Well, 2017 has gotten the best of me. Just two months into the year and I’ve already fallen behind with my reading wrap ups. BUT, I do have a legitimate reason for this little combined wrap up .. I wanted to revamp these posts but realised I didn’t have the time to do so, and by the time I realised I should have posted my January reading wrap up, it was mid-February and it made more sense to combine these first two months. Also, heads up, it’s heavy with adult romance novels because I’ve had a rough couple of months and easy, breezy and sexy was all I wanted to read.
In these past two months I’ve read 15 books, and gotten half way through with The Wise Man’s Fear featured in the image above. It’s a great read and there are no valid reasons why I put it down for February… I just was in a weird slump but hopefully The Wise Man’s Fear will be featured in March Reading Wrap Up. Until then, get ready for a really long wrap up because I had fifteen books to talk about.
The second book in the All for the Game by Nora Sakavic‘s self published trilogy was my favourite out of the three. Looking back, I remember it being the most consistent, least annoying and the strongest in terms of style and character development. To be honest, the first book could be easily stripped down and added to the second book, and together, they could make a very strong first book. Because the first book almost made me give up this series but I’m glad I picked up the second one because it was quite fun.
Third and final book of the All for the Game series was a weird ride. I liked some aspects of it and I liked the development of certain friendships but it all felt way too rushed and messy. While the second book took time to set up characters, the third book sort of tried to apologize for things and make it alright. In other words, some of the choices were unclear and the explanations for said choices didn’t add up – so characters didn’t make sense by the end. But for what its worth, I admire the fact that this entire series is self published and for that, I liked it a lot!
Alright, it feels a little easier to talk about all three Elle Kennedy‘s books at once, since this is a series, and it does have similar plots – handsome and fit men, not looking for relationships, meet that special girl, who makes them realise they are ready for a relationship. That sums up all three, pretty much, although all of them have different characters, men and women, connected by the fact that the men live in the same house and play for the same hockey team. The series also has a fourth book but I wasn’t interested in that because the fourth guy wasn’t set up well enough in the first three books, in my opinion.
For what the books set out to be – new adult romance novels – I think all three manage to be just exactly that. And I really liked these books, the second one not so much, but I thought the other two were quite good, funny and pretty well written. The main protagonists had quite good character developments and it was nice to have the couples turn up in the later books every now and then. So as a whole, Off-Campus was quite entertaining and since I wasn’t trying to read it critically, it turned out to be an enjoyable experience that made me realise I was missing out a little in terms of not reading romance novels.
There is no way you have not heard about The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern if you are tuned into the book world. It is a magical realism story, though that is not the genre it says it is on Goodreads (I stand by my statement though), and it tells a story of a circus. I loved it but it took me a while to appreciate its beauty. The reason is simple, the book takes a long while to set up its final act and the first half of the book feels like a very long and jumbled introduction which took me a while to get through. But once I got over that barrier I was soaring through the story and I didn’t want it to end. It needs a sequel.. or a story beyond the pages of its book format because this is a story that will be magical to witness as a movie. Or better yet, as a mini-series.. I could see it already!
Honestly, I’m a little surprised that I had forgotten about Nevernight by Jay Kristoff until I noticed it on my Goodreads list. It just somehow slipped my mind even though I really really liked the book.. well, maybe not really really liked it because I did have some problems with it until the middle of the book. The thing is, and I mentioned it a lot while I was reading it, Nevernight has these footnotes and they bothered the hell out of me! Sometimes they served as a section to tell the reader additional information about the world, sometimes it was there to make a joke, sometimes it told another sub-story related to the world – it was all so much and the footnotes kept taking me out of the main story which interrupted the flow of the plot. But without making this summary all about the footnotes, I would say that the world Kristoff created is very lovely, and the characters are complicated and their interactions well written. So many things about Nevernight are great and I actually got emotional at the end there.. but I was also furious at the footnotes in the beginning. So it’s a love and hate relationship towards this book but mostly love because I’m not going to lie, a school for assassins is as cool as it sounds!
