Mini Reviews: The “Did Not Finish” Edition

Mini Reviews

I have had a string of bad luck with the books I’ve picked up recently so I thought I would do a rundown of my most recent Did Not Finish (DNF) books.  Now just remember, most of these books have glowing reviews from other reviewers so just because they didn’t work for me, doesn’t mean they won’t work for you!  Have a suggestion to break my reading slump?  Hit me up in the comments.




ShadowsShadows by Robin McKinley
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: September 26th 2013
Book Borrowed from Local Library and Nancy Paulsen Books

Synopsis from Goodreads:  Maggie knows something’s off about Val, her mom’s new husband. Val is from Oldworld, where they still use magic, and he won’t have any tech in his office-shed behind the house. But—more importantly—what are the huge, horrible, jagged, jumpy shadows following him around? Magic is illegal in Newworld, which is all about science. The magic-carrying gene was disabled two generations ago, back when Maggie’s great-grandmother was a notable magician. But that was a long time ago.

Then Maggie meets Casimir, the most beautiful boy she has ever seen. He’s from Oldworld too—and he’s heard of Maggie’s stepfather, and has a guess about Val’s shadows. Maggie doesn’t want to know . . . until earth-shattering events force her to depend on Val and his shadows. And perhaps on her own heritage.

In this dangerously unstable world, neither science nor magic has the necessary answers, but a truce between them is impossible. And although the two are supposed to be incompatible, Maggie’s discovering the world will need both to survive.

Shadows was probably the hardest book for me to DNF because I loved Robin McKinley’s Sunshine so much.  Alas, this book was nowhere near as good as its predecessor.  I tried skipping ahead and that worked for a time, but then I put this book down and went on to read a different book and then another and another and I just realized it was time to throw in the towel.

Why I DNF’ed it: bland characters; disjointed narrative; super slow plot


Make You MineMake You Mine by Macy Beckett
Book #1 in The Dumont Bachelors
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: May 6th 2014
ARC Provided by Netgalley and Signet

Synopsis from Goodreads: For ninety-nine years, every man in the Dumont family has remained a perpetual bachelor. Residents of Cedar Bayou, Louisiana, whisper about a voodoo hex cast upon the family, sabotaging each man’s chance at marriage. In truth, the Dumont men have their own player personalities to blame, and Marc is no exception. As captain of his family’s riverboat, he’s broken hearts up and down the Mississippi. That is, until his high school crush strolls onboard…

Allie Mauvais rocks the boat when she fills in as pastry chef. She hasn’t seen Marc since senior year, when rumors flew that her great-great-grandmother was the one who cursed the Dumonts. After two weeks on the water, neither can deny the attraction that still burns between them. But to truly reach Marc’s heart, Allie must show him that the hex isn’t real, and it’ll take more than her mouthwatering sweets to prove it. Will Allie’s love be enough to finally make Marc hers?

I picked up Make You Mine thinking it would be a sweet, sexy read.  Well, by 35% I knew I did not want these two main characters together AT ALL and I was tired of all the voodoo “woo woo” belief but not belief — too many coincidents that the characters blamed on Allie’s supposed voodoo.  Also, can we just take a sec to look at her last name… Mauvais (french for bad)… really?  Add to that the overuse of baby, sugar, honey, etc. and I just can’t with this book.

Why I DNF’ed it: stupid characters; terrible romance; overuse of pet names


22 meridianMeridian by Josin L. McQuein
Book #2 in Arclight
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia
Publication Date: May 27th 2014
ARC Provided by Edelweiss and Greenwillow Books

Synopsis from Goodreads: Marina thought that she had solved all of the Arclight’s mysteries. She had found her own history—that she was one of the Fade, that she never should have been human. She knows that the Fade who surround the Arclight don’t want to be the humans’ enemies at all. She knows that the leader of those inside the Arc, Honoria Whit, never told the whole truth. But there is so much more that Marina is just discovering. There are more survivors out there.

Only Marina—and her friends, all of whom have connections to the Fade they’d never known about—can lead her people to them. But there are also darker dangers, things that even the Fade fear. And Marina slowly realizes she may never have been “cured,” after all. The sequel to Arclight, Meridian is an intense, action-packed page-turner about the lines we draw between right and wrong, light and dark . . . and the way nothing is ever that black and white.

I loved Arclight last year, loved it, and was very excited to see it would be getting a sequel.  Unfortunately, Meridian just did not have the same draw for me.  I found the story to be slow, the characters to be wooden, and the spark from the debut to be totally missing.  I tried to push through, but with this book clocking around 458 pages, I just don’t have time to stick with something I’m not interested in.

