Early Review: He + She by Michelle Warren

SYNOPSIS:

A free-spirited romance about soul-awakening second chances, heartbreak, and hopeful beginnings.

HE is trying to piece together his broken life.
SHE is running away from her wedding day.
THEY meet in San Francisco.

From the beginning they agree not to exchange anything truthful about their lives, not even their real names. Instead, as they embark on a unplanned tour of California, they construct the perfect lives they wish they led. As they hide behind grandiose stories, witty banter, and suggestive winks, their romance blooms. But when their dark pasts finally catch up, will they have the courage to be who they really are and find a future together?

TOGETHER, their world is a beautiful lie.
APART, their world is a perfect mess.

… Read more Read less…

REVIEW

date read: May 19th, 2014

Oh, how I loved this book, how it melted my heart!

Beautiful. Heartwarming. Funny. Romantic. Crazily cute. Emotional. Perfect. That’s all He+She is… and more.

If I could put it in a bowl and eat it with a spoon, I would endlessly savour it and enjoy it as much as I do with the mocca-creme (as in: chocolate & coffee cream) I am so addicted to.

You know, I don’t usually like NA (aka New Adult).
I am not new to this trend, I’ve read my share of books in this genre – you can search through my blog and find the few that I liked, you can go to my Goodreads page and see the many I’ve dropped midway. And I won’t say why this genre is not my favourite, as I don’t want those attributes tied to this story.

I will only focus on the awesomeness of it, because He+She is the best NA I’ve ever read and probably one of the very best contemporary stories on my list.

So… why is it that this book is better than others, you ask?

Because of the quality of the writing. The fleshed-out, full of life characters. The open and funny conversations. The freshness of the plot even. The cuteness surrounding the couple. The heartbreak in their past and the hope for their future… Taken piece by piece or as a whole, it is absolutely perfect!

When I received this book from Michelle I dived into it with enthusiasm, but also with a lot of fear: because I wanted to like it so very badly (and lately I’ve been so disappointed by the books I wanted to like).

But… guess what? I was absolutely mesmerised from the very beginning and I could barely stay away from it to finish the things I was working on (’cause, well… you go tell my clients I can’t reach a deadline because of reading, I am sure they will be absolutely pleased… Nooot!).

THE STORY:

I know a story is good when I keep trying to corner my husband and tell him all about it. Poor Mike, he was trying to sleep and I was talking his ears off, all enthusiastic and giggly.

But, oh… how wonderful this tangled mess was; how beautifully their stories got to entwine; how full of fun and crazy cuteness their adventures were; how undeniable and tangible the chemistry between them really was.

Tell me, how can I keep it all to myself when I feel the need to shout it from the rooftops?!

he-she-moments

To be honest I was expecting some fluff summer-story, silly me, but He+She is a lot more than that.

Even though it borrows a few common elements from the genre it belongs to, with the optimism of Shea + the honesty of Hew + the freshness of the plot itself, this book shines on its own. Not to mention that the ‘dark past’ element had an actual purpose – I bet you’ve noticed that it is usually used just to grab the attention, but in this particular case it had full depth, it actually defined the characters, the contours of their souls and the reasons behind their actions.

There were things that left me with my mouth hanging wide open in surprise. In fact there were even some mouth watering scenes. Also there was this ‘giggleness’, this deep feeling of rightness you only get when you read a complex story that’s been broken into tiny little pieces that slowly start to perfectly fit together.

… I tell you, I fell for it (for them) so badly.

WHAT’S TO LOVE:

Oh, there’s a lot, believe me:

1. One thing that I truly appreciated is the writing style.

he-plus-she_togetherI am not sure if you’ve read her other series (The Seraphina Parrish Trilogy was quite complex and complicated, you can only understand it fully if you read all the 3 books), but I assure you that this book here is even better.

The writing is more mature, but this is not a reference to the sexual content (though it does have its beautiful share of hotness indeed). What I meant is that it has a lot of depth, there is so much emotion behind it: it can make you laugh and ache, it is intriguing and it makes you need to discover the mystery these characters hide behind their words, their winks, their pretend games. It is open and fun, it is addictive, it makes you want to read more and more, until you reach the last page and then wish for the story to be made into a movie because you can’t seem to be able to let it go (I swear it would be a fabulous romantic comedy with just a touch of drama).

2. The complexity and the mystery of the plot.

he-plus-she_hewThere was a lot of thought put into the plot, into the transition from the beginning to the ending, from the present to the past. It had everything I want in a love story and then a lot more. It had the perfect amount of humour to balance the emotions radiating from its pages. And it goes around into what seems like a perfect circle, in more than one way. *wink*

3. The Characters

Hew – the male character – was a true sweetheart, yes he has quite a burden on his shoulders, he’s made tons of mistakes, but deep down (and to be honest on the surface too) he is such a great, great guy in need of love and forgiveness. He is very nice (overall and with Shea – and that’s so refreshing, as I am getting sick of all the characters with bad attitude we stumble upon in so many stories) and he is also funny and plays along so well in Shea’s mind games – they actually feel like two halves of a perfect whole.

