Babes and Books Review: Confess by Colleen Hoover

Babes & Books

Babes & Books is the name that Rachel at Confessions of a Book Geek, Brandie at Brandie is a Book Junkie, and I have named our irregular, conversational joint reviews. You might’ve seen our last review of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith. What follows is our joint review of Confess by Colleen Hoover. Fair warning: There are some minor spoilers in this review, but we couldn’t do it justice without them!

​Brandie: I am SO excited to discuss this one! My love for CoHo apparently knows no bounds, and I loved pretty much everything about this book.

Rachel: My anticipation levels for this book were HIGH, knowing the artwork element was going to be included made me swoon for this book before even seeing it, and the artwork really didn’t let me down, in fact I want to own one of the prints so bad (edit: I found out you can buy them here!). After finishing the book I had to give myself a couple of days to think it over before discussing it. I love CoHo but didn’t want to be biased and automatically love this book without being critical of it. I had a couple of minor issues with it, but overall I really enjoyed it.

Stef: My anticipation level was pretty high as well – mostly because of how freaking excited the two of you were! I LOVE books that include art or some other kind of medium (music, pull outs, maps, etc.) as I feel they really add to the story, and I think the artwork in Confess really lived up to that anticipation level. I would really like to own some prints of the art too. I thought the story was cute and I absolutely loved the banter! Overall, I liked it, but some things left a bad taste in my mouth.

Confess by Colleen HooverRachel: OK, let’s get into this! When I first started reading Confess I was tad confused, I feel Tarryn Fisher has rubbed off on Hoover (from them collaborating on Never Never), because this read had more of a mystery element than we’re used to with CoHo, particularly at the start as we try to piece together what is happening to which characters, and how they all fit together.

Hoover did a great job with this story-line, my only minor complaint is how successful Owen is at 21. The maturity level of Hoover’s characters makes me feel like a toddler sometimes…

Brandie: There’s no denying that there is an element of suspense and mystery throughout the entire book, and I LOVED that. I’m a big fan of suspense novels, and CoHo did an awesome job with it. I loved the shock factor of the reveals throughout the book, and the ending – how it all wrapped up blew my mind. I can NEVER see anything coming when it comes to CoHo books, she’s constantly surprising me and keeping me on the edge of my seat.

To be honest I didn’t really think about the age thing, Aubrey and Owen had already been through so much in their lives that they seemed older.

Stefani: I liked it. I didn’t love it, but I liked it. I enjoyed most of the book but I wanted to like the romance so much more than I actually did. I felt like the chemistry between Aubrey and Owen was somewhat forced at times, but I also had heart-eyes and swoony moments several times too. I think I’ll eventually need to do a reread, because I’m still not sure if I liked Confess or not. I’m so torn.

Auburn irritated me because, while she was sweet and kind, she was also a doormat. She didn’t stand up for herself and wasn’t really her own person, and I hate that in female protagonists. Yes, I understand not all women are strong or independent, etc., but to let yourself be run over like that all the time is irritating to me. She was SO indecisive. I can’t connect with a character who’s self-esteem is SO low and who lets everyone run over her SO much. What did you guys think?

Rachel: When it comes to the romance itself and the forced feeling, I did think it was verging too close to being insta-love at times. Realistically, Owen and Aubrey hardly knew each other when they developed this strong connection and I wish that had have been fleshed out a little more at the start to make it more realistic.

I could understand Aubrey’s doormat ways because of the situation she was in. Though I did have a problem with one scene in particular because she didn’t fight back. I’m not sure how I’d react in that circumstance, I don’t think any of us do unless we’re in it, but I’d like to think I’d put up one helluva fight.

Brandie: Was the love a little fast for me? Maybe a little, but I didn’t focus on that because I had a feeling from the get-go that Owen and Aubrey knew each other somehow. I guess that made it more realistic and easier for me to believe.

I could sympathise with Aubrey when it came to being a doormat for a large part of the book. Without being too spoilery – doing whatever it takes for someone you love, I got that.

