Plain Bad Heroines, a DNF review

Plain Bad Heroines by Emily M Danforth is a book I tried to pick up via audio. You’ll notice the word tried. Unfortunately this was a DNF for me, the second in a row. Let’s have a chat about why.

This is the first book I’ve ever DNFd before hitting the 100 page mark. I was just plain… confused. We were introduced to multiple different time periods, so many different characters, and how they interweave? I couldn’t even begin to guess. There is a chance that if I’d read it at a different time I may have pushed through further, but when it hit the end of June I had to ask myself if I wanted to keep reading this in July. I just couldn’t be arsed. To be quite honest.

We have some lesbians making trouble in the woods of a boarding school, with multiple deaths because of wasps? And then we have a child author who’s book is being adapted into a film (but they’re an adult now) and we’re following both the big star who has one of the roles and a relatively unknown actor who has another role. And that’s pretty much all I gathered from this book. The concept does sound interesting, but I just… didn’t care.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 6, Atmosphere: 4, Writing: 5, Plot: 4, Intrigue: 3, Logic: 4, and Enjoyment: 3 with a score of 4.14 and a 2.5* rating.

Highlight here for trigger warnings: .

This was a super short review, but I read a super short amount of the book! I’ve been having a lot of bad luck when it comes to books lately so wish me luck for a 4 star read or two!

Have you read Plain Bad Heroines? Did you like it? Let me know!

Three Sisters, Three Queens, a review

Three Sisters, Three Queens by Philippa Gregory is a historical fiction focusing on the lives of the Tudor Princesses/Queens who lived in Henry VIII’s shadow. Their lives were fascinating and incredibly harsh, being used as pawns in a mans world.

Unfortunately, this was my first DNF of the year. The concept of the book was absolutely captivating, but I really didn’t get on with Gregory’s writing style and her choices.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m still so very interested in these women and their lives. I want to research all of them. And I really enjoyed learning the facts that were shown in the part of the book I read (I got 179 pages in). Gregory definitely does her research for these books and is building her story around these snippets of life we know about. These three women had such harsh lives. Living in poverty, going through miscarriage and stillbirths, and being controlled by the men around them as pawns.

But. Gregory’s choice in bringing them to life was… really not captivating for me. Margaret is just represented as a whiney child, and this made sense at the point in her life we started at. As she was a child. But where I gave up she was older than me and still responding in such a childish manner to each and every event. I can’t imagine this really being how someone from this time, who would’ve had to “grow up” much faster than we do today, really reacting in this manner.

Additionally, this book is only from one POV. We learn a bit about Mary and Katherine, but we only see Margaret’s point of view. That is really not what I’d expected from a book with this title. And I think it’s such a pity, I would’ve enjoyed the book a lot more with those additional viewpoints.

On CAWPILE I rated this: Characters: 3, Atmosphere: 5, Writing: 5, Plot: 7, Intrigue: 4, Logic: 5, Enjoyment: 2 which gives an average of 4.43 and a 2.5* rating.

Highlight here for trigger warnings: murder, death of a loved one, miscarriage, war, relations between an adult and a minor.

The killing blow for this book, for me, was when my other half could tell I was fed up and didn’t want to read it. I’ll push through a lot of books, more than I really should. So if he can tell that I don’t want to be there? Yeah, it’s time to give it up. Have you read anything from Gregory? Did you enjoy it? Was this an awful book to start with? Let me know!

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams, a review?

Yes the question mark is there on purpose. This is my first review of a book I’ve DNFd. That right there tells you a fair bit about this book. I tried it and ended up decided I wasn’t going to read anymore of it. (DNF = did not finish)

This was my second work by King, the first being The Outsiders (see my review here), and my first collection of short stories from him. I was trying to read these around Hallowe’en cause I heard they could be spooky.

The concepts for the stories I did read were so interesting. But unfortunately the execution was just lacking. None of the stories gripped me, even for their short page spans, and I found myself putting off reading even one story a day.

Originally I had planned my DNF to only be temporary and that I would try to go back to this collection again later. But in playing my Balancing the Books game for my tbr in February I had to unhaul some books. This was one that got the chop.

Sadly this book was just a disappointment and it’s left me not all that excited to read 11.22.63 (which I still have on my shelves). Let’s just hope I enjoy that more

Do you DNF?

DNF – Did Not Finish, to put a book down before you read until the last page and never pick it up again.

It’s something that a lot of us can struggle with! Especially for us who make content online cause we feel like we need to read to the end to be able to properly talk about the book! I had thought that I was fine DNFing books. Reader, I am not.

