Books I DNF’d in 2017

Posted December 27, 2017 by Lola in Review / 20 Comments

As it’s the end of 2017, I wanted to do a round up of the books I DNF’d this year. I DNF’d three books this year. I read a total of 117 books this year, so I think it’s pretty good I only had 3 DNF’s. I’ll share my DNF reviews for each of the three books below.

Raining Men and CorpsesRaining Men and Corpses (Raina Sun Mystery #1)
by Anne R. Tan

Genre: Cozy Mystery

A contemporary humorous mystery set in the fictitious small college town of Gold Springs, California. Raina Sun is a typical graduate student trying to keep her head above water as the bills roll in from a lawsuit disputing an inheritance from her dysfunctional family. Then her dashing college adviser cons her out of several months of rent.

Her quest to get her money back sets into motion a streak of bad luck. First, she finds the dead body of an ex-lover and becomes the prime suspect to his murder. The only man she ever loved reappears as the lead detective to the case and wants to reignite their passion (or at least he’s sending out smoke signals).

Her life careens out of control as her best friend does whatever it takes to get the inside scoop for the town’s newspaper. And her grandma moves into Raina’s postage-stamp-sized apartment, dragging a red suitcase and trouble. The family secret Raina has been running away from is now staring at her across the dining room table every morning.

Raina must figure out how to extract herself before things get dicey. There is no place for an amateur when it comes to murder.

The eclectic cast of characters in this amateur sleuth mystery will have you scratching your head and laughing until the end.

My Review:
I DNF’d this one at 45%

I really wanted to enjoy this book and really tried to get as far as I could, but every time I picked it up I just felt annoyed and bored. I just didn’t feel like pushing through. It’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine that this book had, the main character keeps going on about how poor she is, but then makes bad money decisions. And instead of that being her thing it just is sort of there. In the course of half the book she went out to eat multiple times, bought a new dress and mentioned eating B&J ice cream a few times. It just bothered me every time one of those things happened. It’s a minor thing, but if it happened often it adds up.

Besides that the main character isn’t really likeable. She makes a lie at the start of the book, which I already didn’t like, but then she keeps thinking about it and how the love interest can’t find out about her lie and going through long lengths to make sure he doesn’t. I think it’s obvious her lie will get out eventually. I don’t like characters who lie a lot and Raina and I got off on the wrong foot because of that. And as the book progressed that just didn’t change, I just didn’t care about her character or liked her.

It felt like these little details were missing to make it read better, but we’re kept in the dark about a lot of small details. What happened between her and the love interest, what happened to he grandfather etc. It just felt like I started with book 2 and was missing parts of the story. There’s a reason I dislike reading series out of order and this is that reason, I feel like I am missing little details or getting the backstory behind things.

The murder mystery was sort of interesting. I did predict the method of killing fairly early on. But when I stopped reading at 45% that was about the only piece of info we knew about the murder mystery. The mystery progressed really slowly, instead the book si filled with daily life occurrences, which in and of itself isn’t bad, but here it didn’t work for me. Maybe it’s also because I just finished two very mystery driven cozy mysteries, so this was a big switch in the other direction.

What I did like was that the book felt very realistic. Raina was just a normal women that got caught up in a difficult situation. She doesn’t get as easily involved as in most cozies and it felt pretty normal and natural. There just seemed a bit too much of that, daily life things and other social issues.

If you’re looking for a cozy mystery with lots of focus on the side plots, a realistic main character and an interesting, but slow developing mystery, you might like this one.

You can also read my review on Goodreads.

Purrfect MurderPurrfect Murder (The Mysteries of Max #1)
by Nic Saint

Genre: Cozy Mystery

There’s something special about Max. He may look like your regular ginger flabby tabby, but unlike most tabbies, he can actually communicate with his human, reporter for the Hampton Cove Gazette Odelia Poole. Max takes a keen interest in the goings-on in their small town, by snooping around with his best friends Dooley, a not-too-bright ragamuffin, and Harriet, a gorgeous white Persian. Their regular visits to the police station, the barbershop and the doctor’s office provide them with those precious and exclusive scoops that have made Odelia the number one reporter in town.

But when suddenly the body of a bestselling writer is discovered buried in the last Long Island outhouse, and a new policeman arrives in town to solve the murder, it looks like things are about to change in Hampton Cove. Detective Chase Kingsley doesn’t take kindly to nosy reporters like Odelia snooping around his crime scene or interviewing his suspects. And to make matters worse, he’s got a cat of his own in Brutus, a buff, black bully, who, just like his owner, likes to lay down the law. Soon Brutus isn’t just restricting access to the police station, but he’s putting the moves on Harriet, breaking up the band.

Now it’s all Odelia, Max and Dooley can do to try and solve the murder, in spite of Detective Kingsley’s and Brutus’s protestations, and show the overbearing cop and his bullyragging feline how things are done in Hampton Cove. Will Odelia find the killer before Detective Kingsley does? And will Max prevent Brutus from moving in on his territory and taking over the town? Find out in Purrfect Murder, the first book in the new Mysteries of Max series.

