Books I Quit Trying to Like

Reading time 4 mins

I know DNFs are a touchy subject. Some do it, some don’t. I do it and then I talk about it.

I am not proud of my DNFing habit. Some books just don’t deserve my attention. Life is too short for bad reads. This post is full of books I DNF’d.

Here are the most recent books that failed to grab and/or keep my attention…


Books I Quit Trying to LikeThe Marked Girl by Lindsey Klingele
Published by HarperCollins on June 7th 2016
Pages: 400
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Fantasy, General, Royalty, Action & Adventure
eARC provided by HarperCollins

Worlds collide in Lindsey Klingele’s debut young adult novel, The Marked Girl, an exciting fantasy tale turned upside down. Elissa Sussman, author of Stray, calls The Marked Girl “a magical debut with a big heart.”
When Cedric, crowned prince of Caelum, and his fellow royal friends (including his betrothed, Kat) find themselves stranded in modern-day LA via a magical portal and an evil traitor named Malquin, all they want to do is get home to Caelum—soon. Then they meet Liv, a filmmaker foster girl who just wants to get out of the system and on with her life. As she and Cedric bond, they’ll discover that she’s more connected to his world than they ever could’ve imagined…and that finding home is no easy task.
The Marked Girl has humor, heart, and harrowing adventures, perfect for fantasy lovers and reluctant fantasy readers alike.

This is one of those books that did not deserve the hype it got. I don’t know how many of you watch BookTube, but the most popular YA Booktubers made the official trailer for this one. So it got a lot of hype. I even admit to being excited about it, (okay admittedly I got the book before I saw the trailer. the trailer was pretty stupid). Unfortunately it was a very immature story. This is about some alien teens that find a very *special* girl, Liv, on earth, in modern L.A. I don’t like fantasy set in modern times. Also, I didn’t buy the specialness of Liv.


Books I Quit Trying to LikeFrannie and Tru by Karen Hattrup
Published by HarperCollins on May 31st 2016
Pages: 320
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, LGBT, Social Themes, Friendship, Family, General
eARC provided by HarperCollins

“Absorbing, electrifying, and achingly relatable. Frannie and Tru is a book with a pulse.” —Becky Albertalli, author of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Perfect for fans of Prep and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Frannie and Tru is a dazzling YA debut about a transformative summer in the life of a girl whose idol is not what he seems.
Frannie has always idolized her cousin Tru. At seventeen, Tru is charismatic, rich, charming—everything fifteen-year-old Frannie wants to be, and everything she’s not. So when Frannie overhears her parents saying that after a bad coming-out experience Tru will be staying with them in Baltimore for the summer, Frannie is excited and desperate to impress him. But as Frannie gets swept up in Tru’s worldly way of life, she starts to worry that it may all be a mask Tru wears to hide a dark secret. And if Tru isn’t the person Frannie thought he was, what does that mean for the new life she has built with him?
Confronting issues of race, class, and sexuality, Karen Hattrup weaves a powerful coming-of-age story that’s at once timeless and immediate, sharply observed, and recognizable to anyone who has ever loved the idea of a person more than the reality.

This story was told by Fannie, a girl who is starting public school after being in Catholic school her whole life. Her homosexual cousin Tru comes to stay with the family (because his own parents couldn’t handle it) and Frannie becomes obsessed with him. Tru is all Frannie thinks about. I hated this obsession she had with him. Frannie doesn’t think much of herself and I found this boring. Frannie has no issues with Tru being gay, she just finds him so interesting. I got about 1/2 way through this book and realized I didn’t care to hear about the social gatherings of these two anymore.


