DNF Reviews January and February 2024

Posted February 28, 2024 by Lola in Contemporary, Fantasy, Historical, Review, Romance, Sci-Fi / 8 Comments

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Blogger Lisa Loves Literature inspired me to do DNF reviews again and group them in one post. I decided to do posts until I have 4 or so DNF reviews, so maybe one every few months. We’ll see.

Junker Seven

Junker SevenJunker Seven (Twin Suns #1)
by Olive J. Kelley

Genre: Science Fiction
Age Category: Young Adult
Type of romance: nb/f

A romantic, queer sci-fi epic about changing the galaxy, one girl at a time.

Castor Quasar is a junker- a bounty hunter making a living off of collecting and selling valuable scrap. They live a quiet life, bouncing from job to job and not worrying about the brewing galactic rebellion.

Except, when they get a job offer for an irresistible amount of money, they find themself embroiled much deeper than expected. Their task? To smuggle transgender activist Juno Marcus across the galaxy under the watchful eye of the Intergalactic Police Force and a propaganda-informed galaxy.

It’s too dangerous to accept, but too valuable to refuse, and it doesn’t help that Juno herself is charming and beautiful. Agreeing drags Cas into a whirlwind race against those who want Juno dead to make it across the galaxy to safety, risking it all for a cause they can’t- or won’t- believe in.

My Review

I DNF’d this one at 30%

I am setting this one aside for now. I really want to enjoy this book, but for some reason I am getting into the story. So maybe I’ll try again later in a different mood. There is some great representation with the main character and love interest both being trans as well as the main character being autistic.

The world is bleak and oppressive, and I think the whole point is that there is this sliver of hope, but the setting and tone isn’t working for me in my current mood. The main character is jaded and out of hope for good reason, I assume that changes later on, but I struggle reading about that in my current mood.

Apparently, I’m the Infamous Earl’s Legendary Bride

Apparently, I'm the Infamous Earl's Legendary BrideApparently, I’m the Infamous Earl’s Legendary Bride: A Girl in Another World (Apparently, I’m the Infamous Earl’s Legendary Bride #1)
Alexia Praks

Genre: Fantasy Romance
Age Category: New Adult
Type of romance: m/f

What’s a girl to do when she finds herself in a medieval-like world of magic and monsters and is forced to wed an infamous earl? Marries the hunky warrior, of course! Plus saves his citizens, feeds them delectable food, and builds a grand kingdom in the process.

Quinn Chen has her life planned out after university graduation—working in one of the biggest medical research companies and then maybe dating again after a bad breakup. The only problem is on the day of her graduation, she is hit by a truck and wakes up to find herself as eighteen-year-old Quinn Fairchild in a war-torn medieval-like fantastical world full of magic and monsters and is forced to become a bride to an infamous, ruthless, cold-blooded warrior of an earl.

Swept not only into the isolated, strangely beautiful, lush land of Norsewood, but the powerful arms of the piercing blue-eyed Lord Aldric Templeton, Quinn—armed with blessings—must navigate her way through poverty-stricken, dangerous medieval life with a modern mindset and maybe even teach her gorgeous golden-haired husband, who is both kind and gentle and nothing like the merciless character that rumors imply, that having a girl from another world as a bride isn’t so bad after all.

Apparently, I’m the Infamous Earl’s Legendary Bride is a romantic fantasy series featuring a vivacious heroine with a determination to change and improve the lives of civilians in a medieval-like, war-torn world with the use of her modern knowledge and her magic and a hunky hero hell-bent on protecting his land and people and claiming his bride’s love.

My Review

I DNF’d this one at 54%

I actually quite enjoyed this one at first. It reads like an isekai anime in book form. Or for those not familiar with anime it’s about a girl who dies and then gets reincarnated in a fantasy world and she has special powers. The problem is that it quickly turns into a power fantasy with the main character being able to do everything.

She can do every type of magic and have amazing healing powers. She can create literally any items, food or clothing she can imagine and bring them tot his fantasy world. She can test people for nutrients they’re lacking and create pills based on that. She can curse or change things about other people. It was just too much and that last one was what got to me when she caused three people to be afflicted with something. It just felt like she was basically a god in this world and could do anything she wanted. It just wasn’t interesting and I felt what she did was wrong even if the people she punished were evil.