I was reading Dark Places by Gillian Flynn recently, and I was bored as all hell. So bored. I skipped to the end to read what happened!!! And yet I couldn’t bring myself to DNF the damn thing. I kept thinking about how would I mark it in my bullet journal? Would I then have failed my tbr if it was a DNF? Does it still count as reading it? And so I read all the way to the end.

I will say that the end section was better than the 300 pages before it, but I still gave the book a lowwww 2*s and I probably would’ve been better off just not finishing it at all!

But I couldn’t bring myself to do it! Why not?!?! I really don’t know. It’s something I’m going to have to get better at cause I don’t want to read books I don’t like!

Let me know your DNFing tips!!

I did it!! I read the beast!


I can’t believe I’ve actually finished Othello!! This Shakespeare work was really not the one for me, I’ve enjoyed other plays before (Macbeth and The Comedy of Errors) but when I first tried to read Othello through I just couldn’t finish it. I was bored, confused and annoyed by this play.

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I was picking this book back up, after a very angry DNF a couple years ago, for the May prompt for the BooktubeRereadathon which was a second chance book. What else fit the bill here for me but Othello?

What finally got me through this book was the SparkNotes webpage. I had Googled about the first Act to try and understand what the f*ck was going on and came across their page. You hear people in the US in schools rave about them so I thought it’d be worth a shot.

Friends. It was very much worth it. I ended up reading the entire book through their webpages, actually fully understanding what was going on! For some reason this was just a really problematic text for me but I’m glad I was able to at least comprehend what was happening thanks to SparkNotes. It meant that I got to finish my re-read and now I can actually form viewpoints on this text.

In the end I gave it 2*. It was an interesting story and it would obviously play out better on the stage, but still just not one for me.

10 Steps to Reading More

So many of us struggle to read as much as we’d like. Whether that’s one book a year or 100, it can be intimidating to start a book and procrastination is so often the culprit! So here are 10 tips to make more time to read, and to get some more motivation so that you actually use your free time to get through the books you want to read.

Tip the first

Get. Off. Social Media! Most people don’t really want to sit there for hours and scroll through other people’s lives, but for some reason, we all end up doing it because it’s so easy to do and laziness takes over. I’m definitely guilty of this, to the point where I’ve had to just delete Facebook off my phone completely (although I’ve accidentally swapped it for Twitter… not good). I have also massively culled the people who I follow/am friends with on all accounts. This has had the biggest impact on Instagram, as my feed now has so fewer photos on it and therefore I am on there for a lot less time. This might not work so well for you, I am someone with maybe 20 close friends and 50 more that I want to keep in contact with (and family too) so I deleted people from school who I hadn’t seen in 7 years or more. I wish them all the best, but I just don’t need to know about their latest cooking endeavour. This will hopefully mean you’re on social media for less time each day! You can use this time for whatever you need, but obviously reading is the intention here.

Tip #2

Always have a book with you. Whether that is a physical book, an e-reader, or an e-book app on your mobile phone. The mobile phone app, either a generic one or a kindle app, can be a really helpful one if you’re also utilising the social media reduction tips as you can go to these apps instead when you instinctively reach for social media. Having an e-reader, physical or audiobook with you can be really good for any instance where you end up waiting and/or alone. Waiting at the doctors’ office or walking alone to do the food shop can be a great time to get a physical or audiobook and work some more reading around everyday life.

Three times a charm

As mentioned above, audiobooks can be really helpful to squeeze some more reading time in. They aren’t the quickest way for me to read books, as I can read about 100 pages in an hour (which I’ve been told is fast) and audiobooks run much slower, even with them on double speed, but as I listen to them while shopping or traveling when I can’t have a book out they utilise time which wouldn’t be able to be used for much else. I have mine on a separate iPod, as my phone has pretty much no memory, and I keep this in my coat pocket (welcome to Britain, I almost always need a coat) so that I always have it with me. I get really disappointed when I let it run out of charge without realising as I’ve really got used to listening to a story while I walk and it makes the most menial of necessary tasks much more enjoyable.

Number Four

Another really great time for reading is before bed. Some people claim it’s relaxing, however, I feel that personally depends on the book! It is, however, good for giving your eyes a break from the constant screen use we seem to have nowadays and escaping into another world. For this reason, eBooks aren’t great for this activity although I imagine a paper-like screen may help. This won’t work for some people, my dad, for example, find that books cause him to fall asleep (and he reads action books!) but I would stay up for hours as a child just to finish my book. It all depends on how it’d work for you.

