Friday, 7 March 2014

Kiss Her, Kill Her: Baby's First One Star Review

Last week, I asked you guys about writing negative reviews and a few of you encouraged me to post my review with as much constructive crticism as I could muster. So I have decided to post my first one-star review.

If you guys know anything about me, you know that I’m a kiss-ass to writers which is why I was so nervous to talk about a book that I genuinely did not like.

Kiss Her, Kill Her


New York City has a monster on the loose and his name is Tarryn Cooper Love.
No one had given a second glance to the handsome taxi driver, but in reality he had been molded to be a killer since early childhood. His mother, who valued a juicy murder above all else, had taught him well. Just one more trophy and he is set to reach his goal, surpassing his mother's idol, the infamous Ted Bundy.

When a beautiful young woman gets into his cab flashing a wad of cash, he thinks he's hit the jackpot. As she starts confessing her plans for ending her own life he decides to listen to her story, hoping to charm her back from the brink of death, to heighten his game.

What he discovers is a twisted tale that has taken her from the hardened streets of LA to the upper crust of New York...a story that might even rival his own.

Tarryn has to decide within the space of 24 hours, if he should kill her or save her - and perhaps save himself in the process.

I picked up Kiss Her, Kill Her at a Chapters Store in the “Local Authors” section because I was curious to see what my fellow Albertans were writing. It turned out I wasn’t the only one interested in exploring serial killers so I picked it up and vowed to read it as soon as possible.

Jump ahead a few months and I finally said “let’s do this” and brought the book with me to read on the bus to school and then on the plane rides during my vacation a few weeks ago.

By page ten I was ready to put it down and pick another book.

I will stick by the pre-review I gave this book back when I added it to my list: The concept is interesting. Now that I’ve made it all the way through I can honestly say the concept is fantastic. A serial killer, twisted by his mother’s obsession with Ted Bundy, falls in love with a girl who wants to kill herself.

I just think that Lisa made some character choices that I didn’t really agree with – ones that didn’t really sit well with me. On top of that her narrative voice felt off. She wrote in Third-Person Limited which makes sense but it felt almost passive (which is the term I ended up using in my notes below because that was the only word I could use to describe it). It made me feel disconnected from these characters so if there was a chance of me understanding the choices she made with them, they were lost in translation.

These are the notes I took will reading the book and I’m happy to say they don’t sound nearly as bitter as I was feeling as I read. Let’s get started (there are a lot of them):

·         Prologue: I’m struggling to find our protagonist’s voice. What does he think about himself? How human is he?

·         Laura’s just telling me about his kills. I want to feel it

·         This feels like it’s in passive voice. I’m having troubles connecting with this characters

·         You just said she was nothing special

·         Pfft. Wish fulfillment much?

·         That joke is too lame

·         Why are you telling us this from the protagonist’s point of view if it’s not true? It serves no purpose

·         Mama’s boy – typical. It makes sense, though

·         That’s what your character thinks of her? Are you sure? That’s not what I was getting?

·         Is this particular debate (kiss her, kill her) a regular thing?

·         Ugh, I’m finding so many beautiful moments that are tossed away with passive voice. I wish she’d expand on them more

·         Doesn’t fit the MO!

·         You found a moment (after note: I don’t remember what this moment was *pouts*)

·         So he’s good looking and good at everything?

·         I’m calling bullshit

·         Who’s saying “preggers” in this scene?: The psycho mom or the psycho son? Neither work

·         His mother’s character makes sense…sort of

·         “Burning like it was on fire”? It’s similes like these that just make me want to walk away

·         No way is he a high-functioning serial killer with so little emotional experience  and yet he is this good at manipulation

·         Something’s gotta give

·         Her monologue is too poetic for the picture that’s been painted of Carmen so far

·         He’s an experienced killer with the instincts of a rookie and the mentality of a teenager (okay, the last one makes sense)

·         I like that some of the little one-off tidbits are coming in handy later in the story

·         “Lemon pie-filling hair”

·         Please stop ending every chapter with the same cliff hanger ending. Just tell the story already!

·         How can you possibly know what she’s thinking, Tarryn?

·         It doesn’t work that way, sweetie

·         I do love the use of the term “playmate”

·         Their backstories fit their situation but not always their personality

·         I accept that he’s somehow perfected a grab bag of means of murder but where in the hell did he get all of those items without raising suspicion after all this time?

·         So he’s a master at charm and wit and yet he thinks self-harm is the best way to commiserate a kill?

·         I’m sorry, is there a reason you’re going into such useless detail? I’d like to get back to the story now

The rest of the story I read on the plane (about 50 pages) but my thoughts were very much the same: the character’s personalities were inconsistent – in relation to their backstory and on a chapter-to-chapter basis – and Tarryn was just a series of idealized traits rolled into one package. There was a big scene right near the end that I saw coming in good way, as in “I hope she makes Tarryn do this” and she did. For a story about a serial killer that had little violence before, that ending scene was particularly gruesome. I wish she had spread that darkness throughout the entire book so it wasn’t such a shock at the end. It’s one thing to say that this is new for our protagonist, it’s another to drop it in out of seemingly nowhere. The conclusion to this story was hopeful to the point of being cheesy and frankly disappointing because it wrapped everything up in a nice little bow and then had Carmen do something that is fitting and yet not something I would have wanted her to do. For a woman who has been in hurt in some way or another by every man in her life, I thought it was an unusual way to mark her encounter with Tarryn.

 I can’t believe I’m saying this but I don’t recommend this book. It’s too inconsistent and still needs work in the editing department.

And on that cheerful note, I’m going back to my latest read: Just a Touch – a YA fantasy – see you on the other side.

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