Month: June 2018

All Summer Long by Hope Larson | Graphic Novel Review

Posted June 28, 2018 by Jana in Book Review, Graphic Novel, Middle Grade / 1 Comment

All Summer Long by Hope Larson | Graphic Novel ReviewAll Summer Long by Hope Larson
Published by Farrar Straus & Giroux on May 1, 2018
Genres: Realistic Fiction
Pages: 176
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher (Mail)
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2 Stars

A coming-of-age middle-grade graphic novel about summer and friendships, written and illustrated by the Eisner Award–winning and New York Times–bestselling Hope Larson.

Thirteen-year-old Bina has a long summer ahead of her. She and her best friend, Austin, usually do everything together, but he's off to soccer camp for a month, and he's been acting kind of weird lately anyway. So it's up to Bina to see how much fun she can have on her own. At first it's a lot of guitar playing, boredom, and bad TV, but things look up when she finds an unlikely companion in Austin's older sister, who enjoys music just as much as Bina. But then Austin comes home from camp, and he's acting even weirder than when he left. How Bina and Austin rise above their growing pains and reestablish their friendship and respect for their differences makes for a touching and funny coming-of-age story.

I’ve started developing interest in graphic novels over the last few years, which was a major surprise to me because I’ve always overlooked them. More and more have been trickling in from various publishers, and I’m really seeing the graphic novel format take off, especially for younger readers. I thought All Summer Long sounded like a fun, light read and was excited to dig in. Sadly, there just wasn’t enough substance for me and it felt much younger than I would have liked.

I enjoy coming-of-age stories, but I don’t feel like All Summer Long was a good example of one. I suppose the characters go through some changes, but they felt more like normal kid changes than coming-of-age. When a story is described as a “coming-of-age story”, you expect some major growth. Bina is 13, and she’s spending her summer alone while her best friend, Austin, is at summer camp. She spends the summer playing/listening to music, and hanging out with Austin’s older sister. She gets to babysit and go to a concert and deal with all the normal kid drama: fights, heightened emotions, and overreactions. At the end, she seemed to be pretty much the same person she was in the beginning. The story was very, very simple and the characters seemed like cardboard cutouts. There just wasn’t anything grabbing me and sucking me in.

I know I’m the wrong demographic, but I work with kids who are about this age. Actually, my kids are about a year younger and they don’t talk like these characters. They don’t use the word “bae” or say “like” every other word. I feel like the author tried to write for tweens and young teens, but without a real understanding of what those kids are like today. These kids seemed younger than mine until they said “bae”, which people my age (late 20’s, early 30’s) were already saying when these kids were toddlers. It just felt really unrealistic to me.

The illustrations were fun, but too stylized for me. The proportions were off and there were inconsistencies in the looks of the characters from page to page. Sometimes I had a hard time telling some of the secondary characters apart. It was easy to read and the boxes flowed in a nice way. I rarely read sections out of order because I didn’t know which box came first, which has happened to me in other graphic novels I’ve read.

All in all, this one just didn’t work for me. I shut the book and immediately wrote my review because I’m not even sure I’ll be able to remember it. I would choose to recommend other graphic novels over this one.

2 Stars

Ten Book Series I Really Want to Catch Up On

Posted June 25, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 29 Comments

I don’t know about you, but it’s really hard to keep series books straight. I have to really love a book and the characters and/or the world that the author has created to be willing to invest the time and memory space required to stick with a trilogy or series for its entire run. Today’s topic is technically about the series or trilogies I don’t plan to finish, but as I was writing up my list I came across so many series I’ve kind of abandoned but really want to finish someday (also, I did a similar TTT topic years ago and don’t have many new series to add to it)! So I decided to tweak the topic a bit to suit my needs. These are all series I appear to have quit, even though I loved what I read, but would actually really love to continue on with.

