Thursday, January 16, 2014

NERC Review #2: Stealing Promises by Brina Courtney

*I received an eARC of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I honestly don't know where to start with this novel. Oh wait, I guess I should call it a novella because it probably wasn't much more than a 100 pages. (Okay, it's 144, actually. But that changes nothing). And it was in the fact that this had so few pages where I disliked this book. TOO MUCH HAPPENED! Too much happened in this story, so much so that I didn't find any of it believable. The character development was lacking (Victoria's didn't seem believable in such a short time) and the plot was mostly filled with useless and irrelevant information that didn't really relate to anything that was going on in the scenes they were in. And I actually felt that a 1st person narrative would have been much better for how this was set up.

Stealing Promises had such... Well, promise. I'd been really looking forward to this book, but nothing about it worked for me. NOTHING.

Rating: 1 star! 

Firstly, this book needed an editor. Badly. I also thought the writing style and the characters' conversations didn't seamlessly flow together. 

Secondly, I couldn't connect with any of the characters. Even though this book was 144 pages, the characters never really jumped off the page and become more than just cardboard cut-outs. I don't even know what kind of personality Victoria, the main character, has and what her past is like. I didn't find out anything about anyone!

Thirdly, the plot moved so fast that everything happened much too quickly for how this kind of story should have been handled. And in-between major scenes, it was filled with useless and irrelevant information. Those tidbits just seemed thrown in at random intervals, especially in the beginning! It just didn't... come together to form a more cohesive and effectively written story.

Fourthly, I hated, absolutely hated how the counselor and psychologist were written. As a psychology major who is heading toward a degree to become a counselor/school psychologist, I did NOT appreciate how they were portrayed. Kate's character was utterly unbelievable to me, and I didn't think her "therapy" was brilliant at all. In fact, I think Victoria moved through it all too quickly. It should never have been about how fast Kate could "help" Victoria move on from Levi's death, and she should never have been so bluntly honest with her. That's not the behavior of a counselor, nor is it "unconventional therapy" so much as ridiculous. Counselors help people; they don't bully them. They don't move in with them. They don't see how fast they can get their clients to live again as their ultimate goal. Counselors listen and offer unconditional support, never judgement or shame or disgust. They have to keep emotional distances from their clients, so her living at their house seemed entirely inappropriate. And the other psychologist that they called in when Victoria made a suicide attempt was portrayed as a tool. That scene didn't even last long, and Victoria was out of the hospital within 24 hours. 

Fifthly, this book should be about 100 pages longer. Because of the quick pace of how the main character moved through each "stage" of her life, I didn't feel like her character development was all that believable. And, like I said, I think this book could have been improved by being in a 1st person narrative. The author actually slipped up a few times, using "I" and I almost didn't catch them.

Let's just say, if Stealing Promises had been a full-length novel, I may have actually liked it.


  1. Uh oh . . . I'm really worried about reading this one. I have to read and review this one soon, but from the sounds of your review and my own experience of another one of the author's books, I probably won't like reading it. Too-short books are almost always a problem for me. They just don't have enough in them. The pace is usually too quick and the story usually lacks necessary development for me to connect to it.

    Great, thorough review. :)

    1. Oops, totally forgot to put a spoiler tag in this post. I hope pretty much knowing what happens already won't ruin your reading experience. Although, if you're like me, it won't even matter. I didn't find anything good about it.

      Thank you! :)

  2. Replies
    1. I kind of wish I had.

      Thanks for stopping by! :)


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