Even though this was not exactly what I was expecting , I still really enjoyed it to the point that I flew through it. Now it is on the shorter side , but I put aside other books I was reading just to finish it. Starting out I was expecting it to be more like [book:My Lovely Wife|39796904] or the [book:Darkly Dreaming Dexter|17231] series. Will say if you are wanting more on the murder front or just something more dark and graphic, I would recommended those over this book. While the the murders are still a major part of the book given it what it is about, all the deaths happen off screen and this is much about the consequences after the fact. I could also see some people taking issue with how short the chapters. Personally thought they made it go by faster. The chapters are all only a few pages so made you want to keep reading but could for sure see how it could also make the book seem choppy at times.
Given that the murders are not front and center , the book comes off more as a character study of how the main character deals with the fact of what her sister is and the lengths she will go to protect her to the point that by the end the main character is pretty much a criminal too. There are a few elements of the story that are a bit predictable, but turn out exactly in the way I thought. Will say if you are not a fan of open endings and need some sort of closer, you are not going to get it. Personally, I a big fan of opening endings as long as they are done well and make sense for that particular book. For this book, the opening ending was the most realistic outcome. The man in the comma, for instance, finally wakes up and recalls some of what the main character though it is not clear if down the road he will tell what he knows. There is that chance he might later on decide he might, on good intention, release what he knows or maybe he will find a way that he could profit in some way from what he knows. I am sort of surprised that it wasn't mentioned.Also enjoy that it is clear that her sister is going to keep killing and that the main character is at some point going to have to decide if family loyalty is worth hiding the truth.
The one draw back of this novel is how easily the police believe the sister's and/or the main characters version of events when there is more or less clear evidence that something is not what it seems . In reality the truth does not always win out and people that should be in jail are not and those who are innocent are locked up , but like many similar books the police in this are sort of useless. Not saying I wanted it to go down that road. In books at least, it is more fun if people get away with their crimes or if they come really close to being caught and are able to get away in some way. The two came close to being caught when the police take the main character's car and when a bloody napkin was found at one the crime scenes. The napkin is brought up and not too soon forgotten.It doesn't even appear that that the police even took it in for processing. I also get that the main character cleans up after her sister really well, but you can't tell me she got everything . Just while it may be possible to get blood stains out of various materials, it is pretty much next to impossible to be certain ever trace is washed away even with obsessive cleaning.Every day you see criminals that are brought in because they missed one stray amount of blood or a fingerprint they front to wipe away.Even if the main character is a nurse, she is not a forensic expert and thus even if she is using a black light to make sure she gets every bit of blood it is not logical to think she got everything given that it doesn't seem like the sister does anything to cover her tracks.
Overall though even with the few minor flaws here and there still really enjoyed this one.
I really really do not like romance and yet I still read some of it because I am sure I will find something that will knock my socks off and will make me change my opinion on the genre . So far that has not happened.Just the plot of most romances are chessy to me and I get bored with them more likely than not. I thought the summary for this one sounded different and fun so I thought I would give it a chance. While is not all the worst romance I have ever read, in fact it is very from that, it still had certain cliches that drive me crazy and are sadly some cliches that are just particular to romance in general. I should know going into a romance that there are going to be certain cliches in it that will drive me crazy or that I will just not like . Yet here we are. I don't overall think cliches are the end of the world and depending on how they are used can be interesting. Then there are cliches that to me that are just cringy and no matter what the author does it will just not work for me.
Will get into that but first want to talk about what I did like about this book because again did overall enjoy it. Enough so that I am going to give the second in the series a shot. I did overall like the characters in this. They felt mostly liked flawed/real people. There were certain things about them that bugged me and will get into that in the things I didn't like section. Since in romance you should care about the characters felt this book did a good job of that. I also liked that this one focused on an already established relationship instead of strangers to lovers. Way way too many romance novels turn into insta love fests and it was nice to see trying to find love again in a not so perfect already established relationship. The writing overall was pretty well done there were some cases , and again will get into that in the things I didn't like section, but didn't find myself hating the writing or rolling my eyes while reading , which has what turns me off from a lot of romance. I also liked that the side characters were pretty well established . Too often in romance side characters are just there for the sack of being there. They get quick mentions every now and again but after the two main leads get together they are too soon forgotten . That are the side characters are just there and do nothing for the story. Felt like in this that all the side characters had personalities of their own.
