BOOK REVIEW: Confess – by Colleen Hoover

Title: Confess
Author: Colleen Hoover

Genre: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
First published: March 10th 2015
Publisher: Atria Books
Finished reading: July 16th 2017
Pages: 320

“Selflessness. It should be the basis of every relationship. If a person truly cares about you, they’ll get more pleasure from the way they make you feel, rather than the way you make them feel.”

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Spoiler alert: I seem to be having a love-hate relationship with Colleen Hoover‘s books. I know contemporary romance normally isn’t my thing at all and you might ask yourself: why on earth pick up a book belonging to a genre that’s not for you in the first place? Well, mostly because Colleen Hoover is one of the few authors that has been able to give solid proof (a.k.a. November 9 and It Ends With Us) that I can actually love a contemporary romance story. So when I was looking for something completely different to read, I turned to CoHo again and decided to pick up on of her novels still on my TBR. I mainly picked Confess because I was curious about the anonymous confessions incorporated into the story. And now I’ve finished reading it, I still think this is the strongest element of this novel. I just love the idea of the anonymous confessions made into art, the symbolisms and the fact that the actual paintings are shown in the novel. The confessions, both anonymous and those of the main characters, play a big role throughout the story and the title is definitely spot on. I initially received mainly positive vibes as I was reading Confess and I really thought it was going to be another winner for me, but unfortunately this feeling didn’t last. It wasn’t the writing style, which was just as good as ever and one of the reasons her books are just so damn readable. BUT. And here come two big issues… 1. The characters. 2. Instalove. I was able to tolerate the main characters initially, mostly because the writing style is very enjoyable and I was intrigued by the confessions and paintings. I even forgave the cliches initially… But this all went south when both Auburn and Owen started to annoy me. Even worse: other characters started popping up that provoked even worse feelings and that was not even the end of it. Because Confess suffers from a very heavy case of one of the most annoying romantic tropes: instalove. Auburn and Owen… Sorry, I just wasn’t able to believe it and it was really hard to keep taking the story seriously when I couldn’t take serious their (inter)actions. I was about halfway through when Confess had officially lost me to an instalove overdose. Which is a shame, because Confess does touch some very important topics and brings to light just how toxic and manipulative human beings can be. I can really see why people would love this story, but Confess was most definitely a solid case of ‘not-for-me’.

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Auburn Reed has been having a rough couple of years and has moved to Dallas to try and rebuild her shattered life. She has been fighting for a long time and her goals seem to be very close now… But it seems like life will be never easy for her. Auburn was just looking for a second job to get more money, but she ended up finding a whole lot more when she walks into a Dallas art studio and meets the artist and owner Owen Gentry. They share an instant attraction and Auburn decides to take a chance and put her heart first. But Owen has been keeping secrets from her… Secrets that might ruin the last thing in her life that is important to her.

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First of all I have to say that Confess by no means is a bad read, and I’m probably partly to blame for this story and me not being a right match. The writing style is just so readable and I do love the idea of the confessions turned into art and the way confessions are incorporated into the story itself. Confess isn’t just another sappy romance story and has a few very dark themes, but in the end it was the instalove overdose and inability to tolerate the main characters that ruined the reading experience for me. Oh well, I guess we can’t like them all… And what I said before is true: Colleen Hoover is always able to provoke very strong reactions with her stories whether they are positive or negative. And that is always a good sign.


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WWW Wednesdays #146 – July 19th

WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

I started with Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira yesterday since I needed a change of genre after Stillhouse Lake… Somehow I didn’t think another thriller would have been able to live up to that story right now. I’m keeping my fingers crossed the change of genre will work, because I want to continue with Girl In Snow by Danya Kukafka afterwards… And I’ve read about 30 pages of Sister by Rosamund Lupton (which I’m actually reading in Dutch) and the struggle is real haha. I’m not convinced so far and I’m not sure if it’s because of the language barrier or the story itself…

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The List by Patricia Forde (3/5 stars) REVIEW 
The List is without doubt based on a very fascinating and original concept I would easily have given the highest rating for. The language elements are very interesting as well and this was definitely my favorite element of the story. That said, it did take me way longer than expected to read this Middle Grade story and I had difficulties connecting to both the writing style and the characters. I ended up having mixed thoughts about The List, but I guess the story can go either way for you.

