Well, guys, I am officially back in the land of the living. Not that Leadville, Colorado is where the dead go to live their afterlife, or anything. Definitely a different look for me. I got to experience awesome altitude sickness for the first day but after that it was great! You know, apart from the total lack of cell service and internet (Would you believe our backwoods cabin did’t even have wifi? The nerve of some people, right? Jk. I’m not that dependent ….). However, there was this little spot down the path from our cabin that had decent service and a stellar view, so I chose to use that little place as my blogging, reading, and writing area. It turned out well. See photo right.
Anyway, on the real first day of my adventure, I received an email from the author group of five using their collective pen name, Lily Cahill. I took a look at the cover, which looked pretty nice, read the synopsis, which wasn’t killer but hey, who’s judging? I was told by one of the five ladies that the book was a science fiction thing with romance twisted in. And then the cover leads you to believe that water and electricity will play a major role in this thing!
I could be totally wrong, but the science fiction seemed to take a back seat in Lily Cahill’s Sparked.
Sparked tells the story of Cora Murphy, a graduated young woman who lives in Independence Falls, Colorado (what a coincidence that I was in Leadville when reading this book!) and Clayton Briggs, the son of a wealthy banker returning home after college. The book takes place somewhere in the mid 1950s.
The Murphy and Briggs families are rivals, complete enemies, would slit each other’s throats if it were morally acceptable. Cora’s seen Clayton around before but after he went away to college, she pretty much forgot about him. Life is hard for her in Independence Falls as she struggles to take care of her kid sister, Bethany, and protect her from her father and older brother, who are abusive while also keeping the house in order and paying bills by working for the townspeople, who don’t respect the Murphy family at all.
When Clayton returns from college, he instantly falls in love with Cora, who he doesn’t realize is a Murphy. Imagine his surprise when his ex-girlfriend catches him kissing Cora and exposes who she is! Oh, yes, it’s all very dramatic. A semi-modern version of Romeo and Juliet, until Cora and Clayton are caught in a strange smoke cloud that is sweeping through Independence Falls. They’re exposed to radioactive material or something and become strange mutant freaks with different special abilities (Clayton’s being energy of sorts, and Cora’s being water). There’s the science fiction, element.
That’s all the summary I can give you. Why? Because I didn’t make it past page 120.
No possible way.
I knew I was in trouble the moment there was a strong case of insta-love. I said in my last post that it doesn’t bother me too much, and that’s because it was in Origin … and how could you not instantly love Eio?
But as I was saying, Clayton spots Cora from afar and is instantly in love with her and everything about her. He swoops in, rescues her in true knight-in-shining-armor fashion (which, ordinarily I would love) and then takes her across Lover’s Bridge. Now, keep in mind that Clayton promised Cora no funny business or anything when they got to the other side, yet Clayton pushes himself on her the moment they’re there!
My thoughts exactly, Kevin.
As much as I hate to say it, this book was total smut.
So, without further ado, my review.
Cora Murphy is impossibly cliché. She is struggling to take care of her young, helpless sister (Bethany) while also paying for expensive bills and holding the house together, since her father is an alcoholic and her older brother is just as rough and gruff. Cora even calls herself the only responsible one in the Murphy household. She sees herself in the mirror and thinks, “I’m helplessly plain,” yet when Clayton sees her, all that’s going through his head is: “She’s desperately beautiful!”
Cora is the kind of girl who doesn’t want Clayton to help her, wants to do everything on her own so she never has to depend on anyone. Good for you, girl. I could commend you for that if you weren’t so fickle about it. Cora goes back and forth between saying that she needs to escape Independence Falls with Bethany to falling into Clayton’s arms.
She won’t run away from her abusive father and takes way too much crap from him. If I were her, I’d have been out of there. I wouldn’t even freaking care that I had little money to my name, that my little sister would do without for a day, because it would mean getting her the heck away from the abusive men in the house!
I could have pulled my hair out by the time I reached page 50.
Clayton Briggs is a little better but he’s just as fickle as Cora is. He teeters between his duty to his father and his family and his love for Cora and he will literally go from saying, “I’m breaking up with her.” to making out with her in the backseat of his car and deciding, “I’m never letting her go!” …. ALL IN ONE FREAKING DAY.
I feel that the collective authors known as Lily Cahill failed miserably, though, when it came to Clayton Briggs. Since it’s so fresh on my mind, I’ll use Origin as an example. Eio was the picture of masculine perfection. Some would probably disagree, but I believe Jessica Khoury did a phenomenal job painting Eio with words.
No. Clayton was borderline drab. Maybe I’m not reading the book correctly or he just isn’t my type, but I didn’t feel any connection to Clayton, and I think that’s something that all readers look for in characters. In Susan Ee’s End of Days the characters are all remarkably relatable, whether it’s the heroine you’re relating with or the villain. Somehow, we feel all the characters.
You get me?
In The Kiss of Deception, we have the same beautiful relatable-ness!
Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for Sparked.
One of the great many things that I disliked about the book was the era it was set in. No, it’s not that I don’t like the 1950s (I adore them!) but it’s that Sparked didn’t feel like it was taking place then. There was so much modern stuff and it was so easy to forget you were living in that world.
Sparked was almost misleading. No, it was misleading. I was to page 120 or something and we hadn’t even really done much with the science fiction element. Maybe the whole sci-fi thing was a ruse and really the authors of the book just wanted to reach a wider audience than the romance genre would bring in.
Now, you all know how much I hate to give bad reviews, but in my mind this one deserved it. I’m sorry. If you’ve submitted a book to me, I hope you will have read my guidelines, which means you knew what I would accept and what I wouldn’t.
Smut isn’t something I accept. For future reference.
I don’t know. Maybe someone else will like this book. If you do, email me and let me know. I’d love to hear your take on it!
Ugh, now that my rant is over, I can get back to reading other books and preparing to review The Heart of Betrayal, which I actually finished months ago but forgot to review!
I’ll also get to begin reading The Ghost of Red Fields by author Sam Stemler that was submitted this week as well. Don’t worry, I’ll let you know how it is.
What’s on your bookshelf?