Stefani: I completely agree about the insta-love thing. They were actually in each others’ presence for what? A WEEK? They fell for each other too quickly and too intensely, which definitely came across in the book. I agree that’s what felt forced to me. I still swooned, but occasionally I also rolled my eyes.
Rachel: Agreed, though I loved Owen’s POV, it felt much more “real” than a lot of male POVs I read because he wasn’t always politically correct, and he wasn’t overly lovey dovey (at least at the start anyways). Smushy romance can be swoonworthy when you’re in the right headspace, but sometimes it can just rub me up the wrong way because it’s overdone to the point where it isn’t realistic. *Sigh* I LOVED the banter, I have such a soft spot for Owen.

Brandie: I agree, I love when a book shows both POVs – getting into the guy’s head and his feelings is such an added bonus. Plus the amazing artwork. CoHo added so much to this book to make it incredible!

Stefani: I seriously love dual POVs – especially if one or both is a guy. I like getting into a guy’s head.

My big issue with this book was the cheating. It’s the second CoHo book I’ve read that this happens in. I’m not sure what it says about CoHo, or if it just happens to be the two that I’ve read. I know it happens in real life too, but I hate how easily the characters rationalize it. I guess to me there isn’t much of a gray area when it comes to cheating. It obviously didn’t ruin CoHo for me, or my enjoyment of the book, but I just wish she’d think of other ways to get characters out of relationships. You know, like just breaking up. Do you guys get where I’m coming from?

Rachel: It’s times like this I begin to question my morals! I definitely get where you’re coming from, especially the whole breaking up with someone instead of cheating on them thing, BUT I’ve been cheated on and when I read CoHo’s books, I can still see how the cheating in these cases is far from black and white. Hoover always does this to me, there’s always at least one thing in her books that makes me… “uncomfortable”. It can verge on ugly, but it’s real, and I appreciate fiction that doesn’t shy away from ugly.

I find it so difficult to explain my stance on this – probably because it can be such a grey issue. Cheating is one of those topics that causes a divide among readers, and with CoHo I struggle to see it in terms of “wrong” or “right” because she’s so damn good at tapping into human emotion and presenting a scenario that makes you question your stance. I think she handles it really well.

Brandie:  This is what I love most about CoHo’s writing – the fact she makes you think. Her stories are always unique and she incorporates some sort of controversial issue, proving that everything isn’t always black and white. That is what I think makes a great author. She pushed a lot of buttons with this one – clever lady.

When it comes to the cheating,I totally get what you’re saying, but I agree with Rachel on this – CoHo portrayed it in a way that made it not feel like cheating. Could the characters have dealt with it differently?Probably. But in the situation Aubrey was in, most rational thought goes out the window. It’s unfortunate that both CoHo books you’ve read involve cheating, because she incorporates other major issues in her books too. They aren’t just fluffy feel-good reads. I expect a HEA from all of them, but it’s never an easy journey getting there. You should try Slammed or Hopeless.

Stefani: There were two parts in this book that made me want to stop reading, but then you have CoHo’s writing that is so freaking wonderful and feels-inducing that it’s SO hard not to keep reading. CoHo’s writing is just so gripping. I liked Confess, but I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone. Rating 3/5

Brandie: I enjoyed this book so much, and didn’t find much fault in it at all. I don’t usually focus on things that irk most people while I’m reading a book, it ruins the reading experience for me. As soon as I finished it, I knew the ‘insta-love’ would be a major issue in a lot of reviews, but it just didn’t bother me. Maybe because it was CoHo, but mostly because she made me believe it was real. Her writing does that for me, and that’s why I love her! Rating: 5/5

Rachel: CoHo’s writing just sucks me up and doesn’t let me go. For me, her writing is just so unique. I can only read so many contemporaries before I need a break because there can be a lot of common themes and tropes. But her storylines!! In Confess, we have the “good guy” and the “bad guy” but with a twist, the mysterious bad guy’s secrets being revealed, the poignancy of the artwork Aubrey owns, the heart-breaking history of her first love, the surprise revelations, and the history of how Owen first met her. Add to that the fact the confessions in the novel are real confessions from Hoover readers?! Where does she get her inspiration from?! I would say, “you just can’t make this shit up”, but clearly CoHo can! Rating: 4.5/5

Waiting on Wednesday – Confess by Colleen Hoover

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine in which we share a book that we are eagerly anticipating!

Confess by Colleen HooverPublisher: Atria Books

Author: Colleen Hoover

Release date: March 10, 2015

Synopsis from Goodreads:

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, a new novel about risking everything for love—and finding your heart somewhere between the truth and lies.

