Pretty Venom (Gray Springs University #3)
by Ella Fields
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Callum Welsh perfected the art of hating me when we were two kids who believed we’d be forced into marriage.
He thought I wanted it, but my only wish had been for him to leave me alone.
Then one afternoon, he stole my first kiss.
Despite all he’d done, everything changed after that.
As the years passed, our hearts thawed, and he no longer hated me.
In fact, he loved me enough to make me his wife.
Until I ruined everything with one stupid mistake.
That hatred returned in the form of cruel words and even crueler deeds.
But we weren’t kids anymore.
I could handle his brand of venom.
He would be mine again, even if it cost me the remains of my heart.
Warning: contains cheating and an anti-hero who might make you throw your kindle.
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Ms Ella Fields, if you ever read this review: please never change. Your writing is so lyrical. Poetic. It is captivating and enthralling, the way you use words to draw your reader into your characters’ story. Please don’t stop incorporating difficult subject matter into your stories and showing how your awe-inspiring characters overcome these challenges. And don’t stop putting us readers through the emotional ringer, please, because as hard as it is the journey is always worth it!
One of my favourite things about Ms Fields is that in a world filled with endless romance, she’s created this amazing reputation for herself. She’s an excellent wordsmith, a brilliant writer who writes about flawed characters without hesitation. Her romances explore difficult subject matter (cheating and mental health, for example) that some readers turn away from, but that’s why these stories resonate with me. It is because they’re about real life. And the way she handles these subjects is always done so with care and utmost poise.
We live in a world where hatred is easier than forgiveness. Where we often make mistakes that leave us quietly drowning in immense guilt. Where sometimes our happily ever afters never come, or events don’t unfurl the way we expect it to. Pretty Venom demonstrates a terrifying albeit realistic version of real love, with frayed edges, bruised and tattered surfaces and the heart-aching emotions we undergo.
It was unbearably easy to make someone your enemy, to brush them off and discard them as if they’d never meant a thing to you.
I believed Bittersweet Always owned my heart, but Pretty Venom has stamped its ownership. It is everything. It is so much more than anticipated. It is brutally honest, intense in its emotions, all consuming in its passion and raw in its portrayal.
If you make someone your world, do not complain when the ground crumbles beneath your feet.
Callum and Renee meet at the sweet, tender age of fourteen. But rather than become best friends or easy acquaintances, they share a mutual distaste for each other by swapping insults whenever possible. Until an innocent kiss turns this relationship from intense hatred to passionate romance.
Everything appears to be filled with bliss, but one life altering decision changes the way they perceive each other during college. Callum and Renee’s once seeming perfect relationship starts to crumble, crashing and burning along the way, turning these lovers back into enemies as they become unstoppable forces in hurling insults and hurting each other again.
Even after they’d torn your heart to shreds and used it as a weapon against you, you could still love that same person with a ferocity that bordered on magic. And maybe that was the crux of it. Love was magic. Capable of making you believe the impossible was always possible.
I initially hated Renee, especially in Suddenly Forbidden because her attitude appeared awfully petty and filled with undeserving malice towards someone innocent. But me and her formed this easy going relationship in Bittersweet Always, because that is when Renee unveiled her vulnerability, making her characterization more complex and realistic, rather than remaining toxic and the dreaded bitter ex-girlfriend. Underneath her independence and fierceness is someone hesitant and sometimes emotionally dependent. She clings to Callum, as her experiences with friendships, or rather lack thereof, makes befriending others difficult and her trust towards people virtually nonexistent.
She’s real. Human, making her endearing, an absolute character. Renee is unapologetically herself and she doesn’t turn away from the financial privileges she’s been bestowed. Neither does Callum.
“No.” His chuckle was dark, sinister. “I don’t want you, but I could have you if I did. Isn’t that right?”
Oh Callum Welsh, where to begin? I love asshole characters, especially when they’re written so flawlessly. Imperfections become perfection. Toxicity becomes near attractive. They become someone you’ll love to hate/hate to love. Callum is in his own league.
While Callum’s actions and words are venomous, he has his reasons. It is also difficult to detest someone you’ve loved since the first book.
In true Ms Fields fashion, Pretty Venom will draw you into its centre and never let go. You’ll reach the end, begging to read more. To have more of Gray Springs University. If you enjoy steam filled, angst ridden enemies-to-lovers romance, you will love this. But, really take into consideration the author’s warning because there are parts that will have you screaming and cursing and wanting to throw your Kindle.