Even though this was not exactly what I was expecting , I still really enjoyed it to the point that I flew through it. Now it is on the shorter side , but I put aside other books I was reading just to finish it. Starting out I was expecting it to be more like [book:My Lovely Wife|39796904] or the [book:Darkly Dreaming Dexter|17231] series. Will say if you are wanting more on the murder front or just something more dark and graphic, I would recommended those over this book. While the the murders are still a major part of the book given it what it is about, all the deaths happen off screen and this is much about the consequences after the fact. I could also see some people taking issue with how short the chapters. Personally thought they made it go by faster. The chapters are all only a few pages so made you want to keep reading but could for sure see how it could also make the book seem choppy at times.
Given that the murders are not front and center , the book comes off more as a character study of how the main character deals with the fact of what her sister is and the lengths she will go to protect her to the point that by the end the main character is pretty much a criminal too. There are a few elements of the story that are a bit predictable, but turn out exactly in the way I thought. Will say if you are not a fan of open endings and need some sort of closer, you are not going to get it. Personally, I a big fan of opening endings as long as they are done well and make sense for that particular book. For this book, the opening ending was the most realistic outcome. The man in the comma, for instance, finally wakes up and recalls some of what the main character though it is not clear if down the road he will tell what he knows. There is that chance he might later on decide he might, on good intention, release what he knows or maybe he will find a way that he could profit in some way from what he knows. I am sort of surprised that it wasn't mentioned.Also enjoy that it is clear that her sister is going to keep killing and that the main character is at some point going to have to decide if family loyalty is worth hiding the truth.
The one draw back of this novel is how easily the police believe the sister's and/or the main characters version of events when there is more or less clear evidence that something is not what it seems . In reality the truth does not always win out and people that should be in jail are not and those who are innocent are locked up , but like many similar books the police in this are sort of useless. Not saying I wanted it to go down that road. In books at least, it is more fun if people get away with their crimes or if they come really close to being caught and are able to get away in some way. The two came close to being caught when the police take the main character's car and when a bloody napkin was found at one the crime scenes. The napkin is brought up and not too soon forgotten.It doesn't even appear that that the police even took it in for processing. I also get that the main character cleans up after her sister really well, but you can't tell me she got everything . Just while it may be possible to get blood stains out of various materials, it is pretty much next to impossible to be certain ever trace is washed away even with obsessive cleaning.Every day you see criminals that are brought in because they missed one stray amount of blood or a fingerprint they front to wipe away.Even if the main character is a nurse, she is not a forensic expert and thus even if she is using a black light to make sure she gets every bit of blood it is not logical to think she got everything given that it doesn't seem like the sister does anything to cover her tracks.
Overall though even with the few minor flaws here and there still really enjoyed this one.
Overall I enjoyed this . It was fast paced and for me at least it was quite the page turner. When I first started it, I didn't realize it was his first novel. I went just on the fact that the summary sounded like something I would enjoy. After realizing though, I can tell it is a first novel. Certain aspects of the novel are not as overly polished and a few plot points seem way too convenient, which is my main issue with the novel in general. Several plot points throughout the story are exciting while reading and then when I was finished and had time to mull them over, several events didn't really make sense or add up. I more than fine reading books where I can turn off my brain for awhile. Where it is a book that doesn't have any big meaning it needs to get across or impact to make. A book that that is just supposed to be entertainment for awhile. Even so there is a line a book crosses where even though it is enjoyable, and I did actually enjoy this book, the characters or the writing throw common sense out the window. A few times here and there is not an issue . Hell real people even with the best of intentions do it from time to time. We are all human and just even though we knew better we still fuck up. I can give benefit of the doubt to a few things, but when you add all the infractions together is when I start to have an issue.
For instance I can forgiven the first common sense abuse since in summary on the back cover, I knew going in that Ben fucked up by telling a court decision to someone he shouldn't. I can sort of buy that he let excitement of the position go to his head even though he probably signed a million legal documents stating what you can or can not say to family and friends.That and even though he shouldn't trust some random person that called, he got wrapped up in the moment and blabbed. Fine ok. Things I have more issue is that even though Ben and a few others are sure that the house may be bugged they continue to say things they shouldn't and then are shocked when things get out. Get that moving to different places every time they thought the place might be bugged is a bit obsessive , but don't get why they couldn't have stayed in the house and just been more careful about what they said. I do get having characters pass notes could get a tad clunky to read instead of spoken dialogue. Even so they could have developed a code. Just something.
