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“Enlightened” by Joanna Chambers
One word. Murdo *sigh*. The last book in an outstanding trilogy that actually opened my eyes to the beauty and wonder of historical M/M romance. Me. A reader that has been proclaimed to be a non-fan and non-reader of historical romance (except if they have a paranormal/fantasy element). But this trilogy was amazing and the last book just perfect.
(What’s all the fuss about?):
I don’t have any – because this year I made sure to avoid hyped books. I would not read books that seemed to be the “it” book; unless not during the time where everybody was reading and praising them. I knew I can’t really be objective about it. So there are books that are still waiting for me to read, but I will wait until nobody else is talking about them
(Why haven’t more people read this?):
Similar to Cornelia Grey (who was my under-hyped author of 2013), I thought K.Z. Snow was an under-hyped author as well. I wish that more people were reading her books, because she truly has a great writing quality that’s almost flawlessly poetic, artistic and non-formulaic in storytelling, with characters that are not always perfect. She tackled some important topics over the years, from abuse to addiction. And this one book I read this year, Resurrection Man is another sample of that. She brought life to a story about a homeless young man who finally finds the meaning of himself through the eyes of people who meant a lot to him. It’s a magically beautiful story.
(didn’t know what to expect or the story caught you off guard or anything that just…surprised you…):
I was pleasantly surprised with Sarina Bowen’s Understatement of the Year (The Ivy Years, #3). Maybe because it was self-published (and I am a bit of a snob when it comes to self-pub books) and it was a New Adult novel (not exactly a favorite genre of mine) with a story of an athlete that suffers from internal homophobia (again, not exactly a favorite trope of mine). But I ended up quite charmed by the story and I thought the whole internal homophobia was handled really, really well.
(I’d buy anything these authors write, without a doubt):
The year 2014 was my 6th year of reading M/M and I admit that I had been slightly jaded with this genre. It was hard for me to get pleasantly surprised anymore since the books released sounded like the same old same old. Too many overused tropes, too many new authors for me to care about. This year I was getting pickier – and tended to stick to what I knew I would enjoy. If you saw my 4.5 & 5 star reads last year for M/M, the number might be similar this year. But in details, the books that I rated 5* significantly dropped (I had more 4.5* reads). I didn’t care about hype; if it didn’t sound like my ‘book’, I wouldn’t read it, no matter how great the reviews were.
It wasn’t all bad – I did challenge myself to read MM outside my comfort zone. I discovered that I actually enjoyed M/M historicals. I tried reading M/M/M too, back in March (though I couldn’t say it was a success). I formed a Whatsapp group with a bunch of Indonesian M/M readers in Jakarta and Surabaya, and read a couple of books that they recommended. I did a Twitter buddy read this December and had fun with it. So 2014 still offered some memorable M/M reading moments…
I think I am hoping for great books – who isn’t? – I am hoping for new-to-me authors that immediately become auto-read. I am planning to have some personal reading challenges too. But other than that, I don’t know. I am actually picturing myself slowing down a bit in M/M and actually reading other genres (le gasp!). But you know how it is with the 7-year-itch… :)