Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Review - Arsen, A Broken Love Story by Mia Asher

Overall Reading Pleasure: OOOOO+ - OMG!!!!!
Book Hangover Factor: Off the Charts
Cover Appeal: OOOO – Yes! Yes! Yes!
Steaminess: Off the Charts
Writing Style: OOOOO+ - OMG!!!!!
“Falling in love with someone is easy. It’s loving when the newness has worn off, when life gets tough, when things get in the way, when physical passion is gone, that true love remains. When love can conquer it all.” (Cathy)
I have done everything I can possibly do today to not write this review. I’ve checked my email accounts, perused FB and Twitter, watched TV, met friends for coffee, you name it. Why? Because I don’t think I will be able to adequately and coherently explain the jumbled mess of thoughts surging through my brain while doing this book justice.

It was 5:41 a.m. and I was a blubbering mess, just having finished reading. Yes. I stayed up all night. I couldn’t put down the Kindle. I needed “The End.” I had already been crying for hours. The tears began at 75% and lasted full force until I cried myself to sleep. I was broken! And exhausted! My heart ached, my eyes stung, my nose a drippy mess. Thank goodness my husband was working overnight because he would have thought I completely lost it. And I did. I completely lost it. Soul cleansing type of lost it. Big. Ugly. Cry.

Mia Asher. You. Are. Cruel.
“Love can destroy you.
Love can erase you.
Love can heal you.
Love can reinvent you,
And, if you are lucky enough,
Love can make you whole again.” (Ben)
My heart still hurts. And the pain is agonizing. My head is pounding. I want to scream and shout from the rooftop how much I hate this book. But I can’t. I won’t. Because it was a superbly written, bitterly beautiful, broken piece of art. A heart-wrenching, gut-twisting, painful five-plus-star read that made me feel Every. Single. Incinerating. Emotion.

The chapters alternate effortlessly between past and present. We are privy to when Ben and Cathy first meet, their first kiss, their “first time.” Most of the story is told from Cathy’s point of view, however, Mia Asher also provides us with glimpses through the eyes of Ben and Arsen as well. The author’s writing style is clear, concise, and flows easily. There are some minor editing glitches but quite frankly, not enough to bother me in the least or interrupt the flow.

The plot itself…it sucked! It scorched. It spewed daggers through my heart. A woman has four miscarriages. She cheats on her beautiful husband. The husband who worships the ground she walks on. 
“Cathy, meeting you was chance, falling in love with you was destiny, and loving you is my reason to exist.”
“Babe, talk to me. You’re scaring me. What’s the matter? Tell me so I can fix it.”
The man she cheats with is a gorgeous, young, wealthy playboy, with demons of his own.
“The guy exudes confidence and sex.”
“But there is a deceptive sweetness in his features too; when you look at those eyes of his, you know you are in big trouble. Big trouble.”
“It’s funny that his name reminded me of fire because he certainly looked like someone who could burn you to the ground.”
He pursues her. They become friends. Then it happens. It starts out as a fling to help erase her pain. But it deepens.
 “And Arsen…He’s my kryptonite.”
“Whenever I’m with him, I don’t feel cold, or empty, or broken. He makes it all go away.”
And then, the inevitable. I won’t spoil it for you any further. Please know, if you haven’t already figured it out, this story completely gutted me, drained me, tied me up in knots from beginning to end and I have no doubt that it will do the same to you.

