The 6 books I didn’t finish, followed by the one I finally did!

Six books I didn't finish: Amid Stars and Darkness, Nyxia, Firebolt, Storm, The Tiger's Daughter, and The Belles

I just had the worst reading slump of my life. It went so far beyond any others I’ve had before. Imagine conversations like this:

Me: *sobbing* THERE ARE NO BOOKS IN THE WORLD!! THERE’S NOTHING TO READ! *sobbing* I HATE EVERYTHING!

Husband: What about the 30 new books you got at BEA?

Me: AHH YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!!

I was kind of going insane. After not finishing SIX BOOKS in a row (okay there was actually one good book in the middle there, which is not in this post) I literally thought I’d never love another book ever again.

First I’ll share with you those six poor books. And please keep in mind that I didn’t actually hate any of these books. They were all solidly in “not for me, but probably great for someone else” territory. Then we can talk about the one book I finally read and loved (thanks to Ashley Williams!).


Amid Stars and Darkness

Amid Stars and DarknessAmid Stars and Darkness by
Series: The Xenith Trilogy #1
Published by: Swoon Reads on
Genre: Romance, Science Fiction, Space, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Source: BookExpo America
Goodreads
Rating: Did Not Finish0/5

Delaney’s entire world is thrown into chaos after she is mistaken for Lissa Olena, an alien princess hiding out on Earth in order to escape an arranged marriage.

Kidnapped by the princess’s head bodyguard, Ruckus, and imprisoned in an alien palace, Delaney is forced to impersonate the princess until Olena can be found. If she fails, it will lead to an alien war and the eventual enslavement of the entire human race.

No pressure or anything.

Factor in Trystan, the princess’s terrifying betrothed who is intent on unraveling all her secrets, and her own growing feelings for Ruckus, and Delaney is in way over her head.

Stopped reading after 104 pages.

Amid Stars and Darkness wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t grabbing me. I didn’t have much desire to keep going; I had to force myself. It didn’t truly feel like a space/sci-fi book since the aliens were so human-like.

I could imagine the book ending up being a 3-star read at the end, but at the time I just had no motivation to continue on for “only” three stars. I wanted a four or five star read! This decision clearly cursed me into DNF’ing five more books after it. THANKS A LOT.


Nyxia

NyxiaNyxia by
Series: The Nyxia Triad #1
Published by: Crown Books for Young Readers on
Genre: Science Fiction, Space, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Source: BookExpo America
Goodreads
Rating: Did Not Finish0/5

Emmett Atwater isn't just leaving Detroit; he's leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden--a planet that Babel has kept hidden--where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel's ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won't forever compromise what it means to be human.

Stopped reading after 41 pages.

This was one of my most highly anticipated books from BookExpo so I was really sad that it didn’t end up being for me.

The overall story was interesting (and was what drew me to the book in the first place). It felt like a mixture of Avatar (the movie) and Dare Mighty Things.

I think the main reason I stopped reading was because the book felt like it was on the younger side of young adult… think Percy Jackson-esque. Percy Jackson is officially classed as middle grade, I think, so Nyxia might be a tad above that, but it gives you a pretty good idea of the age group and style. It just felt a bit too young for my personal tastes. I’d definitely recommend giving it a chance if you’re into sci-fi and more middle grade-esque stories.


Storm

StormStorm by
Series: Phantom Islanders #1
Published by: Self Published on
Genre: Fantasy, New Adult, Romance
Pages: 252
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
Rating: Did Not Finish0/5

Pirates no longer roam the seas.
Phantom Islands don’t exist

Nanny to a wealthy family, eighteen-year old Alexandria “Lexi” Greendale sends most of what she earns home to support her disabled brother. She is determined to help him get the surgery he needs to walk again. Her dreams come to an abrupt halt when she rescues a man from drowning.

How does he repay her? Captain Storm Orath abducts her, claims her as his chosen mate, and takes her to a magical island that is centuries behind times with barbaric customs.
For Lexi to make it home to her family, she must fight the lure of the man and the island he controls, and escape, or stay trapped forever.

Stopped reading at 39%.

Too much kidnapping and annoying alpha male. Not enough chemistry.

I was hoping for this to be C.L. Wilson-esque, but I didn’t click with it at all. The love interest was more annoying ass than hot mysterious guy and the main character was starting to annoy mg e abit. Some people might be really into this though. If you like that whole alpha male thing plus pirates, maybe give this a try.