Lizzie Blake’s Best Mistake

Lizzie Blake's Best MistakeLizzie Blake’s Best Mistake (A Brush with Love #2)
by Mazey Eddings

Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: m/f

Mazey Eddings mixes passion and humor to create a luscious love story between two people stumbling through life and learning to open their hearts in Lizzie Blake’s Best Mistake.

Lizzie has made endless mistakes. Kitchen fires, pyramid schemes, bangs (of the hair and human variety), you name it, she’s done it… and made a mess of it too. One mistake she’s never made is letting anyone get closer to her than a single hook-up. But after losing yet another bakery job due to her uncontrolled ADHD, she breaks her cardinal rule and has a two-night-stand that changes everything.

Once burned, twice shy, Rake has given up on relationships. And feelings. And any form of intimacy for that matter. Yet something about charming, chaotic Lizzie has him lowering his guard. For two nights, that is. Then it’s back home to Australia and far away from the pesky feelings Lizzie pulls from him. But when Lizzie tells him she’s got an unexpected bun in the oven, he’ll do whatever it takes to be a part of his child’s life… except be emotionally vulnerable, obviously. He’s never going to make that mistake again.

Through a series of mishaps, totally “platonic” single bed sharing, and an underground erotic baking scheme, Lizzie and Rake learn that even the biggest mistakes can have the most beautiful consequences.

My Review

I DNF’d this one at 11%

I really wanted to like this one. Mazey Eddings writes books with neurodivergent main characters and that’s something I want to read more about since finding out I am autistic. While I didn’t enjoy her YA book as much as I had hoped, I had hoped maybe her adult books would work better for me. And I liked the neurodivergent representation in her YA book, so I picked up Lizzie Blake’s Best Mistake a try when it was discounted. I even read the sample beforehand and I liked it. Sadly I didn’t like the next few chapters and decided to put it aside.

Something about this book just didn’t work for me. Lizzie and Rake’s banter which should’ve been funny didn’t work for me and I didn’t feel their connection. Something just felt off and the way things play out just didn’t work for me. It probably also didn’t help I had just finished a really good contemporary romance book and wanted more, I probably should’ve switched genres instead of hoping to find another contemporary romance just as good as my previous read. The neurodivergent representation again felt spot on and I though Lizzie’s ADHD was described well so far. I just had hoped the rest of the book would’ve worked as well for me.

Monster Gear

Monster GearMonster Gear (Monster Gear #1)
by D.M. Gilmore
narrated by Kirby Heyborne

Genre: Progression Fantasy
Age Category: Middle Grade

After his parents’ separation uproots him from everyone and everything he’s ever known, Spencer tries to bury himself in video games. That’s easier said than done when his game systems are miles away, and the only game shop in town doubles as a smoke den.

Ready to give up, Spencer is introduced to Monster Gear—an augmented reality, geocaching, monster-taming RPG for his phone. Thinking it’s just another mobile game, Spencer is ready to try it and toss it aside.

There’s only one problem: the monsters are real.

With Zero, his new monster friend, and a guild of like-minded players, Spencer is ready to tackle any challenge the game has to offer!

My Review

I DNF’d this one around 60% I think, at chapter 23.

Monster Gear had a bit of a Digimon/ Pokemon vibe as there is a game that allows played to train and collect monsters and battle other monsters with them. I liked the gaming aspect of it and reading about the various monsters and game elements. When I started this one I knew it wasn’t going to a 4 star probably, but I still enjoyed myself enough to keep going despite some things not working for me. Then there was an event that just ruined the book for me and I decided to DNF. I just didn’t care for the direction the plot took and didn’t get how this even was even possible as it didn’t fit with what was explained about the game so far. I didn’t want to read about them trying to undo this while this never should’ve happened in the first place and just wanted the plot moving forward instead.

I didn’t like the antagonist, he was just so annoying and mean. I think that’s the point probably, but it just annoyed me to no end. He wasn’t interesting and I didn’t like his contribution to the story. The narrator of the audiobook was okay, I liked his voices for the monsters and how the voices fit the monsters, but his normal voice was just okay. And I didn’t like how his voice sometimes sounded a bit like a sport reporter when narrating the battle scenes, it got me out of the story.

Another thing that bothered me is the fact that literally everyone tells the main character Spencer how weak his monster is and encourages him (in various degrees of forcefulness) to please get another monster. This didn’t feel realistic to me as I know many games were players like to play less optimal or weaker units simply because they like them. It also just got annoying to constantly hear about how weak his monster was, even if this was true he could still level Zero up and become stronger.

