trigger warnings for rape, incest, child abuse, child neglect and more within the first couple chapters. And again, this didn’t even span past the first five years of their lives. It seemed like there was way too much included for shock value and not that I made it far enough to really solidly say, but chances are that all of those horrors were not necessary for the overall plot of the book. I know this book is adult and not YA but I still don’t think that’s an excuse or allowance to include so much so fast. No matter what the target audience or age range, it just felt like overkill.

The writing and possible potential of where the story might go just weren’t enough to keep me reading and being bombarded with so many abhorrent events really didn’t make me want to keep reading. If this was the way the book started, what the heck do I have to look forward to here? It really got me down before the story even started and turned me way the heck off to the book instead of pulling me towards a emotional connection and sympathetic nature towards the two main characters.

As I do with any DNF, I checked out other reviews and they really didn’t seem too positive either. Another reviewer had finished the book and still gave it one star, citing that things really didn’t get better for our protagonists so I surely wasn’t going to stick around for that. If I couldn’t handle the beginning, I couldn’t bear to read a whole book like that.

Maybe check out reviews before picking this one up, but seriously beware of all of those trigger warnings if you’re sensitive to any of them. I’m usually able to stomach quite a bit but they all immediately turned me off and had quite a depressing start to a book that I was expecting to be magical.


This book just really didn’t work for me on many levels and even if the triggers weren’t overwhelming for me, I just am not in the mood for such a painfully dark and serious read at the moment. Thank you the publisher for the review copy of this one and sorry it didn’t work out!

False Start [2] – The Traitor’s Kiss, The Impostor Queen, Nevernight

false_start

I’m not sure if it’s me or if it’s time or if it’s the books I’m picking up, but I’ve found that lately, not a lot of books are sticking. I’m trying to figure out whether I want to finish the books that don’t grab me right away or just put them down and find something that I’m passionate about. On FALSE START today, I’m talking about some recent books that are currently in limbo for me!


THE TRAITOR’S KISS by Erin Beaty

I received a copy of THE TRAITOR’S KISS from Macmillan for review and I was so excited to read this book! Then once I started, I kind of felt like it wasn’t like how I remembered the synopsis when I first added it to my TBR. The beginning of this book felt a little too cookie-cutter, following popular YA tropes and Sage was a little too typical “rebellious/not-a-proper” girl and it just didn’t feel unique. I had a hard time starting this one and from the tone, I’m not sure I want to continue. I really tried to push forward but I kept getting stuck.

FINISH OR DITCH IT? I’m not sure yet. I think I’ll wait for more reviews to come out but this might be one of those that I put down and don’t make it back to because I’m not feeling it.


THE CURSED QUEEN by Sarah Fine

I actually really loved the first book in this series, THE IMPOSTOR QUEEN, but I just hit a wall starting this book. It’s a companion so I was left wanting more of the main characters from the first book (although it does feature those characters from a different view point early on) and the characters just felt so forced. I just really wasn’t into it and had a hard time continuing, no matter how much free time I had.

FINISH OR DITCH IT? I might ditch it. Once I hit that wall, it’s hard to recover. I know there’s a third book but I don’t know if I want to push myself to finsih this.


NEVERNIGHT by Jay Kristoff

This was just a case of poor format! I started this via egalley months ago but it didn’t have the footnotes that everyone was talking about so I decided to wait for my print copy to arrive. By then I had other books lined up that I had to read and I just didn’t have the time to come back to this. I enjoyed the little bit that I read but this has been hanging out there ever since the summer.

FINISH OR DITCH IT? Definitely finish! I just need to find the time to get back to my print books. This is definitely high up on my list of things to read.


Have you read any of these books? What have you thought? Did you love them or leave them?

False Start [1]: A Shadow Bright and Burning, The Reader, Kiss Cam

false_start

I’m not sure if it’s me or if it’s time or if it’s the books I’m picking up, but I’ve found that lately, not a lot of books are sticking. I’m trying to figure out whether I want to finish the books that don’t grab me right away or just put them down and find something that I’m passionate about. On FALSE START today, I’m talking about some recent books that are currently in limbo for me!