My Review:
I DNF’d this one at 21%

I loved the concept of this book and it sounded like something I would enjoy. A cat who is solving mysteries, that just seemed like fun! But for some reason I couldn’t get into the story. Maybe I picked it up in the wrong mood, but it just didn’t work for me.

The cats seemed a bit too human, with how they could smile and shrug and it just seemed a bit off. It didn’t feel like reading about cats, but like they were humans. I also didn’t really like Max, he immediately disliked the new cat in town and while the new cat did seemed a bit of a meanie, Max wasn’t all that nice either. I didn’t really care for how Max jumped to conclusions or acted a bit judgemental. The conversations with the other cats didn’t really work for me and I just wanted it to be more cat like somehow?

It felt like a weird mash up between Minoes, Secret Life or Pets and a cozy mystery. But where each of those things separately work for me, this book sadly didn’t. The cat behavior and chats just rubbed me wrong instead of being entertaining.

I decided to continue until the murder took place, but even that was unable to catch my attention. Maybe I’ll pick it up again later, but for now I am setting it aside. Great concept, but it didn’t quite work for me.

You can also read my review on Goodreads.

Christmas at the Candied Apple CaféChristmas at the Candied Apple Café
by Katherine Garbera

Genre: Contemproary Romance

There’s nothing so magical as Christmas in New York…

Santa is coming to New York!

Snow is falling, excitement is high and the delicious scent of chocolate drifts along Fifth Avenue – the Candied Apple Café is ready for Christmas! And no one is busier than publicist Iona Summerlin. With so much to do, she doesn’t have time to think about men, dating, or the fact her last boyfriend ditched her for her brother… Relationships are off the menu!

Hotel boss Mads Eriksson is not looking forward to the first Christmas since losing his wife. His six-year-old daughter Sofia has lost her belief in Christmas magic along with her mother, and he has no idea what to do. But an unusually festive business meeting at the Candied Apple – and meeting the beautiful Iona – starts to defrost Mads’ frozen heart, and suddenly life seems full of light and sparkle again.

If only they dare to believe, maybe all their Christmas dreams will come true!

My Review:
I DNF’d this book at 31%

I got a free copy of this book through Netgalley and voluntarily reviewed it.

The pretty cover and the main character who owned a café was what grabbed my attention when I first heard of this book. Unfortunately when I started reading the book didn’t grab my attention. I kept reading, hoping I would get into the story more once I got further in the book, but at 31% I decided to DNF. I just wasn’t enthusiastic about reading the book and while it might get a 3 star rating if I finished, I just didn’t feel like this was a book for me.

I struggled with the writing style for this book, for some reason it just didn’t click with me. The writing felt clunky at times, it was confusing at other times and the story just didn’t feel like it ran smoothly. Too much details in one place and not enough in another. There were scenes where some small pieces of information seemed to be missing and it just didn’t read right to me.

There was also an issue with the main character brother being called Nico sometimes and other times Theo. Although the copy I received was an ARC, so I hope that will be fixed in the final version. On the topic of her brother, I felt like there was a bunch of backstory there. But more in the sense that it felt like there could’ve been a whole book before this one about his romance. But as far as I know this is a standalone. And for a standalone I would’ve liked a bit more depth into her emotions and details so I could get a better grip on what happened. She seemed upset with her brother, but I didn’t really feel it.

I liked the ideas of the characters, but never felt like I fully connected with them. I seemed unable to care about them and that made it hard to get into the book. I felt like I never fully got to know Iona, we did got these pieces of information, but I never really felt like I got insight in what she really felt or thought. I often like kids in books, but Sofia sounded like an adult to me most of the book and I had hoped to like her more than I did. Mads was still mourning the loss of his wife, which just made me sad and I didn’t feel his romance with Iona.

I also had trouble visualizing the café and other settings. I wouldn’t have minded a bit more description. Another thing that still puzzles me is why the café is called the Candied Apple Café as they mostly sell chocolates, but that might be something that gets revealed later in the book. I did like the idea of the café and how the main character was responsible for the marketing.

To summarize: Sadly this book didn’t work out for me. I decided to DNF the book at 31% as I didn’t really feel enthusiastic about reading anymore and didn’t care about the characters or what happened next. I didn’t feel the Christmas magic or the city come alive. I was unable to visualize the café or the setting. The writing style didn’t work for me, some scenes didn’t read smoothly to me and in other scenes I felt like some additional details or information could’ve been added to make it read smoother. I liked the idea of this book and the characters, but it didn’t come alive for me and I didn’t care about the characters or felt their romance. I don’t think it’s a bad book, but it just didn’t work for me.

You can also read my review on Goodreads.

How many books did you DNF this year and why?


