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July 22, 2015

Disliked It: Love Lies Beneath by Ellen Hopkins

Series: Love Lies Beneath 1
Format: eGalley
Release Date: July 21, 2015
Publisher: Atria
Source: eGalley
Genre: Women's Literature

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Collateral comes a gripping novel about a woman caught in a love affair that could be her salvation...or her undoing.

Tara is gorgeous, affluent, and forty. She lives in an impeccably restored Russian Hill mansion in San Francisco. Once a widow, twice divorced, she’s a woman with a past she prefers keeping to herself.

Enter Cavin Lattimore. He’s handsome, kind, charming, and the surgeon assigned to Tara following a ski accident in Lake Tahoe. In the weeks it takes her to recover, Cavin sweeps her off her feet and their relationship blossoms into something Tara had never imagined possible. But then she begins to notice some strange things: a van parked outside her home at odd times, a break-in, threatening text messages and emails. She also starts to notice cracks in Cavin’s seemingly perfect personality, like the suppressed rage his conniving teenage son brings out in him, and the discovery that Cavin hired a detective to investigate her immediately after they met.

Now on crutches and housebound, Tara finds herself dependent on the new man in her life—perhaps too much so. She’s handling rocky relationships with her sister and best friend, who are envious of her glamour and freedom; her prickly brother-in-law, who is intimidated by her wealth and power; and her estranged mother. However perfect Tara’s life appears, things are beginning to get messy.

Writing in beautiful prose, Ellen Hopkins unveils a new style while evoking her signature poetic form that readers fell in love with in Collateral and Triangles.



I was very excited to read LOVE LIES BENEATH by Ellen Hopkins because it's her first adult novel, and it's written in prose. If you're familiar or have read EHopkins, you know that she tackles unpretty storylines, with unapologetic and messed up characters, and tells the story in such beautifully structured poetry. So it goes without saying that I was disappointed that this novel was a dud for me.

Let me start from the beginning. I had a good time getting to know Tara. She's not likable in the sense that you'd want to be friends with her. Tara might be gorgeous and rich, but she's a barracuda, a bitch, and some people might even call her the C-word. It's not warranted, Tara IS an abrasive character and one of the driving forces that will keep you reading is you want to know how she became like this. Tara might be easy to hate, but there's also something fascinating about her unapologetic brashness similar to all the Amy Dunnes populating this genre of late. 

Let me also insert here that EHopkins didn't deprive us of her poems all together, there were a few inserted in between chapters which were delighted me.

Things unravled for me in the second half and here are the reasons why:
  • The tepid romance. Tara's has admitted that she's never been in love and her marriages were similar to business partnerships with fringe benefits. And so when Dr. Cavin Lattimore came in her life, I expected this blazing, life-changing romance that will awaken Tara's softer side. The sex was hot, Cavin didn't run out of romantic gestures, but Tara came across unaffected. This romance didn't feel like a love connection to me, but another relationship destined to fail.

  • A quarter in, Tara started getting these threatening messages which popped here and there but there's no active follow through. The big reveal was also a let down and totally harmless. 

  • No noticeable character development. In the beginning, Tara was exciting and I love the dark shadows of her character. However all the changes and recent interactions in her life didn't change Tara, it didn't make her maternal, more loving, kinder, tolerant. NOTHING. Tara is still Tara and she slowly but surely bored me in the end.

Still, don't take my word for it. I'm just but one reader in a sea of many. So don't scratch this off your lists yet, I still recommend that you read LOVE LIES BENEATH if it's already in your TBR. 




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Thirsty Thursday & Hungry Hearts
hosted by Lexie of Unconventional Book Views








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49 comments:

  1. it's too bad that Tara didn't evolve and stayed like that. I didn't know about this one but I think I would have been a bit annoyed too... I think I'll pass.

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    1. I don't mind bitches, but give me something else about her to love/hate.

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  2. Sorry this wasn't a better read for you. I love prose to, it can be a nice change of pace so I might check out her other work and see if I like it.

