Friday, March 07, 2014

DNF Round-up [2014: Part 1]

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This is our first DNF Round-up of 2014! We both have a couple of 2014 books that we didn’t finish and since we don’t post official reviews, we decided to at least list our reasons why these ended up as DNFs for us.


Maybe One DayMaybe One Day
Melissa Kantor

Goodreads Purchase

Critically acclaimed author Melissa Kantor masterfully captures the joy of friendship, the agony of loss, and the unique experience of being a teenager in this poignant new novel about a girl grappling with her best friend’s life-threatening illness.

Zoe and her best friend, Olivia, have always had big plans for the future, none of which included Olivia getting sick. Still, Zoe is determined to put on a brave face and be positive for her friend.

Even when she isn’t sure what to say.

Even when Olivia misses months of school.

Even when Zoe starts falling for Calvin, Olivia’s crush.

The one thing that keeps Zoe moving forward is knowing that Olivia will beat this, and everything will go back to the way it was before. It has to. Because the alternative is too terrifying for her to even imagine.

In this incandescent page-turner, which follows in the tradition of The Fault in Our Stars, Melissa Kantor artfully explores the idea that the worst thing to happen to you might not be something that is actually happening to you. Raw, irreverent, and honest, Zoe’s unforgettable voice and story will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.

DNF at 17%.

I just can’t do it with this book. I am finding absolutely no details about it to be realistic at all. Olivia woke up with a fever on Sunday morning, went in and was diagnosed with Cancer on Tuesday morning and was receiving chemotherapy Tuesday afternoon. Now, I admit I am not fluent in the American medical system but I know my mom had weeks of tests and meetings, fuck there was even a chemo class she had to go to before receiving treatment! I don’t find it realistic that she would be admitted and treated the same day as being diagnosed. I also don’t find it realistic that Olivia would ask her doctor to come back and explain everything to her BFF (the MC) after having explained everything to Olivia and her family already and the doctor would actually do it. Why would this doctor take the time out of her busy day in the cancer ward to explain everything to someone’s friend? Make a special trip for it and all.

Then we have the MC. Oy, this girl had no idea what leukemia was, only that people could die of it and then upon arriving at the hospital saw the word oncology and immediately knew it was cancer. What high school aged person doesn’t know leukemia is cancer? Hell, I would know the word leukemia way before the word oncology. Oh and what about the moment that she walked into the hospital room where her friend was getting her super fast chemo treatment and noticed the view out the window first and foremost. Then she proceeded to see Olivia’s brother and have a fantasy in her head about how he was actually the one with cancer and she was just mistaken. She felt bad about this thought for a second and then RATIONALIZED IT AND FELT OK ABOUT IT. And don’t forget about how she danced onto a curb minutes after finding out her friend had cancer… but I guess at that point she didn’t know it was cancer because she’s an idiot.

I can’t do it.

The Secret Diamond Sisters

The Secret Diamond Sisters
Michelle Madow

Goodreads Purchase

Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip’s most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

DNF page 113

I won’t be finishing this one. I made it to page 113 and none of it is working for me. The 3 girls were grating on me, all in their own way, and I found the text quite repetitive. I can’t count the number of times Peyton thought about how she would take nothing from her father because he had abandoned them. Every time something was brought up to be from him she would go through the same thought process in her head. After the first 1-2 times she could have just said no and the reader just KNOWS why without the repetitive explanation.

Lauren Oliver

Goodreads Purchase

Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do.

Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought.

Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn’t know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for.

For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

I am adding this one to this list with a very heavy heart. I tried reading this novel for 4 days and made it to 35% and felt absolutely nothing. I wasn’t connecting with the writing (not a huge third person perspective fan) and the story just wasn’t sucking me in. It felt like, in the little bit that I did read, that the story was full of random conveniences that I wasn’t going to be able to buy as the reader. I know that her working on the farm serves some purpose in the game of Panic as the story goes on and I mean COME ON! She could have been working at this farm when the story started and that’s just all we ever knew but no, she has some random dog run up to her on the street and is given a job farming on the spot and it was just a ploy to get these tigers written into the story. Anyway, I was annoyed and wasn’t getting into it so I set this one aside.


No One Else Can Have YouNo One Else Can Have You
Kathleen Hale

Goodreads Purchase

Small towns are nothing if not friendly. Friendship, Wisconsin (population: 688) is no different. Around here, everyone wears a smile. And no one ever locks their doors. Until, that is, high school sweetheart Ruth Fried is found murdered. Strung up like a scarecrow in the middle of a cornfield.

