Romance, Historical, Contemporary, Paranormal, Young Adult, Book reviews, industry news, and commentary from a reader's point of view

S.C. Stephens

REVIEW:  Reckless by S.C. Stephens

REVIEW: Reckless by S.C. Stephens

Dear Ms. Stephens:

This book seemed like it was written for the fans rather than an organic story of its own.  Clocking in at over 400 pages, Reckless, takes the reader into Kellin and Kiera’s happy ever after.  They’ve not grown much from previous books.  Kiera is still beset with agonizing uncertainty over Kellin’s fidelity and Kellin is constantly reassuring Kiera of his love.  The conflict between the characters caused by a third person seemed forced. I would have hoped that Kiera and Kellin would have emotionally matured but they haven’t.

Reckless by S.C. StephensThe first few chapters portrayed a very shmoopy Kiera and Kellan who called each other husband and wife even though they were not married.  Kellan’s band is invited to LA to record their album.  Kellan brings Kiera with.  Kiera is going to write a novel. What novel? Why the true love story of Kiera and Kellan.  Meta, I guess.  Kiera is writing Thoughtless, Effortless, and, I guess, Reckless.  And she’s self publishing it.  (Yes, there is a whole section in there about why she is going to self publish which I thought was kind of gratuitous)

However, Kiera and Kellin’s faux connubial bliss is interrupted when recording artist Sienna decides that to revive her career, she will utilize Kellin and the music company encourages this.  First, they don’t want Kellin to tell anyone he is married.   Second, the female recording artist decides that fostering a romance with Kellin might be useful in raising her profile.  Given that the hottest boy band has been in a committed for several years and that several of the kids in the other hot boy band are in serious relationships, both actions came off as melodramatic villianry. Boo! Hiss! And the tinny piano music plays on.

The middle part which followed the band around was a bit more entertaining because it came off as reasonably authentic.  However, the last third of the book devolved into comic unbelievability.  I’m still agog that Kellin uses a discman and that Kiera writes these books in a notebook.  I felt like I was in a time warp.

The band, however, was almost too perfect.  No one is upset that only Kiera is traveling with the band. There is no drug or alcohol abuse.  Everyone, or nearly everyone, is in a loving committed relationship.  Given that these kids are all in their early twenties, none of it came off as realistic.

Finally, I found the nearly page by page declarations of love to deaden the emotional impact. The two were constantly billing and cooing and promising their life long loving devotion.  I didn’t have an ebook but I swear if I did a word search on the phrase “I love you” it would have appeared at least 100 times by conservative estimates.

I think fans of the first two books will be pleased with this entry. I could have used a lot less billing and cooing between Kiera and Kellan and a little more realism in the rock story.  As much as I despised Kiera in Thoughtless, that was the clear standout in this series.  The other two, particularly this one, seems to rehash old insecurities and spend far too much time on assuring the reader, as much as anyone, that these two truly will make it.  This book failed to rouse any emotion in me at all.   D

Best regards,

Jane

AmazonBNSonyKoboBook Depository

REVIEW:  Effortless by S.C. Stephens

REVIEW: Effortless by S.C. Stephens

This review contains spoilers for Thoughtless which I reviewed here.

Dear Ms. Stephens:

This is a sequel to Thoughtless. While it could be read alone, I don’t think it should because the conflict that drives the story are the insecurities the two main protagonists have over the other person’s fidelity. I liked that this was what drove the conflict.

Effortless S.C. StephensTo recap Thoughtless, Kellin and Denny were best friends.  Denny cajoled his girlfriend, Kiera, to come to college with him in Seattle.  Then he left her to take an internship in Phoenix, leaving Kiera and Kellin alone. Kiera and Kellin fall for each other but Kiera does not break it off with Denny and when Denny moves back to Seattle, the three engage in a torrid and painful love triangle.  Kellin acts out by sleeping around with one and sometimes even two women.  Kiera sleeps with both Denny and Kellin.  Ultimately, Kellin and Kiera get together at the end of Thoughtless but both are wracked with insecurities about their relationship.

Kellin and his band get invited to be the opening act of another larger band and go on tour with them. Kellin was a manwhore and he had little trouble in finding women to console him while Kiera was off with Denny. Kiera worries that while he is away and lonely it will be hard for him to turn away the constant number of women who will be throwing themselves at him.

Kellin worries about Kiera because leaving her alone is exactly what led Kiera to turn away from her long time boyfriend Denny and climb into bed with Kellin.

The situation is complicated when Denny returns from Australia sans girlfriend. He isn’t interested in re-starting any relationship with Kiera, his girlfriend is coming over as soon as she is done with school but Kiera decides not to tell Kellin. As always, these lies will come back to haunt Kiera but not as much as they should.  Kiera’s ability to endure without repercussions in both these stories is frustrating and remarkable.  Oh that we could all sin with such impunity.  Kiera asks her friends to lie for her again in order to “protect” Kellin.

Jealousy, anxiety, and worry move the story along with Kiera and Kellin spending a surprising amount of time together despite Kellin being on tour.  One thing that I noted in this book more so that Thoughtless was how dated it read.  Kiera burns a CD for Kellin’s Discman. She acknowledges that more and more people are moving to those MP3 things.  The idea that a musician like Kellin has a Discman in 2012 kind of blows my mind.  The other thing was the lack of texting, emailing and regular keeping in touch the way that normal people do in this day and age.  Kiera buys the two of them cell phones so that they can stay connected when Kellin goes off on his tour.  Again I was struck by how archaic that seemed.  These young adults don’t all have cell phones and aren’t texting each other every minute.

The tour elements seemed well done and added a dimension to a book that could have easily been bogged down with constant angst.  By itself, I don’t think Thoughtless is as interesting a book, but for anyone who reads Effortless, it’s almost a must read book.  C

Best regards,

Jane

AmazonBNSonyKoboARE HQN