Firebolt

FireboltFirebolt by
Series: The Dragonian #1
Published by: Fire Quill Publishing on
Genre: Dragons, Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 394
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
Rating: Did Not Finish0/5

Dragons. Right. Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales, and sixteen-year old Elena Watkins was no different.

Until the night a fairy tale killed her father.

Now Elena’s in a new world, and a new school. The cutest guy around may be an evil dragon, a Prince wants Elena’s heart, and a long dead sorcerer may be waking up to kill her. Oh. And the only way Elena’s going to graduate is on the back of a dragon of her own.

Teenage girls don’t believe in fairy tales. Now it’s time for Elena to believe – in herself.

Stopped reading at 12%.

Man it sucks when dragons don’t work out.

I wanted to love this book but I couldn’t get through it. I was put off immediately by the super rushed start. It was both action-packed and boring at the same time. It read a lot like a bullet journal – almost like:

  • We were driving
  • Then there was a dragon
  • Then I was stuck in the car
  • Then the dragons were fighting each other
  • But I couldn’t get out of the car
  • Then this, then that, then this

Ugh.

Then the main character wakes up IN A DIFFERENT WORLD and asks exactly zero questions about what the fuck is going on, who she is, or why she was brought there. It’s implied that she’s “special” in some way but she doesn’t ask what that way is. She’s brought to an academy of sorts, but doesn’t ask who this academy is for. Clearly there’s some kind of entry requirement related to a mark she has on her skin, but she doesn’t ask what the hell that means. Are they training to be something? What is that mark?

I just had absolutely zero connection with the book, zero desire to keep going, and didn’t like how it was written. I didn’t have the patience to sit around and wait for pretty critical information to be revealed.

*sigh*


The Tiger’s Daughter

The Tiger's DaughterThe Tiger's Daughter by
Series: Their Bright Ascendency #1
Published by: Tor Teen on
Genre: Fantasy, LGBT, Young Adult
Pages: 512
Source: BookExpo America
Goodreads
Rating: Did Not Finish0/5

Even gods can be slain….

The Hokkaran empire has conquered every land within their bold reach―but failed to notice a lurking darkness festering within the people. Now, their border walls begin to crumble, and villages fall to demons swarming out of the forests.

Away on the silver steppes, the remaining tribes of nomadic Qorin retreat and protect their own, having bartered a treaty with the empire, exchanging inheritance through the dynasties. It is up to two young warriors, raised together across borders since their prophesied birth, to save the world from the encroaching demons.

This is the story of an infamous Qorin warrior, Barsalayaa Shefali, a spoiled divine warrior empress, O-Shizuka, and a power that can reach through time and space to save a land from a truly insidious evil.

Stopped reading after 63 pages.

If there’s one book it really pains me to put on this list, it’s The Tiger’s Daughter. There are so many people in my Twitter feed who ADORED this book and that makes my not finishing it all the more painful.

I stopped reading mostly because the writing style didn’t hold my attention. It seems to be written very beautifully and interestingly, which, at the time of reading at least, meant that not a whole lot was happening plot-wise. I was bored. 🙁 As a reader, I’m not super intrigued by pretty prose; I’m more into plot-driven stories. I might try this book again one day though because I desperately want to love it. The story sounds so, so cool.


The Belles

The BellesThe Belles by
Series: The Belles #1
Published by: Disney Hyperion on
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 512
Source: BookExpo America
Goodreads
Rating: Did Not Finish0/5

Camellia Beauregard is a Belle. In the opulent world of Orléans, Belles are revered, for they control Beauty, and Beauty is a commodity coveted above all else. In Orléans, the people are born gray, they are born damned, and only with the help of a Belle and her talents can they transform and be made beautiful.

But it’s not enough for Camellia to be just a Belle. She wants to be the favorite—the Belle chosen by the Queen of Orléans to live in the royal palace, to tend to the royal family and their court, to be recognized as the most talented Belle in the land. But once Camellia and her Belle sisters arrive at court, it becomes clear that being the favorite is not everything she always dreamed it would be. Behind the gilded palace walls live dark secrets, and Camellia soon learns that the very essence of her existence is a lie—that her powers are far greater, and could be more dangerous, than she ever imagined. And when the queen asks Camellia to risk her own life and help the ailing princess by using Belle powers in unintended ways, Camellia now faces an impossible decision.