1. A Court of Thorns and Roses series by Sarah J. Maas (I’ve read books 1 & 2)
2. Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas (I’ve read books 1 & 2)
3. Rebel of the Sands trilogy by Alwyn Hamilton (I’ve read book 1)
4. Gideon’s Cove trilogy by Kristan Higgins (I’ve read book 1 & 3)
5. Boomerang trilogy by Noelle August (I’ve read books 1 & 2)
6. Frost Chronicles by Kate Avery Ellison (I’ve read books 1 & 2)
7. The Conspiracy of Us trilogy by Maggie Hall (I’ve read book 1)
8. Firebird trilogy by Claudia Gray (I’ve read book 1)
9. Heist Society series by Ally Carter (I’ve read books 1 & 2)
10. The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski (I’ve read book 1)

Which series should I prioritize?
Which do you recommend I not worry about?


Ten Books I Loved Before I Became a Book Blogger

Posted June 22, 2018 by Jana in About Me, Book Spotlight / 10 Comments

A long time ago… in this galaxy… way back in the dino days, before Moby Dick was a minnow (can you tell I’m feeling old today? It’s my birthday!)… I wasn’t a book blogger. I know. It’s kind of hard for me to believe it, too, because I have been eating, breathing, and sleeping books since June of 2010 (I started The Broke and the Bookish with Jamie). About a year and a half later, That Artsy Reader Girl was born, and I’ve made a pretty cozy place for myself here in my corner of the Internet. Blogging has been a huge blessing for me, and has given me the opportunity to read so many amazing books, but some long-time favorites rekindled my love of reading way before I started writing. Since I never wrote full reviews for any of these books, I thought it’d be fun to share some of them with you today!

1. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Twilight is the book that made me discover there was a young adult section in the bookstore. I had NO idea! I’m not even kidding. I grew up reading romance novels, and never knew there was a genre devoted to me. But oh, I loved Edward. :) Oh, and random fact… this is actually the first book I added to Goodreads when I joined. Crazy!

2. Pretend You Don’t See Her by Mary Higgins-Clark
This was first mystery novel! My mom has always really loved Mary Higgins-Clark, and started me on her books when I was a teenager. I became an instant fan, and will read anything she writes. I still can’t believe she’s still pumping books out at her age. It’s super impressive.

3. Catherine and the Pirate by Karen Hawkins
Did anyone else read the Avon True Romance series? There were, I think, 12 books aimed towards young adults in this series, all written by well-known authors like Meg Cabot, Beverly Jenkins, etc. This one was my first and favorite, though. I found it in my high school’s library when we had to write a book report (I can’t believe I chose this book for a book report. lol)  and thus began my love of pirate romances. I swear, I live for a really good historical romance featuring pirates and pirate ships.

4. The Guardian by Nicholas Sparks
I really loved this story, even though it made me cry because Nicholas Sparks likes to kill people. I’ll never read another book of his again for that reason, but I did really connect with this story. Even though I can cry about it right now if I think about it enough.

5. With Every Breath by Lynn Kurland
This was my very first time travel book! I LOVE Lynn’s romances. They are soooooo sweet, and so amazing. I just love Scotland, too, and most of her books take place there.

6. The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum 
This is a very fun trilogy that I found after reading Twilight and wanting something similar. The Hourglass Door features time travel and Da Vinci and a cute Italian boy. I loved it more than Twilight.

7. Kiss and Tell by Suzanne Brockman 
This book starts when a woman gets kissed by a mysterious man in a Zorro mask on New Year’s Eve. Who is he!?!?! Oh, I loved this book. The other two books in this trilogy and wonderful, too.

8. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I was pretty scared of this book. It took me forever to be ok with it, and my mom thought I was insane for wanting it. I loved it. Seriously, this solidified my love of YA novels. And I kind of love that I read it before it was cool and before the movies and the hype. The second book, Catching Fire, wasn’t even out yet!

9. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
I found Shiver in the hopes of finding something like Twilight. I was skeptical, though, because I was team Edward and not Jacob, so why on Earth would I like a book about werewolves? I loved Maggie’s writing, though, and the story was so perfect.

