Books I Didn’t Finish: Jan-April 2023

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on May 17, 2023 | 1 Comment

The Midnight Lie

DNF @ 42%

I had high hopes for this, and have been looking forward to reading it because I loved the Winner’s Curse. Sadly, this one fell short of those expectations. It wasn’t bad or anything, I just didn’t care about a thing that was happening and found the prose to be very dry and boring. The main character has the personality of a wet rag and I couldn’t connect to her at all, which made me not care about anything that happened to her, or the romance. Sad face.

The Alchemists of Loom

DNF @ 18%

I was skeptical about this one to begin with, because I outright hated Air Awakens, but the synopsis sounded interesting enough (dragons!!) that I thought I’d give it a try.

And it wasn’t terrible, but it grated on my nerves in small ways. The first strike was the narrator of the audiobook saying the walls were lined with “scones” – I’m hoping it was mispronounced and that’s not how it’s spelled in the actual book. I keep picturing pastries lining the wall and now I’m hungry.

The second was that Ari as a character was insufferably high on herself. There’s a fine line between confident and arrogant, and she crossed it.

These were things I could look past, because the concept was unique and extremely intriguing; but another issue I had was that you’re basically dumped into an ocean without being taught how to swim first. Nothing is explained at all. I’m sure you get snippets as it goes, but even some brief explanations in the beginning to set up the world would have given me a better grasp on things.

The last straw for me, though, was this line:

Like a babe to a nipple, he latched on.

I just…why? I was already mildly annoyed and that line did me in. Maybe one day I’ll try again, because the concept was really cool. *shrugs*

These Violent Delights

DNF @ 36%

I thought this was just a Romeo & Juliette retelling, so I passed on it for a long time despite its popularity. I’m not really a huge fan of historical fiction, either. (Which didn’t matter – it was set in 1926, yet I kept forgetting that fact because it all felt so modern.) But then I saw someone (I forget who) talking about how there were monsters in this book, which I didn’t know about before, so I decided to try the audiobook because it sounded interesting.

Color me disappointed. I mean, the monster and plague part of it were super intriguing, but that alone wasn’t enough for me to continue because everything else about this book was BORING. The audiobook narrator is emotionless and lacks inflection, so that didn’t help at all. But I was at the equivalent of about 165 pages and nothing had really happened?? It was a lot of the same thing over and over again and I felt like the plot was getting nowhere. Also, the romance has ZERO chemistry whatsoever, despite it being pitched as a Romeo and Juliette retelling.

False Prince

DNF @ 11%

I’m so sad that I wasn’t loving this. The ratings are SO high! But to me it was just so bland and boring. The writing was dull, the characters were dull, and it felt extremely generic. It’s 10 years old, so it was probably great back then before fantasy got so saturated, but I’ve read a million other books just like it at this point and it’s not for me. :(


DNF @ 114 pages

This makes me very sad, because when I heard about this book and saw the term “cottagecore,” I was super intrigued! Unfortunately, it didn’t work for me. I was extremely bored. I didn’t vibe with the writing style or main character, and I can’t really put my finger on why. I just didn’t care about anything that was happening, and the lack of interest made me decide to move on from this book.

I have no doubt most readers will love this one, though!

The Merciful Crow

DNF @ 45%

I actually DNFed this book the first time I tried to read it, when it first came out. However, I recently finished Little Thieves and LOVED it (first 5 star read of 2023!), so I decided to give this one another try.

Welp, now I remember why I DNFed the first time. *long suffering sigh* I am absolutely flabbergasted that this was written by the same author that wrote the masterpiece that is Little Thieves. It is literally nothing like that book. Little Thieves had it all – fantastic characters, hilarious banter, gorgeous imagery, superb world building and awesome magic system, ALL the feels – and this book had…well, nothing. Not one single thing that I found enjoyable. Everything about this book was generic AF, and I was bored to tears.

BRB, crying.

The Witch & the Vampire

DNF @ 47%

This was a highly anticipated release for me – I adore enemies to lovers and was super excited about a sapphic version of the trope. I noticed the reviews were quite bad, but I still wanted to give it a try; especially when I discovered that Bailey Carr (A Good Girl’s Guide) was one of the narrators.

