I think I saw this story on an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
"Just as I’m about to give up, I see him. He watches me from under t...moreI think I saw this story on an episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.
"Just as I’m about to give up, I see him. He watches me from under the hood of his jacket, reclining on a café chair. I know I should report this. He’s everywhere. And I mean everywhere. It almost seems like he knows where I’m going to be before I know."
I swear I wasn't going to review this book. I'm actually reading a bunch of "dark" romance/erotica books as part of a project with my college book society - we're critically examining the recent influx of these in the indie publishing world, particularly the way women are portrayed in them. And I wasn't going to review them because I knew I would probably hate them and no one wants to read review after review of negativity. I knew what I was letting myself in for and I knew it wasn't my thing. But... then this book happened.
Here's the funny thing: I wasn't put off by all the dark sexy stuff and questionable behaviour. I wasn't put off by Twitch's (yeah, that's his name) need to "break" Lexi. I wasn't even put off when he compared her to a dog or when he carried out his psycho-stalkery crap. I expected all of that. I got it - he's a villain and we're not supposed to like him. 'kay, whatever. What did it for me - and what made me want to review this book despite everything I've said - was Lexi's stupid, stupid fucking behaviour. A few other things too, but mostly that.
"Once we reach my unit and he opens the door, it doesn’t hit me until we’re inside that he knows where I live. So why don’t you feel like you’re in danger? Because I’m not. I just know it. I’m sure of it."
And: "Not sure why I’m taking orders from a man who likes to watch me from under a hood, but I am." Refer to image above^.
I don't know how I made it through all the stupid in this book, I seriously don't. On top of all the "whisper-yelling" and "whisper-hissing" which is the only way people talk in this novel, and the endless amount of filler sex where Lexi waxes poetic about Twitch's beautiful dick. Ugh. My favourite (read: hated it) thing is that the first "message" this novel delivers is that stalkery behaviour can be a good thing. In chapter one, Twitch swoops in to rescue Lexi from a would-be rapist:
I whisper, “I just want to know why you watch me?” Not answering, he states acidly, “It was a fucking good thing I was, don’t you think?” An awkward, foul silence follows.
No!! It wasn't a good thing, you crazy ass piece of shit. This crap happens in Fifty Shades of Grey too, as well as other books. The guy acts like a douchebag/stalker/control freak and his behaviour happens to save the heroine from some tragedy or other and this is used to excuse said behaviour. What if a guy punches you in the face and accidentally knocks you out of the path of a speeding bus? Does that make him a hero?
Pg 22. "It’s strange. He doesn’t look like a predator. Certainly doesn’t act like one. So what’s the deal?
1) "Hello there, I'm Joseph Stalin, nice to meet you! Please make yourself at home. Can I get you anything? Some tea or coffee, perhaps? Oh, and by the way, I'm responsible for the deaths of somewhere between 20 and 60 million people."
He doesn't look like a predator? They never fucking do. That's why they're so good at it. If ugly men were staring at you from the shadows, you'd be dragging your stupid ass down to the police station, am I right?
2) He doesn't act like one? He stalks you. He knows your name and where you live without ever having spoken to you. Lexi, I'd hate to see your idea of a predator.
Oh yeah, and... My brain interrupts me with, “You do realize you just had crazy-assed sex with a homeless, crazy-assed stalker-dude, right? You also let this guy come inside you and you’ve known him about a minute and a half.”
Without any protection, I might add. She lets her stalker into her house, has sex with him, and doesn't even use a condom.
Lexi is a particular brand of moron that appears a lot in romance novels. Not only is she ridiculously stupid, but we are supposed to believe she is special. A good girl. Intelligent. Kind. Caring. Above other "slutty" women. SO SPESHUL. She can't even dress as Cleopatra for fancy dress because she's too damn nice:
“No, babe. You’re not Cleopatra. You’re an angel. And a beautiful one at that.”
When she visits Twitch at work, she immediately hates the beautiful woman who works for him: "Her perfect red-stained lips match her perfect... everything. I dislike this woman very muchly."
Also, I wanted to mention something else about this. I am a white woman living in Britain so I don't really have any concept of racism myself. I've seen it around me on occasion in all its ugliness, but it has never been directed at me and I won't pretend to know what it's like. So maybe I'm reading too much into this... but I felt extremely uncomfortable when Lexi scornfully refers to Ling as "Miss Asia". Maybe it is because Ling is treated as disposable and with disdain by everybody in this book. She is called everything from whore to skank to bitch and brushed aside by Twitch like she has no feelings whatsoever. Everything about her characterization didn't sit right with me.
