I have a confession.
I DNF books. A lot.
It is extremely rare that I force myself to finish a book if I’m not enjoying the first 20-25% of it. I’m not one to hate read, because why would I want to be angry the entire time I’m reading?
Also, and probably more importantly, I have way too many books on my TBR to waste time on books that don’t suck me in.
To be fair, I have gone back and read books after putting them down initially, particularly books that I knew I’d like if I were in a different mindset – and I’m glad I have in most cases. A recent example is The Wish Collector by Mia Sheridan. I started that one a few times and put it down, but when I was finally in the right place for it, I really enjoyed it.
The books below, however, I knew almost immediately that they weren’t for me. The key part of that sentence being “for me.” If any of these books are your favorites, I’m so sorry! I know how disappointing it can be to see a low rating or DNF on books I love!
Because I DNF books so frequently, that also means that I very rarely rate books 1,2, or even 3 stars. I’ve gotten really good about anticipating the books I’m going to love, and I don’t even finish (or rate) the books that I don’t. Therefore… a lot of high ratings from me!
Books I Did Not Finish (And Don’t Plan To)
The Chemist by Stephenie Meyer
Honestly? I only downloaded this because it was on my Libby library app and it was available. It was also super boring and I had no idea what was going on… and also absolutely no interest. I gave up pretty early on this one.
In this gripping page-turner, an ex-agent on the run from her former employers must take one more case to clear her name and save her life.
She used to work for the U.S. government, but very few people ever knew that. An expert in her field, she was one of the darkest secrets of an agency so clandestine it doesn’t even have a name. And when they decided she was a liability, they came for her without warning.
Now she rarely stays in the same place or uses the same name for long. They’ve killed the only other person she trusted, but something she knows still poses a threat. They want her dead, and soon.
When her former handler offers her a way out, she realizes it’s her only chance to erase the giant target on her back. But it means taking one last job for her ex-employers. To her horror, the information she acquires only makes her situation more dangerous.
Resolving to meet the threat head-on, she prepares for the toughest fight of her life but finds herself falling for a man who can only complicate her likelihood of survival. As she sees her choices being rapidly whittled down, she must apply her unique talents in ways she never dreamed of.
In this tautly plotted novel, Meyer creates a fierce and fascinating new heroine with a very specialized skill set. And she shows once again why she’s one of the world’s bestselling authors.
Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1) by L.J. Shen
The hero was immediately the worst and I did not see how he could possibly redeem himself.
They say love and hate are the same feelings experienced under different circumstances, and it’s true.The man who comes to me in my dreams also haunts me in my nightmares. He is a brilliant lawyer. A skilled criminal. A beautiful liar. A bully and a savior, a monster and a lover.
Ten years ago, he made me run away from the small town where we lived. Now, he came for me in New York, and he isn’t leaving until he takes me with him.
She is a starving artist. Pretty and evasive like cherry blossom. Ten years ago, she barged into my life unannounced and turned everything upside down. She paid the price.
Emilia LeBlanc is completely off-limits, my best friend’s ex-girlfriend. The woman who knows my darkest secret, and the daughter of the cheap Help we hired to take care of our estate. That should deter me from chasing her, but it doesn’t. So she hates me. Big fucking deal. She better get used to me.
Hail Mary by Nicola Rendell
The premise of this one was promising, however, it just wasn’t well executed. It felt amateurish compared to the other amazing sports romances I’ve read. Also? The instalove/lust without chemistry annoyed me.
A funny, naughty, dirty *standalone* sports romance…
At a boxing gym in Chicago, Mary Monahan accidentally knocks out the most handsome man she’s ever met. After she wakes him up with a few slaps and some smelling salts, the very first thing he does is ask her out for ribs and beer. His name is Jimmy. He looks like a Gillette model. And he’s just too hunky to resist.
Jimmy “The Falcon” Falconi is mystified that Mary has absolutely no idea who he is. Mystified and refreshed. He is, after all, not your everyday NFL quarterback. He shops at Costco, has a soft spot for Pinterest, and is in the midst of an epic losing streak.
Jimmy falls for Mary fast and hard, the way he does everything—balls out and like it’s fourth and long. And he realizes he’s finally met his match. That stamina he’s so proud of? Doesn’t stand a chance against her Kegels.
But what they don’t know is she’s also his new physical therapist, recently hired by the Bears to work on his rotator cuff…and groin injury. If she can’t help him, he’ll be traded faster than they can say “offensive penetration.”
In spite of the thousands of internet memes featuring Jimmy’s face with captions like: “HEY GIRL, WANT TO TOUCH MY BALLS?” Mary finds herself falling for him and his unrelenting desire to make her his.
Until a toddler shows up at Jimmy’s door.
And throws their lives into total chaos.
To the reader: Sweet. Safe. HEA. This is a comedy that gets very dirty, so be advised. Other tasters’ notes: Hints of honey and champagne. And a feisty little dog named Frankie Knuckles.