10. Austenland by Shannon Hale
Yes, I reviewed this here (my first review ever, actually!), but I actually had to re-read the book in order to remember it enough to write a review. So it counts. It’s still one of my favorite books, even though the movie leaves much to be desired.

Which books did you read and love before you became a book blogger? 

Over Raging Tides by Jennifer Ellision | Audiobook Review

Posted June 21, 2018 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 2 Comments

Over Raging Tides by Jennifer Ellision | Audiobook ReviewOver Raging Tides by Jennifer Ellision
Series: Lady Pirates #1
Published by Self on March 20, 2018
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 239
Format: Audiobook
Source: Audible, Author
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3.5 Stars

The pirate crew of the Lady Luck lives by many rules, but chief among them is this: they do not allow men on board.

That’s a rule that quartermaster Grace Porter is willing to break when a shipwrecked young nobleman offers her information of an omniscient map, stolen from his warship by an enemy vessel. Until now, the map was only the stuff of legend… but with its help, Grace may finally be able to hunt down the Mordgris, the sea monsters who stole her mother away from her.

Unfortunately, some members of her crew have other plans...

To find the map and face the Mordgris, Grace will have to confront her past, put the Luck between warring nations, and uncover treachery aboard the ship. And ultimately, her revenge and the destruction of the Mordgris will come at a hefty price: the betrayal of her crew.

Grace promised them they wouldn’t regret this.

She just isn’t sure that she won’t.

I love stories set on the high seas, particularly when pirates are involved, but I usually gravitate towards romantic stories with male pirates because I have a major crush on bad-boy pirate types, apparently. lol. I’ve never read a book with female pirates before, but I really enjoyed this one!

First off, the narration was amazing. Victoria Boulton’s performance really drew me in and had me hooked from early on. She did not read too quickly or too slowly, and her British accent brought each character to life.

I loved the setting of the Lady Luck, and reading about all the ins and outs of life aboard the ship. The crew is made up entirely of women, who live by a very strict code of honor. No men are allowed on board, no children can be kidnapped and forced into service, no crew member is allowed to steal from the rest of the crew, etc. And unlike Captain Barbosa, these rules are not merely guidelines. They take these rules very seriously, and I quite liked reading about a bunch of pirates who at least have some morals.

The story itself was not particularly unique, but I still enjoyed this adventure on the high seas. The crew is on the hunt for the holy grail of all treasure: a map that will lead them to any treasure they wish. There are obstacles along the way, and two of those obstacles come in the form of two brothers who Grace saves from the Mordgris–the sea monsters who took her mother from her. Grace breaks a cardinal rule and brings them aboard the ship. As it turns out, the older brother, Leo, can help them find his map. The little brother, John, endears himself to the crew, so they decide both boys can stay. For now. I liked Grace, John, and Leo, but didn’t feel much for the rest of the characters. They all felt like typical pirates to me, with no real unique traits that made them stand out to me.

This was my first book by Jennifer Ellision, and I really enjoy her writing style and creativity. While the story kind of follows the normal pirate adventure formula, she’s added some elements that set it apart. I’m super intrigued by the Mordgris. I want to know more about them and their origins and purpose. What are they really about? Who are they? They play a big part in Grace’s life quest and are the real reason she wants this magical map. She hopes, against all odds, to find her mother. I loved reading about her determination, and the fact that she believes that family is more important than all the riches in the world. I’m really eager to see how things work out for her and to learn more about this world and the map. There’s so much to look forward to with the next book! And beware, this book ends on a major cliffhanger and you’re going to want more story ASAP!

3.5 Stars

Ten Beach Reads to Grab This Summer

Posted June 18, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 45 Comments

Today’s topic is beach reads! Or you could have chosen to feature your summer TBR list. I tend to not do a summer TBR because I like to give myself the opportunity to make my reading choices in the moment rather than sticking to a schedule this time of year. So I chose beach reads!

