Thursday, March 17, 2022

A Brush with Love - Review

A Brush with Love (Untitled Series, # 1)

By: Mazey Eddings

Narrated By: Emily Lawrence & Vikas Adam

Publication: March 1st 2022 by St. Martin's Griffin

336 pages

Genre: Adult, Contemporary

( Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository )

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Goodreads description--Harper is anxiously awaiting placement into a top oral surgery residency program when she crashes (literally) into Dan. Harper would rather endure a Novocaine-free root canal than face any distractions, even one this adorable.

A first-year dental student with a family legacy to contend with, Dan doesn’t have the same passion for pulling teeth that Harper does. Though he finds himself falling for her, he is willing to play by Harper’s rules.

So with the greatest of intentions and the poorest of follow-throughs, the two set out to be “just friends.” But as they get to know each other better, Harper fears that trading fillings for feelings may make her lose control and can't risk her carefully ordered life coming undone, no matter how drool-worthy Dan is.

Blood, gore, and extra-long roots? No problem. The idea of falling in love? Torture.

I almost decided not to request A Brush with Love due to the mention of Harper's anxiety in the description. I try to stay away from books that focus on mental illness. I prefer to read for fun, for relief, and escape from the struggles of life. That's one reason why I prefer to read romance--because of the happily ever afters. But I saw this one available on audiobook right when I needed a new book to listen to in the car. So I requested it. And, I should have stuck with my original instinct.

I want to start with the easiest thing to mention. The language. Oh my goodness. If this book were a movie it would have to be rated R simply because of the language. I mean you'd think this was a Netflix Original Series with all of the f-bombs dropped every other page. Sheesh. I know there are readers out there that aren't bothered by this, but I'm not a fan. And the cursing was excessive.

Harper's friends were annoying. (Side note: one negative to an audiobook and characters with unique names is that I have no idea how to spell them. Out of Harper's 3 close friends, Lizzie is the only one I could remotely guess how to spell.) I'm really trying not to be judgmental, but I guess I kind of just am. These are girls I would not want to hang out with. I suppose they're supposed to be typical college girls concerned about screwing around and getting drunk. I just can't comprehend why grabbing an alcoholic drink has become the normal thing to do when life gets hard. Again, I'm creeping into the judgy territory, so I'll move onto to my next issue.

I had a hard time connecting to Harper. At first, I was thinking her anxiety wasn't such a big deal. I mean the things she was worried or concerned about seemed like things that everyone worries about. But she does have an added layer to her anxiety with the panic attacks. Understanding what she went through with losing her mom at such a young age in such a tragic way helped me to feel compassion towards her. And yet, I still struggled listening to her perspective when all she did was push people away, Dan and her friends. Understanding it and agreeing with it are not the same thing. So even though I understood her why, I didn't find the journey to be enjoyable. And I don't suppose it was supposed to be. Almost all growth is difficult. But again, I don't read to get bogged down in the depressing aspects of life. I like to be lifted up. Not to ruin things for any potential readers, but I do want to give you hope that Harper does end up working on herself, and that's redeeming for this particular struggle for me.

Also, the feminist versus "toxic masculinity" statements also got on my nerves. I'm not even sure "toxic masculinity" is the right phrase for most of the examples. But it kind of reminded me of how Miranda Kenneally can only write a Christian character that's hypocritical. I mean, obviously, these people do exist, but not all Christians are hypocrites. Just like, not all men are toxic or feel threatened by women in the workplace or feel like women need to remain in some box. Again, sure these people exist, but Mazey Eddings seemed to write only men who fall into this category, except of course the main male character and well perhaps his friend. It reminds me of how when you're car shopping you start to see your favorite car everywhere. Maybe this is a legit struggle I'm unaware of in dental school, but I don't see this in the majority of the men I know.

Perhaps my biggest pet peeve is when Harper and Dan had their big blow up. Harper feels betrayed by Dan's attempts to help her the only way he knew how in the situation he was given. And so she lashes out at him. He hurt her so she has to hurt him back. I cannot abide this in real life and I do not want to read about characters who behave this way either. I find that I cannot root for them. Again, I can understand where one's pain is coming from, but I do not want to surround myself with people who lash out simply because they've been hurt. There comes a time and a place when we sometimes have to say things that hard to those we love, and they feel hurt at hearing those words. But this is different. This was a purposeful retaliation. And there is no place for retaliation in love or in any relationships that I want to be a part of. Of course, to err is human and to forgive is divine.

Ultimately, I have to look at how I felt during this entire process. If I'm honest, I considered DNFing A Brush with Love at 80%, but sheesh, I'd come so far. At 94%, I still considered DNFing. I asked myself, "Am I in a place where I want to read (listen) to anything that is causing me to feel so intensely annoyed and angry?" And the answer was "no." I don't need any additional negativity in my life and things are stressful enough in real life not to read anything that's going to cause me to be in a bad mood. And unfortunately, I was so annoyed with the characters that I worried it would leak into my mood. Since I was so frustrated with the characters and didn't enjoy this journey at all, A Brush with Love gets 2 Stars. Have you read (or listened to) A Brush with Love? What did you think? Let me know!

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