Sunday, January 18, 2015

Review: "By A Thread" by R.L. Griffin

Stella's future was set, and it was a bright one. She was engaged to a man she adored, and was headed to law school in the fall. Tragically, her perfectly planned future ends just as it was beginning. With no ties to family or friends, Stella finds herself alone in a new city, spiraling out of control. Her typical day comes to a close with her passed out on the floor; sometimes clothed. Luckily, her new roommate, essentially a stranger, is dead set on getting Stella past her grief and back to functioning within society. Putting one foot in front of the other, she climbs up from the bottom of a bottle. Even with all her progress, Stella walks through life unfeeling, numb. Defiant, she sends out warning signals for the world to keep away. But, is that what she really wants? With the steadfast help of a few tight knit friends, she gradually begins to feel again. She starts to savor the flavor of food again; lets herself notice how the handsome bartender glances at her. Still, after allowing herself a fling, she wonders if she will ever be able to let go of her shattered past, fully enjoy the present, or get over what she thought would be her perfect future and with the man who destroyed her heart.

Thank you to the author via Netgalley for allowing me to read this book for free in exchange for my honest opinion.

Did I like this book?

There were many things about this book I appreciated, but I'd have to say the one thing that stands out for me is Stella.  I don't think I've ever read a character like her before!  She is bold, brash, and brazen.  She's also erratic, impulsive and unpredictable.  She feels everything so deeply, and Griffin does a fantastic job of describing Stella's emotions in an extremely realistic way.  It's funny that, while I sometimes loved Stella, she also drove me nuts!  I don't think I could be friends with someone like her - she is just way too much maintenance.

Aside from Stella, however, I felt the characters could use some more background.  Patrick, Billy, Millie and George all play a huge role in Stella's life, but I never had a clear picture of what made any of them tick.  Which leads me to one of the things I couldn't understand - why would Patrick and Billy, Stella's new roommates and virtual strangers to her at the beginning of the book, put up with her awful behaviour?  Stella drinks, a lot, and throughout the book, Patrick and/or Billy are always there to babysit her and pick up the pieces.  And what did either of them get out of their relationship with Stella?  Not much.  A dog to look after, and Patrick gained a workout partner.  Anyway, I was constantly skeptical, just waiting for one of the guys to hit on Stella, and while things became a bit more clear near the end of the book, I thought their relationship could have been explained better.  

There are definitely some twists in this book, and while I enjoyed the unpredictability of this approach, in the end I don't think it worked for me.  The pacing seemed...odd, for lack of a better word.  There are big events in the beginning and ending of the book, with literally no build up, but the middle is filled with a lot of day to day...not much.  Stella's drinking and exercising and studying.  There isn't even much steam. There is the illusion of sex, but it's always the fade-to-black variety.  If it wasn't for the prologue indicating that a big event was going to happen, I probably would have stopped reading.

Will you like this book?

If you are looking for a feisty heroine who is far from perfect, you might enjoy "By A Thread".  Griffin has a unique writing style, and there are some unpredictable twists, so if the synopsis sounds interesting to you, by all means give it a shot.

Would I read more by this author?

At this point, the jury's out.  I don't feel invested enough in this story line or these characters to carry on with the series.  However, I think Griffin's writing has potential, so I will keep an open mind to other titles or series that she may publish in the future.

My rating:

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