When I hear “beach read” my mind immediately jumps to light and fun contemporary romances that I can read a little at a time or in one big binge session. I absolutely love these kinds of books because they give me warm fuzzies and goofy smiles. I’ve selected some older and newer releases, along with new adult/adult titles and YA titles. All of them are wonderful, and books I wholeheartedly recommend.


New Adult/Adult

On the Island by Tracey Garvis-Graves
Roman Crazy by Alice Clayton & Nina Bocci
I Temporarily Do by Ellie Cahill
The Hating Game by Sally Thorne
Roomies by Christina Lauren


Young Adult

From What I Remember… by Stacy Kramer & Valerie Thomas
Golden by Jessi Kirby
The Summer I Became a Nerd by Leah Rae Miller
Starry Eyes by Jenn Bennett
The Summer My Life Began by Shannon Greenland

Which beach reads would you recommend I try?
And if you chose to do your summer TBR for today’s topic,
which books are you hoping to read this summer?

Summertime Q&A with Debbie Mason | Forever Summer Reading Blog Event

Posted June 15, 2018 by Jana in Author Interview, Blog Tour, Giveaway / 1 Comment

Summertime Q&A with Debbie Mason | Forever Summer Reading Blog Event

I’m excited to be a part of the Forever Summer Reading event that celebrates all the fun romances releasing by Forever this summer! I’m excited about several of them, but particularly Debbie Mason’s Sandpiper Shore, book 6 in the Harmony Harbor series, which sounds so sweet (out 6/26/18). Debbie is here on the blog today to answer some summery and writing questions! Read more about her upcoming book, and enter to win a tote filled with Forever’s beach reads to enjoy this summer (including Sandpiper Shore!)!

Summertime Q&A with Debbie Mason

All-time favorite beach read?
I can’t think of just one. But some of my favorite authors to catch up on in the summer are: Ilona Andrews, Kelly Armstrong, Christine Feehan, Kristin Hannah, Faith Hunter, Sophie Kinsella, Liane Moriarty, JoJo Moyes, Chloe Neill, Jodi Picoult, and J.D. Robb.

Sun bather or a shade dweller?
Sun bather.

What is your favorite food to snack on while you write?
Peanut butter by the tablespoonful or white cheddar popcorn.

What is the craziest thing in your browser history that you’ve researched for a book?
The best garden plant to poison someone with, that mimics a heart attack and is difficult to detect.

What’s one personality trait you share with the heroine of your latest book?
Empathetic and always happy to lend a helping hand.

Debbie Mason is the bestselling author of the Christmas, Colorado and Harmony, Harbor series. When she isn’t writing or reading, Debbie enjoys spending time with her very own real-life hero, their three wonderful children and their son-in-law, and their two adorable grandbabies in Ottawa, Canada. For more on Debbie and her books, please visit

Sandpiper Shore by Debbie Mason
Book #6 in the Harmony Harbor series
Published by Forever on June 26, 2019
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance

USA Today bestselling author Debbie Mason presents the latest novel in the Harmony Harbor series. Perfect for fans of feel-good romances by New York Times bestselling authors Emily March, Sheila Roberts, and RaeAnne Thayne!

Jenna Bell loves her job as a wedding planner and loves a happy ever after even more. Until the day she meets with her newest client and discovers that the bride’s fiancé is the man she’s had a crush on for years. But she knows the #1 work rule: Never fall in love with the groom.

Secret Service Agent Logan Gallagher arrives at Tie the Knot to make plans with his bride-to-be. But coming face to face with Jenna after all these years brings back feelings that he’s fought long and hard to forget. Does his attraction to Jenna mean that he’s about to make the biggest mistake of his life?

Save the Date by Morgan Matson | Book Review

Posted June 13, 2018 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 7 Comments

Save the Date by Morgan Matson | Book ReviewSave the Date by Morgan Matson
Published by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers on June 5, 2018
Pages: 432
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher (Mail)
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5 Stars

Charlie Grant’s older sister is getting married this weekend at their family home, and Charlie can’t wait—for the first time in years, all four of her older siblings will be under one roof. Charlie is desperate for one last perfect weekend, before the house is sold and everything changes. The house will be filled with jokes and games and laughs again. Making decisions about things like what college to attend and reuniting with longstanding crush Jesse Foster—all that can wait. She wants to focus on making the weekend perfect.

