In the spring of 1995, Nate Cartwright has lost everything: his parents are dead, his older brother wants nothing to do with him, and he's been fired from his job as a journalist in Washington DC. With nothing left to lose, he returns to his family's summer cabin outside the small mountain town of Roseland, Oregon to try and find some sense of direction.
The cabin should be empty.
Inside is a man named Alex. And with him is an extraordinary little girl who calls herself Artemis Darth Vader.
Artemis, who isn't exactly as she appears.
Soon it becomes clear that Nate must make a choice: let himself drown in the memories of his past, or fight for a future he never thought possible.
Because the girl is special. And forces are descending upon them who want nothing more than to control her.
I think Heather and I are on almost the same wavelength where "The Bones Beneath My Skin" was concerned.
Was the story good? Undoubtedly.
Was it what I expected? Debatable.
Was it a romance? Yes.
Was it 'primarily ' a romance. Definitely no.
Did it feel a bit like the love child of Stranger Things and that movie that if I actually named, you'd immediately guess 'how ' Artemis was special? That would be my closest approximation.
I loved the parts of the book when they were at the cabin. Seeing Nate's view of Alex as a cold-blooded killer and Artemis as just some weird little girl do a complete 180, with him ending up adoring them both.
Their time there was very special and the beginnings of what I was hoping to be the development of deep, on-page feelings between Nate and Alex. Like, up to your elbows in feels and love.
Then "The Bad Men " came, all hell broke loose, and the possibility of a the story becoming primarily a romance became over-shadowed by all of the gunfire and *thump-thump-thumping* of Blackhawk helicopters.
So while the action was intense and I couldn't put the book down, I felt as if TJ's signature bone-deep feels and humor were at least partially MIA.
My favorite part of the book was short and totally an info dump, but when Nate and Alex finally made a 'connection' and the full story behind "The Bad Place " was revealed, my eyes were goddamn superglued to my eReader, completely enthralled. The unique way that that happened and the impact it had on me, just... WOW!
I do have to mention that at one point, toward the end, I totally had an, "OMG, they're going to bring out the TRUTH CORN any minute now! " moment. I was smirking nervously through those chapters, God only knows why, but I've seen TJ take plots to weirder places, so I didn't rule it out. ;- )
The story did end with an HEA, so no worries about everyone dying in a hail of machine gun fire. There was also an epilogue from "a long time later on " to help cement the relationship between the MC's, which was a bit more sticky-sweet than the norm.
Long story short, yes, I did enjoy the book quite a bit, but it didn't feel quite as "Uniquely TJ " as most of his other books.
As in, if someone gave me the book with no author name on it, I would strongly 'suspect ' that TJ had written it, but I wouldn't dare be willing to bet my life or my last dime on it, if that makes any sense at all.
I'd rate this story at 4.25 stars and suggest it to anyone looking for a super-strong Sci-Fi read, but warn readers that, for better or worse, this story really is *entirely* different than anything you've read from TJ before.
My ARC copy of the book was provided by the author in exchange for a fair, unbiased review.
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