Reviewed by Jenny & Gitte
J&G : 4 Stars
“My deepest fear is that I’ll look back on my life and wonder what I did with it…” – Anonymous
Gitte: I really enjoyed Beautiful Failure Jenny, it was very well written and the emotion was quite intense. This story is not pretty, nor is it your typical love story. This is about girl who’s grown up in a really screwed up family home. As in, it wasn’t one, and her Mum was a complete bitch! Who gets their daughter drunk on a daily basis and instils the belief in her daughter that friends, love, intelligence and aspirations are a waste of time and that you get by on looks and sex?
‘….Always put tons of effort into the way you look…’
‘…Don’t make friends…’
‘…Beauty wins over brains every time…’
Seriously Jenny, it made me so cross and Emerald’s consequential behaviour and attitude pissed me off through the first half of the story, though I could understand it and applauded her desire to change her life.
‘…after I created an army of invisible friends and easily accessible fantasies, I came to terms with her neglect and happily accepted any attention she was willing to give me.’ – Emerald
Jenny: The prologue starts with the words ‘My mother was a whore. Her name was Leah Isabelle Anderson.’ It was a brutal statement and one that set the tone for what we were about to experience and Gitte, don’t get me started on Emeralds mother Leah. Grrrrr!
‘My mother. My best friend. My role model.’ – Emerald
I tried and tried to find some sort of justification for Leah’s actions….though how you would conceivably try to justify her actions is beyond me, but I couldn’t. She was a horrid woman who stilted Emerald emotionally and mentally by instilling in her daughter the belief that friendships and love were worthless commodities and that only those who materially supplied your needs were worth any value. The conversations she had with Emerald were twisted to say the least.
“I can’t tell you how weak Ben’s dick was today….’ – Leah
“You don’t enjoy it with him? Ever?” – Emerald
“No. Never with him. But he’s a sponsor, I’m getting his money and that’s all that matters..” – Leah
What despicable lessons she heaped on Emerald and yes Gitte, like you I found Emerald quite unlikeable at the start of the book and in fact I worried that I wasn’t going to get through Beautiful Failure because of that. There was no softness to her. She was cold and sarcastic, but I’m glad you were a bit further along and encouraged me to hang in there because I was most certainly rewarded and eventually warmed to her and was quite proud of her.
Gitte: I guess you can say that this isn’t really a typical love story, it’s about a girl trying to find herself, find her place in life and let go of addictions and her messed up past. Make peace with herself and realise that although her Mum didn’t get it right, she tried to make amends. I have to say I did struggle with her in the beginning too but a scene with Carter our hero made me my heart cry for her. Carter really did wonders for Emerald bringing out the softness and the girl lost in a wicked awful childhood.
“Did you just kiss my hand?” – Em
“Did you just like it?” – Carter
“No.” I lie… – Em
Moving onto Carter, he was lush and completely gorgeous but he’s still an enigma, we really didn’t get to know a lot about him. If this was on purpose because of book #2 then that’s fine, but I have to question what the motive was for this lack of character development because yes I got that he was extremely good for Em but I don’t really know anything about him…..well until the cliff-hanger at the end which came completely out of left field hey Jenny?! I mean, what a brilliant way to stun a reader!!!
Jenny: Carter! Wow! What a guy! I loved him but boy does he ever have me intrigued to say the least. As for THAT cliff-hanger!!! I texted you straight away when I read it. I couldn’t believe it’s made me so desperate for book two…like I NEED it NOW! Well played Mariah Cole, you turned this story on its head and left us both gobsmacked! We did NOT see that coming!
You’re right Gitte. This was more a story about a messed up emotionless girl finding herself and forging her own path in life. Learning to open her mind and her heart and the romance/love story seemed secondary to that.
“For the record, Emerald – I’m not trying to be your Prince Charming or your knight in shining armour. You’re too fucked up for me to even think about saving you….” Carter
It was a bit of a struggle to push through Beautiful Failure in the beginning and this was in no way due to the writing or the story, because both were both excellent. It was due to the lack of connection I was experiencing with Emerald who didn’t seem to have any redeeming qualities in the beginning of the story. As Emerald was such a loner, we weren’t afforded the balance of another character being introduced to bring forth her softer side until Carter came in to the story some time later.
“I’m seriously interested in you.” – Carter
Once Carter became part of Emeralds life I was completely swept away. It was then we saw Emerald begin to thaw and witnessed the blossoming of the caring young woman we always hoped was underneath that bold bravado she portrayed.
“It’s okay to have a soft side….” – Carter
Carter was a bit of dark horse for me too and I wondered if it a deliberate ploy on the authors’ part that we didn’t really get to know Carter because although I loved him and swooned over him, I felt I knew nothing about this man at all. I’m thinking there’s a lot more of Carter to be unraveled in future books!
G&J: Reading Beautiful Failure was like sitting there waiting for the other shoe to drop. You knew something was coming, you anticipated it and you held on waiting for it to play out. It wasn’t your fluffy romance read but it wasn’t what you would call a dark read either.
‘I’ve learned that sometimes the prettiest people do the ugliest things.’
It was messed up that’s for sure and it will leave you shaking your head and wanting to hit something when you witness the despicable way Leah behaves and teaches her daughter.
‘It’s better to be fucked up on the outside, than fucked up on the inside.’
All we can say is hang in there because this one will take you on a journey and a half. It will keep you guessing and like us, you will be begging for the next book. We certainly enjoyed this story once we got into it and to say we are highly anticipating book #2 is an understatement. We know it’s certainly going to be an interesting one after that cliff-hanger!! Oh and for anyone scared of cliffies this isn’t a bad one, it just makes you want more. One to definitely add to those TBR’s! Enjoy!
ARC supplied by author in exchange for an honest review