#TBR Challenge 2016: Paranormal romance

I'm currently trying to shave the 99 books in my TBR into an acceptable 20 or so, especially after the wild buying spree in August and September thanks to a series of RM5 book sales. It's time to get serious about reading my own damn books!

Super Librarian's TBR Challenge 2016 was perfect, but October is "Paranormal romance or romantic Suspense" month, two genres that, try as I might, I can't seem to get into.

I read almost anything but these two genres are my most DNFed besides YA.

Perhaps I just couldn't get on with the idea that shapeshifters and vampires are sexy. (I once spotted a Gargoyle-themed romance, and I thought: Hmm. Making love to a demon statue. Sexay. Not.)

Still, this month, I valiantly tried reading two paranormal romances and a romantic suspense romance in my TBR.  

The Reunited by Shiloh Walker had a promising premise: Two lovers, separated by death, are reincarnated and meet again. Joss is an FBI agent, determined to bring down an illegal human trafficking ring while Dru is deep undercover working to bring said ring down. They meet, but Josh is suspicious of her as she's literally the kingpin's fiance.

The dash of suspense makes it even more yummy, but I couldn't get into the novel on account of the numerous disruptive flashbacks. And since I have a strict policy where I'd DNF a book if I couldn't get into it after 50 pages, I have put it into the "to sell/donate" pile - after reading 100 pages and having my eyes glaze over.

Nalini Singh is a great writer, but I find my interest straying each time when the shapeshifters and psychics come in despite how hard I try. 

This is a tad odd for me as I love paranormal-themed books. I'm a huge Preston & Child fan, and their books skirt the edge of paranormal, sci-fi and thriller. These romance books should do it for me.

I'm also a huge lover of Thriller novels, so Captive by Brighton Walsh should also be a good fit, but I found it not ... thriller-ish enough.

I'm sure it's not because I hate these genres.

After all, I adored the Acro series by Sydney Croft (an X-Men-ish outfit that has the randiest operatives ever). Though Three the Hard Way (Book 7) was a marked step down in quality for me, and I DNFed it to my chagrin. I used to race through all the Acro books. That's how much I loved them.

Or ... have I fallen out of love with paranormal romance? (GASP)

But I'm hanging on to hope that perhaps I've not found a writer that sings to my soul. Especially with Romantic Suspense. Because JD Robb's "In Death" series sounds terribly delicious. Maybe she'll be it.


Why I DNF books

I'm the girl who finished every book. No matter how sucky it was. Maybe it was the kiasu side of me: I've sunk some cold, hard cash into it, so I better make the money count somehow. It's also the reason why my TBR (To Be Read) shelf is so massive - I find it really difficult to give up on books.

You also always hope that a book gets better, that somehow it'll snap out of its stupor and be exciting, and mostly because I'm a writer of books and could almost feel the book sobbing when you abandon it.

Even when I heard that people were DNFing (Did Not Finish) books, I was still reluctant. Until I thought of the books that were sitting in my library, unread, unappreciated - wouldn't it be better if someone else enjoyed it?

That thought that I was wasting the potential of the books to enlighten or entertain someone else because I was holding on to them for selfish reasons really freed me. And then, having recently become a fan of KonMari, it made no sense to hang on to books that did not give me joy.

So, during the last few months I've been selling or giving away books to places like the Subang Jaya Book Exchange, KL Book Exchange Club and the newly-opened reading corner at Subang Parade.

If I don't enjoy a book after reading 25% of it, I will DNF it. The time I would've spent reading a book I didn't enjoy I could now invest in a book that will give me joy.

No more regrets.

So, do you DNF your books?

What I read in July: Blazing through my TBR!

So proud of myself! I mostly #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks in July and bought only one book. Yay, me!

Out of the 12 books I read, four were books I bought years ago, two were library books, and the rest were newer TBR stock from December last year.

The Star Trek novel Once Burned worried me because I've been trying to start it since 2013. Fortunately, I got over the "so bored" bit and the book got really good towards the end.

Rose Bride is yet another bazzilionth failed attempt to find another romance author that will satisfy me (pardon the pun). Sigh. Next!

The Mad Earl's Bride, fortunately delivered. For a novella, it gave what it promised: a short but satisfying read. only a skilled author can do this, as I have read many novellas that felt rushed or half baked. I am disappointed with how the medical problem was resolved, however, as I expected something hugely earth shattering (blame it on my fondness for House reruns).  

The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry: Love, Laughter, and Tears at the World's Most Famous Cooking School in Paris
Reminder to self: Liz, don't buy cooking memoirs. You just can't relate because you hate cooking. There.

Now, I wouldn't call this book terrible, but it was, how do I put this kindly? Flat and uneventful... not exactly exciting reading. This memoir would suit people who wants a slow, languorous, dreamlike narrative of the life we wish we could have: living in Paris with a hot boy friend.

I would have loved to know about the inner conflict she had, like there were glimmers of how she felt uncertain about here path - maybe she should just get a corporate job again and earn some money. But that is abandoned. a pity - I would have liked to know how that journey turned out.

Fit2Fat2Fit (audiobook from library)
Readers of weight loss books are an impatient lot - if they don't get a solution to their weight problems, they will be unhappy. Very unhappy, it would seem, judging from the many one to two star reviews on Goodreads for this book.

Point is, this book is a memoir, not a how-to book. Still, it was natural to have the question "How did he lose the weight?" answered, and the author doesn't do that very well. He doesn't give detailed food plans, his workout routine etc. When he reached a plateau for one, he rambled on and gave anecdotes on his wife's strict upbringing, his friend's jobless season, which were tenuous examples to the point he was trying to make. He does that a lot, and it does get annoying after a while. Still, he excels in telling us the emotional, social and relational impact being overweight has on a person, though his six month sojourn can be akin to a rich man living in Africa for six months in a hut and saying he knows how is it like to be poor now. Good attempt though.

Fat loss, however, is a very complicated thing to do. Its a complex biochemisty process and the author doesn't even touch on that.

One Second After by William R. Forstchen
Bought this book way back in 2008 and wished I had DNFed it then. I hardly one-star a book. It takes a lot to annoy me. This book did it.

The premise seemed so promising: an EMP wave gets rid of the technology we've come to rely on, a small town struggles to survive.

The concept promises a lot of action but the novel fails to deliver. It's not that nothing happens in the book, it's more like the characters spent most of their time TALKING about the action AFTER it happens. That's right, we have a book where the 'action' takes place in meetings. I remember thinking during one such meeting where, damn, why couldn't the author plonk our main character in the thick of the action so that we can see and experience it through his eyes?

I gave the book as good as it got - read 50% - and just couldn't anymore. There are far better books out there.

What did you read in July?