Unfortunately, Friendship’s police are more adept at looking for lost pets than catching killers. So Ruth’s best friend, Kippy Bushman, armed with only her tenacious Midwestern spirit and Ruth’s secret diary (which Ruth’s mother had asked her to read in order to redact any, you know, sex parts), sets out to find the murderer. But in a quiet town like Friendship—where no one is a suspect—anyone could be the killer.

Being a huge fan of thrillers and mysteries like these I was really excited to start this one, though I wasn’t very far into it when I realized it was not at all what I expected. For one I could not stand the protagonist at all. She was so very awkward and kind of ridiculous. The best she could do at her best friend’s eulogy was to say Okie Dokie. Gah! Then there’s this small town setting and its annoying quirks that were probably supposed to be charming and atmospheric instead it was simply… weird, I dare say even exaggerated – being from that small a town myself. I only read a little bit of it before I was convinced it was not for me, so feel free to take this semi-review with a grain of salt, maybe I simply wasn’t in the mood for the kind of nonsense story this was already starting to be.


Ann Redisch Stampler

Goodreads Purchase

Emma is tired of being good. Always the dutiful daughter to an overprotective father, she is the antithesis of her mother — whose name her dad won’t even say out loud. That’s why meeting Siobhan is the best thing that ever happened to her…and the most dangerous. Because Siobhan is fun and alluring and experienced and lives on the edge. In other words, she’s everything Emma is not.

And it may be more than Emma can handle.

Because as intoxicating as her secret life may be, when Emma begins to make her own decisions, Siobhan starts to unravel. It’s more than just Dylan, the boy who comes between them. Their high-stakes pacts are spinning out of control. Elaborate lies become second nature. Loyalties and boundaries are blurred. And it all comes to a head at the infamous Afterparty, where debauchery rages and an intense, inescapable confrontation ends in a plummet from the rooftop…

I really really tried with this one. I noticed fairly early on that the writing was not my favorite but I still kept going another 100 pages, and I just could not get into it no mater how much I wanted to. The writing style is not one that clicks with me, I felt detached and distracted. I found a lot of sentences were unnecessarily long, filled with parenthetical expressions and/or endless rambles that made it exhausting to read. Few examples:

“The skin on my fingers wrinkles in exact inverse proportion to the unfolding of the furrows in my brain where all the sludge has lodged, until my mind is a blank plane that stretches like that fat blue California sky, all the way to the almost invisible horizon.
I read this 3 times and I still can’t figure out what’s wrong with these wrinkles but I’m fairly sure she should get medication. O_O

“Just as she’s telling me how welcome I’d be in levels of the temple higher than the basement where the food bank is, say in youth group, where I could be part of my own little community, my dad — who volunteers himself every couple of weeks, partly to help heal the world and partly to check up on me — bundles me into the car and starts making cracks about the place.

“Also in the good column, all the way on top, I cart sacks of brown rice around and teach eager eighty-year-olds (and kids who only know how to operate, say, late-model Macs) how to log in donations on the world’s oldest, slowest computer at the food bank where I volunteer — the place that my dad, in a giant breach of good-father decorum, slips up and calls Temple Beth Boob Job.”

I listed more quotes on Goodreads here. It’s like the narrator is the kind of girl who rambles on and on without ever taking a breath – and now I’m stuck in her head!

Aside from the writing I found the story had a lot of potential, but the characters were just too much. Think of the most overbearing, strict father ever. Then think of the worst case of a “bad influence best friend”, and here we are. And they do random things like steal a horse. I just wasn’t convinced by these personalities. Anyways, this may just be an “it’s not you it’s me” situation, I don’t know, but this writing is not for me.

Have you DNFed any 2014 books?

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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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47 Responses to “DNF Round-up [2014: Part 1]”

  1. Renu

    I also had to DNF No One Else Can Have You. Like you I love a good mystery/thriller, but The quirks were too much and the characters were more annoying then eccentric, imo.

  2. Aimee @ Deadly Darlings

    Jenni: I managed to finish both Maybe One Day and Panic (and I’m very proud of those!) and didn’t like either of them. In Maybe One Day, Zoe got on my nerves and, like you said, things were highly unrealistic. In Panic, I really hated all of the characters and could not stand any of them. The writing style was okay for me. I DNFed The Secret Diamond Sisters as well! I felt that the writing was so plain and the girls were so bland, especially Payton.

    Giselle: I’ve been seeing plenty of mixed reviews of No One Else Can Have You. Some bloggers DNFed it while others gave it glowing five stars, so I’m pretty hesitant to read it. I’m sorry that the setting didn’t work out for you and that the protagonist was annoying.

