Review: Shutter by Melissa Larsen

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Synopsis from Goodreads:

A young woman agrees to star in a filmmaker’s latest project, but soon realizes the movie is not what she expected in this chilling debut novel.

In the wake of her father’s death, Betty Roux doesn’t allow herself to mourn. Instead, she pushes away her mother, breaks up with her boyfriend, and leaves everything behind to move to New York City. She doesn’t know what she wants, except to run.

When she’s offered the chance to play the leading role in mysterious indie filmmaker Anthony Marino’s new project, she jumps at the opportunity. For a month Betty will live in a cabin on a private island off the coast of Maine, with a five-person cast and crew. Her mother warns against it, but Betty is too drawn to the charismatic Anthony to say no.

Anthony gives her a new identity–Lola–and Betty tells herself that this is exactly what she’s been looking for. The chance to reinvent herself. That is, until they begin filming and she meets Sammy, the island’s caretaker, and Betty realizes just how little she knows about the movie and its director.

I received a copy of this title via NetGalley. It does not impact my review.

Shutter publishes June 15, 2021. 

Oh boy, this books was absolutely not for me. I’ve tried really hard to think of positive things to say about it and the only thing I can think of is that I actually felt the need to finish it, instead of DNF-ing it. I wish I would have DNF-ed it, though.

The characters were all awful. Every last one of them. There was no one to root for. No one to connect with. I could not for the life of me understand why everyone was so drawn to narcissistic Anthony. Or why Betty just rolled over every time he said “trust me,” even though he had done absolutely nothing to prove himself worthy of trust. And Betty. The story is told through her first person POV and it was a trial to be stuck in her head. I think we’re supposed to give her a pass because she’s still grieving over the loss of a parent, but that does not make up for the never ending parade of stupid decisions she made.

While the plot of making a mysterious movie on a secluded island sounded like it would be creepy and entertaining, I ended up just rolling my eyes at the whole thing. Anthony’s motivation was childish and psychopathic, as was Sammy’s character. The whole thing was just ridiculous and then the ending was super anti-climactic.

Overall, I did not enjoy Shutter at all. I kept waiting for some great twist to be revealed that would make everything worth it, but it never came. The awful characters and ridiculous plot made this a chore to get through. While this book is obviously not for me, I have seen some much better reviews on it, so it might be worth the read for others.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 1 Star

Reviewing the Unreviewed: April 2021

I read a lot of books that I don’t end up reviewing for whatever reason. Some because I wasn’t impressed. Some because I didn’t have the time. Some I just wasn’t feeling it on whatever particular day I finished. Reviewing the Unreviewed is my monthly post where I share my few thoughts on all the books I didn’t formally review.

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Every Vow You Break by Peter Swanson. Read April 3-5. 2.5 Stars.

This book was bonkers. The writing had that addictive quality I expect from Swanson, which I’m giving the extra half star for, but the story itself was like a campy Lifetime movie. I had some theories about what would happen that I thought couldn’t be right because it was too crazy, but then it went down an even crazier path. You definitely have to suspend your grip on reality to enjoy this, which I wasn’t entirely able to do.

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All Rhodes Lead Here by Mariana Zapata. Read April 5-7. 4 Stars. 

I loved this! Such a sweet, slow-burn romance. I might have some issues with Zapata’s writing sometimes, but she definitely knows how to write a romantic hero that will make my cold, black heart have some feelings.

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When He Was Wicked (Bridgertons #6) by Julia Quinn. Read April 8-10. 3.5 Stars. 

Another enjoyable book in the Bridgertons series, but not one of my favorites. I wish there was a little more of the Bridgertons present, but I did like both Francesca and Michael.

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Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne. Read April 16-18. 3.5 Stars.

The first several chapters were a bit of a chore to get through, but I was eventually able to get into the story. I didn’t like that the main character, Ruthie, keeps being referred to as old at 25, mostly by her 22 year-old assistant, Melanie. I didn’t really like Melanie at all. She’s supposed to be funny and supportive, but I found her a little grating. I also thought the two elderly ladies hiring young men to exploit and humiliate was a little tone deaf in today’s environment. There also wasn’t really much of a plot. But, despite all that, I did enjoy watching Ruthie and Teddy fall in love. There were several cute moments and I liked how they helped each other grow. If you’re looking for another The Hating Game, you’re not going to find it here, but it was definitely a solid effort from Thorne and I’ll try whatever she writes next.

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The Beach by R.S. Grey. Read April 25. 2.5 Stars. 

This was very short and didn’t have much of a plot. The characters are from Doctor Dearest (which wasn’t my favorite R.S. Grey book) and the story is basically the female lead internal monologuing about her crush on the guy, them hooking up a lot, and then deciding it’s not just an island fling. I would have liked a little more banter and romance thrown in to round out the story a bit.

*****DNF*****

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The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz. DNF @ 47%. I saw so many glowing reviews of this book and was very excited to read it, but it just didn’t work for me. The beginning was so slow and felt like a chore to get through. I found myself really annoyed about how often this super amazing plot is mentioned, without actually finding out what it is. I also guessed right away who the internet “troll” who accuses the main character of plagiarism was. I stopped reading properly at around 47%, but then skimmed through towards the end so I could see if my prediction was correct. It was. And that plot that kept being mentioned as revolutionary? VERY disappointing. Honestly, I thought it sounded similar to an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer…

*****Books with Future Reviews Scheduled*****

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The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren – 3 Stars

Falling by T.J. Newman – 3.5 Stars

Shutter by Melissa Larsen – 1 Star

WWW Wednesday: April 28, 2021

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WWW Wednesday is hosted by Taking on a World of Words.

What did you recently finish reading?

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Shutter by Melissa Larsen. This book was not for me at all. My first 1 star book of the year.

What are you currently reading?

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Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I’m not that far in yet, but after a very promising start, I quickly became bored. I’m really hoping it picks up again soon.

What do you think you’ll read next?

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I don’t know, but I want to try and get in some more KU books before my subscription ends next month and Eleanor & Grey by Brittainy C. Cherry was recently recommend to me (thanks Deanna!).

What are you reading?

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on my Spring 2021 TBR

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, is: Books On My Spring 2021 TBR

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1.  The Soulmate Equation by Christina Lauren

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2. Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

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3. Sunkissed by Kasie West

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4. Second First Impressions by Sally Thorne

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5. To Have and to Hate by R.S. Grey

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6. When He Was Wicked (Bridgertons #6) by Julia Quinn

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7. It’s in His Kiss (Bridgertons #7) by Julia Quinn

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8. A Dark and Secret Place by Jen Williams

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9. The Engagement Arrangement by Jaci Burton

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10. Shutter by Melissa Larsen