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?

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35 responses to “Top Ten Books I Might Have Given Up On too Quickly

  1. I have honestly never read any of the books on your list, although I have read Daughter of Smoke and Bone and really enjoyed it, so that makes me wonder why you gave up on Days of Blood and Starlight. I’ve heard really good things about The Bear and the Nightingale though and just recently bought a copy for myself, so I guess I hope you’ll give that one another chance, maybe.

    Have a great week.
    Katie @Just Another Girl and Her Books recently posted…*Top Ten Tuesday* Books I Should Have DNF’d.

  2. I totally understand The Bear and the Nightingale. A while ago I listened to the audiobook and almost didn’t make it because it moves at such a slow pace!! I ended up sticking with it and loved the ending, but it was work getting there. I’ve been procrastinating reading the next one in the series because I’m worried it’ll be more of the same!
    Loretta @ The Laughing Listener recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Chuckin’ Books

  3. FWIW, here are my takes on the ones I know:
    Girl on a Train was okay, but you’re not missing anything important if you skip it.
    Days of Blood and Starlight I did like, but the third book in the series made it onto my list today!
    I loved A Madness so Discreet.
    Illuminae was an interesting concept, but the plot was really lacking, I thought. I didn’t continue the series.
    Bear & Nightingale is on my TBR, as is Girl From Everywhere, but I’ve seen mixed reviews of both, so I haven’t prioritized them.

    Really interesting topic this week–thanks!

  4. I remember thinking I wouldn’t be able to follow Illuminae but really ended up loving it! Also really enjoyed To Kill a Kingdom so I am sad to see those two on your list! I’m worried about picking up A Madness So Discreet too willy nilly though. I still want to give With Malice a try too!

    Here’s my Tuesday Post

    Have a GREAT day!

    Old Follower :)

  5. I can definitely understand your reasons for DNFing some of these. I did enjoy Days of Blood and Starlight though. The Girl on the Train does have a good ending, though some parts annoyed me too.

  6. The only one there that I’ve read is The Girl on the Train and, yes, there is lots of description as to what she sees from the train. I did really enjoy it, though! I listened to the audiobook.

    I absolutely loved Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor and need to get back to that series!

  7. Kay

    I do indeed DNF books and tell everyone that if a book isn’t working for you, stop reading it. Move on. I’ve read only one of the books you listed, The Girl on the Train. I didn’t love it and it did take me a while to quit being so annoyed with ‘the girl’. I wouldn’t worry about coming back to it unless you really want to. Illuminae is on my shelf, but I’ve not read it yet. I also like books told in interesting ways – epistolary novels. That being said, I’ve heard the audio of the trilogy is really, really good. You might think about that if you want to revisit it. Or just move along to what speaks to you.
    Kay recently posted…The Glass Room – Ann Cleeves

  8. I almost stopped To Kill A Kingdom right around that same point – I did set it aside for a week or two before forcing myself to pick it up again. I did wind up finishing it, but it was only okay. I think for predatory mermaids, Into the Drowning Deep is far superior.

  9. Illuminae is definitely worth another try. Honestly, it’s a big book and what I find with big books is that the first few pages are always a little slow (I mean personally I was hooked by Illuminae and it’s one of my favorites of all time, I’ve read it three times).

    So, if you read until about page 100 I’m sure you’ll def some more action that will hook you. The second half is def the best part. It’s really, really good. Please try reading it again.

  10. Eve

    I really like the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series but I understand giving it time then forgetting most everything about it. I’d say give it a go, I listened to the audiobooks and really fell in easily there, maybe try a different format!

  11. Danielle Hammelef

    Illuminae definintely deserves another chance because Gemina was awesome too. It took me awhile to figure out who was who and what was happening in this uniquely formatted book, but it was so worth it. I preordered Obsidio and have it ready to read this summer.

  12. I rarely DNF, so I usually end up wishing I HAD dnf’d, not the other way around…
    I did finally cave and DNF some books that I’d been reading for ages and just wasn’t feeling recently though, and it felt SO GOOD.

    I would definitely suggest giving Illuminae another try. It is SO GOOD, but it does take some time to get into. Like it probably took me a hundred or so pages to really get into it, but I now consider it one of my all-time favourite series. And while this may be an unpopular opinion, I actually think the second and third books are better than the first.

    Days of Blood & Starlight though? Don’t bother.
    I LOVED Daughter of Smoke & Bone, but Days of Blood & Starlight was unnecessarily angsty, and Dreams of Gods & Monsters was just SUPER dry and boring.
    Iris @ Hoard of Books recently posted…May Wrap-Up – In Which I Do Almost Nothing Productive, But Read A Lot Of Books

  13. Liz

    It took a while to get into Bear and the Nightingale, but I did not regret sticking with it. Also loved Blood and Starlight and Illuminae- although again, took a while to get back into it. I read pivot point, but it was only ok.

  14. Oh man, I’m sorry you didn’t finish Pivot Point! That was by far one of my favorite 2017 reads. I loved the story and the characters. I do hope you find the motivation some day to pick it back up and if/when you do, I hope you love it! Or at least enjoy it (:

    Amber @ Escape Life in the Pages

  15. Gosh, everyone’s probably going to tell you to read Illuminae. And even though you have several books I really liked on your DNF list (and several I agree with), I’m not going to be original and tell you to read it too. I just finished the final book in the series, and it was so good. Do you like audiobooks? Maybe try the audio version. It’s a full cast reading with sound effects and music. They really went all out trying to create the feel of the book. It’s pretty amazing.

  16. I did love The Girl on the Train, but I know it’s a polarizing book. I lost sleep over that book, I just had to know what would happen.

  17. I am 100% with you on Ilumminae. I read it because the format looked so quirky and unique, but then I ended up not getting on with it AT ALL. I couldn’t figure out what was going on, and I had zero interest in the characters.

    Oh, and The Girl on the Train. I found the main character infuriating. I intensely, vehmently disliked her, so I gave up.

    I did like Days of Blood and Starlight. Not the last book though…

  18. Woah! I’m actually really surprised at a lot of these choices! I LOVE Katherine Arden’s series, though book one did take a little while to get into admittedly! I liked The Girl On The Train and The Girl From Everywhere too, and Days Of Blood & Starlight was my favourite from Taylor’s series but I HATED the finale of it with a passion.

    Here’s my list!
    Katrina @ Chased By My Imagination recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: My picks for ‘Books I Came THIS Close To DNFing’.