A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING by Jessica Cluess

I received an audio review copy of this book and was SO excited to start it. The concept sounded great and the audiobook narrator was Fiona Hardingham who I loved in THE SCORPIO RACES… but for some reason I’m having the hardest time with this audiobook! I actually stopped the audio and switched it out for THE SCORPIO RACES because 1) Fiona’s voice was just making me long for Puck’s story and 2) it was time for my annual re-read anyway. I think I started to realize though that I love Fiona Hardingham in TSR because her voice goes well with a spunky character. When it’s someone who’s not as bold and spunky, her narration starts to feel a little shrill and I’ve honestly not liked any of her other narrations so far. I was having a hard time getting into the story too, feeling like I was just kind of thrown in, but audio could be a big part of that.

FINISH OR DITCH IT? I think I’ll try to read this one in print instead of audio. I’ve heard some REALLY good things about the book and I think maybe I’m just not clicking with the narration.


THE READER by Traci Chee

I just started THE READER — on audio as well — and it’s another book I’m just not clicking with. The narrator, Kim Mai Guest, is okay and I liked her narration in another book I listened to but I think this is more of a case of me not clicking with the story. The beginning felt very cookie-cutter YA fantasy, almost edging on a dystopian feel with a society who can’t read and who seems to be persecuted if they can. Things just started picking up from where I last left off in the audiobook and it’s giving me a little hope. It doesn’t quite feel too deep yet so I’m unsure if I’ll like the actual story or writing but it’s too soon to make any judgments yet, I think. I’m going to push on a bit more and see how it goes.

FINISH OR DITCH IT? Try to keep going for a bit. I think I want to listen to a bit more of the book before making any decisions and see how the plot picks up. I’m not super impressed with the beginning though.


KISS CAM by Kiara London

I’ve had a hard time with Swoon Reads books (I seriously don’t think I’ve liked a single one. Not even exaggerating there) but Kiss Cam was best-friends-to-more so how could I not try it? It started off cute but it immediately took a turn into the unbelievable for me. From an incidental kiss brought on by vlog viewer questions to all of a sudden, let’s make this a whole segment where two characters who supposedly don’t like each other kiss all the time. It seems way too silly. The story could have very well started the *feelings* from the one kiss and I don’t get why this whole kissing segment is necessary or realistic. It really turned me off so far and the dialogue is just okay so I’m not super thrilled about continuing.

FINISH OR DITCH IT? I think I’ll try to keep reading and see how it goes. There’s still a lot of book left to build up those lovely friends-to-more feels and really develop a nice relationship. I think I’ll see how it goes and it’s a quick read so even if it doesn’t go well, maybe I can still finish it.


Have you read any of these books? What have you thought? Did you love them or leave them?

DNF Digest [4] – Stranded, Falling Kingdoms, Into the Dim

dnfdigest

I didn’t intended on making “DNF Digest” a regular thing because honestly? I always hope to finish a book! Lately, though, I’ve been more inclined to mark a book as DNF because there are just soooo many books I need to read (you’ve seen my shelves) so I just can’t afford to be pushing through books that I’m really not enjoying. If I’ve read a lot of the book I finish, it’s sort of a policy of mine to try to write a small “review” saying why it didn’t work for me, but today’s collection of DNF round-ups didn’t quite warrant reviews because I didn’t make it as far as I’d hoped.

I actually haven’t DNFed very many books recently. I’ve been really trying to be more selective about what I’m picking up and what I’m really looking forward to reading. It’s been helping a lot but sometimes there are still books that I think I’ll LOVE and end up walking away from. Today I’m sharing my thoughts on STRANDED, FALLING KINGDOMS, and INTO THE DIM.



