One of the things we love most here at Unofficial Book Club is engaging in dialogues about books. This is primarily what brought us together in the first place – bonding over the mutual love of an author and then meeting over (many) lunches to talk all things literary. We enjoy sharing and receiving opinions and recommendations about books we or our followers have read or want to read. No two people read the same book and it’s fascinating to see how divergent people’s takes on the same book can be. With that spirit of dialogue in mind, for books that we review jointly, each of us will come up with questions for the other that we will both answer and a personal summary for each reviewer will be posted at the end. We hope you’ll join in and let us know your thoughts as well!
Ashley’s Questions for Beth:
What is City Beautiful’s greatest strength?
For me, I definitely would have to say the witty banter between Ivy and Patrick and also in the family scenes. I love the quirkiness of each of them and how they just navigate through each situation by being what each other needs. There’s a real intimacy between these two characters that comes from the brilliant way she writes their interactions.
I would say the greatest strength is the realism with which Ivy and Patrick’s relationship is portrayed. CM doesn’t fall prey to the insta-love trap and presents obstacles that are very much in line with those that other couples in their situation would face. I really dislike when characters react in ways that don’t feel true to the storyline and it’s obvious that the author has them reacting that way simply to create additional drama. Here, the reactions always feel genuine which supports the emotional impact of the story that much more.
If you had to describe the book in just one word, what would it be?
What song reminds you of the book?
Beth’s Questions for Ashley:
How exactly were you feeling during the climax of the book?
Devastated. That scene and the ones that immediately followed just left me wrecked. I made the mistake of going to bed after that part and I was genuinely so upset that I had a hard time sleeping. Me getting that worked up about a book happens less than a handful of times a year and that reaction is a true testament to CM’s talent and the way she handled that portion of the book.
It was completely unexpected to me. I was flabbergasted at what Foss had done. I mean, you read books all the time where the climax is a significant turning point but usually it’s fairly predictable. There’s always some important moment leading up to the turn of events which gives the reader a hint of foreshadowing of what’s to come but it never feels THAT real. My heart actually sank.
I loved CM’s sex scenes in her previous books and the ones in City Beautiful are no different. Each one feels different from the next as she is able to effectively sprinkle them with humor, tenderness, lust or urgency as the mood fits, but also always maintain the emotional connection between the characters.
While I think there’s a time and place for an erotica style book, a “cupcake” style read like City Beautiful really shows the strength in a writer’s talent for me. The fact that she can write love making scenes in a sweetly expressed way and you can still feel the heat between two characters says volumes to me as a reader.
Which character did you feel connected to the most? Why?
I really connected with Patrick’s character. I enjoyed his journey of self-discovery as Ivy opened his eyes to new experiences. It was rewarding to watch him take the lessons he learned from her and then start to apply them himself. I also adored his steadfastness towards his relationship with Ivy even when the difficulties they faced seemed insurmountable. CM can write a male lead with the best of them and in Patrick she’s created a guy who’s not afraid to give his all but who’s also not afraid to dish it out as good as he gets.
While I loved both the main characters, I absolutely fell the hardest for Patrick’s sister, Lissa. When she first finds out about Ivy and she expresses how she loves weird, it made me really connect with her on a fun level. She seems positive and accepting and I think we all need that support in our lives. Foss’s scenes with family really created an intimacy in this story I could latch onto. When an author can make you fall just as hard for side characters as their main characters, I think that’s definitely the mark of a true talent.
One of my favorite scenes in the book is where she drinks apple juice out of a wine glass. It immediately brought me back to the time I sent you the picture of me drinking coke in a wine glass because sometimes you just have to feel #fancy.
LOL! It’s always o.k. to be fancy! If you love Lissa, read Shiver – that’s her story.
Ashley never leads me wrong when it comes to a fantastic read as she’s the one who has led me to this particular author. I have without a doubt found a new author I will be ready to immediately 1-click. CM Foss’s City Beautiful is a gorgeously written story which leaves its reader with a belly full of flutters and a happy heart despite its roller coaster events. There were so many laugh out loud moments and butterfly inducing scenes. The witty banter and character interactions in Foss’s novel is spot on to what I absolutely adore in a great book. The two main characters, Patrick and Ivy, come right off the pages for me and without a doubt would transform so fluidly onto screen. Patrick is the best mix of alpha and beta which is a characteristic in book boyfriends I absolutely love. Her writing flows in a way that allowed me to not just be stuck in words on a page but painted a clear and concise picture in my mind. This story feels REAL. Not many authors I currently read possesses this talent so when I find it, I’m hooked. This definitely won’t be the last book by CM Foss I pick up and will without a doubt be a re-read for me which I feel is the highest compliment I can pay an author.
“Focus on the good. And then don’t forget about it.”
I have been a fan of CM Foss since her first book Shiver, which was a great read. I enjoyed seeing her progression as an author in Swoon, which was a fantastic read. But she has truly blown it out of the water with City Beautiful! Every now and again when reading, I have this feeling where I know I’m in the midst of something really special and it makes me hang on to every word, every character, every feeling. I can only describe this feeling as “book magic.” City Beautiful has book magic in abundance. There is not one thing I didn’t love about this story and there is not one thing I would change about it either. CM is so adept at mixing humor with heartbreak that I often found myself laughing out loud at the beginning of a chapter and reduced to tears by the end of it. Her stories always feel like they have come full circle by the end, but I particularly loved the feeling of completion that I got when I finished the epilogue of City Beautiful. I left the book immediately wanting to dive back in and re-read it again and I can’t think of a better endorsement for a book than that.
“And we simply felt every moment, in the moment, until all the moments swirled together and all I felt was love being made.”
Find this novel and other books by Foss on Amazon: City Beautiful by CM Foss
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