Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish I had DNF’d


Top Ten Tuesday was create The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.

Hello lovely people and welcome to another Top Ten Tuesday. Today’s topic was actually ‘Books I decided to DNF too quickly’ but honestly I very rarely do not finish a book (mostly just because I’m stubborn) so instead I’m going to do a list of books I kind of wish I had dropped before the end. I would love to know what you think of any of these books or what books you wish you hadn’t finished so please let me know in the comments. I can’t wait to read all your amazing lists this week too!

1. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James


Summary: from Goodreads

When literature student Anastasia Steele goes to interview young entrepreneur Christian Grey, she encounters a man who is beautiful, brilliant, and intimidating. The unworldly, innocent Ana is startled to realize she wants this man and, despite his enigmatic reserve, finds she is desperate to get close to him. Unable to resist Ana’s quiet beauty, wit, and independent spirit, Grey admits he wants her, too—but on his own terms.

Shocked yet thrilled by Grey’s singular erotic tastes, Ana hesitates. For all the trappings of success—his multinational businesses, his vast wealth, his loving family—Grey is a man tormented by demons and consumed by the need to control. When the couple embarks on a daring, passionately physical affair, Ana discovers Christian Grey’s secrets and explores her own dark desires.

Erotic, amusing, and deeply moving, the Fifty Shades Trilogy is a tale that will obsess you, possess you, and stay with you forever.

Why I Should Have DNF’d It:

Lets just get this one out of the way quickly. I read Fifty Shades because literally everyone seemed to be reading it at the time and I felt it was unfair to disparage it without giving it a fair shot. However, I wish I had dropped it after the first few chapters. The explicit nature of the book didn’t bother me at all, I’m not sure it’s a remotely accurate depiction of the BDSM lifestyle but thats for people who know more about it to discuss. What bothered me most about it was how frankly pathetic I felt the main characters were and how cheesy and irritating I found both the plot and the writing. I know a lot of people liked it so clearly it has something going for it but it was a complete waste of time for me personally and I wish I hadn’t bothered.

2. The Couple Next Door by Shari Lapena


Summary: from Goodreads

It all started at a dinner party. . .

A domestic suspense debut about a young couple and their apparently friendly neighbors–a twisty, rollercoaster ride of lies, betrayal, and the secrets between husbands and wives. . .

Anne and Marco Conti seem to have it all–a loving relationship, a wonderful home, and their beautiful baby, Cora. But one night when they are at a dinner party next door, a terrible crime is committed. Suspicion immediately focuses on the parents. But the truth is a much more complicated story.

Inside the curtained house, an unsettling account of what actually happened unfolds. Detective Rasbach knows that the panicked couple is hiding something. Both Anne and Marco soon discover that the other is keeping secrets, secrets they’ve kept for years.

What follows is the nerve-racking unraveling of a family–a chilling tale of deception, duplicity, and unfaithfulness that will keep you breathless until the final shocking twist.

Why I Should Have DNF’d It:

This is a pretty unpopular opinion I think and it’s really just personal taste but for me this book felt so overhyped. It was really popular when it came out and I liked the premise so I bought it immediately. I love thrillers, it’s probably the genre I read most of and invariably there will be some that I just don’t really appreciate but for some reason The Couple Next Door sticks in my mind as being a particularly big let down. It wasn’t badly written at all but I found all the characters annoying and not interesting enough to make up for being unlikeable. I also found the supposed twist a bit stupid to be honest if I’m remembering it correctly!

3. The Cows by Dawn O’Porter


Summary: from Goodreads

A piece of meat; born to breed; past its sell-by-date; one of the herd.

Women don’t have to fall into a stereotype.

The Cows is a powerful novel about three women. In all the noise of modern life, each needs to find their own voice.

It’s about friendship and being female.
It’s bold and brilliant.
It’s searingly perceptive.
It’s about never following the herd.
And everyone is going to be talking about it.

Why I Should Have DNF’d it:

The Cows is a book I read recently and since I received the e-arc from Netgalley I had to finish it because I think you can’t give a fair review without reading the whole thing. I was excited to read this one because I have always liked the author when I have read her work in magazines or seen her on TV, I think thats why the book was disappointing for me – because I was expecting more. The book felt really far fetched and just plain silly at times and the characters were mostly unlikeable. I will still happily read O’Porter’s magazine articles but I sort of wish I hadn’t bothered with this book which is a shame.

4. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by John Tiffany and Jack Thorne


Summary: from Goodreads

Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, a new play by Jack Thorne, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. The play will receive its world premiere in London’s West End on July 30, 2016.

It was always difficult being Harry Potter and it isn’t much easier now that he is an overworked employee of the Ministry of Magic, a husband and father of three school-age children.

While Harry grapples with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, his youngest son Albus must struggle with the weight of a family legacy he never wanted. As past and present fuse ominously, both father and son learn the uncomfortable truth: sometimes, darkness comes from unexpected places.

Why I Should Have DNF’d it:

If I could completely wipe this book from my mind I would. It irritates me so much that anyone refers to it as the eighth Harry Potter book because it feels like such a betrayal of the series that I love. I would read anything HP related and I was initially so excited because JK Rowling was involved but I felt so let down. First off, the characters felt like they had all had personality transplants, none of them felt like the same people from the series. In addition the story, to me anyway, felt convoluted and strange. I just hated the whole thing to be honest. It reads like the very worst sort of fan fiction to me and I really wish I had not read it. Sorry – melodramatic rant over now!

5. The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan


Summary: from Goodreads

In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying Grace Winter and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die.

Adrift on the Atlantic, the weather deteriorating and supplies dwindling, the caraways scheme and battle, caught up in a vicious power struggle between ruthless but experienced sailor and an enigmatic matron with surprising powers of persuasion.

Choosing a side will seal her fate, but Grace has made her way in the world by seizing every possible advantage. As she recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met and considers the new life of privilege she thought she’d found, Grace must now decide: Will she pay any price to keep it?

The Lifeboat is a masterful debut, a story of hard choices, ambition, and entertainment narrated by a woman as complex and unforgettable as the events she describes.

Why I should have DNF’d it:

I read this book a while ago so my memory is a little fuzzy but the overwhelming feeling I associate with this book is just – meh. If I remember correctly there was quite a lot of hype and good reviews surrounding The Lifeboat plus the book itself is really gorgeous, the cover is amazing and my copy has dark blue edging to the pages. However, the story just didn’t really go anywhere in my opinion, it was pretty boring at points and the characters themselves just weren’t fascinating enough to be the main focus. With this book I just feel there are so many other books I could have been reading and The Lifeboat is one I should have just abandoned.

6. Need To Know by Karen Cleveland


Summary: from Goodreads

What do you do when everything you trust might be a lie?

Vivian Miller is a dedicated CIA counterintelligence analyst assigned to uncover the leaders of Russian sleeper cells in the United States. On track for a much-needed promotion, she’s developed a system for identifying Russian agents, seemingly normal people living in plain sight.

After accessing the computer of a potential Russian operative, Vivian stumbles on a secret dossier of deep-cover agents within America’s borders. A few clicks later, everything that matters to her—her job, her husband, even her four children—are threatened.

Vivian has vowed to defend her country against all enemies, foreign and domestic. But now she’s facing impossible choices. Torn between loyalty and betrayal, allegiance and treason, love and suspicion, who can she trust?

Why I Should Have DNF’d It:

I got this book in a Goodreads giveaway back when they were still open to the UK so I can’t complain too much as I didn’t have to buy it but sadly I kind of still wish I hadn’t bothered reading it. As previously stated this is my preferred genre and the idea of the book sounded so promising. Unfortunately the execution felt a bit amateurish to me, I found the whole thing a bit predictable and certainly nothing new or exciting. I am a bit confused because so many people seemed to really enjoy this book and I think it’s being made into a movie so clearly I’m in the minority here but Need To Know just felt a bit ‘thriller-by-numbers’ to me.

7. One Day by David Nicholls


Summary: from Goodreads

It’s 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met on the night of their graduation. Tomorrow they must go their separate ways. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another.
Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day—July 15th—of each year. Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.

Twenty years, two people, one day.

