2016 DNF Compilation | Reviews




Make a wish…

Lennie always thought her uncles’ “important family legacy” was good old-fashioned bootlegging. Then she takes some of her uncles’ moonshine to Michaela Gordon’s annual house party, and finds out just how wrong she was.

At the party, Lennie has everyone make a wish before drinking the shine—it’s tradition. She toasts to wishes for bat wings, for balls of steel, for the party to go on forever. Lennie even makes a wish of her own: to bring back her best friend, Dylan, who was murdered six months ago.

The next morning gives Lennie a whole new understanding of the phrase be careful what you wish for—or in her case, be careful what wishes you grant. Because all those wishes Lennie raised a jar of shine to last night? They came true. Most of them came out bad. And once granted, a wish can’t be unmade…

Down with the Shine is guilty of cover distraction. The simplest definition of this common phenomenon is becoming enthralled with a novel based solely on the beauty of a cover. This happens quite often among book reader’s and although it can be avoided sometimes, it can sneak upon you like a serpent waiting to attack simply because – it’s beautiful.

What the hell am I talking about?

Valid question. I was so amped to read this novel after looking upon this beautiful, magically enhanced cover. To be honest, the blurb was also exciting, therefore, my hopes and expectations were high – wrongly placed.

I didn’t get far, therefore I’m declining to give it a rating, however, I refused to continue. The premise was extremely intriguing, but I smelled the stank of the following:

1. Love Triangle

2. Hot guy too beautiful that heroine just drools

3. Figuring out how to cure the bad mojo, hence, boring fact digging

4. Cliché outsider looking in but beautiful

I’m so sick of books like this – bursting with nonsensical trite passing itself off as an exciting fantasy. This might seem a bit harsh, but my reading time is precious and reused formulaic style themes in YA are becoming dangerously close to the precipice of trashy fiction.


A girl with a past she tries to forget, and a future she can’t even imagine.

Leonie Woodville wants to live an unremarkable life. She wants routine, she wants repetition, she wants predictability. So when she explodes in a blaze of light one morning on the way to her college, it’s enough to put a real crimp in her day.

And things only get weirder…

Leonie learns from her father that she is last of the Pulsar, a phenomenally powerful member of a magical species called the Chosen. It will be her sole duty to protect the Imperium, a governing hierarchy, from all enemies, and to exceed the reputation of the Pulsar before her. So – no pressure there, then.

Leonie is swept away from her rigorous normality and taken to a world of magic. There, she is forced into a ceremony to join her soul to a guardian, Korren, who is both incredibly handsome and intensely troubled, a relationship for which ‘it’s complicated’ just really doesn’t cut it.

But Leonie is soon to learn that this ancient world is no paradise. With violent dissidents intent to overthrow the Imperium, and dark entities with their own agenda, she and Korren find themselves caught in a war where they will have to overcome their differences if they are to survive.

Dare to dream. Dare to hope. Dare to be a legend.

Book One in The Chosen Saga

Arc provided via NetGalley, in exchange of an honest review
DNF at 15%

Really wasn’t feeling this! The writing was off and the characters were less expressive and  so unreal that I felt as if they were cardboard cutouts. Generally, I can deduce if a book is going to strike my fancy within the first 15% of the book, and this just didn’t cut it. The whole “chosen one” theme is really played out in YA – there’s also execution, which was done horribly along with world building. It’s not for me….just that simple.


What do you do with your last day on earth?

Just over twenty-four hours are left until an asteroid strikes North America, and for Emerson and everyone else who didn’t leave, the world will end. But Emerson’s world already ended when she ran away from home. Since then, she has lived on the streets, relying on her wits and on her friend Vince to help her find places to sleep and food to eat.

The city’s quieter now that most people are gone, and no one seems to know what to do as the end approaches. But then Emerson and Vince meet Carl, who tells them he has been granting people’s wishes—and gives them his wallet full of money. 

Suddenly, this last day seems full of possibility. Emerson and Vince can grant a lot of wishes in one last day—maybe even their own.

Ugh, so boring.

Apparently, if an asteroid was destined to hit the Earth within the next 24 hours my response would be to commit suicide. In the meantime, you’re hanging out with my best friend who’s been – not so secretly – in love with me since forever and just prattle on and on.

Cliches galore and loads of unrealistic dialogue had me DNFing this quite early on. But if you’re desperate for even a sliver of color in your characters, the heroine’s best friend is a black guy, so you’re welcome.


