Stories Seeking Love from Readers : the novels I simply couldn't soak into as much as I had hoped

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As a book blogger, I have the beautiful gift of retreating inside stories that are across genres and in the full breadth of modern literature; arriving through Major Trade, Indie Press, Self-Published Platforms, and publishers across the continents. What I have noticed throughout my 1st Year as a Book Blogger is that try as I might to find a connection with certain writers and their stories -- I find myself disconnected and unable to forge a connection to where their vision was leading them to take the story. These are the novels where I either felt so distraught reading them that I put them down before I concluded the chapters and/or finished the novels but felt a bittersweet taste in my mouth afterwards. Where I was either indecisive on how I felt overall or wrote a negative-neutral review.

I may or may not have eluded on all the reviews that the story would befit a different reader other than myself, but I do more or less imply this each time I find my heart is frustrated and woeful by finding a story that just doesn't connect for me. I want to breathe in each story with a light of joy and there are moments where I have to accept for whichever reason, I had to take a pass. I think it is harder as a bonefide book blogger to realise this will happen with a bit of frequency, rather than as a reader who doesn't blog. Prior to blogging, if I found something intrusive or non-accepting, I simply boomeranged the book back to the library, dropped it off at a used bookshoppe, or gave it to a friend who would appreciate it more. As a book blogger, I do not take the easy way out but rather try to shine a light on what isn't working for me and express why I feel the way I do as I read the stories that left me with a head full of thoughts and a blog post that either resonates neutrality or a negative impression on the story.

All of the novels on this list can be found in my Story Vault which is linked at the bottom. If you jump over to read my ruminations, kindly leave a comment on the posts, as I would like to hear your thoughts on the novels if you've read them already yourself and/or if you are inspired to try them based on something I said or your own impressions of where the stories could take you.

All stories have an audience and a readership, we're just not always meant to fall in love with every story we read but that doesn't mean someone else out there won't pick up the novel and say, "ooh wow! just what I was looking to find!" I had this happen to me already -- a book blogger gave a neutral-negative review on behalf of "The Ghost Bride" by Yangsze Choo and because of that review I knew in my heart I'd love it. Turnt out I was right, as I reviewed "The Ghost Bride" on it's second tour through the book blogosphere! And, I do receive notes either on my blog or privately where someone told me, "you know, I either want to read that myself or I know someone who would love it!" Proving the point, that positive, negative, or neutral thoughts on the books we read truly do have an impact on where stories are taken next and who picks them up to read!

Some of the writers whose stories I am including I will be re-visiting in the future, and seeing if another story they have written resonates with me instead. In the case of Christina Baker Kline, I truly felt connected to "Sweet Water" and am looking forward to reading "Orphan Train".

When something feels 'off' to me as I read the story, I start to compose my thoughts under a notation I refer to as "Fly in the Ointment", which goes to the heart of what I list on my Review Policy that could cause me to be taken out of the story itself and/or find fault with the story as it was written. Two of my main concerns will always be explicit vulgarity (in excessive use) and violence (to an extreme level of inclusion). There are other things I am looking for as well, but these two populate this category in my cloud quite often. Each of these stories has a 'Fly in the Ointment' on my book reviews.

Having said that, there are generally portions of the stories I did appreciate reading but overall, I did not find a book that made me want to express: "it was unputdownable" or "dearly passionate about this story & the characters". It would fall more aptly under "a good read in parts" or more readily even "it was a frustrating read overall". Not every story that has a 'Fly in the Ointment' is attached to this list, however, such as the case in point for "The Angel of Losses" by Stephanie Feldman; as I simply did not agree with the words of vulgarity but devoured the story in full as it quite literally was 'unputdownable'. I have my own barometer like any other reader.

Secondly, in regards to "The Angel of Losses" by Stephanie Feldman -- I wrote on my review that I cannot in good conscience recommend this for YA; I can however stand behind this book as a full-on Adult Magical Realism novel, even if at times it pushed me for what I could accept being included (language esp!). I am adding it simply because to me, it is categorised wrong as "young adult". On that level, I cannot accept it.

Similar to "The Angel of Losses" being mis-marked (in my own opinion) to me "Midnight Runner" by Marilee Jackson should be straight-up adult historical fiction crossed with women's fiction.

I do keep a running list of Children's Lit stories I am encountering that push me past what I consider needs to be put behind a "Content Warning" and/or spoken about with advice about what you can find inside the stories due to the age the stories were written for against how the content goes too extreme outside that scope of acceptance; at least in my own opinion. (see "Children's Lit: The Undiscovered Frontier" on my blog)

The following are the stories I felt missed my heart, but deserve to find a reader who will give them some love!

*UPDATE:

"Trinity Stones" by L.G. O' Connor is being re-released in an edition suitable for Young Readers (YA Edition) I fully support the author in this pursuit and am celebrating there is now a 'clean read' for the story which enchanted my heart and captured my imagination! I believed in the story from the moment I picked it up; I simply could not accept the adult version overall. (30 January 2015)

NOTE: Despite not feeling attached inside Ashtyn Newbold's debut novel (Mischief and Manors) her short story within "Unexpected Love" proved she can tell a compelling story. Thus, why I am giving her sophomoreHa release "Lies and Letters" such a high hopes for pulling me inside her narrative.

// List ends 31 March 2018 on my blog's 5th Blogoversary.
I will start a new list for the next 5 years. \\

*List last updated: JULY 2017

  • Race to Tibet

  • Two Hearts: When I Said I Do, I Meant Forever

  • The Quantum Deception

  • The Savage Fortress

  • The Tiger Queens

  • The Ripper's Wife

  • Drone Games

  • A Paris Apartment: A Novel

  • Lost in Thought (Sententia)

  • I Shall Be Near to You: A Novel

  • The Unsaid

  • Uneven Exchange

  • The Smoke Hunter

  • The Semper Sonnet

  • An Uncommon Blue

  • Honor Among Thieves (Hope & Steel) (Volume 1)

  • Incendiary Girls: Stories

  • The Oblate's Confession

  • The Angel of Losses: A Novel

  • The Pact (The Canaanshade Journeys) (Volume 1)

The Story Vault : of Jorie @ Jorie Loves A Story (where all the reviews for the books on this list can be found)