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?

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The Rogue’s Proposal by Jennifer Haymore

Sometimes I crave a good historical romance, and that’s exactly what it is — a craving. It’s similar to a craving for a molten chocolate lava cake from Chili’s or a need for something decadent and sweet. A historical romance has the heat of passion but the sweetness of love every. single. time. It’s practically guaranteed and it’s probably why this is such a widely read genre among women. We just need a little bit of happy in our lives. The Rogue’s Proposal by Jennifer Haymore is something I stumbled upon on Netgalley and it was exactly what I needed to curb my craving.

17333280Lord Lukas Hawkins, the rakish second son of the House of Trent, has never found a wager he couldn’t win or a woman he couldn’t seduce—until his search for his missing mother leads him to a mysterious encounter with a beautiful stranger.

Luke’s mother has been missing for months, and while his honorable older brother Simon, Duke of Trent, leads the official investigation from London, Luke sets out on a somewhat seedier path. Sources have told him his mother was last seen with a scoundrel named Roger Morton, but their association isn’t clear. Was she kidnapped or did she go willingly?

While searching for Morton, Luke meets Emma Anderson, a secretive beauty with her own reasons for hunting Morton. At first Luke laughs at the idea of allowing a woman to join him in his search, but soon Emma’s insights into Morton—like the woman herself—prove impossible to resist.

The Rogue’s Proposal is the second book in the House of Trent series. I didn’t read the first book  but got along fine. I loved the idea of Emma doing whatever it takes to save her family, which includes practically destroying her reputation by traveling around with a man unescorted. This man, Lord Lukas, is exactly the type of hero I look for in this kind of book. He’s tough, sexy and rough around the edges. The romance between them was electric.

What sets this book apart from the many others just like it is the variety in scenery and the substance of the plot. Without the romance, this book could have stood on it’s own for mystery and intrigue. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I understand with any historical romance, it won’t be entirely enlightening, but I really enjoyed this book and these characters were really something. I will definitely read more of Jennifer Haymore and I definitely want to see more of the men from the House of Trent.

STARS: 4 out of 5

Thank you NetGalley for a copy in exchange for an honest review!

Dark Triumph by R.L. LaFevers

Dark Triumph by R.L. LaFevers is the second book in the His Fair Assassin series. I loved Grave Mercy, so I gave an anguished cry when I turned the first page of Dark Triumph and realized it wasn’t a continuation of the story of Ismae and Duval but the story of Sybella. However, I got over it quickly enough with the action in the opening scenes plus you get to see a bit of Ismae throughout the novel.

 9943270Sybella arrives at the convent’s doorstep half mad with grief and despair. Those that serve Death are only too happy to offer her refuge—but at a price. The convent views Sybella, naturally skilled in the arts of both death and seduction, as one of their most dangerous weapons. But those assassin’s skills are little comfort when the convent returns her to a life that nearly drove her mad. And while Sybella is a weapon of justice wrought by the god of Death himself, He must give her a reason to live. When she discovers an unexpected ally imprisoned in the dungeons, will a daughter of Death find something other than vengeance to live for?

Sybella’s story was spellbinding. She had such a dark, hidden past that is revealed to us by the end of the book. I loved that she used her pain as a shield and as a sword, attacking with biting quips of false superiority. I would argue her story was so much deeper than Ismae’s and it really pulled at my heart strings. Which brings me to Beast, oh how I love him! LaFever’s description of his battle lust and fighting style really hit the mark. Plus, as Sybella gets to see Beast’s softer, “savior” side, it makes my heart absolutely melt. Beast and Sybella combined makes for one heart-stopping love story!

As always with LaFevers, I enjoy her slow plot building and behind-the-scene scheming that make up the “feel” of this time period in 15th Century Brittany. I loved the historical aspect and ate up anything LaFevers gave out. I’m also a sucker for battles and political intrigue so this book hit the spot. We still get to see what’s going on with the Duchess and the country at-large, and LaFevers weaves in details that will hopefully be fully explained in the third book, Mortal Heart, which is the story of Annith another child of Mortian with the gift of a seer. This book will be out later in 2014.

STARS: 4.5 out of 5