Why I Should Have DNF’d it:

One Day has a really interesting structure which I liked and the writing is good so I’m not sure why it sticks in my mind as such an unenjoyable read for me – but it does. I found the two main characters a bit vapid and self indulgent to be honest and the whole thing just felt ever so slightly pointless to me. I also didn’t like the ending which I felt was gratuitous and done purely for shock value. The whole reading experience just wasn’t a very pleasant one and I wish I had stopped reading it early on.

8. Gone Astray by Michelle Davies


Summary: from Goodreads

What if someone thinks they deserve their life more than you?

When a Lesley Kinnock buys a lottery ticket on a whim, it changes her life more than she could have imagined . . .

Lesley and her husband Mack are the sudden winners of a £15 million EuroMillions jackpot. They move with their 15-year-old daughter Rosie to an exclusive gated estate in Buckinghamshire, leaving behind their ordinary lives – and friends – as they are catapulted into wealth beyond their wildest dreams.

But it soon turns into their darkest nightmare when, one beautiful spring afternoon, Lesley returns to their house to find it empty: their daughter Rosie is gone.

DC Maggie Neville is assigned to be Family Liaison Officer to Lesley and Mack, supporting them while quietly trying to investigate the family. And she has a crisis threatening her own life – a secret from the past that could shatter everything she’s worked so hard to build.

As Lesley and Maggie desperately try to find Rosie, their fates hurtle together on a collision course that threatens to end in tragedy . . .

Money can’t buy you happiness.
The truth could hurt more than a lie.
One moment really can change your life forever.

Why I Should Have DNF’d It:

I bought this book because I saw it’s sequel in a bookshop and thought the story sounded good but I hate to read books out of order so I (perhaps stupidly) bought Gone Astray and the follow up book at the same time. Unfortunately I never got to the second in the series because I found the first book (this one) so disappointing. The characters were a bit dull but the story was mostly fine and could have been saved by a great central character. Sadly I found DC Maggie Neville kind of annoying and predictable and I certainly didn’t want to read a second novel focussing on her. I wish I just hadn’t read it and hadn’t spent my money on it. But hey – you live, you learn!

9. The Girls by Emma Cline


Summary: from Goodreads

Northern California, during the violent end of the 1960s. At the start of summer, a lonely and thoughtful teenager, Evie Boyd, sees a group of girls in the park, and is immediately caught by their freedom, their careless dress, their dangerous aura of abandon. Soon, Evie is in thrall to Suzanne, a mesmerizing older girl, and is drawn into the circle of a soon-to-be infamous cult and the man who is its charismatic leader. Hidden in the hills, their sprawling ranch is eerie and run down, but to Evie, it is exotic, thrilling, charged—a place where she feels desperate to be accepted. As she spends more time away from her mother and the rhythms of her daily life, and as her obsession with Suzanne intensifies, Evie does not realize she is coming closer and closer to unthinkable violence, and to that moment in a girl’s life when everything can go horribly wrong.

Why I Should Have DNF’d It:

The Girls was THE book of summer 2016 and it sounded amazing and very much up my street so I bought it right away. However the book definitely didn’t live up to it’s hype for me, the story was fine and the writing wasn’t bad or anything but I just found it a bit dull and uneventful. It’s sort of based on the Manson cult and I wish I had read Helter Skelter instead which is the true story of the Manson murders and apparently a very good book. I will definitely read it at some point – hopefully soon – but I wish I had given up on The Girls earlier.

10. The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce


Summary: from Goodreads

Meet Harold Fry, recently retired. He lives in a small English village with his wife, Maureen, who seems irritated by almost everything he does, even down to how he butters his toast. Little differentiates one day from the next. Then one morning the mail arrives, and within the stack of quotidian minutiae is a letter addressed to Harold in a shaky scrawl from a woman he hasn’t seen or heard from in twenty years. Queenie Hennessy is in hospice and is writing to say goodbye.

Harold pens a quick reply and, leaving Maureen to her chores, heads to the corner mailbox. But then, as happens in the very best works of fiction, Harold has a chance encounter, one that convinces him that he absolutely must deliver his message to Queenie in person. And thus begins the unlikely pilgrimage at the heart of Rachel Joyce’s remarkable debut. Harold Fry is determined to walk six hundred miles from Kingsbridge to the hospice in Berwick-upon-Tweed because, he believes, as long as he walks, Queenie Hennessey will live.

