Shattered Secrets | DNF Report

November 18, 2015 Reviews 7

DNF Report

I’ve decided that when I’ve spent days (and sometimes weeks… because DNFs tend to take a lot more time) reading a book and have to give up on it, I want to give a quick explanation why. So welcome to what I’m calling a DNF report. It’s not a real book review but a quick report of why I had to call it quits and the time of death.

Shattered Secrets | DNF ReportShattered Secrets by Karen Harper
Series: Cold Creek #1
Published by Mira on August 26, 2014
Genres: Romance, Suspense
Pages: 400
Format: Paperback
Source: Library

Every town has its secretsโ€ฆ

Returning to Cold Creek, Ohio, is an act of courage for Tess Lockwood. Abducted and held captive as a young girl, she is unable to remember anything about the crime that destroyed her childhood and tore her family apart. Now a grown woman with a bright future, she is certain she has put the past behind her. But when she inherits the family home, Tess must confront the demons that still haunt her and the town of Cold Creek.

Gabe McCord has always blamed himself for what happened to Tess. He had been a teenager when she was snatched from the group of children he was responsible for watching. Now Gabe has taken on the role of sheriff and hopes to shed new light on the cold case, especially given his growing feelings for Tess.

Tess isn't ready to recall what happened to her, and she has no intention of digging up any details that might remind her of the truth. But when another child in the town goes missing, she's certain it's related to her return to Cold Creek. Together,Tess and Gabe will have to work to unlock their painful memories in order to save another child and heal their damaged souls, for goodโ€ฆ

Romantic Suspense is very hit and miss for me – and Shattered Secrets was a miss. It had lots of potential – the concept of someone who’s been kidnapped, escaped without any memories of what happened, and returning to the town where it happened when another child is kidnapped sounds like it should be gripping. For me, it just wasn’t.

I should note, however, that I probably would have finished the Shattered Secrets if I didn’t have access to others who read it (some who liked it and others who didn’t) and could tell me what happens. I did care – turned out I was right ๐Ÿ™‚ – so the story was compelling. I just was thankful that I could cut to the chase without pushing through myself.

Why it didn’t work for me:

  • The characters aren’t complete enough for me. They are one dimensional and their dialogue felt atrocious. The conversations don’t involve any natural back and forth.
  • The flow is jarring. Much like the dialogue, there’s no flow. Take for example the first kiss, there’s no build up or anticipation – it just happened. And I had to pause and go, “wait, did they just kiss?”
  • The cult. It could be this marvelously creepy element. Instead, its just weird. And even weirder, we’re in this town where kids are kidnapped and no ones looking seriously at the cult. Huh? Even if they aren’t it, we should so be suspecting them. But I so wasn’t.

There’s more very knit-picky specific plot elements that bug me (like Mr. Mean, for those that have read it) but I think you get the point. Shattered Secrets does have several good reviews and suspect its because there is a compelling, underlying story there.

But it didn’t work for me and I’m calling it.

Time of death: 50%

Shattered Secrets was dead for Berls by 50%. She tells why in her DNF report. Click To Tweet Follow on Bloglovin


About Karen Harper

Karen Harper

A New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Karen Harper is a former college English instructor (The Ohio State University) and high school literature and writing teacher. A lifelong Ohioan, Karen and her husband Don divide their time between the midwest and the southeast, both locations she has used in her books. Besides her American settings, Karen loves the British Isles, where her Scottish and English roots run deep, and where she has set many of her historical Tudor-era mysteries and her historical novels about real and dynamic British women. Karen’s books have been published in many foreign languages and she won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for 2005. Karen has given numerous talks to readers and writers across the county.


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About Berls
Berls has been a book lover her whole life. She reads pretty much every genre and is currently working hard at making her childhood dream of becoming an author come true. She loves sharing her thoughts about books, blogging, and just random fun stuff. She's a challenge and read-a-thon junkie, so it's no wonder that she loves co-hosting the COYER reading challenge. Leave a comment, Berls is always happy to chat!

7 Responses to “Shattered Secrets | DNF Report”

  1. Lola

    I am sorry to hear this wasn’t a book for you :(. It’s sad when a book has potential and falls flat. I am only slowly getting into the romantic suspense genre and the few books I’ve read so far were good. That the conversations and flow didn’t feel natural sounds very jarring I can see how that would get you out of the story.
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