#158 – Unmatched, by Stephanie Kay
- Read: 11/9/18
- Challenge: Mount TBR (138/150)
- Rating: 4/5 stars
Grant and Lexi meet under less than ideal circumstances, realize they have great chemistry, and decide to have a fling. After all, she’s having a hard time finding a Mr. Right to scratch her itch, and he’s only looking for some fun before he transfers to his next assignment in four months.
No problem, right?
Of course they fall in love. And it’s a hell of a fun time while they do–their banter is generally sharp and witty. I have no complaints there; despite the complaints I’m about to share, I did genuinely enjoy this book.
The sex scenes were many and somewhat repetitive. I get that these two are fire in the sheets, but certain obvious phrases popped up over and over, which detracted from them.
What bothers me most, though, is after sitting down to read this in one sitting, I can’t tell you what Lexi’s job is. Grant’s is brought up constantly–as a rescue swimmer for the Coast Guard, that’s key to both the constant “rescuing” he does of Lexi from her bad online-dating-site dates, and to their breakup, because he has to leave for his next posting. But Lexi? I finished the book ten minutes ago, and I could not tell you what she does for a living, which undermines the major conflict. She’s adamant that she won’t move to follow Grant because a) she moved a lot as a kid and hated it; b) she doesn’t want to do the same thing to her daughter; and finally c) she doesn’t want to give up her job and be separated from her friends and family, only to be entirely dependent on Grant without a job of her own or any support system.
I completely get A and B, and I’d even be mostly on board with C–the dependency part–but why doesn’t she think she’ll be able to find a job if she moves? Do they not need [whatever she does] in Florida? Why does that seem insurmountable to her?
Now, I’m not saying the information isn’t there–if I reread, I could probably find someone, somewhere, mentioning what Lexi’s actual employment is; I think she’s even at work in one of the very earliest scenes, but all I remember is that she had to shut down her computer before she left to get her daughter. However, Lexi’s career is nowhere near as present in or important to the narrative as Grant’s, which isn’t a good look for a romance novel, especially when it’s his job that’s the flashpoint for their breakup.
#159 – Lisey’s Story, by Stephen King
- Read: 11/6/18 – 11/13/18
- Challenge: Mount TBR (139/150)
- Rating: 1/5 stars
I tried, I really tried. DNF at almost exactly 50%.
I was bored with it after the first hundred pages, but I thought maybe I just wasn’t in the mood for it, and set it aside to read a few other things. When I picked it back up a few days later, it got more interesting and engaging; I can’t put my finger on why, precisely, but I thought I’d be good to go for the rest of the book.
I was wrong.
For being a book named for its main character and her “story” this work is about everyone but her. It’s about her husband, her dead writer husband, who is depicted in flashback segments as brilliant but almost completely insane; there’s no accounting for taste, of course, but I don’t find him appealing as husband material or even just as a character. The made-up language he shared with Lisey was something that I loved at first–my marriage has its own shorthand, so I got it, even if the particular words they used struck me as irritating and juvenile after the millionth time I read them.
It’s also about Lisey’s sister…sort of? Most of the beginning is concerned with one of her sisters and the vegetative state she falls into after a fresh bout of self-harm. I don’t know how important that ends up being, because structurally it seemed like killing time until the “real” plot finally started, the one where a professor, eager for the deceased writer’s papers, accidentally unleashes a psycho fan on Lisey with no way to stop him.
That plotline sounded interesting. I wanted to see where that went. But when I got there, I was more disgusted than intrigued. After reading the first physical meeting between Lisey and “Zack,” I did not want to continue reading, and gave up after just a few more pages of torturously winding flashback about Christmas shopping.
It was time to stop fighting the boredom with this book that was making me put it down every twenty pages or so to find something else to do.
I had high hopes, based on friends’ recommendations of it, and the fact that I was reading a book by a male author I trust with a female character as the lead; but she’s not even a character really, she’s a frame through which the reader views the portrait of the character King seems to believe really matters, her dead writer husband. It’s not about her at all, and if it is, I should have more evidence of that in the first half of the book and not have to wait so long for the story to prove she’s more than a paper-thin widow whose past far outweighs her present and future.