    I hope you girls read a lot of amazing books to take your minds off these DNF reads! <3

    • Giselle

      I know you either HATE or LOVE No One Else! Jenni really liked it. You have to read it when you’re in the mood for something silly and parody-ish.

  3. Jessica @ Rabid Reads

    I haven’t had any 2014 DNFs yet, but that’s probably b/c aside from my absolute must-read new releases, I’ve been playing catch up with old books. I’m sorry that you both have had a few, and all of those looked like they’d be really good!

    • Giselle

      I actually cheated these books were technically read in 2013 – released in 2014. I luckily have not DNFed a book that I read since the new year so woot! 😀

  4. Rashika

    Jenni: Wow. Maybe One Day would piss me off. I am kind of enraged just by reading what you had to say. Those kind of things don’t happen in real life and really, Cancer is a big deal, to wish it on someone else and then to justify is just… I cannot even.

    I know Panic has had a couple of mixed reviews but I don’t think it’s something I would enjoy either. Loop holes have a tendency to grate on my nerves and Panic seems to be full of them.

    Giselle: I REALLY wanted to read No One Else Can Have You but… the whole fiasco with the author kind of put me off.. so I decided to skip it 😛

    Afterparty definitely seems like a book I’d skip. The writing seems very iffy. Ugh.. those sentences go on forever and I’d probably end up skimming the book (that is, if it were of any interest to me).

    I am sorry these books didn’t work for you ladies. Great mini-reviews. 🙂

    • Giselle

      I actually had forgotten about the whole No One Else’s author drama when I posted this. I’m now hoping she doesn’t see it lol. Afterparty was like a chore to read. I do think some people would like the writing but it was def. not for me!

  5. Annette

    I had the same problem with Panic (as well as some others) but I did finish it. I just didn’t buy the whole thing…I haven’t attempted the rest of these, but a few are on my list. I was very disappointed I couldn’t finish White Space, because I really enjoyed Bick’s other books. Oh well, you never know.

    • Giselle

      I also had problems with believing the whole Panic concept, though I still had fun with the book. White Space I have not heard the best thing about and for a 500+ page book I’m not sure I’ll take the risk.

  6. Abria @ Read. Write. Discuss.

    I’d actually considered checking out maybe One Day, but if it’s just another YA book where the author hasn’t even bothered to google ‘cancer,’ I’m glad I chose to pass on it. It really bugs me when authors don’t do their research, and it seems to happen way more often in YA. It’s like authors and publishers think young people are too stupid to spot the mistakes.

  7. Amanda @ Book Badger

    I’m sorry none of these books took your interest or were good for you girls. I was considering The Diamond Sisters, but I’m just not too sure anymore Jenni, and I’d been wondering about No One Else Can Have You, but knowing you didn’t particularly like it Giselle, I may avoid it now. These DNF reviews are hugely important, it’s nice to have seen some of your choices girls 🙂

    • Giselle

      No One Else seems to be a book you either love or loathe. You will know within like 20 pages if you’ll like it though so you could always just start it and see! 🙂

  8. Tina

    OH BOY 2 of these are on my tbr! Panic and No One Else Can Have You. Panic I’ve seen mixed reviews (but mostly positive) and No One Else Can Have You I thought I only read good ones! Hmmmmmmmmmm Usually I agree with you guys on most things though haha

  9. Amanda

    I had to DNF The Barrow due to some scary kinky and painful sounding sexual images. And I am not a prude in my reading! I’m trying to be better about stopping when I just can’t get into a book, I’m impressed with your list!

  10. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    OMG, those sentences! I still dont even know what she’s trying to say!

    The only one out of these that I’ve read is No One Else Can Have You and I liked it. But I do have this fascination with killer books. Yes, the story was ridiculous and this chick was so awkward but it was fun and it reminded me of Napoleon Dynamite. Where it’s so awkward it’s funny.

    I have a short attention span. I DNF so many books but dont really consider them DNF because I barely make it 5% before I give up and move on. I think I got to 3% in Maybe One Day. I didn’t hate it, I just wasn’t in the mood for this kind of book…

    • Giselle

      Right? It so does not sound like a teenage narrator, imo! And same here, when I DNF a book within 10-15% I don’t technically consider them DNFs either – its happened a few times where you’re just like “Ugh not in the mood for this style” and it’s not really bc the book is bad so. Anyways >.<

  11. Jenea @ Books Live Forever

    Jenni, I am like you. I understand that it is a book, but realism is a big part with me when it comes to Cancer. My Mom had to wait for forever to get all the test results and then they had to decide what types of chemo she would need and so forth. So when it is so rushed like this, I just wouldn’t be able to believe. I think this is a major reason I avoid anything books that have to with it. Plus I would be a blubbering mess. I have Panic, but I haven’t read it yet. Can’t decide if I really want to or not.