Books I Quit Trying to LikeTraitor Angels by Anne Blankman
Published by HarperCollins on May 3rd 2016
Pages: 400
Genres: Young Adult Fiction, Historical, Renaissance, Action & Adventure, General, Romance
eARC provided by HarperCollins

A romantic and exhilarating historical adventure about a girl who must unlock the secrets within Paradise Lost to save her father—perfect for fans of Revolution and Code Name Verity—from acclaimed author Anne Blankman, whose debut novel, Prisoner of Night and Fog, was a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for Teens in 2015
Six years have passed since England’s King Charles II returned from exile to reclaim the throne, ushering in a new era of stability for his subjects.
Except for Elizabeth Milton. The daughter of notorious poet John Milton, Elizabeth has never known her place in this shifting world—except by her father’s side. By day she helps transcribe his latest masterpiece, the epic poem Paradise Lost, and by night she learns languages and sword fighting. Although she does not dare object, she suspects that he’s training her for a mission whose purpose she cannot fathom.
Until one night the king’s men arrive at her family’s country home to arrest her father. Determined to save him, Elizabeth follows his one cryptic clue and journeys to Oxford, accompanied by her father’s mysterious young houseguest, Antonio Viviani, a darkly handsome Italian scientist who surprises her at every turn. Funny, brilliant, and passionate, Antonio seems just as determined to protect her father as she is—but can she trust him with her heart?
When the two discover that Milton has planted an explosive secret in the half-finished Paradise Lost—a secret the king and his aristocratic supporters are desperate to conceal—Elizabeth is faced with a devastating choice: cling to the shelter of her old life, or risk cracking the code, unleashing a secret that could save her father . . . and tear apart the very fabric of society.

One word for this book, B O R I N G. It was a snore fest from the first chapter. I tried to like this, believe me. There was way too much descriptions. There was also a bit of backstory and not much going forward. The female heroine, Elizabeth, failed to be realistic for the time period (1600s). She is bad-ass at EVERYTHING and when she scolds people for not thinking a girl can do anything a man can, people nod and agree. This is far from realistic. Between belive-ability and boring descriptions I put this down around 30%.


Books I Quit Trying to LikeNevernight by Jay Kristoff
Published by Macmillan on August 9th 2016
Pages: 448
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy, Epic, Historical, Science Fiction, Steampunk
Also by this author: Illuminae, Gemina
eARC provided by Thomas Dunne Books

Nevernight is the first in an epic new fantasy series from the New York Times bestselling author, Jay Kristoff.
In a land where three suns almost never set, a fledgling killer joins a school of assassins, seeking vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.
Daughter of an executed traitor, Mia Corvere is barely able to escape her father’s failed rebellion with her life. Alone and friendless, she hides in a city built from the bones of a dead god, hunted by the Senate and her father’s former comrades. But her gift for speaking with the shadows leads her to the door of a retired killer, and a future she never imagined.
Now, a sixteen year old Mia is apprenticed to the deadliest flock of assassins in the entire Republic — the Red Church. Treachery and trials await her with the Church’s halls, and to fail is to die. But if she survives to initiation, Mia will be inducted among the chosen of the Lady of Blessed Murder, and one step closer to the only thing she desires.

Oh, I know what are thinking right now, “Karen, we can’t even be virtual friends anymore because this is THEE book of 2016. Your taste is wack!
Please allow me to explain…
This is adult fantasy set in a different world, a world with 3 suns….hence the Nevernight. I found the writing really dark and hard to follow. There was some witty banter, but it took a lot of describing to get to. This is a style of descriptive writing that I feel takes away from the story. I don’t like the snarky way this is written. There were a lot of flashbacks. I hated them! Also, what the hell was the deal with the cat? There is much describing of the cat in every chapter. I also didn’t understand why the footnotes were necessary. Did they have anything to do with the story itself? No, they were just more fluff to add pages of descriptive text to this already descriptive story. I put this book down after just 6 chapters. I might try to pick it up again when I am in the mood for a destructive protagonist who is in training. I don’t think that will happen anytime soon though.

So those are the books I quit trying to like recently. Do you DNF? If so, what was your most recent DNF? Do you agree with any of my DNFs? Are we still friends?

