Smut Reporting

In this house, we DNF books

Look, we are so-called “professional reviewers” in that we receive advance copies (or just copies) of books from publishers and authors in exchange for honest reviews because we have a multi-app review platform that assists with book publicity. This, as opposed to simply picking up exclusively whatever books we feel like picking up wherever we happen to (legally) obtain them and reviewing them whenever and however we feel like reviewing them. We are not “professional reviewers” in that we are paid to read and review books. 

And different reviewers like us have different approaches to reviewing. Some sites only review books that they enjoy. Some sites review the whole range of 1- to 5-star reads and don’t DNF. 

We review everything from rants to raves, and we do DNF

Here’s why: 

  1. As reviewers rather than critics or academics, our job is to provide information about the reading experience as average readers. If part of the reading experience was “I was so bored” or “I hated these characters so much I couldn’t finish” or “I was extremely uncomfortable” then that is legitimate information that any other reader might experience and that our followers might appreciate knowing when they come to us for information about books.
  2. We do not believe in forcing ourselves to read things that we do not want to read. This is a personal choice. One of us might be made slightly uncomfortable by a book but choose to keep reading anyway and one of us might choose to DNF. But at the end of the day, the decision is ours, and we respect the decision for any reason. Just because a book interested us enough to accept it or request it in the first place does not mean that it’s going to work out perfectly down the road.
  3. Not gonna lie, the rants get the most hits. We’re not ranting or DNFing to be jerks or get clicks—our thoughts are all honest, and we try to avoid being assholes—but our followers do get curious about our grumblings more than about our gushings, and I get it. I also get curious and am more inclined to click through when I see someone saying they hated a book, because I want to know why and see if I might agree or disagree. 

Every now and then someone might argue that authors are owed the opportunity to tell their stories to their conclusions and that DNFing books is somehow wrong. But here’s the thing – every author has the opportunity to keep us engaged with every turn of a page. When that doesn’t happen, maybe it’s because we as readers simply don’t click with the book, or maybe it’s because the author has written a story with content we find objectionable. All that tells us, though, is that every book isn’t for every reader, and we’re pretty sure we all knew that already. 

The goal is to get books into the hands of the readers that want to read them, and it is possible for a DNF review to do that, because the reading experience is not only about how a book ends – it’s about the road it took to get there. 

9 thoughts on “In this house, we DNF books”

  1. “the reading experience is not only about how a book ends, it’s about the road it took to get there”

    This is especially true of genre romance, given that in most cases the reader already knows that the main characters are going to end together in one way or another.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly. And one reason I sometimes DNF romance, in particular, is if one of the MCs does something irredeemable. Like if both the MMC and the author think he’s a nice guy, but his words and actions show that he’s…not.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I confess that my feelings on this have evolved over the years, as I’ve grown as a reader. Some of my favorite old skool romances feature men who I definitely would run from in real life, but who, on the page, are very much the perfect match for their counterpart.

        But that generally only holds for books I read years ago; these days my patience for the alphahole has worn very thin indeed.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m talking less about alphaholes (who I can take as long as the book is *bonkers*), and more about Nice Guys(TM) who are actually full of toxic masculinity and therefore don’t get redemption because the authors don’t think they need it.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oh my god, YES!

        Some of the main characters written as caretakers, crossing all sorts of personal boundaries, in the name of, “I just want the best for you”, is one thing that will make me rant endlessly.

        Denying someone’s agency “for their own good” is abuse, period, the end, not up for debate.

        Liked by 1 person

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