Honestly too just thought there were too many twists in this. I don't have an issue with books that have twists in them. They can be fun to guess along with but do feel there should be either one big twist that is revealed toward the en or if there are a few, that they are used with a purpose in mind and that there are not so many that they start to clutter the story. This book for me falls into the latter category. I do think the twists were trying to serve a purpose but overall they came off as a mess. For instance one of the twists that just felt personally unnecessary and just didn't make sense is that it is revealed that one of the men working for Rick, the villain of the story, is actually a marshal trying to help Ben. What doesn't make sense to me is that he is supposed to an one of the higher ups for one of the companies whose law suits to Court is deciding. on. Just would think it would be somewhat public knowledge of what someone higher up would look like. So am confused why Rick was fooled by this. It just came off as a way to get someone close to Rick who could save Ben toward the end of the book. I was also not the biggest fan of Eric being a double agent. Not saying am not a fan of the concept and believe it can be done well, just feel in this book it was executed poorly.
The end of the book was the other issue for me. It felt slightly lack luster. Things are not totally wrapped up nicely since there are thankfully consequences for what happened. Still felt overall things turned out mostly ok. Rick has his typical villain moments where he threatens to kill someone but never acts on it by instead letting everyone live and just beats them. Though am a bit shocked that he got to live at the end given how so much media loves killing villains. He was overall an ok villain but for sure could have been better. Ben does lose his job, as he should . Course he has a way better one by the end of the novel so he still wins out in the end. Nathan is pissed with good reason given that because of Ben's actions one of their friends committed suicide . A detail that seems to really matter in the moment but only Nathan seems to feel any real mourning over. That and the fact that the mother of said friend is so possessive and obsessive over her son's life that in one scene she is jumping down her son's throat to get back the job he is fired from and yet is not beating down the roommates door to explain why her son is dead, which really makes no sense. That and just a personal pet peeve of having the book end with the unnecessary romance angle. I am not against romance being in any sort of book but I am against forced romance and for sure felt that the romance between Ben is and Lisa is so damn forced . It was unneeded and personally had Ben not fucked up by spilling the beans about the case outcome both of them would have been fired or least spoken to about their romance. Having the book end on that aspect was just super cringy. Would have honestly preferred if it turned out that Lisa was a lesbian as one of the guys thought in the beginning. Granted still would have had issued given that their assumptions are based on old stereotypes. More though would just preferred if the romance was just not part of the novel to begin with.
I really really do not like romance and yet I still read some of it because I am sure I will find something that will knock my socks off and will make me change my opinion on the genre . So far that has not happened.Just the plot of most romances are chessy to me and I get bored with them more likely than not. I thought the summary for this one sounded different and fun so I thought I would give it a chance. While is not all the worst romance I have ever read, in fact it is very from that, it still had certain cliches that drive me crazy and are sadly some cliches that are just particular to romance in general. I should know going into a romance that there are going to be certain cliches in it that will drive me crazy or that I will just not like . Yet here we are. I don't overall think cliches are the end of the world and depending on how they are used can be interesting. Then there are cliches that to me that are just cringy and no matter what the author does it will just not work for me.
Will get into that but first want to talk about what I did like about this book because again did overall enjoy it. Enough so that I am going to give the second in the series a shot. I did overall like the characters in this. They felt mostly liked flawed/real people. There were certain things about them that bugged me and will get into that in the things I didn't like section. Since in romance you should care about the characters felt this book did a good job of that. I also liked that this one focused on an already established relationship instead of strangers to lovers. Way way too many romance novels turn into insta love fests and it was nice to see trying to find love again in a not so perfect already established relationship. The writing overall was pretty well done there were some cases , and again will get into that in the things I didn't like section, but didn't find myself hating the writing or rolling my eyes while reading , which has what turns me off from a lot of romance. I also liked that the side characters were pretty well established . Too often in romance side characters are just there for the sack of being there. They get quick mentions every now and again but after the two main leads get together they are too soon forgotten . That are the side characters are just there and do nothing for the story. Felt like in this that all the side characters had personalities of their own.