With the future of Orléans and its people at stake, Camellia must decide—save herself and her sisters and the way of the Belles—or resuscitate the princess, risk her own life, and change the ways of her world forever.

Stopped reading after 34 pages.

So as you can see, I barely gave poor The Belles a chance. I stopped after 34 pages. 34!!

I think I could just tell right away that the book wasn’t for me. Once again, the writing style just didn’t click with me. There were a lot of descriptions and SO MANY METAPHORS and I was immediately struggling to get through it. At this point I had already stopped reading 5 books and had little patience for reading books I wasn’t totally in love with.


Now, the one book I finally finished: Radiance

RadianceRadiance by
Series: Wraith Kings #1
Published by: Self Published on
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 297
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
Rating: 4/5

THE PRINCE OF NO VALUE

Brishen Khaskem, prince of the Kai, has lived content as the nonessential spare heir to a throne secured many times over. A trade and political alliance between the human kingdom of Gaur and the Kai kingdom of Bast-Haradis requires that he marry a Gauri woman to seal the treaty. Always a dutiful son, Brishen agrees to the marriage and discovers his bride is as ugly as he expected and more beautiful than he could have imagined.

THE NOBLEWOMAN OF NO IMPORTANCE

Ildiko, niece of the Gauri king, has always known her only worth to the royal family lay in a strategic marriage. Resigned to her fate, she is horrified to learn that her intended groom isn’t just a foreign aristocrat but the younger prince of a people neither familiar nor human. Bound to her new husband, Ildiko will leave behind all she’s known to embrace a man shrouded in darkness but with a soul forged by light.

Two people brought together by the trappings of duty and politics will discover they are destined for each other, even as the powers of a hostile kingdom scheme to tear them apart.

I found this book when I jumped on Twitter and desperately asked for fantasy romance recommendations. And I loved it!!

Radiance was an interesting and refreshing story. The two characters are different races but forced into a marriage. From the get-go their relationship is full of honesty, which for some reason is so annoyingly rare in romance books. The two races don’t find each other attractive at all, but yet they have to get married.

“You find me ugly, don’t you?”

[…]

“Hideous,” he said. “A hag of a woman.”

Another peal of laughter met his words. Brishen wilted, relieved she took no insult in him so bluntly validating her assumption. […]

“And you,” he said. “You don’t think me a handsome man?”

[…]

“Had you crawled out from under my bed when I was a child, I would have bludgeoned you to death with my father’s mace.”

So the story is about Brishen and Ildiko both being super open minded and honest with each other, which results in a huge amount of respect that goes both ways. Both characters were just so wonderfully nice and it was really refreshing to read a book that had zero pettiness, zero drama, zero secrets… and it was just two really nice people making the best of a situation they probably wouldn’t have chosen for themselves, but they both ended up kind of liking it.

The focus of the story really was on their relationship though, so there wasn’t a ton going on plot-wise. Just keep that in mind if you decide to give it a try!

“You might have a face to turn my hair white, but your honesty is handsome.”
“Though she wasn’t easy on the eyes, she was easy on his soul.”

Tell me: what’s the worst reading slump you’ve ever had? How did you handle it?

In the past my go-to method has been to reread an old favourite. I tried that this time but it actually made things worse! I reread The Winter King and it just made me DNF even more because it felt like no other book could live up to its greatness. In comparison, everything was a let down.

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I'm a 27 year old California girl living in England (I fell in love with a Brit!). I like to inject a little #girlpower into the WordPress development community by teaching women how to be coding badasses. more »

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20 comments

  1. My slump was not quite as bad as yours. That’s a lot of DNFs in a row. When all my co-bloggers were too busy to contribute, I was doing all the posts, and I was forcing myself to read books that were not contemporaries in order to have some variety on the blog. It’s not that I don’t like SFF books, but they are such a commitment. Every time I turn around, a fantasy series I thought was almost finished would add two more books. And you have to remember a lot of details. These worlds can be complicated, and I just found it more work than pleasure. Since my co-bloggers are back, I can read contemporaries all day, every day, and I am usually really happy when I do that.
    Sam @ WLABB

    1. I totally understand what you mean about fantasy series. I actually really love them, but it’s so hard to keep up and remember all the details when they keep adding more books. I’ve gotten in the habit of reading book one, then if I love it, I don’t read the rest until the whole series is finished. That way I just reread book one once, then get to binge read the whole series and it’s all fresh in my mind.

