False Start [1]: A Shadow Bright and Burning, The Reader, Kiss Cam

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I’m not sure if it’s me or if it’s time or if it’s the books I’m picking up, but I’ve found that lately, not a lot of books are sticking. I’m trying to figure out whether I want to finish the books that don’t grab me right away or just put them down and find something that I’m passionate about. On FALSE START today, I’m talking about some recent books that are currently in limbo for me!


A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING by Jessica Cluess

I received an audio review copy of this book and was SO excited to start it. The concept sounded great and the audiobook narrator was Fiona Hardingham who I loved in THE SCORPIO RACES… but for some reason I’m having the hardest time with this audiobook! I actually stopped the audio and switched it out for THE SCORPIO RACES because 1) Fiona’s voice was just making me long for Puck’s story and 2) it was time for my annual re-read anyway. I think I started to realize though that I love Fiona Hardingham in TSR because her voice goes well with a spunky character. When it’s someone who’s not as bold and spunky, her narration starts to feel a little shrill and I’ve honestly not liked any of her other narrations so far. I was having a hard time getting into the story too, feeling like I was just kind of thrown in, but audio could be a big part of that.

FINISH OR DITCH IT? I think I’ll try to read this one in print instead of audio. I’ve heard some REALLY good things about the book and I think maybe I’m just not clicking with the narration.


THE READER by Traci Chee

I just started THE READER — on audio as well — and it’s another book I’m just not clicking with. The narrator, Kim Mai Guest, is okay and I liked her narration in another book I listened to but I think this is more of a case of me not clicking with the story. The beginning felt very cookie-cutter YA fantasy, almost edging on a dystopian feel with a society who can’t read and who seems to be persecuted if they can. Things just started picking up from where I last left off in the audiobook and it’s giving me a little hope. It doesn’t quite feel too deep yet so I’m unsure if I’ll like the actual story or writing but it’s too soon to make any judgments yet, I think. I’m going to push on a bit more and see how it goes.

FINISH OR DITCH IT? Try to keep going for a bit. I think I want to listen to a bit more of the book before making any decisions and see how the plot picks up. I’m not super impressed with the beginning though.


KISS CAM by Kiara London

I’ve had a hard time with Swoon Reads books (I seriously don’t think I’ve liked a single one. Not even exaggerating there) but Kiss Cam was best-friends-to-more so how could I not try it? It started off cute but it immediately took a turn into the unbelievable for me. From an incidental kiss brought on by vlog viewer questions to all of a sudden, let’s make this a whole segment where two characters who supposedly don’t like each other kiss all the time. It seems way too silly. The story could have very well started the *feelings* from the one kiss and I don’t get why this whole kissing segment is necessary or realistic. It really turned me off so far and the dialogue is just okay so I’m not super thrilled about continuing.

FINISH OR DITCH IT? I think I’ll try to keep reading and see how it goes. There’s still a lot of book left to build up those lovely friends-to-more feels and really develop a nice relationship. I think I’ll see how it goes and it’s a quick read so even if it doesn’t go well, maybe I can still finish it.


Have you read any of these books? What have you thought? Did you love them or leave them?

2 thoughts on “False Start [1]: A Shadow Bright and Burning, The Reader, Kiss Cam

  1. Morgan @ Gone with the Words

    I’ve heard iffy things about The Reader but I’m still tempted to check it out of the library. And I really liked A Shadow Bright and Burning! I thought it was lots of fun so hopefully the print version works better for you 🙂

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