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    1. I suggest her verse books, they're better IMO

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  3. Character development is really important to me when it comes to books with unlikeable characters, so I highly doubt I'd enjoy this one better than you did. Also, I'm always complaining about not feeling the love connection in some romance novels, so I completely understand where you're coming from.
    I've heard good things about this author's YA books, so I think I'll just start there.
    Sorry this was a disappointment, Braine! :(
    Great review!

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    1. I just might be a hopeless romantic but I think love should be transofrmative. Always. regardless of the situation.

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  4. I love Ellen Hopkins' verse novels, too. And yes, you're right, she doesn't pull punches. All the ones I've read of hers aren't for the weak of stomach. Sorry you didn't like this one.



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  5. Sorry to hear that this one didn't work well for you with the not so hot romance and the lack of character development

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    1. I can do away with the romance but not the character development

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  6. I've never read any of her books, but I don't think I'll start with this one. I want to be wowed by her writing and this doesn't seem likely to do that. Still, I'd probably read it if I like her other work. Great review!

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  7. It may be only one opinion but it's one that I trust and E Hopkins isn't an author I read and really I have a hard time reading a book when disliking the main character. Thanks for your honest opinion!

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    1. It's hard because I love her other novels.

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  8. Awww hope your next read is more to your liking!

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  9. Tepid romance makes me say meh

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  10. To bad you didn't enjoy this one, Braine, but at least you got a very good drink-quote to use for Thirsty Thursday ;) I kind of want to try the cointreau with blood-orange juice now ;)
    Have a terrific Thursday!

    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    1. Always looking for the positive, Lexxie!

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  11. The lack of character development can be so frustrating. Sorry you didn't like it... I suspect I wouldn't either - tepid romance vs hot sex? That there unbalance puts me off right away.

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    1. I can skip the sex, I've read enough erotica to last me several lifetimes.

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  12. I can't get behind main characters that annoy me, and she really doesn't sound like a likable character at all.

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    1. I can take that, just like in Gone Girl and Luckiest Girl Alive, I like the change. But I want to see that person's other side too

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  13. That's interesting - I got a request to review this but I was on the fence.

    I don't care if a heroine is unlikable and doesn't acquire any likable traits - but she does need to be interesting and it doesn't sound like Tara is.

    Karen @For What It's Worth

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    1. She was unable to hold my interest after the first half. bummer

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  14. I have tried to try to read a book with a main character (or more) I can't stand. I just can't enjoy a book about people I hate. ://

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    1. Lol, I don't mind them, I love villains, but they have to have dimensions in them

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  15. This might be wrong, but I felt some relief when I saw your post. I have this book for review but just not feeling it. So... I don't feel too bad about ditching it now.

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  16. Oooh your comment on my blog is rooted from this, huh? We've had our fair share of crushed expectations with books!

    I don't like stories with no character development, unless it's a series. But even characters in great series develop within the volume.

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    1. Exactly, she just had another life changing experience so it only follows that she sort of changes with it too? Maybe she did but it was too subtle for me to see or contrast with her previous self

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  17. No character development is bad then the tepid romance, yuck!

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    1. Hahaha, "yuck", that's so funny! Well I wouldn't use that here, more like I'm disappointed.

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  18. I confess that the blurb had me eager, but your assessment has me stepping back. Maybe I'll get it at the library sometime.

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  19. Aw sad that it was a dud for you. Hopefully the next will work better for ya.

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  20. Although there's some great sex scenes here, it sounds like the lack of plot and character development wasn't very interesting. Thanks for the review Braine!

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  21. Goodness! When I read the blurb, I was all in and ready to go, I like a story that has some depth. But a person with this type of personality as explored in the book and doesn't change, is simply a narcissist who fails to bring anything to the table. That being said, I'd love to see other novels from this author as she seems interesting. Hugs...and Happy Friday

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    1. I was expecting Amy Dunne here, all I got was what you said.

      Thanks, Ro!

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  22. I feel bad that this book wasn't for you SW. Sometimes some books sound so good and then they are let downs. Great review.

    Grace @ Books of Love

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  23. Not completely following through on a subplot is something that would bug me, along with the MC being the same as she was when you first met her. Hope your next read is more enjoyable!

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    1. Thanks, Lee. Who knew picking books can be such an adventure!

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