3 DNF Book Reviews || Know When to Quit

I think I’ve said this before but I’ll say it again – choosing to not finish a book is just as important as choosing to finish it. Like I know I would be miserable trying to finish it so why would I put myself through that? When marking the book as a dnf is much easier than trying to finish it. I think the question of whether to finish it or not comes easier the more times I dnf a book.

As always, just because I didn’t like the books doesn’t mean you can’t like the book. Maybe you have already read these books and really loved them! And that’s okay! It’s just that I didn’t and that’s also okay. These reviews are spoiler-free, with slight allusions to the plot (though these all being dnf reviews I didnt’ get far in the plot.

Disclaimer: I received this e-arc through the publishers and Netgalley in exchange for a free and honest reviews. The book covers and details are taken from Goodreads and the content warnings are taken from The Storygraph, from me reading the book, or from others’ reviews. I try my absolute best to find the cover art/designer but unfortunately I am not always able to do so. The featured image is my own. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Darling - Mercedes M. YardleyTitle: Darling
Author: Mercedes M. Yardley
Number of Pages: 307
Year Published: 2022
Publisher: Black Spot Books (imprint of Vesuvian Media Group)
Cover Art/Designer and Interior Formatting: Qamber Designs and Media
Genre: Adult ~ Horror ~ Thriller
Stars: DNF at 18%
Links: Goodreads || The Storygraph
Copy: E-arc (Netgalley)
CW/TW: (Taken from The Storygraph) Graphic: Child death, Ableism, Child abuse. Moderate:  Use of a slur (r-word) Death, Incest, Physical abuse. Minor; Rape, Death of parent.

Darling has its demons.
Cherry LaRouche escaped the claws of Darling, Louisiana at sixteen. When she is forced to return after her mother’s death, Cherry and her children move back into her childhood home where the walls whisper and something sinister skitters across the roof at night.
While Cherry tries to settle back into a town where evil spreads like infection, the bodies of several murdered children turn up. When Cherry’s own daughter goes missing, she’s forced to confront the true monsters of Darling.

I managed to get to 18% before deciding to dnf and I was so bored throughout it all. From the apparent perfection of Cherry/Cerise and although her hometown views her as a bad girl for various reasons – she ran off with a man, left him, had a baby with another man, made sure her kids were fed and dressed (but that was with a job that left them clutching their pearls) but she’s still seen as the ‘darling’ of the town. Two men want to be with her, or maybe only one really did, but I saw absolutely no chemistry with Cerise (in fact it felt like she had no chemistry with anyone, including her kids) with either of them. The whole spiel of all the townspeople disliking her because of her choices but then also constantly showing up to help her annoyed me so much. Either have them dislike her outright or have them help her out.

The language trying to be flowery but it just fell flat for me and somehow added to trying to make Cerise out to be an amazing mom because she’s great with the kids even when they’re ‘difficult’. It’s just all of that just tried to make Cerise a strong character and I didn’t feel it at all.

So the older kid, Jonah, is disabled. It’s said he has a genetic disorder and although it’s not mentioned anywhere, he’s autistic and largely non-verbal too. The author said in the acknowledgements that she wrote Jonah based on/for her disabled kid – and then she names his diagnoses – so we basically know what Jonah’s diagnoses are. I don’t know when the book is set because the year is never mentioned. Phones, their cords and cradles are mentioned but seeing as the book is set in a small town it makes sense for them to still have corded phones – let’s say still into the 2000’s. Jonah wears headphones, but they’re actually not a new thing (dating back somewhere to the 1800s, surprisingly). All of that is to say – the r-slur is used a few times in the book – when is this book set? Their usage of it felt so casual). Either way, I don’t like the slur – whenever the book is set.

I didn’t like how Cerise spoke about Jonah. Specifically there was this line where he wakes up and his eyes are like dulled by the reality of life. And then it says he’s ‘only fully himself when asleep’ which annoyed me a lot because he stims a lot. So what? He’s not himself when he stims? Stimming even helps the person feel more like themself. I stim (ADHD, not autistic) and stimming is something I like to do – it calms me down, it shows when I’m happy etc. Stimming isn’t only for happy or angry. sometimes we just like to make noise for fun! Also it felt like he was only there to prop Cerise up, to show how good of a mom she was because she’s taking care of him.