20 responses to “Books I DNF’d in 2017

  1. I think I also DNFed? Not sure since I don’t really keep track of DNFs. But you keep reading longer than I do. If I’m gonna DNF, it has to be by, like, 10 or *maybe* 15%. After that, I’m committed lol. But three isn’t bad for a year and 117 books!

    I also don’t like characters who lie, and I get frustrated when things are kept from the reader, and I feel like that’s usually done for “mystery,” to make you want to keep reading, but it’s a cheap way of creating mystery. That’s cool that the book felt realistic though.

    A cat solving mysteries sounds fun! But yeah, I’d want them to be really cat-like, since that’s what would make it fun.

    I know what you mean about just not feeling enthusiastic about the book. I’m kind of going through that right now.
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Bookish Musings: Top Ten Books I Read in 2017My Profile

    • I keep track of my DNF reads as well and just add them as finished to my Goodreads shelf and spreadsheet. I often keep hoping the book will get better and try and read a few more chapters after I consider DNF’ing the book. I sometimes wish I could put them down earlier as it’s a shame spending time on a book you don’t enjoy.

      I don’t like it when main characters lie and here it was made into this big thing as well and it just didn’t work for me. And I agree I don’t care for the type of mystery were things are kept from the reader.

      I was so sad about that cat book as it seriously sounded so fun, but instead it just annoyed me.

  2. I’m always glad to learn about the DNF books as much as the finished ones particularly when there is a review to tell me why to help me see where it went wrong for the reader. I’m pretty sure the first one would have been an aggravating one for me as well.
    Ha, yes, I feel the same that if you’re going to bother with animal characters that they behave like that animal.
    And yes, I have most certainly set aside books that just were not grabbing me and I felt I was wasting time.

    I’ve DNF’d 17 out of 443 books this year. I did manage to pick up 2 from last year and finish with different results so it now doesn’t bother me as much to set aside books because of mood knowing I can come back later.
    Sophia Rose recently posted…2017 Reading Challenge Wrap-UpMy Profile

    • I like posting about the books I DNF’d in one post like this at the end of the year. I do think it can be helpful to know who someone DNF’d a book, so that’s why I always write a DNF review for these too.

      Maybe it was just me, but the animal behavior just felt off to me. And sometimes a book just doens’t grab you.

      That’s a pretty decent ratio of DNF books and that’s interesting you managed to finish two from last year, which just proves that sometimes you just need to be in the right mood for a book.

  3. I THINK I DNF’d 5 out of 171, which I think is fairly good going. I’ve got a whole lot better at selecting books I think I’m going to like these days and I think you’re very generous – I tend to stop reading fairly early on if I really dislike it. I hope you are getting the chance to relax, in between work and had a lovely Christmas:)

    • That’s pretty good! I also feel like over the years I have gotten better at selecting books I like. But it still happens sometimes I pick up a book that doens’t work for me. I sometimes prefer I would stop reading earlier as I feel like I just waste more time this way reading a book I don’t enjoy, but on the other hand I always hope a book gets better and sometimes that happens too.

    • I like to track the books I DNF and write a short review about why I DNF’d. I agree it can be interesting reading why people DNF’d a book.

    • I hate DNF’ing books, especially when it’s one I was really looking forward to. But sometimes it’s jut the best option to DNF and move on to a book you do enjoy.

      It’s good you had less DNF’s than last year.

    • I still give most books too long before I DNF them, most of these didn’t grab me at the start, but I keep hoping they get better. But I do believe it’s better to just DNF a book than continue reading a book you don’t enjoy.

  4. 3 DNFs in a year of 117 books isn’t bad at all 🙂 I had about the same I think, and didn’t read anywhere near that much lol

    Purrfect Murder sounds plain weird! Cats solving crimes would be cool, but not if they’re just acting like humans :/
    Wattle recently posted…Sunday Post #13My Profile

    • I agree it’s not bad at all having only 3 DNF’s over a whole year.

      I loved the idea of Purrfect Murder and had even bought book 2 and 3 already, but it just didn’t work for me. They acted way too human like and I wanted them to be more cat like.

  5. That Puurfect Murder book sounds like a great concept that if executed wrong, could easily be a flop – which it sounds like it was! A cat solving mysteries and being able to communicate really seems like an interesting plot but I agree with you that it would have been better if the cat wasn’t “too human”. A cat should still be a cat but maybe with a higher level of thinking and communication than most cats. Having the humanistic tendencies (like smiling and shrugging) is a bit too far for me as well. Such a shame – it’s a great concept. Let me know if you find another book similar to it that you do finish – I’d love to read something like that.

    • I totally agree it sounds like a great concept and I would love to read a book with that concept handled well. This is the only one I’ve read with this plot line before, although I vaguely remember seeing a book once were the main character shifts into a cat and solves mysteries. I agree a cat character should still act and feel like a cat, the smiling and shrugging was just weird.

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