Friday, March 31, 2017

Beastly Lights by Theresa Jane

Beastly Lights  by Theresa Jane
Release Date -  March 29, 2017
Publisher Website - Inkitt
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  551 pages
My Rating - 3/5
**received for an honest review**

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Gambled away by her brother, Freya is now bound to the music world's resident bad boy Liam Henderson as his live-in maid.

Freya Coleman is a struggling artist who can hardly get by. With a past she would rather not revisit and a future that didn't extend past her next cup of coffee, something had to change. Freya just didn't know how much.

Liam Henderson lives in the spotlight. His wild nights and latest conquests make every woman want him, and every man want to be him. The rockstar has a carefully constructed persona to keep everyone out. That is, until a drunken night gets out of hand and he finds himself with the winning hand in a poker game, and the prize is a feisty redhead. A prize who just might break down the walls he has been so desperately hiding behind.

Thrown together, these two are a disaster waiting to happen. A disaster the world is eager to watch and comment on until their fingers drop off. What starts off as a fake relationship to improve Liam’s image, blossoms into so much more, and Freya is swept up into the world of bright lights and illusions. Everyone has an opinion when the lights are shining on their beloved rock god Liam Henderson, and they are eagerly waiting to tear down anyone who is bathed in the famous glow.

Can happily ever after exist when the whole world is watching?
I have been on a romance/new adult kick recently and was pitched this novel that immediately piqued my interest. I had high hopes for this novel but ended up feeling mixed about it once I had finished reading.

The novel starts out feeling very 'Beauty and the Beast' inspired. Freya's brother gets her a job by gambling her cleaning services away to one of the world's most popular rock stars. Freya is not happy with the situation (understandably) and is even more outrage to discover that she is to live with him. I was initially drawn to this story because of the 'Beauty and the Beast' potential of the story. It did start off rather interesting and had me hooked into the story but it didn't quite offer me the redemption arc I was hoping for by the end of the novel.

Freya as a character is great. She's your typical romance novel heroine who has been through some rough things in her past, and is closed off as a result. She is broken, and distrustful but still retains her kindness She is loyal to a default. She speaks her mind and that is what saved this novel for me. She is treated horribly at times, and yet she pushes back against it. It made a small difference to me, as plenty of the elements within the romance were problematic to me.

Liam comes with his own set of problems. He has a reputation of being wild, and someone who likes to party. His behaviour, obviously, hides a history of hurt that turned him into who he is. I have mentioned before my dislike of typical Alpha Males and Liam is one through and through. He dictates what Freya can and cannot do. He makes decisions for her without consulting her and without taking her wants into consideration. He disregards her feelings a lot of the time, and actively goes against what she is telling him she wants and needs. It was infuriating to see these actions have little to no consequences. Freya forgave him repeatedly even when his treatment of her was pretty horrible. This is the major issue I had with the novel as the payoff of all of this isn't really there. The character development and change that Liam goes through happens mostly off the page. We are TOLD he has changed, instead of SHOWN. We aren't given time to  feel that change, so the novel just leaves you with the feeling that Liam is forgiven far too easily.

The middle of the novel felt a little repetitive with Liam messing up, sort of apologizing and promising not to do it again. It is something that could have been tightened up in editing and would have helped make a more cohesive story. It feels like Freya and Liam are having the same fight over and over, and that takes the reader out of the story. At times this felt like multiple story ideas that just did not connect together seamlessly. The copy I read was an ARC so some of these issues could have been fixed before the final release of the novel.

I did appreciate all of the secondary characters. Liam's friends were fantastic and provided some much needed humour. His fellow band members added a lot to the story as well. There was a lot of thought put into their various roles and how they would push the story forward which ended up helping the movel. Freya makes friends with these people, and we get a glimpse that Liam may not be totally horrible through a lot of these characters so they were vital to the story and the reader's enjoyment. I particularly enjoyed Davis, the young boy who is not afraid to sass Liam and calls out a lot of really awful behaviour. Davis was completely charming and won over not just Freya but me as well.

Beastly Lights ended up being a mixed novel for me. Things I enjoyed and things I wished were done in a different way. I predict many will be mixed on this simply because of the premise and the execution of that premise..

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