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By | 2017-12-16T10:23:34+00:00 Monday, July 18, 2016|dnf, reviews|33 Comments

About the Author:

Mother, Lover, Writer, Reviewer, Social Media Princess. Karen has been a blogger since 2010. She is a US Army veteran, a medical professional, and the mother of four. Karen is the owner of That Book Store llc. She reviews books and shares mind vomit for this blog in her 'spare' time. Karen lives in New England.


  1. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library
    July 18, 2016 at 10:21 am - Reply

    I need to get better about DNFing books I just don’t care about. I waste so much time when I could be reading books I enjoy! The only one that was on my radar was Frannie and Tru and from the sounds of it I don’t think I’d enjoy it either. From the sounds of it Nevernight isn’t for me either. I don’t care for destructive protagonists and long descriptions of a cat that don’t seem to make sense!
    Check Out Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library’s most recent post- Ramblings from the Stacks: Magic Words in Book BlurbsMy Profile

    • Karen Blue
      July 18, 2016 at 10:30 am - Reply

      Thanks for the encouragement. I feel really awful about Nevernight, everyone has been loving that book. Oh well!

  2. Let's Get Beyond Tolerance July 18, 2016 at 11:52 am - Reply

    I don’t see anything wrong with DNFing a book if you aren’t feeling it. There are way too many books and not enough time in life to struggle through books if you don’t have too. I haven’t read any of these, so I can’t give my opinion. I still do want to try out Nevernight though, but it’s always nice to see what DID NOT work for people too.

    Check Out Let’s Get Beyond Tolerance’s most recent post- Broken by Nicola HakenMy Profile

  3. Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog
    July 18, 2016 at 4:07 pm - Reply

    I seriously need to learn to DNF. I always say I will but then I feel like I need to make sure I am not missing out. I’m bummed you didn’t like Frannie and Tru but I get it. I just saw another negative Nevernight review so you are not the only one!!
    Check Out Grace @ Rebel Mommy Book Blog’s most recent post- Review ~ How to Keep Rolling After a FallMy Profile

    • Karen Blue
      July 19, 2016 at 7:39 am - Reply

      Oh yea, I saw that and friended that person on Goodreads. She gets me! I thought of you a lot before I wrote that DNF, I think it was matter of relatability for me with Frannie and Tru.

  4. Julia @The Tree of Books July 18, 2016 at 6:27 pm - Reply

    Your thoughts on Nevernight are quite interesting. I haven’t heard much about this book yet, but I’m excited to see if your opinion is a common one. I can’t remember the last time I DNFed a book. It’s just not really my type of thing. I remember reading Robinson Crusoe in 6th grade and being one of the few to actually finish that horrendous collection of pages X(. Anyway, nice post- I enjoyed it!

    • Karen Blue
      July 19, 2016 at 8:04 am - Reply

      Wow! This is some dedication to finishing books. According to the goodreads rating of 4.21 I am in the minority for Nevernight. Thanks for checking out my post.

  5. Valerie July 18, 2016 at 9:08 pm - Reply

    Hahahah Karen! First, you did a good job of DNFing the Marked Girl. I read through the entire thing, and sure, it wasn’t bad, but I felt like I could do without it, you know? Also, I still want to read Nevernight, but I have NO idea how I will deal with the footnotes. Should I just ignore them until I read the finished copy? I really don’t want to keep going back and forth between the footnotes and the text, ugh. I do like this cat you keep mentioning. I really like cats.

    OF COURSE WE ARE STILL FRIENDS. My most recent DNF was…uh, wow from a really long time ago, February. Though I do want to DNF Flamecaster which is what I am reading now, but mostly because I am not in the mood for it.
    Check Out Valerie’s most recent post- Review: Devil And The BluebirdMy Profile

    • Karen Blue
      July 19, 2016 at 8:10 am - Reply

      Awwe, I LOVED Flamecaster! Before And I Darken, it has been my favorite fantasy of 2016. I guess you would have to be in the mood for it though. I don’t think the footnotes added a lot to the story, it did give some backstory. I found I didn’t care either way though.

