My Book Slump – An Unfortunate Misadventure Told in Mini Reviews

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I am in a major book slump. I blame it on A Court of Mist and Fury. Nothing can compare to its brilliance and I’m having trouble reading anything in the YA Fantasy genre because of it. After reading a book that sets the bar really high in a genre, I have to take some time away so that I don’t immediately dislike everything else. Sometimes I have a Kanye-esque I’m-going-to-finish-reading-you-but-ACOMAF-is-the-best-book-of-all-time moment, which is incredibly bias and unfair to unsuspecting novels on my shelf.

In an effort to get my groove back, I ventured into different territories.

First Stop: New Adult Romance. Because a steamy romp fixes everything, right? Wrong.

23288101Brotherhood. Club. Family.

They live and ride by their own rules.

These are the Raven Riders . . .

Raven Riders Motorcycle Club President Dare Kenyon rides hard and values loyalty above all else. He’ll do anything to protect the brotherhood of bikers—the only family he’s got—as well as those who can’t defend themselves. So when mistrustful Haven Randall lands on the club’s doorstep scared that she’s being hunted, Dare takes her in, swears to keep her safe, and pushes to learn the secrets overshadowing her pretty smile.

Haven fled from years of abuse at the hands of her criminal father and is suspicious of any man’s promises, including those of the darkly sexy and overwhelmingly intense Ravens’ leader. But as the powerful attraction between them flares to life, Dare pushes her boundaries and tempts her to want things she never thought she could.

The past never dies without a fight, but Dare Kenyon’s never backed down before . . .

I started with a gritty, motorcycle club book with Ride Hard by Laura Kaye. Bad Boy meets good girl, sparks fly, book slump cured. Maybe? Laura Kaye is an author that I love, so I thought I couldn’t go wrong. Unfortunately, the story of Dare and Haven was too predictable and I didn’t engage well with the secondary characters. (Also, I’m binge-watching Sons of Anarchy and that show is killing my will to live with its cruelty. It’s badass, but evil. It may be affecting my level of enjoyment in MC fiction.)

It was a sweet story of one damaged soul saving another, but it didn’t have the level of desperation and emotional turmoil that I was expecting. Their relationship was a bit stagnant and cold between moments of heat, and the perception of disinterest left me, well, disinterested.

Usually, I’m all about the playing hard to get trope, but not here. See, this book slump is killing me slowly.

Next Stop: Try another New Adult by a favorite author (in case the first try was a fluke)

 

13614836A sexy category romance from Entangled’s Brazen imprint…

She’ll make him lose control…

Madison Daniels has worshipped her brother’s best friend since they were kids. Everyone thinks she and Chase Gamble would make the perfect couple, but there are two major flaws in their logic. 1) Chase has sworn off relationships of any kind, and 2) after blurring the line between friends and lovers for one night four years ago, they can’t stop bickering.

Forced together for her brother’s wedding getaway, Chase and Madison decide to call a truce for the happy couple. Except all bets are off when they’re forced to shack up in a tacky 70’s honeymoon suite and survive a multitude of “accidents” as the family tries to prove their “spark” can be used than for more than fighting. That is, if they don’t strangle each other first…

I know I’m in a serious book slump when a feel-good, New Adult novel from an author I love turns out to be an “okay” read. Granted, this book very well may be mediocre, but I couldn’t really get into it enough to verify from a balanced place of judgment.

Tempting the Best Man by J. Lynn (aka Jennifer L. Armentrout) is the first in a New Adult series. It was light-hearted but also frustrating. I don’t like it when the biggest issue in a relationship is a lack of communication (no matter how realistic that is) because one conversation between the main characters can resolve all the conflict in the entire book. I wasn’t feeling the usual heat that I expect from Armentrout. In fact, I wasn’t really feeling anything and that’s what made this book a dud for me.

Next Stop: Going Dark

22895913Innkeeper’s daughter Jane Heatherington is sold into indentured servitude to cover her father’s debts, sold to Aidan Warrick, a man whose handsome face and form mock the rumors that skulk in his shadow, rumors that paint him a smuggler, a pirate…and worse.

On the rainswept Cornish coast, Aidan’s business is carried out in the darkest hours of moonless nights, his secrets are many, and death follows in his wake. Isolated and alone, Jane’s only companion is the man she dare not trust, the man who looks at her with heated desire that she both fears and craves.

As she finds herself ensnared in the twisted schemes carried out within the walls of Aidan’s looming estate, Jane must decide if Aidan Warrick is the dark prince of her dreams or a monster preying on the innocent…

Note: All books in the Dark Gothic series can be read as stand-alone novels.

