DNF 2017 (Part 1): We Try To Read Them So You Don’t Have To

September 28, 2017 DNF 4

It’s been a long while since we’ve done a DNF post, so we’ve got quite a few (and some a bit older…) in the queue to share today!

See all the DNF posts

Secondhand Souls (Grim Reaper #2)

by Christopher Moore


In San Francisco, the souls of the dead are mysteriously disappearing—and you know that can’t be good—in New York Times bestselling author Christopher Moore’s delightfully funny sequel to A Dirty Job.

Something really strange is happening in the City by the Bay. People are dying, but their souls are not being collected. Someone—or something—is stealing them and no one knows where they are going, or why, but it has something to do with that big orange bridge. Death Merchant Charlie Asher is just as flummoxed as everyone else. He’s trapped in the body of a fourteen-inch-tall “meat” waiting for his Buddhist nun girlfriend, Audrey, to find him a suitable new body to play host.

To get to the bottom of this abomination, a motley crew of heroes will band together: the seven-foot-tall death merchant Minty Fresh; retired policeman turned bookseller Alphonse Rivera; the Emperor of San Francisco and his dogs, Bummer and Lazarus; and Lily, the former Goth girl. Now if only they can get little Sophie to stop babbling about the coming battle for the very soul of humankind…

Why it’s a DNF

I adored the first book, A Dirty Job, so I was incredibly annoyed that I couldn’t finish this one. There were large breaks in the main story where different ghosts would tell their story, and they were so incredibly boring! All of the characters from the last book were there but they were all depressed and a pain to read about. Sorely disappointed. – Kim

Last First Snow (Craft Sequence #4)

by Max Gladstone


The fourth novel set in the compellingly modern fantasy world of the Craft Sequence

Forty years after the God Wars, Dresediel Lex bears the scars of liberation—especially in the Skittersill, a poor district still bound by the fallen gods’ decaying edicts. As long as the gods’ wards last, they strangle development; when they fail, demons will be loosed upon the city. The King in Red hires Elayne Kevarian of the Craft firm Kelethres, Albrecht, and Ao to fix the wards, but the Skittersill’s people have their own ideas. A protest rises against Elayne’s work, led by Temoc, a warrior-priest turned community organizer who wants to build a peaceful future for his city, his wife, and his young son.

As Elayne drags Temoc and the King in Red to the bargaining table, old wounds reopen, old gods stir in their graves, civil blood breaks to new mutiny, and profiteers circle in the desert sky. Elayne and Temoc must fight conspiracy, dark magic, and their own demons to save the peace—or failing that, to save as many people as they can.

Why it’s a DNF

So two different reviewers tried to get through this one and just couldn’t do it. I made it about halfway before I set it down and just never picked it up again. Though I was originally drawn in by learning more about Elayne and Temoc’s history, the book’s plot just didn’t seem to move, and I lost interest pretty quickly. While other fans of this series may appreciate the backstory, I mainly spent the whole time wondering when the action was going to start. -Kate

Gray Widow’s Walk (Gray Widow Trilogy Book 1)

by Dan Jolley


“The only thing in this world you can truly control is yourself.”

Janey Sinclair’s ability to teleport has always been a mystery to her. She tried for years to ignore it, but when tragedy shatters her life, Janey’s anger consumes her. She hones her fighting skills, steals a prototype suit of military body armor, and takes to the streets of Atlanta, venting her rage as the masked vigilante dubbed “the Gray Widow” by the press.

But Janey’s power, and her willingness to use it, plunges her into a conflict on a much grander scale than she had anticipated.

Soon she encounters Simon Grove, a bloodthirsty runaway with a shapeshifting ability gone horribly wrong…

Garrison Vessler, an ex-FBI agent and current private defense contractor, who holds some of the answers Janey’s been searching for…

And Tim Kapoor, the first person in years with a chance of breaking through Janey’s emotional shell—if she’ll let him.

But as Janey’s vigilantism gains worldwide attention, and her showdown with Simon Grove draws ever closer, the reason for her augmented abilities—hers and all the others like her—begins to reveal itself. Because, high above the Earth, other eyes are watching. And they have far-reaching plans…

Gray Widow’s Walk is book one of the Gray Widow Trilogy, to be followed by Gray Widow’s Web and Gray Widow’s War.

