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.
Series: Sex in Seattle Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance Publication Date: June 30th, 2014 (Dreamspinner Press)
I’ll tell you, there were two reasons I picked up this book. The first was because a Goodreads friend wrote a glowing review about it. The second reason is because of of the main characters is in a wheelchair.
I love reading stories that smash the ‘romance’ box. I love the books that give us the unconventional. The Mating of Michael did exactly that. James had a rough history. He was understandably cynical and distrusting. He’d been hurt terribly. I never faulted him for keeping Michael at bay. Michael never faulted him for it either. Michael was generous and sweet, loving. The author set out to write a story about a completely selfless person and it was a success. Michael was an angel, and it didn’t make me hate him.
The chemistry between Michael and James was strong, and the sex scenes were soooo steamy. There was just one little area of the book that I struggled with. Michael is a sex surrogate, meaning he’s a therapist that helps patients overcome emotional issues through actual intimacy. Prior to reading this I’d never heard of sex surrogacy, and I’m glad that this was my introduction because it was handled with class. Unfortunately, sometimes I thought Michael was a little too ‘sex therapist’ with James. I probably shouldn’t even mention it, because how can you turn off your education? You can’t. I just thought it was worth mentioning.
Last thought, I wish that I could read Lamb’s whole book.
Final Analysis: There was a lot of good here. Sadly, that 'something special' just wasn't there. Rating: B
Series: At First Sight Genre: M/M Romantic Comedy Publication Date: February 15th, 2013 (Dreamspinner Press)
The first thing you should know about a TJ Klune novel is that once you start it, that’s it. Your life is over. From page one the only thing you’ll be doing with your life is reading. I was victim of the same phenomenon when I read How To Be A Normal Person, and even though I didn’t think Tell Me It’s Real was quite as good as the former, I still found myself sucked into the vacuum of Klune’s writing.
Specifically, there is something about the way he writes the characters that make them both completely over the top, but also realistic and personable. They’re the kind of people that you feel like don’t really exist, but at the same time you really want to believe they do so that you can be best friends. (And, maybe they do, there’s a good chance that TJ is, and is surrounded by, the coolest people!) And the side characters are always killer! I loved Paul’s family, and his dog, so much. Getting more of this group of characters is why I can’t wait to pick up the next book in the At First Sight series. I want to read about Darren and Sanda/Helena fiercely!
So much about Tell Me It’s Real was amazing. It’s true that I didn’t laugh quite as hard in this one as I did How To Be A Normal Person, but the thing is that still puts my laughter level well beyond 95% of any other books I’ve read.
Officially, TJ Klune is now one of my favorite authors!
Final Analysis: Great story! Really funny, great characters! ...Just not my favorite Klune. Rating: A
Mission: Find Epic Romance | Book: Split
Series: Nick & Derek Genre: M/M Contemporary Publication Date: April 9th, 2011 (Bold Strokes Books)
This was on my to read for a while. I love how the story was told both in the present and in the past. In a way, the relationship here reminded me a bit of Bear and Otter (TJ Klune). It was the story of loving your best friends older brother. Except where Otter was ‘good’, Nick was ‘trouble’.
The romance actually worked pretty well in Split, I thought. I loved the divide in the times, from present to past. You could tell that the decades just weren’t the same, the atmosphere and slang was different. I thought Mel Bossa really wrote that well. I also loved how Nick was with Derek. I loved how he was a bit of an asshole, but he was kind to Derek. I especially loved the concept of Red and Blue, and how Derek’s favorite color was purple. I know it seems like such a little thing, but in a book it’s the little things that really resonate.
I don’t really have any obvious complaints. I don’t even think it’ll be forgettable. I think I can’t rate this higher simply because I read the synopsis of the following books and honestly, it just twisted my overall feelings.
So, fair or not, this only gets 4 stars.
Final Analysis: Great start to the series, which unfortunately plummets in the next book. Rating: B
After a lot of deep thought, I’ve decided to do away with marking books as ‘fails’. It killed me, when so many of them were pretty outstanding. Instead, I’ll leave the Final Analysis, and if I find that truly Epic Read, I’ll make sure you all know it. Please, 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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