My Review of Love Hurts:
LOVE HURTS is the perfect little anthology to sink your teeth into when you're in the mood for a good tear jerker or something sweet to lift your heart. The stories and extracts in this book deal with love in all its forms; all consuming love, sweet blossoming new love, heartbreak, angst, obsession and loss. It contains a realistic mix of stories that depict love when it's sweet and caring but also shows that love isn't always easy going; it can be hardwork and sometimes destructive and upsetting. What I especially loved about this anthology is its diversity. Seriously this book is jam packed full of diverse characters, stories and authors. It really is a breath of fresh air to read such a mix of stories that discuss important issues such as race, gender identity and sexuality. It definitely broadened my horizons and allowed me to have a taster for a range of different stories that I usually don't pick up and read. I also loved how realistic and heartfelt some of the stories were. I didn't enjoy all of them but the ones I did (discussed below) I thoroughly enjoyed.
The first book HUMMING THROUGH MY FINGERS is a new short story written by Malorie Blackman herself. This instantly jumped out at me and had me captivated with its vivid descriptions and sweet story. It's beautifully written with sensual and tactile descriptions that really bring the story to life. I loved the little twist in it too that just added another layer of diversity and realism to the story.
FORBIDDEN had me reading in earnest, glued to the pages, shocked and intrigued. It was super intense and definitely had my interest. It's such an out there idea for a romance story as it deals with quite a taboo subject. This extract definitely piqued my interest. I NEED to know more; what the implications of such a thing happening is and if things go further between them. I will 100% pick this book up sometime in the future to ease my cravings for more!
YOU AGAINST ME was another super intense story that had me compelled in a "OMG what is going to happen next?" kind of way. It was shocking and I was so engrossed in its story of how relationships can be manipulative and poisonous and not always sweet and loving. It's definitely a book I'll add to my wish list after reading this juicy, provocative extract. I really want to know what happens next!
One story with such deep and interesting issues was GENTLEWOMAN. It dealt with gender issues and identity but also love, friendships, family and acceptance. The protagonist was so easy to sympathise with and the story itself was so full of heightened emotion and feeling. The ending was so sweet and it was bursting with hope.
One of my favourites was ENDLESS LOVE: THE VALENTINE OF DANIEL AND LUCINDA. This short story was so rich in history and magic and had an aura of romance and mystery surrounding it. The mention of a curse instantly piqued my interest even though it was an ambiguous part of the story. I loved the little historical details and the vivid descriptions - it really brought the world and story to life. I also loved the crossing of genres with the mix of time travel and historical fiction. It was such an interesting idea. After finishing, I was left wanting more and more. Seriously, I wish this short story was weaved into a novel. I'd definitely read it.
I was instantly entranced by THE LIAR'S GIRL. The use of the 2nd person narrative made the story so much more personal and direct, as if the narrator was talking directly to you, the reader. I was hooked with its hypnotic narrative and tension filled plot. At first, the story read as a love letter and slowly it turned into a confession, with its tone quickly turning sinister and sour, an unsettling feeling building and building as the story progressed. Yet again, this is another short story that I wish was an actual fully fleshed out, well developed novel. I'd love an ending to this story, to witness what happens after the dramatic events of story.
UNICORN is a story that combines a dramatic and tense time period with emotional issues. This story dealt with LGBT themes in such a touching way set against the backdrop of the war. It was told from the perspective of an old man, a soldier as he reflects on his time in the war aboard a warship and the strong bonds that he made. Especially one in particular. It discussed prejudice and hate, love and sexuality and was a sweet and relevant story despite it being set decades before. THE UNICORN was such a bittersweet story that really captured my attention and made me a bag of emotions. It was touching and highly emotional and achingly heart-breaking in parts.
One extract that stood out for me was definitely ECHO BOY. It was a lot less fluffy and contemporary than some of the stories in this anthology. It was futuristic, depicting a sinister dystopian society with an underlying tension. The extract was action packed and bloody, fast paced and dramatic. For all it's action and tension it also read like a Romeo and Juliet-esque love story, with a touching scene of sacrifice and love. This extract has definitely made me add ECHO BOY to my TBR list.
All in all, I really enjoyed LOVE HURTS. The original short stories were captivating and emotional - they really managed to whip up my emotions and struck a chord. What knocks a few stars off this anthology though is the fact it's filled with extracts from a number of books I've already read or books I plan to read, so I skipped them not to ruin anything for myself. But the extracts did also give me a flavour of a few different books that I now need to read to know what happens next. Some definitely had me hooked and piqued my interest enough to read on. Another thing that stopped me wholeheartedly loving this book was that I just didn't click with some of the stories - it was like I wasn't their intended audience - the Sherlock heavy one for example, I just didn't understand any of the references which isolated me as a reader from the story and its characters.
LOVE HURTS is worth reading for its original short stories alone. They're filled with powerful messages dealing with gender identity, belonging, friendships and love all wrapped up in a sweet, touching and captivating bow. It's also a great and intriguing way of experiencing new stories and discovering new authors. Definitely pick it up if you're unfamiliar with contemporary romance stories and want a little taster of what's out there!