Book reviews on DNF novels

So, I have a question for my fellow book reviewers / book bloggers. And my readers too, I guess.

Although I have, on a rare occasion, left a review on Goodreads or Amazon noting that I did not finish (DNF) a book and why, I’ve never written a post or shared that review in my blog. I guess I feel like I can’t give a full, fair review if I didn’t finish it.

But if it’s more than just ‘I lost interest’ or ‘It wasn’t to my taste’, and it has some major flaws in it that are enough to make me call it quits (I hate to leave a book unfinished!), is it fair to write a review/post?

Then comes the kicker – what if it’s an advance review copy (ARC – a book that has to been given to a reviewer for free prior to publishing for the purposes of getting an early review) or a book that the author has specifically requested that I review? I’ve had a few requests lately. What if I’ve given it my best shot and I’m hating the book and I know that no matter what happens from here on out, I don’t give a shit about the character? Do I write a review/post or do I just politely let the author know in a private email?

I’m going to tag a few book bloggers whose opinions I value (you should check out their blogs too!), but I’d be delighted for anyone to weigh in with an opinion. Even if you’re not a book blogger or reviewer, you may have an opinion on whether you’d like me to include such posts in this blog.

Drew at the Tattooed Book Geek
Sionna at Books In Her Eyes
Anne Barwell at Drops of Ink
Shaye at A Reading Brit


  1. Thanks for tagging me, Elle.

    I tend to request books I know I’ll enjoy but occasionally I do hit one I don’t. Generally I do try to finish the book – I think I’ve only had two in many years of reading that I didn’t, but if I don’t I just label it read on Goodreads and don’t rate or review it. Ditto with anything under 2 stars, although there was one of those I felt I needed to give an honest review. Even then I did find something nice to say amongst the didn’t enjoy it because…. comments.

    I tend to give a lot of 4 and 5 star ratings so anything less I figure is a ‘read between the lines’ type thing.

    If it’s a review request from directly from the author (as I read a lot of not review books too, yet still rate and/or review them), I will email the author privately – or the person I got the book through – and let them know. I figure for every book I don’t enjoy, someone else does, and it’s still someone’s baby.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I always try to remain aware that the author has put a lot of work into the book regardless of whether I enjoyed it or not. And people’s tastes are so different, so what put me off may not put someone else off. Thanks for your input. I have definitely reviewed books under three stars before, but this time it feels like I should go back to the author privately.


  2. If it’s an author request book then I’d email them and let them know that I’m DNF’ing the book. I guess it depends on the reasons why your DNF’ing it (if it’s just sh#t, it’s sh#t) but if it’s things like the pacing and that you haven’t connected with the characters then I’d possibly include that in the email too. Possibly also ask them if they’d want a DNF review on Amazon and Goodreads aswell.

    Same for an ARC. If it’s on Netgalley then it impacts your percentage if you don’t review so I’d probably just leave a few lines saying that I’m DNF’ing it and why.

    If it’s an ARC from a publisher then, they know that we can’t love all the books, all the time and I’d email the publicist and let them know that I tried with the book and that I’m DNF’ing it.

    I think for sharing on your blog then it’s entirely upto you. I agree that you can’t give a full review. Only a review of what you’ve read and what you liked/disliked and why you DNF’ed the book upto the point that you DNF’ed the book but it’d still be a fair review. You like a book, there’s reasons why, you dislike a book, there’s reasons why and if you DNF a book there’s reasons why too and whatever, it’s all fair.

    You never know, the reasons why you DNF the book might make someone pick it up (say, it is slow paced as some like that type of pacing) and others might dislike the same things as you and know to avoid the book.

    Not sure I’m much help as I haven’t DNF’ed a book in ages, sorry.😂

    Liked by 1 person

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