Review: Welcome to Crash by Lina Langley

welcome to crashRating: 4 stars
Buy Links: 
 Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel

Damien has been lucky enough to unexpectedly get a job at a renowned art studio. The place is not at all what he anticipated and things there are somewhat strange. His boss, John, seems particularly odd, but that doesn’t stop the attraction Damien feels for him, despite having a boyfriend, Levi. Things with Levi have been somewhat tense lately, as he is Damien’s former professor and since Damien is still a student, Levi insists on keeping their relationship hidden and it is wearing on Damien. So despite knowing it is mistake, he can’t help but find himself drawn into a relationship with John as well.

Damien tries to be honest with Levi about what is going on; he cares about Levi too much to want to ruin things between them. But his feelings for John are also growing, and Damien finds himself caught into between the men. But the bigger problem is the strange things going on at work. Something is not right there, and as Damien gets sucked in deeper, his health begins to suffer. Damien’s friends and family are worried for his mental health as well, as the stories he tells about work and John are becoming increasingly hard to believe. Things are spiraling out of control and Damien needs to figure out how to get things right again, even if that means saying goodbye to one of the men he loves.

challenge month 2017 copyWow. This is a really hard book to review because there is so much spoilerific stuff here, I am having a hard time talking about it without ruining the suspense of what is really going on. So I am going to keep this review spoiler free  and get at the meat of things without revealing too much (keep an eye out for the spoiler tags).

Ok, so first off, I will admit things start off slow here. The story is told in first person, present tense POV, which I think is absolutely the right choice for this book. We are all about what is happening to Damien here and so being in his head as we follow along with him is essential. It gives an immediacy and an urgency to the story that works really well. However, at the start of the book, Damien is really confused about what is going on and the story reflects that feeling of things not all fitting together. Which means as readers, we are also confused about what is going on and I was a bit overwhelmed at first trying to get grounded into the story. But at about the 25% mark, I started to get glimmers of what was really happening, and from that point forward, I sailed through the story and couldn’t put it down. So if you try this one, I’d tell you to at least read through Part 1 before giving up if you find yourself struggling.

The reveal about what is really happening here is done so well. Even as I started to figure it out, the pieces came into place so nicely. I could look back with some “aha” moments as I thought about things with my new perspective. Langley does a nice job keeping us just a little off balance along with Damien. Even when we know what is happening, the tiniest part of me still wondered if just maybe he is in fact losing it. If maybe his friends and family are right. And even if they aren’t, how Damien is possibly going to undo the muddle things have become. I found the story takes on a really emotional, poignant tone toward the end, and like I said, I found myself really engrossed in how things would all play out.

On the relationship side, I had a harder time, mostly because I didn’t really feel the connection between Damien and either of these men until right at the end. Damien is totally into Levi, but mostly he seems focused on how hot Levi is (John as well for that matter). Levi says all the right things, but I just kept getting this patronizing vibe rather than really feeling the emotional connection between them. And other than the fact that Levi is hot and really nice to him, I just never got what the attraction was, or honestly, what Levi sees in Damien in return, again besides being hot. The connection between Damien and John felt stronger to me, especially at the end. But even with him, physical attraction and circumstance seemed to be playing too big a role and I wanted to understand what they really saw in one another. Part of this issue is likely that we are only in Damien’s POV, but even from his side, I just wasn’t feeling the chemistry between these pairs nearly enough for me to feel captivated by the love triangle the way I would want. I could kind of take or leave Levi, which really threw off the tension of the story for me on a romantic end. As I noted, Damien is having a relationship with both of these guys, and while John knows about Levi, Levi is kept more in the dark about things and Damien’s connection to John does ultimately become a hindrance in their relationship. So be aware if cheating isn’t your jam that this may not be the ideal book for you.

A few other things threw me out of the story a bit. First off, there is a major issue at work that should have been a massive red flag to Damien that he just totally ignores.

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He fully believes the studio artist is dead. Yet the folks at the studio talk about him like he is alive and refer to their conversations and interactions with him. It is never really addressed why Damien isn’t fazed by that, or what he thinks is really going on there. 

To me this is something Damien should have been really struggling to understand, yet he mostly ignores it. Also,

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the time travel element is not explained at all. I don’t need things to go all scientific and technical, but why Damien? What is happening? Why this time, this place? 

I feel like we needed some more explanation just to put things all in perspective.

I read this book for Judge a Book by It’s Cover Week in our Reading Challenge Month because I found myself drawn to the cover almost immediately. The hair and the cheekbones pretty much had me from hello. I love the stylized color, the sense of movement in the hair, and the way the font looks like brush strokes, which works well given the art connection. I am not sure it really captures the vibe of the story, nor does it really feel representative of Damien (at least I am assuming it is Damien as he is the lynchpin in the story). But I still find it incredibly gorgeous.

