Friday, December 28, 2018

Melinda's Review: Luna and the Lie

Luna and the Lie by Mariana Zapata
Publisher: December 12th, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
1st POV

The problem with secrets is that they’re too easy to keep collecting.

Luna Allen has done some things she would rather no one ever know about. She also knows that, if she could go back in time, she wouldn’t change a single thing.

With three sisters she loves, a job she (mostly) adores, and a family built up of friends she’s made over the years, Luna figures everything has worked out the way it was supposed to.

But when one of those secrets involves the man who signs her paycheck, she can’t find it in her to regret it. Despite the fact that he’s not the friendliest man in the world. Or the most patient.

Sometimes there are things you’re better off keeping to yourself.

Where to Buy*:
Kindle -- KU Title
More Info:
Author's Site
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Melinda's Review:

Mariana Zapata has been one of my favorite authors over the last few years. Her unique slow-burn style of romance surprised me with how much it appealed to me since the physical romance between her characters usually doesn't even begin until *maybe* 90%. A kiss might happen as early as 70% if she's feeling particularly frisky. But somehow the way she's written these books has kept me hooked. I've loved Kulti, The Wall of Winnipeg, Dear Aaron, and From Lukov With Love.

The books were not without their faults, to be sure. The largest being that they need better editing. Winnie was so bad with that I almost gave up multiple times but the plot kept me going. I've also seen other people call attention to slut shaming, the 'not like other girls' trope, and worst in my eyes, in Lukov that the book brushes over a character's race and does not explore it fully enough to the point that they could have been white and it would have made no difference. In retrospect I can see those things absolutely were present. So I was super interested to read Luna and the Lie with all of that in mind, but still hoping I'd enjoy it.

...And I was disappointed. Zapata's writing style is very straight forward, it always has been, which is not an insult in the slightest. It's not flowery at all, but while it's straight forward, there is also A LOT of it. Luna may be her longest book. A contemporary book just shouldn't be so long without an extremely complicated plot. When I opened the book my Kindle told me the average time to read it was 9 hours and 52 minutes...compared to usually a book being about 3 hours or so when I open them. But the reason for this is apparent when there is just a lot of extraneous detail in the writing. For example Luna mentions her purse repeatedly. So much so I honestly thought it was going to be a plot point in the book. She mentions locking it in a drawer. She mentions grabbing it for lunch.

I doubted I'd need it, but I'd watched an episode of a show once of someone who was in a wreck, died and couldn't be identified, so now I didn't like not having my ID with me at all times.

So I was surprised at the end when nothing comes of it. It was all unnecessary detail we didn't need. And part of the reason the book was so long. This isn't to say Zapata's previous books were short - they were all extremely long as well, and I'm pretty sure these were issues in those books too. However, I didn't have nearly as many issues with the characters or plot as I did with this one so I was able to overlook them.

I was concerned going into this book that it would be similar in plot to her previous books because the basics seemed similar - a woman and her boss start a relationship. That part actually wasn't that similar at all, so on that front I was happy. However, the characters are a whole other story. Ripley seems to be a mixture of ALL of her previous heroes in one. Gruff? CHECK. Barely speaks to heroine? CHECK. Broods? CHECK. Also secretly but not so secretly into the heroine, which any Zapata reader can spot a mile away? CHECK. We get almost nothing about Ripley as a character because we get to know him through Luna’s eyes so we get dribbles here and there.

Luna, the heroine, was just a complete doormat. Some of this author's previous heroines have had a bit of this, but Luna just won this by a mile. She let everyone in her life completely walk all over her, starting with her sisters - who were complete assholes and I wanted to slap. But to complete her doormat characterization was the way she spoke, both in her inner monologue and in her conversations to the other characters.

I reminded myself that life was a gift - sometimes one you wanted to return, and other times on you'd want to keep forever, but it was still a gift. 

I'm really good with secrets. No foolin'.

Life was a choice you get to choose how you handle things. You get to choose if a rose is beautiful or if its thorns are a menace to your fingers. 

It's all so...trite. What 26 year old woman says “No foolin'” when they're not speaking to a 4 year old? And her life was a choice/gift theme was repeated ad nauseum throughout. Which I get was a theme for her personally but it was jammed down our throats to the point that I was like I FREAKING GET IT. I wanted Luna to just once be a real person, not a pale facsimile, which is how she came off to me.

While Luna is a doormat through most of the book there is a point in the book that I actually screeched out loud and said WTAF because she did something so completely out of character for her.


She has major issues with her bio family, one of them shows up and when they do she makes a decision and goes to physically harm one of them. I mean, how does that make sense with her personality we've been shown throughout the entire book? She had a hard childhood and yes, we were shown that, but there was absolutely nothing before this or after this that made this make sense to me. I struggled to come to terms with Luna as a character throughout the book and this piece of her made the rest of the pieces make even less sense.

Moving beyond just the characters I had issues with their interactions as well. At one point Rip asks Luna about her eating habits. HER EATING HABITS. I mean...WHAT NOW?

"You're not on a diet, right?" He asked as he steered us onto the freeway.

This wasn't a problem for Luna at all. Not even a blip. And Rip was just asking because he wanted to know why she wasn't eating a donut he bought her, but I don't want any hero, in any book, ever, to bring up a woman's eating habits. Period, the end.

There isn’t a lot of meat here plot-wise. What is here could have been fleshed out so much more than it was, which is surprising with how long it is. There’s a plot twist which I guessed in chapter 1 – and I seriously am the person who is surprised at the simplest of plots. I basically wanted to pare back at least 75% of the book and then develop that last 25% into so much more.

I was highly disappointed in this book. I usually DNF books that I’m not enjoying by 25% but since I usually love this author I stuck it out so this might be my lowest rated book of the entire year.


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Source: Bought

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Thanks for the review, Melinda! 


Until Next Time,

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