Misconception by Morgan Black

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Originally published on December 15, 2014.

2/5 stars.
ebook, 46 pages.
Read on November 26, 2014

I’d like to thank Netgalley for the opportunity to review this book!

Misconception is a very short erotica novel that is the first in the Finnegan Brothers series. The novel follows Lena, a young college student whose parents have recently divorced. Before leaving her hometown she was in a relationship with Blake Finnegan, who has an older brother named Slade. Things were really strong between Lena and Blake but on the night her parents break the news to her about their impending divorce, Lena makes a pretty naughty decision. With not even a goodbye, Lena leaves town with her mom and sister where she hopes to leave her past behind her. Unfortunately a few years later, her father is getting married and she is required to return back to her hometown in order to attend. ***MILD SPOILER*** She hopes that the Finnegan brothers have left town and that she won’t have to worry about encountering either of them but as fate will have it, she runs into both of them in less than ideal circumstances.***END SPOILER***

I’ll just say it, I hated Lena. She is juvenile and made some really poor choices so it made it really hard to like this novel. I mean, I know that most erotica characters have to make some poor choices in order to find themselves in some sort of sexual dilemma but I had little sympathy and interest in Lena so it really took a way from the focal points of the book, which, are the sex scenes. With that being said, I wanted way more sex as there were only two sex scenes in the entire book. I know that this novel is short but I really wanted more, mostly because I didn’t care about Lena or the divorce or anything like that. Sadly, because I wasn’t involved in the characters, the sex scenes that did exist really lacked luster for me. ***SPOILER*** Besides, Slade is a womanizing asshole so there isn’t anything sexy about that.***END SPOILER***

I should also mention that this book has a major cliff hanger at the end. I’m sure it was a marketing ploy because based on the length of this book I can’t imagine it was meant to be read on its own.  So if you like series, can tolerate cliff-hangers and are looking for a quick read that may raise your pulse a mild amount, then give this one a go. You may have more tolerance for Lena than I did or find yourself involved in the story a bit more.

Ruby’s Choice by D.F. Jones

2/5 stars.
ebook, 173 pages.
Read from April 06 to 18, 2016.

I would like to thank the Online Bookclub for providing me with a copy of this book for review. I selected this novel as I found the plot description to be very intriguing, however, the plot that I actually read left me disappointed. I was under the expectation that this book was going to be more about three friends who discovered some fascinating magical objects but instead I was left with a romance novel that required no magical interludes. However, this book still has many good qualities and would appeal to anyone interested in the romance genre.

As children, Ruby and her friends, find a cave with some interesting remains. Each of them pockets an item from the cave to keep. Set in Tennessee the late 1970s, Ruby is now a young adult with big dreams to run and manage the grocery store that she is working at. She has also long discovered that the item that she discovered in that cave with her friends as a child is no ordinary item, in fact, it allows her glimpses into the future through her dreams. During one vibrant dream, she sees a man whom she does not recognize but sees herself falling madly in love with him. As destiny would have it, the handsome stranger, Reed, comes in to the shop while she is working along with his equally handsome friend, Brent. She is deeply attracted to them both but she can’t shake the dream she had with Reed. She soon discovers that the two of them are notorious players who have created a game they call “Tap It”. Each of them will date the same woman and who ever she says she loves first is the winner in which they will then both cut ties with her. Disgusted, Ruby is determined to beat them at their own game and tries to play them both.  However she undermines her own feelings in the process as well as the power of the destiny that was predicted for her in her dreams.

While the writing wasn’t terrible, the story just wasn’t for me. And to be honest, the author could have completely cut the part out of the cave and the magical items and just focused on the romance between the characters because that was clearly the central story. If the book description and beginning plot had been described as such, then I likely wouldn’t feel so deceived right now.  Even Ruby’s friends felt like unnecessary characters, especially Jerry. His character literally adding nothing to this plot and no place in this book, though I’m sure he was thrown in so that it could tie in to the next book. I don’t like it when authors do that and an editor would have been able to spot that,  but that is one downsides of self published books. The characters, while described well were extremely stereotypical. Ruby was the “it” girl that had it all, beauty, brains and boldness. Nothing new.  Overall the magical sub plot felt unnecessary and randomly thrown in just so the author could create a magical series involving the friends.

Having said that, the author has a solid writing style and can most definitely tell a story. I was intrigued enough to finish the novel, even if some of the romance turned me off. While romance may not be a genre I enjoy reading, this book will be a winner for anyone who appreciates the genre.

 

What I Talk About When I Talk about Running By Haruki Murakami

3/5 stars.
Read from March 10 to 14, 2016.
ebook, 180 pages.

This was a peculiar book but I suppose it wouldn’t be true to Murakami’s style if it wasn’t a bit odd. What does make this book remarkable is how modest and accomplished Murakami is, and I’m not just saying that because I enjoy his novels.

While this book is the closest thing to memoir on Murakami’s life, it’s more of a reminiscence of his life and the decisions he made in terms of writing and how much of an impact running and fitness has played in his lifestyle and his success. Saying that Murakami is ambitious is a bit of understatement. The man has some solid resolve when it comes to his decisions. He opened up a jazz bar at a very young age an put all of his money and time into making it successful. While running this jazz bar he started writing. He published his first novel while still running the bar but was not satisfied. Murakami knew, like he did with his bar, that if he wanted to be successful at the writing he needed to give it his full attention and commitment.  Despite everyone he knew thinking he was absolutely mad, Murakami closed his jazz bar and set off to write full time. From there Murakami made the most of his flexible schedule and began to start running. He reflects on how running has helped his writing process and success and details the struggles and failures of racing.

While I could never claim to be anywhere near as resilient or ambitious as Murakami, I felt that if I met the man, we would get a long. We have similar introverted qualities and run for the same reasons. He would describe certain situations about writing or people and I found myself thinking, “that’s me, that’s how I feel too”. It was a wonderful feeling to have this connection with Murakami and it perhaps explains why I enjoy his novels so much.

What made this book peculiar, is that it reads as if Murakami is having a casual conversation with you. It’s as if, the two of you sat down for coffee after going for a run, and you just happen ask him how he started running and writing. It’s a very welcoming read in that sense but the first section feels a bit strange as you adjust and immerse yourself in the style.His modesty with his racing accomplishments and dedication to writing contribute to this style.

While I don’t think Murakami intended this book to be inspirational, it most definitely is. Murakami gave 100% in whatever he chose to do, whether writing or running, and it has paid off for him. Many people don’t understand how challenging something like that can be. For example, when I started freelancing, I always felt like a fraud which held back my ability and desire to give myself fully into the profession. I didn’t commit 100%. While I found moderate success, it didn’t end up being something I could maintain full time unfortunately. However, I learned more than I can say about myself and know where my failings are for next time. I am not done with that path.

I would recommend this book to anyone aspiring to take a leap and commit to something they’ve always wanted, as well as any aspiring writers or passionate runners.