Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Symbols by Mario Kai Lipinski

Violence is hard to escape because of the scars it leaves—on the body, the mind, and the heart.

Small, skinny, and timid, Matt is the school’s punching bag. He suffers in silence and holds no hope anyone will come to his aid. The last thing on his mind is finding someone special. He’s sure it’s impossible, so why bother trying?

Shane is no stranger to pain. At his old school, he broke a football player’s arms for tormenting his friend, and with his size and multiple tattoos, he looks every bit the thug everyone—Matt included—assumes he is.

Building trust isn’t easy, but a sweet yet passionate romance slowly unfolds. Their road isn’t without bumps, but Matt and Shane navigate them together, finding happiness and security in each other—until another act of violence and its aftermath threatens to tear their lives—and their love—apart once and for all. But like the symbols etched into Shane’s skin, some things are made to last.

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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I’m still not quite sure what to make of this melodramatic high school soap opera. It is a high school story with new adult aged characters and more drama than I thought possible in a single book.

At 18 and 19, Shane and Matt feel alternately too old for high school and too immature for their years. Neither character actually felt real to me. The speech in this book is oddly formal and stilted, and the boys’ experiences push past melodrama to a point where I struggled to believe in the story and engage with the characters.

The romance in this book is pure angst. Again, there is just too much drama between these two for me. By the end, the constant miscommunication between Matt and Shane became almost comical. There are a few sweet moments and a couple of steamy scenes, but I struggled to fully invest in Matt and Shane’s relationship.

The melodramatic, soap opera feel to this story will probably appeal to fans of Gossip Girl, The OC, and 90210. From assaults and wrongful convictions to bullying, a coma and parental prejudice, this story seems to include every possible teen storyline. It was all a little bit overwhelming and there were times I struggled to keep events and characters straight in my head.

If the writing were less clunky and the dialogue felt more natural, I would chalk up my dislike of this story to personal preference. Unfortunately, I feel like the writing really needs work. And I can’t help but feel that the author needs to spend time listening to teenagers speaking to each other before attempting to write more dialogue between teen characters.

MARIO KAI LIPINSKI lives in Herne, Germany.

He is a spare-time author, and his evil day job, teaching mathematics at university level, isn’t that evil after all. Granted, on some days he wants to strangle his students, but it only takes a coffee or two and he remembers how much he loves them. He loves nerdy science stuff too. Does it show in his books? Of course it does.

English is not his native language, and he frequently gets asked why he writes in English. The answer has two parts. Firstly, he has slightly masochistic tendencies. Secondly, most books he reads are in English. So it feels only natural to write in this language too. English is beautiful—until it isn’t. Never, absolutely never, get him started on comma rules.

One reader described his books as “sexually explicit Disney movies.” That hits the nail on the head. Mario is into romance with a capital R and loves his cheesy. He is so good at channeling his inner teenager that sometimes he doubts he even has an inner adult.

Connect with Mario

Facebook  ~  Goodreads


Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Symbols by Mario Kai Lipinski to read and review.

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