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DNFing, dropping, not finishing. We’ve all done it: put down a book without finishing it. Although I try not to DNF very often, I live by a motto a dear friend of mine told me: “Life is too short for bad books. Drop that sucker.” and so I do. In this post, I’m gonna talk about a few books I DNF’d, why I did, and my personal rules for 🎶🎶 letting gooooo.

Rules of Engagement By no means are these hard-and-fast rules. I break them all the time. These are my personal reasons for DNFing a book.

a. 100 pages: I usually give a book until around the 100-pages mark to draw me in. If I’m having trouble connecting with the story or the characters by that point, I probably never will. And so the drop begins.

b. Subject matter: Some books come with trigger/content warnings, and some that don’t need to have one. I’ve read a few books where the plot line was distressing or made me upset. And so the drop begins.

c. Grammar police: This mistake is more common in ARCs/self published works than those that have made it to the Barnes & Noble shelf. I do try to overlook things and fill in the correct word/tense when reading a mistake, but when it becomes so excessive that it’s taking me from the storyline…byeeeee

d. Pacing Issues: Some books are too fast to keep up with. Some are too slow to be interesting. Some books have you 98 pages into the story without so much as having met an opponent/adversary….after 98 pages, the “problem” should be evident or at least hinted at by this point. Why are we still still meeting characters? Why are we still world building? Bye.

A couple examples:

1.Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian. I absolutely loved the cover for this book and the synopsis sounded good too. However, after starting I saw that the subject matter was a bit too dark for my tastes and it made me sad to read it too. So dropped it I did.

2.The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokahi. Again a book that presented with such promise. I gave this book 100 pages and I was not enjoying myself. This one I felt was missing something: a prologue/prequel chapter. I felt like I was dropped into the middle of the story (which is fine) but there was some sort of secret conversation/meeting that everyone knew about except the reader and we were just forced to be headless….?

Of course there are exceptions to every rule and there are rules that I employ that aren’t outlined here.

So what about you? Do you DNF books? What causes you do so?

The Friends Zone by Abby Jimenez (ARC)

I am a SUCKER for a soft romance and this one surely delivered. I’ll have some sass and trash, and a general spoiler free review at the end. TW: Death of a character, infertility/reproductive struggle, character sinks into deep depression


Our MC Kristen is an entrepreneur who makes furniture and stairs for owners of little doggos! Super cute. We love a women who owns and runs her own business! Her boyfriend is a Marine (HOO-RAH), currently deployed.

Joshua is a retired Marine turned fireman. He’s just moved to town and is now the new guy at his buddy’s firehouse. Kristen’s best friend is getting married to Brandon. Brandon’s best friend is Josh. Uh oh.


Everything. Reproductive struggles. Trust your dogs. They can tell who good/bad people are.


The storyline is a bit predictable, but honestly, isn’t that like 93% of the reason we read romance novels?



This was such a wonderful story! It’s a bit predictable (as romance novels can be) but I loved it. Ms. Jimenez did such a good job with representing an under-discussed topic of infertility/women’s fertility issues. There was also a good show of OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). OCD is not just being a “neat freak” or not wanting your food to touch. It is a real thing that those who suffer with it deal with.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review from the lovely people over at Forever Romance. Thank you all so much, special thanks to Estelle Hallick!

The Friend Zone is the upcoming release from Abby Jimenez. The Friend Zone released June 11th on the Forever Romance imprint of Hachette Publishing.

Bright Burning Stars by AK Small (ARC)

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First off, this book deals with some H E A V Y topics. TW include: drug use, sexual encounters, talks of suicide, attempted suicide, self starvation, abortion, and much more. Please make sure to take care of yourself before starting this one. Light and love always 💕

Kate and Marine have been best friends since they were young ballet rats at the most prestigious school in France. They’re in their final year and competing with the rest of their class for the top spot, The Prize: dancing as the principle dancer in a Company. The “Demigod”, Cyrille, has a reputation as a bit of a hit-it-and-quit-it kind of guy, and somehow both girls fall into his web: one becoming pregnant and later having an abortion, and the other as his partner for the final performance.

