Call me crazy, but this book left me breathless. Colleen is a brilliant wordsmith, winding and wrapping her characters' emotions i...more*Tissue box warning*
Call me crazy, but this book left me breathless. Colleen is a brilliant wordsmith, winding and wrapping her characters' emotions into a lyrical rollercoaster. The highs brought a soft smile to my face, while the lows brought an onslaught of tears. She. Never. Fails.
Miles, the complicated male protagonist, ensnared me from the moment I met him, passed out drunk in front of his best friend's apartment door. Only later did we find out he rarely ever drank, which I appreciated since he was an airplane pilot after all. While I felt it took a little longer than necessary to reach the reason for Miles' behavior, I knew the author would bring the heartbreak on in a storm of raging emotions.
I'm going to speak from the heart here, hopefully without giving any spoilers. I've experienced the pain Miles did. It's an emotional nightmare in which no one should ever have to experience. Never being able to match words with my feelings, as I read Colleen's descriptions of his despair, I realized she captured the sentimentality with such perfection, my words will never be needed. I'll forever pull quotes from Ugly Love.
Tate, the female protagonist, I noted is getting some hate. I respected her and the decisions she made. Were all of them the most brilliant? No, but she signed on the dotted line and managed to get what she wanted in the end. Tate's not some innocent child jumping into a world unbeknownst to her, and deep down, I figured she had a plan from the very beginning. Wouldn't you? She's a nurse, working on her master's degree while working weekends. He's a pilot gone for days at a time. The time for romance and relationships was lacking.
I wonder, how many people in this day and age have experienced such a situation. Two professionals who work long, hard hours—one ripped and disheartened—need to release some stress, so they sign on for a no strings attached relationship. One wants a little more than the other, but is willing to take what they can get. Made for an excellent story.
All of Hoover's books have a spellbinding, lyrical quality to them. Ugly Love more so than the rest. It took me a bit of time to adjust to the style of writing, particularly Miles' POV. To say I fell in love with those parts of the book would be an overstatement, as I felt they led to more telling than showing, but the words still rang out to me and sucked me right into the whirlpool of hot and spicy sex and tragedy.
Overall, my love for this book is endless. I would warn any readers looking to delve into the awesomeness that is Colleen Hoover, Ugly Love might not should be the first book of hers to read. While it is a pile of awesome covered with genuine genius, the lyrical writing may take a bit to get into. I recommend Slammed in the beginning, then work your way up to this novel.
Side Note: Colleen's ability to weave feelings into her descriptions is my favorite thing about her writing.
A few of my favorite lines:
And her eyes. There's no way her eyes aren't seeing a prettier, more peaceful world than all the other eyes. —Miles, location 283
He tightens his grip on my neck... and then he kills me. Or he kisses me. I can't tell which, since I'm pretty sure they would feel the same. His lips against mine feel like everything. Like living and dying and being reborn, all at the some time. —Tate, location 971
There is something inherently sexy about a bad boy, be it the songs he rocks, the bike he straddles, or the horse he rides. Yet, what if the "bad" in...moreThere is something inherently sexy about a bad boy, be it the songs he rocks, the bike he straddles, or the horse he rides. Yet, what if the "bad" in the boy could not be tamed? What if it were more than his womanizing, egomaniac ways? What if he was criminally bad and had no remorse for his crimes, in fact, he never planned on going straight? Would he still be as insanely hot?
I can only testify to my opinion, and that would be... yes, because in the pages of a book, the worst of the worst can bring women to their knees. Also, loyalty is a trait to be admired in a world where selfishness seems to be put above selflessness. But that's not a rant for this blog... a reminder, maybe, but not a rant.
If you've read Rule, Jet, Rome, and/or Nash, also by Jay Crownover, you know these guys to be a bunch a misfits banded tighter than blood through tough lives and the love of ink. They're all out for a good time, including booze, women, and old fashioned boys games. They are fun. Fun to look at, fun to be around, and certainly they must be fun to sleep with... well, the women who tame them certainly think so, at least. Best I can say, they are fun to read about.
Better When He's Bad is not a fun book, nor is it about a man sowing his wild oats. It's gritty and raw, even cringe-worthy at times—but in the best of ways. I would say Jay Crownover stepped her writing up to phenomenal heights with Bax and his story. (I'm twitching to read Race's story next.) When I read the first paragraph, I had to wonder if the same woman who is still writing the Marked Men series could possibly be the same woman writing the Welcome to the Point series. And no, I don't mean that literally... of course she's the one writing both series, I just believe this shows the range she has as an author, as well as the growth of her writing along the way.
