December 19, 2013

Braine Reviews: Beautiful Failure by Mariah Cole

Series: Beautiful 1
Format: Mobi
Release Date: December 16, 2013
Publisher: Self
Source: Author
Genre: New Adult
If you're looking for a heartwarming story about a girl who falls deeply in love with a troubled boy who changes her life--a sob story with pretty metaphors and a million ways that'll tell you how "broken" she is, STOP. Don't read another word of this.

I'm not that type of girl.

My name is Emerald Anderson and I'm not going to bullshit you: I flunked out of college after my sophomore year, I've been fired from every job I've ever taken, and I've never had a fully functioning relationship in my life.

I wish I could say that I had a cheerleader in my corner, someone who says, "No, Emerald--You're great and you are good at something!" but I don't. My grandparents are completely oblivious to my life, and my mother's dying words to me were "You're going to end up just like me one day. A beautiful nothing."

She was right.

As I decide to start my life over and take two jobs that will forever change me--one from the inside, and one from the outside, I keep my mother's words close to my heart so I can keep the sexy and mysterious Carter Black away.

He's the first man who's ever pursued me, the first man who seems bent on finding out why I am the way I am, but he's wasting his time.

I'm not broken. I don't need to be fixed. I'm perfectly fine being a beautiful failure.

My mother was a whore.

You know it's going to be a bumpy ride when a novel starts off like that. I always get anxious when reading NA novels because it's notorious for churning these gut wrenching stories that aims to make the readers cry followed by intense sex to pacify us. And as I'm a control freak, I don't want my emotions to be manipulated like that... except when I'm in the mood to play submissive and allow these brilliant authors to torture me. 

With that in mind, I had my walls up when I started reading Mariah Cole's BEAUTIFUL FAILURE. The synopsis coupled with the cover art is screaming classic new adult so I was bracing myself for heartache or something like that. Well my dear Supies, I got a little sad over Emerald Anderson's story but I was smiling and was feeling light hearted for the most part. I am a big fan of Sarcasm, it's the best way to my cold heart, and Emerald dropped some pretty dry lines that had me laughing, blunting the sharp edges of her story. 
Don't make friends. make sponsors. If you can't get anything out of someone or use them for a specific purpose, kick that person out of your life ASAP. - Leah's words of wisdom to Emerald.
Being the daughter of an escort is pretty tough, seeing a parade of men go in and out of your life with a mother who treats her daughter like a buddy than her offspring is sure to mess up anybody. Add suicide into the mix and you have a semi-broken child in your hands. Emerald cracked but didn't break, after her mother's death she moved to Blythe, Alabama with her bible thumping grandparents. Still grieving and feeling very angry, Emerald was on a downward spiral, dropping out of college after a sex tape scandal, going on drunken blurs, getting caught driving under the influence which had her going to mandatory AA meetings and paying an expensive fine. And with her pathetic customer service skills, Emerald finds herself getting fired constantly until her friend suggested she try stripping. But before you make a judgment call, let me share why BEAUTIFUL FAILURE isn't exactly your trainwreck NA novel.

Emerald Anderson dictated the tone of BEAUTIFUL FAILURE and despite her rather tragic backstory, she handled it with much spunk and sense of humor albeit dry. She's pretty, very smart, artistic, stubborn, quick witted, a go getter, loner, independent and definitely not a doormat. She's not the type of heroine who's waiting for Prince Charming to save her on his white steed, Emerald knows she's in the bind and she's doing her best to be her own savior. Until Carter Black went to Starbucks for coffee. [Side note: Emerald had a short gig as a barista and that's where they met]

Carter Black is swoon worthy and I'm majorly crushing on this boy (DIBS!!!)! First of all, Carter is a GENTLEMAN. Not the suit wearing, polished, domineering type, he is a real Southern boy. He'll open doors for you, pay for your dinner, pulls out your chair, stands up when you need to go and everything our Momma told us good a man should be! Carter Black isn't the possessive type, he won't mark you as his, he won't try to own you or pull any sort of power play to get our engines revved up. He'll COURT you with nice thoughtful gifts, take you on romantic dates, cook for you and make slow, deep, passionate love through the night. Need I say more? 
Is there a series of tests that I have to pass before I'm deemed worthy of your d!ck?
I was falling in love with Carter vicariously through Emerald and despite their obvious attraction for each other, I love how each of them played hard to get in their own way. Emerald did her best to deflect Carter's advances and Carter didn't take advantage of Emerald's vulnerability when she finally caved. Carter didn't push nor did he just want something physical with Emerald, he took his time in tearing her walls down and it's only after she's emotionally available that Carter took their quasi-relationship to the next level. The only stone left unturned is Carter's backstory. Hopefully we'll know more of him in book 2, which I desperately need right now plus that cliffhanger ending isn't really helping the situation. 