Now to what I didn't like. What drew me into this was of course the book club element and to be honest just felt like that aspect was underused or just not used in the way I was expecting. Just felt at times it was just there and more often honestly forgotten about . Mentioning that is there are bits of the book that are from the book that that Gavin is reading. Books inside books can be done well and they can be done poorly . For this book felt like they were just sort of there . I would have loved if those chapters had underlines or sections marked out so it felt like you were reading Gavin's copy of the book. Just something. Otherwise they just felt sort of there again and oh look similar things in the book are actually happening to the characters. Honestly if you choose to skip those sections you really would miss anything and that is the thing . If you put something in it has to serve a purpose . Now Gavin commented on the book in the other chapters but again felt like you could read his comment without reading the sections from the book that came before and still been ok.
The sex..Oh ...just yeah. I get that sex scenes for romance and erotica are written way different but the sex scenes in romance is one of the top reasons I tend to avoid the genre. They were ok for what they were and thankfully they were not as cringy as they could have been and thankfully the author did not overdo it on euphemisms. Seriously drives me mad when authors go out of their way to avoid saying cock for instance. Young adult I get a bit more but seriously if a book is for adults I don't get the need for the overly flowery language. Least not in this day in age. Just it is not sexy to me personally and just feel it is silly. There were a few times here and there so the author is not totally immune to it but they were not so overused that they were distracting. Still even so the sex scenes were just sort of juvenile. I really disliked that these two adults sort of acted more like teenagers while having sex. And just some shocked dialogue in the middle of the sex scenes were so bad , ( The oh god's and oh fuck sort of things) Again ...just I will never get this sort of stuff. I don't even get it in romance where one or both have never had sex before. Especially not when it is adults. Just sadly see it too often and it is always distracting to me.
Another thing about most and this romance as well that are just not my cup of tea is the need to repeat over and over how attracted they both are to the other. Once or twice ..fine. Just like the reader should get that the characters are attracted to each other without having to have it repeated to it over and over. As stated before the characters didn't always feel like adults to me . Certain things just made them feel more like teens than two grown adults with kids. Thankfully it didn't happen so much that it ruined my reading experience but it is there from time to time.
Also the big issue in this book and how it is resolved just doesn't really make much logical sense. At the start of the book and hell in the summary , a big fact is made that Thea has been faking it in bed. Now with the book I get Gavin being able to say "the right" thing as way to make his wife fall back in love with me but I just don't buy it that chessy romance books would turn you from not realizing you can't make your wife cum to turning you into a sex god, which by the end is what happens. Now I do buy that books on sex (not romance books but actually books about sex, sex positions etc ) can help couples try things that can make them better lovers . Here,though, is the thing you actually have to try the things out a few times. Not be oh I read this thing in a book omg I am going to try this and be amazing at it. If that is the case than go you . Just Gavin is given a month to make his wife not want to divorcee him and again he goes from not being able to make her cum to by the end making her cum several times in a single love making session. Yeah, sorry not sorry , don't buy it. Not with what he had to work with and also because at the point they had been close but had not had sex at all during the course of the book til that moment.
Another thing that bugged me is that toward the end Gavin and Thea have a pretty serious fight to the point that Gavin leaves again. Now to be fair my issue is not about the fight. Thought it was pretty bold of the author to have a fight at the end. Shows that even if things seem ok that they are never perfect. No , my issue is how the fight is resolved because it is resolved with the romance cliche that I personally hate the most :The grand gesture. It's that scene in a romance novel, though, more so in romantic comedies when one of the main characters is running through the airport to catch the flight the other is on or running to the church to stop a wedding . To me they make no logical sense, they are stupid to watch and read and just feel lazy. There is a tiny joke about it made by one of the characters, but still Gavin and his group of friends are able to stop a flight so Gavin can get off the plane so he can go to Thea's father's wedding to whatever wife he marrying (the father has remarried quite a few times) . Again I get that a lot of things in romance don't always make sense but no matter how it is written I will also hate/dislike these sort of grand gesture moments. I don't find them sweet more so I find these stupid and annoying.
Overall though even with the things I did not like was still one of the better romance novels that I have read. I still wish the actual book club aspect had played a bigger role. Am still interested to read the next one in the series.