And I loved her. I did. She’s a FANTASTIC narrator. But that was quite literally the onlything I liked about this. The writing is bland and sophomoric, the characters are one dimensional, the world building is non-existent. The romance – the thing that should be the DRIVING POINT about this story, considering it’s literally the title and cover – had zero chemistry whatsoever. I actually kept mixing up which one was Kaye and which one was Ava (the narrators were the only way I could tell them apart) because they were the exact same person. Oh and the one that is a vampire is also a witch, which was confusing them in my head, too. It didn’t help much that the other narrator was awful. Her voice grated on my nerves and I could barely stand to listen to her.

I’m egregiously disappointed about this book.

Waking Fire

DNF @ 17%

This book was a trainwreck. I can see why it has a 3.64 average rating on Goodreads.

I remembered enjoying the prologue and thinking the book started off strong, but it’s like the author put all her effort into that one chapter, because the rest was kinda terrible. The writing was juvenile, the characters shallow, the dialogue clunky and awkward. The premise is cool, so it’s a shame that the rest fell so flat. The main character grated on my nerves and the story didn’t flow or feel like it was credible. I felt like I was reading a Middle Grade novel.

I put this book down for four days while I decided whether to continue or not – it was one of my most anticipated 2023 releases – and I’m not even kidding, I had to go back and read the synopsis to remember what the book was even about, and I was two hours into the audio. I re-listened to part of the prologue and I FORGOT THERE WERE DRAGONS IN IT?! That’s how bad the rest was, I actually forgot about fucking dragons. Time to move on.

New Dragon City

DNF @ 30%

I rarely touch Middle Grade, because it’s generally too young for me. I knew going in that this one probably would be as well…and I can definitely confirm that this is very, very MG. BUT, in my defense, I was swindled by the gorgeous cover and the premise of post-apocalyptic dragons. Womp womp.

It wasn’t just the fact that I was too old to fit into this book’s audience. What ultimately pushed me into giving up is that it’s a STRAIGHT rip off of How to Train Your Dragon. The only difference was the post-apocalyptic/futuristic setting. Humans think dragons are bad, but they’re not. Boy is expected to kill dragons by dragon-killing father, tries to kill one and can’t. Lets it go instead and forms a bond with it. Mom disappeared and is later revealed to be a ‘dragon sympathizer.’ This should definitely have been marketed as a HTTYD retelling, because that’s exactly what it is.

The dialogue was also awkward and juvenile, and the narrators weren’t great, either. I don’t care enough to continue.

Last of the Talons

DNF @ 51%

I have tried twice now to finish this book, and at this point it’s time for me to let go. I wanted so badly to get into this (Asian fantasy!!), but sadly, it fell short. The concept was pretty cool, but I found the execution to be lacking. It felt very generic and a bit on the juvenile side. The writing and characters were very bland, and I didn’t care about anything that was going on. I found the bargain with the Pied Piper and Shin Lina to be rather…silly? She kept trying to kill him and he was all oh you’re so adorable, hehee. Like what?? It’s also an enemies-to-lovers romance, which is usually my jam, but I found the romance to be lacking any chemistry whatsoever. Which made the romance boring. Which made the whole story boring, because it’s basically a romance disguised as a badass Asian fantasy.

It also didn’t help that I felt very apathetic about Shin Lina. It’s a classic case of tell, not show…we are told CONSTANTLY that Lina is the Reaper, she’s a badass, an assassin and a thief, blah blah blah. But I made it halfway through the book I had yet to see any of that. She’s childish, constantly getting caught, or in need of rescuing. For all the bragging about how adept she was, she was pretty useless.


Books I wasn’t in the mood for

There were quite a few more books I attempted to read in the last couple of months and was straight up not in the mood for. I’ll probably try again later on all of them. Here’s all the ones I can remember!

  • Crown’s Game
  • Spice Road
  • Bone Orchard
  • Monsters Born and Made
  • A Ruinous Fate
  • Tides of Mutiny
  • Daughter in Redwinter
  • The Foxglove King
  • Incendiary
Jessi (Geo)

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