Midnight Blue by L.J. Shen
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Dates Read: February 6-8, 2019
Synopsis: It should have been easy.
I needed the money. He needed a babysitter to keep him from snorting himself to death.
I was cherry-picked especially for him. Responsible. Optimistic. Warm. Innocent.
The worst part is that I should have known better.
Alex Winslow. British rock star. Serial heartbreaker. Casanova with whiskey eyes.
“Don’t get near the devil in a leather jacket. He’ll chew you up and spit you out.”
Guess what? I didn’t listen.
I signed the contract.
World tour. Three months. Four Continents. One hundred shows.
My name is Indigo Bellamy, and I sold my soul to a tattooed god.
Problem was, my soul wasn’t enough for Alex Winslow. He ended up taking my body, too.
Then he took my heart.
Then he took my all.
I read this for the fourth challenge of Romanceopoly. Downtown: Read a rockstar romance.
So…this book and I didn’t get along. I wanted to like it. Funny thing is, although this is my first L.J. Shen (emphasis on “first” because I will read more), I can tell from reading this book that she is a good writer. You know a writer’s good when you don’t really like their book but want to read more by them. I can see how some people would love this novel, but if I imagine Alex as a real person, if I were Indie, I’d have run for the hills early on.
Now, don’t get me (totally) wrong. I like Alex, but he’s also an asshole. I’m having a hard time reconciling that. He may have actual legitimate feelings for Indie, but that doesn’t change the fact that he only went after her in the first place to piss off Lucas and then to use her to ease his pain.
But I wasn’t a good man, so I let her fall in love with me in that moment, because she was the only person who took my loneliness away […] Now that Tania was gone, Stardust was my main instrument. And it saddened me, because I knew I had to break her, too. (246)
A hurt asshole is still an asshole. So, your family sucks, your friends suck, your ex sucks — that doesn’t mean you have to suck. Despite that, I appreciate how we can see Indie and Alex grow to love and care about each other. We’re shown, not told — the golden rule of storytelling. Still, though, Indie deserved more than Alex. He kept telling her how he needed her, but she really didn’t need him. Really, Shen said so herself:
Indie deserved so much better than the men in her life. (288)
In his emails to her trying to win her back, he keeps hanging the fact that he’s relapsed over her head. Like, what? Is she supposed to fix him? And considering how much he kept harassing — yes, harassing — her after they broke up, she should have gotten a restraining order on him. Then he said he worked on himself, went to rehab, and made the album all for her. But what about himself? Alex should fix himself for himself. You can’t try to turn other people into your personal glue to hold you together; it’s going to come back to break you, and you’ll have to pick up all the pieces by yourself.
So those are my biggest problems with Alex. Indie has her own. She’s…ahem…a walking contradition. She loves him, she hates him. She’ll never have sex with him, then she does two minutes later. Honestly, I don’t have faith in this relationship. It seems like the kind of thing you’d see on a daytime court show — no offense to those shows.
As for the writing, a few things bothered me. This is a very minor point, but sometimes the grammar was just weird, or the tenses would be wrong. Those things can be jarring and really pull me out of a scene. The plot twist toward the end seemed kind of out of left field and very makjang, if you will. Everything seemed pretty realistic up to the point where Alex’s ex showed up; after that, it felt like I’d been transported into a soap opera.
Favorite Quotes (AKA my favorite part of this book):
- Alex Winslow was beautiful in a way storms were—only from afar. Just like them, he had the power to sweep and ruin you, two things I was too busy surviving to entertain. (6)
- Flaws were intimate. Telling. Pure. (54)
- You look at me with dynamite in your eyes, waiting for me to light up the match and finally set you on fire. (99)
- It’s when you memorize the small things in a person that you realize you’re screwed. (100)
- Art is like love. It’s too subjective for you to see it clearly. (105)
- Life is full of secrets, and narrow-minded people, and sugar-coated, empty conversations that hold no weight. What’s real is what’s inside us. What’s important is what we feel. (134)
- From afar, Alex Winslow looked like nothing could penetrate his armor. But he was an artist—and an artist’s armor is full of bullets and cracks. That’s how the lyrics and notes seep through. (177)