Tuesday, May 5, 2015

DNF Review ~ Black Iris by Leah Raeder

Series: standalone
Genre: NA contemporary
Pages: 368
Publication Date: April 28th, 2015
Publisher: Atria
Goodreads Description: 
The next dark and sexy romantic suspense novel from the USA Today bestselling author of Unteachable.

It only took one moment of weakness for Laney Keating’s world to fall apart. One stupid gesture for a hopeless crush. Then the rumors began. Slut, they called her. Queer. Psycho. Mentally ill, messed up, so messed up even her own mother decided she wasn't worth sticking around for.

If Laney could erase that whole year, she would. College is her chance to start with a clean slate.

She's not looking for new friends, but they find her: charming, handsome Armin, the only guy patient enough to work through her thorny defenses—and fiery, filterless Blythe, the bad girl and partner in crime who has thorns of her own.

But Laney knows nothing good ever lasts. When a ghost from her past resurfaces—the bully who broke her down completely—she decides it's time to live up to her own legend. And Armin and Blythe are going to help.

Which was the plan all along.

Because the rumors are true. Every single one. And Laney is going to show them just how true.

She's going to show them all. 
Source: I received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I was SO EXCITED for Black Iris. The moment I discovered it, I thought it sounded like an amazingly exciting, dark read that I would really get into. Unfortunately, the book and I got off on the wrong foot this first time around. I DNFed it at 50 percent, but not because I thought the book was BAD. I just could not click with this book. Leaving it unfinished, writing this review, and trying the book again another time (maybe in six months or so) felt like the right thing to do. 

My first impression of the book wasn't that great. It felt like it was supposed to be this dark, different, I don't-give-a-!#@$ story, but that's my point. It felt like it was supposed to be like that. Instead of actually sensing that vibe, it kind of felt like the elements that were meant to create the effect were wrangled into a box instead of just being left to settle. (Does that even make sense? I hope it does.) I was really bothered by this because I know that this book is NOT in a box. The characters, the writing, the story, the themes--none of them are confined to any box. So, the fact that this book felt like it was being forced into a box that is labeled "don't you dare put me in a box"--there was so much effort to take the things in the book outside of boxes, which just seemed to pile everything into a different box--left me unsettled. I was confused by this feeling and it hard to truly appreciate the book and WANT to read the rest of it. I need a fresh start with this one in order to get everything that's going on. 

Other than the whole box thing, I had a couple other issues. The writing felt a bit too much for me, which was probably one of the reasons the book felt a little forced. A lot of scenes seemed to be skim-written. It was like skim-reading, but in the way scenes/chapters were carried out. I don't know if this was due more to my mood or the writing itself, but whatever it was, this weird impression I got only made it tougher to get into the book. 

I DNFed Black Iris at 50 percent because I had gotten to the point where I was forcing myself to read further. The entire second half seemed as unappealing as a very long and steep hill to climb after I had already been walking for miles (well, that's unappealing to me--other people may not mind that climb). 

I love the idea of this book. I love who the characters are and what stories they each have. I like that there were parts that I didn't know if I liked or not. I liked the thriller elements. I know that this book is a good one, which is why I plan to try it again. Hopefully, the second time around will work a lot better for me.

*Note: The issues I had are most likely not ones many readers will have. If you're excited to read this book, read it. If you don't end up liking it, your issues with it will probably be different from mine.

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