Title:
 Stranded
Author: Melinda Braun
Format I was reading: egalley approved by pub via Edelweiss
Started reading: 7/30/15
Date marked as DNF: 7/30/15
Marked DNF at: 35 pages
Reason for marking DNF: (My mini-review from Goodreads) Oops, that was a pretty quick decision. I stopped at about page 35 because I was not enjoying any part of it at all. In fact, I was actively disliking what was going on.
I picked up this book because my husband and I go camping all the time — backwoods camping too so similar to this situation. No phones, no cabins, just camping and the wilderness. I thought I could easily get into this book because it was so many things that I loved and seeing as we weren’t able to go camping yet this year, I wanted to live vicariously though it. But this book and I got off to a rough start and I didn’t see it improving.
Right off the bat, the narration was awkward. Similes comparing a seat belt buckle sound like a gunshot underwater (have you heard things underwater? You do know it’s muffled, right? Like a lot?) and lies flowing out of the MC’s mouth: “Sliding out of my mouth like spit.” Kind of gross and weird. The writing continued to be difficult for me to read with little character development throughout the first portion of the book which is early, I know, but each character was introduced and then the narration immediately moved onto the next thing. There wasn’t much time spent with any character to appeal to the reader. The descriptions and development that there were seemed shallow. The only girl besides Emma is a very girly girl and seemed very stereotypical (Her: “Starting college in the fall. They say you should be single.” Emma: “I heard that.” — thrilling conversation? And already pushing Emma to flirt with some of the guys) and the boys also seemed very “typical boy” (insert cannonball contest and dropping frogs on girls).
I didn’t make it far into the plot so I can’t say much about that overall but I was disappointed that the story seemed to just be “Scene. Scene. Scene. Scene.” and didn’t have any real flow. The characters barely had any conversation and what little they did say to each other was unimpressive. Some things I thought could be skipped or summarized in dialogue to spend more time with the characters and developing a setting.
I’m not exactly sure how much time the author has spent camping and in the wilderness or canoeing but I will say for ME, canoeing and paddling is not an easy thing. Emma and Chloe (wait, was that even her name?) paddle together like it was so natural and I don’t know about anyone else, but paddling a canoe isn’t the easiest thing if you don’t know what you’re doing (they didn’t) and you’re trying to work with someone new (I was canoeing with my husband and he was constantly trying to help me do it right haha). MAYBE they had a knack for it but the more realistic thing, I think, would have been to have these two girls struggling to keep a canoe straight. Just sayin’.
Normally if I’m not getting along with a book, I’ll give it more time to allow the book to pick up or wait for the action to kick in but I just can’t do it when the writing is difficult for me to read.
Extra Comments: 35 pages doesn’t seem like I’m giving the book a shot but sometimes you just know when you’re not getting along with something. I could have pushed through but I always feel like why bother when it won’t be a good read and I will struggle? This one just wasn’t for me.
What did I do with the ARC? N/A – egalley



Title:
Falling Kingdoms (Falling Kingdoms #1)
Author: Morgan Rhodes
Format I was reading: Paperback received from Penguin
Started reading: 10/28/15
Date marked as DNF: 11/4/15
Marked DNF at: Not sure because I accidentally deleted my review with the status updates but it was about halfway through.
Reason for marking DNF: (Mini-review from Goodreads) It’s the end of the year… I’m halfway through this book and still nothing has happened and I don’t like the characters and I’m about to get a massive infodump of world building. I think I’ll just stop here.
I’m SUPER bummed because I’m always looking for more awesome fantasy books and I felt like this one had so much potential but honestly nothing was coming together. One of the main reasons I always choose to DNF is when the plot is slow and nothing is happening. Here’s what’s happened in FALLING KINGDOMS halfway through: The one thing that sets the plot in motion in the beginning, lots of characters contemplating their romantic feelings. Then one character making a hasty, dangerous, and immature decision to go save a family member. That’s it.
Don’t get me wrong — plot doesn’t always have to RACE for me to enjoy a book, but when there’s no world building or character development during that time either, the book is taking me nowhere.
The characters are all incredibly shallow. Cleo is young and she acts like it and I really didn’t get along with her character at all. Yes, teenage characters are allowed to act like teenagers but her rash decisions were driving me nuts and she really did seem a bit spoiled. The kings are all just awful and none of the authority figures feel developed so I just felt like these countries were being run on a whim instead of having actual leaders. Theon was probably the character I liked the most at this point but because he was the strong, silent type.
All of these characters have the most bizarre romantic relationships. (view spoiler) I mean… they all just feel like awful people. Yes, yes, I understand that not all relationships are cookie-cutter happy and easy — that’s not what I’m saying. Like can’t ONE relationship be a nice crush on someone and it develops there? What’s with all the things that make me uncomfortable? I was also incredibly frustrated that everyone’s motives seemed to be romantically driven up until Cleo decided to help her sister. Everyone was making choices based on their love life and I was frustrated that there was no leadership, no plans for the country, no strategy, no family love. There was a bit here and there but it felt very soap opera-y.
I was also sorely disappointed with the lack of world building. The spot that I decided to stop at was just about to explain a whole backstory of how the magic worked but it was too much information all at once. This could have easily been distributed among the first 200 pages instead of coming at the readers in the form of an old woman telling a story. That’s fine to give some backstory but I was too in the dark about the magic and then it’s like BAM, all the knowledge at once.
I mainly decided not to finish because at this point, I had already decided that even if I did complete the book, I wasn’t going to continue on with the six book series. If I wasn’t going to read the other five books, why spend the time to finish the first?
What did I do with the book? Gifted it to someone who was really looking forward to it. 



