Thursday, January 18, 2018

NEW REVIEW! PAINTED FACES (Painted Faces #1) and KILLER QUEEN (Painted Faces #2) by L.H. Cosway:

"... not your conventional hero and this is not your traditional love story." - Craves the Angst

TITLE: Painted Faces
SERIES: Painted Faces #1
AUTHOR: L.H. Cosway
GENRE: Romance
RELEASE DATE: December 16, 2012
PAGES: Approx. 358

RATING: 4 Stars!

Come forth with an open mind, for an unconventional tale of love..

Dublin native Freda Wilson considers herself to be an acquired taste. She has a habit of making offensive jokes and speaking her mind too often. She doesn't have the best track record with first impressions, which is why she gets a surprise when her new neighbour Nicholas takes a shine to her.

Nicholas is darkly handsome, funny and magnetic, and Freda feels like her black and white existence is plunged into a rainbow of colour when she's around him. When he walks into a room he lights it up, with his quick wit and charisma. He is a travelling cabaret performer, but Freda doesn't know exactly what that entails until the curtains pull back on his opening night.

She is gob-smacked and entirely intrigued to see him take to the stage in drag. Later on, Nicholas asks her if she would like to become his show assistant. Excited by the idea, she jumps at the chance. Soon she finds herself immersed in a world of wigs, make-up and high heels, surrounded by pretty men and the temptation of falling for her incredibly beautiful employer.

In this story of passion and sexual discovery, Nicholas and Freda will contend with jealousy, emotional highs and lows, and the kind of love that only comes around once in a lifetime.

**Not suitable for younger readers. Contains some strong language and scenes of a sexual nature.**

4 Unconventional Stars!

The Review: 
First off, this review is going to be a bit long. I have several things I want to say. So I apologize.

Second, I’ll be honest. When this book came out a few years ago, I wasn’t much for reading it. Not because of it’s theme, (because I was intrigued and curious about a romance novel with a hero that was a straight drag queen ,) but because I didn’t think it would give me the “swoons” or the “feels” I’ve come to love in my romances. I passed on it because I had a set idea of what a book hero was supposed to be and I didn’t think it would fit into my small box of what a romance novel should be. When I read romance, I want my heart to speed up, my tummy to flutter and I want to be able to go outside myself and my own life and capture that idea of romance I have set in my own mind. I passed on this book, thinking it couldn’t compete with that idea, even after several people told me I needed to read it.

Well, here I am, several years later and I have egg on my face. Why? Because after reading this book, my “idea” as I called it, was challenged in the best possible way. Nicholas was a breath of fresh air. Freda was an exceptional heroine. The plot was fantastically well done. And the swoons that I love? Yeah, they totally happened.

I loved this book!

Freda Wilson is a twenty-five year old baker living in Dublin, Ireland. She’s outspoken, brash, doesn't have a mind-to-mouth filter and doesn’t fancy herself as a true beauty. In fact, her self-esteem has taken a serious nosedive after a nasty breakup three years ago. She has no desire to relive that awful experience again, so getting into a relationship is the last thing on her mind. But after meeting her extremely handsome, charming, openly forward and UNIQUE new neighbor, her grey world is suddenly exploding in color and blooming with possibility.

Nicholas Turner is a twenty-eight year old traveling cabaret performer who has just moved to Dublin in the hopes of settling down for a while. Suffering highs and lows in life, and drowning in memories from a traumatic past, he needs something steady and solid and he’s hoping Dublin will provide it for him. Then he meets his beautiful next door neighbor and suddenly, his dark world is shining with light. 

In the spirit of being honest, I have to admit, at about 25% of the book, I ALMOST gave up. I loved the story. I loved the characters, but I was also getting a seriously irritating vibe from Nicholas. He’s the hero of the story and I couldn’t get past his overly grabby hands, his blatant come-ons and his pushy male dominance. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE alpha males. I love males that know what they want and go for it, but for some reason, I was having trouble connecting with Nicholas. 

WARNING: Somewhat spoilery...
At one point, soon after he’s befriended Freda, convinced her to work with him and showed multiple times his interest in her, he risks their budding future for a quick lay! I was not impressed.

Freda is shy, she thinks no one could possibly like her or be attracted to her, especially someone as good looking and charismatic as Nicholas, so she dismisses his come-ons as him just being flirtatious. She can’t seem to wrap her head around the fact he likes her and wants her. But instead of understanding this about Freda, Nicholas takes it as rejection and decides to continue his manwhore ways and beds an Italian beauty he and Freda met in the park just the day before. And I get it, he and Freda hadn’t known each other long, so of course, the connection hadn’t fully been established yet. That’s not what bothered me most. What bothered me was he wanted Freda, realized she was jealous of his interest in the other woman and told her flat out, all she had to do was say the word and he’d drop the other woman because Freda was his "first choice to fuck"! Freda, being a bit overwhelmed, as she had every right to be, declined and he slept with the other woman anyhow. Then the next day, he has the audacity to tell her that while he was fucking that woman, he was thinking of her. He got a big ol’ slap in the face by Freda for that line. And I actually cheered. But then she apologized and it was all for naught.
END: Spoilery part over.