Then there was the fact that these monsters were real and had emotions and personalities and no one seemed to care about that except Spencer. This whole real, but also a game thing was something that tripped me up a bit and confused me and the book doesn’t really explain much about the game. So many people treated it like just a game, but it was clear this was real with real feelings and real consequences.

The Vicar and The Rake

The Vicar and the RakeThe Vicar and the Rake (Society of Beasts #1)
by Annabelle Greene narrated by Cornell Collins

Genre: Historical Romance
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: m/m

Debut author Annabelle Greene brings us the brilliant first book in her Society of Beasts series, in which a quiet country vicar is unwillingly reunited with the duke who left him long ago…

As a young man, Sir Gabriel Winters left behind his status as a gentleman, turning his back on his secret desires and taking a self-imposed vow of celibacy. Now a chaste hard-working vicar, his reputation is beyond reproach. But, try as he might, he’s never forgotten the man he once desired or the pain of being abandoned by his first love.

Edward Stanhope, the Duke of Caddonfell, is a notorious rake, delighting in scandal no matter the consequence. With a price on his head, he flees to the countryside, forced to keep his presence a secret or risk assassination. When Edward finds Gabriel on his estate, burning with fever, he cannot leave him to die, but taking him in puts them both in jeopardy.

With the help of a notorious blackmailer, a society of rich and famous gentlemen who prefer gentlemen, and a kitten named Buttons, they might just manage to save Edward’s life—but the greatest threat may be to their hearts.

My Review

I DNF’d this one at chapter 32, about halfway through I think.

I don’t think this is a bad book and I probably would’ve given it a 3 star if I managed to finish it, but I was just bored and not excited to continue. Something about this book just didn’t hook me, I didn’t really care about what would happen next and I decided to set it aside.

I didn’t really feel the connection and romance between the two main characters, there is plenty of lust and chemistry though, but I would’ve liked a bit more romance. As well as maybe a bit more about their connection and past and how they went along then as it’s a childhood friends to lovers type of story.

The characters also felt a bit typical I guess? Gabriel was a vicar who never did anything steamy with other men and always missed Edward and hoped he would return. While Edward was a rake who got hot and steamy with a lot of other men, but it never meant anything till Gabriel. Nothing wrong with that, but especially Edward was the type of character I’ve read about plenty of times. I liked the little touches that added a bit of depth to them, however sad at times. I did feel bad for both of them at times. There was Gabriel believing how he felt was wrong, although he overcame that quite quickly as his lust for Edward can’t be contained, which also felt a bit odd as I thought that would be a major conflict point. While Edward got abused by his father for who he was and who he loved, now lust and alcohol are two of the few things that chase the nightmares away.

I actually felt more invested in whether Gabriel’s sister and Edward’s brother would get together, there were some great scenes with the two of them. And some fun banter too, definitely was curious whether they would end up a couple by the end of the book. I wanted to read their story.

The narrator is one I am familiar with and I like his narration style, he did the voices well and it was easy to listen to. The only issue I have is how sometimes he actually speaks louder or much softer to fit what the characters are saying, which is a bit inconvenient when listening as I would miss parts at times due to them being too soft as I don’t have my sound very loud.

What are some books you DNF’d this year?

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8 responses to “DNF Reviews January and February 2024

  1. I like your idea of grouping your DNFs and DNFs for now. So far, I haven’t had one, but there were a few that I might have if they’d been longer than novellas. I’m glad you’re finding so many books with neurodivergent characters.

    • I thought it was a nice idea to do a grouping post like this so I can still share my DNF reviews too. That makes sense that some of your reads might’ve been DNF’s if they’d been longer, shorter reads I often do finish even if I don’t enjoy them as much. It’s been nice finding more books with neurodivergent characters, just a shame about these 2 being DNF’s.

    • I thought so too! Another blogger I follow did the DNF’s like this and I really liked the idea. It’s fun to share my DNF reviews this way. I hope you give it a try too, I personally think DNF reviews are interesting to read as well.

  2. I did have one book last month that was a DNF for now, but I might give it more of a chance this month. Although with the SmartyPants Romance books coming out, that might not happen either! But I got it on Netgalley, so I don’t want to NOT read it to review.

    • Junker Seven from this post is one I hope to give another try at some point, but for now it’s a DNF. Hopefully your DNF works better if you decide to pick it up again. I usually just submit my DNF review on Netgalley for books I DNF.

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