Beautiful Oblivion: A Novel (The Maddox Brothers Series)
<— Oh you KNOW I was on the edge of my seat for an entire year for this book. I am a MADDOX-MAN devotee, and I couldn’t wait to indulge in yet another angsty-feisty-firey Maddox alpha male full of romantic passion and jealous rage. I know, I know… doesn’t sound healthy of me to swoon over a guy that is that intense, and all claim-ey-like, but I can’t help it. I LOVE THEM. At least the “book-them”.
Travis was my very “first” of this kind of guy, and I was swooooooning. Screaming about him from the rooftops, and then chastising myself when he’d pummel yet another guy that got too close to Pidge. Having to remind myself that he might be more of a “run away fast” kind of guy (if you ask those not already in love with him). But I went with it, and I don’t take a moment of my Travis-love back. In fact, I love him more with each new “book-boyfriend” I meet. Even the gorgeous, equally alpha, equally hot, almost identical to Travis in every way, Trenton.
Oh don’t get me wrong. If you loved Travis, Trenton will likely satisfy that Maddox-sweet-tooth. How lucky are we that the author plans to give us a book for each of them? I’ll read each and every one. Of course, I still have my favorite (so far) and yep, even as much as I enjoyed this one, my beloved Travis still owns my heart. But ANY time with a Maddox man is a good time for me. ‘Cause you know what? Those guys just DO it for me.
So what’s it about?
Cami is struggling in her relationship with her boyfriend TJ. He’s gorgeous, he’s successful, he’s BIG. Strong. He’s everything she wants. Yet… he’s too career-driven to give her the time their relationship needs to thrive. And when he moves away to California for his job (and they attempt a long distance relationship), Cami suffers. TJ seems to love her… but. You know how that goes. I think Cami loves him more. And the fact that TJ is sort of a mystery, and there’s this big secret looming overhead about him… them… well. I was suspicious.
Enter Trenton. A known “player” (in fact, she went to high school with him) and has avoided him like the plague.
“Did he just drink your shot? Did that really just happen?”
“Who does that?” I said turning to see where he went. He’d already disappeared into the crowd.
“A Maddox boy.”
She knows ALLLLL about the Maddox brothers and does her best to steer clear of them.
Everyone knew Trenton Maddox was bad news, but that never seemed to stop women from trying to tame him. Watching him since grade school, I promised myself that I would never be a notch on his headboard…
He flirts with her in the bar she works at, and she rebuffs him. But how long can one rebuff a hottie like Trenton that is so intent on getting her attention. A sweet friendship turns into a slow-burning need. Making them (and us) want it SO bad.
“I was just thinking now was as good a time as any to acknowledge that you’re perfect and it would suck if you fell madly in love with me anytime soon.”
“I have a boyfriend.” I reminded him.
He waved me away. “Speed bump.”
*sigh* <— My actual NOTE in my ebook was “swooooooooooooon“.
Cami’s got a bad family. A bad childhood. An abusive father. An abused mother.
And you already know a bit about the Maddox-clan. Great father, bruiser brothers, deceased mother <— SO sad. But Trenton has an added heartache. An accident that caused the death of his girlfriend.
And that’s where I’m leaving it.
But let’s talk about Trent.
Trenton looks like Travis. Is slightly older than Travis. As strong and protective (and practically unbeatable) as Travis. Trenton is just as much of a sweetie as Travis. Maybe a bit more level-headed (which is a PLUS in many of us alpha-lovers books).
Unlike his brother, I could tell that Trenton would rather not fight. He just wasn’t afraid to, and like the other Maddox boys, it was engrained in him as a default option for solving a problem.
Some might even consider him “an upgrade” from Travis because of all that. AND!! Trenton is full of that blazing ferocity.
“You have a pretty boy for a boyfriend?” Disappointing!”
“He’s not a pretty boy. He’s a badass. Just in a different way than you.”
Yah, but to me, Trenton is puurrrrrfect. <— YES. I just purred.
So why am I not head-over-heels with him? Well… I am, if we only consider Trenton.