And to be even more honest, Nicholas’s attachment to his deceased mother seemed ... odd. Eerie even. It seemed he had an unhealthy fascination with her, going so far as to keep her clothes and have her tattooed on his arm.

At that point, I texted my friend, the one who insisted I needed to read this book, and told her I couldn’t do it. She told me to keep on going because it would all pay off in the end. So I did.

And I’m glad I did.

The author delves deeper into Nicholas’s overwhelming personality and soon you start to see past the surface. He’s been in an environment where those forward tactics have always worked for him, using his forwardness to hide behind, much the way Freda used sarcasm to hide behind. He’s survived a traumatic past and he finds himself either high on life or low in the gutter when his depression sets in. He’s a complex, multilayered, fascinating character and after I came to terms with who he was, what he’s been through and accepted how he handled himself and the situations around him, I actually began to love him and adore everything about him.

His fascination with his mom stems from a lonely childhood steeped in abuse and his need to hold on to the one thing that he knew was good, knew was pure and knew held happiness for him. So after it’s all explained, I totally got it. I still think the man needed therapy to help with his depression, but I got it.

Simply put, he’s not your conventional hero and this is not your traditional love story. And I LOVED it!

I enjoyed Freda’s resistance to all that was Nicholas. Obviously she was interested. She wanted him as badly as he wanted her, but she also saw the way he treated his one night stand and didn’t want to be just another bed warmer. She wanted him to return the feelings she was developing. So she held out, she respects herself enough to realize she needed more from him and waited until she knew him better. Freda was also totally open minded, didn’t give two shites about what others thought and if everyone could see through her eyes, the world would be a better place. I loved her character so much.

The Wrap Up: 
All in all, this book was fantastic! It made me think! It made me open my mind. Like Nicholas, I had my highs and my lows while reading it, but after that first twenty-five percent, I came to see things differently and the rest of the book was cake. I devoured the entire thing without stopping!

I can’t believe it took me so long to read this book, especially considering I’m a HUGE fan of this author’s published works. She has a talent for telling unique, profound stories with interesting and extraordinary characters. This one was no exception.

I’m thrilled to add this to my “read” list. Book heroes come in all forms, just like in real life. The story challenged me and my ideas and really, shame on me for not reading it sooner.

Free at time of posting. Get it now at AMAZON | B&N


"In one of the best companion novels I’ve ever read, Nicholas tells his side of the story ..." - Craves the Angst

TITLE: Killer Queen
SERIES: Painted Faces #2
AUTHOR: L.H. Cosway
GENRE: Romance
RELEASE DATE: October 20, 2014
PAGES: Approx. 264

RATING: 4.5 Stars

Willkommen, Bienvenue, Welcome…

Come inside The Glamour Patch club to see the star of our show, Miss Vivica Blue. 

Do you want to read my diary you nosy little devils? Have a glass of champagne (you’ll need it) and get comfortable because you’re in for some crazy shenanigans brought to you straight from the horse’s mouth.

I can be whatever you want me to be: boy, girl, a little bit of both.

If you have a problem with a man in a dress then best be off with you. If males in make-up give you the willies, then I’ll say au revoir and don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

So, who are we left with? Ah, a fine collection of curious souls. I want to tell you a tale of love, because those are the most glorious kind. I want to tell you about real love, a love that transcends labels and gender stereotypes.

The moment I first laid eyes on my Freda I knew that we were kindred. Well okay, I also knew I wanted to get into her pants, but that’s beside the point. My world was a grey place. I was at my lowest ebb. Then she came along and patches of colour began to spring forth. One day the daffodils were yellow and before I knew it, colour was everywhere, lighting up my life.

Love is not about how we appear on the outside, it’s about the soul contained within.

Our story was not a conventional one, but it was ours, and that’s what made it shine.

Killer Queen is a companion novel to L.H. Cosway’s contemporary romance, Painted Faces. It contains scenes that take place before, during and after the original story. It can also be read as a standalone.

4.5 “Is that love?” Stars!

The Review: 
Told strictly from the thoughts of Nicholas, this book is an exceptional addition to the first book, Painted Faces, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The blurb claims you don’t need to read the first book in order to understand this one and that’s true, but you should! The first book was wonderful, told in Freda’s POV and is a must read.

In Killer Queen, we get Nicholas’s POV in all its outlandish glory. In one of the best companion novels I’ve ever read, Nicholas tells his side of the story in a unique, colorful and expressive journal-style way, with added scenes that delve deeper into his past, into his thoughts and feelings and into his alter ego, Vivica Blue! It also gives us more story after Painted Faces, with bonus scenes that will tug at your heart and give you the ultimate closure to the rich, deeply loveable journey of two characters who find love in a most unconventional setting.

I loved everything about this book! Getting inside Nicholas’s head explained SO MUCH! I had a hard time with some of his actions in the first book, but the author did a fantastic job helping us understand his motives, his feelings and explained in great detail why he was the way he was. I loved Nicholas before, but this book is a perfect companion to the first and really opened my eyes to the man behind the paint. We see things differently through his eyes and really come to understand all his fabulousness!

Definitely, a must read ... period!

Get it now at AMAZON | B&N | KOBO


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