The last thing Jamie Watson wants is a rugby scholarship to Sherringford, a Connecticut prep school just an hour away from his estranged father. But that’s not the only complication: Sherringford is also home to Charlotte Holmes, the famous detective’s great-great-great-granddaughter, who has inherited not only Sherlock’s genius but also his volatile temperament. From everything Jamie has heard about Charlotte, it seems safer to admire her from afar.

From the moment they meet, there’s a tense energy between them, and they seem more destined to be rivals than anything else. But when a Sherringford student dies under suspicious circumstances, ripped straight from the most terrifying of the Sherlock Holmes stories, Jamie can no longer afford to keep his distance. Jamie and Charlotte are being framed for murder, and only Charlotte can clear their names. But danger is mounting and nowhere is safe—and the only people they can trust are each other.

The biggest turnoff about this book was the tainted partnership of Holmes and Watson. One of my favorite things about the partnership between Holmes and Watson is that it’s purely platonic. Even the updated, televised versions of Sherlock Holmes never waver from that basic foundation.

For some odd reason YA always has to include some kind of romance, regardless of its usefulness. In this novel all the signs pointed toward a future romance between the two and a complicated on-again off-again love. Very few YA novels exclude romance (A Darker Shade of Magic is a rarity) but sometimes it’s just not necessary. Why couldn’t this have just been a mystery (mediocre, but still a plain mystery)?

Another reason I didn’t feel compelled to finish the novel was that I could tell it wasn’t going to be different. Charlotte read like the original Sherlock (watered down, of course) and Jamie is no different than John (again, watered down severely). Then the idea of Holmes being a drug addict and living in the US was not terribly original….

Lastly, there’s the bland voice of Jamie Watson and Charlotte Holmes’ unlikable nature. There’s this amazing quality to Sherlock Holmes that allows you to LOVE him. It’s quite interesting how someone so blatantly arrogant and blissfully ignorant to others emotions (or just overall inconsiderate nature) can be so magnetic, however, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was able to do that. In this case, Charlotte lacks that.



It’s love at first sight for Jackson “Jack” Masters when he lays eyes on the curvaceous new tenant in his building, and decides she will be his. What surprises him is his best friend Lane Dundas also has his sights set on the voluptuous dark-skinned woman with eyes of gold.

Jack is willing to lay everything on the line to win Zarah’s affections, even when that means sharing her with Lane. Yet every step of the way he is met with resistance. No matter what he says or does, her past prevents her from believing the sincerity of his attraction.

Zarah Elliott is plump, uncomfortable in her own skin, and a realist who has come to grips with living out the rest of her days alone and celibate. Until she comes face-to-face with the man of her dreams — make that men of her dreams. Is it wrong for a woman to take pleasure in mind blowing sex in the arms of a handsome stranger or two, without allowing emotions to get in the way? Zarah doesn’t think so. Men have been engaging in casual, no-strings sex to sate their physical needs since the dawn of time. Why can’t she?

I honestly don’t remember much about this book since:

a) I read this a while ago
b) I didn’t like what I read
c) There was nothing memorable about it

But here is the review from what I do recall.

Zarah Elliot is “overweight” and lacks confidence. After catching her long-term boyfriend in a compromising position with a blonde bombshell he kicks her out (WTF) and tells her they were just friends with benefits. She leaves (WTF) and finds an apartment where she is attracted to every man she comes into contact with, but she’s celibate because she’s a realist.

Jack Masters is ready to settle down, and since his business is going well he feels that the time is right. So, how convenient that Zarah moves into his apartment building and steals his heart? Apparently love is based off of lust nowadays, so not too hard at all.

Lane Dundas. (That wasn’t a mistake)

That sums up our main three characters and spared the detail about how unpleasant they actually were. I’m usually all for ménage a trios because some authors construct the relationships very well, but this was not a ménage romance. This was a love triangle without competition – I hate love triangles. I don’t understand the role Lane played (as far as I read) in the relationship between Jack and Zarah. He was merely an afterthought and disregarded beyond the physical, in his courtship of Zarah.

However, my problems didn’t end there for this novel. I had serious issues with the female protagonist. She was supposed to be, basically, overweight, and I don’t mean by five or ten pounds, but by about a good 60 pounds. Now, what woman that is insecure with her body would wear a bikini and be comfortable enough to have sex with two men after – JUST – being cheated on and thrown out by her ex?