But honestly? I don’t know. He had everything I look for in my ultimate book-boyfriend, AND he had that “Maddox” plus, but… while I read this entire book in practically one sitting, and while I found my hand on my chest at times, feeeeeeling him (them), I never found my “love fog”. With Travis (on my first read AND all of my consecutive reads <— yes I read it 5 times, so my Travis love was not a fluke), I find myself in a love fog for at least a few days. Unable to start any other book, while I indulge in my over-the-top book-crush, each and every time.
So that’s it. Just that.
The fact that, while I loved reading this, I didn’t completely lose myself to it. Lose myself in Trenton, like I did with Travis, and for that, I’m giving this one 4 stars. Great read, entertaining, a big secret that will keep you guessing and a *boom!!!* reveal that will have you backtracking (either in the book, or in your mind), trying to find the clues and associate them with the truth. So all of that is good!
But I also found myself tripping over a few details, which may be the other reason I didn’t lose myself.
SKIP THIS NEXT PART if you haven’t read this yet. I won’t spoil it, but I will analyze a few of the parts that held me back, somewhat.
1.) Saying Trenton was pretty much identical to Travis might have made it a bit “too easy” of a way to describe Trenton. Of course, I LOVE the fact that he looks just like Travis (if we go with the Travis in my head, Trenton is the hottest thing EVER!!). And yes, we get a glipmse of his tattoos, and his smirk, and his adorable grin and his goofiness. And those dimples. But at times I found that there was not enough personally distinguishing detail and emotionally intense moments with him as a character, for me to latch on to, deeply. Oh I could see him (Jamie is the queen at making us “see” her men perfectly). Their grins…
“Land that one, Trent. She’s right up your alley.”
“She has a boyfriend,” Trenton called to her, staring into my eyes and grinning.
Can’t you just SEE that perfectly?!! I mean, I can practically see the twinkle in his eye, his bratty posture as he leans on the counter, staring at her, grinning like a brat, while talking about her as if she’s not even there.
Yep. Their dimples, their brooding facial expressions, their silly, bratty actions. SO REAL.
Trenton leaned down and grabbed my hands, forcing me to smack myself in the face a few times. It didn’t hurt, but being the little sister of four brothers, this, of course, meant war.
Tee hee!! Maybe that’s what I love most about the Maddoxs. They are silly. Fun. Bratty. GORGEOUS. And they’re total guys.
“I didn’t kill her,” Trenton said quietly.
“I know,” I said. I patted him couple of times, and then dug my keys out of my purse. “You okay?”
“Yeah,” he said. His eyes lost focus, and I could see that he wasn’t. I knew exactly what it was like to get lost in a bad memory, and even over a year later, just one mention of the accident had sent Trenton down the rabbit hole.
“I’ve got a bottle of Crown at my apartment and some lunch meat. Let’s drink until we throw up ham sandwiches.”
Awwww. *sniff* He’s both sad, AND sweet, and goofy. And a bit a gross.
When they’re happy, we can see it. When they’re furious, we can fear it. When they’re sad, we can feel it.
But while I just wanted to cuddle Travis HARD, and cried with him as he did. While I could practically see every breath he took, feel his every heartbeat, I didn’t seem to connect to Trenton as acutely. Ahhhh but going back over some of my favorite highlighted parts, I sure am feeling him now. WHOA. My heart.
However, yes. It is VERY possible that Travis has ruined me for all (many?) others, as I read ‘em. Perhaps even his entire Maddox clan. I’m willing to give them all a go, though. *blush* <— OMG did I just say that!???
2.) The whole “Trenton’s always been into her BIG time” reveal was a great bit of detail (helped nix that whole “insta-love” issue since they’ve known each other since they were children). But my problem? I didn’t feel it. I knew it, but I didn’t get to experience it (as a memory, or as a private conversation, or as a deep, heartfelt confession). Perhaps had there been some “backtracking” memories from their childhood, in their teens (even through her eyes) that would have hinted to her that she *might* be special to him… that might have helped me feel that long-time slow burning love, but it was more of just a “fact” that was told to us every once in awhile as their current story progressed.