Now to what I didn't like. What drew me into this was of course the book club element and to be honest just felt like that aspect was underused or just not used in the way I was expecting. Just felt at times it was just there and more often honestly forgotten about . Mentioning that is there are bits of the book that are from the book that that Gavin is reading. Books inside books can be done well and they can be done poorly . For this book felt like they were just sort of there . I would have loved if those chapters had underlines or sections marked out so it felt like you were reading Gavin's copy of the book. Just something. Otherwise they just felt sort of there again and oh look similar things in the book are actually happening to the characters. Honestly if you choose to skip those sections you really would miss anything and that is the thing . If you put something in it has to serve a purpose . Now Gavin commented on the book in the other chapters but again felt like you could read his comment without reading the sections from the book that came before and still been ok.
The sex..Oh ...just yeah. I get that sex scenes for romance and erotica are written way different but the sex scenes in romance is one of the top reasons I tend to avoid the genre. They were ok for what they were and thankfully they were not as cringy as they could have been and thankfully the author did not overdo it on euphemisms. Seriously drives me mad when authors go out of their way to avoid saying cock for instance. Young adult I get a bit more but seriously if a book is for adults I don't get the need for the overly flowery language. Least not in this day in age. Just it is not sexy to me personally and just feel it is silly. There were a few times here and there so the author is not totally immune to it but they were not so overused that they were distracting. Still even so the sex scenes were just sort of juvenile. I really disliked that these two adults sort of acted more like teenagers while having sex. And just some shocked dialogue in the middle of the sex scenes were so bad , ( The oh god's and oh fuck sort of things) Again ...just I will never get this sort of stuff. I don't even get it in romance where one or both have never had sex before. Especially not when it is adults. Just sadly see it too often and it is always distracting to me.
Another thing about most and this romance as well that are just not my cup of tea is the need to repeat over and over how attracted they both are to the other. Once or twice ..fine. Just like the reader should get that the characters are attracted to each other without having to have it repeated to it over and over. As stated before the characters didn't always feel like adults to me . Certain things just made them feel more like teens than two grown adults with kids. Thankfully it didn't happen so much that it ruined my reading experience but it is there from time to time.
Also the big issue in this book and how it is resolved just doesn't really make much logical sense. At the start of the book and hell in the summary , a big fact is made that Thea has been faking it in bed. Now with the book I get Gavin being able to say "the right" thing as way to make his wife fall back in love with me but I just don't buy it that chessy romance books would turn you from not realizing you can't make your wife cum to turning you into a sex god, which by the end is what happens. Now I do buy that books on sex (not romance books but actually books about sex, sex positions etc ) can help couples try things that can make them better lovers . Here,though, is the thing you actually have to try the things out a few times. Not be oh I read this thing in a book omg I am going to try this and be amazing at it. If that is the case than go you . Just Gavin is given a month to make his wife not want to divorcee him and again he goes from not being able to make her cum to by the end making her cum several times in a single love making session. Yeah, sorry not sorry , don't buy it. Not with what he had to work with and also because at the point they had been close but had not had sex at all during the course of the book til that moment.
Another thing that bugged me is that toward the end Gavin and Thea have a pretty serious fight to the point that Gavin leaves again. Now to be fair my issue is not about the fight. Thought it was pretty bold of the author to have a fight at the end. Shows that even if things seem ok that they are never perfect. No , my issue is how the fight is resolved because it is resolved with the romance cliche that I personally hate the most :The grand gesture. It's that scene in a romance novel, though, more so in romantic comedies when one of the main characters is running through the airport to catch the flight the other is on or running to the church to stop a wedding . To me they make no logical sense, they are stupid to watch and read and just feel lazy. There is a tiny joke about it made by one of the characters, but still Gavin and his group of friends are able to stop a flight so Gavin can get off the plane so he can go to Thea's father's wedding to whatever wife he marrying (the father has remarried quite a few times) . Again I get that a lot of things in romance don't always make sense but no matter how it is written I will also hate/dislike these sort of grand gesture moments. I don't find them sweet more so I find these stupid and annoying.
Overall though even with the things I did not like was still one of the better romance novels that I have read. I still wish the actual book club aspect had played a bigger role. Am still interested to read the next one in the series.
