Weekend Reads #111: Recent Books I DNF

Weekend Reads is a weekly post in which I discuss a variety of topics and mention the books I’m currently reading.

THIS WEEK’S TOPIC

Books I DNF

(FYI: DNF means did not finish.)

I DNF books sometimes. I don’t often talk about them, except to briefly mention them in my monthly wrap-up posts, unless I’ve already formed a strong opinion about what I read. In those cases, I’ll do the whole rate and review thing — even though I DNF’d it. I mention in the review that I didn’t finish the book so that people are aware of that fact.

I didn’t rate the books listed below. I didn’t form a strong opinion about any of them and mostly stopped reading them because the story bored me or the characters annoyed me or I just wasn’t in the mood for what was presented.


The books

The Lost Book of Adana Moreau by Michael Zapata

Genre

Historical Fiction

Series

n/a

Pubbed

2020

Quick summary

In the story, Adana Moreau, a Dominican immigrant who lived in New Orleans, wrote a sci-fi novel in 1929 that became very popular. She started working on its sequel but became very ill and destroyed the only copy of the manuscript before she died. Years later, Saul finds a copy of the manuscript while cleaning out his late grandfather’s home and tries to track down Moreau’s son to send the manuscript to him. (Goodreads)

My thoughts

I had to consult the Goodreads summary to cobble mine together although I read almost half of the book. I don’t think this is one I would have picked up if I’d read the summary first because it doesn’t interest me. What got me was the cover. I love it. I love it so much that I wanted to buy the book as soon as I saw it. Thankfully, I was broke at the time.

I assumed this would be a story I’d immediately fall for because I love the writing. I got lucky when bookstagrammer Debbie’s Book Nook was willing to loan me a copy. I was so eager that I started reading as soon as I got the book, and I indeed fell for the writing and was hooked. Adana Moreau’s life fascinated me, so I was hooked up until she died. I think if this was the only book I was reading at the time, I would have finished it. But that’s never the case, so I got distracted and because this story isn’t something I would typically go for, I quickly lost interest.

Do I recommend it?

Yes or No

It is beautifully written and, if this is your sort of story, I think it will hook you. It just didn’t work for me because I didn’t give it the time or my patience.


The Way Back by Gavriel Savit

Genre

YA Historical Fiction; YA Fantasy

Series

n/a

Pubbed

2020

Quick summary

Featuring demons and creatures from Jewish folklore, this story is about how a boy and a girl get entangled with the angel of death and end up journeying through the Far Country. (Goodreads)

My thoughts

I thought I’d love this because I loved Savit’s first novel, Anna and the Swallow Man, so I requested an ARC, but this one did not work for me at all. It failed to captivate me and hook me to the story. I didn’t like the writing style, and I guess it’s because it tries for a whimsical tone in some parts that fell flat for me. I also didn’t care for the characters or what was happening to them or the plot, which seemed a bit meandering.

The only part that really caught and held my attention was when the angel of death visits Bluma’s house. I thought that part was a little spooky. Since I had an ARC, I wanted to finish the story. But no matter how hard I pushed myself, I couldn’t make any progress with this. I was easily distracted by what was going on around me or was quick to fall asleep.

Do I recommend it?

Yes or No

It’s not a horrible read, it just didn’t interest me. The story is inspired by Jewish folklore, has lots of creatures and demons and general spookiness in a world that seems to have more than just a touch of fantasy. So if that interests you, try it out.


American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Genre

Fantasy

Series

American Gods, book 1

Pubbed

2001

Quick summary

A man called Shadow is released from jail a few days after his wife dies. He meets a dude called Mr. Wednesday on a plane who claims to be more than he seems (can’t remember if he mentions being a god). Shadow teams up with Mr. Wednesday and… that’s where I stopped. (Goodreads)

My thoughts

It’s so weird that I DNF’d this. Based on the description and all I’ve heard about this book, this should be one I sped through and end up loving and adding to my favorites list. But for some reason, the story didn’t captivate me. I just didn’t care about what was going on, felt lost, and got frustrated that I couldn’t connect with the story or the characters in any way. It was such a weird reading experience that I blamed my mood and have decided to try again someday.

Do I recommend it?

Yes or No

It is written well, and I’m sure it’s interesting. I stopped reading when Shadow meets Mr. Nancy (obvs. Anansi), which is SO weird of me! That should have hooked me immediately. I totally blame my mood for this one.


Eva Evergreen, Semi-Magical Witch by Julie Abe

Genre

MG Fantasy

Series

Eva Evergreen, book 1

Pubbed

2020

Quick summary

It’s Eva’s dream to become a witch, but first she has to pass her Novice Witch test before she’s 13. To do so, she must help a town in need for a month and then fly back home. If she doesn’t pass the test, her magic will be taken away forever. Although Eva is the daughter of a powerful witch, she doesn’t possess much magic and when she overuses it, she falls asleep. But this doesn’t deter Eva from her goal. She arrives in the coastal town called Auteri intending to help however she can and prove that she’s a capable witch. (Goodreads)

My thoughts

Another one I wanted to read because I like the cover. Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. I was majorly bored the entire time and did not like Eva. It’s weird, but these days I’m starting to dislike characters to whom it seems all bad things happen… or maybe it’s just that I’m annoyed by how they are written. I just keep wondering why everyone in the story has to dislike or bully this one character or why every single bad thing must happen to them. That’s what seems to happen to Eva.

