CHARCOAL AND HOT CHOCOLATE
College life is a breath of fresh air for 20 year old Ellie Baylor, a painfully shy but beautiful art major. She has her canvas and charcoal and that's more than enough. Her choice to go to school far from home and the watchful eye of her strict parents seems like the perfect thing for smooth sailing into an easy life.
But when River Daniels, a charming artist with eyes the color of hot chocolate, asks her to join him in a project for class, Ellie may get more than just an A.
She might find out how to live.
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Move over, Phoenix, a NEW River has my heart!
First of all, C&HC was a very quick read, and I liked that about it. I'm becoming a huge fan of dual POV and I think that each MC was given their own voice in this book which can be very hard to do.
For the most part, I loved C&HC. I loved River from Day One. His slightly awkward persona was relatable and lovable, and I couldn't get enough of him! Honestly, I think I could really get into a spin-off in just River's POV. He was my favorite part of this book. The author's physical descriptions of him were so well done, and I love a hot body with a brain and--bonus!--he has a passion for art. It appeals to the creative in me, and the fact that I can be shallow at times (thus, my love for his body. I'm not even sorry.) Who, me? Shallow? Nevah!
I loved the transformation of the main characters, especially Ellie. Watching her grow, though frustrating at times, was a wonderful part of this journey.
Which brings me to my next thought . . . I had mixed feelings while reading C&HC--for the first half of the book, only--because I had some small issues with Ellie's behavior and her back and forth, hot and cold treatment of River. (Maybe because I liked him so much and wanted her to get with the program?)
Like Ellie, I'm at times brave and at times insecure, and most of the time a hot mess, and I really wanted to connect with her . . . I wish I had just a tiny bit more. BUT, I've never really been shy--my insecurities rear their ugly heads in a loud-mouthed, overly-confident and opinionated sort of way--so it could just be that I was unable to connect with Ellie fully because of how different she and I are. And frankly, my small issues with Ellie's behavior did not create any detachment from the story. Well, maybe a little, but I still fully invested in the relationships between Ellie and River, Ellie and her friends . . . even Ellie and her parents (ugh, what nightmares they were!) But I have to admit that had I been a bit more capable of connecting to Ellie, I would have probably been even more invested than I was. With that said, not every reader will connect with every character. It happens.
All in all, C&HC was an enjoyable read, complete with laughter, tears, and sexy times (yes, you read that correctly, SEXY TIMES). It is a great contemporary new adult read, and a fantastic debut.