  2. Nice list! I had a really bad reading slump last year. I couldn’t even finish books that I knew were good (and I’m going to continue them this year), but I just couldn’t connect with them. The book that broke the spell, though, was reading Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. I think it was a really good because it was easy to read, the action was quick, plot was easy to follow, and the characters were interesting. It wasn’t as literary or as complex a story as I would have liked, but it was definitely what I needed at the time. Your list is good. I’m so intrigued by the Tiger’s Daughter and The Belles. I’ll think I’ll try them out!

    1. I’m glad you finally broke through your slump! I think all the points you highlighted are also important for me to break though:

      easy to read, the action was quick, plot was easy to follow, and the characters were interesting

      That’s usually what helps me through too.

      I hope you love The Tiger’s Daughter and The Belles! Despite me not finishing them, I’ve heard amazing things about both.

  3. My slump is now. I’ve been reading indie romances for 3 years now and since my own love life is lacking… I cannot read most of them (there are a select few that do not cause this) without rolling my eyes and throw my Kindle down. So, I’m working on reading spiritual type books (Brene Brown, Elizabeth Gilbert) as well as mysteries I am behind on. I’m not reading a book every day, and that’s okay. Maybe I will pick up reading more voraciously at some time.

  4. Ohhh slumps are AWFUL. I feel for you. 😭 I was having a pretty awful slump after I read A Conjuring Of Light gahhh. And then in May I just read a STACK of really pathetic books and it really ruined my enthusiasm for reading. I think the worst thing about slumps is that, sometimes, the more you read to get out of them, the more books you burn through because they’re not what you need.🙈🙈 I really hope you find some more good ones soon!! (I do hope I like the Tiger’s Daughter, haha. But omg that dragon one being boring/awful is so disappointing!! And insult to DRAGONS.)

    1. I’ve heard such good things about A Conjuring of Light! Well, pretty much all her books.

      I think you’re right on point with this:

      ” I think the worst thing about slumps is that, sometimes, the more you read to get out of them, the more books you burn through because they’re not what you need.”

      That sounds like exactly what happened to me!

      I hope you love The Tiger’s Daughter. 🙂

  5. Omg The Prince of No Value sounds amazing, I laughed with the short excerpt!!! *adds to tbr* With that said, I have been going on and off with slumps all year long. I’m currently reading amazing books but somehow I don’t FEEL them as I should be. Around 15 unfinished books are waiting for me on my Kindle but I don’t think I will ever finish them. It truly sucks!

    1. “I’m currently reading amazing books but somehow I don’t FEEL them as I should be.”

      Ohh yes I know what you mean! I’ve read a few books that seem like they should be perfectly good books, but I’m just not connected to them. I don’t really feel invested for some reason. I can’t even give you an objective reason why; I just don’t feel them the way I should.

  6. Reading slumps ARE THE WORST. When I hit a reading slump, I usually try to pick up a cutesy romance novel. They are always light and fluffy, which makes for a great pick-me-up read. Other than that, I try not to force myself to read anything I’m not enjoying. That usually helps as well.

  7. The worst reading slump I ever had was after I read the last Throne of Glass book. I knew nothing would compare so why bother? After a few months I read a different genre and that finally got me back into reading. I have Nyxia and I keep meaning to read it but now I am not sure if I will…

    Heather recently posted: Book Review – True to You
    1. I hope you still try Nyxia! It was very much a “me” problem rather than a book problem, if you know what I mean. I might even try reading it again myself.

  8. Ah! I’m so glad you liked Radiance. I got it as my blind date a few months ago and actually just finished committing myself to at least picking it up to try and read this month. It’s been in my purse just waiting to be read.
    I actually re-read books as well when I get into a slump, or switch to a different format of a book. Favorite author to re-read is Mercedes Lackey.

    1. I normally reread books in a slump too, but this time it actually made things worse! I reread some of my favourites and it just further highlighted how no other books could live up to them LOL.

      I hope you enjoy Radiance. 🙂

  9. Depending on the book, I can wade through a certain amount of boring/uninteresting content that makes me want to put it down and never look at it again. If it’s a good book, and I know it’s a good book, I can generally tolerate more. It has to capture my attention by halfway through, or I’m done – I’ll put it down and never pick it up again. Glad you enjoyed Radiance – looks like a title I need to pick up.

    Ben Warren recently posted: Textbook Buyback Comparison

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