Blog Tour and Giveaway: Hate: A Love Story: Laurel Ulen Curtis

by - Monday, October 27, 2014

Hate: A Love Story
Laurel Ulen Curtis
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Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Life can be messy,
And love can be too.

Most people say that it’s not important where you’re going, but instead, how you get there.

Unfortunately for me, the journey to love was absolutely agonizing. Love and Hate wrestled with my life day after day, year after year, and the only way to stop it was to let one of them win.

Which one?

I fought to love harder. But I loathe my love story.

Warning: This standalone novel contains explicit language, sexual content, and potential triggers.

During the read: SPOILER FREE Facebook Group

"No bottle is big enough for human emotion. Love, hate, anger, happiness, and deep melancholy. Each one exists fro a reason. Emotion is real. It's meant to be released. It's meant to be lived."

Whitney and Blane met as young teens forging a strong connection witty rapport, and unwavering loyalty. A couple of years later, a third friend, Franny joined their crew and changed their dynamic a little but they were still all best friends, all supportive, and cared deeply.

But one choice caused a rift. And awakening awareness added complications. And it just snowballed from there with more issues and situations causing drama, stress, and heartache. 

Love, hate, friendship, jealousy, disappointment, anger, loss, abandonment, fear, and current events all swirled around their lives taking their easy going threesome and blowing each one of them apart in some way and changing everything.
"You can't see it now, baby, but this world is a big interwoven place, and everything in it happens for some cosmic reason."

Blane...I loved him. I hated him. Well I did not really ever hate him, but did hate some of actions and choices even when I thought I understood them.  He started out sarcastic, witty, loyal, protective and loving. But somewhere along the way he lost control of his life and made choices that he thought he had to make. It was hard to see this amazing young man struggle when life kept bearing down on him.

Whitney was fiery, smart, and snarky, but also had a selective focus and kept others at arm's length. But Blane bullied his way into her life and became a part of her. And she let Franny in too. But she was a bit oblivious and did not always make the best decisions. She was insecure and full of self doubt affecting her choices.

Franny was plain, sweet, genuine and was a positive addition to their group. But life sometimes throws curve balls that are hard to deflect.

So the dynamics of this group are challenged and no matter how much they cared or loved each other sometimes things change and people change especially when they are young and lack life experience.

"Well, baby. Nothing ever will be the same. Some things have happened that we can't change. And these events affect a change in people whether we want them to or not. But you have to remember that just because things can't ever be the same, does not mean that they can't ever by good again."

And with those words of wisdom,  I have to mention Grandma. OMG she was the big, bright light of this story! She was outspoken, crazy, intrusive, bossy and over the top. It was impossible not to love her. She shined in every scene she was in and thankfully provided a lot of comic relief among some of the other more serious situations. But she was also full of solid advice and support. 

I was totally tense while reading. I knew where I wanted the story to end up all along.  My heart was in suspended animation the whole time waiting to see what would happen next, feeling the emotions and pain, and just wanting to hold on to the glimmers of happiness. It was seriously nerve wracking and heartwrenching. My heart broke over and over for them. But mixed in were times of real connection, sweetness, and lots of humor too.

This is a story that had ups and downs, but was mesmerizing, emotional and heartfelt. Sometimes it frustrated me, but even when I wanted to hate it, I still loved it even when I thought my heart could not take anymore. The connection between the characters was so deep and intense that you could feel it. Sometimes I wanted to throttle them because they did not do what I wanted them to. I was so invested in their story and their outcome that I had to resist the urge a couple of times when I was itching to skip to the end to hopefully put my heart at ease. These characters went through so much, lost so much time and people they cared about. There was a lot of drama, angst, pain, and intense situations. It was heartbreaking but also poignant and beautiful how strongly they were tied and how strong their connection really was. Time, distance, anger, hate was no match for strong abiding friendship and love.  But what a journey it was with twists and turns that took my breath away, frustrated me, and made me cry. There were also plenty of times I smiled, laughed, and swooned. And even though the subject matter of the book could have ended up  dark and depressing, I did not feel that vibe from this book. Yes, it was tension filled, emotional, and sad, but there was also humor, romance, and positive situations that helped balance it. The result was a deeply touching story with memorable characters, depth, and a powerful message of the importance of loving and living life to the fullest. And that hopefully in the battle of love vs. hate that love will eventually be the victor. 

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 
This was such an emotional story. I spent the first half both loving and hating the experiences Whitney and friends were experiencing. And the second half? As much as I spent it grinning, I did a lot of it through tears.

Until Blane forces his way into her life in middle school and adds a second friend to her circle, Whitney doesn’t really have friends outside of her family. Whitney, Blane, and Franny become inseparable, even as Blane and Franny start dating in high school. The trio are not complete unless they are all there. But as events transpire that cannot be taken back, the pain becomes too much for the trio to remain as is.

Whitney is a tough nut who lets few people in. And even with Franny and Blane, who are in her inner circle, she holds herself apart emotionally. She is close to her family though, and I loved the way she eventually turned to her grandmother for help. 

Blane is one of those people who is fiercely loyal and feels deeply. He was the glue that pulled Whitney and Franny together, and he worked hard to be what each girl needed of him. He loved them both, in their own ways, and I hated what he went through, especially in high school. But what those events showed about his personality was priceless and necessary for readers (and Whitney) to understand him in the second half.

And sweet, quiet Franny kept herself apart, but in a completely different way than Whitney. She was the one who needed the other two to keep her steady. When she joined the group, I started to put together what her ultimate place in the trio would be, but still loved her, loved the sweetness she brought to two otherwise stoic people, but hated where she left things as well. 

This is a triangle, but it’s also not (and there is no cheating, physical or emotional). It’s realistic. It’s what happens when three friends grow up together. But as the third wheel, Whitney sees the tenderness between Franny and Blane and wants nothing but for her two best friends to be happy, however that may happen. It is equal parts real and model, but it is as heartbreaking as it is heartwarming. And that moment Whitney sees what she feels is love? That was a crushing moment. 

Part of what made this triangle NOT a triangle was the time gap. There was such a huge amount of time between the first and second halves of the book that while yes, in high school there was the feeling of a triangle, by the time they reach adulthood, the only thing left of that time is the memories. So folks who hate triangles, PLEASE don’t let that turn you away from this book. Because that time gap? Absolutely makes this story. Without it, those emotions that are brought out in the high school scenes would be too raw to continue the story. The story needed that time as much as the characters did, and it changed everything. 

And Whitney’s grandma? I loved her. Her antics had me in hysterics, laughing even during some of the saddest moments in the book. As a constant in Whitney’s life, she doles out some great advice and frustration as only family can dish out. 

This was not an easy story, but it kept me enthralled, turning pages, wiping tears to the point my eyes were puffy and cheeks were raw. But it also found me hoping and laughing and smiling. There are some tough subjects, consequences for actions that lead characters to anger, sadness, depression and worse. But there is also time, healing, laughter, and ultimately love.

I was gifted a copy in exchange for an honest review. 
Laurel Ulen Curtis Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads

Laurel Ulen Curtis is a 27 year old mother of one. She lives with her husband and son (and cat and two fish!) in New Jersey, but grew up all over the United States. She graduated from Rutgers University in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in Meteorology, and puts that to almost no use other than forecasting for her friends and writing a storm chasing heroine! She has a passion for her family, laughing, and reading and writing Romance novels. She’s also addicted to Coke. The drink, not the drug.

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