There was so much teenage angst and (frankly) stupidity in this book it’s not even funny. Suddenly the boy who is unattainable finds his way into your arms…..and because he compliments your backbends and spin outs, he’s the one? But it’s okay, we’ve learned our lesson…..W R O N G. Another cute boy comes in and does the same thing. And then things don’t work out with either so I guess we’ll just throw it all away with drugs and the like.

The other half of the story features a semi-sensible teen. She’s trying to do her best. But then the teachers keep harping on her about being a few pounds over the expected weight so, instead of exercising more, or shaping her meals to be healthier, or just ACCEPTING that she is a young woman who is filling out, she decides to starve herself to the point of end up in the school’s infirmary.

Overall, this was a book. It happened. I am thankful that the author wrote this. As a past dancer, she knows very well the sort of pressure that Kate and Marine are under. It was quite nice to have an inside look, but I don’t think I’ll be pulling back this window drape again.

Bright Burning Stars released June 4 from Algonquin Publishing. This is AK Small’s debut novel.

Finale by Stephanie Garber (SPOILERS)

Second Book Syndrome is R E A L and it can attack a series at any time. For those who do not know, SBS is most common among trilogies of books: the first book is amazing with world building and character introduction, then the second book is fairly flat, but then the third book comes back and packs a punch to close things out. That’s what (I think) happened here except the third book was the flat one. *for those who haven’t read Caraval and Legendary, please navigate away from this blog post. Finale is the closing book to the trio and I don’t want to spoil anything for you.*









Just us here now? Cool. Here we go. This is a highly theatrical series…I actually think it’d make a great movie or play series, but that’s a separate topic for another day (COMMENT below if you want to see my dream casting for this series as a future post).

♥️ Scarlett is the older of the two sisters. She’s fiercely protective of her lil sis, in the past allowing herself to be beat by their father to save her sister.

♦️ Donatella. The little sister. Adventurous and headstrong. She tends to act first, encounter consequences, and try to fix things after…all without Scarlett finding out. ♣️ Julian. Scarlett’s boothang and brother of Legend. A bit heady as well, but he always has the good of others in mind.

♠️ Dante (who is also Legend). Honestly, a sweet guy. He loooves him some Tella and his brother Julian.

🃏 Jacks. Prince of Hearts. A Fate. Perfect villain (in my opinion) and had the potential to be the Big Bad Guy.

🥀Legend (who is also Dante). The game master. Cruel and ruthless and loving? We’ll keep him around, I guess.

👑 The Fates. The cronies of the overlord. They mostly cause minor traffic jams and occasionally turn butlers to stone. Nothing serious

✨Fallen Star. The head of the Fates. He’s supposed to be our ULTImate villAIN buuuut I don’t see why? Finale opens with our Scar & Tella waiting for their mother to awake from her enchanted coma. This coma is a two edged thing; if she wakes, they get their mom back but the Fates will always awaken too. That seems to be a problem.

One of my biggest problems with this book is that there’s a new villain introduced and….we fear him? (No. We don’t). Said villain is also Scarlett’s birth father? Said villain also killed Paloma (who was fairly useless to the story to begin with)?

This story wrapped the series nicely: everything was closed up and we got happy ending(s).

Overall, I feel like Finale lacked the magic, mystery, and intrigue that Caraval and Legendary had. Scarlett’s chapters are boring and flat and Tella’s are a series of “I want this boy, no this one, no this one!” conversations. Despite Finale being less than satisfying for me, I still loved it. Stephanie Garber wrote a world full of magic and wonder and love. I will forever cherish these books, and I’ll definitely reread them in the future.

