Book Review – Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway

by Maryse on December 29, 2012 · 21 comments

in My Book Reviews

Painted Faces
Stayed up until 4am to finish this one and it was totally worth my current zombie-like state, even though I had plenty of sleep. I just woke up at noon (*gasp* I KNOW!! I NEVER do that!). But I needed my 8 hours of sleep so… I don’t feel so guilty about my extravagantly lazy Saturday. AND!!! it just means I’ll probably stay up real late reading tonight and do it again all day tomorrow. Hey! I’m back on vacation until Wednesday, so you can bet I’m living large. And by living large, I mean, reading at all hours of the day and night with no concern for socially acceptable sleep schedules. Wooohooo!! I’m on a book bender! Imma read until I pass out!!! ;)  Okay so the afternoon coffee has apparently made me a little hyper, too.

But anyway…. guess what? I woke up missing the characters of this book. Especially Nicholas (but of course!!). I LOVE when that happens. A totally unconventional love story, but not as “out there” as I thought it might be. In fact, I think I was expecting more outrageous. Maybe even for it to pull a few extra shocks out of me, but it was fairly tame. A bit slow going at times, where I found myself enjoying their developing friendship but wishing for an adrenaline rush or two.

But where I’ve bemoaned about how fast some romance books are, how quickly the characters “fall” for each other … this one really plays out the initial friendship. Sloowwwllly. Mind you, we still get that delicious “so attracted to each other” tension, but she holds him off. And with good reason. She knows he’s a player (he proves it a few times), and she’s worried about her losing her heart. So I could relate and was very willing to play along. Their relationship and the issues and drama that they faced were on a more even keel (more about a realistic connection, seeing where it goes, while attempting to remain somewhat detached).

So what’s it about?

Freda has a new, very sexy neighbor, and to her delight, they hit it off. Sure, he’s quite the flirt (and she usually spurns that kind of thing), but he’s so handsome that she can’t help but bask in it (while at the same time, telling herself he’s gonna really flip when he meets her beautiful roommate). And while she quickly realizes that Nicholas is apparently very flirty with everyone, she notices that he’s especially sexually forward with her.

“… I can be whatever you want me to be. I don’t think it is though. I think you’re the kind of woman who likes a man to take lead.” He softly jerks my hips back and presses into me every so slightly. My eyes go wide.

Which confuses her. She’s very self-deprecating, no matter how beautiful (inside and out) she really is.

I’m a comfortable six, and sometimes I like it that way. It means I don’t have to bother trying. The art of laziness is something I perfected many years ago. Often it’s nice to just sit back and be a spectator for other people’s love lives. I might not have a boyfriend, but I have cupcakes and those tasty bastards haven’t let me down yet.

He sees it too, and declares her his new best friend. And her full-on crush begins. When he asks Freda to come watch him perform one evening, she gets the surprise of her life…

The discomfort is only due to the shock of seeing my new very handsome male neighbor decked out in woman’s clothes and a face full of make up. But then, once I come to terms with the idea, (which doesn’t take very long) I feel as though all of my Christmases have come at once.

This is astounding, amazing, so incredibly thrilling. Only today a world traveling cabaret performing drag queen took me out for lunch and named me his new best friend. The idea plunges my black and white work into a vibrant techni-colour rainbow.

Ahhhhh she  tells herself. He’s gay! THAT would explain it… except? Why is he so hands-y with her?

“You think I’m gay? Even after what I said to you last night?”

And this is where I’m letting you off to enjoy them play this out in it’s entirety.

A fun (and sometimes somber) “potential romance” story. Nothing too crazy other than a more realistic look into life altering situations that mold us into who we are, while simultaneously forcing us to play a “role”.

Nicholas took a deep breath, wiped at his tears with his fingers, and went to sit down. His beautiful secret, the one that had brought him so much joy, would never be a happy, childish thing again.

A look into some of the struggles, downfalls and coping mechanisms that ensue, and some of the brilliant connections that are made in the process.

And while I did find myself sighing in frustration and … well… romantic need with this one (wishing for I dunno… more excitement I suppose), the author’s witty writing held my attention. Her character’s were alive, and I was happily, and lovingly, invested in them.

And never fear!! The author does indulge us in all sorts of stuff ;) that we look for in our romance reads. She injects it with some serious steam here and there and a few “OH NO HE DIDN’T” moments that were plenty entertaining (and agitating). Plus we get an awesome look into who he is, even as he’s trying to hide behind his various faces. Even as he tries to hide from her… his very best friend.

Oh yes. This one gets angsty, but it sneaks up on you. Once it got *there* it was fast and furious and emotionally intense for me. My heart broke at a certain point, and I lovedddd that the author drew out that anguish for me. She included every little detail and had me visualizing… and feeling it. And most of all, I loved that I believed every moment of it, of him, and of them, especially when it counted.

“Hey,” he whispers seriously. I glance back up at him.  ”You’ll always be my friend, won’t you Fred? Don’t let me f&%k this up.”

4 stars! Or… 4.5 stars! *nods* yep… —> (3.5 stars for a few of the “slower” moments, 4 stars for the majority of it, and 5 stars for that big part that had my heart and emotions 100% involved).

