Review: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Beloved #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover returns with an unforgettable love story between a writer and his unexpected muse.

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

This book was kind of meta and I liked that. The book is about characters who meet once a year and one of them is going to write a book about it. So basically it’s like Ben is writing the book we’re reading. The characters bring up a lot of common book tropes – and then utilizes them. There is even a point in the story where the idea is compared to similar books and Ben defends it and makes sure everyone knows it’s different. As a book nerd I could really appreciate all the references.

I liked the plotline of only seeing the characters once a year, but I wish the story would’ve involved a little bit more than just their relationship and how they thought about each other non-stop every single day of the year. It didn’t really feel like there was that much character growth between November 9ths. We would get just a couple details to prove that some time had passed and then it was picking right back up where we left off with the romance. However, toward the end we did get a lot more character background on Ben and I appreciated that.

While I was a fan of Ben and Fallon’s relationship, it did make me a little uncomfortable at times. They are super intense about each other when they haven’t known each other very long at all. And though I did love Ben, he gave off a bit of a creeper vibe to me at times. And even though I did like many of the meta book references, it kind of annoyed me when it came to him. He would talk about how he was nothing like the alpha-male book boyfriends he read about and then act EXACTLY like every other guy ever written in this genre. Don’t get me wrong, it’s the norm for a reason, but I wish he either would’ve been a little different, or they would’ve really played up the comparisons a little more. All that said, I did think the romance was enjoyable and I liked their bantering a lot.

As I was finishing up this book I read another review that pointed out that the plot twist is basically the same as two other CoHo books. I hadn’t made the connection before that, but once I realized it, it was kind of all I could think about. Not being a rabid CoHo fan, I’d only read one of those books and since I liked this one much better than Confess, I can kind of overlook it, but do feel like I need to point it out, as well.

Though this book still did not convert me into a CoHo fangirl, I did end up really enjoying it. While there was a certain level of melodrama, I felt like it wasn’t as forced as the other books I’ve read by her. I found the characters more likable, as well, and especially enjoyed some of their banter. Overall, I think that fans of Hoover will eat it up and even the non-converts like me would enjoy it.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 4 Stars

4 stars

Review: Confess by Colleen Hoover

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Synopsis from Good Reads:

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

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I don’t like beer. I’m not a big drinker anyways, so it’s not a big deal, but I’ve always felt like I would be more of a Beer Girl than a Girly, Fruity Drink Girl. But no matter how many times I try it, I just don’t like it. I want to. But I don’t. And that’s how I feel about Colleen Hoover books.

Hoover is a good writer, I don’t deny that. Owen and Auburn are both pretty well-developed, sympathetic characters. I liked the idea of the confessions with the art work and wish that would have been a bigger role in the book, instead of just the springboard for the overall theme of confessions. There were also many cute moments between Owen and Auburn that made me smile. That’s unfortunately all I can list for the positives in this book, though.

One of my biggest pet peeves in fiction is lying and miscommunication. While ok in small doses, it drives me crazy when it’s the main plot. When one honest conversation could bring about the conclusion of the whole book within a couple pages, I can’t get behind a couple hundred pages of angst to get there.

I also really wanted to like Owen and in many parts I really did. However, most of the time he gave off kind of a smarmy vibe to be. He lied to Auburn from the very beginning and he kept lying to her. Even when he finally told her the truth about most things, he still kept one very big secret from her and I really hated that. A lot of his time with Auburn seemed manipulative to me and he came off a little controlling even. But it’s supposed to be hot and attractive because he’s hot and attractive and he does care about her. It just rubbed me the wrong way. Yes, he had sweet, redeeming moments. But overall, he was just a little off for me as a romantic lead.

Auburn was a sympathetic character, but kind of drove me crazy most of the time. She put herself into bad situations and despite wanting to change it, was just kind of resigned to her fate. She was very passive in changing her life, despite being supposedly very determined, and made many bad decisions. When she did finally step up, she did so in an underhanded way that made me disappointed.

Overall, Confess was a fast, easy read, but pretty underwhelming. While it did have some cute moments, I felt like it was ruined by all the lying, miscommunication, and poor decisions of the characters. Hoover isn’t a bad writer, but I really just do not understand the obsession with her stories.

Overall Rating (out of 5): 2 Stars

2 stars