On the Hunt | Tracking an Epic Romance

On-The-Hunt B

 

Isn’t there no better feeling than finding a book that’s like magic in your hands.  A story that, from page one, sucks you in and holds you hostage.  One that when you get to the end and you can feel your heart squeezing, and your soul aching, and you just clutch the book to your chest because you know that physically putting it down would be like ripping off the toughest of band-aids.
I’ve felt that way about only a handful of books and the sad fact is that, despite rereads, I’ll never get that initial feeling again.  There is literally nothing like reading an epic story for the first time.  Nothing.
I want that feeling again.
This time I’ve decided not to wait for an epic romantic read to just fall in my lap.  I’m going to be proactive.  I’m on the hunt, tracking, and capturing as many of these elusive novels as I can.
The search continues.

 


Blood & ThunderMission: Find Epic Romance | Book 5: Blood & Thunder

Series: THIRDS
Genre: M/M Urban Fantasy
Publication Date: August 4th, 2014 (Dreamspinner Press)

Oh how I wish this one was a success.  You see, I really love this series.  I love these characters, this world, the way they are all so good to each other.  (Mostly. -I’m lookin at you Ash!)  I really wanted this to be The One.

Who was I kidding, my quest wasn’t going to be that easy.

The second THIRDS book had all the antics and the heartbreak of the first one.  Dex is chipping away at Sloane’s past, and you could cut through the angst between Cael and his Lion, and the longing between best friends Calvin and Hobbs.  I read Blood & Thunder in just over a day.  It was addicting.  It just didn’t keep me up when I was trying to sleep.  It didn’t consume me, making me sneak to read just one more page at work.  It didn’t make my pulse pound even when it wasn’t in my hands.

I didn’t tremble.  I want trembles.

So, while I will definitely be reading all of these books, and probably continue following along with this series, I’m now convinced this isn’t the special read I’ve been looking for.

Mission Status: Failed
Final Analysis: Immensely enjoyable, came sooo close, but sadly not epic.
Rating: A-

A year less three daysMission: Find Epic Romance| Book 6: A Year Less Three Days 

Series: Standalone
Genre: M/M Paranormal Fantasy
Publication Date: May 31st, 2016 (Samhain Publishing)

I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that this could have been at least half me.  The writing wasn’t bad.  The concept was original.  Lias, as a character, was more than sympathetic.  What he’d been through was horrific.  The entire world was horrific, actually.  The story set up perfectly, and at the end of the first chapter I thought I was committed, surprisingly.

Then we went into the second chapter, from Necromis’s perspective, and everything unraveled for me emotionally.  There’s a LOT I can accept from the MC of a book.  I’ve read love stories between dark characters before, but there was something about how this particular character had taken multiple slaves and when he hadn’t gotten what he wanted from them he took them apart.  That’s not hyperbole, that’s literal.  From that moment on, the more that was explained about Necromis the worse I felt about the story.

Here’s the deal, there are some characters that you just don’t want to be redeemed.  I believe that the author could possibly have turned my opinion around.  The problem is that I don’t want to read that.  Sorry, this is a spoiler guys, but in the second chapter he slits a slaves throat and bathes in his blood.  I accept that it’s me, but that it was just too dark for my tastes.  The end result is that I quit the story at 20%.

I had high hopes, unfortunately.

Thank you to Samhain Publishing via Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Mission Status: Failed
Final Analysis: DNF
Rating: F

The Year We Fell DownMission: Find Epic Romance | Book 7: The Year We Fell Down

Series: The Ivy Years
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: March 21st, 2014 (Rennie Road Books)

Let’s start off by saying that Him and Us are two of my favorite romance’s ever.  If those books represent what Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen can do together, I’ll be a guaranteed reader.  However, I’ve only read one book from each of the author’s backlist.  Seeing as I’m ‘On the Hunt’ I guess reading books by Kennedy and Bowen would be a good lead to follow.

In The Year We Fell Down Corey suffered an injury and is unable to play hockey anymore, but she refuses to give up her dream of attending Harkness College, where her brother graduated.  So, armed with her crutches and wheelchair, she sets off for her freshman year.  Across the hall, in her new handicap accessible dorm, she meets Hartley, also a Hockey Player (much like Him, Us, and Understatement of the Year this is a good theme for me) and also one that is injured with a broken leg.  They strike up a friendship and things grow from there.

What I really thought stood out about this first book was that Sarina Bowen wasn’t afraid to give her main female character a disability that wasn’t going away.  For me as the reader, Hartley never making a big deal of her disability made the romance even sweeter.  I also loved how the angst level was pretty low.  Yes there was strife and problems, but for me it’s only really angsty when the characters drag it on and on, punishing their SO and themselves over and over.  I hate that.  I don’t feel like Corey or Hartley did that.  They were mature characters who made healthy decisions.

