Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Blog Tour: The Art of LOVE by Anne Whitney ~ Excerpt & Review

Hosted by Book Brats
I am super excited to have The Art of Love tour on my blog today. This is Anne Whitney's debut novel and I have an excerpt and review to share with you today.

The Art of LOVE
Author: Anne Whitney
Publication Date: June 18, 2013
Genre: New Adult


Marina Phillips has spent her entire life as her father’s victim. But enough is enough. All it took was one moment of realization to send her fleeing across the country into the unknown of New York City with no plans and no money. A new life without the constant torture is all she wants, but what she finds waiting is something she never expected.

Fitz is New York’s premiere playboy artist. Sexy, tattooed, and coveted by women and men alike, his performances are heralded as the coming of a new god of modern art. But when Marina wanders into his show, she becomes the inadvertent piece he’s always waited for – a girl to sculpt, to change, and to craft in his own image.

She never expects to fall head over heels into the world of parties, drag queens, agents, and artists craving for her and her benefactor. She didn’t even expect to begin falling in love with someone like Fitz, the sexy, pretentious man of her nightmares.

Above all, Marina never expects her father to stage a cross-country mission to paint her as a kidnapped girl taken by a psychopath.

With her life on the line, Marina has no choice but to accept Fitz’s proposal – change everything she is, inside and out, for the chance to start anew. But Marina has plans of her own. Plans that will rock her world forever.

The empty train pulls off without much of a sound, leaving me standing helplessly in its wake. Penn Station is nothing like I expected. Maybe in my imagination I’d pictured clean lines, or cleanliness period. Instead, my surroundings are dark, damp, abandoned, all cold steel and dirt caked over rusty beams and stained concrete. Five minutes since arrival and I am already abandoned, lost, and alone. Not to mention afraid.
 I haul my bag across my back and stumble toward a waiting staircase. A clock above my head ticks closer to midnight, but the drone of the city is still alive in the distance. Maybe I should have called my cousin to make sure she still lives here, or to find out where she lives in the first place. Or maybe I  should have stayed...

“Don’t think that,” I whisper under my breath.

The thought disappears.

This late at night, the homeless are already clustered about on cardboard draped in thin sheets of newspaper. A pair of police officers armed with rifles look up at me with interest before turning away. Frizzy haired girls with backpacks and weary looks must not be as interesting as the sleepy rumblings of drunken men in scruffy beards across the dirt covered tile floor.

Ten minutes since arrival and I’m already lost.

Fifteen and I'm afraid.

Twenty and I want to break down and cry where I stand, trapped in a corridor between a hot dog stand and a shuttered Starbucks. I stop and wave at a woman, desperate for help, but she ignores me and keeps walking. The same thing happens with the next woman who passes and the couple after her, as well, each too lost in their own private bubble to pay any attention.

It takes half an hour before I finally surface beneath the massive sign labeling Madison Square Garden. The sun has long set, but New York really is the city that never sleeps. The skyline is bright and the streets are filled on a Friday night. I feel so small and utterly insignificant on these streets, surrounded by countless bodies that stride past me without so much as a second glance. Everything towers over me. These buildings that I’ve seen countless times in films and photographs seem unnatural up close. It’s not hard considering my height, a stocky 5’1”, built on a poor diet of TV dinners and soda for twenty long years.

Swarms of people pour from the various buildings. My fingers instinctively tighten around the straps of my bag. In the history of bad decisions made in my lifetime, this will undoubtedly go down as one of the most ridiculous.

I mentally count the scrunched up notes and loose change in the pockets of my jeans. I’ve got about $6.71 to my name, the rest spent on a one way ticket away from Spokane, heading for the great unknown. Buying last minute tickets wasn’t a smart move. The woman at the ticket counter had said as much as I’d begged for help three nights ago, dumping my savings onto her desk while sobbing.

“You have to help me,” I told her.

“I’m sorry,” she said. Her name tag read Matilda. “You’re fifty short.”

“I can’t stay here,” I said. “He’s going to hurt me. He’ll kill me if he knows I’m here.”

She frowned and began pushing my money back into the jar. “I’m sorry.”

The man behind me dropped his card on the desk over my shoulder.

“Get the little lady here a ticket,” he told her sharply.

The city air smells wet and metallic. The clouds hanging low over the buildings are fat with mist, enveloping the Empire State Building in haze. I walk quickly with no destination in sight, keeping my head low as I push forward into the unknown. My stomach growls plaintively, a stark reminder that I haven’t eaten in more than a day.

