December 16, 2012

Review: Painted Faces by L.H. Cosway

Title: Painted Faces  
Author: L.H. Cosway
Genre: Contemporary Romance (it might be the new genre “New Adult” but I don’t know exactly what that is yet…)
Publisher: Self-Published
Release Date: December 16, 2012
Source: ARC from Author


Overall Rating: 5 Heartfelt & Beautiful Stars – Absolutely Loved It!!!!!
Reviewer: Kat

Author Summary

Come forth with an open mind, for an unconventional tale of love.

Dublin native Freda Wilson considers herself to be an acquired taste. She has a habit of making offensive jokes and speaking her mind too often. She doesn't have the best track record with first impressions, which is why she gets a surprise when her new neighbour Nicholas takes a shine to her.

Nicholas is darkly handsome, funny and magnetic, and Freda feels like her black and white existence is plunged into a rainbow of colour when she's around him. When he walks into a room he lights it up, with his quick wit and charisma. He is a travelling cabaret performer, but Freda doesn't know exactly what that entails until the curtains pull back on his opening night.

She is gob-smacked and entirely intrigued to see him take to the stage in drag. Later on, Nicholas asks her if she would like to become his show assistant. Excited by the idea, she jumps at the chance. Soon she finds herself immersed in a world of wigs, make-up and high heels, surrounded by pretty men and the temptation of falling for her incredibly beautiful employer.

In this story of passion and sexual discovery, Nicholas and Freda will contend with jealousy, emotional highs and lows, and the kind of love that only comes around once in a lifetime.

My Thoughts

I, Kat McCarthy, paranormal fantasy addict, am choosing a contemporary romance about a drag queen as my most loved novel of 2012. Yep. I’m as surprised as you are!

I’m finding it hard to find words to explain why this novel affected me so much. It opened my eyes and mind to a completely different world that I knew existed but didn’t understand. It’s akin to how Fifty Shades of Grey made me feel. But please don’t get me wrong; it’s nothing like FSoG. It’s only the same in how it feels to find a novel that is so different and compelling that it rocks your world and will forever change how you look at things. And you just can't bear to pick up another one for a while because you don't want to lose that 'high' that comes from reading a novel powerful enough to have that kind of impact.  

I mentioned in one of my GoodReads status updates I posted that I fell in love with Painted Faces after reading only the Dedication. So obviously before I even read one word of the story itself. If I may, let me share it with you:

“For all the men who are women and the women who are men, the men who are men and the women who are women. And those of you who are a little bit of both. You colour my world.”

I knew immediately that this novel was going to have a significant impact on my thinking. And I was correct. It is a romance that takes time to develop (which I loved) and even though there are lots of issues and happenings that keep the story interesting and made me fret, it’s not full of serious angst that we’ve seen a lot of this year. It’s more realistic and true to life.

If any of you remember the song Christina Aguilera sang back in the 2003, “Beautiful”, you’ll remember that it’s about how everyone is beautiful, no matter what anyone else says or thinks. It popped in my mind several times reading this novel. If you’ve never heard of the song, google it.  I wasn’t a fan of the singer at all, (and this author seems to really be into music so she may kill me for mentioning that artists name in this review, lol!) but that song is incredibly moving. It’s guaranteed to arouse all kinds of emotion for those who are considered outside society’s perception of ‘norm’. That’s why it came to mind reading this novel. Many of the characters are perceived as freaks by society but they are truly beautiful.

Freda (Fred) is absolutely fabulous character. As the author summary says, she’s offensive at times and doesn’t think before she speaks. Which is awesome and hilarious because her wit is an art in and of itself.

As an example, this to her gay friend Harry about his fear of vaginas…
“As a gay man I have to admit I’m quite squeamish when it comes to women and their downstairs business.”That’s awful Harry, says Nora. It’s just a vagina, why would it make you squeamish?“It’s the unknown,” Harry replies. The unknown can be frightening to a delicate flower such as myself.I snicker. “Delicate my arse. You can suck a dick, but you can’t take the idea of a hairless vagina.”

It’s a good thing her friends love her for who she is. There’s also a lot of soul-searching and reflection in this novel and since it’s written in 1st person POV (Freda’s), it’s hers. At times, I would have loved to hear what Nicholas was thinking but the author does such a masterful job at dialogue and describing his reactions, facial expressions and body language that I knew what he was thinking anyway. Plus some of his background of why/when he started dressing as a woman is in the prologue, epilogue and throughout the story’s dialogue. Nicolas has many issues, as does Freda, and I just love them both.

There are some great supporting characters as well. Enough so that even though this novel is a stand alone, there’s potential for a follow up on some of the other characters. I really hope this happens as I found myself not wanting to let go of this story.  I’ll even wait a while before I pick up another novel because I don’t want to replace the story with something else just yet.

I guess you can see how much I loved this novel so I’ll finish up the review by sharing a few favourite quotes to whet your appetite while not giving the story away.

Freda on herself:
 “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.”

Freda on Nicolas:
“I’m thinking he might be a sex pest.”

Freda trying to figure things out:
 “Am I attracted to the man behind the costume? Or do I want the man in the costume? It’s hard to tell. I think I like the entire package.” 

“Well, I was just wondering about how you classify yourself. Are you a drag queen, or a transvestite or a cross dresser? Or are they all one and the same thing?”

Freda on her mother’s doctor:
“Dr. Knobhead (her nickname for him) clearly got into the profession for the money…”

And just one of my favorites from Nicolas…
“Every woman is different,” he explains. “Some of them make you feel satisfied, others make you feel high, most just make you feel used and dirty, but you Fred, you make me feel cleansed.”

So bottom line is if you are looking for an unconventional romance that will impact the way you think and give you an amazing reading experience, Painted Faces will do it for you. I cannot recommend it enough and I believe EVERYONE should read it. I will even go as far to say that if this novel makes it into the right hands, it will make this author famous. 

Happy Reading!!

5 Heartfelt & Beautiful Stars – Absolutely Loved It!!!!!

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  1. OMG I love your declaration Kat! ROFL. I'll take your word for it... off to check out this book.


    1. Glad you like it luv! LOL! I wish everyone would read this book. LH is such a great writer. She has a giveaway all this month on GoodReads if you're interested in entering.

  2. I am with Talk Super, that opening sentence was pure gold. Congrats hon! I am with you, I stayed away from Contemporary Romance like no on'e business, but I stumbled upon some reads that have changed my mind. This obviously looks like one of those reads. I love the premise. I just added this to my wishlist. Amazing review hon. Just beautiful! Happy New Year!

    1. LOL Diana! I was so shocked i near died. I mean i've read this author's other work and its great, but this story just blew me away. Hope you check it out. She has a giveaway on GoodReads until Jan 31st in case you wanted to enter. Happy New Year to you too luv! xx!