Pretty Venom by Ella Fields
Series: Gray Springs University #3
Publication Date: August 3rd, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
5+ I’M A FOOL FOR YOU CROWNS
You know what makes Ella Fields unique in a world inundated with romance novels? She writes about real, troubled, flawed characters. Her romances aren’t easy. These characters have to work for love. But I have found, with the Gray Springs series, that her fictional love stories resonate because they are applicable to real life. We don’t live in the land of fantasy romance and alpha heroes. We live in a world where people screw up, where we act out of anger, where sometimes forgiveness isn’t easy, and where we have to fight tooth and nail for our HEA that may or may not come. This may seem contrary to what romance readers want, but, for me, it shows me that real love, the broken, tattered, bruised, kind of love can make it in the real world. It gives someone hope that maybe, even if they have made mistakes, that their HEA is out there, too. Even though all the characters of this stand-alone series exemplify this, none so more than Renee and Callum.
More than any other characters, Callum and Renee are probably the most unlikable, but their unlikable qualities, strangely are what I love about them. They embrace their entitlement and their wealth. They don’t make apologies for who they are or what they want. From the beginning, Callum sees Renee as a person with venom below, and she sees Callum for who he is, egotistical and callous at times. Their acceptance of each other, fully, flaws and all makes the reader accept them. In fact, I love how unapologetic they are about who they are and what they have. I love how they love each other in the beginning. It is consuming and all encompassing, transporting readers back to that reckless teen love. This facet of the story is so important for the fall, and, boy does Ella Fields shred your heart to pieces, and the more vile parts of their character become apparent. As much as I wanted to hate Callum for how he treated Renee or how she reacts to him, I couldn’t. Their actions came from heartbreak. It isn’t sound. It doesn’t make sense. Logically, readers will want to kill these two, but emotionally readers will get it, only making their actions and venomous words heartbreaking, leaving the shredded pieces to be scattered in the wind.
There is good to them, too, though, because they are complex and three dimensional characters. Renee is determined and fierce in her own way. She atones for her actions and continues to pursue what she wants without regard for her own feelings because she takes responsibility for her actions. Some may see this as weak but I saw it as strength. She also walks away when it becomes necessary, so she is anything but timid. Callum also has his good qualities. He is also willing to admit to his own wrongdoings and beg and plead for forgiveness. He is loyal and dedicated, and like Renee he takes responsibility for the role he plays as well. By the end of the story, Callum has my heart firmly in his hand, and I was more in love with them as a couple than ever!
This story isn’t for the faint of heart. Ella Fields, as always, writes in a way that makes you feel it. Renee’s desperation pulses through your veins. Each hateful act/word from Callum slices your own heart open. You LIVE these moments with them. I honestly didn’t know how she was going to turn all this hurt and pain around, but she did. And she did it in a way that I didn’t see coming and completely flipped the script. She throws everything into a shade of grey. But this is where the real ideas of love start being fleshed out: forgiveness, second chances, reformed love. Readers get to see how hard it is to forgive, how second chances don’t come easy and two different people enter the relationship for a second time from the tears and bruises that broke them down, and we get to see that a stronger love is there in the end. Ella Fields exemplifies and makes us feel REAL and COMPLEX love.
This series of standalones has made me a forever fan of Ella Fields. I will follow her anywhere she wants to go, crossing off any will not read topics off of my list because she handles each and every story with honesty and sincerity. She gives us authentic characters. She shows the complexity of the ever sought after love. She shows us that love is worth the fight and the hurt and the damage when it is for the right person. She gives real hope for real love in harsh and often unforgiving world, and I don’t think you can get any more romantic than that.
ARC received in exchange for an honest review
Callum Welsh perfected the art of hating me when we were two kids who believed we’d be forced into marriage.
He thought I wanted it, but my only wish had been for him to leave me alone.
Then one afternoon, he stole my first kiss.
Despite all he’d done, everything changed after that.
As the years passed, our hearts thawed, and he no longer hated me.
In fact, he loved me enough to make me his wife.
Until I ruined everything with one stupid mistake.
That hatred returned in the form of cruel words and even crueler deeds.
But we weren’t kids anymore.
I could handle his brand of venom.
He would be mine again, even if it cost me the remains of my heart.
Warning: contains cheating and an anti-hero who might make you throw your kindle.
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Meet the Author:
Ella Fields is a mother and wife who lives in the land Down Under. While her kids are in school, you might find her talking about her characters and books to her two cats. She’s a notorious chocolate and notebook hoarder who enjoys creating hard-won happily ever afters.
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