Tangled Web (PrinCkhera’s Review)


Tangled Web
Title: Tangled Web
Author: S.A. Ozment
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: 18th May, 2016
Genre(s): Contemporary, Romance
Page Count: 56
Reviewed by: PrinCkhera
Heat Level: 0 flames out of 5
Rating: 1 stars out of 5
Blurb:

By day Ashley Stevens is a dedicated nurse; by night he runs multiple social media sites for his crush and all-time favorite actor, Sebastian Gray. After a particularly grueling day at work, Ashley drinks away his misery while dreaming about being with Sebastian—only to realize it’s no dream when Sebastian actually contacts him.

Sebastian asks him to officially run his sites and Ashley is thrilled—right up until Sebastian makes it clear that he thinks Ashley is a girl. And maybe it’s the wine, or maybe it’s a fear that if Sebastian knew the truth, he wouldn’t want him, but Ashley never sets him straight. But keeping the secret becomes a nightmare as Ashley and Sebastian talk online night after night, forging a true connection. And the longer Ashley waits to tell the truth, the more tangled the lies become.

A plane ticket from Sebastian along with an invitation to meet in New York City for a fan event brings it all to a head. Ashley must face Sebastian and tell all, but he might not be the only one keeping secrets.

I really like the premise, the idea behind this book.

But it’s rushed, and the writing feels like its still in its initial stages. Since I’m reviewing the ARC these issues could of course be solved by the time the book comes out so take this in mind while reading my review.

As I said – I really like the premise of this story. Misunderstandings? Digging a deeper and deeper hole for yourself because you’re afraid that the truth would cost you this special something you’ve created with someone else? Not exactly new on the horizon, but a tried and tested formula that works.

It works for most people.

I’m one of them. 

But, this story felt rushed and way too short. This is a novella, so this kind of comes with it. There are few novellas out there able to leave us satisfied in so few words. This novella was not one of them.

Ashley

Girl? He thinks I’m a girl? What the hell? Oh shit, never mind. It’s that damn name of mine that my crazy mother stuck on me. Crap! Now what do I say?  I guess I should tell him the truth. But what if he only contacted me because he thought I was a girl? He obviously likes knowing that he’s chatting with a girl! Fucking straight guy.

Who knew I could lie like a sailor without blinking an eye? First I tell him I’m working out when in actuality the last time I saw a gym was at my nephew’s basketball game – in middle school! And secondly, I tell him I jog? Jog? Ha! I only jog to the nearest Krispy Kreme, and that’s only when they have their Hot-Now sigh on. Crap! Should I tell him the truth and risk that he won’t talk to me anymore?

*bangs head against wall*

The writing. The thought processes of Sebastian.

I just, can’t…

There is so much the author hasn’t done, that I just could not get invested.

The time that Ashley and Sebastian actually spend getting to know each other is skipped. If the author decided to expand that, to show us how they get closer after that initial conversation then perhaps I wouldn’t feel this way.

There’s this two month skip ahead where this could have… should have taken place.

What the author did was make me mildly curious, but not get me invested.

Because it’s so rushed, I couldn’t seem to connect with Ash, our protagonist.

Showing us how they get to know each other, and making us believe their stories so important but it was not there.

The two month skip ahead – tells us about Ash’s frustration at being unable to tell the truth. It tells us that Sebastian and Ash have gotten closer, become friends even. It tells us that Sebastian wants to see Ash. This telling immediately happens after we just read the story describing their two initial conversations.

Don’t tell.

SHOW.

Show me how Ash’s frustration builds up after each conversation, each failed attempt to get out with it. Show me how Sebastian and Ash get closer, how did those somewhat stilted and awkward conversations keep going on? Did Sebastian initiate them, did Ash? Show us how Sebastian’s thoughts on seeing Ash aren’t something out of the blue, because if they’ve been talking for two months, is it realistic to ask only then about a picture?

Honestly. These are things that require the author to show us the development of their relationship. This is where such a big part of the story lies, but it’s not there!

I felt as though these chapters, this novella is just a collection of scenes. Like watching a movie where you’ve skipped the “getting to know your MCs” part over to the problem, the action… But, that’s not a good thing.

You can’t put it in context.

This was my change to explain why there weren’t any photos and to tell him the truth. But was now a good time to spill all? The chat had been going so well. After contemplating it for a minute, I knew I wasn’t reading to end what we had going on… whatever that was.

You don’t care enough about the characters to see the problem as a “problem”.

The longer I spent each night talking to him, laughing with him, the stronger my feelings got for him. I had practically stopped all social activities with my friends here in Savannah and was putting all my hopes and dreams into Sebastian, which was definitely not a smart move on my part, on so many levels.

Ashley was such a flat character that it made me not want to continue reading. We don’t know anything about what kind of person he is other than when hes in this Sebastian bubble. Except for that one scene in the beginning, pre-Sebastian, there’s nothing that would make us relate to him. Like him, even.

The unavoidable confrontation made me cringe. Not because I felt omgomgomg FINALLY, but more like are you seriously saying that? Is that it?

My heart was pounding so hard I just knew he could visualise it outside of my tight T-shirt.

The dialogue in this book. Like reading dialogue in a language textbook for beginners.

It made me frown, it made me cringe, it made think “wow, that’s pathetic” about both characters.

“But everything I told you during our chats was true! Well, mostly true, I don’t really jog-”
“Shit, Ashley! How am I supposed to believe anything you say?”

The confrontation is a big deal, right? Give it the proper gravity. Again, show how Ashley feels. Deal with the aftermath of the revelation properly, show me how Ashley deals with life post-Sebastian. Make me care!

While reading I even came up with the perfect comparison for this novella. It’s like those one hour movies tv channels make themselves. The kind you put on knowing that’s it’ll be meh, and you’re okay with that because you didn’t expect any better

I had expectations when I started because I liked the idea a lot, but the execution did not meet up to those expectations

I see potential, but this feels more like a draft version of a book I would have enjoyed reading. The writing should be redone. I was already sighing from the first pages as I noted the “had” trend. This word came up so many freaking times I did a CTRL + F “had” = 100 times. In a novella this short, the fact that I noticed that early in the story, and it already made me hesitant about what to expect? Not good.

The book, as it is, I do not recommend.

notrawesome

But, if you have an hour to waste then by all means. (though, once again… even then, don’t)

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Tangled Web provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.

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