There are so many more quotes I could pull up for you, but I think you'll have probably worked out by now whether you can stomach this book or not. In terms of plot, it is mostly sex. With a nice big side order of angst. I also predicted the ending fairly early and I thought the "reveals" for Twitch's stalkery were ridiculous. His explanation didn't really make sense and wasn't particularly convincing. Oh well, what did I expect?
Here's one final quote to sum up the wonderful man that Twitch is: "You start this and change your mind, I won’t stop."
You know what it is if someone refuses to stop when you change your mind during sex? Of course you do, you're not stupid. You're not Lexi.(less)
Oh, little crazy book, you were one HUGE unexpected surprise. I mean, surely the chances of enjoying two New Adult books in the space of just a coup...more
Oh, little crazy book, you were one HUGE unexpected surprise. I mean, surely the chances of enjoying two New Adult books in the space of just a couple of days is about 10 million to one? Two New Adult books that are insanely different, themes and worlds apart from one another, and yet both good? Impossible, one might think! But I was utterly mesmerised by this book that was part love story and part - and this is the bit that fascinated me - psychological thriller. Just before I get onto the good stuff, I feel like I should warn everyone straight away that there is a particularly graphic and disturbing rape scene that some of you may want to avoid. But if you can stomach the horrors, read onward.
At the beginning of this book, we immediately meet our protagonist, Naomi Carradine, who is in a mental institution. Naomi is adamant that she knows the truth: she is in love with Max - the man who haunts her every thought and whom she misses dearly. But no one else will believe her story. The doctors seem to think that Max isn't real, that he only exists inside Naomi's mind. Telling a story that alternates between her present life in the mental hospital and the past as she retells it to her psychiatrist, Naomi weaves a picture of her life. Who is Max? Is he real, as Naomi claims him to be? Will the doctors ever believe her story? And, even more importantly, will you?
I won't claim to be the most astute reader, but I don't think I'm bad at working things out, and this book kept me guessing right up until the end. I had several theories as to what was going on and I didn't come near to the truth until the ending was just around the corner. I love psychological stories that explore the dark aspects of the human mind and keep the reader wondering where the line between fiction and reality is drawn.
There's some sexy bits in this novel, as seems to be a requirement in New Adult, which was all well and good. I have to admit that any romancing and sexy times got side-swept for me by the far more interesting psychological side to the story. While the book is quite heavy on the romance/sex, at its heart it's really about something else entirely. Which is perhaps what makes it stand out. But both Max and Lachlan were sexy, sweet and completely free of douchebagitis so I liked the hot lovin' parts of the book well enough.
"I can dream. I can imagine and hope, but it will never change a thing. And the most terrifying thing is that I know, I know there’s more to the story. There’s another train coming straight at me, at full speed. Yet I can’t see it. I can only hear the ground slightly tremble. The tracks rattling beneath my feet. I can hear the sound of a whistle blaring. But I can’t move. All I can do is hope that when it does hit, I die in seconds."
My first feeling as I put this book (well, my kindle) down was that I wanted to start again from the beginning and see how everything looked from the perspective of someone who knows the truth. I love books that can do that. That surprise you. I only hope the rest of you find this as engrossing as I did.
“I’m not crazy,” I repeat. “I’m not crazy. I’m not crazy…” - do you believe her?(less)
Welcome to my first ever five star review for a New Adult book.
"If nothing else, humanity excelled at war."
I've been considering abandoning this whole silly "NA experiment" thing a bunch of times and getting back to books I'm more likely to have a good chance of enjoying. But I decided to have one last browse through some of the recently released New Adult; I moved my search to further down the pile, past all the popular "this is the next 50 Shades" titles and to the ones with fewer ratings. That's where I discovered this book. A book that promised to be all kinds of wild and crazy scifi-ness combined with a steamy romance. I wasn't really expecting much. But damn, not only did this book deliver the promised goods, it hooked me from the start and gave me an exciting combination of everything I love: spunky heroine, great writing, an imaginative world, humour and, yes, sexual tension so thick you could cut it with a knife.
In this novel, the world we all know is the "old world" and this futuristic tale plants us right in the middle of space. And conflict. Don't be fooled by what you would usually expect from the New Adult "genre", this is very much a hardcore, detailed and sophisticated piece of science fiction. It is as much a story about war, slavery and military operations as it is a sexy romance. But both aspects of the book complement each other and make for an exciting pageturner. The author doesn't neglect her world-building, space politics or action scenes. She has written one of those creatures that I love above all others: a genre-defying beast that takes all the best elements of my favourite genres and mixes them together to create something even better.
