Since I had such a lame reading week, I thought I’d talk about some of the books that DIDN’T work for me, for one reason or another. That’s almost as good as reviewing them, lol.
Do you ever DNF (do not finish) books? I do! Though I love a bad book almost as much as a good one (sometimes you’ve just gotta roll your eyes and see how it all turns out), there are times when I will abandon a book along the way. Sometimes it’s really just a “it’s not you, it’s me” thing, sometimes it’s clear right away that a book is just BAD, and other times a tired trope will get on my nerves. There are so many different reasons to DNF a book, and not all of them indicate that it’s subpar.
Mr. Garcia by TL Swan
DNF Reason: It’s SUPER intense!
There’s actually a lot that I liked about this one, and I *might* go back to it at some point. I don’t know! It felt extremely toxic to me, super twisty, and the steam is A LOT. I was like… not enjoying it while reading, but I also couldn’t make myself look away. You know the feeling? Swan is a very talented writer, and I probably would’ve just kept reading on had I not been interrupted. But once I set the book down and distanced myself from the story a bit, I realized how much of it I HATED. So, I haven’t gone back (yet?).
608 Alpha Ave. by Adriana Locke
DNF Reason: Cringey
I usually really like Adriana Locke’s work, but the last few books of hers have been pretty meh for me. This one is just a quick novella, so I figured that it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. It just… wasn’t good. Pure instalove, quick and steamy with a few very cringey tropes. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised because the only other book I’ve read in this Cherry Falls multi-author series was a rare 1-star read for me, but I definitely expected more. I did some heavy skimming, but ultimately can’t say that I truly “read” this novella. And I won’t be going back to Cherry Falls, lol!
Falling for the Villain by M. Robinson & Rachel Van Dyken
DNF Reason: Bait and switch
This was a very recent DNF! The book actually releases on the 22nd, and I was reading my ARC. Unfortunately, the authors changed the entire concept, blurb, AND cover at the last minute, and the book doesn’t appeal to my reading tastes. The antihero is a slave trainer/sex trafficker who holds women captive, and there are some seriously lip-curling scenes. Dark, DARK romance lovers might enjoy it, but the book is not what I signed on for.
No Gentle Giant by Nicole Snow
DNF Reason: Deja vu
I’ve read many of this author’s books, but they’re all starting to blend together for me. There are only so many times that an author can write essentially the same kind of couple without it feeling repetitive, and Snow reached that point… several books ago. Since I’ve read most of this series, I picked this one up and immediately felt a sense of deja vu. I’d read it all before. Diehard fans of the author and new readers might like this one better, but for this semi-frequent fan, it just didn’t work.
The Newcomer by Mary Kay Andrews
DNF Reason: Not for me
I was actually really excited when I received an ARC for this! It’s my first read from the author, and there were so many positive reviews about her work. Unfortunately, it didn’t actually feel like a romance to me. One of my biggest pet peeves is when books with a minor romantic subplot are billed as romances. There’s definitely an audience for this, but it really wasn’t what I was looking for.
The Hate of Loving You by Maya Hughes
DNF Reason: Lost interest
This is the third book in a trilogy, and every time I thought about reading it, I just… didn’t want to. It’s sad to get two-thirds of the way into a trilogy and no longer feel a connection to the characters. The first two books were over the top angsty with more time spent apart than together, and I couldn’t muster up any enthusiasm for the finale. So I didn’t bother finishing.
People We Meet on Vacation by Emily Henry
DNF Reason: Not the right mood
I know, I know, this is a big-time release! I still haven’t read Beach Read, so this was my introduction to Henry’s work, and the plot was just getting to me that day. The constant miscommunication, the friends who date everyone but each other, the missed opportunities – it wasn’t what I wanted that day. But the writing is VERY solid, and I will likely go back to this on another day.
Echoes of the Heart by L.A. Casey
DNF Reason: Tired tropes
I feel like this book would’ve been considered “good” a few years ago, but the tropes are tired now. Childhood sweethearts who part ways over miscommunication, the hero goes out and tours the world as a rock star while banging countless other chicks (“but don’t worry, baby, it was just sex – I always loved you”). And the heroine stays at home, pining away for the love that she lost. There’s actually a lot of other good stuff going on in the story, but I couldn’t get past the problematic bits.
The Farm to Mabel Duet by Krista Sandor
DNF Reason: See above
Pretty much the same reason I DNF’d Echoes of the Heart: tired tropes. I was kinda surprised, because I typically love Sandor’s books, but this didn’t work for me. The heroine has always loved the oblivious guy from her hometown, and she has molded herself into the person that she thinks he wants, while holding onto her v-card. I couldn’t get behind this relationship, and the couple is featured in a duet, so I abandoned ship sooner rather than later.
Forever Never by Lucy Score
DNF Reason: It’s SOOOO long
I actually bought this on release day and started reading almost immediately. I’m a fan of Score’s work, but she prides herself on how long her books are, and… that’s not a selling feature for me, lol. If a book NEEDS to be 400-500 pages – sure. But does EVERY book by an author need to be 500-600 pages? No. And this one was such a slow burn that it started to feel plain slow. Plus, this couple’s history is super tangled and messy, and I wasn’t loving them enough to put up with that for 500+ pages. I will possibly, maybe, go back to this at some point because I like Score’s writing, but it won’t be anytime soon.
All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata
DNF Reason: See above
This was almost exactly the same situation! While this couple’s history wasn’t tangled, the slow burn was feeling SLOW to me. And it’s over 500 pages, so you’ve gotta be loving a book to stick around that long. I wasn’t. I could feel the skill in Zapata’s writing and the slow burn lover in me wanted to hang on, but I set it down and never felt the need to go back.
Want to know more about the books that actually worked for me?
Check out my list of the 15 Best of the Year (So Far) here.
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