Monday, July 2, 2012

Review: Thoughtless by S.C. Stephens

thoughtless1Author: S.C. Stephens {facebook}
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format: Kindle
Published: 18 December 2011
Publisher: Self (Amazon Digital Services)
Series: Yes!
Price: $3.99

Synopsis: {via GoodReads}

For almost two years now, Kiera's boyfriend, Denny, has been everything she's ever wanted: loving, tender and endlessly devoted to her. When they head off to a new city to start their lives together, Denny at his dream job and Kiera at a top-notch university, everything seems perfect. Then an unforeseen obligation forces the happy couple apart.

Feeling lonely, confused, and in need of comfort, Kiera turns to an unexpected source – a local rock star named Kellan Kyle. At first, he's purely a friend that she can lean on, but as her loneliness grows, so does their relationship. And then one night everything changes...and none of them will ever be the same.

A quick admission right out of the gate: I loved this book. That said, I didn't love it from the first words. Frankly, when I started it I thought it was long winded and wordy. I don't particularly care for long winded, or wordy, and kept wondering when something that mattered would happen. Thankfully, I kept turning the pages and before long, I couldn't put the book down. When she got to Kellan, I was sold. I fell completely and totally in love with him. By the time the book was over, I was glad that Stephens had somewhat dragged her feet in the beginning because I didn't want it to end... ever. To this moment, as I type this, I still don't. So I read it's sequel, Effortless (which I'll review next time), and am eagerly (if impatiently) waiting for the third book in the series.

The Characters:

What I enjoyed most about Kiera, Kellan, Denny and the crew is that they're very realistic. They make choices that make you slap your head and scream, "Why did you have to do that?!" but they're choices that real people make. Keira is young and vulnerable. She's not mature enough to be in a long term committed relationship and, at the point in their lives when the book is occurring, neither is Denny. Kellan is, like many of the popular male leads, somewhat broken. He suffers the pain of a terrible childhood and is scarred, he can't have/sustain relationships and, until he meets Keira, he doesn't really want to. They're realistic to a fault and, I think I loved Kellan so much because he somewhat reminds me of my own husband--strangely true.

Though I've read reviews that suggest that Keira is wishy-washy and I don't agree. I think she's confused and doesn't know how to handle herself under pressure. She's 21 years old, she's not the most mature creature on the planet, but she does her best and her reactions to thinks are remarkably like what a 21 year old might do. I return to what I said earlier, all of these characters are remarkably lifelike.

The Plot:

Overall, the plot was quite good. Stephens takes some turns you wouldn't expect, rendering this novel much more about the journey than the destination. What I mean is, we all sort of know how contemporary romance will pan out because it's a familiar formula to any romance reader. Heck, it's familiar even to people who've never read a romance novel in their lives--thank you romantic comedies! However, Stephens makes sure the journey to that familiar ending is filled with twists and turns you can't see coming. Her characters act outside the formula and by the time the books almost done you're wondering if she might pull a Fifty Shades, break the rules, and deny us our happy ending. For a very character driven story, the plot works beautifully!

The Verdict:

Rating: 5/5
At this point I would normally discuss issues with the book, but I'm going to skip that portion of the review and jump right to the verdict. The only real issue I saw with this book is the slow start, but by the end, that wasn't an issue at all.  Above all, this book has climbed right to the top of my list of favorites this summer and made itself cozy there. I can't seem to kick the characters out of my head, where they've taken up residence. I cannot wait for the third book, which I know I'll love. There's still no prospective release date, but I'm optimistic that she won't keep me waiting forever.

If you're a romance fan, I highly recommend this book. I loved the story, I loved the characters, and I loved that the author self-published it. I'm finding that self-published novels are getting better and better and, as a writer, I really love that!

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