Title:
 Into the Dim (Into the Dim #1)
Author: Janet B. Taylor
Format I was reading: ARC from HMH
Started reading: 2/4/16
Date marked as DNF: 2/8/16
Marked DNF at: 100+ pages
Reason for marking DNF: (Mini-review from Goodreads) With less and less time for me to read as of late and a recent conversation with several other bloggers/readers who share quite similar reading tastes, I’ve decided to put down INTO THE DIM.
My main issue with the book is that it’s another one that was marketing improperly, attempting to appeal to a mainstream audience (obviously Outlander here) and the book was really nothing like it. Time travel + Scotland does not equal Outlander. Confession: I actually haven’t even read the books or watched the show but my huge issue here is that I make reading comparisons and recommendations largely based on a feel and/or mood along with large topics. Scotland is a setting that can make two books feel similar but can also be incredibly different based on content. Time travel is a pretty big concept and even though it’s a favorite topic of mine, I am very sensitive with how it’s handled. I think the sum of the parts just didn’t quite come together in INTO THE DIM and with that in mind plus the original cover release, I was expecting something much more serious and deep.
INTO THE DIM felt rather cheesy to me. Explanations were simple, the sort of “alternate history” that made this time travel possible really didn’t feel genuine, and it felt like a lot of telling instead of showing. I had kind of a hard time with the writing because it did feel so simplistic and I felt like the reading level was rather low. This is great for the lower end of the YA spectrum if parents/teachers/librarians, etc want to recommend this book to younger teens who have a higher reading level but it really lost me there as an adult reading a YA novel. I also don’t feel like writing has to be taken down a level for any reader but I’m also no expect on these things. (I really don’t think this was done intentionally? But that’s what the reading experience felt like.)
I really did not like how the time travel concept was explained and it felt super silly. Time travel can largely be explained by either a scientific concept or a total paranormal/fantastical phenomenon and it seemed like this book tried to combine both which wasn’t quite working for me. It seemed a bit glossed over to explain and then Hope was shocked but almost immediately accepting. I really wished there would have been more time spent on exactly why and how this time travel worked instead of simply telling Hope/the readers that this is what it is and immediately jumping into time travel, especially since the beginning felt like a rather long set-up.
I also really didn’t care for the characters either. Hope was not an enjoyable character for me. I don’t think I had as strong of an issue as some readers did but she just felt boring and flat. I didn’t really see many layers to her and there was no strong personality to really latch onto. I feel like Hope was played off to be tedious except for her photographic memory (which is SO hard to write into a book, I feel, because you can’t ever have the character forget something without readers calling that out) and it really made me not like her much. The secondary characters also felt a bit flat to me and just really seemed like a basic character that I’ve read before. (I was actually somehow reminded of the Cullens in Twilight? No idea why I made that connection but there it was.)
The (developing) romance was also a bit rough and seemed like it was leading into a triangle? I’m not against love triangles but this seemed like an unnecessary set-up. It could have easily been one or the other and not this weird pull towards both. The attraction to both guys also seemed to happen quickly which again, is totally fine BUT the chemistry wasn’t there for me. Without that natural pull towards someone, it ends up feeling like a high school crush or instalove with no real depth to it. (Okay, I know she IS in high school but you know what I mean.)
This wasn’t a BAD book but I still had about 300 pages to go and I really wasn’t a huge fan of what had been happening so far. I wasn’t super engaged and with this being a series, I doubted that I would pick up the second book when I finished. With limited reading time, I decided to trust my peers and ended up putting this one down. There’s a chance I may come back to it someday but I think those chances are slim.
I mostly decided to put it down because as I ask myself with all DNFs, “Do I care what really happens in the end?” Obviously I don’t know the end to the series but I’m betting she saves her mother and falls in love with a guy. It seems a bit predictable and that the twists and loops that may happen along the way aren’t quite large enough to make me question or suspect or keep flipping those pages.
What did I do with the ARC? Swapped with a friend who wanted the original ARC cover!