A man’s hand forces a card into my arms before his feet stomp away toward his next unsuspecting victim. I glance down at the gaudy neon pink paper, printed in thick black. A young man’s face stares back at me, completely devoid of emotion.

Adams Gallery, Midnight, March 15 . The Art of Gemini. 516 West 24th Street.

I move to chuck the paper in the garbage before my eye catches the next line, obscured by a fat droplet of rain.

Refreshments provided.

My stomach rumbles instinctively. While usually the idea of going to some tacky and pretentious art show solely for the free grub made me shudder with embarrassment, in my current situation I can’t afford to be anything other than shameless. Before I can think about it long enough to change my mind, I pull a battered map of the city from the side of my bag, a small token of wishful thinking I had kept hidden in my tiny room, purchased from a second hand book sale at the school library, and locate where I needed to go. 

I figure that if I walk with enough confidence, even with a map in hand and a bulky rucksack weighing me down, I’ll fit right in. I’d chosen New York because it would be the easiest city in the world to get lost in, to become consumed by. I wanted to merge with the crowds and become another face you could pass by once in your life and never see again. I wanted to become invisible. If I could manage that then everything would be okay. It had to be.

So far, I feel like the ugly duck standing out like a beacon in the darkness. 

Eventually, I find the gallery, yet another foreboding mass of bricks and glass that looms over me. Part of me feels as if the city may literally devour me. Still, it’s a preferable option to other things out to get me.

Several well dressed figures mingle outside the door, laughing loudly and drinking something fizzy from brandy snifters. For a moment I wonder if this really is the right place, but then I notice one of the group clutching the same pink card I currently held in my own hand, waving it around like some exotic fan while making a point.

Okay, I tell myself. Just keep your head down, try to look interested in whatever the ‘Art of Gemini’ is, and don’t draw any attention to yourself. Get some food and drink and leave. Then you can...

I stop and think, only to find my heart racing like a train running full throttle, about to crash in a burst of flame and shrapnel. I take a deep breath, try to pat down my frizzy chestnut hair and stride into the gallery with all the confidence I can muster.

Inside, the gallery more closely resembles a warehouse, with chipped white and neon concrete walls and a floor splattered with a multitude of colourful paints. The entire world of modern art is foreign to me and just a little absurd.

People waltz past me, enthusiastically praising the work they see (are the paint splattered walls the art, I ask myself) and I suddenly feel more out of place than I have done in a very long time. I hadn’t had a lot of time in my life for pretty things before. Once again, my stomach protests, more concerned with nourishment than beauty. 

My eyes scan the room until I find what I’m looking for. The relatively simple spread of finger foods is a veritable feast right now. I head straight for it, not caring if I look like a madwoman or freeloader in the process. Luckily for me, another patron of this art show seems to be here for similar reasons. We share an amused look as we both stuff our faces with shrimp wrapped in bacon, tiny little potatoes with chives, crackers smothered in mozzarella and prosciutto.

The room fills slowly with aging women in black, their less interested companions, younger people dressed in a variety of rundown clothes, and men in suits clutching smart phones with no care to their surrounds. The low drone of voices fills the stark white space.

There is no art on the walls and no sign of what might be the art unless chipped paint counts. And, to be honest, I couldn’t care less. My stomach rages for more and I’m only happy to oblige it. I realize that I haven’t eaten in over a day and I don’t know when I’ll be eating again after this, so I’m determined to gorge myself on this free meal. I barely notice when the chatter in the room falls to a hush. It’s only when my buffet companion stops eating and looks up with amazement that I turn around to see what all the fuss is about. Nothing could have prepared me for the sight that stood before me.

A man shuffles into sight from behind a pillar. His head is down but I can still see his striking face, frozen in a pensive expression. Exotic tattoos cover his forearms and torso. He’s tall, gorgeous and completely naked.
And his eyes are on me.

When I was asked if I was interested in joining this tour, I had to take some time to think about it because I wasn’t sure what I would think of the book after reading the synopsis. However, I am a lover of new adult books and have loved pretty much every one I have read. I decided I would give this book a try because some of my favorite books are ones that I hesitated reading for a while because of my impression from the synopsis. I sure am glad I went for it and gave this book a shot. I am sure you are less interested in why I chose this book and more in what I thought of it so on to the review.


I really enjoyed The Art of Love and found the book to be something I haven't yet encountered in the new adult genre and I have read a lot of new adult books. The abusive father, the eccentric artist lover and friends and a whole new life for Marina Phillips made this an intriguing novel.