Auburn Reed has her entire life mapped out. Her goals are in sight and there’s no room for mistakes. But when she walks into a Dallas art studio in search of a job, she doesn’t expect to find a deep attraction to the enigmatic artist who works there, Owen Gentry.

For once, Auburn takes a risk and puts her heart in control, only to discover Owen is keeping major secrets from coming out. The magnitude of his past threatens to destroy everything important to Auburn, and the only way to get her life back on track is to cut Owen out of it.

The last thing Owen wants is to lose Auburn, but he can’t seem to convince her that truth is sometimes as subjective as art. All he would have to do to save their relationship is confess. But in this case, the confession could be much more destructive than the actual sin…

Why I’m excited: I recently read and loved two things by Colleen Hoover: Never Never (with Tarryn Fisher) and Maybe Someday. They were both different genres but also really, really good. I’m looking forward to reading more from CoHo. Looks like I like New Adult, at least when it comes to this author. Looking forward to buddy reading Confess with Rachel and Brandie!

Joint Review of Never Never by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher

Never Never When I first saw Never Never on Goodreads with its short, simple, intriguing, and confusing synopsis, I marked as to-read immediately. When I saw Rachel at Confessions of a Book Geek and Brandie at Brandie is a Book Junkie were talking excitedly about it on Twitter, I jumped in their conversations and they invited me to live tweet it with them. Of course, I decided to join in, and I really enjoyed talking to them about it. We were so excited, we decided to do a joint review, and so, without further ado, here’s our review!

[Rachel is R, Brandie is B, and I (Stefani) am S – should be obvious, but better to point it out just in case]

The Beginning:

R: The first thing I need to talk about is the start of the book – because I knew it was Colleen Hoover, I stuck with it knowing/expecting it to get good, but I struggled with grasping the first couple of chapters because you’re just thrown in the deep end and it’s all a little muddled (which is probably how the characters feel!), but after a while I settled into it and really started enjoying the story.

B: I agree that you’re thrown in immediately, but that suspense of not knowing what the hell is going on is what hooked me. It forced me to keep reading, trying to figure it out. I loved that!

S: For me, the beginning was really awkward and strange. It took a few chapters to find its rhythm, but once it did, I was HOOKED.

The Genre:

R: I haven’t read anything by Fisher yet (but after this I plan to), and I’m loving the fact that CoHo is trying out this new genre – the mystery and suspense elements were evident, and for a 140 page book I thought that was pretty impressive! That ending – Gah!

B: Fisher is known to be kinda dark with her stories. The Opportunist series is one of my favorites – I highly recommend you start with those! That’s why I was nervous about them teaming up. CoHo books usually have happier endings and I wasn’t sure how that would work with Fisher’s style. And now with that wicked cliffy – we won’t know for a while! Lol.

S: I haven’t read anything by either of these authors so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I know a lot of people (like Rachel) LOVE CoHo, so I was hoping I’d like it. I love mystery and suspense, so that was one of my favorite parts of Never Never.

The Swoons:

R: I’m totally loving, Silas? Please tell me it isn’t just me? I love delving into the story to find out more about what these two characters once meant to each other, and what they might mean to each other again one day. I don’t know how much I like the sound of past, Silas, based on what we learn about him, but I can’t wait to read more about these two.

B: Oh, I totally agree about Silas. I liked him immediately. It doesn’t sound like he was likable before whatever this is happened to him.

S: I don’t think I like the sound of either of them before whatever happened, but I definitely like Silas now. I like what Rachel said about delving into the story to see what they meant to each other and might mean to each other again.

The Story:

R: One word. WUT?! I’ve no idea what’s going on and I’ve no idea where it could possibly be going. I read this book pretty quickly but from around 90% I was speed reading like a demon hoping something​ would be resolved in this instalment. Alas, Hoover and Fisher like to torture their victims, ahem, I mean readers.

B: I love all of the little clues playing out and the discoveries along the way. This is the best kind of suspense! The fact that I’m totally clueless makes my reading experience even better. I’m not one who enjoys figuring out the conclusion before they tell you – that ruins a book for me. This was so well written, even for such a short amount of pages. It packed a serious punch!!

S: WHAT IS HAPPENING? – This is pretty much what I said at least ten times while reading. And I loved that. I loved not knowing what the hell was going on or what is going to happen. I hate when a book is predictable (but I am usually able to figure out what’s happening), so having absolutely no idea what’s going on is so fun! And HOLY CRAP, that ending. Wuuut?

