Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Book Review for A Life Less Beautiful by Elle Brooks


Ellis Hughes has loved the girl next door since he was ten-years-old. She was his sun, moon, and every visible star in a clear night sky. She was also his biggest regret.

When a terrible accident rips Ellis and Harlow apart, it shatters both their hearts beyond repair. More than a decade later, Ellis has paid his penance, but his regret still lingers, and the love he once harbored for his childhood sweetheart has never faded.

What Ellis believes has been destroyed forever, slowly comes back to life, only for a cruel twist of fate to intervene. Knowing he cannot live his life without Harlow in it, he faces the ultimate test of selflessness.

He must sacrifice his own heart to mend hers.

"She was effortless, it took no exertion or strength to love her, and when I was with her she made everything brighter." (sic)

This is going to be a case of my thoughts don't mesh with others' thoughts. I know that I am in the minority here, and I completely understand that, but I am feeling slightly underwhelmed by this book. It may be something as simple as connection, or as big as story issues, but either way, it just felt drab to me. I felt like I was reading with a cloud over my head the entire time because we already knew something was going on. It was hinted at quite a bit, and the past to present lent us the notion that it wasn't going to be a good outcome.

To start, I honestly felt next to nothing in regards to an emotional connection to this storyline. I was told this was a super emotional, might-need-tissues kinda read. Nope. As for characters, I liked HIM more than HER. I was able to connect with Ellis and I felt his emotions more, but Harlow felt a little off putting and cold. I don't know why. All the words were there to tell me differently, but I just didn't feel this one emotionally. I do know that I was being told what to feel, and I read those words....but the actual buildup to the secret felt like it was slow. I was honestly frustrated overall with the secrecy and jumping between past and present the most. I feel like once we got to a certain point, the back and forth needed to stop because it wasn't relevant to the pacing of the story anymore.

In the beginning, I was settling in for a fun friends to lovers book. I loved where we started out age-wise and how we got to see them grow together -- the falling in love, the growing up, the natural progression of their relationship. I enjoyed that part immensely, but by the time I got to 70%, it felt monotonous. It felt like a low intensity discussion about everything going on. It was the most uneventful book I've ever read, and the subject matter should have been anything but. There were glossed over situations and they didn't even add any moments to ponder. There was nothing up and down about this, no give and take for me, no emotional turmoil to pull me in. I wanted to see it through because I needed to know what happened, but this wasn't an amazing read for me, by any means. I felt very frustrated with the lack of depth I felt while reading this book. Was it well written? To a degree, I felt that we had a full story, but I didn't have enough of it to grab me and hold me hostage. But I'm not a skimmer or a back page reader, so I had to see it through. For the record, the ending did NOT bother me in the slightest either.

To note: I cringed at the use of some sayings that are not local to this country, so you definitely knew the author was from across the pond, yet the story was based in the States. Does that normally bother me? Not normally, but I think it just added to the problems I was encountering while reading this book. I purchased this book, so I feel the need to mention that another round of editing could have been made to clear up some slight grammar/punctuation issues.....and sadly, the spelling of names changed during the book as well. It was my first book by this author, but I will give her a go again, because I did feel like she could tell a story and maybe this one just didn't work for me.

However, bonus points: I'm well versed in all things heart related. Maybe a little too much.

What did I love? I absolutely LOVED all the quotes between chapters. Those were beautiful and I felt like they were a good indication of what was going on in the book, emotional or not. I looked forward to those. 

"The only thought I can make sense of is that I know I don't want to exist in a world where Harlow doesn't."

I'm a little neurotic; I function on a tiny amount of sleep, and a huge amount of caffeine. I love old movies, green skittles, and have a slightly strange, and irrational fear of stormy weather.

When I'm not locked away scribbling down the crazy stories that occupy my mind, I can be found at home in East Yorkshire with my husband and two children.

I'm unashamedly fickle and can be persuaded to do just about anything with the promise of a good book, new shoes, or a bottle of bubbles.

Oh, and did I mention I also love to write?





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