2. The Breakdown by B.A. Paris (4/5 stars) REVIEW
I’m aware that The Breakdown has been receiving a lot of mixed reviews, but I personally had a really positive experience reading this psychological thriller. Then again I’m a sucker for any story with an amnesia/dementia angle and I found this element very well executed in The Breakdown. I didn’t particularly like Cass or the other characters, but the character development and growing forgetfulness and paranoia was brilliantly executed. In short I would definitely recommend giving this one a chance if you like the genre.

3. Confess by Colleen Hoover (2/5 stars) REVIEW TODAY
First of all I have to say that Confess by no means is a bad read, and I’m probably partly to blame for this story and me not being a right match. The writing style is just so readable and I do love the idea of the confessions turned into art and the way confessions are incorporated into the story itself. Confess isn’t just another sappy romance story and has a few very dark themes, but in the end it was the instalove overdose and inability to tolerate the main characters that ruined the reading experience for me. Oh well, I guess we can’t like them all… And what I said before is true: Colleen Hoover is always able to provoke very strong reactions with her stories whether they are positive or negative. And that is always a good sign.

4. Stillhouse Lake by Rachel Caine (5/5 stars) REVIEW 20/07
Wow. Just WOW. I will need time to cool off, because this thriller has been one hell of a ride… Stillhouse Lake is hands down one of the best thrillers I’ve read this year and just so damn intense! Highly creepy serial killer: check. Intriguing plot and plot twists: check. Constant suspense and feeling something is off: check. Brilliant writing style that keeps you on the edge of your seat: check. Inability to trust any character: check. Being sure you figured it all out and finding out you’re wrong over and over again: check. Very realistic character development: check. Do I have to go on? Dark, twisted, messed up and oh so good… I’m going to keep my fingers crossed I will be able to squeeze out a somewhat more coherent review by tomorrow.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m getting closer towards my goal of finishing most of the ARCs on my Netgalley shelf, which means only one NG title on here: The Girls In The Water by Victoria Jenkins. I’ve heard lots of great things about that one! I also want to read The Secret Of Heaven by Felix Alexander, a Reading Alley ARC that will help me change genres a bit. And…. *drumroll* I’m finally going to read Now You See Me by S.J. Bolton! I’ve been posponing it for way too long now, so fingers crossed I will be able to move it to my currentlyreading pile by next week. My newest TBR jar pick is still Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard, which I’m hoping to read before the end of this month.


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BOOK REVIEW: It Ends With Us – by Colleen Hoover

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Title: It Ends With Us
Author: Colleen Hoover

Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: August 2nd 2016
Publisher: Atria Books
Finished reading: November 12th 2016
Pages: 367
Rating 5qqq

“All humans make mistakes. What determines a person’s character aren’t the mistakes we make. It’s how we take those mistakes and turn them into lessons rather than excuses.”

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Colleen Hoover has done it again! Those who know me are already aware of my not-so-good relationship with the romance genre, but this author has convinced me yet again I can actually enjoy romance when it’s done right. I seem to be having a love-hate relationship with CoHo‘s work, but that doesn’t take away I did LOVE November 9 last year. I decided to give It Ends With Us a go after seeing nothing but raving reviews everywhere, and those reviews were absolutely right. This title just became the second 5 star CoHo book on my list, and that is no small achievement for a genre I normally tend to avoid. Why is It Ends With Us so brilliant that it deserves the highest rating? First of all, there is no denying the fact that Colleen Hoover is a master in creating realistic and believable characters that you can easily relate to. It Ends With Us is filled with strong characters, and on top of that it’s an exceptionally well written story with an intriguing plot. This novel isn’t just another fluffy contemporary romance story either. Instead it deals with a very important and probably very sensitive topic: (abuse). It’s not an easy topic to write about, but the author has done an excellent job of describing it realistically. Have I managed to convince you to read It Ends With Us yet? I certainly hope so, because it was hands down one of the best books I’ve read this year.

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Lily hasn’t always had an easy life, but that has never stopped her from trying to find a way to succeed in life. She managed to escape the small town in Main where she grew up in and after graduating from college she decided to move to Boston. She first started to work at a firm, but then someone inspired her to follow her dream to start her own business. And that is not the only positive thing that is happening in Lily’s life… When she feels a spark with the gorgeous neurosurgeon Ryle Kincaid, everything seems almost too good to be true. Sure, he doesn’t do relationships and might be stubborn and even a bit arrogant. But Ryle seems to have a soft spot for Lily and she is having a hard time to resist… But is he really who Lily thinks he is?