Those are my latest DNFs! I totally forgot about one from 2015 (oops) but better late than never. I always love sharing my feelings because some of the things I didn’t get along with could be what others are looking for. Sometimes I know a book is just not for me and that’s okay. Others have really enjoyed all of these but they just didn’t work for me.

DNF Digest [3]

dnfdigest

I didn’t intended on making “DNF Digest” a regular thing because honestly? I always hope to finish a book! Lately, though, I’ve been more inclined to mark a book as DNF because there are just soooo many books I need to read (you’ve seen my shelves) so I just can’t afford to be pushing through books that I’m really not enjoying. If I’ve read a lot of the book I finish, it’s sort of a policy of mine to try to write a small “review” saying why it didn’t work for me, but today’s collection of DNF round-ups didn’t quite warrant reviews because I didn’t make it as far as I’d hoped.


Title: Starry Night
Author: Isabel Gilles
Format I was reading: ARC received from Macmillan
Started reading: 9/14/14
Date marked as DNF: 9/14/14
Marked DNF at: 15 pages
Reason for marking DNF: (My mini-review from Goodreads) I gave this book a teeny tiny shot after seeing the terrible ratings. I went sent an ARC by Macmillan so I wanted to at least open the book before brushing it off but only a few pages in and I already was very unimpressed with the writing. It was hard to read and the voice seemed very young and juvenile. If I had seen some good ratings, I would have given the rest of it a shot but I read other people’s reviews for a reason and that’s to help my choose which books I think are right for me and I just don’t think this one is it. I’m just gonna have to pass.
Extra Comments: I know 15 pages seems like a REALLY small opportunity to give the book, but like my mini-review said, if I had seen better ratings I would have given it more of a shot. Seeing all the negative feedback assured me that this wasn’t really a case of a rough start.
What did I do with the ARC? Gave it away to another blogger who will hopefully enjoy it more.


Title: Evidence of Things Not Seen
Author: Lindsey Lane
Format I was reading: ARC received from Macmillan
Started reading: 9/14/14
Date marked as DNF: 9/14/14
Marked DNF at: 50 pages
Reason for marking DNF: (Mini-review from Goodreads) Started and then shortly thereafter, marked as DNF. Made it about 50 pages in and what in the world is this book. It’s only 225 pages long so 50 pages in and we learn nothing about Tommy. Practically nothing except he was nerdy and into weird nerdy things. That about sums it up. The different POVs in this book (I mean, as far as I made it) were just… weird. I don’t mind heavy subjects and serious issues, but to throw in topics of sexual abuse like it was, and seemingly serving no purpose to the plot…? I mean, I didn’t finish the book, but what purpose does this serve to tell the details about how a girl is abused by her cousin and her uncle and give explicit descriptions of things that she went through? I don’t even know how she’s connected to all of this… or anyone really. Anyway. It may have gotten better if I kept reading but I felt totally taken by surprise at all of this intense content with no context at all how it related to Tommy. In fact, I don’t even know who Tommy is. This is a big issue with too many POVs too. Who are all these people and why do their stories relate? I’m not saying their stories don’t matter because clearly they have stories to be told… But maybe they shouldn’t have been told in this book. Maybe they need their own books because to tie this into the mysteries of Tommy’s disappearance… it just didn’t seem to fit. This just really wasn’t what I expected it to be and I just don’t feel interested in continuing.
What did I do with the ARC? Gave it away to another blogger who will hopefully enjoy it more.