3.) The similarities to the Beautiful Disaster storyline. The friends-only, the push and pull, the “EVERYONE KNOWS BUT YOU!!!” moment. <— Er… wait. Those are also the parts I LOVED! See? I can’t make up my mind. One part of me says too similar to BD, but the other part of me says… “but THAT’S what I loved!!!” <— *sigh* Who knows what my problem is? But romance-wise, this one almost seemed… faster-paced. Or maybe too easy-ish. It didn’t have me to be DYING for it, you know? I wanted it, but I wasn’t drowning in it.
4.) The twist. <— VERY cool reveal (kind of neat how it “came to light” and kind of gasp-worthy in it’s own right), but I was somewhat confused once the secret was revealed. I “got it”, and I was all…. Wait. Whaaaaa??? REALLY!?? THAT!!???? How did I miss that? Wait. Am I wrong? I wondered if I missed something along the way. Mind you I had NO idea what was coming (I had all sorts of other theories), so when it came to fruition, I blinked. Blinked again. And then backtracked one whole chapter and started it again, ’cause I wondered, did I just miss something? Then I realized, nope… no revealing “tidbits” to devour (just teeny tiny ones that kept me in the dark until that very last line), and it kind of ends on a *boom* <—- POW! And I was all… “Okay, so it IS what I think it is.” How did I feel? Interested for more… thinking how clever Jamie was for THAT, but kind of bummed that I couldn’t “LIVE” that other… ummm… thing. Okay I’m stopping there. Maybe… ?? Nope. *lips are sealed*
So yes, I have a love/resentment issue with that reveal. I find it clever, and… it kind of makes me stomp my foot. I want more! I want to understand more. I want to whine about a certain part of it. But… I think this is a case of “patience young grasshopper”. So fine! *pout* *stomp*
I guess overall? This one just felt a little… “safer”. And I mean, when it came to BD, I was BLOWN away. I was falling for the guy that our moms warned us about, and boy did the crazy happen!!! In this one? Hrmmm… safer. Much safer. Which actually might appeal to many that struggled with Travis. Me on the other hand. I say bring on the book-crazy!
What I loved?
1.) Well, Trenton, obviously. Don’t let my obsessive love of Travis, keep you from trying Trenton. There are many that loved Trenton even more. Travis just changed me at the DNA level, and so… you know. That can’t be trifled with.
TRAVIS IS MINE. I mean Pidge’s. …. *mumbles under her breath* —> mmmmmiiiiiiinnnnnnneeeeeeee
2.) What else I loved? I loved that it all happened during the same timeline as Travis’s story. It was as if I was home again, just living the Maddox life through a different set of eyes. Hey I’ll take ANY set of eyes if I’m living amongst the Maddoxs.
3.) And! I loved how often Travis was in this one. We actually get to see him in some of the off-screen moments that we experienced through Abby’s eyes in Beautiful Disaster. Remember those girls he met at the bar and took home? YES. THAT NIGHT. UGHHHHH!!!! THIS ONE has us at the bar with him, meeting them… yep. Even more glimpses into Beautiful Disaster, and I won’t say no to that.
4.) What else I loved? Well… that twisty reveal ’cause I’m curious about… *whoops* *lips sealed* Yes I was confused. Yes I was a bit bummed ’cause I was teased all the way through, ’cause I couldn’t stop guessing all the way through, and when that crazy truth came out… it was suddenly over. For now… But I still find it all a bit clever. Which makes me anxious.
SO all that to say, I enjoyed it! I read this one quickly, barely put it down (if I did at all). Sure, I may not re-read it like I do, Beautiful Disaster, but I’ll gladly accept it into my beloved Maddox collection, and hope for even more intensity and emotion in the next Maddox book.
P.S. Thank you to the publisher for sending me a review copy!
P.P.S. CAREFUL going down in to the comments… lots of stuff sort of said (or might be said) that could be spoiler-ish so if you haven’t read this yet, I suggest holding off reading the comments… (or skimming lightly, if you must).