  12. Maya

    Oh my god, those quotes from Afterparty make NO sense! Isn’t that kind of thing what editors are for? I must say, none of these books really sound like something I’d go for and I definitely won’t be picking them now. Also, all those inaccuracies and inconsistencies in Maybe One Day sound very annoying, Jenni – no wonder you didn’t finish it!

    • Giselle

      Hah right? I think she was maybe going for an eccentric/rambling style of writing. Dunno. I do think some people would like it but it won’t be for everyone for sure.

  13. Savannah

    Hi Girls thanks for sharing your thoughts. I think I only dnf about 2 books this year. Mostly cause I could not get into the characters shoes. I’m sad when I dnf but I know I just could read it.

  14. fishgirl182 @ nite lite

    Haha love the medication comment. I actually haven’t read any of these yet but I do have No One Else Can Have You and Afterparty at home right now. Oh well, sometimes it just doesn’t work for you.

  15. Lisa (Lost in Literature)

    I really like the idea of this, ladies! I don’t write official reviews for DNF books either, I just usually write a line or two on Goodreads. I like how you added them all together and wrote a bit about your issue with each one. I actually have a really bad habit of putting a book to the side and promising to get back to it later, though I never actually get back to it. My “to be contined” shelf should more accurately be entitled “DNF”. Maybe I need to just start DNF’ing more books and stop feeling so ashamed about it. I have a difficult time not finishing a book, even if I’m really not enjoying it. I know, I know… put on my big girl panties and start DNF’ing more often, dammit! 😀 Great post, ladies!

    • Giselle

      I used to refuse to not finish a book but now I just have no patience and rather read a book that doesn’t pain me. Once you start it kind of breaks the ice 🙂

  16. Michelle

    I love DNF reviews!! Love them! I’ve heard a lot of wierd things about No One Else Can Have You… but I just love that cover and want it to be good. But I don’t think it would be something I would like. I expect people to have certain emotions tied to death and loss and it doesn’t sound like the M/C in that book has them at all. And those quotes you have on there from Afterparty!!! I’m immediately taking that off my To-Read List! I read them all 3 times and don’t get it… like at all!!! Maybe One Day is one I never planned to read bc I feel like cancer has been done. I mean John Green already blew it out of the water. I have no need to read anything less. Plus I read a Melissa Kantor book before and wasn’t impressed. Who the F doesn’t know what Leukemia is?? I knew when I was like 7.

    • Giselle

      Haha Afterparty made my brain hurt. There’s more quotes on GR too if you wanted more examples. But if they turn you off I think you’ll have the same reaction to this book as I did. “Who the F doesn’t know what Leukemia is?” LOL! When she told me that I reacted the same way! >.<

  17. Lauren

    Maybe One Day definitely seems like it would annoy me. I totally understand the DNF for panic too, it seems like that book is not hitting home with so many readers, like it’s not up to Lauren Oliver’s normal writing standard. And No One Else Can Have You definitely gets DNF’d a lot, it is one of those books that either works or you want to throw it across the room. 🙂 Sorry these didn’t work for you gals, but thank you for sharing your honest thoughts on them!

    • Giselle

      No One Else Can Have You is def. a book you either love or hate. But at least you’ll know almost right away if you’ll like it. I also didn’t love Panic as much as Before I Fall which I completely loved so I was sad, but I still liked it more than Jenni did – you do have to ignore a few technical details.

  18. Eileen @ Singing and Reading in the Rain

    Aww Jenni I’m sorry you didn’t like Maybe One Day, but I can definitely understand where you’re coming from because, while I didn’t notice how she didn’t know what leukemia was but knew what oncology was, I heard some other people talking about how Olivia got treated for her cancer way too quickly.

    Giselle—Afterparty sounds like a serious piece of work! I would probably fall asleep reading those sentences and even now I just skimmed over them because the big words and phrases got to be wayyy too much for me to handle.

    Thanks for sharing, girlies! <33

    • Giselle

      Yeah Afterparty is not going to be for everyone. It seems to be a type of writing that clicks for some, but others just get confused and overwhelmed with the rambling type of narration.

  19. Chel

    I haven’t DNF’d anything since the start of the year, but I haven’t been reading that many books too. I started reading Panic a week ago and I’m about 45% into it now. I’m not liking it very much either but hopefully it gets better for me. I’m surprised you DNF’d Afterparty. I’ve heard soooo many good things about it on other blogs even though it doesn’t sound like something I’d like.

