Book Title: Thick LoveAuthor: Eden Butler
Series: Thin Love #2
Release Date: August 31st, 2015
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary Romance
He doesn’t ask their names.
He doesn’t deserve to know them.
Ransom Riley Hale's friends think his life is charmed: first string as a freshman on a championship-winning college football team. A father with two Super Bowl rings. A mother with platinum albums and multiple Grammies under her belt. But that brilliant shine on the surface hides the darkness beneath; it's all Ransom has ever known.
Despite the shadows he walked in, once there was a blinding light fracturing the darkness. It brought the promise of hope and happiness. He’d been careless, filled with pride and stupidity and lost that light. Ripped it from the world.
Now, the shadows are dimming again. Aly King surges into his life threatening to pull him from the darkness. She is everything Ransom can never be again. Her light feels too warm, promises him that there is more waiting for him beyond the shadows.
But the shadows are relentless, resurfacing when he thinks he is safe, and Ransom knows he must keep Aly from them too before he pulls her down into the darkness with him.
“Ransom, you can’t live like this.”
“Who the hell said I’m living?”
Well, color me gutted but Thick Love exceeded my expectations in so many ways! It has all the elements I crave in books that leave that everlasting impression in my mind. You know, the kind of story where you're listening to the radio and a song reminds you of the book, a character, or a certain scene. Or you're asleep at night and your dreams are suddenly technicolor scenes within the book you've just finished. This, THIS is that kind of book. Why? Well, it starts in the engrossing components of the plot and ends with the writing...the ability of the author to construct a story that touches my mind AND heart. Aly captured my mind- profound respect. Ransom captured my heart.
Thick Love delivers-
1) A kickass heroine with balls of steel. Aly had every reason to think she's a failure yet rises up above the ashes and thrives beyond measure. A person who puts HERSELF first because how can you love someone else if you can't love yourself first?
2) A gut wrenchingly tortured hero. There's tortured and there's Ransom. His inner pain and self-guilt was of epically sad proportions.
3) A secondary cast of characters that strengthen the story, their family bond further cementing the entire plot where the reader truly feels a part of their circle.
4) Beautiful, clear writing. I found this with Thin Love and Ms Butler didn't disappoint here.
Thick Love is a very compelling story of 18-year old Ransom Riley-Hale. A kid who made a fatal mistake and simply cannot get past his guilt and need for penance. His one first love is gone because of his immature carelessness. Now his life is a living penance and his grief is all-consuming. At points, his suffering and inner monologue seriously fileted me open inside. Ransom is the son of Keira and Kona from Thin Love. We were privy to his anger issues in Thin Love, briefly introduced to the girl who would change his life forever. One stupid mistake, kids being kids, and she's gone. And it's a burden on his heart he cannot shed. A burden he won't allow himself to shed. Then he meets this dancer and his shell starts to crack...
Aly King meets Ransom when she moves into a loft above Ransom's cousin's dance studio. Aly herself hasn't had the greatest parental experiences in life and she chooses to venture out at 17 years of age and try to support herself...to achieve her dreams. These two characters are the perfect example of how the different paths a person takes in response to life's tragedies can differ- and how those pivotal choices impact your life long term. Do we wallow or to we persevere? Do we choose to let the burden bury us or do we bury the burden and move forward from it? Two different souls coming together in the most unlikely chances of love and happiness.
Aly defines the term strong heroine. Wise way beyond her years, struggling dancer working three jobs to support herself for hopes of going to college, she hasn't let the sh*tty hand she's been dealt get her down. Stand up, brush off the dirt, move on. She is an example of a book character crying out to me within musical lyrics. If I had to choose a theme song depicting Aly, it would be Fight Song by Rachel Platten. Every time I hear that song, it screams Aly King.
A snippet of the lyrics- http://youtu.be/sQhGnNEFtPk
Fight Song by Rachel Platten
Like a small boat on the ocean
Sending big waves into motion
Like how a single wordCan make a heart openI might only have one matchBut I can make an explosionThis is my fight songTake back my life songProve I'm alright songMy power's turned onStarting right now I'll be strongI'll play my fight songAnd I don't really care if nobody else believesCause I've still got a lot of fight left in meNow I've still got a lot of fight left in me......
But I digress-----
Something about Ransom draws her to help him...his weakness. His profound sadness. She knows his tragic history from over a year ago, knows his reputation of how he's dealing with his guilt- yet the muscular Polynesean, black-eyed college linebacker calls for her. Can she break through his sorrow? Make him believe his penance is served...and if so, helping him will be at what cost to her?