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey (ARC)

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I think I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. The hand on the cover was quite an eye-catcher and the pages in between were good too! Join me below for Sass & Trash & an objective, spoiler-free review to close it out! TW: Mass alcohol consumption, drugging drinks, graphic descriptions of deceased persons, talk of ab*rtion, sl*t shaming



• Ivy (or I guess I should say Sarah Gailey, the author) has a way with words! They make so many similes and metaphors that you think wouldn’t work but they somehow mesh perfectly.

• How did the murderer manage to cast the blame on the PERSON I’D GUESSED while keeping themself completely in the clear?!

• P O C K E T S for the many LGBT+ characters! Some of them didn’t get much page time, but…I guess that’s okay. Ivy’s twin sister, Tabitha, was in a relationship with the deceased Sylvia. Two of Alexandria’s cronies are dating each other (one is pansexual and the other a lesbian). Rahul has previously dated men and then is currently pursuing a woman.


• Ivy definitely has a bit of a bad relationship with alcohol.

• Sl*t shaming of a character who is never seen on the page.



Ugh. I absolutely loooved this book. The MC, Ivy, has such a strong internal voice that there were times I felt myself thinking how she would think. The witty internal monologue had me laughing out loud at times and I have many flagged lines in my copy that I reread because they were so good. Thoroughly enjoyed this one. It’s billed as similar to The Magicians (Lev Grossman) and I actually think it’s fairly good for comparison. The Magicians shows that magic isn’t always cutesy like the Sanderson sisters: it’s brutal and gross and can be found right under your nose if you look hard enough.

This early release copy was graciously given to me by a dear friend, via Tor Publishing (Macmillan). It is due for release on June 4th, 2019. I am deeply thankful for the kindness shown to me.

The Right Swipe by Alisha Rai (eARC)

Y’all know I’ve really been feeling romances lately, and this one did not disappoint! The story line was a little predictable, but still super cute. The ONLY reason I withheld the last star was because this was a little slow on the uptake…meaning it took a while to pull me in. Sass and trash with be discussed so scroolll on to the bottom for (mostly spoiler free) closing thoughts.



All the things. Rhiannon. Lakshmi. All the things.

• So there’s the LGBT+ rep from Lakshmi, Rhiannon’s personal assistant. Though she doesn’t have a huge role in the book, it is mentioned that she is LGBT+ and (ahhh) no one has any problems with it! (Just as it should be)

• Katrina is Rhiannon’s silent partner and she deals with mental health issues. Throughout the book, we do read about her going to therapy and trying things on the suggestion of her therapist to make big things smaller and more manageable.


This one is a little draggy. It took a bit longer than I’d hoped for it to really hook me to the storyline and characters, however, once I was hooked, I was all in!



The Right Swipe is a cute story about second chances, stepping out of your comfort zone, and opening your heart so that love can find its way in. Rhiannon is our MC and she’s the CEO & cofounder of Crush, an app that sounds very similar to Bumble with its woman-centered matching process. Her direct market competitors are Swype, a Tinder-like hookup app, and Matchmaker, the eHarmony type brand. She’s been through some rough times and feels that she has to be tough or else things will come crashing down. Queue Samson Lima, ex-NFL player, exceptionally patient man with a rather large chip on his broad Samoan shoulders. He believes in love, and he believes he could have it with Rihannon…but she’s not making it easy. There are some very steamy scenes between Rhiannon and Samson and, oh my gosh, at one point he asks her for consent even though they’d previously had sexual contact. P O C K E T S for healthy sex practices and consent. Each time, every time, even if there was a “last time”.

The Right Swipe is a forthcoming romance novel by Alisha Rai, published by the Harper Collins imprint Avon. It is due for release on July 2nd. I am extremely grateful to Avon & HarperCollins for granting me this eARC via Netgalley.

The Bride Test by Helen Hoang (ARC)

Thank you so much for the wonderful Amy for loaning me her ARC copy of this book. I am eternally grateful.

As far as a follow-up book goes, The Bride Test stepped up to the plate and delivered!

Khai is a 20-something Vietnamese American who is happily unmarried, unattached, and not dating, much to the chagrin of his mother.

