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review 2018-01-19 07:28
Loving an Ugly Beast by Danielle Monsch
Loving an Ugly Beast - Danielle Monsch

They call him the beast for his hulking figure and his many scars, but his taciturn, solitary nature hides a big heart that beats for one woman only; his friend, the only one who doesn't look at him with disgust or pity, Nissa. She might be plain, but she's prefect to him, yet he knows she'll never love him. So he quickly jumps at the opportunity to be different in order to woo her.

Fairy Godmother Sara grants him his wish and turns him into beautiful Byron, a man women fight over...Except Nissa, who misses the man she came to love, the only man who never cared what she looked like—Benton.


I liked the premise, the little twist on the well-known fairy tale that had yet another surprising twist to it toward the end. Didn't see that one coming, but it was interesting, if a little heart-breaking.

Unfortunately, the story didn't quite work for me. I liked the two protagonists, although I found the heroine, Nissa, a little offputting in her aversion and prejudice toward beauty, and her inability or unwillingness to see her self-worth beyond her exterior. The same could be said about Benton, but the guy at least realized there's something to be said about his true looks compared to his puny new exterior.

Also, the many plot elements made the story come across as a little convoluted; there was just too much going on with the two wishes being granted, and I didn't really feel the romantic connection between them. The two were more like best friends exploring the possibility of benefits than a couple in love.

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review 2018-01-18 16:47
All The Ugly and Wonderful Things
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things: A Novel - Bryn Greenwood
This novel, oh this novel. Wavy had no one to take care of her, to watch over her as she became the adult of the family. Not even double digits, silent Wavy cared for her younger brother while her parents lived in their own little world of drugs and alcohol. It was amazing how mature Wavy became, she was fighting for survival, fighting for a way out.
 
Kellen worked for Liam, Wavy’s father, in his illegal operation. Wavy met Kellen when she came upon him after his motorcycle accident and she got ran and got help for him. Kellen soon realized what type of life Wavy had been living and he stepped in to help. At first, it was little things like helping her keep the house clean, helping her get to school and being a positive person in her life. As the years passed, their relationship became closer and I became queasy as I didn’t like how chummy they were becoming. Kisses on the cheek, Kellen buying her things, Wavy hugging Kellen, and Kellen calling her, “Sweetheart,” this was becoming more than just a friendship. Normally not a big problem but the age factor comes into play here, Kellen is around 24 years old and Wavy is around 12. I thought things were progressing too fast for the maturity of the individuals involved.
 
Wavy is smart but she doesn’t talk (doesn’t like to do it) and she doesn’t like to be touched except for now, as Wavy and Kellen seem to be doing some touching which begins to stand out. Now, if Wavy had parents that were awake to what was happening in the world they would notice and step in but her parents are in their own little world and Wavy does what she pleases. It’s sad how things were progressing, I was hoping that time would speed up as everyone was living their lives dangerously and I knew sooner or later something was bound to happen, but to whom?
 
I wanted to cover my eyes and peek through my fingers, this whole novel was living on the edge. I understood Wavy and what she was doing and then, her little brother Donal, he seemed to be floating along on a raft, just there for the ride. What would happen to these small children as they marched out into the world? I couldn’t put this novel down as it pulled at my emotions and I found myself staying up all night to finish it. This was an intense, driven novel and not one that everyone will enjoy like I did.

 

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review 2017-12-13 20:33
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things
All the Ugly and Wonderful Things: A Novel - Bryn Greenwood

In case you haven't heard of this book or looked up the synopsis -- this is an unconventional love story. Our 'hero', Kellen, meets our 'heroine', Wavy, when he's somewhere around 21 and she's about 8. It's basically love at first sight for both of them.

 

Now let me be clear. I in NO WAY support or condone pedophilia. It's disturbing to me on many levels, and not just because I have an 11-year-old daughter. Many people believe that Kellen in this book is a pedophile and that this book is about sexualizing children.

 

I don't agree. 

 

Pedophiles prey on children. They exploit them and do emotional and physical harm. I believe pedophiles have a mental imbalance and need help. My impression is that they don't believe what they are doing is wrong, or if they do then they don't care and blame it on not being able to control themselves.

 

Now let's look at Kellen and Wavy. Oh dear, what a complex situation. Wavy's parents are drug dealers/users and couldn't care less about her. They DO abuse her -- both emotionally and physically. It's no wonder she developed a crush on the first adult who showed care for her. Kellen is not the brightest bulb in the pack and has is own issues. But for some reason, he sees Wavy and feels compelled to take care of her. A relationship develops. Not sex -- a relationship. Now, as Wavy gets older the relationship does take on a more mature turn. I won't go into more detail for the sake of spoilers.

 

What I loved about this book was the fact that it made me question everything. It made me constantly ask myself, "Am I OK with this?" It also made me wonder if I would have felt differently about certain things if Wavy had a more stable home life. 

 

My high rating of this book is not because I think it's this romantic tale that made me go all starry-eyed. In fact, the relationship made me uncomfortable most of the time. But this book is well written and shows the reader a different side to a coin that most of us just want to be black on one side and white on the other.

 

I highly recommend others to read this book, but you have to have an open mind while doing it.

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review 2017-10-22 14:42
Book 69/100: Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister - Gregory Maguire
This is one of the best Maguire books I've read, right up there with the first couple Oz retellings (I only read the first two but heard the later ones weren't as good.)

Similar to "Mirror, Mirror," Maguire places the story of Cinderella within a firm historical time and place -- Holland at the start of the tulip trade. But unlike "Mirror, Mirror," it doesn't have the strange conflagration of fantasy and historical realism that didn't quite work for me. "Confessions" could be read as a straight historical retelling with the characters holding onto some "magical" belief systems, or it could be read as a very subtle fantasy rooted in a historical setting. This ambiguity worked for me.

The stepmother and stepsisters, as well as the "Cinderella" character, are all vividly drawn. The stepmother comes across as both wicked and sympathetic -- surely not an easy feat to accomplish. As soon as I got over my hangup that it felt as if this story should be told first-person (it's CONFESSIONS, after all!), I enjoyed the masterful and detailed writing -- although the level of detail and the change the characters underwent in the course of the story made it feel as though it should have taken place over a longer span of time than it actually did. Still, that was a minor quibble -- and the minor "twist" at the end really worked for me.

The retelling genre teems with Cinderella stories, but this one moves to the front of the line for me.
 
 
 
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-10-09 21:54
Big Mouth and Ugly Girl - Joyce Carol Oates

Average book. A story about an American teen who loses all of his friends and becomes suicidal after an unforeseen event. Nearly kills himself but gets saved when a girl his age saves him. Everything and everyone are happy again, they kiss, the end. Pretty average storyline.

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