The DNF Report #20 – July 2023

Posted July 28, 2023 by Lisa Mandina in Review, The DNF Report / 4 Comments

Continuing this as a monthly post, even if I end up with none. I had 3 official DNFs this month, all were e-galleys. Next month I will have some DNFs of books that I started for the Gateway committee, but didn’t finish, even though I think I got through them far enough to rate them for the committee decisions.

How (Not) to Date a Pop Star by Jada Trainor

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The DNF Report #20 – July 2023How (Not) to Date a Pop Star by Jada Trainor
Published by Wattpad Books on July 11, 2023
Genres: Rock star romance
Pages: 355
Source: the publisher
Format: E-galley
My Rating: DNF

Aaliyah Preston and Tyler Moore were best friends growing up. Tyler played and wrote music, and Aaliyah brought that music to life through dance. They were convinced their lives would change forever after entering a TV talent show, but when Aliyah’s mom ended up in hospital, Tyler had to go alone–and won. Suddenly, he was thrust into the spotlight while she was left behind in their small, seaside town.
Several years later, Tyler is the hottest pop star on the planet, and Aaliyah has her heart set on following in her mom’s footsteps and attending the Boston Conservatory to study dance. However, her future becomes hazy when Tyler suddenly comes back home, and wants to make up for all the years they lost–and even plan a future that includes the two of them together.
While Tyler may have a lavish lifestyle and fans all the world over, he isn’t happy. What he really wants is a chance at a normal life, and he wants Aaliyah to be part of that life. However, family drama, including long buried secrets about both of their fathers, threaten any plans for their futures. But like the best pop songs, when the music and the lyrics come together everything works in perfect harmony. Tyler and Aaliyah will need to write a new duet without giving up on their dreams.

My thoughts:

I tried. But I couldn’t tell from the beginning if it was going to be a YA, NA, or adult romance. I also just could not seem to get into it. I went and looked at the reviews on Goodreads, and it seems most other people had problems too. So with it being so long, I gave up pretty quickly and moved on to other books.

A Guide to the Dark by Meriam Metoui

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The DNF Report #20 – July 2023A Guide to the Dark by Meriam Metoui
Published by Henry Holt & Co. BYR on July 18, 2023
Genres: YA Horror, YA LGBTQ
Pages: 368
Source: the publisher
Format: E-galley
My Rating: DNF

You can check out of Room 9, but you can never leave.
The Haunting of Hill House meets Nina LaCour in this paranormal mystery YA about the ghosts we carry with us.

Something is building, simmering just out of reach.
The room is watching. But Mira and Layla don't know this yet. When the two best friends are stranded on their spring break college tour road trip, they find themselves at the Wildwood Motel, located in the middle of nowhere, Indiana. Mira can't shake the feeling that there is something wrong and rotten about their room. Inside, she's haunted by nightmares of her dead brother. When she wakes up, he's still there.
Layla doesn't see him. Or notice anything suspicious about Room 9. The place may be a little run down, but it has a certain charm she can’t wait to capture on camera. If Layla is being honest, she’s too preoccupied with confusing feelings for Mira to see much else. But when they learn eight people died in that same room, they realize there must be a connection between the deaths and the unexplainable things that keep happening inside it. They just have to find the connection before Mira becomes the ninth.
Readers won't be able to put down this tender thriller that includes over thirty interior black and white photos by the author!

My thoughts:

I really tried with this one. I think the publisher sent it to me as part of the galley grab that Publisher’s Weekly does, but unfortunately it didn’t work for me. At first there were pictures in it, similar to Ransom Riggs’ series, but some of them had nothing weird about them, so it didn’t really make any kind of mood for the book. And the characters did so much back and forth in their heads about I like the other one, but she doesn’t like me, or maybe she does, but I can’t tell her. Both of them. So I gave up at about 40%.

Twist of Date (Happily Ever After, Inc. #2) by Lauren Helms

I received this book for free from Indie Pen PR in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The DNF Report #20 – July 2023Twist of Date by Lauren Helms
Series: Happily Ever After Inc. #2
on July 13, 2023
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance
Pages: 276
Source: Indie Pen PR
Format: E-galley
My Rating: DNF

Once upon a time, there was a charming restaurant owner and an unsuspecting matchmaker who refused to mix business with pleasure…
LaylaI've always been in the business of love. Happily Ever After, Inc. has thrived under my leadership and the hard set of rules that I set for myself. But when a never quite forgotten blast from my past walks into my life, I'm suddenly questioning everything and everyone around me.
Cole Reed is everything I want in a man - handsome, successful, and charming.
There's just one minor hiccup... Cole is Happily Ever After's latest client, and he's got his sights on me.
ColeI'm used to getting what I want and I've never left a date unhappy. So when my grandmother insists I need to work with a matchmaker... her lifelong best friend at that... I'm skeptical. Especially when my path crosses with the girl that always seemed to get away.
She's sexy, smart, and determined - everything I've always admired about her. And this time, I refuse to let her get away.There's just one minor problem... Layla James is my so-called matchmaker's granddaughter - and the owner of the matchmaking company that's just taken me on.
It feels like a weird twist of date that's put the two of us back in each other's life, but Layla doesn't quite see it that way.
Can I convince her to break a few rules and take a chance on our own happily ever after?

My thoughts:

So I had issues with some of the things or way things were written. For instance, there was a part where the character said to himself: “Faster than you could say witch’s titty.” Um, what does that even mean? And then the way the heroine acted about what she’d said would only be a friends with benefit situation, how she got all needy and whiny and jealous and possessive was so much the way that I don’t know how he wanted to keep her around. This is my second DNF by this author, but I’ve also read two other books by her and enjoyed them, 4 stars on one and 5 stars on the other. So I’ll probably give her books one more chance to see which way I go. We’ll see.

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4 responses to “The DNF Report #20 – July 2023

    • Lisa Mandina

      Yeah, that’s why I don’t rate them if I don’t finish them. Just don’t think it’s fair when someone else might like it.

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