Monday, August 11, 2014

Review: Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover

5 Stars
When Tate Collins meets airline pilot Miles Archer, she knows it isn’t love at first sight. They wouldn’t even go so far as to consider themselves friends. The only thing Tate and Miles have in common is an undeniable mutual attraction. Once their desires are out in the open, they realize they have the perfect set-up. He doesn’t want love, she doesn’t have time for love, so that just leaves the sex. Their arrangement could be surprisingly seamless, as long as Tate can stick to the only two rules Miles has for her.

Never ask about the past.
Don’t expect a future.

They think they can handle it, but realize almost immediately they can’t handle it at all.

Hearts get infiltrated.
Promises get broken.
Rules get shattered.
Love gets ugly.

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My Thoughts: I want to start out this review by saying this.... I have read several one-two line reviews saying that this book was way better than Maybe Someday. That this was the best book Colleen Hoover has written to date. I am not sure that I agree with either statement, but regardless, this was definitely a FIVE STAR read.

I went into this book with high expectations. One, because of the reviews I saw trickling in said it was awesome. Two, because Colleen Hoover had mentioned that this was not like any of her other books. And three, it is Colleen Hoover. My expectations were more than met and all of the above are true. I found myself pretty much engrossed within a few chapters and I didn't want to put it down. The relationship, as it were, between Tate and Miles is unfolding while the reader is simultaneously reliving the past Miles is trying so hard to forget. You are not only falling in love with who he is but also who he once was. And you keep falling over and over again.

I don't want to go into to much detail because, as you all know, I loathe a spoiler no matter how minor. I will however say this..... 
Colleen Hoover does not only know how to write a breathtaking story, she knows how to take that story and arrange the words on the page in such a way that they aren't just words. They become a feeling, a life, love, heartbreak, and every other emotion. She was given a gift and I am so glad that she decided to share that gift with the world.

Now I want to talk about a couple of things that I couldn't help but wonder while reading. I will also take this opportunity to warn everyone as well. This book is indeed NOT like others Hoover has written. There are quite a few naughty bits and for anyone who has read her previous books we know that that has never before been at the forefront of any of her stories. And that being said it leads me to this thought...

Are the naughty bits what is making people refer to this as her best work yet? Has this become a prerequisite by which we judge all New Adult books? I guess we will never really know. I have to admit I prefer the 'lighter side' of her previous books because that is just what I am use too from her. However, because of the type of relationship Miles and Tate began with I can see how this more steamy aspect is true to the story and I would never suggest it not be taken to that depth. This story is by no means ever going to be categorized as erotic. It is steamy and sexy and at times a little naughty but it is never smutty.

If I had to find one thing that I did not like about this story it would have to be the fact that Miles's past relationship very much resembles his relationship with Tate. Rules being set, rules being broken. The secrecy of the 'relationship', that sort of thing. But over all this was a fantastic book and as always I look forward to what she has in store next. :)

P.S. Ridge still holds the number one spot for me ;)



Monday, August 4, 2014

Review: Making Faces by Amy Harmon

5+ Stars
Ambrose Young was beautiful. He was tall and muscular, with hair that touched his shoulders and eyes that burned right through you. The kind of beautiful that graced the covers of romance novels, and Fern Taylor would know. She'd been reading them since she was thirteen. But maybe because he was so beautiful he was never someone Fern thought she could have...until he wasn't beautiful anymore.
Making Faces is the story of a small town where five young men go off to war, and only one comes back. It is the story of loss. Collective loss, individual loss, loss of beauty, loss of life, loss of identity. It is the tale of one girl's love for a broken boy, and a wounded warrior's love for an unremarkable girl. This is a story of friendship that overcomes heartache, heroism that defies the common definitions, and a modern tale of Beauty and the Beast, where we discover that there is a little beauty and a little beast in all of us.

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My Thoughts; I noticed this book trending and getting rave reviews. I one clicked in on Amazon and let it sit for a little bit. I kept waiting for a low rating, for someone to say the hype was only hype and then I would read it and give my own opinions. Well I never once saw a low rated review (until today, I will come back to it in a bit) and I had it just sitting there so I thought..... maybe it will be me, maybe I will be the one to read it and have to write the dreaded ONE STAR. I was wrong.