The Muse is the story of Vidal Balagueris a struggling artist, who is in mass amounts of debt to various people and as the story is being told under investigation for the murder of the woman who served as his muse for one of his popular pieces. I am not the biggest fan of books related to art in general but I can still appreciate them. I know for a fact there had to be various art references interwoven into this that went over my head, though, I do like the few that I was able to understand. I love how the artist uses color to convey meaning and emotion and how the line of reality and imagination is crossed at times.
At times I was not the biggest fan of the art style, though am not exactly why, but I understand that is more a personal preference . Overall though I really enjoyed it and since art style is a major deal breaker for me when it comes to graphic novels , the art for this was really well done.As to the actual story,there are layers of mystery and a bleeding of what is real and what is just whimsical story telling. There are heavy themes borrowed from The Picture of Dorian Grey bleeding through. For me that is a good thing since I love any sort of media that references that in some way even if at times it can come off as cliched at this point . Felt overall that this graphic novel put good spin on it. I really enjoyed the way the muse written in this work. She is both something to be adored and marveled at and at times feared as well because of the power she holds. Like so many muses , she is both inspiration and obsession and think this work walks a fine line of showing both those paths.
The best part of this graphic novel would have to be the ending more so because it can be taken in a few different ways . Personally I am big on open endings or endings that can be taken in more than one.way. I like that by the end there lots of questions that there are really no easy answers to. If taken one way can be like it was a wonderful case of magical realism.Toward the end it is revealed that maybe the main character can make different objects and people disappear by painting them , though a clear cut of when this "power" started is not really given since he artist himself has clear cases of things he painted that are still around. If you take away these elements and take the story at face value it is a sad road of a man in debt who was obsessed with his muse . Maybe the real explanation is that both the magical and mundane are the answers.The the graphic novel provides evidence for both possible outcomes.On one hand something sad and morbid and another ending that is more happy and hopeful. Either way it was nice to see. Overall think this was really well done. The art was beautiful and eye-catching, even if it was not always to my personal taste and the story was interesting and fun to read.
*I downloaded a free copy in exchange for a honest and fair review.
I enjoyed that that this was an own voices novel about a nonbinary teen, something even in lgbt Young adult books that is not written about or talked about as much as it should be. Especially not AMAB who is non-binary, or least I have sadly not read many books where that was the case. I enjoyed that even though the books has lots of various queer experiences non of them feel forced for the sack of diversity alone and non of the characters feel like they are just to be tokens nor do they feel like their whole personality is their sexuality or gender identity. Even Nathan , the love interest, who is revealed to be bisexual toward the end of the book, a revelation that feels honest to the character and the story and not just a "choice" by the author to make sure their characters can end up at the end.
Mentioning the romance by the end I was rooting for them to get together because it was a journey to get there. It was obvious that they had feelings but it always felt like their friendship mattered way more and that they were not certain the other felt the same. Too often friendship is thrown aside because the romance matters more or that an author rushes through the friendship stage to get to the romance. It was nice to see that often moving from one stage to another takes time and that not only is it worth it but the time before becoming more than friends is important that that it matters.
I like that the book deals with the messier parts of coming out and that sometimes the best option at the moment to to distance yourself from those people that can not except you even if they are family and even if you know you still love them. Too many times it seems to end up with a happy ending an author will have characters that are not accepting suddenly be overly accepting by the end. In particular novels and if it makes sense in terms of character development the the plot this can be a good thing but too many times it comes off as rushed and unrealistic. Life is messy and as much as it would be wonderful if everyone would finally accept their lgbt+ family in some cases that either takes time or in some cases just doesn't happen. So I really appreciate that author didn't attempt in the final few pages to tie everything up with a nice red bow by having the parents magical come all loving and accepting. Again real life is filled with "endings" that are not always nice and clean and happy.
I also like that therapy is presented in a positive light without being an instant cure all. That it is actually present as work from both sides . That and that medication is not some wonder drug that cures all your problems. I like that it took time for Ben to be comfortable wish their therapists and that at times they were not comfortable sharing certain things til later on in the novel.
I also really liked that the author did not shy away from saying that bisexual and pansexual people freaking exist since so much in Young adult novels if someone likes more than one gender their sexuality either gets skirted around to avoid using one of those labels or it's "I don't use labels", which is fine if that in itself is discussed but usually it is a get around to avoid using bisexual most often or just pretending both pansexual and bisexual people don't exist. Mentioning the no labels thing feel it is important to mention that I like that even though several labels are used for various people Ben , though comfortable with their non-binary label, is not as firm on a sexual label and is still figuring it out though they do preferring more masculine presenting people. I believe they say bisexual with a type or something of that , which I feel is even more rare in books in general so that was nice to see as well.