Esme is a young mother, working a job as maid in a hotel to make ends meet and support her daughter, mother, and grandmother.

The two meet and what happens is nothing short of accidental magic. Khai discovers that he actually does feel, and Esme figures out what it means to be loved. This was such a sweet story. I have preordered a copy and I can’t wait to reread Khai and Esme’s story and fall in love all over again.

Em yêu anh yêu em.

The Bride Test is the second novel by Helen Hoang. It is due to publish on May 7th by Berkley Romance Publishing.

Please Send Help by Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin (ARC)

This book is written completely in a series of emails and text messages between best friends Gen & Ava who are now living in different cities, pursuing jobs, after having been friends since high school. TW: Employee/employer relationship, gaslighting, mild sexual content, threats against the government, badmouthing of a religious organization, and homoerotic ideations.

Genevieve (Gen) is living in Florida. She self-identifies as Queer (yesss LGBT+ rep) and is a journalist a paper and her big story is about a church-run homeless shelter that claims to be a home for all* but is not. [*all meaning: non-LGBT+ persons. If you are in said category, you must agree to undergo (what is basically) conversion therapy to be eligible for shelter. ]

Ava is in New York. She is interning at a television show and she kind of hates it a little but it’s still enjoyable? Ava has depression and anxiety and seeks therapy part way through the story (again, pockets for mental health rep!)


Ava starts a relationship with the boss of the interns (of which she is one) and contracts herpes from him. After confronting him, she then decides to disclose this information to his new flavor-of-the-week so that the new girl can know because HE DIDN’T TELL AVA. SHE DIDN’T KNOW. HE KNEW HE HAD HERPES AND DIDN’T DISCLOSE! Ava and her roommate Dana then decide to start a YouTube channel and the first video is Ava talking about contracting herpes and ways to engage in safer sex practices and protect oneself (P O C K E T S. down w/slut-shaming, up w/education).


Gen tried to force a character to come to terms with their sexuality when they maybe weren’t ready or didn’t necessarily agree with it. She also catfished a whole person so that’s a thing.

Also, general point here, the Open Doors ministry. It’s a homeless shelter, ran by Gen’s local Methodist church and they don’t allow LGBT+ persons to receive the free shelter unless they agree to (what basically amounts to) conversion therapy. While I am not Methodist, I am Christian so this one kinda hurt a little bit. Yes, I know that religious groups think this way, but the fact that Gen is more or less on a vendetta against this one organization — without researching the REST of the organization’s beliefs/policies……bad form. Ava’s own good intentions came to bite her more than once. But Gen was always there with ice and a bandaid so it’s cool.



This book was cute and quirky and fun! I’ve never read a book that was told completely in text messages and email exchanges. It was an interesting change from a traditionally written book. Ava and Gen are all of us and none of us. I’m 24 in my 6th year of undergrad. I have been in Gen’s situation where I didn’t have the money for school, and I HAVE to get this job because it’s the difference between food and none. I’ve also been on Ava’s side: my parents are very supportive and help me in anyway they can…but I also have a strong desire to succeed coupled with anxiety. I loved this book. I was so pissed at Ben and I was totally on Gen’s side when she offered to fly out and string Ben up. We all need a Gen in our lives. We also need an Ava to help us make sane decisions and recognize our faults.

I was provided with this eARC from St. Martin’s Press via NetGalley. I am deeply thankful for their generosity. Please Send Help is the second novel by writing duo Gaby Dunn & Allison Raskin. This book releases July 16, 2019.

Meet Cute by Helena Hunting (ARC)

First things first. I. Loved. It. Every word, every scene, every line. The characters were amazingly believable and just fantastical enough to slightly out of the daily reach. I blazed through this book in 2 days and after you read my review (there will prooooobably most definitely be spoilers), you’ll see why. As always, I’ll talk trash and sass, and leave a spoiler free closing remark 🙂


Kailyn. Female MC, lawyer at a prestigious firm and newly appointed financial custodian of Dax’s sister.