Cathy. I was indifferent to her. I didn’t love her but I didn’t hate her. She just was. Yet, as a woman, I understood her; empathized with her situation, suffered her longings, her desires right alongside her. Do not mistake this for me condoning her actions. I most certainly do not. She made me angry, very angry.
“He's the beautiful painkiller that my broken body and my shattered heart demand to stop hurting.”
 “Sometimes not being in control, not being able to think, just losing yourself in the moment, is the greatest feeling in the world. It's liberating. It's addicting. It's the most powerful high you'll ever get. It's a kind of freedom that tastes so sweet on your palate that you can't help but want more each time you have it.”
She was in desperate need of professional help. She had too many issues for sweet Ben to help her overcome.
“I rarely smile. Not since my mom left. We haven’t heard from her in over eight years, and I doubt we ever will, so smiles are scarce in my life.”
Ben. Sweet, sweet Ben. He stole my heart the moment I met him. The. Perfect. Husband. What was not to love? Beautiful, strong, sexy, tender, loving, dependable. That was Ben. I love him. Enough said.
“I’m sure of a few things in life…that no matter what you do, death will always catch up to you. You’ve got to work hard to pay for life, party harder to enjoy life, and love hardest to live life, and now, you.”
“Own me, fill me, break me, repair me, complete me. Do whatever you want to me. Just stay with me. I need you. I need to be able to live. I need my life back, I need you back.”
Arsen. Sexy, wealthy playboy. Used to getting what he wants. I whole-heartedly disliked him at first for pursuing like a predator what wasn’t his. He was shameful and disrespectful.
“I can still show you a good time, you know. Even better since it can be a one-time thing.”
“Why are you afraid of me? I don’t bite unless you want me to. And if you do…”
But then, well, SURPRISE! There was a bit more depth to him than I expected.
 “Life without love, without chasing your dreams, is nothing. It means nothing. It’s a sad fucking empty shell, Catherine. It’s so easy to drown in the darkness, to let it smother you, swallow you whole, to be blinded by it. But you gotta fight. You gotta fucking fight.”
“I want her to be free of whatever still haunts her. I want to be the temple that she seeks solace in. I want to be her damn savior. I want to help her heal.”
“All I wanted to do was fix her, saver her.”
 “Missing you is a sickness I can’t cure, and it’s fucking killing me.”
I wanted to hate him, but I couldn't. I still found it difficult to connect with Arsen since my heart was biased and belonged solely to Ben. But the epilogue…oh, that epilogue! I’ll say it again. Mia Asher. You. Are. Cruel.

Warning: If you should choose to read this book, please take note, it is NOT an easy, breezy read. It is NOT for the faint at heart. And it is NOT for anyone who cannot tolerate fictional characters who cheat on their spouses. But what it is…superbly written, full of angst and wrought with emotion (for those of you like me who thrive on these types of reads) and, it will cleanse your core of unshed tears.

I am in awe of Mia Asher. Of the myriad emotions swirling through my mind, body, soul. Of the profound effect this work of fiction has left on me. I’m not sure why this book evoked such a visceral reaction from me. I question, how can mere words written on a piece of paper do this? How can they have such an effect, leave such a lasting impact? This, my friends, is the epitome of a divinely talented author. Arsen has certainly earned its place in my top faves of 2014. But of this I can be certain. I will not re-read it. I can’t. Maybe some quotes, maybe some of the brilliantly written passages, but not the book in its entirety. Never. It hurt too much.

I dare anyone who reads this book to tell me, “It’s just a book!”

Now, I’m off to search for something light, fluffy, and funny to help alleviate this book hangover of all book hangovers. Wish me luck!

