I've, historically, not been a huge romance fan. I don't particularly like it when there is too much angsty back and forth romance, which seems to be what a lot of romance novels are. However, I went through a romance stage in just the past year, though, that had me changing my mind about some romances. After seeing an NPR list of swoon-worthy romances, I decided to try a few. One I tried was a Radclyffe book. After reading it, I proceeded to read many, many more. Here's the thing about the Radclyffe books that I liked (I didn't like them all): the women involved had real, fleshed out lives. The books, while primarily romances, were also about strong women who have careers. Not just careers that are mentioned so the box can be checked, but careers that we get to dive into and hear details of. If you're interested in checking Radclyffe out, I'd recommend the First Responders series, aside from Oath of Honor, which involves characters established in a different series, as a good place to start. I also enjoyed the Honor series.
Ugly Love, though, hit pretty much all of my issues with romances. Tate was not very fleshed out. Sure, she was almost unhealthily career oriented, as she says, but, even though she works in the ER and goes to graduate school for nursing, we never, ever see that world. Her backstory is pretty much non existent. We get more backstory for Miles, to explain why he's treating Tate like crap (my opinion), but not more about him as a person, really. So, we're left with almost a pure romance with no other story line. Then, on top of that, the romance is toxic (until the end, when it isn't). We are given some comparisons of supposedly worse: a lecherous married man who messes around on his wife all the time and a playboy. But, personally, I think what Miles is doing is worse. The deal is: don't ask about the past and don't expect a future. So, Miles is clear about that and I guess we can give him that. But, he hurts Tate emotionally over and over again and she still hangs on, loving him. That's just wrong, friends, even if the sex is hot. That's a set up for abuse. While that didn't happen in this book, it's teaching readers that it's okay to love someone and stick around while the person you love is distant, sometimes mean and sending mixed signals. Arg!
I did read the whole book which says something about Colleen's writing style and also about me being somewhat invested, as you know I don't always finish books, but I still don't recommend it.
Also, least you think that I have something against straight romance (Radclyffe writes lesbian romance), three of my all time favorite romances are Fangirl (which I loved more than Eleanor and Park because I felt it was less angsty), The Queen's Thief series (the first book isn't a romance at all, but just wait for it - some of my all time favorite books) and the Mercy Thomson series. I've also recently enjoyed Outlander and Anna and the French Kiss.