Title: The Society for Soulless Girls
Author: Laura Steven
Audio Hours: 9h 52m
Year Published: 2022
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Cover Art/Designer: Could not find anything
Genre: Young Adult ~ Retelling ~ LGBTQ+ characters ~ Fantasy ~ Thriller
Stars: dnf at 37%
Links: Goodreads || The Storygraph
Copy: Audio review copy (Netgalley)
CW/TW: (Taken from The Storygraph) Graphic: Animal death, Animal cruelty, Misogyny. Moderate: Death, Mental illness, Sexism. Minor: Suicide, Sexual assault, Sexual harassment 

A dark and funny YA thriller with a supernatural twist. From the winner of the Comedy Women in Print Prize

Ten years ago, four students lost their lives in the infamous North Tower murders at the elite Carvell College of Arts, forcing Carvell to close its doors.

Now Carvell is reopening, and fearless student Lottie is determined to find out what really happened. But when her roommate, Alice, stumbles upon a sinister soul-splitting ritual hidden in Carvell’s haunted library, the North Tower claims another victim.

Can Lottie uncover the truth before the North Tower strikes again? Can Alice reverse the ritual before her monstrous alter ego consumes her? And can they stop flirting for literally fifteen seconds in order to do this?

Exploring possession and ambition, lust and bloodlust, femininity and violence, The Society for Soulless Girls is perfect for fans of Ace of Spaces, The Secret History and The Inheritance Games.

I was excited to read this because it sounded so good and it’s set at a boarding school and I love boarding school settings but unfortunately that’s just how it goes! I don’t have any concrete reasons for not liking this, except I just… didn’t like it at all. I was bored through most of it – I told myself “okay let’s listen to 30 mins real time and then make a decision (to push through or just dnf). I think I didn’t even make it 10 minutes and I was zoning out and didn’t even want to make myself listen to the book.

We were promised a lot in the book and I don’t think I saw any of that. I found everything so boring and I try to immediately stop reading when I find the book boring. Yes, I saw the book was dark and while I do like I couldn’t bring myself to actually care about it. Apparently there’s humour in the book – I did not crack a single smile through the bit that I read. I didn’t like the narrators so I think that added to my dislike of the book.

Little Darlings – Melanie Golding

Title: Little Darlings
Author: Melanie Golding
Number of Pages: 312
Year Published: 2019
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Cover Art/Designer: Can’t find it
Genre: Adult ~ Horror ~ Mystery ~ Thriller
Stars: dnf at 11%
Links: Goodreads || The Storygraph
Copy: E-arc (Netgalley)
CW/TW: (Taken from The Storygraph)

Unforgettable.–The New York Times
Lyrical and atmospheric. —Bustle
A satiating psychological horror tale. —Cultured Vultures.
SOON TO BE A MAJOR MOTION PICTURE. An April 2019 Library Reads Pick

“Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, and Aimee Molloy’s The Perfect Mother.

Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.

A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley–to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.

Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.

Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some of our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking–and rechecking–your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.

I don’t know how long fathers are allowed to stay in the hospital after the babies are born. But they LITERALLY JUST HAD twins, let him stay in the room overnight? But if I think for too long about the little I read of Patrick, the more I got really angry at him. He uploads a picture to Facebook without checking WITH HER. And this is like just after she gave birth – you could’ve waited a few hours to post it? I think I must’ve only read about three scenes with him in it and I didn’t want to know anymore.

This is another one where the writing tried to be flowery and more than what it turned out to be. So another bit of disappointment. I think that’s my issue with a lot of adult thriller novels – there’s something about the writing that just doesn’t do it for me.

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While I’m going through old arcs to write mini-reviews, there’s been some ones that I only realised I wasn’t interested in reading them until I actually got around to reading them. No harm, no foul, what’s done is done and all that! Now onto happier things and reading books that I do want to read!

2 thoughts on “3 DNF Book Reviews || Know When to Quit”

  1. I think it’s a healthy thing to dnf more often! Although I personally struggle with doing it a lot too. I recently dnfed something the other day, Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray and I’m glad I did in the end. I’ve not tried any of these books and now I know not to!

    Liked by 1 person

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