Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Mini-Reviews // Curing My Reading Slump

It's true what they say: Nothing like some steamy New Adult romance to pull you out of a reading slump. Or, is it just me that says that? Well, I only say it because it's true. For the last few months, I haven't been in the reading mood, which is INSANE for me because reading is life. Books are bae.

But, for one reason or another, I had an inkling of an ache to read. So, I picked up my Kindle and started browsing. I started reading The Air He Breathes and I didn't stop.  Couldn't stop, wouldn't stop. Then I moved on to Smut by Karina Halle and Too Late by Colleen Hoover. And, since then I've been in a reading frenzy.

This, my friends, is the story of How Teisha Got Her Reading Groove Back...

"He breathed against my lips;
The air he exhaled became the inhales that healed me. ”

The Air He Breathes by Brittainy C. Cherry

Genres: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: September 25, 2015
Pages: 354

My Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: I was warned about Tristan Cole.

“Stay away from him,” people said.
“He’s cruel.”
“He’s cold.”
“He’s damaged.”

It’s easy to judge a man because of his past. To look at Tristan and see a monster. But I couldn’t do that. I had to accept the wreckage that lived inside of him because it also lived inside of me.

We were both empty.
We were both looking for something else. Something more.
We both wanted to put together the shattered pieces of our yesterdays.

Then perhaps we could finally remember how to breathe.
Let's be honestI totally bought The Air He Breathes because of that gorgeous cover model. Like, I have a serious thing for the bearded lumberjack look. So, there was no way in hell that I was passing this book up. #TheThirstIsReal

My first impression of The Air He Breathes was that Tristan Cole is a lot like Archer Hale from Archer's Voice by Mia Sheridan. Both characters are these outcasts who have been shunned by their towns and whispered about. They're both said to be dangerous and crazy when, in reality, they're just a little tortured and broken. I absolutely love stories that feature tough guys with damaged soulsmonsters in the streets, but teddy bears in the sheets. (I'm the worst, I know.) Sarah J. Maas does a really good job of writing these types of characters, exemplified by Rhysand (A Court of Mist and Fury) and Rowan (Queen of Shadows). There's also Killing Sarai, The Wrath and the Dawn, and more. With a broken-bad-boy love interest, I knew that I would love The Air He Breathes.

I found Tristan and Elizabeth's romance interesting.  Teeny tiny spoiler: Tristan and Elizabeth start hooking up (no strings attached) because they both lost their spouses. So, when they have sex, they imagine that they're with their dead spouses: "She undressed me and made love to her past. I slid into her and made love to my ghosts. It wasn't right, yet somehow it made sense. Her soul was scarred, and mine was burned." It's twisted but different. And, it made for one hell of a messy, tangled web of a relationship (because all of their strings ended up attached and knotted and crisscrossed).

The ending of The Air He Breathes felt a bit rushed and trope-ish, but overall I really really enjoyed this one. 4/5 breath-stealing stars!                   

"He smiles at me and against my better judgment, I'm smiling too.
His smile is infectious.
Then again, so was the plague.”

Smut by Karina Halle

Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Release Date: May 16, 2016
Pages: 315

My Rating: ★★★★☆
Synopsis: What happens when the kink between the pages leads to heat between the sheets?

All Blake Crawford wants is to pass his creative writing course, get his university degree, and take over his dad’s ailing family business. What Amanda Newland wants is to graduate at the top of her class, as well as finally finish her novel and prove to her family that writing is a respectful career.

What Blake and Amanda don’t want is to be paired up with each other for their final project, but that’s exactly what they both get when they’re forced to collaborate on a writing piece. Since Amanda thinks Blake is a pushy asshole (with a panty-melting smirk and British accent) and Blake thinks Amanda has a stick up her ass (though it’s a brilliant ass), they fight tooth and nail until they discover they write well together. They also may find each other really attractive, but that’s neither here nor there.

When their writing project turns out to be a success, the two of them decide to start up a secret partnership using a pen name, infiltrating the self-publishing market in the lucrative genre of erotica. Naturally, with so much heat and passion between the pages, it’s not long before their dirty words become a dirty reality. Sure, they still fight a lot, but at least there’s make-up sex now.

But even as they start to fall hard for each other, will their burgeoning relationship survive if their scandalous secret is exposed? Or are happily-ever-afters just a work of fiction?

Smut was a fun read. I'd seen book bloggers raving about it on Twitter, so I picked up the e-book version and jumped right in. I was not disappointed (I knew I could trust you guys!). The story was humorousalthough a bit cheesy at timesand light-hearted. I honestly can't remember the last New Adult story I read that didn't involve characters with tragic pasts and traumatic presents, so Smut was quite refreshing on that front. 