My Personal Play List: (You can listen here.)
  • Ironic (Alanis Morissette)
  • Beneath Your Beautiful (Labrinth)
  • Make You Feel My Love (Adele)
  • All of Me (John Legend)
  • Marry Me (Train)
  • Damn Your Eyes (Alex Clare)
  • Need You Now (Lady Antebellum)
  • More Thank I Could Say (Civil Sound)
  • Madness (Muse)
  • Wake Up (Awolnation)
  • Burn It Down (Awolnation)
  • Santeria (Sublime)
  • Caress Me Down (Sublime)
  • Get Lucky (Daft Punk, Pharrell)
  • Take Over Control (Afrojack)
  • Help Me I Am in Hell (Nine Inch Nails)
  • What I’ve Done (Linkin Park)
  • A Beautiful Lie (Thirty Seconds To Mars)
  • Was it a Dream (Thirty Seconds To Mars)
  • Like We Used To (A Rocket to the Moon) 
  • Talking in Your Sleep (The Civil Wars)
  • Somebody That I Used to Know (Gotye, Kimbra)
  • Everybody Hurts (R.E.M.)
  • Broken (Seether, Amy Lee)
  • Already Gone (Kelly Clarkson)
  • The Blower’s Daughter (Damien Rice)
  • I Don't Wanna Love Somebody Else (A Great Big World)
  • Say Something (A Great Big World)
  • Let Her Go (Passenger)
  • It Will Rain (Bruno Mars)
  • Tonight I Wanna Cry (Keith Urban)
  • Slipped Away (Avril Lavigne)
  • Here Without You (3 Doors Down)
  • If You’re Gone (Matchbox Twenty)
  • Broken (Lifehouse)
  • My Immortal (Evanescence)
  • Nothing Compares 2 U (Sinead O’Connor)
  • Goodbye My Lover (James Blunt)
  • Still Holding Out For You (SHeDaisy)
  • Sad (Maroon 5)
  • All I Want (Kodaline)
  • Someone Like You (Adele)
  • I Won’t Give Up (Jason Mraz)
  • I Can’t Not Love You (Every Avenue)
  • I’m Yours (The Script)
  • I Belong To You (Lenny Kravitz)
You can listen to Mia Asher's Arsen play list here.

Favorite quotes:
“Doubts. They seep into your blood stream, they plague every unused crevice inside your brain with revolving questions and no real answers. Is love a strong enough glue to put me back together again? Is the love between Ben and I strong enough to keep us together and our marriage afloat?”
“Cruel reality has a way of always catching up to you, no matter how fast or how far you run; reality has a way to destroy one’s hopes and dreams. Reality doesn’t caress your cheek, letting you know what’s to come. No, reality slaps you across the face harshly, reminding you that a dream is just that…a dream.”
“Falling in love with the wrong person is easy. Falling in love with the right person is easier. But falling in love with your soul mate is easiest. It’s meant to be.”
“Slutty Cathy screams in the back of mind: It better mean some freaking sex, like hello! Penis, meet my vagina."

“I can see why people think love is like a drug. You can’t get enough of it. You need more."

“I loved the attention he paid to me and the way he made me feel. Alive. Happy. He made me forget. Ignorance is bliss, right? Well, knowledge is misery. And the truth hurts. Because it can’t ever be, it will never be.”
“He’s the everything to my nothing.”
“Every action has a consequence. It doesn’t matter if you try to run or hide. It eventually catches up to you. Call it karma if you must, but said karma can totally kick you in the ass.”
“I am responsible for every deceitful work I have uttered, and every dishonest action I have committed. I am.”
“The thing about being selfish is that you don’t care if someone is at your feet begging you to stay with him, offering you the world, his heart and soul. It doesn’t matter. You’ll do whatever you want to do. What you need to do yourself. Nothing matters but what you want. What you think you need.”
“I don’t want tomorrow to fucking come, Cathy. I’m afraid.” His voice is hoarse with pain as he pleads.
“The agonizing pain begins to gather inside my chest, ready to explode with grief.”
“What ifs are just life’s regrets.”
“Marriage is work, Cathy. You have to work at it every single day that you’re together. You can’t ever slack. It’s hard being married. You go through great times, you go through terrible times, but it’s all about what you make of those experiences. How you deal with them that set you apart from other couples who throw in the towel. Committing fully to your partner and giving your all. Because divorce is easy, it’s the easy way out.”
“I die a slow death with every word he whispers in my ear. His words are like daggers to my heart. They cut me. They tear me open. His words destroy me.”
“…he’s making me very uncomfortable. Actually, the thoughts he’s invoking in me are making me uncomfortable.” 
“I want you in the worst possible way. You’re the drug that offers me relief…that energizes me again…that soothes me…that delivers me sweet oblivion. You’re my drug of choice, Catherine. You’re my addiction. My euphoria.”
“I’m a worthless piece of shit for taking what’s not mine, but I won’t let him in here…This is where I don’t have to share you. This is where you’re mine…”
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