How do I approach this book? I want to be honest, but I don’t want to be too over the top in either direction. I received a copy of Marionette via the author, who is a great blogging buddy, and this is my honest response and I received no compensation for my response.
I guess I’ll just rip the band-aid off. I HATED the first half of the book. (Sorry TBM!)
I can’t put a finger on it, but I’ll call it sophomore slump. I’ll talk more later in the response, but I just could not identify with Paige even though there was a great line which convinced me I was going to! TBM’s first book, A Woman Lost, was a phenomenal debut novel, but this one fell short (at least for the first half of the book). However, with that said, the last half of the book was AMAZING (mostly :-D).
Now this is how you write a romance novel! There was one line that captured this for me, ”A first kiss was usually a one-way ticket to a one-night stand or an awkward exit, but this one…I didn’t know where anything was going now.”
I was worried about where the Tucker Springs series was going, but L. A. Witt single-handedly brought the series back to a great, if predictable (it is romance after all), place and pace. I was so impressed with this addition to the series that I’m convinced I should probably look into whether Witt has written any other MM romances and it left me hoping she will contribute more to the series! I received a copy of After the Fall (link to the publisher’s site) from the publisher in return for my honest opinion of the novel. I received no compensation.
If I were to write a book I would want it to be this book. I’m serious, I don’t think I need to write a novel anymore because this is what I would want to have written. Maybe one day I will, but I don’t need to having read this. The number of times I cried on the T (from this book and the other bazillion things going on in my life) are uncountable. It was a daily occurrence and I finally had to stop reading it on the T so I’d stop freaking people out. This review does not do this book justice, you need to go read it to really see what I’m talking about.
Levithan’s inspiration for the novel comes from an actual event and he draws other ideas from the past few years which fed into the various story lines and created this masterpiece. I’ve not read anything by Levithan previously, but I do have Boy Meets Boy on my bookshelf. If any of his books are anything like this I’m glad I’ve got another to read. Although this is classified as young adult I think everyone needs to read this novel, there is something so raw and so emotionally wrenching about this novel and Levithan’s writing that it has to speak across so many demographics.
In general, I have steered clear of self-published works and I have done so for two reasons: fear of a horribly written novel and fear of a horribly edited novel. In this instance both of those fears were proven wrong. T. B. Markinson (link to her new author blog), aka TBM as I’ve known her from her wonderful personal blog, asked me to provide a review of the novel, for which I received no compensation. So let’s get on to the book and my thoughts.
Once again I either didn’t fully read or, most likely, misinterpreted the blurb for the story. For some reason I got it into my head that this was going to be a traditional mystery novel. Clearly, I was wrong; I mean you could argue there was a bit of mystery, but if anything it was more just the suspense of romance. What this novel is, and what it was great at, was a fast-paced and entertaining romantic comedy of errors.
As with most pop-psychology books, I’m a little torn: do the benefits of the book outweigh the drawbacks of the book? And, as with any book, I found both good and bad parts. I can say regardless, I am glad I finally read this book. It’s been on my to-be-read list for ages, but the push from my friend Dominic spurred me to move it up my list.
The largest challenge I faced while reading The Velvet Rage was having to constantly remind myself that Downs wrote this book for the “masses” and not for academia or research. And as often as I did this, I still wound up harshly judging Downs’ generic and stereotypical observations, which I do for anyone including my own. His generalizations were not wrong, stereotypes exist for a reason, but I did have to ask how Downs’ feels about this and whether he has since acknowledged this as he does not discuss it in the novel. There is an updated, 20th anniversary, version of this book which would be interesting to read.