The DNF Report #26 – January 2024

Posted January 30, 2024 by Lisa Mandina in Review, The DNF Report / 21 Comments

I’ve got one book to add that is actually from last month since I posted that one kind of early. But I like having this post up and ready to add to as the month goes by, so I’m continuing that into the new year.

The Lost Ones (The Dark Ascension Series #2) by Lauren DeStefano

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 #26 – January 2024The Lost Ones by Lauren DeStefano
Series: The Dark Ascension Series #2
Published by Disney Press on January 9, 2024
Genres: YA Fantasy, YA Retelling
Pages: 336
Source: the publisher
Format: ARC
My Rating: DNF

Journey to Never Land in the second book in the Disney Villains-focused Dark Ascension series, which shares the untold story of teenaged Captain Hook and his twin sister Marlene, penned by New York Times bestselling author Lauren DeStefano.
Before Captain Hook became Never Land’s villain, there were two siblings seeking a home . . .
James and Marlene have always felt out of place in their humdrum fishing village, longing to escape the quiet lives their parents envision for them. But when Marlene’s birthday wish transports them both to an unsettling, magical paradise called Never Land, they discover an unexpected the chance to stay forever with the charismatic Peter and his Lost Boys.
As the twins delve into the island’s violent secrets, their actions reignite a conflict between the fractured Lost Boys—and for the first time in their lives, James and Marlene find themselves at odds. With a war brewing and their memories slipping away every minute they spend in Never Land, they must choose whether to stay or go. But even if the twins stand together, Never Land--and Peter--won’t allow them to leave so easily.
How far are James and Marlene willing to go to chart their own destinies? And if the price for freedom is losing their true selves--and each other--is it worth the cost?

My Thoughts:

I am so disappointed that I just could not get into this one. I was so excited for a book from this author. I loved her Wither series so much. But I just could not really get invested in this story. I’d say that maybe I’m not into Peter Pan stories, but that’s not true as there is a series I really like and have one as my Beat the Backlist choice this year. I kept pushing forward, but in the end, I gave up right before the halfway mark.

Once Upon An Algorithm by Clara O’Connor

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 #26 – January 2024Once Upon An Algorithm by Clara O’Connor
Published by One More Chapter on February 8, 2024
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance
Pages: 329
Source: the publisher
Format: E-galley
My Rating: DNF

A brand new spicy STEM romance for fans of Ali Hazelwood and Sally Thorne!Leonie’s personal dating algorithm:
1. Over 6 ft Tall2. Funny and carefree3. Well-travelled

But when a dating app leads Leonie to one night in Paris with brooding stranger Jack – the total opposite of what she’s looking for – she realises her list is missing out the most important thing: chemistry. And the chemistry between Leonie and Jack is off the charts!
Could the algorithm be on to something? When Leonie starts her new job at a tech start up the last person she expects to see is Jack. But there he is, sitting in the boss’s office, the man behind the code and the best night of sex of her life…

My thoughts:

First of all, my thoughts were a lot of WTF when I gave up at about 4%. I know that seems really quick to give up, but my long review here will explain that if you finish it all. I was so excited for this one, it sounded good, especially the STEM since I love Ali Hazelwood’s books and I am a former science teacher. I even found a line on the very first page that totally clicked with me: “Some people find love in times of crisis; I couldn’t catch a cold in a pandemic, must less a relationship.” By about 4% I was thinking it wasn’t going to be for me though. I don’t mind if authors talk about the pandemic in stories. I mean it’s real, it happened. But the characters in this story called it LD – short for lock down, and made jokes that they didn’t say the full words because it was like saying Voldemort. Also, they didn’t shake hands or touch each other, these are a group of what seem to be best friends mind you, all because of the pandemic. Still. This book is taking place after the lock down. But what finally made me stop reading, was one of the characters was basically described as becoming a lesbian because she couldn’t touch anyone during the lock down except for her female roommate, so now she is engaged to her? WTF? I have nothing wrong with same sex couples, or bi-characters, none of that! But the way the author did this was just weird and felt off and I didn’t like it. So yeah, then I went to Goodreads and noticed it only had a 2.5 star rating, and started reading the other reviews, and no longer felt like I was overreacting, and so decided not to waste anymore time on that when I have so many other books I want to read! Whew, that was a long DNF review. But I definitely feel very strongly on my thoughts for this one.

Blue Balls (Rocks #2) by Tori Ross
The DNF Report #26 – January 2024Blue Balls by Tori Ross
Series: Rocks #2
Published by Tori Ross on June 30, 2022
Genres: Adult Contemporary Romance
Pages: 51
Source: Purchased
Format: eBook
My Rating: DNF

Deep in the sticks of Missouri is a bar called Rocks where the bartenders are only similar in the fact that they're all unlucky in love...