Overall, I had to stop reading it. Everyone annoyed me and it was just so unrealistic.


Every morning, Alexandra drinks in the sexy vision of Mr. Buff through his office window across the street. He takes his workouts seriously, and Alexandra never misses the opportunity to see him return, sweaty and pumped, to his office suite to shower. Turns out Andrew enjoys the view just as much as she does and can’t take his eyes off the woman who makes his blood roar.

But when Alexandra bumps into Mr. Buff at a club, things go from visual to physical. And much to her delight, she learns that Mr. Buff is really Mr. Dominant. She loves spending time with him and getting to know him the way nature intended, but she’s looking for more than a fling. How’s she supposed to make Mr. Buff realize he’s Mr. Right?

Mr. Buff is an erotica (I did not know this) and, as you guys know, I’m not really into too much sex in books, aka erotica; therefore, there was nothing to really captivate my attention with this story. With a story line too choppy and incomplete, and characters who were being described rather than created, Mr. Buff crashed and burned.

Actually, now that I think about it, there really was no story or real depth to the story…it was just dull. But don’t take my word for it because I didn’t finish the story, maybe it gets better later on.

Alternate Summary:
Alexandra has an infatuation with the naked guy across the way from her office window! Being the creative mind and original wordsmith that she clearly is, she cleverly named her anonymous man Mr. Buff. Yes. He’s naked and, oh so dominant and obnoxious. She just stares until her expected chanced meeting with her naked entertainer, Mr. Buff, at a nightclub and they Get It On (in the words of Marvin Gaye), but he’s not looking to be Mr. Right just her Mr. Buff.

Andrew was in lust with the girl next door…well the girl across the street.

* Thought interruption*


He sees her, he watches her, he spy’s on her, he sexes her up, ties her up, and…um I think that’s all. 

That concludes my DNF’s of 2016. As I mature in both age and mind, I find myself having less patience when it comes to reading. Books that I would’ve previously given a chance beyond 30% are becoming instant DNF’s because I have less time and patience. Have you begun DNFing more often now than you previously did?

10 thoughts on “2016 DNF Compilation | Reviews

  1. Transhaan says:

    A Study In Charlotte also disappointed me. Especially when I’d like to think of myself as a HUGE Sherlock fan. I totally agree with this absolute need to add romance when it isn’t necessary. Why do they have to take such a path?! The only YA novel that I read that doesn’t follow that formula is also another book by V.E. Schwab, This Savage Song. Found it funny that you mentioned her as an example too. 😛 Great list!

    – Lashaan

    • Codie says:

      I’m sure most true fans (like you) were disappointed with this one. It wasn’t original in anyway (besides the obvious) and the whole romance component was so unnecessary! But a lot of authors dumb-down their stories with useless romance, especially in YA. Haha, that’s refreshing…even if it is the same author haha – Was This Savage Song good?

      • Transhaan says:

        I haven’t read a gazillion YA novels out there and jumping into a Schwab’s novel for the first time while having these high expectations and desire to love her books might have helped me enjoy This Savage Song a lot more. I actually really enjoyed the ideas that were being cooked up and how they were conveyed. I don’t think it could possibly disappoint someone, unless you end up having issues connecting in any way possible with the characters.

        – Lashaan

      • Codie says:

        Ah okay, that’s understandable. It feels like I’ve read a gazillion of YA novels (mainly because of recycled plots) but Schwab’s name does tend to engender gushing amongst readers haha. Well, I’m glad it lived up to the internal hype you built-up, which also gives me extra hope of enjoying it. Thanks for the info, Lashaan!

  2. Diana says:

    Great post. I struggle so much with DNFing books although some are really tough to get through and take forever to read. I get why you picked Down with the Shine, that cover is so beautiful. Sad to hear that the book didn’t work out though. Pursuing Zarah looks and sounds awful.

    • Codie says:

      Thank you, Diana! I understand. I used to be like that too. Any book I started I had to finish or else I just couldn’t get over it haha. I have to say, though, that you should never feel bad about DNFing. Ugh, isn’t the cover beautiful! I was just drawn by the beautiful cover, but not the story at all. OMG Pursuing Zarah was awful for me, especially since I expected a bit more.

  3. theorangutanlibrarian says:

    I do find myself DNFing more than I used to and I think it’s a good thing- like you said it’s just about getting older and having less patience. And massive cliches are just becoming more offputting now that I know how much they annoy me!!

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