Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Painted Faces Book Review *L.H. Cosway* Book Giveaway

Synopsis: Dublin native Freda Wilson considers herself to be an acquired taste. She has a habit of making offensive jokes and speaking her mind too often. She doesn't have the best track record with first impressions, which is why she gets a surprise when her new neighbour Nicholas takes a shine to her.

Nicholas is darkly handsome, funny and magnetic, and Freda feels like her black and white existence is plunged into a rainbow of colour when she's around him. When he walks into a room he lights it up, with his quick wit and charisma. He is a travelling cabaret performer, but Freda doesn't know exactly what that entails until the curtains pull back on his opening night.

She is gob-smacked and entirely intrigued to see him take to the stage in drag. Later on, Nicholas asks her if she would like to become his show assistant. Excited by the idea, she jumps at the chance. Soon she finds herself immersed in a world of wigs, make-up and high heels, surrounded by pretty men and the temptation of falling for her incredibly beautiful employer.

In this story of passion and sexual discovery, Nicholas and Freda will contend with jealousy, emotional highs and lows, and the kind of love that only comes around once in a lifetime.

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The picture above shows perfectly my feelings For Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway. This is a prime example of what word of mouth, and those bloggers I trust- Mandi from Smexybooks and Sophia from Fiction Vixen, who based on their raving for this book, pushed me into giving Painted Faces a chance.  I would have never picked up this book otherwise. L.H. took a big risk with this one, and I applaud her. We need more books like this out in the world. How could a romance between a male drag queen and a self conscience woman be sooooo good? I was thunderstruck and surprised by L.H's writing skill in creating a beautiful love story with wonderful characters and a humdinger of a hero- Nicholas, who not only broke my heart but made me fall in love with him.

Nicholas is a heterosexual drag queen. He wears women's clothes, but only when he performs his cabaret act as Vivica Blue. He's all man from his arm tats, his lickable abs, and his attraction to women who he worships, from their bodies to their breasts, and sometimes their "lady garden" (a joke you'll understand when you read). Nicholas has issues steaming from his mother's death and his idolizing her at a very young age. He becomes a drag queen because he's so dedicated to his mother's memory (she was a performer) and enjoys wearing women clothes because he can lose himself in them and in his role. Nicholas may seem to be a poster boy for Norman Bates but he's far from that. Nicholas is a cheeky fellow and drop dead gorgeous, almost pretty like, so says Fred the main protagonist.

Freda aka Fred is a pip. She's snarky, funny, loyal and although she thinks she fat and dumpy, she has a very positive outlook on life and accepts the cards she's been dealt with. Then she meets Nicholas, her new neighbor, who brings a technicolor rainbow of wow that she so desperately needs. Fred is desperately attracted to Nicholas, as he is to her, but Nicholas uses sex, much like he uses women clothes. He needs something to get lost in. He wants to get lost in Fred. From the moment he meets Fred, he's very vocal about his lust for her. Fred is somewhat scared of Nicholas because he’s larger than life and she’s less than ordinary. Nicholas will show Fred she’s the stars and the moon, and she’ll end up thanking him for it.

These two start a powerful friendship, a bond unlike both has ever had, and it so beyond awesome that tears almost came to my eyes as I read their interactions, dialogue and those times they acted on their attraction for one another, which is hot hot hot. Nicholas' kisses alone does wonders for Fred.

Painted Faces spoke to my soul on so many levels. When I finished, I sighed and my heart expanded in happiness. Painted Faces is all about acceptance; the beauty in everyone's souls and believing in the power of love. Nicholas' love for his mother helped him survive a world that's sometimes dark and cruel; Fred's love grounds him where he can throw aside the chains of his past and move on to a bright future, as long as Fred is by his side.

For some reason while I read, the song Masquerade from Phantom of the Opera repeated in my head, specifically these lyrics:

Maquerade! Paper faces on parade
Masquerade! Hide your face so the world will never find you
Masquerade! Every face a different shade
Masquerade! Look around, there's another mask behind you.

Nicholas and Fred have different masks they show the world. Nicholas' mask is his makeup and dresses, including his honesty and over the top flirting. Fred’s is her humor and snark. When these two come together, they drop their masks and help each another feel special.

There are two things stopping me from giving Painted Faces a perfect grade. Fred thinks she's overweight. Far too many times we're told how she is a size 10 and she's fat. Even two characters go as far as to call her fat to be mean. I'm a size 10. A size 10 is not fat and I wished L.H. hadn't concentrated so much on the actual size number of Fred because size can be subjective. Fred isn't flashy in her style at all, and from her description she has a big chest, but when she dresses up she looks sexy and beautiful, showing off her hips and curves. How "big" can a size 10 be to make people think Fred is chubby? Nicholas loves Fred's body so much. He prays to her boobs and stomach. Awww.... If Nicholas could have created an statue to Fred’s boobs, he would have. Also the subplot with Fred's ex-boyfriend stalking her served no purpose to the story at all. If this as left out, I would have been one happy reader.

Ah Fred and Nicholas, you two kids own me. I would love, love a sequel with you two. Painted Faces is the must read book of 2013. 

GO READ THIS BOOK! Best $3.99 I spent.

Final Grade: B+

Since I adore Painted Faces, I'm giving away a copy. Right now, Painted Faces is .99 cents on Kindle. Leave a comment here by Friday, 2/1 for your chance to win.



Mandi said...

So glad you enjoyed! We DO need more books like this. :)