Sunday, 29 April 2018

#CBR10 Book 38: "Hurts to Love You" by Alisha Rai

Page count: 384 pages
Rating: 3 stars

This is the third book in a trilogy, and it's probably best to have read at least Hate to Want You first, to fully get the most out of the story. The central romance works on its own, but there are a lot of stuff in this book that works best if you've read at least the first book in the series.

Evangeline "Eve" Chandler has quietly suffered her father's verbal abuse for much of her life, and only recently started standing up for herself and choosing to do her own thing. She's quit her job working for the family's charitable foundation and has been secretly working as a driver for a ride share company, while doing research and planning to possibly start her own business. Struggling massively with self esteem issues, she's nervous about telling her beloved older brother about the idea, as he'd prefer it if she start working in the family company with him. Another secret she's been keeping, for much longer, is her years-long crush on Gabe Hunter, the tattoo artist who's her brother's best friend. She knows Gabe still sees her as a kid, but hopes that her brother's wedding may be a chance for her to show him that she's all grown up.

Gabriel "Gabe" Hunter grew up with the Kane family's children, since his adopted mother was their housekeeper. Then the Kanes and the Chandlers had a massive falling out (see my review of book one) and as Gabe was friends with Paul Kane, he didn't really feel he could have anything to do with the Chandlers anymore. Now Livvie Kane and Nick Chandler have buried the hatchet and are getting married. Both Gabe and Eve are in the wedding party, and end up spending quite a bit of time alone together in the week leading up to the ceremony. While Gabe has been trying not to notice, it's obvious to him that little Eve is a full-grown woman now, and she's not afraid to show her interest in him. It's not just the age difference between them or that she's a rich heiress and he's the housekeeper's son that could be problematic for a possible relationship. Gabe has secrets he's been keeping for most of his life, secrets that could impact both the Kane and the Chandler family and this wedding is certainly not the time he'd want those to come out.

OK, so first of all, it was super weird to be reading a romance with a hero called Gabriel when I now have an almost three month old baby with that same name. Thankfully, no one ever calls the hero anything but "Gabe", a nickname I will personally cut anyone who tries to attach to my child, so it could have been weirder. Secondly, while I really liked the first two books in this series (I know they didn't necessarily work for others amongst the CBR romance readers), this book failed to entirely work for me. I wasn't really convinced by the central romance, and towards the end, the big melodramatic family secrets that have been lurking in the background throughout the series were all revealed and overshadowed Eve and Gabe's story even further.

Nick and Eve's dad is quite clearly a class-A d*ck and I didn't care the slightest for the motivations behind his actions - there is no excuse for how he treated his children or Mrs Kane after the death of her husband and the way he kept the family feud going. He keeps trying to control his children, to the point where he comes to the rehearsal dinner and tries to get his son to break up with his fiancee - not cool.

This whole series has been a little bit too soap opera-y to my tastes, but it did put Alisha Rai on my radar, and since I'm not exactly great about reading diversely, that's not a bad thing. I will absolutely be looking into both her back catalogue, and for any new releases she has coming in the future.

Judging a book by its cover: Whomever is responsible for the cover art for this series has seriously been knocking it out of the park. On all three books, they've managed to find cover models who actually not only look more or less like the people described in the book, but they've dressed them in outfits that said people are likely to wear (or even described as wearing). While I didn't picture Eve's dress exactly like this, it's still a heck of a cover. Too bad about the man bun - can't stand those.

Crossposted on Cannonball Read.

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