Title: Lailah
Author: Nikki Kelly
Format I was reading: ARC from Macmillan
Started reading: 10/2/14
Date marked as DNF: 10/4/14
Marked DNF at: 70 pages
Reason for marking DNF: (Mini-review from Goodreads) I decided to put this one down. It wasn’t going terribly but I just wasn’t getting into it. I just have so much on my plate right now that I’m really being pickier about what books I pick up in the first place and what I want to devote my time to finish. If I had to rate what I read, it’d be about three stars? But I think I also have a Twilight complex and I almost can’t NOT compare vampire books to it. Anyway. Wasn’t awful but just not connecting with it and I think I need to put my time towards something else right now.
Extra Comments: This is a DNF I feel TERRIBLE about. I had the opportunity to meet and interview Nikki Kelly and OMG, she is just the SWEETEST. Seriously one of the sweetest authors (or just one of the sweetest people) I’ve ever met. (I sincerely hope she doesn’t see that I didn’t finish her book because I honestly feel BAD about this one. That’s the trouble when you make a personal connection with an author and you haven’t read their book yet!) Anyway. I was getting along just oooookay with LAILAH, but ultimately it wasn’t grabbing me and it just felt like I wouldn’t make that connection there. The people who had rated it high on Goodreads were people I know to have different tastes than I do when it comes to this genre so I felt confident putting it down (for now). Maybe I’ll try to revisit it again when I have more time to sit down and really get into it!
What did I do with the ARC? Got it signed by Nikki and gave it away! 🙂


Those are my latest DNFs! These are actually all from a couple months ago so that’s good that I haven’t been DNFing TOO much lately. There was a while where I wasn’t finishing a LOT because I was just trying to get through books and I wasn’t choosing wisely. With time at a premium before my wedding, I was being very choosy! Do you have any that you agree with? Any you’re disappointed I didn’t enjoy?

DNF Digest [2]


dnfdigest

I didn’t intended on making “DNF Digest” a regular thing because honestly? I always hope to finish a book! Lately, though, I’ve been more inclined to mark a book as DNF because there are just soooo many books I need to read (you’ve seen my shelves) so I just can’t afford to be pushing through books that I’m really not enjoying. If I’ve read a lot of the book I finish, it’s sort of a policy of mine to try to write a small “review” saying why it didn’t work for me, but today’s collection of DNF round-ups didn’t quite warrant reviews because I didn’t make it as far as I’d hoped.


Title: We Are the Goldens
Author: Dana Reinhardt
Format I was reading: eGalley
Started reading: 4/8/14
Date marked as DNF: 5/14/14
Marked DNF at: 25%
Reason for marking DNF: I just knew this wasn’t a “me” book. I really tried reading as much as I could but I wasn’t into the characters or the plot or even the concept. I think it was a lot less mystery than I thought it was going to be… I was thinking it was a real hardcore mystery and it was more just a secret the one sister was keeping. Not a bad book but I just knew it wasn’t for me. I feel like it’s a better thing for me to stop reading than have myself push through and give it a low rating just because it’s not what I usually enjoy!


Title: The Crown (Queen of Hearts #1)
Author: Colleen Oakes
Format I was reading: eGalley
Started reading: 1/30/14
Date marked as DNF: 5/15/14
Marked DNF at: 20%
Reason for marking DNF: I just couldn’t get into this one. Alice in Wonderland isn’t always my favorite fairy tale but it can be a great retelling. I loved TIGER LILY and I’ve never been a fan of Peter Pan, so it really just depends. I picked it up and put it down a few times but nothing was catching me and I could not stand the main character. She was a brat and the story was weird and I just couldn’t keep going with it. It wasn’t that I was bored or knew it wasn’t for me… I was actively turned off.


Title: The Body in the Woods
Author: April Henry
Format I was reading: ARC from Macmillan
Started reading: 5/25/13
Date marked as DNF: 6/29/14
Marked DNF at: 20%
Reason for marking DNF: (Mini-review, posted on Goodreads) With a tough final decision, I chose not to come back to this book.
I tried a few times to get into it but I really just wasn’t feeling it at any point in time. That really makes me sad because I LOVE YA mysteries and I always want there to me more in the world, but this one just wasn’t working for me.
Ultimately, I think it was the writing. The characters didn’t grab me — and with three POVs, it was really hard to connect with anyone — and everything was so… technical! When the characters are talking to the “professionals”, everything was like step by step, almost textbook descriptions of how murder investigations work. It was very cut and dry and instead of weaving those facts into dialogue or inner thoughts, it just felt like I was reading a textbook.
I tried coming back but it just wasn’t working for me so I decided to DNF rather than force myself to finish and end up with a two star rating.