Even though this wasn’t necessarily epic, meaning I get consumed by the story the way I have before, I still consider this read a win.

(Originally Reviewed by Angie.)

Mission Status: Failed
Final Analysis: Not Epic, but still way more than adequate
Rating: B

radianceMission: Find Epic Romance | Book 8: Radiance

Series: Wraith Kings
Genre: Romantic Fantasy
Publication Date: January 13th, 2015 

Radiance was recommended to me by Hannah, at Fully Booked Reviews.  She recommended it because she really liked it, but also because it had a slow burn, and the relationship was built on mutual respect.  That sounded just about perfect to me.  I do get so tired of romance novels that begin in turmoil.  I have repeatedly wondered why we couldn’t just get a story about two people who welcome a growing connection, one where the outside world creates the storm that the two characters weather together.

Radiance was all of that.  It was also about love altering perception, which I thought was so beautiful.  In the beginning Brishen and Ildiko, being two very different species, both thought that the other was kind but terrifyingly hideous.  Brishen talked about Ildiko’s eyes that moved independently, and Ildiko was afraid of Brishen’s knife-like teeth.  Then, we got the opportunity to watch their perceptions of each other slowly change as their feelings grew.  It was beautiful to read because it was so honest.  The ones we love are beautiful.  We stop seeing flaws.  That was probably my favorite part of this romance.

Unfortunately, as good as this was, it didn’t hit any triggers for me.  I didn’t feel any tingles, or manifest any of the physical ailments that accompany my reading an Epic Romance.  I’m so loathe to admit it, but maybe in order to feel all the high adrenaline of Epics maybe I do need to have some strife between the couples.  In Outlander, Claire is stuck between Frank and Jamie, Present and Past.  In Captive Prince, you have one who is the captive and one who is the captor… I suppose I need something to yearn for.  Does that mean I’m not as enlightened as I thought I was?

(Originally Reviewed by DG.)

Mission Status: Failed
Final Analysis: Unique, charming, romantic.
Rating: B

Fly With MeMission: Find Epic Romance | Book 9: Fly With Me

Series: Wild Aces
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016 (Berkley Publishing Group)

Here’s the situation with Fly With Me.  For about the first half of the book I was positive that I was going to go with 3 stars, and that was really generous.  I do NOT like instalove, especially when it’s written like this.  There was waaaay too much focus on Jordan’s physical attributes, and Noah’s too actually but Jordan in particular.  The author went on and on about how big her tits are.  I’m not even talking about one big monologue, I’m talking about on just about every single page.  She was tits and ass.  Jordan talked about using her assets, her tits and ass.  Noah talked about how big her tits are, or how they filled out her top.  Then, every time Noah said something hot, Jordan’s nipples would ‘pebble’.  Clearly Jordan had a big, very sensitive, rack and we the readers (who I guarantee are mostly women with a wide range of breast sizes) were never allowed to forget just how stacked Jordan was.  Basically, there was too much talk about physical appearance’s, without enough substance mentally.

The second half of the story slowly got better.  Fly With Me is the perfect example of why I have a hard time quitting books all willy nilly, because despite my reservations in the beginning I actually enjoyed this book as it came to a close.  While I still struggled with the instalove, I also couldn’t help but feel how badly Jordan and Noah wanted this relationship to work.  The problems that came with Noah’s job made me desolate along with Jordan and Noah, and the ending actually made me cry.  In addition, I thought the descriptions of what loving a man in the military entailed, by Dani, felt spot on.  The life wasn’t sugar-coated.  Those boys were gone more than they were home, and the wives/girlfriends did have to decide if they could live with coming second.  It was very well done, and now I actually can’t wait to dive into Into the Blue next month for the blog tour!

(On another note, I’m so visual, is it just me or does the model on the cover look like Chandler Bing?)

Thank you to Berkley Publishing via Netgalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Mission Status: Failed
Final Analysis: Rocky start, but the author turned it around in the second half.
Rating: C+

Please note that the hardest part of going hunting is classifying some of these books as ‘fails’.  Normally I wouldn’t ever equate finding a good book as a failure, and beginning this feature has dropped some really good books in my lap.  Remember, I’m not hunting down good books, I’m hunting the very best of the best.  The books that shelve themselves in my soul.
Now here’s your mission, should you choose to accept it:  Send me recommendations!  I’ll do my best to choose some and read them, include them in my journey.  M/M, M/F, F/F, anything is a go.  Nothing is off the table.
Can you find my next Epic Romance?

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