Midnight Blue by L.J. Shen
I’m kind of thinking LJ Shen just doesn’t write likable heroes, in my opinion. I actually got pretty far in this novel and just had to give up because I had no idea why the main character had any interest in Alex. He just seemed kind of gross and eyeroll-worthy to me.
Come to think of it… I don’t think I’ve ever been able to finish anything by LJ Shen. Should I keep trying?
From bestselling author L.J. Shen, comes a new, standalone, contemporary romance.
It should have been easy.
I needed the money. He needed a babysitter to keep him from snorting himself to death.
I was cherry-picked especially for him. Responsible. Optimistic. Warm. Innocent.
The worst part is that I should have known better.
Alex Winslow. British rock star. Serial heartbreaker. Casanova with whiskey eyes.
“Don’t get near the devil in a leather jacket. He’ll chew you up and spit you out.”
Guess what? I didn’t listen.
I signed the contract.
World tour. Three months. Four Continents. One hundred shows.
My name is Indigo Bellamy, and I sold my soul to a tattooed god.
Problem was, my soul wasn’t enough for Alex Winslow. He ended up taking my body, too.
Then he took my heart.
Then he took my all.
Groupie (Texas Mutiny #2) by M.E. Carter
I actually kind of feel like if a book like this was done right, it’d be really good. I’m all about role reversals and anti-slut-shaming, but this one just was not well executed.
a person, especially a young woman, who regularly follows a celebrity in the hope of meeting or getting to know them.
See example Tiffany Wendel:
Whore. Slut. Cleat Chaser. I’m used to the names so they don’t bother me. These are my boys. My friends. So what if I like to have dirty sex with them? My body is no one’s business but mine.
Why is Rowen Flanigan making me re-think how I live my life? Making me question my choices? He’s only a rookie.
a member of an athletic team in his first full season in that sport.
See example Rowen Flanigan:
Player. Son of a legend. Rookie.
Sure, I’d heard the stories of the groupies before. Who hasn’t? I’ve just been more sheltered than my teammates. So what? I didn’t expect her to be smart. Witty. Kind. She brings me to my knees in every way – except one.
That part? I’m saving until the time is right.
So how in the hell did I end up falling for a Groupie like Tiffany? And how in the hell is this going to work when everyone at my job has had a piece of the one thing I haven’t?
Rival (Fall Away #2) by Penelope Douglas
OMG I freaking pushed myself through the first book in this series, just waiting for it to redeem itself like so many have claimed it would. I pushed myself up until the first part of this book and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I was so not OK with how Fallon was treated, the immaturity, the ridiculousness. And I LOVED Birthday Girl by Penelope Douglas. However, this series? That’s a big NO from me, friends.
From the New Adult sensation and New York Times bestselling author of Until You
Madoc and Fallon. Two estranged teenagers playing games that push the boundaries between love and war…
For the two years she’s been away at boarding school, there was no word from her. Back when we lived in the same house, she used to cut me down during the day and then leave her door open for me at night.
I was stupid then, but now I’m ready to beat her at her own game…
Two years and I can tell he still wants me, even if he acts like he’s better than me.
But I won’t be scared away. Or pushed down. I’ll call his bluff and fight back. That’s what he wants, right? As long as I keep my guard up, he’ll never know how much he affects me….
King (King #1) by T.M. Frazier
A love interest who sexually assaults the main character will never redeem himself. Sorry.
Homeless. Hungry. Desperate.
Doe has no memories of who she is or where she comes from.
A notorious career criminal just released from prison, King is someone you don’t want to cross unless you’re prepared to pay him back in blood, sweat, pu$$y or a combination of all three.
King’s future hangs in the balance. Doe’s is written in her past. When they come crashing together, they will have to learn that sometimes in order to hold on, you have to first let go.
Warning: This book contains graphic violence, consensual and nonconsensual sex, drug use, abuse, and other taboo subjects and adult subject matter. Although originally slated to be a standalone, KING is now a two part series.
The Mister by E.L. James
This book had all of the trash that I disliked in Fifty Shades and none of the addictive trash that kept me reading that entire series.
The passionate new romance from E L James, author of the phenomenal #1 bestselling Fifty Shades Trilogy
London, 2019. Life has been easy for Maxim Trevelyan. With his good looks, aristocratic connections, and money, he’s never had to work and he’s rarely slept alone. But all that changes when tragedy strikes and Maxim inherits his family’s noble title, wealth, and estates, and all the responsibility that entails. It’s a role he’s not prepared for and one that he struggles to face.
But his biggest challenge is fighting his desire for an unexpected, enigmatic young woman who’s recently arrived in England, possessing little more than a dangerous and troublesome past. Reticent, beautiful, and musically gifted, she’s an alluring mystery, and Maxim’s longing for her deepens into a passion that he’s never experienced and dares not name. Just who is Alessia Demachi? Can Maxim protect her from the malevolence that threatens her? And what will she do when she learns that he’s been hiding secrets of his own?
From the heart of London through wild, rural Cornwall to the bleak, forbidding beauty of the Balkans, The Mister is a roller-coaster ride of danger and desire that leaves the reader breathless to the very last page.