Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Hate to Love You by Elise Alden

I received a copy of Hate to Love You in exchange for my review.

Meet Paisley, the black sheep of the family who ran away and became a drug addict, and alcoholic and a slut. Or at least that's what everyone seems to think. When Paisley's perfect older sister brings her fiancé, James, home for the first time, Paisley can't help but feel attracted to him...but worse, she feels like they have a connection. Having just discovered that she was pregnant, Paisley does what all good alcoholics and addicts do...she gets high and gets drunk, ending up in her sister's bed...the same place that James sneaks into despite his fiancée's strict Catholic family. While in bed together, James' fantasies reveal that he wants Paisley and though she means to tell him she gets lost in the sensations he creates (and loses her virginity in the process). At Caroline and James' wedding 3 months later, James still seems to care about Paisley but when Caroline turns on her, Paisley decides she wants revenge, and tells the whole world the truth...along with a lie that will change her world forever.

Weirdly the summary I wrote only actually encompasses a part of the book, mostly the background. A lot of the story actually happens 7 years later when Paisley is more mature, and clean, and ready for the responsibility she wants.  Namely to see her son. Because James hasn't answered any of her letters, or her visits, she decides to take the fight to him and interviews to work alongside him, leading James to be surprised that she is so good at her job.

I'm not actually really sure where to start with my review...I chose this book because it sounded different, and it definitely didn't sound like it was black and white/right and wrong, and I thought I'd like it, I just didn't realise just how much, or how much I would get drawn in. There were moments in this book where I felt heartbroken for the characters, and moments where I nearly cried, to say that it was an emotional roller coaster would be an understatement.

Before I get on to the other stuff about it though...I loved the fact that it was set in the UK, I've read barely any romances set in the UK and I couldn't help but get excited...especially when I noticed that the author actually used English spellings (honour instead of seems so right!) but also this book contained one of the best summaries of Les Miserables I've read...
"Forget the French Revolution and the obssessed policeman with too much time on his hands. For me the story was about Fantine, the prostitute, and the miraculous twist of fate that saved her daughter from a life like hers." 

Paisley herself was an interesting character to say the least. At the start of the book she was an alcoholic, a drug addict and a pregnant virgin, who then had sex with her sister's finacé partly for revenge and partly cause she really wanted to (though James didn't 100% know who he was with he definitely wasn't blameless either). But as more was revealed about Paisley's past I couldn't help but feel my heart break. And though having sex with James wasn't the right thing to do, it felt like they had a connection and they did belong together.

I think that the other interesting thing about Paisley is that she cracked. She had enough of Caroline (who had lied to make it seem like Paisley made up abuse that happened in her childhood) and her family, who treated her badly, and she snapped at the wedding. When the time had passed in the book though she felt guilty about what she had done, particularly the lie she told about her son, Ryan's, father.

The whole second part of the book really focused on Paisley making amends and getting better. There was no magical 'not an addict' moment, in fact she mentioned more than once in her inner monologue that it was a struggle against temptation, and I think that that weakness added to her being more human. There was also the regret and longing that she had for her son, and how she described regretting giving him up in the first place, but that was coupled with a realisation that she wouldn't have been a good mother.

Then there was the relationship between James and Paisley. Though other than their one night together they barely actually touched, much less had a physical relationship in the book, there was always something there between them. An underlying chemistry and connection that actually brought out some of the best in Paisley, and when it exploded there were some hot sex scenes (though they weren't until closer to the end). I did find myself routing for James and Paisley to end up together, even with their past together.

I wasn't too sure what to make of the 'eye speaking', which both James and Paisley could do with each other, and it was revealed that Ryan could do it too. That's not to say I didn't like it, I actually thought it was a clever idea, and actually I guess it is giving a voice to those looks that pass between people.

The ending to Hate to Love You was perfect. I couldn't have thought of a better one if I had tried. And there was a big twist fairly close to the end that I had not seen coming at all...that one took me by surprise and I've never been happier because of it!

I absolutely loved Hate to Love You. The characters were complex and their lives were messy, and even so they tried to be the best people that they could. There were heartbreaking moments and moving moments and all coming together, it just worked for me!

New Adult Contemporary Romance
Date Published: June 2, 2014

Despite my slutty reputation, I was technically a virgin at eighteen. But it turns out all those sex-ed teachers aren’t just trying to scare you. The faint positive on the budget pregnancy test sent me spinning, moments before I was supposed to meet my snooty sister’s new fiancé.
Shaking hands with upper-crusty James was like downing a triple shot of vodka. Dizzy with desire, confused by my body’s reaction, and shocked by the possessiveness flashing in his eyes, I deceived him that night and told the world at their wedding reception.
The truth?
I slept with my sister’s fiancé. Hot and sweaty, all night long in a room so dark he couldn’t tell I wasn’t her.
The lie?
Said fiancé is the father of my child. The one I signed over my rights to just before he was born.
That was seven years ago.
It’s time to come clean.

95,000 words

REVIEW Tour - August 10 - August 22nd

August 11 - Lovely Reads
August 13 - Book Geek
August 14 - Deluged With Books
August 16 - 556 Book Chicks
August 20 - The Sassy Bookista
August 22 - iEquals Alissa with Interview
August 22 - RABT Reviews - Wrap Up

Elise Alden

Elise reads, writes and revels in romance, and is never happier than when caught up in a heart-thumping, sweat-your-socks-off tale—hers or somebody else’s. She loves creating stories about flawed characters, people for whom love isn’t simply a question of boy-meets-girl, but a gut wrenching journey of transformation.