It took me almost a month to finish this book. Not because it's such a long book, or so intricately written, but just because after reading every twenty pages I had to put Stone Kissed down again. This story annoyed me to no end.
Delia can talk to statues. In her work as restorer this can come in quite handy, but in the social plane not so much. When her father has a terrible accident she is forced to sell the house of her childhood. The buyer, the influential Grant Wolverton, makes her feel things she has never felt before. Will she be able to convince him she doesn't want to sell the house? And what if he finds out about her darkest secret?
The book starts pretty well. Delia's abilities are interesting, and something I've never read about. Her conversations with the statues are hilarious at times. Stone Kissed had a strong start, making me hopeful I would agree with all the raving reviews. Soon I discovered I am quite of a different opinion.
I have huge issues with the main part of the story, namely the romance between Grant and Delia. About every stage they go through I thoroughly detest. We begin with the instant-lust.
Ms Stevens tries to hide the instant-lust behind the fact that Delia and Grant have already met in the past, when Delia was still a little girl. For me she shouldn't have bothered with this detail. Even though it explains the Grant = God complex Delia has, it is no reason at all for lust. Do you still find your teen fantasies attractive twenty years later? I don't think so. You will smile at them, reminiscing, shaking your head at your youthful innocence. But you won't get wobbly knees or start to feel indecent places tingling. At least not when you have grown up a tiny bit.
I know the instant lust is something used in countless romance stories, and there is a minority of people that get annoyed by this. Therefore, I gave this book another chance. More often than not, this kind of book gets a lot better after the hero and heroine actually start dating. It was then I found out that this couple is extremely stubborn.
Before I am going to continue my rant about the relationship aspect of the book, I have something to say about the heroine of this story, Delia. Delia is a special girl. She has a gift/curse that makes her stand out from other people, and that makes her labelled as "crazy". I completely get that. However, I don't get why Delia feels the need to actually act like a crazy person. She goes around slapping people, yelling at them for no apparent reason, talks to herself or mumbles to statues in public places, overall she acts like a completely mentally unstable woman. She still thinks she is normal, and blames the people around her for her not having friends. If she would take only one minute to take a good look at herself, she might be able to come to the conclusion that all fault lies by herself. Every kindness extended to her she turns away, and quite rudely at that. Because of this her moments of self-pity were excruciating to read. It's not her ability to hear statues talking. It's her own attitude. I just couldn't feel sorry for Delia. I didn't feel anything for her throughout story but mild aversion.
Then we land at my biggest annoyance of all, which to my greatest luck, occurs for about fifty percent of this book. That is correct dear reader, during fifty percent of this book, there is absolutely no progress made in their relationship whatsoever. Let me tell you what they do during this time.
Step 1: Have a childish conflict that could be solved easily by talking
Step 2: Insert Delia sulking, screaming and hitting
Step 3: Insert Grant being the big bad alpha male
Step 4: Don't talk about the problem
Step 5: Have angry sex
Step 6: Rinse & repeat
If my copy of Stone Kissed had been paperback, I would have thrown it against the wall. As I was reading the ARC on my precious Kindle, I didn't want to subject it to the same treatment.
But still, WHAT THE HELL? I don't even want to count the times they have angry sex. After which Delia runs off again, wallowing in self-pity because Grant doesn't love her. But she does love him! Oh my, it hurts so baaaad.
Urgent note to Delia: you don't want him to use you and hurt you with his big alpha-maleness? Don't have sex with him. I repeat. Just don't have sex.
Seriously, I just don't get it. Why, in the world and the heavens above, would you still have sex with a guy that one, thinks you're a thief. Two, thinks you're a liar. And three, thinks you're quite crazy in the head. And still be able to love him. But while you're busy loving him, you can't have a single good thought about him. Same counts for Grant though. How can you love someone you think is a thief, liar and crazy bitch? And even think about having children with this kind of person? You should never ever think about doing this to a child. How can you be a good father, but condemn your offspring to a crazy mother?
Wind back to the crazy and liar part for a second. You know that moment in paranormal books when the vampire/werewolf/bigass wizard reveals he's a supernatural? At first, he gets laughed at. Then he reveals his fangs/becomes furry/does a cool trick and the laughter is changed to amazement, wonder, and maybe a bit of horror.
Now, let's examine how Delia manages her big reveal. She refrains from telling Grant, even though he has seen her in deep conversation with multiple busts. When he asks her about it, she makes an ugly face and runs away. Repeat three times. After a number of these confrontations, she finally confides that yes, she talks to the garden gnome. And they talk back. Now, Grant laughs at her. Delia makes an ugly face and runs away. Wait, but that wasn't how it's supposed to go! Where is her proof, where is her big trick? Now Delia continues to hate Grant for not believing her, but having angry sex in the meanwhile.
How, how, HOW is Grant supposed to believe her when she gives absolutely no proof of her ability whatsoever? She could have asked him to bring her a statue, and she would tell him where it came from. She could tell all its secrets and fun things she wasn't supposed to know. Then Grant could be all amazed and in wonder. Maybe, maybe they could even have happy sex for once. But no. There is no big trick, there is no talking, they fight and continue to hate each other while loving.
It's quite the miracle I'm still giving Stone Kissed two stars really. It is quite awful. I wouldn't have finished it if this wasn't an ARC I had for review. I'm giving this one star for Ms Stevens coming up with a creative supernatural power, a half star for her writing, and another half for her taking the effort to write a book. That makes for two very, very teeny tiny start. But well, there they are.