On the plus side, I liked the illustrations at the beginning of the chapters and the description of Auteri. I liked that Eva’s parents love and care for her, and I liked the cute, little fox familiar that tagged along with Eva.

Do I recommend it?

Yes or No

It seems like it’s an entertaining read. It just didn’t work for me.


Blythewood by Carol Goodman

Genre

YA Paranormal; YA Historical Fiction

Series

Blythewood, book 1

Pubbed

2013

Quick summary

I believe this is set in the early 1900s. It’s about a young girl called Avaline Hall who grew up poor with her single mother. Avaline cared for her mom until she passed. At age 17, she experiences a “horrific fire” at the factory where she works that led to her being committed to an asylum because of the weird things she said she saw and experienced as the fire raged on. Luckily, he rich grandmother’s assistant found her and rescued her from the asylum. Avaline then learns that it’s family tradition to attend Blythewood Academy, a boarding school for young women in upstate New York that trains women to protect the world from fairy creatures. She attends the academy hoping to learn more about her mother’s past and… I stopped reading shortly after that. (Goodreads)

My thoughts

Carol Goodman also writes under the pseudonym Juliet Dark. About two or so years ago, I read the Fairwick Chronicles, adult paranormal romance novels set in upstate New York, which were published under the Juliet Dark name, and I really enjoyed them. It made me want to try more novels by the author, so I was willing to pick up Blythewood since it shares some similarities with the Fairwick books (fairy creatures, set in upstate New York, boarding school, etc.).

Unfortunately, Blythewood was a major bore for me. It starts out slow and takes forever to get going. It felt like it has a long beginning. The protagonist, Avaline, did not appeal to me either and, surprisingly, the introduction to Blythewood Academy did not interest me either. I blame my mood for this. I’ve seen the series described as a cross between Harry Potter and the Diviners by Libba Bray, and it certainly seems like that. The classes and instructors at Blythewood and the dark forest filled with fairy creatures that surrounds it calls to Hogwarts (although not as charming a place), and the paranormal activity, the fact that it’s historical fiction set in New York and focuses on a young female protagonist reminds me a bit of the Diviners. So I really should have been hooked on it, but it didn’t work for some reason.

Do I recommend it?

Yes or No

It’s interesting, it’s well written, and, despite its slow pace, there are many interesting elements in it. It just didn’t appeal to me.


What I’m currently reading

(NOTE: If the layout below looks wonky, it’s mostly likely because you’re viewing this on your phone in the WordPress Reader app which, for some reason unknown to me, keeps messing up the layout when I use certain gallery settings to format image layouts. If you view it on the website instead, it will show correctly.)

Get a Life, Chloe Brown by Talia Hibbert

I’ve seen many positive reviews of this contemporary romance novel, so I decided to give it a try. I’m enjoying it, but I think I would have liked it even more if I’d read it at the height of my romance mood. I can feel it petering out now, so I’ll probably take a break from romance novels after this.

American Spy by Lauren Wilkinson

I borrowed this from the library last year to read for a book club but didn’t get the book until after the book club discussion had passed. I still wanted to read it, which is why I still have the library book. I’ve only read the first few pages, but I’m hooked.

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

I need to get back to this book! I got distracted by all the other stuff I’ve been reading lately. I’m only a few pages in.


Have you DNF’d Anything lately?
also, WHAT are YOU CURRENTLY READING?

19 thoughts on “Weekend Reads #111: Recent Books I DNF

  1. I actually finished American Gods, but I didn’t actually like it — which felt weird, since I like so much of his writing, and a friend whose book taste usually aligns with mine kept insisting this was the best Gaiman book ever. Just didn’t work for me, and probably a lot of other people too. 🙂

    I DNFd two ARCs this month — neither appealed to me, even though I gave them about 20%. I’m just not going to spend time any more on things I’m not enjoying.

    Like

    1. American Gods certainly seem to be one that people either really like or really do not like. It’s very interesting that there’s hardly any middle ground with it.

      I’ve gotten to that point too. If I realize that I’m forcing myself to finish something, then I’ll just put it down.

      Like

    1. Totally understand. I get like that too with ARCs — kinda feel obligated to complete it. But sometimes I give up on the book thinking it’s fairer to do so than to finish it really disliking the book.

      Like

  2. I DNF’ed American Gods as well, nut I actually hated it haha.. I just did not connect with the humor..
    I’m about to start reading Raybearer as well!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

    Like

  3. I have a very hard time not finishing books. I’d like to get better at it. Not that I want to not finish them, but we all run into those that just don’t work for us, or that are ok but only ok, so why waste time continuing reading them? And yet I often do… So while I hope to get better at not finishing books, here’s hoping I don’t have to use that skill! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I get what you mean. It took a while for me to start letting some go. I kept feeling guilty about not following through with the commitment. Sometimes I’d push myself to complete it thinking the book will get better later on, which they did sometimes but not often enough.

      Like

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