Review: A Stone in the Sea by A.L. Jackson

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Genre: New-Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Pages: 383
Series: Bleeding Stars #1 (Story concludes in book 2) 
Release Date: February 21, 2015
Publisher: Self-published

1 Star

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There are like a bajillion authors who write romance. But out of those, there are some who pop up more often than others. A.L. Jackson is one of those. Because of that, you’d think she’d be really good. But from my experience so far, she’s not.

This novel is about Sebastian Stone, the lead singer of a semi-popular rock band called Sunder. Sebastian’s in trouble for assaulting someone (he was trying to protect his younger brother) so it’s advised that the band take some time off. They go to live in Savannah for a while, where Sebastian meets Shea in the bar she works at. There’s an undeniable pull that they both feel toward each other. But Shea doesn’t have time for distractions and Sebastian’s only in town temporarily.

…And that’s about as civil as I can be when it comes to this novel. You know I don’t take one star ratings lightly so you also know there’s a shit ton of not-nice stuff to be said. Let’s get on that, shall we?

First and foremost, the writing. It’s terrible. While I was reading, I was trying to think of the right way to describe it. And I came up with: a romantic comedy directed by Zack Snyder. For those who don’t know, Snyder is the guy who turned Superman, the symbol of hope, into a guy who almost never smiles and is kinda scary. So you can imagine that if he were to direct a rom-com, it would be quite colourless. Making the Snyder thing worse, the book is also really fucking boring.

The tone of the novel and the prose is choke full of unnecessary details and has a complete lack of life. Sebastian steps into a bar and it’s like he’s describing a graveyard, instead of a place with live music and lots of people having fun. And it’s so repetitive and redundant. Not only do we get the repeat-same-word-three-times treatment, we also have to read one or the other character describing their mopey, overdramatic feels in extensive, overdramatic detail every two pages. Their entire romance consists of staring intently at each other and then composing mental essay that analyse that stare. For the first half of the book, they had like two proper conversations. They basically fell in love via intense stares.

I barely made it through. I think I started skipping some of the how-do-I-say-the-same-thing-ten-different-ways paragraphs about a third of the way through. By the time I reached two-thirds, I’d given up. I skimmed the rest. I think I read about 20-30% of that last section because that was the percentage of the content that was actually relevant. I swear to you, there are entire pages full of words that say nothing.

Onto characters. For the most part, they were lost in the over-the-top, suffocating prose. What was left wasn’t impressive. Sebastian is the “bad boy” type. Except he has major issues. He has a history with drugs, a criminal record, he’s spent time locked up, and he’s got serious anger management issues. Every problem he encounters is usually solved with anger, and his fists. And since he lacks control, he’s cause many broken bones, as well as internal bleeding. He’s a mess, but every single character in the novel is hell-bent of justifying his actions. They all claim that he’s a really great guy who’s just defending those he loves.

I’m sorry, but the saying is “the best offence is a great defence”, not the other fucking way around! Sebastian needs help and Shea needs to see that there is something wrong with a guy who’s constantly on the receiving end of assault charges.

Also, she needs to not lie about things because the “twist” in the end about what she’d been hiding was not only a terrible fucking twist, it also made me hate her (or maybe it made me hate the book more). It was such a stupid thing . And the fact that the next novel is based on said stupid thing, there’s no way I’m reading it. Not that I was planning to read it before, after I made it through this one with only my sheer force of will.

Overall, this is a badly written book with bad characters and bad everything. It’s also really fucking boring. Like, it might be the only romance novel ever that almost put me to sleep. Even the sex was boring. It’s an angst-y, overdramatic mess and I highly suggest avoiding it.

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