Shea – the heroine – was strong, witty, smart, funny. I can say the same about Hew of course, and she needed to be loved just as much. She is also incredibly cute, outspoken, spontaneous and full of life, even though she hides some skeletons in her past.

he-plus-she_shesThey both have scars, deep scars that only time and love can heal. They are like 2 broken pieces shaped by their pasts to better fit together, and God, how I loved these two, how I adored the crazy things they did, how I loved their conversations, how I laughed out loud with them and rooted for their happily ever after.

4. The chemistry

It was absolutely amazing – as broken as both characters were I could feel them being pulled together like magnets, but their relationship got to grow slowly, right in front of my eyes (no insta-love or rushing).

I never felt like their romance was pushed onto me, on the contrary I was falling for them too. Their attraction was progressive and realistically portrayed, with a great pacing and a good dose of anticipation.

CONCLUSION:

I loved it. I really-really LOVED it! That was my last coherent thought after finishing reading it late into the night. And I really recommend this story from the bottom of my heart.

Michelle has become suddenly one of my top favourite authors. I can’t wait to read more from her!
And I can’t wait too for He+She to be officially released, because I want it on my shelf really-really badly!

Along with thanking Michelle for her talent and the opportunity to read this story in advance, I am thanking my Goodreads friends that helped me find out (through their reviews) about “Wander Dust” two years ago.

I guess there are many great but unknown authors out there, and Michelle is one of them.
Let’s make the world hear all about them, shall we?…

Happy midnight reading!


Book source: ARC received from the author for review. Thank you so-so much!

he+she

Later Edit:
Oh, I almost forgot!
Hew has a flaw. Yes, a terrible-terrible one, even my husband would agree with.. He owns a Canon. Yes, a Canon camera! Pff, don’t you get it, he broke my Nikon loving heart! *sigh* But he is so damn cute I might forgive him.. And no, I won’t forgive you for owning one too :p

PS: I don’t actually care about people’s camera preferences, but it was a funny thing to say.

Fan-made book trailer:

Music of choice:

PS: I like the original better, but I thought that this video fits (visually) better the review ;)

But, don't let me do all the talking. I want to know what you think of this as well.

  • Francine Soleil

    This sounds like a really good one, I don’t read a lot of NA either, but there are those I’ve come to love. And I really like those that put in humor to offset the drama, and it looks like this one did just that. And it looks really well-developed too. Great review! :)

    • http://www.readingaftermidnight.com/ Ari

      I am really picky when it comes to this genre, so I was delightfully surprised to see that He+She not only did match my taste, but also that the author paid a lot of attention to every detail, every dialog line and she maintained the personality of the characters all through the story. These are some really important aspects for me. Then again, it was a lot of fun and the romantic aspect is so sweet :) AND.. it took me completely by surprise, because there’s also a beautiful twist to look for. Lovely, lovely, I adore this story!

  • Elizee

    Love this review. Love those pictures. Love the sound of it. Need. So. Badly!

    • http://www.readingaftermidnight.com/ Ari

      Hahaa, I hope that you will love the book just as much. What am I saying here? I am sure you will :))

  • Jo

    This sounds so cool! I can’t wait to read it!

    • http://www.readingaftermidnight.com/ Ari

      It is absolutely lovely. Can’t wait to hear what you think of it too ;)

  • http://www.xpressoreads.com/ Giselle Cormier

    Hahaa my husband has the same treatment when a book is really good and I just want to talk to SOMEONE about it but no one else is around. Poor dudes! >.< This sounds right up my alley though I hadn't read much about it before. Great review, Ari!

    • http://www.readingaftermidnight.com/ Ari

      Yep, poor them, but we are even here because my husband insists into telling me all that happens in his computer games, so he deserves to know everything about my books too :))
      As for the book, it is really great, I loved it from the first page until the last one. Hope you will as well ;)

  • Amelia

    Arh, I hate you sometimes. You make me want to read all the books you read and love. Sounds amazing!

    • http://www.readingaftermidnight.com/ Ari

      Well, listen to your heart as it knows bets :P

      I adored this one.. then again I find that my time is so precious lately that I only spend it by talking (oh well, writing) about the books I love. I still need to write some negative reviews, but those are so hard.
      Back to the point, I loved loved loved He+She :D

  • Lis @ The reader lines

    I WILL read this book as soon as I have it. It sounds amazing! and cute! and sweet! and gorgeous!
    Also… what a great song! I love it just as much as the review! :)

    • http://www.readingaftermidnight.com/ Ari

      Yeah, I love it as much as the song, which is one of my favourite ;)
      The story is really sweet and so much fun *sigh* I am still high on it ;))

  • http://anniejacksonbooks.com/ Annie

    I’ve been curious about this book so it’s so good to hear you liked it :) a cute, meaningful story is just the ticket for summer!

    • http://www.readingaftermidnight.com/ Ari

      This book was different than all the books I’ve read (in the same genre) – which is great, because when it comes to NA they all tend to blend with each other, if only they would only share the good parts. It was really good.
      It also surprised me, I didn’t know a thing about it and still was nothing like I thought it would be. And… I loved the characters, the narration, the dialog (which for some reason is really important to me in contemporary stories). SO yeah.. I hope that if you get to read it one day, you will also enjoy it :)

  • Sophy

    This sounds like my kind of book! I want it now!
    And sorry for spamming you with so many messages, I haven’t been here in a while ;))

    • http://www.readingaftermidnight.com/ Ari

      Oh, don’t worry, talking about books is a joy, I would do this day and night ;)) I hope that you’ll enjoy it!