What I loved: Bax and the people who surrounded him are mysteries in of themselves. The twists and turns, and the completely unexpected. I loved the way I sat on the edge of my seat wondering how Bax was going to get himself and Dovie out of an unfathomable mess. I loved Bax for having at least one person he would protect besides himself. Jay's ability to draw out the suspense where Bax is concerned speaks to my earlier argument about her ability as a writer.
My thoughts about the notorious Bax, in particular, are: While criminals are not my ideal choice in a companion, Bax made it appear possible. Or should I say, Jay made it appear possible. The trouble Bax jumped into wasn't nickle and dime crap. He walks out of 5 years in prison to find himself involved in something bigger and much scarier than before, primarily because he's found a female worth taking care of.
My thoughts about Dovie: She is Race's sister, and Race is Bax's best friend, but the three of them couldn't be more different. Honestly, I'm not completely sure how I feel about Dovie. To be so good, she certainly stepped up and handled Bax like a natural. The one thing I couldn't piece together in my head, was when exactly they fell in love with each other. One second he's her protector, the next he's unwilling to let her go. I'm not certain I ever completely bought their relationship, but at some point I forgot about how they became what they were and just went with the story.
What I could have lived without: There is one scene I could have lived without ever reading, and no, I'm not going to discuss it, I'm not going to tell you which scene it is, I'm just going to leave it on the wayside and pretend like it never crossed my eyes. So why bring it up at all? Because it is particularly violent and put an image in my head I can't erase. I'm a grown woman, and if it bothered me, I want people to be warned that there is graphic material associated with the book. Was it enough for me to not reread the book? No, I'll probably just skip over it. Would this book have gotten 5 stars without it? No. The lack of me buying the entire romance played into that. Was the scene pivotal? I honestly have to say yes. Perhaps there could have been a better way, though I can't think of a more shocking and captivating one.
Bravo, Jay Crownover! I'm going to admit to being more of a Marked Men girl myself, and I'm looking forward to Rowdy in October, I believe. But don't you worry, with just the small snippet of Race's story, I'm excited for Better When He's Bold.(less)
Oh, the countless times I've read reviews, had book group girls tell me "You must read Wallbangers!" or wa...moreOriginally reviewed at Better Read Than Dead
Oh, the countless times I've read reviews, had book group girls tell me "You must read Wallbangers!" or watched it pop up on Goodreads or Facebook is infinite. Infinite in that I lost count long ago, but when this beauty went on sale, I downloaded it and began a slow, leisurely devouring of this romantic comedy infused with wit, fun cocky arrogance, and eventually some steaming hot sex.
Since I read at night, I spent a lot of it attempting to suppress my laughter so not to wake up the man who sleeps to the left of me. I'm going to say this... I read a lot of really crappy books looking for this one. When I found it, I felt like I might have lost my will to read, but while Caroline set off on a venture to reclaim her "O" again, that O, I took to finding my will to read again also.
Caroline sublet her bosses apartment from her. The rent control made the place perfect for living, but there always has to be one bad thing thrown in, right? The walls, well, they are extra thin and Caroline awakes to a picture falling on her head one night, then to multiple other issues as the week progresses. The following week, Caroline finally confronts him, which leads to nicknames for both, and the wild ride of unconventional run-ins, evil matchmaking friends, and drunken vacations. All leading to some of the best laughter I've had in a very long time.
The awe of this book: Alice Clayton knows how to tell a story and how to steep her characters in humor without losing the story. I smiled my way through this book, front to back. Her characters are not stereotypical. Caroline is as comfortable in the kitchen as she is zip-lining the canopy of a rain forest, or hiking with the guys.
The negative of this book: It's too long to read in one sitting, at least if you want to sleep or are not Dr. Reed, from Criminal Minds, speed reader.
I also might mention that Rusty Nailed (Cocktails #2) is set to release on June 24, 2014. This will be the conclusion of Alice & Simon's story, though there will be more books in the Cocktails series, the next will have a little of Alice in it, from what I'm reading, but not dependent upon her. Also, Wallbanger ends so there's no cliffhanger. Plus... Wallbanger is on sale for $2.99 on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. (As of 6/17/14 at 8:28 pm CDT) This book never goes on sale and usually cost around $7.99. So buy, and enjoy.(less)