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I’m having a hard time writing a proper review for this one without it sounding like I’m just blabbering all over the place, but It Ends With Us is just THAT good. Forget the fact that I’m normally not a fan of romance. Forget the fact that I normally detest love triangles. This book is simply brilliant! Realistic and strong characters (Lily is such an awesome character), extremely well written prose and intriguing plot… It Ends With Us just has it all.

WWW Wednesdays #111 – November 16th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently reading two of the Goodreads Choice Awards finalists: Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi and Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi. I’m not that far into the stories yet, but both look quite promising. I’ve also started my very first audiobook Secondhand Smoke by M. Louis (narrated by Colin Iago McCarthy), which was sent to me by Mindbuck Media Book Publicity in exchange for an honest review. It still takes time to get used to the whole audiobook idea, but there are definitely advantages to it.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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*The first book I have managed to finish is Before You Leap by Keith Houghton, which turned out to be a really interesting psychological thriller. The prose was great and even though the story was a bit confusing in the beginning, I ended up really enjoying this read. I’m not too sure about the ending though.
* I then read It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover, and boy, she has done it again. Those who know me are already aware of my not-so-good relation with the romance genre, but this one is an exception to the rule. This title just became the second 5 star CoHo book on my list. Why is it so brilliant? With a well written story, intriguing plot, strong characters and a very important theme, there isn’t much that can go wrong.
* The last book I finished this week is The Power by Naomi Alderman, a title I requested based on Claire‘s review and turned out to be just as good as she had promised me. It’s without doubt a very powerful read indeed and one that will stay with me for a while. Read this one if you have the chance!

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I should really pick up another pending Netgalley ARC; most likely The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt. I also want to read both When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo since they are finalists in the Goodreads Choice Awards. I might read my latest TBR jar pick is still A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman first though.

WWW Wednesdays #110 – November 9th

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WWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I’m currently reading the Netgalley ARC Before You Leap by Keith Houghton and It Ends With Us by Colleen Hoover. I’m about 25% into each story and I’m loving both so far for completely different reasons! Basically, the only reason I haven’t finished them yet is that I’ve had practically no time to read in the last two days.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* I first finished The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson, and I can definitely understand why so many people love this story. It was a bit too fluffy, cliche and predictable for me, but I LOVED the dogs, the fact that Clark is a fantasy writer and the geeky elements in general. Definitely recommended for contemporary romance fans!
* I then read the novella Lemon Sting by Collin Henderson, which turned out to be a fast-paced and entertaining thriller with without doubt a lot of action scenes. The prose was really easy to read as well and I liked the general plot.
* I also finished No Excuses Detox by Megan Gilmore, a cookbook which is to come out next year. I wasn’t convinced by all of it and some of the things were a bit complicated to be called ‘no excuses’, but there are without doubt a lot of recipes I will be trying out.
* The last book I finished was Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, which kind of left me with a book hangover. IT’S SOOOO GOOD!!! I can’t believe I haven’t read this one before and it made it right to the list of 2016 favorites. Absolutely brilliant science fiction read.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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The first book I’m going to pick up after I finish my current reads is The Power by Naomi Alderman. After I read Claire‘s review not that long ago and I can’t wait to start reading it! I also want to read Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, one of the books that’s nominated for the Goodreads Awards… And The Girls Next Door by Mel Sherratt is another pending Netgalley ARC. My newest TBR jar pick is still A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman. I need to read that one ASAP!

BOOK REVIEW: Maybe Not – by Colleen Hoover

brmaybenotTitle: Maybe Not
(Maybe #1.5)
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: November 24th 2014
Finished reading: April 23rd 2016
Pages: 130
Rating 4qqq

“The only difference between falling in love and being in love is that your heart already knows how you feel, but your mind is too stubborn to admit it.”