Thank you to the author for sending this review copy my way, and thank you to the fellow readers that took the time to let me know they loved it.  I’m so glad I got to “know” these wonderful characters!

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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Larissa Horton December 29, 2012 at 6:51 PM

That sounds wonderful… I kinda wanna stop what i’m reading now and start this….

Bonnie December 29, 2012 at 7:51 PM

80% in and loving everything about this book!

Wanda December 29, 2012 at 10:09 PM

I’m sad. I tried to get book via Barnes & Noble for my Nook..Argh!! Where can I get it? Someone, anyone help!! :-(

Joanna I December 29, 2012 at 10:46 PM

Alright alright… You sucked me in, I broke down and bought it!! :)

Rosemarie December 30, 2012 at 12:55 AM

Really enjoyed their story! Thanks :)

April H. December 30, 2012 at 1:33 AM

I just finished it and LOVED it! Couldn’t put it down

Maryse December 30, 2012 at 3:12 AM

Ohhhhh yay you guys! I LOVED the whole concert part like crazy. Still thinking about it… so perfectly detailed.

Amy December 30, 2012 at 7:04 AM

I loved this book so so so much. 5 stars for me. Just finished reading it and still am not asleep. I laughed and cried and fell in love with Viv/Nicholas. Such a great read. Sad it is over! Thanks, Maryse, for the recommendation. Love your blog!!!!

Lise December 30, 2012 at 7:08 AM

I was in a major book funk slump and this little colorful gem got me right out of it. I adored Fred and Viv and the whole cast of misfit characters. Such a refreshing change! <3

Sharon Chalk December 30, 2012 at 8:46 AM

ok, I saw your comments when you were still reading “painted faces” and tho it is not a book I would have ever even looked at twice,as I want romance,hot steamy romance,and somehow cross-dressing just did not say steamy romance to me unless it was m/m which Im just not that into tho ive read a few threesomes where the 2 men and 1 women stayed together for life and I could see how that could happen and in a situation like that the feeling the men feel for each other grow due to the love they both feel for the same woman,this seemed to be different. But on your recommendation I went ahead and purchased the book and tho Ive only had a chance to read the first 2 chapters,I am planning on finishing it tonight,thanks for recommending something new for me to try that I never would have on my own.

kelsey December 30, 2012 at 10:49 AM

I’ve said it sooooooo many times now,this one was a beauty :-)
Just finished Worth the Weight,a freebie from the list, that was well worth the read too. :-)

Amy D December 30, 2012 at 12:00 PM

Just finished this one last night and LOVED it! You fall in love with Nicholas/Viv from the start. I have no idea how you would extend their stories to another book, but I would’ve loved for this to continue.
Read Tempted by Megan Hart today and am heartbroken right now…talk about angst. On to read Everything Changes, the second installment to find out what was going on in Alex’s head….and heart.

Maryse December 30, 2012 at 1:23 PM

And it’s been a whole other day and I’m still thinking about them. You know what? I think I could totally wanna re-read this… I’ve been re-living a few of my favorite moments again and again.

Maryse December 30, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Oh Amy Tempted… wow. That was very painful at that point…

Have you read Broken? That one was my absolute favorite of her bunch, so far.

Yunet December 31, 2012 at 3:03 AM

I bought it. Read the sample after I read your review and just had to have it. Ohh please please tell me there’s no cheating, I hate cheating, I can’t. That’s my unforgivable thing.

Michaela January 3, 2013 at 3:42 AM

I loved this book, but I had a hard time connecting. The story wove instead beautifully from a tale one might think is implausible to somewhat realistic. And I totally bought every second of it. I loved the angst between Nicholas and Fred and I loved their budding friendship. It all seemed very real to me. I think because of their personalities, it just worked and I believed it! Not the typical “that happened way too fast” story. Unfortunately, I never connected and felt myself becoming (or wanting to become?) either of the characters… I much more enjoyed this story from being on the outside. It was beautiful though! Overall, 4 stars for me!! Thanks for this recommendation Maryse! I loved the unconventional-ness (don’t care if its not a word!! :) ) of this lovely tale :) I want to know Fred and Viv/Nicholas and become friends with them! If only :)

kelli January 19, 2013 at 12:30 AM

Just have to check in on this book. I am in love with thisone! Great read would have never picked it if u didn’t put it on my radar! Excellent!

Sweeta D February 6, 2013 at 11:37 AM

I really love the realness of the characters in this book. Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, was flawed just like all the people you know. I didn’t fall in love with anyone, but I loved the relationships formed throughout the book. Page by page I was drawn into their lives until the very end. And the steamy love scenes added so much depth and understanding to what they were feeling and why. I also enjoyed the sarcastic sense of humor that Freda has and her random tangents! They kept me giggling through the book.

Sarah February 20, 2013 at 4:23 PM

I bought this book and can’t wait to start it ! My bookshelves are so going to explode !

Lindsay C March 16, 2013 at 1:18 PM

I had this on my TBR for a while and I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner. What a great read. Wish there was more of Viv an Fred!

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