  6. Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight
    July 19, 2016 at 12:36 am - Reply

    I wish I had DNFed The Marked Girl when Val told me to. And she did tell me to. I just.. I am awful at DNFing! AWFUL. I want to be better, I do. The last book I DNFed was more than a year ago actually! It was The Witch Hunter and it was boring as sin. I DO still want to give the other 3 a shot, because I own two of them, and was excited for them at one point? And Nevernight… I feel like there’s a solid chance I will be black sheeping with you, so no worries 😉 I WILL give it a try but… we’ll see! But solid choice on The Marked Girl. For real.
    Check Out Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight’s most recent post- Oh, the (Bookish) Places You’ll Go!My Profile

    • Karen Blue
      July 19, 2016 at 8:32 am - Reply

      Yea, The Marked Girl was crap right away. I can’t believe you read the whole thing, that is dedication!

  7. Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature)
    July 19, 2016 at 12:26 pm - Reply

    I think my next discussion post is going to be on DNF books. I’m sad that you didn’t enjoy Traitor Angels, I really liked it! Great post though!
    Check Out Lisa Mandina (Lisa Loves Literature)’s most recent post- Audiobook Review: Fall From India Place (On Dublin Street #4) by Samantha YoungMy Profile

    • Karen Blue
      July 20, 2016 at 8:40 am - Reply

      I just couldn’t get into Traitor Angels. DNFing is such an ongoing battle for book bloggers. I used to never do it, but now I am much more liberal with DNFing if I don’t like something.

  8. Sharon - Obsession with Books July 19, 2016 at 10:27 pm - Reply

    I seem to have more DNF’s these days than I care to admit; I never use to DNF a book but these days my TBR pile is too long to continue with something that I am not enjoying 🙂

    I have been curious about Marked Girl so I am pleased to read why you didn’t like it, I’d probably feel the same way.

    A great post! Sharon – Obsession with Books

  9. Carrie July 20, 2016 at 10:47 am - Reply

    I never used to DNF a book, but somewhere along the way, I got over that phobia. Mostly. DNFing is something I have to do when a book aggrivates me, bores me, etc. or I will fall into a reading slump. It happens ever time. There is definitely a lot of stigma attached to DNFing a book, but I think it is an acceptable reading habit for reviewers as long as they tried and are honest about why they stopped.

    You’re not alone in DNFing Nevernight. I had to stop as well, for pretty much the same reasons. I think this is going to be one of those books you either really love or you want to stop reading. I can’t see it having much middle ground.

    • Karen Blue
      July 21, 2016 at 8:46 am - Reply

      Oh it is so good to hear I am not completely alone on Nevernight. I am anxious for people I follow to start posting their reviews. I feel bad DNFing and then not saying why because I do look for those negative reviews when I am considering whether to buy something or not. Thanks for stopping by!

  10. Dianna
    July 22, 2016 at 10:45 pm - Reply

    I haven’t read ANY of these books. I’m always grateful for honest reviews (especially DNF) because it gives me a much better picture of what a book is like. I hate to stop reading a book, but if it’s too drawn out I get really impatient and skip to the end to figure out what happens. It drives my husband crazy when he sees me do that!
    Check Out Dianna’s most recent post- July New Release #Giveaway hop featuring A Beauty Refined — open to USMy Profile

  11. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity July 23, 2016 at 2:41 pm - Reply

    I wish I was better at DNF-ing. I tend to still skim read the book to get the story but then tend to not review or mention the book ever again. It’s brave to admit you’re not a fan of a book everyone has been raving about, but everyone’s tastes are different. I am very excited about Nevernight but I suppose the raving is probably the idea to get people excited.

    I think you should be proud of your ability to DNF a book because it’s something not every reader can do and we should probably do it more often.
    Check Out Becky @ A Fool’s Ingenuity’s most recent post- How Not To Fall // Where Science Is Sexy And I Get A Girl CrushMy Profile

    • Karen Blue
      July 24, 2016 at 8:24 am - Reply

      I feel like as a reader first I can choose to DNF anything I want. As a reviewer, I feel obligated to explain why. Since I posted this I am seeing more reviews that are like mine, or maybe it is just because I am looking for them. I think the writing style is an acquired taste that will not work for everyone. I will continue to DNF and then talk about why. No book is without flaws.

      • Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity July 27, 2016 at 4:10 pm - Reply

        That is completely the truth and I wish more people spoke about the flaws in the hyped books of the year because those are the thoughts which help temper your expectations going in. And, to be fair, you are never alone in your bookish thoughts even when it feels that way, it’s just people can manage to sing their praises louder and get more notice for it.
        Check Out Becky @ A Fool’s Ingenuity’s most recent post- Unpopular Opinions Tag // Let’s Get RantingMy Profile

  12. Got My Book July 28, 2016 at 12:37 pm - Reply

    I DNF a lot because I’m willing to try a lot of different books. If I wasn’t willing to DNF, then I would have to stick to a narrow list of books I was more certain I would like.
    Check Out Got My Book’s most recent post- text: My Library is Calling me a Liar: SF Recommendations? | My MusingsMy Profile

    • Karen Blue
      July 29, 2016 at 12:54 pm - Reply

      I totally agree with that. I could stick to only reading books I know I will love by safe aithors. I would miss out on so many debut books that have blown my mind though.

  13. Jesse Nicholas August 15, 2016 at 8:28 am - Reply

    Oh no! I’m about to start Nevernight myself. It’s a shame it wasn’t for you.
    Hopefully that’s not the case for me!

  14. Vanessa August 16, 2016 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    I really love your honesty about Nevernight. It is one book that I have been looking forward to since it was announced, and I have not been able to read it since it was released. Some of the things that you described, like the descriptive writing, is one of the things that I enjoy about Jay Kristoff’s novels. So while it didn’t work for you, your review described things about the book I know I will like. Thanks for the review! I’m sorry that this one wasn’t a winner for you.
    Check Out Vanessa’s most recent post- Book Blitz: Extracted by Sherry D. Ficklin & Tyler JolleyMy Profile

    • Karen Blue
      August 16, 2016 at 10:23 pm - Reply

      That is exactly why I try to read negative reviews! Sometimes I see what a person disliked about a story is actually something I look for in a good read. Thanks for checking out my review!

  15. Debbie (@DebbieK427) August 17, 2016 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    SO disappointng to hear about Nevernight but I guess not all books are for everyone. I was really intrigued by this book especially considering it was written by Jay Kristoff who co-authored the highly praised Illuminae but I have been seeing some mixed reactions which mention the points you were disappointed with. I’m still excited to read this one but my expectations aren’t so high anymore.

    • Karen Blue
      August 17, 2016 at 11:00 pm - Reply

      I absolutely LOVED Illuminae. In fact, Gemina is one the most anticipated releases for me this year. This book was just not my cup of tea. At all.

  16. Alecia August 18, 2016 at 5:00 am - Reply

    The Marked Girl just sounds ridiculous and that trailer was awful! It’s a shame too because I kind of was maybe going to read it but it would have turned into a DNF anyways. Frannie and Tru sounds like a case of ‘what could have been’ and I’m so disappointed to hear of how boring it turned out to be! It had such an interesting concept and I loved the unusual names but to hear that the book mainly consists of Frannie’s weird obsession with her cousin just puts me off the novel altogether (If it weren’t for the fact that he was her cousin I would think she was secretly in love with a gay guy who had to stay with her family which is actually something I could’ve been interested in). In regards to Nevernight I feel it’s really a book that could go either way with people – some people will love all it’s uniqueness and dark humour footnotes while some will absolutely hate it and I’m really unsure what my thoughts are about it at this moment. I would love a chance to read it soon though!

  17. Anne C August 22, 2016 at 9:54 am - Reply

    Aw, I’m sorry those books fell short for you. I’m excited to read Nevernight and I’m hoping it will be good for me.

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