Sunday, January 21, 2018

Advance Review Sunday: Wicked Charm by Amber Hart


Standalone to date

Release Date: January 30th, 2018

Blurb:
"Nothing good comes from living in the Devil's swamp.Willow Bell thinks moving to the Okefenokee area isn't half bad, but nothing prepares her for what awaits in the shadows of the bog.

Girls are showing up dead in the swamp. And she could be next.

Everyone warns Willow to stay away from Beau Cadwell—the bad boy at the top of their suspect list as the serial killer tormenting the small town.

But beneath his wicked, depthless eyes, there's something else that draws Willow to him.

When yet another girl he knew dies, though, Willow questions whether she can trust her instincts…or if they're leading to her own death."



Review:
This was such a struggle to put a star rating on this.  On one hand, there's a lot of bark but no bite.  On the other, what is there is lovely in it's own right.  Regardless, I have a lot to say about this.

1.  The characters.  Elaborating on what I said above, it's made very clear that Beau Cadwell is this horrible person who uses girls and then dumps them with no warning.  However, this isn't really shown.  From what we see of Beau, he's a genuine human being with some commitment issues (which isn't uncommon at all for anyone).  Aside from one story, this isn't really made apparent.  Therefore it isn't entirely believable.  Conversely, what we do get to know of Beau (both from Willow's interactions with him and from his POV sections) is very real and understandable and relatable.  Moving onto Willow, I really liked her character for the most part.  The way the author wrote her dialogue really transported me into the Southern US.  The supporting characters are also very well done.

2.  The plot.  First and foremost, this is a love story, not a murder mystery.  The murders are used as a vehicle to further Willow and Beau's relationship.  That being said, it is a sweet relationship.  The blurb is slightly misleading in this regard.  Beau is a suspect for all of 4 minutes and then he's cleared and it's quite obvious that he's going to be cleared.  The real mystery is who is actually murdering all these people and to what end.  Because the romance is placed before this, there isn't a whole lot of suspense built in but that doesn't mean it was boring.  This reads more as a casual romance.  You won't be unable to put it down, but it is well-structured all the same.

3.  The romance.  I have one main issue here: instalove (or at least instalust).  It's the whole deal of the main girl looks out the window, sees main boy and instantly is taken under his spell and can't stop staring at him.  And from then on, neither main boy or girl can stop thinking about the other.  Personally, I find this trope a little tiresome.  While the romance is sweet, it also moves pretty fast (nearly reaching third base on their first kiss), especially for two high schoolers.  This is mostly personal preference.

4.  The writing (and it's relation to setting).  This author does such a great job of using aromatic and atmospheric language to describe setting.  I could almost feel the damp air of the swamp and see the constant ebb and flow of water in and out.  I only have one grievance: the prevalence of the word 'wicked'.  I understand it's part of the theme (and the title, obviously), but it got to be a little repetitive.

The Final Verdict:
While this book wasn't all I expected it to be, it's lovely in it's own right.
3.5 stars

4 comments:

  1. Sounds like this one is not without its flaws. At least it wasn’t awful, right? But I’m getting sick of these instalust relationships.

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    1. Yeah, the most I can say about is it's VERY atmospheric and unique but the romance was just not for me. Maybe there are people out there who love instalove but I am not one of those people. Thanks for stopping by, Jenny!

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  2. I'm not usually a romance fan, but I like the idea of the strong setting in this book. A good sense of place is important to me in my reading :-)
    Thanks for sharing this review!

    Stephanie Jane @ Literary Flits

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    1. It was really great! It was one of the best things about this book. Thanks for stopping by, Stephanie!

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