The only problem? The weekend is shaping up to be an absolute disaster.

There’s the unexpected dog with a penchant for howling, house alarm that won’t stop going off, and a papergirl with a grudge.

There are the relatives who aren’t speaking, the (awful) girl her favorite brother brought home unannounced, and a missing tuxedo.

Not to mention the neighbor who seems to be bent on sabotage and a storm that is bent on drenching everything. The justice of the peace is missing. The band will only play covers. The guests are all crazy. And the wedding planner’s nephew is unexpectedly, distractingly…cute.

Over the course of three ridiculously chaotic days, Charlie will learn more than she ever expected about the family she thought she knew by heart. And she’ll realize that sometimes, trying to keep everything like it was in the past means missing out on the future.

I’ve always heard wonderful things about Morgan’s books, and actually own a few of them. I even met her at ALA a few years ago and she signed a copy of Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour for me, so I’m really surprised and slightly ashamed to admit that Save the Date is my very first Matson read! If all of her other books are just as delightful and funny and full of heart like this one is, then I think I’ve found a new author to love! As always, my main points are bolded.

1. The Grant family is officially my favorite fictional family. I would love to be a member of this family! J.J. is an absolute hoot. Everything he says or does makes me laugh. He actually says “scoff” when he’s miffed. Linnie is such a fun big sister, and I love her relationship with Charlie. Danny is the sweet big brother type. I even like troublemaker Mike! They are all so close, and their life growing up together is full of memories of capture the flag games, movie nights, sleepovers, family trips, bumming around the house, and so much love. I love that they love each other and have the cutest sibling bonds with one another. The parents are great, too. It’s a house full of chaos and shenanigans, and I loved being a fly on the wall.

2. Speaking of shenanigans, everything that could possibly go wrong for this wedding pretty much does! It’s hilarious, if not a little unbelievable how unlucky this family is. lol. There’s a suit mix-up, electrical problems, gardening problems, and more. There’s so much going on at once that I found myself tearing through the pages to figure out how each issue was resolved. Honestly, this book would make such an amazingly fun movie.

3. Bill, the assistant wedding coordinator, is the sweetest character. He and his… uncle? Dad? Why can’t I remember this!?! Oh well, not important. He and the guy he is somehow related to run this wedding business together, and he’s riding the waves of shenanigans with the best attitude. He’s got a great sense of humor and is always so happy. He’s also pretty quirky, slightly nerdy, and just warms my heart.

4. We’ve got a loaner beagle named Waffles and an alarm that won’t be silenced unless it wants to be that are both pretty amazing characters all on their own. Waffles has so much personality in his little body, complete with big floppy ears. And the alarm just had me giggling, which doesn’t even make sense unless you’ve read this book.

5. I really connected with Charlie. I understand what it’s like to have everyone needed things from you all the time. She’s kind of the glue that keeps the group together and sane. She’s the peacemaker, and I understand the kind of pressure that comes with that job. I sympathized with her as she faced having to move from her childhood home. I also saw a lot of growth from her as the book continued on. She just seemed really real to me. All the characters did.

6. Charlie’s mom has written a comic strip based on the Grant family, Grant Central Station, for the last 20+ years all about the kids and family growing up together. Snippets of these comics are featured throughout the book, and I really liked those. I’d love a book of more of them so I can get more of the backstory on some of these characters!

7. I just LOVE weddings. This book reminded me so much of Father of the Bride, which is one of my favorite movies ever.

8. Swoons. Wedding swoons, crush swoons, love swoons… They were all there.

All in all, I’m SO glad I finally jumped on the Morgan Matson train! I can’t wait to read her other books now! I hope her others are just as wonderful for me as this one was. I loved the family dynamics, the wedding craziness, and all heart and feeling that swirled around it all. I’d definitely recommend this to anyone who enjoys contemporary YA with a side of giggles and feelings.