Title: Graduation Day (The Testing #3)
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Format I was reading: ARC from HMH Kids
Started reading: 6/12/14
Date marked as DNF: 6/29/14
Marked DNF at: 20%
Reason for marking DNF: (Mini-review, posted on Goodreads) I know, I know. You’re probably asking who in the world reads the first two books, rates them four stars, and then DNFs the LAST book in the trilogy? Answer… I just don’t have the desire to read it. 
    I started and made it about 20% in but I feel like I have zero connection to this series anymore.
I read The Testing and I liked it, but it felt too much like THE HUNGER GAMES for me. And DIVERGENT. Nothing really felt original about it and I was never really impressed by Cia or any of the characters. 
    I read INDEPENDENT STUDY on Christmas last year and I actually enjoyed it… But I realized as I started GRADUATION DAY that I have noooooooo idea what happened in that book and I didn’t really care to go back and find out. I felt like I really was never connected to the series and I really don’t like Cia that much at all… Things were good but the more I sit on it, the more I find myself unmotivated to finish.
I could have worked my way through GRADUATION DAY but honestly? I didn’t really care how it ended and I feel find knowing that I never will know. The world didn’t stick with me enough and just from those 50 pages or so, nothing was sticking much at all and I found myself annoyed.
So sorry to quit on the final leg of the series but… I’m just not into it.


Title: Illusive
Author: Emily Lloyd-Jones
Format I was reading: egalley from Little, Brown
Started reading: 7/3/14
Date marked as DNF: 7/21/14
Marked DNF at: 35%
Reason for marking DNF: (Mini-review, posted on Goodreads) This was SUCH a disappointment. I was so excited for Ocean’s 11 meets X-men (or vice versa) and that’s not to say that it wasn’t… It had the heist aspect of Ocean’s 11 BUT it was severely lacking in the humor that I loved so much from that movie. The characters did make jokes, but they were not nearly as witty as my favorite sharp-tongued characters and that whole aspect felt like a let-down. 
    Just nothing about this book grabbed me. I don’t even think it was too much hype in my own head. I just… didn’t enjoy it. I picked it up a few times trying to keep going through since I specifically requested this from the publisher because I was THAT excited and I feel like I’m letting the pub down a bit but I just couldn’t keep going. I made it about 35% of the way through and was really, really pushing myself to keep going. I wasn’t interested in the plot. I wasn’t even entirely sure what the overall plot arc was. I really didn’t like the characters (except for maybe Devon) but one character won’t keep me reading the whole book.
Everything just felt flat and so disconnected. I wonder if the format had anything to do with it? (Written in third person present tense which I don’t think I’ve read before.) It felt like it was trying too hard with the weird tense and was a bit distracting at first but I don’t think it really tripped me up TOO much.
Anyway. I tried to pick it up a few more times and was having just such a hard time with it. I even skipped to the end (which I NEVER do) and found myself not really caring what happened.
A major disappointment for me. Didn’t HATE anything about it but just couldn’t find anything to latch onto to really enjoy.


Title: Stitching Snow
Author: R.C. Lewis
Format I was reading: egalley from Disney Hyperion
Started reading: (sometime in July… I accidentally deleted my original version of this on GR)
Date marked as DNF: 7/28/14
Marked DNF at: 20%
Reason for marking DNF: (Mini-review, posted on Goodreads) I tried to pick this one up a few times and… I just couldn’t get back into it. It always felt like a poor man’s Cinder (not to sound harsh, but my brain just made some strong parallels) and even when a “good part” came up, it wasn’t enough to hook me into the story. 
    I didn’t really care for the main character and actively disliked the secondary characters. I wasn’t into the world either. I’m working on not pushing myself to finish books I’m not enjoying since there are SO many amazing books out there to be read so sadly I just put this one down and didn’t have the heart to come back to it.


Well. Those are my latest DNFs. I always feel so terrible walking away from a book, but I just have to tell myself that I can’t like them all and if I didn’t feel a responsibility to review just because I’m blogging, I really wouldn’t have an issue putting them down. Some I waited MONTHS to DNF because I just felt so bad doing it, but I took the time to let them marinate and decided that I still couldn’t make it happen.
Do you have any that you agree with? Any you’re disappointed I didn’t enjoy?

