Let me start from the beginning. I created my own Goodreads account on March 1 and immediately gave five stars to one book, and one book only -- still to this day. On that same day, I browsed the recommendations of "all books similar to" THE book and plucked this one out of the list.
It's good. It's so good. It's so goddamn good that I raged with jealousy all the time, wishing the same strings of words were lavished upon my favorite couple, not THEM.
So why couldn't this book be THE book? Why couldn't it be the one to finally do the "dethroning", which I've pursued for so long?
Because of what I DIDN'T feel. Not magic. Not sparks. Not CONNECTION. I didn't feel butterflies in my stomach. I didn't feel gratification from the drama and angst. And of course I didn't feel any joy from the sweetness and intimacy. Worst of all, I didn't even take some enjoyment out of scenes of possessiveness and jealousy, like I ALWAYS do. What's more, I didn't feel the urge to fantasize, which has become a routine before I fall asleep. Not about them. I was actually more excited when they reminded of Ellie and Adam, then surrendered to THEIR gravitational pull.
Whether ALL of the above that I didn't feel was ENTIRELY due to my loyalty to and protectiveness of my OTP, I don't know. Could possibly be because I've built up a tolerance to romance novels since that enchanting first-encounter. Could also be because this particular effort, although extremely well-done, is -- quite simply -- just not up my alley. I'll never know.
What I do know is, I seem to prefer my heroine as well as hero sweet and wholesome, rather than damaged and recovering. Which seems to be one of the reasons why I love Syd and her Ridge so much. And also why I instinctively favored Ellie and Adam over Joss and Braden -- whose chunk-sizes in the book weren't even comparable -- by a landslide.
What I also know is, I didn't enjoy feeling hatred. Be it toward Travis or Victoria, or anyone for that matter, however crucial it is to the plot.
One more thing I know: when I thought Archer was dead, I was all ready to change my opinion about this book; and then when it turned out to be no more than a prey on my sympathy using death -- the ultimate weapon for emotional-blackmail, my constantly simmering anger reached a boil. I felt cheated. Tricked. Even more pissed than I already did.