Official Review: Black Sheep by Rianne Moss

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Cecilia_L
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Official Review: Black Sheep by Rianne Moss

Post by Cecilia_L » 27 Sep 2018, 23:47

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "Black Sheep" by Rianne Moss.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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A controlling father, a toxic relationship, and family secrets are some of the circumstances Jacob Watson faces in the novel Black Sheep by Rianne Moss.

When Jacob chooses to work as an auto mechanic instead of attending college and pursuing a lucrative career, his disapproving father criticizes his decision. He also struggles with being overshadowed by his younger brother, Mitchell who adopted his father's success at any cost philosophy. On the heels of an abusive relationship, Jacob meets Tara, a waitress at the local coffee shop who is also a nursing student. He works up the courage to ask her out and can't believe his luck when Tara not only accepts his invitation but expresses interest in a second date. Despite the lack of approval from his father and brother, Jacob and Tara continue to date. As their relationship grows, Jacob gains more confidence and begins to make plans for a future with Tara. However, when Mitchell's house is vandalized, the crime leads to more questions revealing family secrets and Jacob is concerned his relationship with Tara will be jeopardized.

The strength of this book lies in the author's skilled ability to create empathy for the protagonist, Jacob. With the early introduction to his hard-to-like, overbearing father, the reader immediately roots for Jacob as the underdog. There were repeated scenarios where I would have liked to have seen Jacob man up. However, as the story continued, it became increasingly evident that his self-esteem issues were the result of constantly being undermined by his father, who also created an unhealthy rivalry between Jacob and his brother, Mitchell. I was relieved to see Jacob's character gain confidence and strength over the course of the book.

Unfortunately, I cannot say the same for the female characters in the story. Of the three represented, Tara showed the most promise. However, most of her interactions with Jacob began by detailing her physical appearance. Regardless of the varying circumstances, the word "trembling" was frequently used to describe her which doesn't exactly exude strength. Jacob's ex-girlfriend, Krista, was manipulative and abusive, but it was the portrayal of his mother I found most disappointing. While her subservient demeanor wasn't surprising considering her bullying husband, her character didn't reflect any growth. Though it was obvious she loved Jacob, she didn't offer much in the way of emotional support to her son who was struggling.

Additionally, there were some gaps in the timeline. The story went from Jacob and Tara's second date to dating six months, followed by two years--without any transitions. Furthermore, I often felt the author was telling me the story rather than showing me. Despite the previously mentioned issues, I rate the book 3 out of 4 stars. The book appears to have been professionally edited, as I didn't note any errors. While aspects of the plot were predictable, there was an unexpected twist at the end. Overall, the empathy the author evoked for Jacob as well as the growth in his character carried the story. I recommend the book to readers who enjoy romance with a touch of suspense. Though there isn't any sexual content, there is some profanity.

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Black Sheep
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Post by Amberlily » 29 Sep 2018, 11:33

Books with deep family secrets like this are always really interesting and often times, reflective to how a lot of people live. Some people have two faces, one being the face they show to their family behind closed doors, and the other being the face they show to everyone else. It is a bit of a shame about the female characters though. While this book did seem to revolve more around the male characters, having weakly built female characters could still come off a bit awkward. I was really hoping to hear that the wife in particular would end up standing up to her husband at some point. Despite those things though, it does sound like an interesting read!

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Post by daydreaming reader » 29 Sep 2018, 11:41

I completely understand what you are saying about the females characters, but this book still sounds interesting. Thank you for the review.
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Post by sonya01 » 29 Sep 2018, 12:25

Thank you for this - the themes sound so familiar, but what makes one book stand out amidst the rest would be the characters that make up the story. As you say, the weakness of the females is disappointing, and I think the gaps in the timeline would put me off reading it. Enjoyed your review tho!