I think my only gripe about this book is that I am still a bit unsure exactly how Ben and Mariam are friends. Get that Ben watched their videos and that they are both nonbinary and course talked and found out they have several interests in common but just that getting to know each other is not really talked about. From the sounds of it Mariam is a popular uploader , so popular in fact that they get to met celebrities are during the course of the books going on tour to give various speeches about their experience . I am not saying it is impossible for them to be friends but just if Mariam's channel is as popular as it seems I am not sure I buy that one day they say Ben's message out of the possible hundreds or even thousands of messages they receive and they just so happen to decide to reply to Ben's . Just I can see various other teens who are also nonbinary message to say how Mariam's videos spoke to them and such. It is a small gripe , though and maybe Ben messaged when Mariam's channel was smaller .
Overall though think the book is is a wonderful coming of age story of finding yourself, first love, and trying to make the best in a world or family that is not always loving or understanding
Started off super good but the ending felt rushed and lack-luster . Thought it was going to have more interactions of the main character with the killer since that was what was advertised on the tin, but sadly no. Glad got it out of the library and didn't buy because seriously was underwhelmed for the last 100 pages or so.
Have now read You twice now and have to say it is just as good and fun the second time around as it was the first.Have only read Hidden Bodies once so far but will be honest though and say I am glad she changed to the third person point of view in the sequel. I was both a fan and not a fan of the second person perspective in You.Though maybe she changed it because well the "You" is now dead in the sequel so can't really use that "You" again now can she? Now don't get me wrong when done correctly, especially in You, is jarring and just makes you feel slightly weird reading it . Think the jarring nature of it was what made reading You so much fun. Thing is the jarring nature of it also takes you out of the story at times. That and well second person usually for me only works really well in choose your own adventure sort of novels . It works in those sort of novels because the YOU they are referring to there is actually you. Descriptions of the you in them is none existent because well the point is that the reader is supposed to be so lost in the story they actual feel they are along for the adventure and the second the writer adds any descriptions the more people that will not match that description and thus not be able to see the themselves in the story any longer. The thing that makes You different is that the You Joe describes is not you the reader but a character in the story and you are more or less sort of living in her body for the story I guess is the best way to put it. I think You works and is way creepier , least to me, when he does mention the character he is stalking by name. Course get why he does because well she is a character in the story so unless the you was actual the reader be strange if not mentioning her name but again the effect is way better when the character's name is not mentioned.(show spoiler)
This are just general goals based on reading of last year. Will probably add or change this as the year goes on .
1. Read 200 books (setting sights high since it is the beginning of the year ).
2. Read more books I actual own. Have gotten to the habit of borrowing library books and reading those instead of books I own.
3. Write reviews for most of the books I read.
4. Read more actual general fiction and less manga and graphic novels since 50 percent of what I read last year was manga/graphic novels.
5. Take part in least one reading challenge a month.
6.Read at least some classics I have been meaning to read but have always put off.
Know I have not posted much in about two years time but this is sort of a sore subject for me. I try to not to dismiss book to movie translations. I can forgive most things that get lost in translation. I understand that that movies have to cut, change, and twist things for time. Most good movies based on books handle this by taking out the filler but keeping the main themes of the book so that someone who has no intention or has not read the book can still enjoy the film without filling lost but also pleasing the fans that love or least enjoyed the book by recreating and including their favorite moments on the big screen.
Given that I would like to start off saying that I do not think Carol is a bad book to movie adaption. In fact I would say I enjoyed the film but I will say the cliche answer of the book was way better. I do admit that I have said the reverse with certain books vs movies. So it all really depends. With this one ,though, the winner is clearly the book. In fact I put off watching the film til I was finished with the book since I was enjoying the book so much and did not want the ending spoiled for me.
I both love and hate how the book is written. Given the time jumps in this book slowly find out about a character whose fate is already written. I love that because get to know them slowly in contrast to present events. Hate that because the more I read about that character the more I like them and then have to go ...oh right have to deal with the present events that can not be unwritten.