I will admit that the beginning of the book was a bit boring for me. We are meeting new characters for the first time and also (for me) a new author. I had to get into the flow of the past/present story line, which for me is a lot of time a huge turn off, before the story really begun to take shape. But all of that aside there was something about it that kept me coming back to read, curiosity maybe? Maybe it was the fact that at the time I had seen only stellar reviews and I just had to see where it was going. When I read reviews I am extremely careful about how much or how many I read. Most of the time I want even read the review itself but only the little "tidbits" a reviewer gives pre-review, so I knew nothing other than what the books synopsis gives away.

This book is told from the third person POV so there is never a singular set of eyes with which we view everything. Every character gets there own piece of the story. I think many people would argue with me on this but I did not read this as a love story, to me that was not the main focus. There is a love story that happens with Fern and Ambrose but the truth is, for me, this story was about heroism and the fact that you don't have to be the strongest or the most handsome to be the biggest hero in someone's life. 

Ok so now that I have made myself teary eyed I need a moment.....

Let's talk about the characters for a bit and I will also be mentioning a couple of points from the low star review I read earlier.

Fern is the awkward girl everyone laughed at in school, she wore thick glasses and braces, she was lanky and not curvy like the other girls. She did not turn the heads of the shallow teenage boys. Fern sees herself as ugly and she thinks everyone else sees her the same way. Especially Ambrose, the most gorgeous boy in school. We all went to school with this boy, all the girls wanted to date him all the guys wanted to be his friend. He was good at everything without even trying. That is Ambrose Young, and he is also the boy Fern has had a crush on since she was 7 years old. She met Ambrose at her cousin Bailey's house. Bailey, who is also Fern's best friend, has a form of MD and by high school has been confined to a wheelchair. Bailey, in my opinion, is the true hero in this story. He has touched the life of every single one of the characters in this story. He is the one who always says the thing that needs saying, he never feels sorry for himself and he would do anything within his power to protect the ones he loves. He is strong, independent, caring and self sacrificing and I love him above all the other characters.

The low star review I read earlier says that Fern's character is an insult to all redheads. I disagree, her red hair and freckles are one reason Fern finds herself unattractive, but they are not THE reason. Her red hair is just another thing about her that is different, and she feels that it sets her apart from the "norm". The same reviewer says that she feels like there is little growth with her character, that she keeps the same schoolgirl crush on Ambrose that she harbored since grade school. This I can sort of agree with. But I can't help but attempt to put myself in her shoes. She has loved this boy, no matter how childishly, all her life. I can see how she would continue to hold those same feelings for him. And the fact that she has basically shut herself off from everyone but Bailey, due to her insecurities, I can see how her character can seem immature. Fern has stayed by Bailey's side their whole lives, if he couldn't - she didn't. It was just the way of things.

This same review calls Ambrose selfish for 'convincing' his friends to join the army with him. I can agree but if you read the book Ambrose himself has this same feeling. But I have to disagree with the 'convincing' part. Those boys went because they chose too. Does Ambrose hold that kind of power of persuasion... of course he does. But the truth is these boys are his closest and most trusted friends and had the roles been reversed I believe he would have gone with them too. This review also mentions the nonchalant way one of the boys says, "Why not? Chicks dig soldiers and I have nothing better to do...." To me this was a typical teenage boy response, especially considering the character who says it.  As I read this review there were lots of points that she made that I can completely agree with. Did I think it before reading her review.... absolutely not. So my advice is to go into this book with a clear head, don't read to many reviews that give away a lot of detail and make up your own mind about it. I am stickler for keeping as much of the storyline out of my reviews as possible, I hate spoilers and I never ever wanna spoil anything.

All that being said, this is one of the best books I have read all year and I will be recommending it to lots and lots of people. If you are looking for a steamy romance, this isn't. If you are looking for a book that puts you behind enemy lines and in the heart of a war zone, this isn't. If you are looking for it to follow Ambrose throughout his recovery after his injury, this isn't it. This book is not about PTSD, I never saw it that way at all and I really don't think the author intended that to be the main focus either. However, if you are looking for a book that will tug at your heartstrings, one that feels "real", one that will most likely stay with you for a long time after you have finished it, then this is definitely a brilliant choice.