In the end, I found this book kept me really engaged after the first section, and packed an emotional punch that made a big impact on me. I didn’t find the love triangle nearly as compelling as I had hoped, mostly because I didn’t quite feel the connection between the men that I wanted. But I still found this to be a interesting story and a nice one to try if you are looking for a book that is a bit different with some clever moments and a nice bit of intensity.

This review is part of our Reading Challenge Month for Judge a Book By Its Cover Week! Leave a relevant comment below and you will be entered to win a prize pack from Interlude Press that includes a signed, print copy of Not Your Villian by C.B. Lee, plus e-book copies of some of their award-winning books. Commenters will also be entered to win our amazing grand prize sponsored by Dreamspinner Press (a loaded Kindle fire filled with DSP books!). You can get more information on our Challenge Month here, and more details on Judge a Book By Its Cover Week here, including a list of all the books in this week’s prize. 

A review copy of this book was provided by DSP Publications.

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  1. This is definitely a great cover!

  2. This does sound intriguing and a factor that you’ve hidden under one of the spoiler tags is a definite draw for me. I’m adding this one to my wish list. Thanks for your review, Jay.

  3. Between the tags and the lovely review (high five, Jay) I’m definitely adding this to my TBR. Sometimes you need something just a little different, you know?

  4. James Escol says:

    As much as I loved the cover of this book & the promising note its blurb carries with it, I’ll have to pass. I’ve read The Whole Trying Thing written by this author with dual timelines as its theme & trust me, it was terrible as hell. I really wish that she writes better now, tho.

    • I’m not familiar with the other book so I can’t compare. I thought the writing was good in general, with the notes I made in my review. But certainly well done overall.

  5. I just can’t get into the cheating aspect. I’m definitely not into open relationships either. There are some aspects of this book that are intriguing, but not enough to make me pick this one up.

  6. It does sound frustrating at times, though the concept is intriguing.

  7. Bronwyn Heeley says:

    Another great cover, have loved it from the moment I saw it however like other the blurb never really drew me in. I am a little more intrigued now and will be putting this on my wish list. 

  8. You’ve got me very curious about this book. I read the “hidden” part and I think I have to give it a try. :-)

  9. I found the blurb for this book to be very intriguing and so I didn’t read the review because I don’t want any spoilers. I definitely want to read this book ASAP.

  10. The cover looks good but I wasn’t sure with the blurb. Thanks for the review :)

  11. I like the premise and it does sound like intriguing read albeit with some parts that can be vexing.

  12. I am kinda on the fence; I am not sure how I feel about this one.

  13. I’m not a fan of cheating so maybe this book isn’t for me but then again i really like the mysterie/what is happening aspect of the book so maybe i should read it. As you can see i’m still not sure what to do but i’m intrigued by your review so i think i will put this on the maybe shelve for now. Thank you for your review

    • You are welcome! FWIW, I’d say officially “cheating” because while Levi does know of Damien’s attraction to John and the basics of what is going on (including that they have been intimate), Damien definitely keeps some things from Levi. John knows all about Levi for his part. I think why this works more easily than some books is b/c Levi does know what is going on, plus the circumstances are very unusual. That said, if cheating is a hard limit for you, this book probably isn’t the best fit.

  14. Thank you for the great review, Jay. I must recognise I was not interested in the book at first, because I find first person tiresome, but after reading your review I’ll certainly add it to my TBR list. I’m a succer for an intrigue!

    • Yes, this is definitely one that is intriguing as you watch what is unveiling. I am not always a fan of first person, but like I said, it is really critical here given the need to see everything through Damien’s eyes.

  15. Denise Dechene says:

    I’ve seen this round Facebook. I do like the style of the book cover, that being said I don;t think this one is for me. The blurb doesn’t grab me. Thanks for the review but I think Ill pass

  16. I think the cover is intriguing, and some of the story does the same, but I think I’ll hold off on this one. Thanks for giving us a good glimpse into it without spoiling us, Jay!

  17. Thanks for the review! I think I’ll pass on this one though. I don’t really like cheating or love triangles.

  18. Purple Reader says:

    Thanks for the good review, Jay. I didn’t look into your spoilers, b/c I’m into mysteries and suspense, and I was already drawn in by what you said. I like age gap stories b/c I’m in one, but it’s got to be real, and if the relationship doesn’t connect and go past the prof-student stereotypes of just their being hot, then maybe not. 

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