These books are vastly different and both were terrific. First up is A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole. So, “love” may not be exactly the right word to describe my listening experience. I don’t normally gravitate to the super sad books. But Rune and Poppy’s story was addicting to me and I pushed through the tears.
A Thousand Boy Kisses is a YA tearjerker that walks the line of being so saccharine that it’s almost cringey. The thousand kisses referenced in the title are a jar of blank paper hearts given to Poppy by her grandmother, right before the grandmother dies. She challenges Poppy to get a thousand special kisses and record each one on a heart. Poppy is a quirky Mary Sue-ish MC who plays the cello like a boss, has a sunny optimistic view on life and falls in love with her next door neighbor, Rune. They are best friends to lovers, until Rune’s family (originally from Norway) move back to their home country temporarily. The young lovers are destroyed. This is the first time my eyes watered.
They stay in touch, make promises to each other, there will be no one else, they are soul mates. Inexplicably, Poppy cuts all communication off with Rune. She moves away from her small town in Georgia for two years. Rune’s family eventually moves back, just in time for Poppy to return to school with a big awful secret. This is the second time my eyes watered.
And from there, I feel like my eyes were in a state of constant tears for nearly every chapter till the end.
Rune returns to Georgia as the bad boy, so crushed by Poppy pulling away from him that he’s a jerk to his dad, smokes cigarettes and is super sullen. Some authors in this situation would build in unnecessary angst and drag out the pain between these two characters for nearly the entire book. But, that was not the case with Cole. And, the focus of the book wasn’t the lack of communication or the moments when they grew apart. It was so much about them together. Rune is the perfect boyfriend!!
Was there an HEA? Great question! For me…hmmmm….. I don’t think so. I think for some readers with more, perhaps faith, they would say yes, absolutely. I still highly recommend this book. I enjoyed the story, the romance, the characters, even the over sweetness of the entire thing wasn’t a deal killer for me. I was just so sad at the end. It was soooo good…but sooo sad! I googled the author, looking for more closure. I actually found a video she did for Facebook a couple of years ago that added more context to the ending. It helped me reconcile my feelings.
Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover was another winner. I know I blend in with all the other fan girls for Hoover and some readers might be tired of her by now. Nope. Not me. I could read her 24/7.
Ugly Love is the steamiest of Hoover’s books, so far. Tate is a nurse and Corbin’s sister. She moves to San Francisco for grad school and lives with him. Corbin is a pilot and the apartment complex where they live is full of pilots. Kind of a dream come true. :)
Tate meets Miles, the pilot across the hall from their apartment, and they start to like each other. They keep their affair quiet and continue with the good times. Miles has two hard and fast rules for Tate. First, don’t ask about the past. Second, don’t expect a future. He just wants to be F buddies. Tate agrees because she’s a busy lady with work and school. No time for love.
They have a lot of sex. That’s pretty much all they do. They’re insanely attracted to each other.
The book goes back and forth between Miles in high school and Miles present day. Tate doesn’t ask any questions that violate the rules, however… she’s starting to catch feelings. The rules have everything to do with what happened in high school with Miles. He wants to love Tate. He misses her when he’s out flying. He can’t get enough of her… and he can’t fall in love. He won’t look in her eyes when they’re intimate and whenever she starts to get a bit curious and push him, he gets cold and distant.
Oh Miles… the chapters leading up to the tragedy that happened in high school was like a ticking time bomb for me. I knew with every chapter I was getting closer to something so explosive and heart breaking. I had a pretty good idea of what it was, but it still smacked me hard. A real knock out blow.
Present day Miles is a bit of a dick. Until he wasn’t. When all was revealed, I got him. He’s a broken man who had the worst kind of tragedy and at such a young age. While Tate openly said she was ok with the F buddy situation, she was always sure she could convince him to be more. They had that constant push and pull, the angst missing from A Thousand Boy Kisses is 100% in Ugly Love. I loved this book. The audio was great! The tragedy of Miles’ life is unimaginable. I don’t know how you ever move on from that. For years, he locked in on a certain life. It wasn’t really living… just existing. Until Tate.