Cutie and the Beast, E.J. Russell

Cutie and the Beast (Fae Out of Water Book 1) by [Russell, E.J.]

I liked this book...mostly. I sometimes wanted to give it 4 stars, mostly in the beginning, and then I was tempted to round down from 2.5, mostly near the end, so I settled on 3 stars overall.

David was cute, spunky, and in total lust with Alun's voice. I really liked that he acknowledged the unfortunate visage of his new temporary boss and that the flinching was there. It would be incredibly naive to think that David wouldn't be shocked by his appearance and would be able to quickly and completely sweep them away as a non-issue. He addresses it and mentions it throughout the story but doesn't make Alun's looks a reason for rejection or derision. This I admire. He was quirky and more than willing to see what was underneath the grumpy, bumpy exterior and knew what really mattered. His enthusiasm wasn't just for his boss, it was for the patients he had no prior knowledge of, his adopted aunties, and a grayer than a Portland sky office. David did his best to bring truth and beauty and enjoyment into the lives and places he touched. He was a good match for someone as taciturn, stubborn, and surly as Alun.

Alun, however, remained prideful and vain from both sides of the spectrum all through the story. I wasn't as much of a fan of his and I wanted to be. His treatment of David and obliviousness to all things involving true feelings was disappointing to say the least. I hope that I get to see more of an evolution from him throughout the other stories of the series since they involve his brothers. He's definitely the weak link in the relationship in the story.

As for the story itself, I think there was a bit too much packed into the story making it seem way too long and not long enough at the same time. It wasn't long enough to properly address all the issues facing the couple and the community that were brought up throughout the story. And then it felt far too long because what it did address, it was beat half to death. So yes, there's a Beauty and the Beast element and Alun is ashamed of himself because of how he looks first and then second is his self-blame for his lover's demise. I'm not sure how many times we need to cover that vanity and guilt before we're saying, "Okay, I get it, you martyr, how about we move on, yeah?"

Overall, I liked the story and had a great time in the first half, the second half is where things fell short for me. Alun's brothers were involved enough to keep my interest for their stories primed and I look forward to the rest of the series.

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