Did you guys know there is a sub-genre out there called gay for you? It’s literally about a straight person being attracted to the same sex person but only that said person. Well, I didn’t know that something like that existed but when I found out I was curious so I picked up Bear, Otter and the Kid by T. J. Klune. I didn’t want to put it down before finishing it, and I think that is a pretty strong compliment from me. It was a cute story about a guy who thought he had his life all figured out until his mom walked out on him and his little brother, leaving him in charge. And I actually thought the characters were well defined and written, even though I was a little hesitant in the beginning. I mean, the title of the book doesn’t scream intelligent, yet, I can’t say it was stupid.. despite the fact that it desperately wanted to use those silly nicknames instead of the real ones throughout the book.
Again, I’m wrapping all three up in one because these books were very short and it felt completely unnecessary to split them up like this. That being said, all three did have different main plots, despite having the same character Spencer Cohen and the same love interest in all three. The first one focused on him realising he was ready for a relationship, the second one was mostly about enjoying said relationship, and the third one was about facing his past. It was all very fast paced and it felt rushed, it had quite a lot of sex scenes in it which I guess was what N. R. Walker wanted to put the emphasis on. Yet, despite its flaws, I mean, it was alright I guess. I mean I did give the first two 3,5 stars and the last one 3 stars but I mean I wasn’t really reading to be critical either. Which I guess implies that this series is a nice easy read if you don’t mind the adult stuff.
Well.. to start off my adult romance streak, I picked up Sally Thorne‘s debut novel The Hating Game and loved it to bits! It was the most wonderful story with great characters and even though the atmosphere and the descriptiveness of the story lacked a little, the end result was amazing! What I liked the most about this book was the fact that so many adult romance novels start with the main characters meeting.. this is not the case for The Hating Game. These two people know each other, they have known each other for years, and they also hate each other! It’s wonderful. It should be a movie, that silly 90’s romance movie you could watch with ice cream and hot chocolate. There are various movies with a similar idea, hell, I could name two at least, but I still want to see this one on the big screen.
I sat down to read Kulti by Mariana Zapata knowing it was going to be a slow burn romance and it delivered oh so well. The thing is, after reading The Hating Game, I realised I appreciated slow burn romance quite a lot, and Kulti is therefore well liked by me. It also has a sports element where the lead character Sal plays football (not the American kind but the soccer kind) and it’s the newly hired trainer Reiner Kulti that will turn her world upside down. It takes time to develop characters and it takes its time to become romantic.. and if I would fault it, I would say that the only time it rushes is right after the romance has happened. Then it’s just all guns blazing and before you know it, you’ve finished the book and have to get back to your life. Your lonely lonely football player lacking life.
After Kulti, I was desperate for more slow burn and since I enjoyed Mariana Zapata‘s writing the first time around, I figured I’ll pick up her other novel The Wall of Winnipeg and Me. Also sports themed, we have a very grumpy American football player and his very patient soon-to-be ex-assistant coming into an agreement of sorts that will put them in an awkward position. It’s a lovely book, I think I liked it a little more than Kulti but they are equally great on their own. Yet again, when the romance happens, which by the way happens way too off the bat in this one, the book is over before you can say “hell yeah!”. It’s like burning a match from the other end, it slowly but surely burns towards the tip and when it catches fire it burns out so quickly that you didn’t know what just happened. But it’s alright, at least there are some good laughs along the way.
Finally but not least, the last slow burn romance novel I read was Managed by Kristen Callihan. It’s the second novel in the VIP series but I didn’t realise it was the second novel before I was midway through Managed. It’s alright though, you don’t have to read the first one, though it might help to understand the side-character in this one a little better. What I loved about this book was the sarcastic and hilarious lead Sophie. She has great comebacks, she is quick and when the two leads meet in the beginning, I couldn’t stop laughing. It was perfect! The only thing, if I’m going to pick at it, is the agreement between the two that feels a little fake.. but I mean it’s a romance novel, I don’t think it can be 100% realistic in the first place. But I did enjoy the fact that it does take its time to get to the romance stuff. Not as long as the three previous novels mentioned above but long enough to be a little less like those meet-bang-fight-bang-happily-ever-after types of romance novels.
Have you read any of these romance infused novels? Did something catch your eye? Let me know and be sure to curse at me for not reading more fantasy these past few months because I know I’m cursing at myself right about now.. nothing more shameful than wrapping up two reading months and realising you pretty much read the same book 10 times. Oh well..