    • Giselle

      I actually haven’t DNFed a book I read in 2014 either – these are 2014 releases but I technically DNFed them in late December. Shht! >.< I have seen a few other DNFs for Afterparty, but it's the kind of writing that needs the right reader. The rambling kind of narration was just tiring for me. You should still give it a try though if the writing doesn't turn you off like it did me, the story, I heard, is really emotional.

  20. ShootingStarsMag

    Maybe One Day sounds like something that would annoy me too…based on Jenni’s reasons.

    As for Giselle’s list, I really do want to read No One Else Can Have You but I’ve read that you have to go in knowing it’s black humor and quirky. I think I’d like it!

    I haven’t DNF’ed anything this year, but I don’t tend to read too many books I’m not pretty sure I’ll enjoy. I’ve been close here and there, but nothing yet.


  21. Jennifer Bielman

    I was hoping the Secret Diamond Sisters was good but the rest I never planned on reading so I guess I am dodging a bullet. I have not DNF’ed yet this year. Yay me! hehe.

  22. Amy @ Book Loving Mom

    I DNF’d No One Else can Have You too. Also, another one that I can’t even remember the name of. It was too religious for my liking. I Dark Space Maybe, or not. I can’t remember. There have been a few, but I kind of decided to come back to them and try again.

  23. Faye @ The Social Potato

    Ahh, I don’t remember if I actually DNFed anything this year. Oh, wait! I do remember DNFing City of Masks. Horrible transition of POVs, juvenile dialogue, terribad pacing… yup, the works. Apparently you guys had more bad luck then me considering the amount of books you guys DNFed!

    Jenni – I don’t think I’ll read Maybe One Day either. I think I’ll be more frustrated than anything else especially with such an infuriating character. Same with The Secret Diamond Sisters. I heard Savannah here was one of the most frustrating characters ever. Sad you didn’t like Panic, though!

    Giselle – No One Else Can Have You is definitely a hit or miss with some people. It was a hit for me! Not sure I’ll read Afterparty… with writing like that I’ll be pulling my eyes out of my sockets first. :))

  24. Kelsey

    The only one on this list I’ve tried to read is Panic, and I had to DNF it too. I couldn’t get into it either, and after almost a week trying to push myself I just had to give up and go onto something else.
    The rest of the books on your list don’t appeal to me so I probably won’t read them, but I’m sorry you guys had to DNF so many. Then again we can’t love every book! 🙂

  25. Mel@thedailyprophecy

    I managed to finish Panic, but I don’t think you are missing out. It’s a one star rating for me.. I’ve seen the same reactions to Maybe one day. It’s definitely not a book I will be reading. The same for No one else can have you (+ the author wasn’t on her best behavior)

  26. Alexa

    I personally like when bloggers post about DNF books because it helps other readers to see why they DNF something. Plus everyone has their own opinion and it is nice when bloggers stand up to say theirs even if it is more to the negative side.

    Thanks for the great mini reviews on why you ladies DNF these books.

  27. Valerie

    Um…been through the cancer thing with 3 different relatives and it never went down like that!

    I’m so sad about Panic – I just bought that one. I’ll still give it a go though.

    Valerie @ StuckInBooks

  28. Mary @ BookSwarm

    I really hated No One Else can Have You. I realize it’s supposed to be satire but good satire is not exaggerated accents and overuse of corny expressions. Plus, that MC. Sheesh. I actually liked Panic…somewhat. Got a weird feeling from it but felt the need to finish it. Don’t you just hate when you can’t finish a book, though? Darned DNFs.

  29. Kelly

    I’ve DNFed a few things this year, but they were so unmemorable,that I can’t even think of what they were. After reading your post, I’m not sure I’ll enjoy Afterparty or Maybe One Day, but I’m still going to give them a shot. I just got Panic yesterday, and I’ve been really excited about it, and now I’m a bit nervous that I’ll end up hating it.

  30. Pili

    I haven’t properly DNF any books this year yet, though I have a pair of them in the waiting list, to try get into them at a later date.
    Maybe One Day would totally get on my nerves since I am an oncology nurse and messed up details would totally get me out of the book!

  31. Wendy Darling

    Yeah, I read a couple of chapters of MAYBE ONE DAY and think I’m going to be DNFing it as well. The story seems a little jumbled, and I just don’t care about anyone so far–which sucks big time in a story like that!

    I don’t blame you for DNFing NO ONE ELSE CAN HAVE YOU, either. The writing style and character are so quirky and affected that it’s kind of a love/hate situation–and while I was amused by it at first, it got old about halfway through. Bummer about PANIC, though.