Then there's the chemistry between Renna and Finn. She knew him as Hunter a long time ago and she always thought he'd died until fate throws them together again for the most important mission of their lives. Their history hangs in the air between them making the verbal sparring even more entertaining and hot. God, I love Renna. Finn's a bit of a jerk at first (we learn the reason later) but she gives as good as she gets:
Renna lowered her voice to match his tone. “I don’t mind you on top, darling. It’s when you start pushing me around that we’ll have a problem.” She smiled at him coldly. “So I’ll do my job, don’t you worry. Just don’t expect me to play by your rules. You know I was never very good at following orders.”
I love how bitingly sarcastic, funny and totally unapologetic she is. She is exactly the kind of heroine I love. This isn't supposed to be a humour book but there are a number of great lines scattered throughout - which I won't quote because you should discover them yourself - and I found myself laughing out loud a number of times. It was also very refreshing to get a female MC in New Adult who wasn't obsessed with being virginal and shaming other women for being "slutty". Renna is very comfortable with her sexuality and with other women. I liked this quote:
The woman stood up straighter and puffed out her chest. She did have a nice rack. Renna would have puffed them out, too.
The book does end on a bit of a cliffhanger but I still recommend you go pick this up now. I honestly liked how everything was handled - it was well-written with lots of plot but provided me with the kind of romance I could happily stick around for. There was a realistic progression with all the relationships in the story and I particularly liked how the dislike and suspicion between Renna and her other crew mates blossomed into mutual trust and respect over time. Very, very impressive and entertaining. And I'm sure all your inner nerds will perk up at the science-y language, the artificial intelligence and the cybernetic implants. You know I'm right:)(less)
"Monsters don’t have claws, they have eyes dark as molasses and hair white as a new dime. They have soft petal lips that whisper the sweetest promise...more"Monsters don’t have claws, they have eyes dark as molasses and hair white as a new dime. They have soft petal lips that whisper the sweetest promises."
Mistwalker was a good book but I would have liked it better if the pacing had been sped up a touch. It will certainly appeal to some readers more than others. At its heart, it's a slow-moving, beautifully-written atmospheric novel that is written with that kind of dark, haunting tone you find in the best fairy tale retellings. In fact, the whole book felt very much like a dark, foreboding fairy tale. It even has the usual elements: poetic language, old myths, a young girl willing to make a sacrifice and a monster in a haunted tower.
Or, well, in this case... The Grey Man in a lighthouse.
The language sets this book apart from a lot of Young Adult. I wouldn't call the book "scary" as such, but it has an eerie quality to the writing that plants you right in the middle of the novel's setting. It's only in recent years that I've realised how much the setting in a book can have an impact on me. Some authors have a gift for crafting the novel's environment and pulling you out of this world and into theirs - one great example, in my opinion, is the dreary isolated wilderness of Wuthering Heights. But this has that feel too. It's a strange book and the atmosphere mirrors the story's main themes of grief and loss.
Because, really, can you think of anything that captures a mixed sense of loneliness and hope like a lighthouse? Dark and cold on a lonely shore, battered by the wind and sea, shining a light in the darkness to guide passing boats. If you can resist being pulled into the author's world, then you're a stronger reader than I.
In my family, we never said hello or goodbye - another superstition. That one came from my mother’s side of the family. Without hello, you couldn't mark a beginning. To avoid an ending, of course you went without goodbye. Maybe whoever started it thought they could live forever. All they had to do was trick time into believing their lives were a single, uninterrupted moment. They were wrong.
Perhaps what this book really deserves is a reader who isn't me. Make no mistakes, it's a sophisticated piece of YA fiction that shows the genre's critics how teen fiction can be beautiful, well-written and completely free of cliches. It puts to shame many other authors who've tried to write lesbian teens and fallen prey to the usual stereotypes. Every relationship has been developed carefully and the author has clearly thought about what each character means to the others and how their relationship works. No one is a throwaway. No one is anything so simple as good or evil.
But this book won't be for everyone. Because, despite all the good things I've said, it is SLOW. So slow that I found myself skim-reading parts to try and move the plot along. I am honestly not one of those readers that has to have a story constantly moving at a breakneck pace from action scene to action scene, but there's a line that "slow" books risk crossing and, when they do, they become mind-numbingly dull. Sadly, there were moments like that for this book. I would recommend this to readers who enjoy slower pacing and character-driven novels that are heavy on the psychological and light on the paranormal. There are people who will LOVE this. It's unfortunate that I am not one of them.