Supreme nerd, rabid reader, music snob. Strong of opinion, loud of mouth, quick of wit. Lover of all things canine and feline, cynic of all things.
Find me at FictionFrenzy.com.
So much sadness in my heart.
This is hard, writing this review. I keep starting and scrapping. I have lots of feelings, but I don't know if I will convey them properly. This is going to be short and disjointed. It cannot be helped.
I'll start with the fact that I didn't like this book for the mystery. It's not that I didn't enjoy it at all, but it was way too easy to solve and by 1/4 of the way through, I'd called it. I remember making a comment early on about my hunches and thinking how I'd be mighty disappointed if I ended up being right. By the end of the book, though, despite my having been right, it didn't feel like such a big deal anymore. That was due, in part, to my being completely pulled in to the larger plot and the second mystery (technically, it's chronologically the first). Mostly, it was because I fell in love with the characters.
The main characters resonated deeply with me. The more I read, the more I noticed little things happening between them. Small, meaningful gestures and quiet, complex words. I was completely enthralled with them. Their friendship/relationship/partnership was far from conventional, but very realistic. A lot of their interactions hit very close to home.
The writing started off beautifully. I found it hard not to quote everything at the beginning, but be forewarned, that will taper off. It's not that writing is bad later on, but it loses that gorgeous flow that it had in the first couple of chapters. Even so, I didn't ever get bored and, despite being really busy all week, I always had this book in mind. I tried to sneak in a few pages every chance I got.
I had no choice but to lower the rating because of the very weak mystery and villain, but I still really liked this book and really loved the characters. I picked the second book up almost immediately after finishing this one. It was even better.
Despite its shortcomings, In the Woods is one of those books that stay with you long after you think you've moved on. If you're a fan of dark reads with realistic, complex characters, definitely read this one.
This was the moment when I really started to worry. Although that sentence was what first gave me a real actual WTF Pause, there were definitely earlier warning signs that this wasn't going to go well for me. I just chose to ignore them in the hopes that the rest of the story would blow me away. It didn't. I'm gonna try to keep this as cohesive as I wish this story was, but it's gonna be hard.
The undulation beneath him took a moment to register. And then he realized it was her. She was … moving against him, and not as in she wanted to get free.
She didn't want to get free, huh? Well. That's a good sign. Proceed, I guess.
That's so me during every BDB sex scene.
Disclaimer: This is going to be long as fuck. I had to suffer, so now you have to suffer.
I have this uncle in his early 50's. He's loud and boisterous. He insists that all the ladies want him, for he is unimaginably virile (he mentions it often). His wardrobe can be compared to that of his 19 year old son. Though, that's a stretch, because his son has started dressing more like a classy young man instead of a lazy teenager of late.
My uncle wears graphic t-shirts, long, baggy shorts, and huge sneakers with elaborate designs. He wears a flashy big-ass silver chain and a baseball cap - always worn to the side. He’s constantly cracking inappropriate and cringe worthy jokes and he insists on using all the slang the youngins do nowadays.
The older he gets, the cooler and more hip he tries to be. The cooler and more hip he tries to be, the cornier he appears. It’s like he’s clawing desperately at his youth. It’s sad and embarrassing, and I assure you that most of his family has tried to tactfully breach the subject, but he's stubborn. Oh, and he knows it all. He has a heart of gold, my uncle. I will attest to this. He’s a lovable person and he’s full of life, but, man, there's no way around it - he just tries way too hard.
This book is my uncle.
The book means well and it has heart, but it's drowning in bad jokes, corny slang, and cheesy sex scenes. There's a good story deep down inside this series with interesting characters that have rich personalities and compelling backgrounds, but the further we go, the less those characters shine through. Every time we get a glimpse of them and start to feel nostalgia for the fantastic chemistry of all these characters together, somebody makes a goddamn Miley Cyrus reference and I want to pluck my eyes out.
*Plucks eyes right out.
There are references to brands, products, celebrities, movies, etc. It never ends.