Discussion: Why DNFs Are Not a Bad Thing

discussion

It’s summer! Usually that seems to mean less obligations. More time for relaxing! Fun in the sun! But this year seems to be the busiest year I’ve ever had, with trips to take, weddings to go to, and my own wedding to plan. I’ve mentioned before that I’m trying to get more selective about the books that I’m picking up and request less ARC/egalleys and I do think I’ve been doing a good job of that, but sometimes even the books that I THINK I’ll love don’t always turn out to be amazing for me.

I’m currently in a situation where I’ve started at least three different books and making it about 20% into them, I can just tell I’m not enjoying them. I’m not one who’s afraid to DNF and I always feel like I have good reasons to when I do, but it’s still feels like giving up sometimes and I just hate that feeling. With three books that I’m just not into recently, I feel incredibly guilty contemplating the big bad DNF for all of them, but sometimes not finishing a book is not a bad thing.

Firstly, putting a book down is a good thing for my reading schedule. If I’ve given the book a fair chance (which I always make sure I do), then what’s to stop me from saying that this book just isn’t working for me? I know I have a busy life. Besides that I have a busy READING life. I have a whole bookcase of books that are begging to be read, not to mention all of the other ARC copies — both physical copies and egalleys — that I still have to get to as well. Sadly, many a book has gone unread for the time being because I’m working my way through other books… So why force myself to finish a book that I’m just REALLY not enjoying and not spending that time on other books that I could be reading that I may totally love? It’s a better idea to just mark as DNF, know I gave it a really good shot, and move on to something that I’ll really enjoy.

DNFs often seem like the mark of death for a book, but really, I think it’s kinder than making myself finish something I’m really not enjoying. Sometimes I know it’s a case of, “It’s not you, it’s me” — and it truly is. There have been a lot of books that I really didn’t enjoy or that I chose to put down because I could tell they just didn’t jive with my reading tastes, and that’s okay! Not every reader will love every book. I do the best that I can to pick what I think I’ll enjoy, but sometimes I’ll try to get into it and just realize this book and I were never meant to get along. I think it’s a nicer thing to mark the book as DNF, explain why I wasn’t enjoying it, and move on instead of forcing myself to finish and writing a one or two star review saying how much I didn’t enjoy it. This system may not work for everyone because some people rate their DNFs as a one star book, but I don’t rate my DNFs for that reason — sometimes I really do think a book is that bad, but most of the time, I know it just wasn’t for me and I don’t think an author deserves a one star rating from me because I just wasn’t the intended audience! I think stopping what I was reading and not rating the book is far kinder.

Putting a book down also takes away that stress of feeling forced to finish it! I feel terrible not finishing review copies because I really do feel that obligation to read them since they were given to me for that expressed purpose… But I’ve been in a couple situations before where that weight has just been lifted off my shoulders once I decide to put a book down! I think that’s how you know you made the right decision!

And if all else fails, you can always come back to it! Even if you give the book away, you can always come back to it again. Maybe see if it’s at the library, borrow it from a friend… But if you feel that guilty about not finishing a book, you can always come back to it later! Maybe that will really tell you how you’re feeling about a book too. I usually put books aside and come back a couple days later just to see if I’m really feeling like I don’t want to finish, and usually my feelings haven’t changed, but it’s always good to have that option if you need it!

When it all comes down to it, I ask myself one question: If I weren’t blogging, would I keep reading this book? I never had a problem putting books down and walking away from them before I started blogging and before the days of ARCs in my world. Even if I had purchased the book or someone purchased it for me, I just didn’t feel any sort of obligation to read it. If I wasn’t enjoying it, I wasn’t enjoying it and I was picking a book to read for fun. Blogging is my hobby and as much as I do want to do these books justice and also feel responsible for reading ARCs I receive, I just have to know that not all books will be right for me.

I do still feel guilty for marking books as unfinished… but sometimes that’s a very beneficial thing to my reading experience, my blogging career, and even to the author. It seems like the most negative thing you could possibly do, but I don’t really think it’s terrible. I really try to finish the books I pick up, but sometimes I just have sort of cut my losses, so to speak and realize that a book just may not be ideal for me through no fault of its own.

So tell me! Do you DNF? Do you feel guilty for putting books down or is it just part of the natural cycle of choosing books? Do you always feel obligated to finish or do you think it’s better to just walk away if you’re not enjoying a book?

A big thanks to ChristinaNikkiGingerEstelleLauren, and Leanne for a great Twitter conversation about this topic and helping inspire this blog post!