Piper Peck loves her life, her friends, and her job. There's only one problem. The local sheriff, Creed McDuffy, has it in for her over her grandma's old hot tub that's considered an eyesore by county enforcement. Unknown to Piper, Creed has had a crush on her since high school and will do anything to get her to look his way.

When Creed goes too far and arrests Piper in a last-ditch effort to get her attention, can he ever grovel enough to get in her good graces?

This is a 12k word short that can be read in an hour! HEA or HFN guaranteed. The Rocks series can be read in any order!

My thoughts:

A freebie, that I got for an author who was going to be at Flirty in KC last year. She is there again this year so I thought I’d get it read before and then meet her. It is really short, but I just gave up pretty quickly, about 29%, because I could not get a connection going for who was going to be the love interest. He was too mean. Not to mention some of it just didn’t make sense. It’s only 50 pages, and now it is sold all in one book with the other two in the series, so maybe it’s had some editing since then? But it didn’t work for me.

Fifty Beasts to Break Your Heart: And Other Stories by Gennarose Nethercott

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 #26 – January 2024Fifty Beasts to Break Your Heart: And Other Stories by GennaRose Nethercott
Published by Penguin Random House on February 6, 2024
Genres: Horror, Fantasy, Retelling
Pages: 272
Source: the publisher
Format: ARC
My Rating: DNF

From the author of the breakout fantasy novel Thistlefoot : a collection of dark fairytales and fractured folklore exploring all the ways love can save us—or go monstrously wrong.
The stories in Fifty Beasts to Break Your Heart are about the abomination that resides within us all. That churning, clawing, hungry the desire to be loved, and seen, and known. And the terror of those things to be loved too well, or not enough, or for long enough. To be laid bare before your sweetheart, to their horror. To be known and recognized as the monstrous thing you are. 
Two young women working at a sinister roadside attraction called the Eternal Staircase explore its secrets—and their own doomed summer love. A group of witchy teens concoct the perfect plan to induce the hated new girl into their ranks. A woman moves into a new house with her acclaimed artist boyfriend and finds her body slowly shifting into something specially constructed to accommodate his needs and whims. And two outcasts, a vampire and a goat woman, find solace in each other, even as the world's lack of understanding might bring about its own end.
In these lush, beautifully written stories, GennaRose Nethercott explores love in all its diamond-dark facets to create a collection that will redefine what you see as a beast, and make you beg to have your heart broken.

My thoughts:

Okay, to be fair I only gave this one and part of a story, followed by a brief glance at the third story. I don’t think I knew exactly what this was when I got it, I think I got it at AASL? I thought it was YA, but some parts may be more adult? Not sure. The first story was told in a way that kind of dipped into the 2nd person POV, but not completely, but also just wasn’t really for me. I know some other bloggers I follow might enjoy this, but it wasn’t for me.

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21 responses to “The DNF Report #26 – January 2024

    • Lisa Mandina

      You might enjoy it. I just knew it wasn’t going to be my type of read after the second story was like a dictionary or index.

  1. Sometimes you just have to DNF. I’m in a mood right now and I’ve tried to read a book for 5 days and can’t get into it. I may have to put it aside and read something else for now. I don’t like to do that but sometimes I just don’t click with a book, or not at a particular time. I’m quite irritated this week.

  2. I agree with SJ- I don’t like how they made it seem like the women got together out of… desperation? “We don’t love each other, we were just starved for affection!” is not really a sign of a healthy relationship! Also sad about Fifty Beasts, mostly because the cover was pretty, heh. Incidentally I had no idea that Lauren DeStefano had new stuff out! I read The Glass Spare by her and did not like it so I feel like I will probably never get around to Wither, at this point.

    Shannon @ It Starts at Midnight recently posted: Monthly Minutes at Midnight: January 2024
    • Lisa Mandina

      Yeah, I just didn’t like that take on it. You might like Fifty Beasts, like I said, it just wasn’t for me. Oh, I love DeStefano’s Wither series, they were her first books I think, and I loved the dystopian bit back then.

    • Lisa Mandina

      I just don’t have time to finish if I’m not enjoying these days. It’s not worth it to me. I have decided I want to read what I enjoy, not just read to review. So I do DNF a lot these days.

  3. I like your idea of listing your DNF’s in one post. I might try something similar for my DNF’s as I only write short reviews for those. I can definitely see why you DNF’d this. And it’s always sad when you’re so excited for a book and then it’s disappointing. I had one of those this month as well.

    • Lisa Mandina

      Yeah, I like to keep track of it this way since I started it. I get the post going at the beginning of the month and then just add in as I go along if I have any!

      • I like that idea of starting the post and then adding any DNF’s you have! I’ll keep that idea in mind for my own blog, or maybe I’ll do one post every few months if I don’t have a lot of DNF’s.

        • Lisa Mandina

          You could always get it started and then post it whenever you feel you have enough you want to share it.

          • Maybe I’ll do that, that’s even easier than setting a certain time when I want to post it :). Thanks for the ideas!

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