The main characters are writers, which made them relatable for me. Amanda was especially relatable because she's a huge, awkward and nerdy fangirl, and that's me to the tee. I liked that there was a slow burn buildup to Amanda and Blake's romantic relationship. There is a lot of attraction (disguised as hatred) between Amanda and Blake from the very beginning, but they don't get together until well after the 50% mark of the book which, in my opinion, is a very slow build for a New Adult novel. But, I felt that the slow progression of the relationship made it feel much more realistic and believable than some other romances I've read. There is absolutely no insta-love here. The characters spend a ton of time together. (Also, I'm a sucker for the "I-Used-To-Hate-You-But-Now-I-Find-You-Annoyingly-Cute-And-I-May-Have-Feelings-For-You" trope.)

This is a short, sweet read that I'd  recommend to anyone who wants to have a good laugh or wants something light and entertaining (and sexy) to refresh their reading palette.

Love is not found.
Love finds.”

Too Late by Colleen Hoover

Self-Published on Wattpad
Genres: New Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: ~200

My Rating: ★★★

Synopsis: Sloan will go through hell and back for her little brother. And she does, every single night.

Forced to remain in a relationship with the dangerous and corrupt Asa Jackson, Sloan will do whatever it takes to make sure her brother has what he needs.

Nothing will get in her way.

Nothing except Carter.

Sloan is the only good thing to ever happen to Asa. He knows this and he never plans on letting her go; even if she doesn't approve of his lifestyle. But despite Sloan's disapproval, Asa knows what it takes to get what he wants. He knows what he needs to do to remain on top.

Nothing will get in his way.

Nothing except Carter.

Colleen Hoover is one of my auto-buy New Adult authors. While I didn't love November 9 (and was honestly a bit disappointed with it), I decided to give another of her books a try. I went into Too Latewhich is available for free on Wattpadwith an open mind because this is a story that Colleen wrote for fun and for her own enjoyment. She didn't have to share this story with her fans, but she did. While reading, you can tell that Colleen definitely took more creative license with this story than those that she's written for profit.

I would call Too Late a guilty pleasure readit was overly dramatic and a bit problematic. But, it was nonetheless an entertaining book. The story isn't as deep as some of Colleen's other books, The characters lack depth but are likable for the most part. (Except for Asa. That guy can go back to whatever hell he came from.) The story hooks you, though, because there's a lot of suspense and lies (and, subsequently, fear of getting caught in a lie) and the stakes are surprisingly high. From page one, you're dying to know what happens to the main character. Sloan and Carter's relationship is interesting but standard. It's not a romance plotline I've never seen before. The problematic bitsthe story touches on heavy topics such as domestic, sexual, and financial abuse and mental illness, but not in the best way. One of the things I didn't like about this book was that we get chapters from the antagonist's (Asa's) perspective. He does some really horrible, unforgivable things to Sloan and the other people around him in the story. We get glimpses into his mind and into his past and it feels like the author wants us to feel remorse for him or forgive him, but...nah. I can understand Colleen wanting to show readers that nothing is black and white, nothing is good or bad, everything is gray and labels don't stick, but everything about Asa felt too forced and I just wasn't buying into his storyline.

But, on another note, I really liked that Colleen posted this story to Wattpad. I really loved being able to read and see other people's comments and reactions to certain big moments in the story. That aspect was really fun and interactive and different. (Kindle and Goodreads need to work on incorporating in-book reaction features to their platforms so that we can see our friends' thoughts on and reactions to scenes and lines in books.)

I would recommend Too Late to anyone looking for a quick, Tyler-Perry-soap-opera dramatic, suspenseful and addictive read!

I'm a (secretly) hopeless romantic, so there is just something about sexy little love stories that cleanses my palette and refreshes me when I'm in a slump. New Adult is my cure all. The next time you're in a slump, give it a try!

Have you read any of these books?  Hope to read them?  Tell me your thoughts!

Thanks and talk to you soon-ish,

1 comment:

  1. I COMPLETELY agree on the whole "New adult romances can pull you out of a slump" thing. Any kind of romance can pull me out of a slump, doesn't matter the genre, so I always grab one if I feel it coming on. While I love NA romances, I rarely actually read them. I've seen fantastic things about Smut, so I'll probably add that to my Kindle! Love this review, Teisha, and glad you got out of your slump :)

    Mariah @ Vibin With Books