Title: Moonstone (Stone Magic #1)
Author: K-lee Klein
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
Release Date: TBD
Reviewed by: Renee
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 2.6 stars out of 5
Ky’s fought his way to the boxing championship for the third time, but now the fight of his life isn’t against an opponent in the ring. He’s battling a darkness within himself that he can’t ignore and can’t control. If he fails, everything he’s spent his life working for will be gone, and he can’t see a path to victory. Only a hunch sends him looking for help in the most unusual places.
Blue’s a quiet guy, living for his family and the art of his tattoos. He’s created his shop, Blue’s Dungeon, to be a place for the celebration of art on skin—simple, friendly, and mostly uncomplicated—and Blue likes it that way.
But when Ky shows up in Blue’s tattoo parlor, desperately searching for a lifeline, it’s the beginning of something magical for both men…
I have read and really enjoyed Klein’s writing before. So I was really looking forward to this ARC when I received it. But it didn’t QUITE reach up to what it was trying to accomplish. The story itself had the backbone to be good. I will say that what it was lacking was that overall polishing that makes a decent or good story into a GREAT story. The beginning didn’t start with the bang I was looking for. It didn’t grab me at all. Ky and Blue start off with a no-strings-attached sexual encounter(s) that are all a bit awkward. Their dialogue (and even the internal alternating thoughts) were stilted, and even the sex was awkward. For example:
Ky was like a puzzle, a beautiful picture you’re just on the verge of completing, before discovering some asshole had lost or taken a piece.
The phrase started off well, but final execution fell pretty flat……..
There were other awkward and/or unbelievable moments. One where they had just climaxed, pants were still around their ankles, they slid to the floor, and both fell asleep right there. Really? Because that happens? Two people fall asleep on hard floors with their pants still around their ankles? Bare-assed?
And another part where a friend, Oli’s, “talent” or “gift” is described as genuinely caring about other people. ???? Don’t most of us? I genuinely care about other people, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it a talent or a gift. I can tell by further description later that something else was meant entirely, but that’s not the way this particular description was worded. It was very clearly worded this exact way in this part of the book.
His eyes shone with honesty, the tiny crinkles in the corners telling Ky he was being truthful.
Crinkles in the corners of eyes can show honesty? Hmmmmmmmm.
…he trusted Ky more than double anyone else he’d ever had in his life.
More than double? Is that really measurable? Wish I could’ve just read “so much more than” or something like that. It just reads so awkwardly……
There were quite a few of these types of descriptions throughout the book – I highlighted over 10 of them – and I just couldn’t get past that many of them. One, or even two, I can get past as a reader. But that many were too glaringly obvious that this story has not been polished at all. Klein can write better than this. I’ve seen it in action. I’m hoping, since this is an ARC without an official release date, that some of the editing hasn’t taken place, and that a lot of clean up can happen. I can appreciate that if it’s the case.
The relationship/love story itself did develop past the initial awkward stage for me, and I did begin to like them more as a couple. And there is a setup for future books with other secondary characters from the book.