Dax. Male MC, also a lawyer. Older brother turned dad to his sister Emme. Has the hots for Kailyn but kiiinda pissed her off back in the day so she’s not here for it.. Until she is! Spending time with Dax working on his case, and spending time with his sister, Emme, acting as in a big sister/buddy role softens Kailyn’s heart toward him. And, being that this is a romance we all know soften heart = deep kisses = 3rd base (under the shirt, over the bra) = “we slept together and we shouldn’t have but now he’s all I can think about and I miss that 🍆 so we have to stop fighting.”

Friends, despite knowing that this is the formula for a romance, I still was surprised when it happened. Kailyn’s hesitancy with reminds me so much of myself. When I first started dating my boyfriend, I was constantly asking if things were “allowed” or “okay” (holding hands, sharing food, a kiss here and there, etc.) it made me feel so much more normal to see that wasn’t the only one. I actually see a lot of myself in Kailyn besides the hesitancy. She is very focused on her career and getting to her goals that she almost lets love slip through her fingers.

💕 💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕 💕


Kailyn is such a relatable character! We’ve all forced ourselves to take a step back from a potential lover, and maybe have found ourselves doing something we normally wouldn’t. Dax is hard and tough (also relatable). His childhood wasn’t the most conventional and now he’s been thrust into the role of father for his 13-year old sister. His hard shell and hotheadedness almost cost him the girl of his dreams.


The storyline was a little predictable but that didn’t stop me from enjoying every minute of this book!

💕 💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕💕


I’d HIGHLY recommend this to people who are fans of Helen Hoang, Sally Thorne, Jasmine Gardory and more. This is a good one for romance novel novices (say *that* 5 times fast) who are looking for something cute and lovey-doves without it being overly sexual. That isn’t to say there aren’t sex scenes, but they are done very tastefully and handled with the finesse of a professional.

Biiiig giant huge mundo thanks to Grand Central Publishing, Estelle at Forever Romance, and Helena Hunting for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Meet Cute is the forthcoming second novel by Helena Hunting. It is expected to be released in April of 2019 on the Forever Romance imprint of GCP.

Girls with Sharp Sticks by Suzanne Young (ARC)

Today, I’ve composed a poem that I wrote after reading this book. I’ll also have a review too! TW: murder, graphic fight scenes, lobotomy, sl*t shaming, victim shaming, and creepy people looking at people in creepy ways. I hesitate to say “sexual assault” because I don’t want to just throw out a word in a situation where it may not apply.

A poem inspired by Girls with Sharp Sticks Girls with sharp sticks / They scratch and they hit / They scream and pull hair and throw magnificent fits. / Girls with sharp sticks are in control / They give out punishment to those in in the role / Of ruler, of teacher, of man; over men / They’ll scream and hit and bite again and again. / These girls with their sticks, with their Beautiful curves and soft swaying hips / Appear sweet on the outside / And bite under the rind. / Girls with sharp sticks are nasty women / They’ve been hurt and promised / “Never again” / Girl with sharp sticks have found their voices / And now they’re awake / And no one. No man no woman boy or girl /Will ever take away their choices.

I recently received an ARC of Girls with Sharp Sticks from my bookstagram pal Lish McBride and I had a chance to read it before its release, so I’m going to talk about it. Sass and trash will follow and I’ll leave a spoiler-free opinion in the bottom, as always.



Everything. Valentine. Philomena. Everything. Okay, but actually, this book is about a group of girls who have finally found their power and aren’t letting anyone take it away again. There’s a good mystery underneath it all and that, my friends, it what will keep you coming back for more pages.


I can’t think of anything off the top of my head. Honestly…it’s amazing. All around.



Girls is the forthcoming novel by Suzanne Young, author known for her The Program series. It’s set to release March 19th (so just a few days!) and in my opinion, this book should be in everyone’s cart and on everyone’s TBR. This book is a look at the way our society is quick to blame the victim without looking at the person who is responsible for the crime: the perpetrator. The author note at the back of this ARC made me tear up a bit.