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I thought Warren was hilariously awkward in Maybe Someday, so when I found out this novella was about him and Bridgette and their relationship I decided to read it straight away. And Maybe Not didn’t disappoint; I think I actually liked the novella better than the last part of the original story! Those who know me are already aware that I’m normally not a big fan of the romance genre, but Colleen Hoover has shown me I can actually enjoy a contemporary romance story when it is well written and has the right (lack of) elements. In the case of Maybe Not, the romance is done just right. Warren is hilarious even though his comments are a bit on the weird side and I think he has become my favorite character after Sydney and Ridge let me down in Maybe Someday. His love/hate relationship with Bridgette is really entertaining to read about; the way they behave in front of the rest, their ‘hateful’ comments and what happens behind closed doors… This novella is by no means a cheesy, sappy romantic love story and I enjoyed it all the better for it. If you liked Warren in Maybe Someday, you will love this novella; Colleen Hoover did a brilliant job giving Warren even more funny and awkward lines and I literally flew through the pages. Recommended!

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When Warren is presented with the opportunity to live with a female roommate, he agrees thinking it would sure be an exciting change, already imagining what could happen between them… Or maybe not. Their new roommate Bridgitte turns out to be a cold and seemingly calculating ‘bitch’, and tensions start to run high in the appartment. Warren first wants her gone, but his roommates explain that won’t be an option. And even though the two can’t stand to be in the same room together, Warren now has a theory about Bridgette. Anyone who can hate with that much passion should also be able to love with the same passion… And he is a willing volunteer to test this theory. But will he convince Bridgette to start listening to him in the first place?

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If you have read Maybe Someday and liked Warren’s character, definitely pick up his novella since it’s all about him and Bridgette. I actually liked this novella better than the original story it is based on! Maybe Not has no love triangle, no complicated plot twists, enjoyable prose, hilarious characters, just the right dose of romance and feelings… All in all everything I’m looking for in an entertaining contemporary romance novella.

BOOK REVIEW: Maybe Someday – by Colleen Hoover

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Title: Maybe Someday
(Maybe #1)
Author: Colleen Hoover
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
First published: March 18th 2014
Finished reading: April 22nd 2016
Pages: 385
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“Sometimes in life, we need a few bad days in order to keep the good ones in perspective.”

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I seem to be having a love/hate relationship with Colleen Hoover books. While I loved November 9 and enjoyed the first two Never Never novellas, I really disliked both the third Never Never part and Ugly Love. It doesn’t happen often that an author is able to cause such contradicting feelings with their work… And to be honest I was a bit afraid to pick up Maybe Someday. Luckily enough I ended up mostly enjoying this book. In fact, up until about 55-60% I would have given it the highest rating, because I really loved the first part. The lyrics that are incorporated in the text make the already entertaining and easy-to-read prose even more enjoyable and I LOVED Sydney and Ridge. The musical elements in general and their roommates Warren and Bridgette were definitely a huge bonus as well and even Ridge’s girlfriend Maggie seemed like a great character. Unfortunately, after the mark mentioned above things took a turn for the worse. I won’t go into details to avoid spoilers, but let’s just say Maggie has a ‘secret’ and when it was revealed and things escalated I wasn’t so sure I liked the story OR the two main characters anymore. And it wasn’t even because of the love triangle, because the first part of Maybe Someday was actually one of those few exceptions where the love triangle didn’t bother me. In short, for me the story started out with a blast and got weaker towards the ending… And I still kind of wish she wouldn’t have added the ‘Maggie plot twist’. Still, the first part is good enough to (mostly) make up for it. Recommended for fans of the genre!

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Sydney things she has a perfectly comfortable life as a student with a steady part-time job, living with her best friend and a great boyfriend she has been with for a long time. Even her afternoons studying in listening to the music coming from the balcony opposite hers seem to be perfect. But that all soon comes to an end when she finds out her boyfriend is cheating on her with her best friend. She storm out of their appartment and is suddenly homeless… But not for long, as the mysterious man behind the music, Ridge, decides to let her stay in his appartment he shares with two more roommates. Their initial connection is purely related to music, since Sydney seems to be able to put the lyrics to the songs he plays. But the heart can cheat on the mind, and things are starting to become more complicated…

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Like I said above, I LOVED the first 55-60% or so of Maybe Someday and literally flew through the pages. The prose, the musical elements, Sydney and Ridge, Warren and his hilarious comments… Everything was just perfect and I even managed to ignore the love triangle. But then… BAM! The plot twist happened that made me change my feelings for the two main characters and I kind of lost my respect for them. In the end it is still an interesting story, but not as good as I thought it would be when I was reading the first part.