After failing to read a “happy romance,” I decided to go dark, gothic dark with a Historical Romance. Dark Prince by Eve Silver was an intriguing read. It had a menacing setting complete with overcast skies, tumultuous waves crashing upon rocky shores, leaf-filled cemeteries visited by ravens, and dead bodies washed ashore with no eyes. The female protagonist was damaged but determined, and the love interest was stoic yet sensitive. I got a Mr. Darcy feel from Aidan Warrick, and I admired Jane’s tenacity and kindness.

This book wasn’t uplifting by any means. The story is resolved in a satisfying manner where both of them learn from one another and become better people. It was a nice read, but still left me without a zest for that #booklife.

Next Stop: Tears, lots of tears

15507958Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn’t know is she’s about to lose her job or that knowing what’s coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he’s going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn’t know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they’re going to change the other for all time.

Just when I was thinking my book slump was lifting, my book club picked Me Before You by JoJo Moyes for the July read.

If you’ve read this book, you know, YOU KNOW, what I mean when I say that this book was heartbreaking. I was so intrigued, so invested only to have my heart crushed into a million pieces. JoJo Moyes single-handedly sucked the joy of reading from my soul with this gut-wrenching story. Why, JoJo, Why? I knew it was going to be a sad read, but I didn’t like how certain things were shown, such as Lou’s breakdown, but then it didn’t show pertinent parts at the end.

I hate this book in that angry way where you are ugly crying with tissues but you don’t really mean it. I just need some time.

Next Stop: A cure?

I’m currently reading a YA Contemporary with extreme caution. I’m hoping this will bring me out of my miserable, negative-nancy, reading disease. My book slump is hitting epic proportions. The more I read the worse it gets, and I just kinda want to curl up and stare at nothing until I’m better.

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Any recommendations for books that will be a fix for my book slump?

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

I am entranced. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas is everything I’d hoped it would be. It is a masterpiece.

17927395Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas’s masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

For me, Sarah J. Maas is a master storyteller. I hang on every word, every beautifully crafted sentence, like it’s the last bit of joy in a world full of darkness. I thought A Court of Thorns and Roses was the best book I’d  ever read, but ACOMAF takes the title as the  greatest book of all time. I know I sound like Chris Harrison, where every season of the Bachelor is the “most dramatic season ever” but I truly mean that this story has a place in my heart for the rest of my days. It’s the epitome of why I read, what I love to read and how reading has made a lasting impact on my life.

If you’ve read Maas’s Throne of Glass series then this won’t surprise you, but she has a way of building up a love interest into the most unique soul mate, never to be matched or outdone, until the next book rolls around and she masterfully weaves a new angle that is subtly built with each page until its brilliance smacks you in the face. A new, better, sexier mate is pushed to the forefront, and as a reader, I could do nothing but cower in its genius. I am in awe. I am not worthy.

He said softly, “I love it when you look at me like that.”

The purr in his voice heated my blood. “Like what?”

“Like my power isn’t something to run from. Like you see me.” (p. 466)

I loved this book. I felt every emotion, every hint of desire or spark of fear. I loved Feyre’s growth as a character, and she truly grew with the deep ache of growing pains, filtering through anguish and fear, building herself back up, learning about what she truly wants and needs. There is so much I want to talk about but I can’t without fear of giving too much away.  This book is surprisingly sensual and I loved every minute of it.

“And if he grabbed me?”

There was nothing but uncompromising will in his eyes. “Then I would have torn apart the world to get you back.” (p. 469)

After finishing ACOTAR, I was left reeling with what the last chapter of Rhysand and Feyre meant, with the hint of vulnerability that was revealed. The reasoning behind it was better than I could have hoped for. There were other moments in ACOMAF, where Maas put the puzzle of this story together so well that once the pieces were put into place and the full picture realized, I was left breathless.

The ending was satisfying, terrifying and bloody brilliant. I am in agony that I have to wait for the next book, but knowing Maas, it will be bigger and better than the last so I’ll wait every agonizing moment until the next masterpiece is unveiled. If you have not read this series, it is a must read. It is magic on paper. It is brilliance in a book. It’s the book you’ve been waiting for.

STARS: 10 out of 5 (Because I can)

 

 

 

June Recap and Book of the Month

The year is flying by and I’m hoping to keep better track of what I’m reading and reviewing, so I’m adding a monthly recap and planning to get my ducks in a row.

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Book of the Month*

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The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows – 5 star review

The shocking wedding scene was seriously epic. I can’t stop thinking about it. Definitely the book of the month.

