Category Relaxing Reading Corner

Unearthing Your Romantic Side With Books and Reading

You know what’s so interesting about reading? While there are a lot of ways to answer that question, one thing in particular might stand out to you after you think about it.

When you think of famous authors, who are the first ones to come to mind? James Patterson, Stephen King, Mark Twain, and J.K. Rowling might all be on that list. And there’s no denying that they’re all highly talented and have achieved great success. However, while that’s certainly the case, romance is actually the most popular genre. Two questions here: “Why is romance the most popular genre?” and “Are there any recent romance books that really stand out?

To answer the first question, real-world romance is more difficult to find today than in the past. Then again, perhaps that should be rephrased. Romance in regards to longevity is more difficult to find than in the past. Sure, many people still fall in love, but they often fall out of love just as quickly. This can be due to the desire to share their love elsewhere, simply because they get bored with whomever they originally fell in love with, or due to financial strains. Whatever the case may be, it often leaves a gap, a romantic gap that needs to be filled by one’s heart. One way for people to fill this gap is to read recommended romance books. And let’s not forget that while some people never find romance, they can find it in books. This alternate reality is more beautiful than the reality in which they currently reside.

To answer the second question above, yes. That book would be Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. What makes this book such an interesting topic is the enormous differences in reader opinions. Readers truly have love/hate relationship with the book. Some readers who didn’t enjoy the book state that Perkins let them down. At the same time, Isla and the Happily Ever After is the highest-rated Perkins book in existence, at least according to 7,867 ratings on GoodReads. The book currently sports a rating of 4.32. Considering the good/disappointing barometer is 4.00 on GoodReads, that’s a pretty strong rating.



Those who didn’t like the book found it to be too fluffy. In their opinions, while the romance scenes were excellent, the plot lacked meaning and direction. They also felt that a crush turned into love way too quickly. Another potential flaw is a lack of conflict.

Ironically, many readers who enjoyed the book see themselves as dark-hearted, cold, and insecure. In their view, the heart-warming nature of the book opened their eyes to another side of human nature. Additionally, many readers who enjoyed the book reported staying up into the wee hours of the morning to complete it.

Stephanie Perkins is seen as one of today’s best romance writers. If you haven’t read any of her books yet, then you might want to start with Isla and the Happily Ever After. Which side of the fence will you fall on?



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4 Most Anticipated Fantasy Books of 2014

The new year is here and many long anticipated fantasy novels are on their way to finally being published. After the long wait it’s time and you are ready to sit back and indulge on the up and coming novels of 2014. With so many options you might be confused on where to start first. The following novels are some of the most discussed and loved books that will appear on the shelves for the new year.


The Undead Pools

The Hollows, #12
Kim Harrison

The Hollows series is an urban fantasy novel that is based in the suburbs of Cincinnati. Rachel Morgan is a witch who has fought off demons, vampires, human beings who dwell in magic and just about everything under the sun (and those who can’t walk in the sun). This twelfth book is going to focus on the results of Rachel’s saving the Ever After from shrinking and disappearing forever. With spells now going wrong and truces between the inlanders and humans falling apart; Rachel will be forced to once again step up and help end the madness. The love/hate relationship between Rachel and her elf friend Trent will also be addressed which is a huge part of why this book is so anticipated. This is one of the most discussed fantasy books in 2014; since Kim Harrison left her fans dripping with anxiety over what would happen next, leaving the last book in the series with a dynamic cliff hanger.


Up From the Grave

Night Huntress, #7
Jeaniene Frost

Cat and Bones have weaved their way in to the hearts of many. Fans of Cat and Bones will be very heart broken to hear that this is the very last Night Huntress book, finalizing the series. With Up From the Grave we find Cat and Bones fighting once again except this time it’s the ones they love the most that they are fighting for. With one final adventure that will leave readers on the edge of their seats, the duo must search for Cat’s old team members who have gone missing. Mixed with dark humor, shocking revelations, dramatic moments and the undeniable passion between Cat and Bones, fans will end this series with loose ends tied up, and an appearance of past loved characters. The twists and turns of this novel will leave you thinking, long after you have finished the final pages.