5 Stars

Twelve Books That Awaken the Travel Bug In Me

Posted June 11, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 51 Comments

Don’t worry! You’re in the right spot! I unveiled my new blog design today, and I’m pretty much in love with it. Things needed to change! I’m still working out some little kinks, but I wanted to make sure it was live and working in time for TTT!

Books with travel aspects (or that just make me want to pack my suitcase and jet set somewhere amazing) are my absolute favorite kind of books! I especially love books that take place in places I’ve been to before because it’s a cheap way to go back for a visit. lol. So today’s topic highlights 13 of my very favorite books that awaken the travel bug in me!


Love & Gelato by Jenna Evans Welch (Florence and Rome, Italy)
This book takes place in Florence and Rome, Italy and it is amazing. Lina moves to Italy after her mother’s death, and learns all about who she is, who her mother was, and that she’s not as alone as she thought.

Love, Lucy by April Lindner (Florence, Italy)
This book is actually a modern YA retelling of A Room With a View by E.M. Forster. I can’t really comment on the retelling aspects of the story because I’ve never read A Room With a View, but I really loved Love, Lucy. It’s the perfect summer love story that blossoms while Lucy is backpacking through Florence and drinking in everything from the food to the architecture. She falls for a street musician, and I pretty much fell for him too!

Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae (Rome and Cinque Terre, Italy)
BAH. This book is one of my greatest loves! Pippa is off to Florence for art school, but ditches that plan to explore instead. She finds herself traveling solo through Italy and ends up in the beautiful Cinque Terre, living with the cashier from a coffee shop and her family. She goes on long walks, explores ruins, eats a lot, souvenir shops, goes on train rides, swims in the Mediterranean Sea, works in a restaurant, and goes sightseeing.

Instructions for a Broken Heart by Kim Culbertson (Italy)
A few days before a class trip to Italy, Jessa discovers that her boyfriend has been cheating on her. Before she leaves, her best friend equips her with a list called “Top Twenty Reasons He’s a Slimy Jerk Bastard”. She also gives her instructions to do one thing out of her comfort zone each day she’s gone in the hopes of getting her through the heartbreak.

Just One Day by Gayle Forman (Paris, France)
I love Paris. I could picture Allyson and Willem on the train, walking the streets of Paris, eating crepes, gazing over the river, even walking past all the street vendors. I loved that they did not do the typical touristy things, though. They experienced Paris in a way that most people who only have one day there don’t. I want to do what they did, and I want to find a guy like Willem to be right there next to me.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Paris, France)
This is just SUCH a cute boarding school story set in Paris, with a pretty cute boy. Paris is described so perfectly, and brings the entire city to life.

Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard (Central America, namely Belize)
Artsy Bria goes on this crazy adventure through Central America. Along the way, she learns so much about herself and gains a lot of life experience. Plus, she sees amazing places, experiences new things, meets cool people, and falls in love.

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill (London, England)
A class trip to London results in a really cute love story. The author paints a really great picture of the city, and I felt like I was there, wandering the museums, running in the rain, and soaking in an old fashioned bath tub after a long day of walking.

Love & Luck by Jenna Evans Welch (Ireland)
Addie, her brother, and her brother’s swoony online friend drive all over the Irish countryside in a tiny dilapidated car, looking for important sites that are tied to a popular band. It’s both funny and romantic.

Austenland by Shannon Hale (England)
Jane is obsessed with Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Seriously obsessed. After her great aunt’s death, Jane’s learns that she left her an all-inclusive, all expenses paid trip to Pembrook Park to experience what it’s like to have your very own Mr. Darcy. It’s fun and fluffy, and I loved it.

Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker (Summer on a sailboat)
Clem and her family spend the summer aboard a sailboat, spending time together, eating disgusting meals made only from canned foods, eating s’mores by blow torch, star gazing, sunbathing, laughing, and bonding. Clem, Olive, and red spend many hours hanging out trying to catch fish, perfecting their Little Mermaid moves, giggling, and teasing each other.