“I may have escaped to New York to find a secret normal life for myself, but having stumbled into a group of loud and proud nonconformists, I couldn’t imagine changing that for anything in the world”

Marina was an interesting character. I admired her courage and it takes a lot of strength to leave the only life you have ever known to start over some place new. She had spent 2o years under the abuse and shelter of her father so running across country to New York, of all places, was both crazy and brave. On her first night in New York, she has $6 to her name and she’s starving. She ends up at an art gallery for the free refreshments and this is where she meets Fitz and Veridian. Her life is forever changed.

Marina was naïve and young and inexperience and immediately she is thrust into this world of eccentric modern art and transvestite performance shows. I thing she adapted and adjusted to her new life very well. Despite her sheltered life, she easily became comfortable with this unconventional lifestyle. However, she really struggled because she had to completely change her identity to hide from her father and she felt like she was losing herself.

“Granted, I’m still massively out of place amongst the worlds of Fitz’s nude art and Derek’s drag extravaganza, and I’m sure they enjoy dragging me into public performances of supreme awkwardness a little too much, but I’m still wanted here. Luck has been good to me.”

Fitz was such a sweet guy. He was a bit lost and it seemed like he was trying really hard to find himself. I loved how passionate he was about his art and it was obvious that it was really important to him. He so desperately wanted to make a unique mark on the art world and he was very comfortable with nudity. He adored Marina and felt this instant connection with her that he never expected. However, he did come on a little strong and he should have known it would freak her out considering her sheltered life. He really believed he was in love with her and maybe he was, but it was definitely too quick.

Marina and Fitz had a very confusing relationship and I often found myself just as confused as Marina was when it came to where they stood. Were they dating? Were they in love? Was it just lust? Even Marina didn’t know so I don’t feel so bad that I was confused. Marina has never known love so she is totally unsure if she even knows how. The fact that Fitz is so enamored with her kind of scares her off and I could understand why. It kind of bothered me how unsupportive Marina was of Fitz’s performance art. She seemed to treat it as a joke sometimes and if it hurt Fitz, he was good at hiding it. Considering all he had done for her, I wish that she could have opened her mind a little to see that he was really trying to do something beautiful.

“I wanted him to look at me in that way I had begun to crave like an addict in need of their next fix.”

I loved Veridian and Derek and the fact that they were such great friends to Marina. They went to great lengths to help her when they didn’t even know her and they were very supportive. They knew Fitz and they were never shy about giving her advice on how to handle him and what she might be getting into. She definitely respected their opinions and took their advice to heart. They brought her into their world with open arms and she would not have been able to develop and become as strong as she did without them.

This book was all about character development and I think that Marina really grew. While she struggled to figure out who she was and hold onto herself, she definitely became stronger. She could have so easily fallen into a co-dependent relationship with Fitz but she held her ground and was honest with him and herself about her feelings. She became self-assured and able to stand on her own two feet without even realizing she was doing it. By the end, she was able to stand up to her father and had developed a new confidence she didn’t have before. She was finally able to find a happy medium between the person she used to be and the new person she became. She also realized that she may be able to love Fitz and she really wanted to give it a shot.

“The possibility of adoring and being adored is too much to give up.”

This was a really well written debut novel and I was very impressed with the creativity within the novel. It was a little predictable but that didn’t bother me because I felt like the novel was more about the growth and development of the characters than the plot of the story. If that was the author’s intention, she did a really fabulous job. Overall, I enjoyed reading this novel and I was very satisfied with the conclusion.

~IPOD Picks~
“Night Minds” by Missy Higgins
“Look After You” by The Fray
"Just the Way You Are" by Boyce Avenue
"Down" by Jason Walker

About this author
Anne Whitney lives near New York City and spends most of her time writing stories in her head. When she’s not putting those stories onto paper, she can be found browsing art galleries, watching sci-fi and reading whatever she can get her hands on. 


  1. I've been wondering about this one as I've seen the excerpt a bit but no reviews. I love that it is set in the art world and in NYC both things I love. Sounds interesting like something I would like. A bit disappointed to see it's predicable though. Still for good character development that is something I can overlook a little.

  2. I felt like this book was definitely more about the characters than the plot and that was kind of refreshing. I think you would like this one :-)

  3. Wonderful review Chelsea, I adored the character development too, it was such a nice change to see growth and I loved how she didn't fall into Fitz's arms and let him "heal" her.

  4. Thank you! I agree, I loved the growth and felt like it really made the book :-)

  5. Loved the excerpt!! Now I just need the rest ;) Glad you really liked it. Even though it's a tad predictable, it still sounds like a great read!


Thank you for your comment, you have truly made my day! I love reading and discussing other's thoughts and ideas. Leave a link to your blog and I would love to stop by!