Prince of Fools

The Red Queen’s War, #1
Mark Lawrence

This novel has been the form of many nail-biting discussions of up and coming Fantasy books of 2014. Fans of Mark Lawrence and his novels that are not aware of Prince of Fools, will be happy to hear about the upcoming new series. This book features the Red Queen, feared and dreaded by many for her ruthless fight against the war and those who are power hungry standing behind the nations. Her grandson Prince Jalan is our hero who would prefer to not be involved with the throne and avoids the queen at all costs. Faced with the ability to see The Silent Sister, a secret weapon the Queen holds dear, Jalan’s world is sent crashing. It is then he finds out the truth, and all is not as the Queen claims it to be. Jalan is intertwined with others in a series of events that will put him, and the fate of the long war in his hands. Filled with magic, action and dark humor this novel will leave readers excited to find out what happens next.


The Shattered Crown

Steelhaven Trilogy, #2
Richard Ford

While this author is not as well known as many of the other anticipated fantasy novels in 2014. Those who have read his past books know how well he can craft a vision and put it into writing. When we left the last book in this series, King Cael had perished ,and his daughter now bears the weight of the Steel Crown, all alone. Filled with betrayal, dark magic, brutal violence and mystery this novel weaves a story of a kingdom at war within it’s realm and beyond. Well developed characters dealing with lots of action and unimaginable missions to protect their kingdom is what makes this novel one of the most anticipated for 2014.

Fantasy authors are everywhere, and new books are coming out each year, with all kinds of specific sub genres in the fantasy department. Regardless of which novels you are awaiting release dates from, it’s highly suggested that you check out the novels listed above. Let your reading palette savor all the new and up and coming fantasy series’.

You never know what you might find in the fantastic cauldron of fantasy books.


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Top Fiction Books That Make You Think

Fiction is often thought of as a genre for people who are not interested in serious subjects. Intelligent readers are encouraged to seek out non-fiction works that engage with real issues and events. However, current trends in literature are leading authors away from mundane narratives and simplistic themes. Though many of the fiction novels that have recently received mainstream attention are either paranormal romances or science fiction for young adults, there is an emerging movement of mature fiction with engaging, unconventional plots and inventive structures.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski was one of the first novels to successfully turn a layered format into a part of the book’s plot. The novel is about a troubled young man who finds a manuscript written by a blind man who has just died. The manuscript is an academic study of a documentary about a haunted house. The reader has to consciously make decisions about the act of reading in order to make her way through the book. It is a given that not all of the information presented is reliable; the notion of a blind man being able to watch a film and write about it is absurd. It treads even further into the impossible when it becomes apparent that the film might not be real within the context of the plot. The reader has to sift through all of the misinformation and figure out which narrator to trust. No two people have the same impression of the plot of House of Leaves. The decisions made during the reading process lead to vastly different interpretations of the events being presented.

The Translation of Dr. Apelles by David Treuer is another novel that experiments with structure, though this book progresses in a more linear fashion than House of Leaves does. The genius of the book lies in the way its sense of reality becomes inverted so gradually that the reader does not notice until it has already occurred. The story’s references to itself spiral inward infinitely and only make sense after the introduction is read again at the end. There are clues throughout the dual narrative that nothing is quite as it seems, but the language keeps the reader focused on Dr. Apelles and his actions without ever addressing his work, which is the book itself. It takes a forceful kind of reading to break the barriers of Treuer’s prose and figure out what his book is trying to accomplish.

Bloodroot by Amy Greene is a much more straightforward novel, but even this gentle family history reflects the contemporary trend of unusual structures. Bloodroot is primarily about one woman, Myra Jean Lamb, but her story is told through the eyes of other people. In a way, it is a story told around her, not about her. The reader never learns Myra Jean’s side of the story until the very end.

There are many more fiction books – Read Me! that exemplify this break from typical ways of telling stories. Novels about memories or the act of writing tend to fall into this category. Difficult narratives are at the forefront of fiction these days, and that is a testament to the intelligence of fiction readers.


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