Book – Paint a Story on Your Skin
Author – L.J. Hamlin
Star rating - ★★☆☆☆
No. of Pages – 38
Cover – Gorgeous!
POV – 3rd person, present tense
Would I read it again – No.
Genre – LGBT, Contemporary, Romance, Art
** COPY RECEIVED THROUGH NETGALLEY **
Unfortunately, this one wasn't for me. It was painful to read, due to the unnatural narrative style; it focused on miniscule details that were unimportant as a way of introducing erroneous details and it had my two pet hates: the first words being a full name intro of the character and 3rd person present tense.
The story, I'm sorry to say, was in some serious need of an editor. Or perhaps the author and I just aren't going to be a good pairing. Either way, this story read like a first draft of bullet point facts, rather than a cohesive story.
I found it strangely derogatory the way Tommy was first introduced. Mike had just said that he never judges a book by the cover, that he's used to all kinds of artists appearances, then this happens:
“His smile is surprisingly sweet, considering is appearance.
He's a little shorter than Mike, and he's six foot six. Tommy is tall, thin and covered in tattoo's and piercings. Mike can see several in each ear, as well as gauges in his earlobes, a hoop in his nose on the left and a bar in his right eyebrow. He's in a T-shirt and jeans.”
Now, why is a sweet smile so mismatched to how he looks? Because he's got tattoo's and piercings? That's exactly the opposite of what Mike just said he'd do and it feels almost like the whole tattoo and piercing thing was only used to differentiate between their ages and so that the words 'considering his appearance' could be used.
The whole age-gap thing is apparent right from the start, with Mike basically obsessing over the fact that Tommy is attractive and too young for him, right from the first second they meet, then escalates into:
“It doesn't matter if Tommy thinks of him as old. But there's something about Tommy finding him too old to be attractive that stings.”
Then, there's this subtle little ditty:
“I think bodies are incredible," Tommy explains, casually mentioning his sexuality.”
And, in both cases I can say – he NEVER said that. Neither instance is actually a reference to something said on page, so I imagine it's either been spoken off page, that we don't know about, or it's all in their imagination.
Either way, I got this far and I couldn't go any further. It's only a few pages in (10%), but the combination of bullet point facts acting as story text, dialogue being short, choppy and mostly pointless until now, along with the fact that it doesn't flow well and I'm not connecting to the story or the characters, I couldn't go any further. The more pages I read the more frustrated I got and I knew that if I'd read until the end, this review would have been much worst for it.
The curse of present tense was literally making me grind my teeth in frustration, because this could have been a really well written, great little story...except, it wasn't. It didn't flow, it didn't connect and it's not for me. At all. I feel like the author got sucked into showing off all the details in a current situation setting, but forgot to flesh them out with emotion, character or detail. I felt uncomfortable reading this style of writing, as the author has presented it. I won't be reading the author or this book again.