*based on books reviewed this month

June Reviews (Total-6)

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Sky

The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

The Good Girl by Mary Kubica

Play by Kylie Scott

And I Darken by Kirsten White

Grim by M.K. Eidem

June Anticipated Releases

And I Darken by Kirsten White

Starfall by Melissa Landers

Upcoming Reviews

First & Then by Emma Mills

The Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

 2016 Reading Challenge Progress

2016 Reading Challenge

You have read 63 out of 100 books. (I’m ahead of schedule!)

Currently Reading

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The Star-Touched Queen by Roshani Chokshi

The author went to the University of Georgia (Like me!) so I’m excited to be reading a fellow Dawg’s work.

Next on my TBR

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I’m currently on a fairy tale/myth retelling spree.

Current Bookish Obsession

Bookbub – This daily ebook deal email is seriously causing me to abuse one-click ordering on Amazon. However, every time I open my kindle there is always a slew of new books waiting to be read. Managing not only a physical to-be-read list but a digital one is getting to be difficult.

What I’m Writing

This is it. The moment I admit to the blogosphere that I’m working on cleaning up that NaNoWriMo I finished last year. I’m half-way through the first round of edits. Here’s hoping I can keep it up and stay motivated.

America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

Happy Fourth of July!

In honor of our American Independence, I thought it only right that I review a book that pertains to one of the founding fathers — Thomas Jefferson.

I picked up America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie for two reasons. One, I’m on a Hamilton kick and who doesn’t want to see Jefferson’s side of the story from his eldest daughter’s eyes. Two, I loved Laura Kaye’s Hearts in Darkness, which is a pen name for Laura Kamoie.

25817162In a compelling, richly researched novel that draws from thousands of letters and original sources, bestselling authors Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie tell the fascinating, untold story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph—a woman who kept the secrets of our most enigmatic founding father and shaped an American legacy.

From her earliest days, Patsy Jefferson knows that though her father loves his family dearly, his devotion to his country runs deeper still. As Thomas Jefferson’s oldest daughter, she becomes his helpmate, protector, and constant companion in the wake of her mother’s death, traveling with him when he becomes American minister to France.

It is in Paris, at the glittering court and among the first tumultuous days of revolution, that fifteen-year-old Patsy learns about her father’s troubling liaison with Sally Hemings, a slave girl her own age. Meanwhile, Patsy has fallen in love—with her father’s protégé William Short, a staunch abolitionist and ambitious diplomat. Torn between love, principles, and the bonds of family, Patsy questions whether she can choose a life as William’s wife and still be a devoted daughter.

Her choice will follow her in the years to come, to Virginia farmland, Monticello, and even the White House. And as scandal, tragedy, and poverty threaten her family, Patsy must decide how much she will sacrifice to protect her father’s reputation, in the process defining not just his political legacy, but that of the nation he founded.

This well-researched novel is a bit deceiving. It seems like a simple story, but its a dense, well-thought-out piece of work. It’s long, coming in at 600 pages, and it’s mostly a play-by-play of Martha “Patsy” Jefferson’s life. (Side Note: What’s with people having nicknames in the 19th century that sounded nothing like their real name?) I think Stephanie and Laura did a great job bringing her story to life. I was intrigued by her thoughts, and I appreciated that the authors used wording from actual letters written by the men and women represented by these characters.

The literary lover in me really enjoyed this novel. I can appreciate it and acknowledge that it succeeded in accomplishing what it was meant to be — a fresh perspective into this time frame from a female viewpoint. However, the book left me with an overwhelming feeling of melancholy. I felt sad because of how sucky it must have been to be a woman in the 19th century, to be forced to choose between duty and love, and to suffer at the hands of an abusive husband in an age where women had no power to protect themselves or their children. I pitied Patsy for what she had to endure. It fueled my inner rage, that little feminist devil on my shoulder that calls for justice and the burning of bras. (Okay, maaaybe not that bad.)

There were a couple things I wish were different. I wish they would have played more with the idea of slavery and Jefferson’s forbidden relationship with Sally. However, that first shocking scene when Patsy finds them together was a masterpiece. I have that scene seared into the back of my mind. I also wish they would have taken more artistic license. I wanted more details about Patsy and William Short, especially at the end.

Although this book was incredibly enlightening on Patsy’s life and the politics surrounding her, I didn’t feel joy or inspiration from her story. Maybe I was expecting a Hamilton-like, epic ending that leaves the audience pumped to go forth and “write their story,” but this novel left me sad…and grateful that I live in the 21st century.

STARS: 3 out of 5