• ... styles at Pottery Barn.
• ... his Gucci loafers no doubt ruined.
• ... two Chanel perfume bottles knocking over.
• ... like she'd gone to Sephora
• ... when it came to her and her sex, he was fully capable of going wrecking-ball ...
• ... went total wrecking ball on the billiards room.
• ... her smile was about as genuine as Courtney Stodden's.
• ... enough attitude to make Kanye West look like ...
• ... now he was channeling Howard Stern's father.
• Yup, that was defo Ben Stern.
• He would probably cut Taylor Swift off ...
• Hell, even her hair belonged in a Pantene ad.
• It made her think of Beetlejuice ...
• Geena Davis and a lower-BMI, less angry Alec Baldwin …
• He looked at his Gucci and Prada and Chanel bottles ...
• God, if only V didn’t hate everything about the Apple company, she could have had an iPhone in her hand and asked Siri what to do.
(Plus 8 more mentions of iPhone and 3 of Apple.)
• And when he was finished, she went numb and nearly fell out of her Nikes.
(Plus 5 more mentions of Nike and even one mention of Nike's Just Do It slogan.)
Lastly, 2 mentions of the infamous Lanz nightgown AKA The Fucking Boner Killa.
• … was all about the Lanz nightgown she’d put on: flannel, and big as a circus tent, the white-and-pale-blue pattern was like a cloud around her, billowing everywhere.
Yes. This is a real thing.
And there's the slang:
• Annnnnnd. (9 times.)
• Drama burger. (Once, but "drama" is said by multiple characters 9 times total.)
• And a bag of chips.
• More than one character thinks. Like. This.
And these are only the things I remember.
We all already know that she loves her H's and that she's always naming her characters something stupid. In this one, we have a new character named s'Ex. I shit you not.
Ms. Ward, please:
Dafuq are you doing?! No, seriously. WTF are you doing? Is there no one editing/proofreading these books? Have they nothing to say about this? Is no one close to Ward noticing this shit? This is ridiculous. I would be embarrassed to put out a book like this.
Here's the thing. I might-could, maybe, possibly, mayhap overlook the celebrity references, the brand and label references, the awful, cringe-inducing, eye-rolling and lazy slang, and the ridiculous wording of inner thoughts, IF all these things didn't come interchangeably from ALL THE CHARACTERS. It's not like only Beth makes Miley references, only Wrath has the bad slang, and only Butch refers to brands and labels. All the characters do all these things. You know what that is? LAZY FUCKING WRITING.
It's like Ward isn't even trying anymore. It could be argued that maybe her writing was never good and it's just obvious to longtime fans now. I will agree that her writing was never great, but I reread Dark Lover the week before reading The King and, while it was cheesy as hell, the writing and attention to detail were superior. Dark Lover was Ward just coming out with the BDB world, fresh-faced and eager to please. The King reads like something Ward just tossed together at the last minute with nary a thought. It's the product of an already subpar writer who found a LOT of fame over the years and has chosen to ride that fame wave instead of hone her skill to ensure she puts out a top-notch product.
I tell you now, friends - Ward gives no fucks about her craft. I promise you. No fucks. She long ago stopped bringing flowers and whispering sweet nothings in our ears. She's no longer trying to impress us. This Ward, complacent and well-settled into our relationship, is sitting on the couch all day with her hand in her pants, asking you to bring her a beer. She gives no fucks that the magic is gone and you can either take it or GTFO.
And yet, we stay. We take our "no fucks," we bring her a beer, we pay all her bills and we hang on her every word every year, because we felt her love once. It was glorious and we know it's in there and maybe, if we hang on long enough, we'll bask in that glory again one day.
K. Gtg. Defo c u next year, because, obvi, I abso hate myself. Duh.
*There are so many more things to say, but you should just take a look at my 40 status updates on Goodreads. Yes, I said 40. Never in my life have I updated a book 40 times. Let me tell you, that I actually made hard decisions to pick and choose what I updated about, because the choices were that plentiful.