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Post by Cecilia_L » 29 Sep 2018, 14:45

Amberlily wrote:
29 Sep 2018, 11:33
Books with deep family secrets like this are always really interesting and often times, reflective to how a lot of people live. Some people have two faces, one being the face they show to their family behind closed doors, and the other being the face they show to everyone else. It is a bit of a shame about the female characters though. While this book did seem to revolve more around the male characters, having weakly built female characters could still come off a bit awkward. I was really hoping to hear that the wife in particular would end up standing up to her husband at some point. Despite those things though, it does sound like an interesting read!
Thanks for your comment.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 29 Sep 2018, 14:46

daydreaming reader wrote:
29 Sep 2018, 11:41
I completely understand what you are saying about the females characters, but this book still sounds interesting. Thank you for the review.
Thank you. I appreciate your comment.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 29 Sep 2018, 14:47

sonya01 wrote:
29 Sep 2018, 12:25
Thank you for this - the themes sound so familiar, but what makes one book stand out amidst the rest would be the characters that make up the story. As you say, the weakness of the females is disappointing, and I think the gaps in the timeline would put me off reading it. Enjoyed your review tho!
Thank you, Sonya.

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Post by teacherjh » 29 Sep 2018, 19:30

Too much emotional drama for me. Great review though. =)
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Post by Cecilia_L » 29 Sep 2018, 20:11

teacherjh wrote:
29 Sep 2018, 19:30
Too much emotional drama for me. Great review though. =)
Thank you.

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Post by Tamfigu3 » 30 Sep 2018, 10:42

I tend be drawn to stories about troubled individuals with the hopes that they triumph over their inner demons in the end. I don't mind the fact that there are gaps in the storyline related to Jacob's relationship with Tara, but I am hesitant to read due to the underwhelming growth in his mother. However, as a Mental Health counselor, perhaps my perspective may provide a better appreciation for that character. I am definitely going to read this one especially for the "twist" at the end. I find most books I read or movies I watch are fairly predictable so that does not deter me. Thanks for an insightful review!

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Post by Allyseria » 30 Sep 2018, 16:14

I'm already invested in Jacob by just reading the summary of the book. It's great to be able to read about Jacob gaining confidence over the course of the book. Do you think it would be a good book to recommend to those with self-esteem issues? It's a shame that the female characters were a disappointment though.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 30 Sep 2018, 17:23

Tamfigu3 wrote:
30 Sep 2018, 10:42
I tend be drawn to stories about troubled individuals with the hopes that they triumph over their inner demons in the end. I don't mind the fact that there are gaps in the storyline related to Jacob's relationship with Tara, but I am hesitant to read due to the underwhelming growth in his mother. However, as a Mental Health counselor, perhaps my perspective may provide a better appreciation for that character. I am definitely going to read this one especially for the "twist" at the end. I find most books I read or movies I watch are fairly predictable so that does not deter me. Thanks for an insightful review!
Thank you for your comment.

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Post by Cecilia_L » 30 Sep 2018, 17:25

Allyseria wrote:
30 Sep 2018, 16:14
I'm already invested in Jacob by just reading the summary of the book. It's great to be able to read about Jacob gaining confidence over the course of the book. Do you think it would be a good book to recommend to those with self-esteem issues? It's a shame that the female characters were a disappointment though.
Thank you for your comment. Jacob's story could be a source of encouragement for others with low self-esteem--great point!

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Post by JR Mercier » 01 Oct 2018, 00:34

This book sounds riveting. Jacob definitely gives off a wounded underdog vibe but I like that the author gets the reader to feel sympathy for him instead of just getting irritated. The female characters are a bit of a pet peeve of mine so I think I'll give it a skip. Still, love your review as always.
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Post by Debjani Ghosh » 01 Oct 2018, 03:35

A controlling father, a toxic relationship, and family secrets are some of the circumstances Jacob Watson faces in the novel Black Sheep by Rianne Moss.
This piqued my interest until you mentioned that the female characters are portrayed in a stereotypical manner. That will put me off. Thanks for the review!

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