Why I DNF’ed it: bland characters; super slow plot; wooden dialogue


22 Expiration DayExpiration Day by William Campbell Powell
Genre: Young Adult Dystopia
Publication Date: April 22nd 2014
ARC Provided by Netgalley and Tor Teen

Synopsis from Goodreads: What happens when you turn eighteen and there are no more tomorrows?  It is the year 2049, and humanity is on the brink of extinction….

Tania Deeley has always been told that she’s a rarity: a human child in a world where most children are sophisticated androids manufactured by Oxted Corporation. When a decline in global fertility ensued, it was the creation of these near-perfect human copies called teknoids that helped to prevent the utter collapse of society.

Though she has always been aware of the existence of teknoids, it is not until her first day at The Lady Maud High School for Girls that Tania realizes that her best friend, Siân, may be one. Returning home from the summer holiday, she is shocked by how much Siân has changed. Is it possible that these changes were engineered by Oxted? And if Siân could be a teknoid, how many others in Tania’s life are not real?

Driven by the need to understand what sets teknoids apart from their human counterparts, Tania begins to seek answers. But time is running out. For everyone knows that on their eighteenth “birthdays,” teknoids must be returned to Oxted—never to be heard from again.

Oh man, the main character in Expiration Day annoyed me to no end.  I should have known this book wasn’t for me when I started with the first-person diary format, but I thought I would give it a chance.  I never connected in with Tania and honestly, I didn’t think she sounded like a teenaged girl.  I wanted to strangle her with all her super important musings… Pass!

Why I DNF’ed it: stupid characters; an unsuccessful literary device; angst by the handful


Feather BoundFeather Bound by Sarah Raughley
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: May 6th 2014
ARC Provided by Netgalley and Strange Chemistry

Synopsis from Goodreads: When Deanna’s missing friend Hyde turns up at his father’s funeral to claim his corporate empire and inheritance, she is swept into his glittering world of paparazzi and wealth.

But re-kindling her friendship and the dizzying new emotions along for the ride are the least of her concerns. Because Deanna has a secret – and somebody knows. Someone who is out to get Hyde. And if she doesn’t play along, and help the enemy destroy him…she will be sold to the highest bidder in the black market for human swans.

Now Deanna is struggling to break free from the gilded cage that would trap her forever…

Feather Bound is a dark debut reminiscent of Gabriel García Márquez’s A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings, and the twisted truth behind the fairy tale of Cinderella.

You see that synopsis for Feather Bound up there?  It’s lies!  All lies, I tell you!  This book is nothing like Gabriel García Márquez nor does it seem to have any connection with Cinderella.  You know what else it’s missing?  World building.  There is almost no world building whatsoever, including explaining the human swans.  Deanna was a Mary Sue of the highest order and Hyde was the clichéd hot, rich guy.  By 27%,  I found I couldn’t care about either of them or their problems any more.

Why I DNF’ed it: stupid characters; terrible romance; a beautiful cover that lies


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Comments 7

  • […] feature with Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series.  Christal’s Mini Reviews featured a Did Not Finish edition.  We also had two Group Reviews this month: Breakable and Banishing the […]

  • OMG Feather Bound was the WORST. And we called it quits at almost the exact same place (I think I was at 28%). Did you get to the part about the youtube video and the KNIFE?! That’s when I threw in the towel. Thanks for the heads-up on the others too. Especially the Robin McKinley. She was one of my favorite authors growing up (BEAUTY), so I’m almost compelled to read anything new she writes, but mostly her most recent books have been anywhere from terrible to mediocre. I think I’ll just let her go for awhile . . .
    Jessica @ Rabid Reads recently posted..Review: Fortune’s Pawn by Rachel BachMy Profile

    • That’s pretty much exactly where I stopped, Jessica. I just could not go on with this book after that. I was really sadden by the Robin McKinley since I loved her other UF so much, but Shadows was just soooo boring.

  • Thanks for the heads up at least two of these books I had looked at was interested.

    • Well, don’t let me stop you if you were really interested in the books, Senona. You might find them enjoyable; they just didn’t work for me.

  • This is a really good feature. I’ve had several DNF’s early this year: Sea of Shadows by Kelley Armstrong (and she is one of my favorite authors!), White Space by Ilsa Bick, Falling Light by Thea Harrison (another favorite author), and Last God Standing by Micheal Boatman.