The Cover:Never Never part 2

R:love the cover for this book, and really want to own it in hardcopy! The cover for book 2 was released this week. And there’s only one hand on the cover. Guys! Why is there only one hand on the cover?!

B: LOL, right!?! Even Fisher made that comment on one of her social media posts – something about the fact there’s only one hand… ha ha. Killing me!!

S: I hadn’t seen the cover until just now and NOOO. WHY IS THERE ONLY ONE HAND? Oh man.

R: I enlarged and examined it up close (because I’m weird like that) and I can’t tell which hand is male and which is female to try and figure out who is missing off the cover. CoHo and Fisher just loooove messing with me.

The Series:

R: I’m obviously going to be buying the eBook instalments of this series, but then I’m imagining the final story may be released as a hardcopy bind-up? In that case, I will want to own it as a full novel, but I do feel a little cynical and wonder how much of this is a fabulous marketing ploy… Hmmm…

B: Colleen commented on someone’s Facebook post about how many books there is going to be. She said it had something to do with her publishing contract only allowing so many pages per book. And this story was going over that number, so they made the decision to break it up. They aren’t sure if it’s going to be 2 books or 3, yet. All I know is that doesn’t matter to me. If it’s CoHo, I’m going to read it!! And definitely buy it in paperback, however it’s printed.

Normally I get really annoyed with cliffhangers and marketing ploys to have multiple books in a series. But reading Colleen’s reasons about it showed me it’s not a ploy and she’s not trying to make people upset. It’s just how it worked out and she still hopes people give it a chance.

I loved it so hard. Can’t wait for Part Two in May!

R: That makes sense. Who knew publishers put so many restrictions on their authors? I’m imagining the publisher will see how amazingly successful this is and then kick themselves and release it. At least, I hope that’s what happens. How do we start a petition??? 😀

S: I don’t even care if there’s going to be like seven of these. I want them all, and I want them right now. That ending was one of the biggest cliffhangers I’ve read recently, and I just couldn’t believe it was over. It might be a marketing ploy, but either way: Hurry up, May!!

Predictions and Theories:

R: This should be fun. OK, CoHo has never let me down (sorry Fisher – I don’t know you well enough yet!), but I’m worried that the build-up and suspense is SO great, that the ending of the story could be a bust. What if it takes a weird turn, or makes no sense?! I’m holding on to my faith that this will be amazing, but the seed of doubt is there. So, at first I thought they were maybe dead and were ghosts, but there was too much human interaction going on for that to be true. Then I thought it was maybe a dream… I’m still not sold on that one. But that leaves utter confusion, because unless there is a paranormal element of some description, I really don’t know what’s going on. My prediction is as follows – their families conducted some sort of experiment on them, like in Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, to make them forget about what happened in the past between the two families, and to make them forget about each other, but their love was so strong, that it left lingering memories that’s resulting in them beginning to piece it together… Hence, Never, Never – as in never forget…​

B: I try not to predict or think about a book too hard. Because if I DO figure out what’s happening before the big reveal in the book, I feel like I cheated myself. That being said, I did think about the ghost thing, but like you, quickly dismissed it because of all the interactions with other people. I’ve also considered it to be a dream. But that was where I stopped dwelling on what it could be and just focused on enjoying reading it. If I get too caught up in my head, it just ruins the reading experience for me. I prefer to be blissfully ignorant! LOL.

As for the ending, I have total and complete faith in Colleen Hoover. Whatever happens and however they decide to end it, I am 99.9% sure I’m going to be okay with it. She hasn’t disappointed me yet!

S: Like Brandie, I try not to predict too much. I usually end up doing this anyway, and when I figure it out, I get annoyed at myself and the book. Lol. SO, with that in mind, I didn’t really think about Never Never too hard. I tried, in the beginning, to figure out what the heck was happening, but then just let all of that go and fell headfirst into the story and let it pull me along with it. As I’ve never read either of these authors, I don’t have faith that it’ll all work out in the end or will be explained, but, somehow, I’m totally okay with that. I just want to see what happens!

Never Never: Part Two comes out in May, and we plan on doing another joint review then! Make sure you go follow Confessions of a Book Geek and Brandie is a Book Junkie because they’re both bookishly awesome. 🙂