Official Review: Blue Valentine by Thomas Cummings

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Latest Review: Blue Valentine by Thomas Cummings

Official Review: Blue Valentine by Thomas Cummings

Post by kislany » 17 Jan 2019, 05:08

[Following is an official review of "Blue Valentine" by Thomas Cummings.]
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3 out of 4 stars
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Nicki Valentine is a young girl living in a poorer neighborhood. She looks tough, acts tough, and knows how to take care of herself in dire situations. After all, she had had to look after herself all her life. Her father, a drunk, could not care for her, and her mother was physically present without ever giving her as much as a loving embrace.

Under Nicki’s tough exterior lurks a wounded and fragile young woman who is still haunted by some terrible things that happened when she was 14. Thankfully, Quinn Halliday, her best friend and also her half-brother is there for her every step of the way, watching over her and keeping her safe. Their bond is strong and unbreakable. It has been so from the very first time the two met many years ago when they first discovered they were family. When Nicki’s past comes knocking on the door, she knows that asking Quinn for help is the only thing she can do if she wants to walk away unscathed from what awaits her in the shadows.

At 230 pages, the book is relatively short, and it makes for a fun afternoon reading. I love noir thrillers, and Blue Valentine by Thomas Cummings is a perfect example of the genre. It has all: the vibrant main characters, the high stakes for Nicki, and a fast-paced plot that doesn’t let you go until you finish the surprising last page. The author not only gives striking descriptions of places Nicki has visited over the years (like the river with the granite boulder she once danced on so selflessly), but he also paints the characters – especially Nicki and Quinn – with a fine-brush stroke. By the end of the book, you feel as if you’ve known these two siblings all your life.

The story, told from Nicki’s first-person perspective, seemed all too real. It felt as if I were sitting across Nicki who was sharing her life story directly with me, with no apologies or excuses. She would say, “Oh, and by the way, in case you’re wondering, no, I’m not sitting over here at Subway in my whites … Just don’t want you getting the wrong picture in your heads.” I enjoyed this refreshing tête-à-tête style of writing.

The narrative would often switch between present and past events, allowing the reader to understand more about Nicki and learn why she became the person she is now: so independent, so free in her sexual escapades, and so potty mouthed in her conversations.

I found the novel suspenseful from start to finish. The main threads opening the first few chapters were neatly tied together at the end of the story. Once you’ve finished reading the book and got over your initial surprise, you couldn’t help but think, “This is the only way it could have ended. It’s perfect.”

Thomas Cummings uses a crisp and authentic voice to weave his tale, and, before you know it, you are drawn into a world that seems very dangerous but all too real. Just like the heroine of this book, our world is full of victims of abuse who struggle with their demons while trying to live a life they can call their own.

Despite finding the story engaging, I have to give Blue Valentine 3 out of 4 stars because of the numerous grammatical and punctuation errors, such as misspelled words (“Ghostly Visitaions”), contractions instead of possession (“It’s picture”), and double words (“Here’s the the thing”). A round of proofreading should easily fix these issues.

Lovers of noir crime, mystery, and action-packed psychological thrillers will have a blast reading the book. I do need to insert a note of caution here. The book has swear words and unusual graphic scenes that might push sensitive readers away, especially those who like to keep clear of stories that cause emotional aversion to social taboos.

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Post by SpencerVo » 19 Jan 2019, 04:25

The plot seems interesting enough, but I don't think the writing style and the heroine's character are my cup of tea. Thank you for this review, though.
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Post by Sen_Suzumiya » 19 Jan 2019, 07:39

Interesting one. I'm really curious about the mystery now due to your review. I don't mind graphic scenes and strong language and I love the way this book is written because it's easier for me to understand the protagonist. Thank you for your review I might give it a go thanks to you.
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Post by Jessacardinal » 19 Jan 2019, 13:54

Your description regarding the shockingly perfect ending intrigues me to read the book. Thank you for the recommendation!
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Post by kdstrack » 19 Jan 2019, 21:06

It so often happens that the tough exterior is just a facade to cover up the pain inside. I really like your description of the suspense and how the author draws the reader in to the story. Great review.

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Post by Miriam Molina » 20 Jan 2019, 01:15

Now I am curious about this book. The perfect ending, the social taboo, and the ghostly visitaions (there is no butler to blame) did it! I hope Nicki doesn't end up blue.

Thanks for this very intriguing review.

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Post by sarahmarlowe » 21 Jan 2019, 10:14

Thanks for posting such a thorough review! This one sounds like a book I would enjoy. Too bad about the poor editing. I find that distracting, but I think I will give this book a try anyway. Thanks, again!
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Post by Itskai88 » 21 Jan 2019, 12:45

Thanks for this amazing review, reading this book i feel like will give me a first hand experience on Nicki's life. It might be sad at first but i am hoping it will be a happy ending for her.

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Post by kandscreeley » 21 Jan 2019, 17:54

It definitely sounds like Nicki has had a tough life. I'd be curious to see how her life continues. However, I don't think I'd enjoy the graphic nature or the social taboos. Thanks anyway.
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Post by Faithmwangi » 22 Jan 2019, 07:47

This read certainly sounds intriguing. My heart goes to Nicki, so often our childhood scars us and we have to put on a hard shell to cruise through life. I will give this one a try. Thanks for the review.
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Post by gen_g » 29 Jan 2019, 04:05

This sounds exactly like my cup of tea! I love that this is a well-constructed book; I'm definitely placing this on my to-read list. Thanks for the review!

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Post by nonamer_miss » 03 Feb 2019, 07:52

I am intrigued by the bond between te siblings. I think this is very interesting too there many grammatical errors.

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Post by BelleReadsNietzsche » 03 Feb 2019, 18:42

Sounds like great character work for a relatively short noir read! I particularly love that. Thanks for this great review; it's definitely made the book appealing to me!
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