Why it’s a DNF

The blurb had me really interested and the book pulled me in right from the first page, where the author mentioned the main character cutting off her long hair because it fit under her vigilante mask better. I thought that was awesome that an author went with something practical instead of her having long flowing hair underneath her mask.

However, I got to the 33% mark and had to put the book down. I love urban fantasy and paranormal romance because I love the strong female characters. However, as I guy I still like to see strong male characters too. EVERY male character in the book, even if they started out good, ended up being, horrible, abusive, a murder, a stalker, and/or a rapist. There are bad people out there and I love seeing terrible people taken down in books. But I’m not going to read a book that portrays all men in such a horrible light. There’s a chance the book got better, but not fast enough for me. I will never read a book from this author again. – James

Mercury Striking (Scorpius Syndrome #1)

by Rebecca Zanetti


With nothing but rumors to lead her, Lynn Harmony has trekked across a nightmare landscape to find one man—a mysterious, damaged legend who protects the weak and leads the strong. He’s more than muscle and firepower—and in post-plague L.A., he’s her only hope. As the one woman who could cure the disease, Lynn is the single most volatile—and vulnerable—creature in this new and ruthless world. But face to face with Jax Mercury…

Danger has never looked quite so delicious…

Why it’s a DNF

A standard plot feature in paranormal romance novels is the Deep-Dark-Secret-You-Can-Never-Share. I get it! But when both main characters, who are lying to each other and each have their own DDSYCNS are being jerks to each other for the first 50 pages, I quit. The female lead was supposed to be a super intelligent bio-chemist, but she kept doing stupid, stupid things that should have gotten her killed months ago in an actual zombie apocalypse. I have no patience for stupid heroines. -Kim

Veiled Magic (Veiled Magic #1)

by Deborah Blake


Since Witches came out of the broom-closet in the early 21st century, they have worked alongside humans as police officers, healers, stock traders, and more. But they aren’t the only paranormal entities in our world…

Police officer and Witch Donata Santori spends her days interrogating dead witnesses by summoning their spectral forms. Normally the job is little more than taking statements and filing reports. But when she’s called in on the case of a murdered art restorer, she finds herself suddenly in possession of a mystical portrait that both the human and paranormal communities would kill to get their hands on.

Unable to take on the forces hunting her alone, Donata seeks help from two unlikely and attractive allies: a reluctant shape-changer and a half-dragon art forger. But as the three of them hurry to uncover the truth about the powerful painting, Donata realizes that she’s caught in the middle of not one but two wars—one for possession of the painting’s secrets and one for possession of her heart…

Why it’s a DNF

I really liked the premise behind Veiled Magic and I even loved the world. It was a rich, deep world full of interesting things to explore. However, I had to put the book down after the third info-dump of the exact same information. The main character found out about the world then info-dump. The main character had to introduce the world to a new character, info-dump with the exact same information. The main character and another character introduced the world to a third person, info-dump with mostly the same information though a few new things were introduced as well.

I can live with an info-dump. It isn’t my preferred method of learning about the world, but I can get over it. But Veiled Magic had way too many for me to continue reading. – James

4 Responses to “DNF 2017 (Part 1): We Try To Read Them So You Don’t Have To”

  1. Jessica

    I really love this setup for DNF’s it makes it a lot easier to deal with I would think instead of creating separate posts for each book like I do.

    • Kate

      Thanks! I actually re-read the post and realized I said I was going to be posting a lot of DNFs, but I split it up into two posts, so we’ll have another post in a few weeks. 🙂

  2. JenM

    Im glad I’m not the only one who couldn’t get through Secondhand Souls. I adored A Dirty Job (so much that I even made my book club read it – they rarely read paranormal stuff but they loved it also LOL). However, Secondhand Souls was a slogfest. I think I made it halfway through, then gave up and skimmed it to finish the day before it was due back to the library. Thanks for articulating why it didn’t work for you. I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong, I just knew that I didn’t like it.

  3. Marcia

    While I appreciate your work on our behalf, I think you missed on Rebecca Zanetti’s Mercury Striking.