Aside from the fantastic MCs, the secondary characters of BEAUTIFUL FAILURE really helped in making the novel emotionally light. I loved Emerald's grandparents, they're Jesus lovers but not in an overbearing way. They're very understanding and supportive of Emerald which she desperately needs in her life right now. Emerald's mother, Leah, is someone I'd love to hate but from Emerald's flashbacks, I sort of understood why she was a crappy mother. Not justifying Leah's actions but it made me see that her heart was in the right place, she just didn't know any better. Her friends, Sarah and Robyn, over at the strip club are girl's girls too! Emerald grew up friendless and these two showed her the perks of having good girlfriends. Even her manager at The Phoenix, Michael, is a great dude. I was expecting a slime ball but the dude's pretty protective of his kittens so there's no shenanigans there. 
sometimes the prettiest people do the ugliest things.
BEAUTIFUL FAILURE is an amazing and surprising read. The characters are superb, the situations unforced, the dialogue snappy, the romance is swoon worthy and the plot has a lot of heart in it. It's sappy in a jagged pill kind of way but it (hopefully) won't give you bug eyes from crying. I love the small town feel contrasted with a girl with big dreams. I love that MCole didn't grind Emerald to ashes and had some dude build her back up, I'm all for girl power and I appreciate a heroine who can save herself. I love that we finally meet a hero who isn't a jackass but is a true blue gentleman, we need more good guys to root for. BEAUTIFUL FAILURE is a solid debut, MCole's Beautiful series is far from being a failure, it will leave you with happy and romantic emotions that will linger for some time. 

Beautiful Failure (Carter’s POV)

First Encounter Scene

Walking inside of Starbucks, I expect to see the familiar bubbly blonde behind the counter, the one who never bothers to ask what I want to order. She always greets me with a “Hello, Mr. Black! I’ll have your grande coffee with two hazel nut shots right away!”
But today, there’s someone new. Someone with black hair who hasn’t even bothered to look up at me. 
With her head down, she types a few buttons on the register and sighs. “Starbucks Bistro. What’s your name and what do you want?”
“Is that the new greeting now?” I smile. “Did it change recently?”
“They don’t pay me enough to make conversation,” she says flatly. “What’s your name and what do you want—Please?”
This is a first…  “Carter…Carter Black. Grande coffee with a hazelnut shot and two sugars.”
She writes on the cup and quickly turns around, mixing the drink on the back counter. From behind, I notice a small grey and black tattoo on her neck, partially hidden by her long ponytail.
What is that?
I’m admiring her ass when she suddenly turns around and gasps. 
She blinks, staring at me with her lips slightly parted. She looks as if she’s about to say something, but no words come out of her mouth. 
Her mouth. Her fucking mouth. 
Plump, pink lips. Bow shaped. Perfection.
“Are you going to give me my coffee?” I look into her dark green eyes. “Or do they not pay you enough to do that either?”
“Three dollars and seven cents.” 
I keep my eyes locked on hers as I hand her the card, wondering why I’ve never seen her in town before.  
Once she hands me my coffee, I decide to ask why. “When did you start here?” 
“Thank you for visiting Starbucks.” She rolls her eyes. “Have a nice day.”
I smile and bring the cup to my lips, never taking my eyes off hers. I can tell I’m making her uncomfortable because she’s shifting her weight from foot to foot and blinking every few seconds. 
“Is there something wrong with your coffee sir?” She purses her lips. 
The coffee is actually the best it’s ever been, but I don’t want to leave the store just yet. 
“It’s a bit bitter,” I say.
“No, it’s not.” She crosses her arms. “I just made it.”
“I’m pretty sure it is.” I hand the cup back to her. “Can you add some more sugar please?”
“There’s a condiment stand on the back wall. You can add it yourself.”
Is she serious?
I look at her nametag—Emerald, and prepare to really have some fun with her, but the familiar blonde suddenly steps next to her.
 “Mr. Black, is there something wrong?” she asks. 
“Not at all. I was just asking Emerald if she would add some more sugar to my coffee.” 
“Oh! I got it!” 
As she remakes it, I smile at Emerald—ignoring the fact that she’s scowling at me. It makes her look even sexier. 
“There you are.” The blonde smiles as she hands me the new coffee. 
I take a sip of it and immediately regret having it remade. It’s good, but what Emerald made was ten times better. 
“Much better.” I look at Emerald one last time, deciding that I’ll be back at the exact same time tomorrow. “Thank you ladies.” 
Emerald rolls her eyes and mouths “Asshole,” but she quickly forces a smile. I debate whether I should ask her to say that out loud, but I decide against it. 
I’ll have plenty of time to see her this summer…