Still in his yachting shoes and light coat, Harold embarks on his urgent quest across the countryside. Along the way he meets one fascinating character after another, each of whom unlocks his long-dormant spirit and sense of promise. Memories of his first dance with Maureen, his wedding day, his joy in fatherhood, come rushing back to him – allowing him to also reconcile the losses and the regrets. As for Maureen, she finds herself missing Harold for the first time in years.

And then there is the unfinished business with Queenie Hennessy.

Why I Should Have DNF’d It:

This is a tricky one to explain because I didn’t strongly dislike this book or anything and I think it does what it set out to do but for some reason I just couldn’t really connect to it. I read it soon after reading A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman which I absolutely love and I was looking for something kind of similar in nature. However, I kind of felt like The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry was almost trying too hard to make me feel something that I just didn’t, almost like it was just tugging at heartstrings rather than telling a story. This book honestly made me feel a bit heartless for how little it affected me emotionally and because of that if I could go back I probably wouldn’t finish it.

Well that’s my list! I really appreciate you taking the time to read it and please lets chat away in the comments and do link to your Top Ten Tuesday so I can give it a read!

62 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish I had DNF’d

  1. Jordanne says:

    I had One Day on my TBR, but I was warned it was very much a chick flick book when I was given the recommendation. I see your point about Cursed Child, I don’t really consider it the 8th book, more ‘the play JK had made to make even more money because she sold her soul after Pottermore’ – I read it as fan fiction by Tiffany and you know, for fan fiction it’s good just because it’s got good grammar and spelling so *shrug*. Great list! I struggle with the decision to DNF, though receiving it as an ARC is never a reason to make yourself read something you’re not enjoying, too many books, too little time!

    Liked by 2 people

    • lifewithallthebooks says:

      Thank you! 😊 Yes I do think One Day is a bit chick flick in nature! It just was not for me! I struggle so much to DNF a book too but you’re completely right – there are too many good books out there to waste time on one you’re not enjoying! 💛

      Liked by 1 person

  2. BriennaiJ says:

    I actually liked Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but I definitely thought that some of the characters were completely different from the original series and could understand people’s frustration.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. parchmentmagic says:

    I completely agree with you on Harry Potter and the Cursed Child! It was the most heartbreaking of all, because Harry Potter is such a wonderful series and I was really hoping to adore the last instalment….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kaitlin (leviosanotleviosa) says:

    I also read Fifty Shades (the whole trilogy!) to see what the fuss was all about. I was a bookseller at the time, so it seemed reasonable that I should read what everyone was going mad for. I could talk for HOURS about all the things wrong with that series, many of which you mentioned.
    I haven’t read the Cursed Child script, but I’ve seen the play, and I want you to know that it doesn’t betray the characters or the original flavour of the story at all. The play is AMAZING, and honestly I loved it as a peek into what my favourites were doing years later. If you get the chance to see it, I’d definitely recommend it, and hopefully it can make up for what the book lacked.

    Liked by 1 person

    • lifewithallthebooks says:

      I could go on and on about fifty shades too – there is so much wrong with it!
      I think that’s a very good point about cursed child because it is intended as a play not a book so I’m sure the play is a much better experience! 😊💛

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ambi says:

    Hmm… I’ve come across many bad reviews and comments for The Cursed Child with many saying it’s not as funny or lively as the previous books 😛 I have yet to read anything by this author but definitely plan on doing so soon! Great list and thanks for visiting! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • lifewithallthebooks says:

      Yes I’ve heard the show is much better but the book was so terrible I just don’t know whether I want to see it!
      The Girls didn’t draw me in either – I found it pretty dull ! Thank you for stopping by! 😊


  6. Sammie says:

    Oh gosh, I had to laugh that 50 Shades is number one on your list. That is on my DNF list. I made it through maybe a quarter of it, and I feel like that should earn me a cookie, but my goodness, I just couldn’t stand the characters or the writing style. I was doing it as a buddy read, and we both just mutually agreed to DNF it. xD

    I applaud you for giving The Cursed Child a go! I had so many friends read it and rant their disappointment at me that I just skipped it all together. I feel like I made a good decision. Great list!


