I recently realized that my ereaders are overflowing with partially finished books; they’ve become the place that dreams go to die. There are a few on my bookshelves, too. Since I’m kind of at a loose end with my reading right now, I decided to tidy up. Let’s see how many books I can pare down.
(It is perhaps not coincidence that many of these books are by authors I sometimes engage with on twitter. You kind of hate to start a book by someone you sorta know a little, and find you’re not all that into it.)
Doubled by Charlotte Stein.
Short menage story about an insecure college student seduced by her twin best friends. It’s pretty hot, though not Stein’s best writing; the narration is a little self-conscious. I’m not really into menage stories involving twins (or any relatives, for that matter) so I’m not really the right audience.
Hell and Hellion by Olivia Waite.
Novella with a really interesting premise and backstory. Virginia traveled to hell to rescue the man she loved in a previous book (which I haven’t read) only to find he’d fallen in love with a demon. Now she can see demons everywhere, which makes her life in Regency England really uncomfortable. The hero is an incubus, who discovers himself changing through his relationship with Virginia. This could have been great, but I found several sections really abrupt and jarring. Everything happens very fast.
Hero of My Heart by Teresa Hill.
Trigger warning: mentions of rape and violence
Navy SEAL rescues a much younger schoolteacher who was held hostage by terrorists, raped and beaten. I’ve reviewed all the previous books in this series on the blog. It’s a family series about an infertile couple who adopt three abused children, and part of their story is that they had previously tried to adopt a foster child, but he was returned to his drug-addicted mother, making them scared to try again. I was thrilled to see that Hill had written a story for the grown-up boy, but less thrilled that it’s a trope I’m not that fond of: adoring protective hero/fragile, traumatized heroine. So I got bogged down.
When I picked up the book again, there was some shift of focus to Will and how emotionally unavailable he is because of his past, and that made the book more interesting to me. Will doesn’t realize that people can really care about him; he’s uncomfortable that his former foster parents try to make him part of the family, thinking they’re only doing it because they’re such good people, trying to “make things up” to him. I also thought the parts with Will helping Amanda get over her sexual trauma are very well done. It’s not quick and it’s not easy and it’s not all about him. So I wound up liking this quite a lot, after all.
Be warned that it’s a rough read: Amanda has a severe PTSD attack, set off by media coverage of Sandy Hook, which has some similarities to what happened to her. It really captures the stress and horror of the event in general, as well.
Tousle Me by Lucy V. Morgan.
I’ve been reading this New Adult parody forever, and finally forced myself to finish, with a fair bit of skimming. It was certainly funny, albeit often gross, but I find it really hard to sustain interest in a novel length parody; I have to actually have some investment in the characters. (Much as my favorite MST3K shows are always the one in which I can actually have some interest in the movie.) I’m not really surprised that the sequel to this, which was supposed to appear last Spring, shows no sign of ever being published.
Satisfaction by Sarah Mayberry.
This is another one where I was put off by the premise/trope and then found that the author did surprisingly well by it. Not my favorite by her, but I’m glad I finished it after all.
Traitor in the Sheikh’s Bed by Ros Clarke. (Review copy from the author.)
I read most of this short novella quite a while ago, so I’m not longer sure what I think about it. It’s sort of a kindler, gentler Harlequin Present sheikh story and I’m not sure the combo really gels. It’s another one with a heroine who was raped and has difficulty being sexual; the treatment is honest, but it’s a lot to stick into a short book that also has a lot of other stuff going on. The heroine is very brave and there’s a nice dramatic ending.
Private Politics by Emma Barry.
Read almost half. So disappointing that I didn’t like this. Shlubby hero! How often do I get a shlubby hero? But I found the intrigue plot really tiresome and felt exasperated with the characters — nerds adoring princesses is so not my thing. I wasn’t enjoying it any more when I restarted, so I’m calling it a day.
The Complete Ivory by Doris Egan.
Got not quite halfway through the first book. Again, I’m really disappointed not to like this one. Though I guess not liking a book is always disappointing? But so many of my reading friends loved it and it sounded right up my alley. I would’ve loved it as a teen, I bet, but now it seems like an episodic, pointless slog.
Stuff by Josephine Myles.
Interesting characters, interesting setting… totally meh conflict.
Sadly, this is not even everything! But most of the remaining unfinished books are ARCs that I still have hopes of finishing and reviewing, so I’ll leave them for now.