Carrie Goes Off the Map by Phillipa Ashley (Road trip through the English countryside)
Carrie’s fiancé comes home from a stag party and tells her he can’t marry her anymore. Her best friend, Rowena, decides the two of them need to go on a road trip to Italy and beyond. But then Rowena gets a job on a soap opera and has to back out of the trip the morning of. She mischievously calls on Dr. Matt Landor, an old friend from college, to go with Carrie instead. Carrie is mortified at this change in plans, but Matt finally talks her into going on a trip with him. They spend just over a month traveling around the English countryside meeting new people, and getting to know each other far better than they expected. Love blossoms among several different sets of characters. There’s even a bit of a scary twist that makes you worry for the characters!

Girl At Sea by Maureen Johnson (Summer aboard a luxury yacht in the Mediterranean Sea)
Luxury yacht in the Med, guys. And the book has history, mystery, adventure, suspense, romance, and humor. It’s the complete package, and I LOVED it.

Top Ten Books I Might Have Given Up On too Quickly

Posted June 4, 2018 by Jana in Top Ten Tuesday / 35 Comments

Over the last few years I’ve gotten much better at embracing the concept of DNFing (did not finish) books. I’ve been drowning in a never-ending pile of review books for about 8 years now, so it has become necessary for my health and happiness that I give up on books I’m just not enjoying. Life’s too short for bad books! Most of the time I’m very confident in my decisions to DNF, but every once in a while I worry I’ve given up too soon. Perhaps it’s a book I really wanted to love and was super excited about. Or maybe it was a book that has gotten a ton of hype and I’m worried there’s something wrong with me! I’ve also DNFed a book because I wasn’t in the mood for it at the time and just never went back. Did I make the wrong choice?

Today I’m sharing with you some of the books I’ve given up on in the hopes that you can help me decide whether or not to give them a second chance. I understand that some of these are very popular and might elicit some pretty strong opinions, so I’m ready for your comments! Hehe.


1. To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
I DNFed this at 13% because it just felt too dark and depressing to me.

2. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
This one is hard for me because it has SUCH high reviews and I know so many people who loved it. It also sounds like something I’d love, and I was so excited when I received it for review. I just found it to be slow and boring.

3. The Girl On the Train by Paula Hawkins
This book is SO popular, and I love thrillers so I was super excited for this one! But at 15% I still wasn’t feeling it and ended up setting it aside. Nothing was happening, and I was getting tired of hearing all about what this woman saw from the train.

4. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
The unique format of Illuminae is what drew me to it, and probably what made me DNF it. I just could not connect with the story or what was going on. I felt like I was reading from a pile of paperwork instead of a book. I made it to page 65 before I decided to come back to it some other time, and I still haven’t.

5. Days of Blood and Starlight by Laini Taylor
At 18% I sheleved it as “try again later” and never did. Now I can’t remember anything about book #1 and I’m just stuck. lol.


6. Pivot Point by Kasie West
I wasn’t in the right frame of mind when I picked this one up, and have not found the motivation to go back to it since.

7. With Malice by Eileen Cook
At 17% I felt that this book seemed too similar to something else I had read and decided to move on. Maybe it started out too slow for me?

8. Love, Lies, and Spies by Cindy Antsey
At 17% I updated Goodreads with: “Started out super cute and interesting, but things are really dragging for me. I’m not sure how much longer I can hang in there…” I DNFed at 32%. This made me so sad because it started out so great for me and had all the makings of something I’d love.

9. A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
I found this too be too dark, dismal, and depressing for me and DNFed at 29%. I LOVE gothic stories, so this made me sad.

10. The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
I made it 13% through and gave up because it wasn’t what I was wanting at the time. I want to love this book SO much, so hopefully I can eventually go back to it! I’m just not motivated, and worried I’ll DNF it for real the second time.

Do you DNF? Which books did you DNF too soon?
Should I give any of these another chance?

Which books have you set aside, gone back to, and ended up really enjoying?