Purchase Beautiful Failure

Mariah Cole is a Starbucks addict (hazelnut shots please!), New Adult author, and an incessant daydreamer. Known for pushing the envelope, she’s an avid reader of indie books and is always looking to chat with readers and authors alike.

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Happy holidays! I hope one of you wins :)


  1. I have to admit I almost skipped your review just based not hat cover and summary btu I'm so glad I didn't. This sounds fantastic. The only downside is that it's a series lol

    1. Yup, this book needs a cover art makeover because that lady, though sexy, isn't doing this book justice.

  2. Did you do a cover reveal for Beautiful Failure a while ago, Braine? Already when I saw the cover (which I don't really love tbh) and read the excerpt, I wanted to read about Emerald. And now, I know I'll make sure to read it as soon as possible :)

    Great review, Braine. I love sarcasm, too.

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

  3. Even though I'm not sure about the cliffhanger I want! I want! I want!

    1. The next one will be released in January I think so the wait won't be that long :)

  4. Gads, I read the synopsis and looked at the cover and thought..nah. Then I read your brilly review Braine and you totally sold it. This sounds wonderful and I love dry humor and sarcasm. I loved that it took the edge of the story and softened it a little. I so want to meet Carter and I cannot believe you called DIBS *boo*

  5. OMG, so true. NA almost always makes me want to cry. The stories!!! So happy this was a good one. It sounds effing amazing.

    1. Right?! I can't and wont binge on NA otherwise I'll lose my sanity. This one is sad but it's mostly funny so it's all good.

  6. Haha, great first line! I'm adding this one asap!

  7. LOL that is quite the attention grabbing start! Whew! I'm still not totally in to NA but have had a handful win me over. Sounds like this is gonna be one I need to give a chance :)

    1. I'm not deep into the genre too so I'm picky with the few ones I do read.

  8. Oh now, this sounds pretty great! You're opening paragraph totally had me sold, Braine. Another great review!

  9. Wow! You sure can write a review! Now you've got me wanting to read it too :)

  10. Thank you so much for this amazing giveaway!!

    A book that i DEFINATELY want to read after reading your review! x

  11. Sold! But only b/c I read your whole review. I'm not a fan of typical NA either.

    1. Oh, that's an awesome compliment, Sophia! Thanks!

  12. So Braine, it's been a long but oh have I missed your reviews! Literally as I was reading your review, which was amazing by the way, I reached over to grab my Nook Tablet and purchased Beautiful Failure, which is a rarity for me. I'm so eager to dive into it.

    This cover is HOT HOT HOT too. I hope I end up enjoying this book as much as you did, sarcasm is also my weakness. And since you've already called dibs I guess I'll have to keep my distance from Mr. Gentleman lol.

    XOXO Kayla,

    1. Hahaha! Yeah y'all can take the tortured, broken bad boys out there, I'll take this one.

  13. SOLD! I'm not so big on NA for the reasons you listed. But I also like the things you mentioned you like and I'm all for a polite southern boy! Yeah, I do love a sarcastic MC as well. I might go grab this one right now...

  14. Damn! This sounds wicked good and those teasers?? Intense! I want to pin the girl on the cover down and force feed her pizza and cookies though lol

  15. Amazing review, Braine! Damn! I'm sorry I passed on reviewing this one - but I'm one-clicking it immediately! I did the cover reveal for Beautiful Failure but didn't want to stress myself by cramming in another review right before the holidays! But I'm soooo glad you read it because now I know I'm gonna love it! Emerald seems like a unique NA heroine and I know you called dibs on Carter, but I may fight ya for him! ;) I love a gentleman...and a Southern one really trips my trigger!

    1. Yup, I'm glad I took a chance on this one too. I know you love Darcy so Carter will surely grab your attention.

  16. love when books start off exciting like that! love it!

    1. Yup, her mom was a whore and for a while there I thought she'll be one too. She almost was, good thing she didn't go down that typical route.

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