Saturday, 6 April 2013

"Beautifully Damaged" by L.A Fiore

Having looked on Amazon for my next contemporary adult romance, I came across “Beautifully Damaged”. It had 4 plus stars as its rating and the synopsis had me intrigued so I bought it and got stuck right in.

Ember Walsh was always the quiet one, enjoying a book and a glass of wine over the noise and crowds of a club. When her best friend asks her to come out on the town and meet the guy she likes, Ember's world is turned upside down. He appears like a mythical, avenging angel: inked, gorgeous and completely out of her league. After one look, Ember no longer wants the quiet, she want him.

Trace Montgomery has buried his damaged past with the help of women and fighting until one day he suddenly meets an angel and wants more; he wants her. To have her, he's determined to overcome his demons but will the dark secret that links their pasts bring them closer or will it tear them apart?
So, Trace Montgomery... our very own hot alpha male who has a history he’s not willing to share and its eating him up inside.  This history is the root cause of some of the behaviour we see him display throughout “Beautifully Damaged” and the reasons for much of his lack of self worth. At times we see him so completely and utterly tormented, that  it’s obvious unless he shares and lets go, he will never heal and gain closure. Ember sees right through his hard, womanising exterior and sees a glimpse of the real but damaged Trace:

“The real Trace Montgomery was far more complicated and I feared that underneath his seemingly put together and beautiful outer package existed a damaged soul”.  

My problem with Trace is that he blew so hot and cold at times I didn’t know if I was in the Bahamas or the Arctic. I know this is partly due to his demons and partly an instinctive need to protect Ember but I was so infuriated by his actions at times I had to step away from my Kindle.

In Ember, we see someone who is completely and utterly besotted by Trace. From the moment they meet, he is in her head but she knows that what she wants out of relationship, he will never be able to offer:

“It was painful looking at the man you wanted more than a cake-pop and knowing you’d never have him because to do so would mean becoming one of many other notches on his bedpost”.

Ember sees beauty in Trace where he only sees ugliness and unworthiness:

“I’d give it all to you... but me... I’m not a good bet. You deserve a man worthy of you. I can’t think straight; I want you so fucking badly but I’m shit and always will be”.
I found Embers character very contradictory and as a result of this struggled to connect with her. Initially Ember is portrayed as shy and quiet, more of  a wall flower who is not particularly comfortable being part of the whole social scene. Yet more often than not, I found her to be strong, feisty, opinionated and even aggressive:

“He’s not for you sweetheart".
"You’re right; he’s not for me because when I look at him I see more than a rutting stallion. And if I was lucky enough to catch his attention I sure as hell wouldn’t be ok with having him for only one night”.

The first half of the book is mainly about the development of Trace and Ember’s relationship... from

friendship to a full on courtship and hey, this is why we love these contemporary adult romances:  
“If you don’t want to take a chance on me I get it but you should know the damage is done because for me, it’s you”.

This book  has all of the fundamentals of a good story but I’m not sure these were executed to their full potential. I found the story jumped quite quickly from scene to scene and at times, lacked the depth i needed  to fully understand the characters or situations. Although the first half is  mainly about Trace and Ember connecting, the second half is really about Traces past, and helping him to heal and move forward. Great in theory but omg, there was just so much. Just as I got to grips with one part of the puzzle, another piece was thrown in... and by god there were a lot of pieces.. too many to get my head around which just left me dizzy.

This isn’t a bad book my all accounts. I definitely had my moments where I felt angst and my heart broke for the characters, where I shouted “Yay... whoop whoop” because something really good had happened and where I swooned over Trace (despite him ( at times) being an anti-hero). Did it keep me gripped... not really. Could I have put this book down and come back to it later, unfortunately yes.
The basics were there, just not executed particularly well at times.
Because of this, I rate this book 3 Hearts

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