Tip #5

Booktube and the bookish internet can be a godsend in terms of finding new books, however, it can lead to you adding books to your TBR (to be read) which aren’t within a genre that you enjoy or that you only want to read as you’re curious about the hype. This can be great, you can unexpectedly find new favourites this way, but when you’re struggling to read the books you have and you’re losing motivation it can be a good idea to go through your TBR list and remove any books that don’t still spark your interest, or even unhaul any physical books that you know you’re not going to get to unless there is nothing left. You can always re-add these books again at a later date, but having a smaller TBR pile can make it less intimidating and can make you less stressed about working your way through it.

Tip the sixth

Set a Goodreads goal for yourself, sometimes you just need a little accountability to encourage you to pick up that book. In case you’ve never heard of Goodreads, it is a website (with apps for most phones) which is designed for readers. You can add books that you have read, put reviews of them up and organise them into groups, as well as adding books to a “want to read” list in order to keep track of them all. You can also mark books as “currently reading” and then input the page that you’re on in the book. This will then generate the percentage and show you how far through you are. This will automatically be posted to your Goodreads account, where you can add friends or just have the account on private. There is also the ability to set posts to be shared on your social media, Twitter and Facebook being the main two. This can result in interaction with others who are interested in the book online as well as knowing that others can see when you last updated. Knowing that others can see the last time you read can give you that kick up the bum to get one with it!

7 reasons to read

Figure out why you want to read. Is it for education? If so then how much do you want to be more knowledgeable on a subject and which books are best to help? Use this knowledge to narrow down the books you are reading and remind yourself of why you want to know about this subject. Knowing that there is an end goal of learning all the facts could help you to push through and pick up a book when you want to give in and just scroll through social media.

Do you want to read purely for pleasure and the fun of it instead? Why don’t you read more then? Why is it not a priority? Find out what it is that stops you from reading, is it that you don’t want to read the books that you’ve set yourself for the month? You don’t need a rock solid plan for each month, that can take the fun out of reading for some people. Is it that you have other priorities right now such as education, childcare or a demanding job? If this is the case then you either need to look at finding ways to squeeze in reading where you can (audiobooks, treats after success or long work periods) or accept that in this busy period of your life, reading for pleasure isn’t something you can do right now. You don’t need to beat yourself up about it, and you can look forward to being immersed in a good book sometime in the future when you have the time to enjoy it.

Eighth tip

Don’t kick yourself for having a reading slump. It happens, and it can be really hard to get over. The best solution that I’ve found for myself is to not pressure myself to read at all. I might re-organise my shelves, or just go through and clear out my Goodreads TBR to get rid of books I’m not so keen on. The exposure to books might make you pick up a new read, or re-read an old favourite and help you out of that slump. You really just have to give it time, which is really annoying, but maybe if you focus on a different hobby your love of reading will come back to you!


Another tip which may help you to be more excited about your upcoming reads is to have a separate TBR pile for books which you want to get to soon, rather than having all your books clumped together or all your unread books staring at you in a huge group. Seeing this pile of books separate from your other unread and read books in your eye line during the day will make you focus on each book individually and remember why you were so excited to read it in the first place. If they are in the same spot on your bookshelf for years you’ll find yourself not really noticing that they are there, and therefore you won’t feel excited. Moving the ones you will read soon to your bedside table, for example, will refresh them in your mind and hopefully make you feel more clear about whether you want to read them or not.

Last but not least, number ten

The most important point of them all. Don’t compare yourself to others! Accountability might help you as mentioned in #6, however, that doesn’t mean you need to feel like you have to read 30 books in one month. Read at a speed which is comfortable to you and don’t put pressure on yourself to read as much as a friend, family, or anyone you see online. It’s a pleasure activity. Keep it that way and you’re much more likely to carry on consistently! 1 book in a year or 1000, as long as you’ve enjoyed yourself it doesn’t matter.

That is the main point of this post, reading is for pleasure. You may be reading for various different reasons, but you’re doing it because you want to, not for anyone else. Don’t forget that and maybe it’ll remind you of your love of reading and encourage you to read more.


Blackwelder 2164 – a first


Sadly, this is the first book in my life that I have ever DNF’d. This is a resolution I’m making this year as I have far too many books to get through to linger on ones which I’m really not enjoying. I did give this book 3 chapters, but I really just didn’t want to read it and the cheesiness was too much for me as the relationship was already annoying me. Not my style sadly, there isn’t much more to say about this badly portrayed relationship and poorly portrayed characters. I received this book as an eARC from NetGalley and NineStar in return for an unbiased review.