I cannot fully comprehend the gravity of the guilt Ransom shoulders from that fateful day yet Eden Butler constructs a story that trickle feeds the reader with just enough glimpses of hope, I was feverishly turning the pages for a happy resolution for him. I can see how some readers may want to throttle him as his guilt weighed heavy which caused a fair amount of push and pull on his part, making him brush off any possible chances of love and happiness with women...with Aly. It seems never-ending, his pain, but she constructed it in a way, to resolve it with the snap of the fingers would not be true to his character, their story. This song reeks Ransom's inner monologue. His battles with grief...
Iris by The Goo Goo Dolls
And I'd give up forever to touch you'Cause I know that you feel me somehowYou're the closest to heaven that I'll ever beAnd I don't wanna go home right nowAnd all I can taste is this momentAnd all I can breathe is your lifeWhen sooner or later it's overI just don't wanna miss you tonightAnd I don't want the world to see me'Cause I don't think that they'd understandWhen everything's made to be brokenI just want you to know who I amAnd you can't fight the tears that ain't comingOr the moment of truth in your liesWhen everything feels like the moviesYeah, you bleed just to know you're alive
Aly was the true hero in this story without a doubt. The chick had backbone and I commend the author for constructing a story where the heroine puts herself FIRST. So often we see heroines a complete result of the way they were treated as a child. Unsure of themselves, victims, scared of false hope in life. This was not Aly King. She was a warrior with a backbone and stole the show for me. She's committed to Ransom but sometimes, sometimes, needing to walk away is the best for all.
“I…I love you, but I’m starting to realize that when you love someone, really love them, sometimes you have to walk away. Especially when they are destroying themselves. Sometimes that means you have to love yourself more.”
Aly was just the thing Ransom Riley-Hale needed in his life...sometimes he knew it, sometimes he couldn't reach it. The voices inside his head were louder than Aly's. But one brick at a time, she wore down his self-protective walls, self-deprivation and let that tiny flicker of light shine in...of hope for happiness...for love again.
I can't forget to mention the inclusion of Creole and all things New Orleans in Thick Love. The music, the culture of the city, the language- it was different and something I wasn't familiar with. Couple that with Kona's Polynesian background and it was completely fresh and enlightening. I LOVED touching base with Kona and Keira from Thin Love. They've got a toddler, Koa with another bun in the oven and were just the perfect family unit for Ransom and their adopted girl Aly.
I'd highly recommend Thick Love for lovers of all things uber angsty emotional. The first half dragged just a bit for me but I think that was purposeful...a slow burn.
Now to approach the elephant in the room- the infamous epilogue. Maybe it's a case of so much attention being brought to it that I had very high hopes of HATING it. I even contemplated NOT reading it...until Ms Butler
Thick Love's last chapter ends in a great spot for Ransom and Aly. The we get the Epilogue. My advice? If you're an incurable romantic, skip the epilogue. It's essentially a prequel to their next book. But if you're more of realist and can deal with unpredictable twists, go ahead- read it. To be 100% honest, I GOT it. I understood it. This is Ransom's story. It's heart wrenching and to expect a book with such a slooooow burn and devastating grief to have a snap-the-finger HEA "walk off into the sunset" ending just wasn't realistic. Remember, they're 17 and 18 years old! I feel in the epilogue, Eden Butler stayed true to her characters and their story- true to Aly's fierce independence and drive for her dreams of being a dancer. True to Ransom's struggles with grief and guilt deeply seated within his psyche. So, for that reason, the epilogue was not surprising but more true to life, especially for two very different individuals with different coping strategies. Teenagers.
Thick Love was an all around heart-breaking but hopeful story that has me filled with anticipation for their future. I'm looking forward to what Ms Butler has in store for this couple in the final installment. Thick Love was Aly's fight song, and I look forward to Ransom's long past due fight song.
And thank you Katy, for the emotional support and chats during this, fellow wildcard. Muah.
ARC kindly provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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Eden Butler is an editor and writer of New Adult Romance and SciFi and Fantasy novels and the nine-times great-granddaughter of an honest-to-God English pirate. This could explain her affinity for rule breaking and rum. Her debut novel, a New Adult, Contemporary (no cliffie) Romance, “Chasing Serenity” launched in October 2013 and quickly became an Amazon bestseller.When she’s not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, Eden edits, reads and spends way too much time watching rugby, Doctor Who and New Orleans Saints football.
She is currently living under teenage rule alongside her husband in southeast Louisiana.
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