    • lifewithallthebooks says:

      You have definitely made a good decision not reading Cursed Child – I wish I hadn’t!
      I don’t know anyone personally who liked 50 shades so I have no idea why it’s so popular but never mind! I’m impressed you made it a quarter of the way through – trust me it doesn’t get any better! 😊💛


  7. Colleen's Conclusions says:

    I had no problem DNFishing Fifty Shades, haha. I didn’t even get through the sampler soooo that doesn’t really count for me. I thought it was going to be about something else. *shakes head*

    And I actually did not finish Cursed Child because it’s “a Harry Potter” book. But I have not the finished Fantastic Beast book yet because it follows the movie exactly (DUH, I know, right? HA.) But yeah. I had just seen the movie when I tried to read it.


  8. itsmeladynikki says:

    Yes! Totally agree with 50 Shades & Harry Potter. Harry Potter was super predictable. 50 Shades, the main character was super annoying and didn’t seem like reality at all.


  9. RacheLeanne says:

    Great list! I was so conflicted about Cursed Child. Part of me loved it because it was real, after all these years there was something new and real to read, and we had a chance to catch up with everyone. But part of me agrees with you. It really was like fan fiction wasn’t it…

    Thanks again for visiting my blog!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. lilisblissfulpages says:

    Ugh!!!, I should’ve DNF’ed 50 Shades too. It’s nonsense.. (Sorry to the fans of the books. 😦 )
    Like you I only read it because I wanna know why the hype surrounding it. I was disappointed. And Ana is such a doormat…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. foreverlostinlit says:

    I pretty much just pretend The Cursed Child doesn’t exist. My boyfriend likes to point it out when we go to the bookstore sometimes, so I just pretend I can’t see it–petty, but it made me so angry, haha. I’ve heard similar thoughts about The Girls, which is probably why I haven’t picked it up! The Lifeboat at least has a really lovely cover!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. readinginthewings says:

    I felt similarly about The Cursed Child. I definitely don’t count it as the 8th Harry Potter book, and I agree that the characters did not seem even remotely like the ones we love so much. Part of it for me was that I felt the format didn’t lend itself well to the largeness of the plot… but I am hoping, and eager to see it done on stage. I have heard that seeing it vs. reading it makes all the difference…

    Liked by 1 person

  13. liveforbroadway says:

    Not at all shocked to see “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” or “Fifty Shades” on here because those are such… controversial books. And I can definitely see why you didn’t enjoy them and wish you had put them down. Especially FSOG: I really hated that entire trilogy (is it even a trilogy anymore? I know the author came out with the stories from Christian’s POV so I don’t know if we consider it a trilogy or not anymore.) and I’m always feeling a little justified when it comes to other people not enjoying it.

    I will say that The Girls is one of my favourite standalone novels but I cannot imagine it being everyone’s cup of tea. It’s another one of those novels where it’s like, you either love it or hate it and I personally loved hearing your thoughts on why it wasn’t for you.

    Everything else on this list, I basically haven’t heard of but I’m kind of glad I didn’t.

    Great list!

    Liked by 1 person

    • lifewithallthebooks says:

      Thank you so much 😊 I don’t know whether fsog is a trilogy anymore either although the new ones sound like the author is just repeating everything from Christian’s POV which sounds terrible – it was annoying enough reading it once! 😂
      I think The Girls definitely is a love or hate one, my sister really, really liked it but I just couldn’t get into it sadly!
      Thanks again for commenting 😊


  14. Katrina Southern says:

    Having read The Cursed Child AND seen it let me just say that it’s WAY better to watch. The personalities are never going to come through in script format because they are designed to be interpreted by Directors and Actors. As for the Fifty Shades series – I refuse to touch it.

    Here’s my TTT 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  15. novelcravings says:

    The Cursed Child! I haven’t read it yet and I don’t hear a lot of good things about it. And yet, I feel drawn to it because it’s Harry Potter. I will most likely read it one day, and very likely regret it. LOL

    Liked by 1 person

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