“A gripping, sensual and darkly romantic masterpiece.”– Frolic
Pretty Scars, Carrie Drazen’s long awaited love story from New York Times bestselling author CD Reiss, is available now!
In Carrie Drazen’s diamond-studded world, beauty is everything: a blessing, a commodity, and a curse. Her beauty got her past the velvet ropes and into New York’s high society, but it ripped her away from the man she loved and chained her to an unbearable life.
Then, in a single night, a song played by a mysterious and secretive musician carries her back to a past ripe with possibilities, when love could open any door.
Who is this anonymous performer?
How can a man she’s never met tell the story of a boy she loved with such precision?
She needs to know. But sometimes masks exist for a reason, and this unveiling could scar them both.
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I CANNOT get enough of CD Reiss’ Drazen family’s stories. The authentic voice that Reiss uses for each one of her Drazen characters allows readers to, not only understand the world that they live in but also the reasons for their lifestyle choices and the precarious positions they find themselves in, sacrificing their happiness, even the loves of their lives, due to extenuating circumstances as well as outside forces they can’t control or even identify.
In Pretty Scars, readers get Carrie Drazen’s story and the title alone indicates the fact that Carrie’s life doesn’t go as planned, finding herself in a life she wouldn’t have chosen for herself, and even though fate stepped in to allow her to meet a man who seemed to be the love of her life, the freewill of others forced her to lose everything that mattered, leaving her with nothing but her beauty, which is both a blessing and a curse, and only gives her so much in return and nothing of any substance.
Even though Gabriel brought light to Carrie’s darkened world, the love between them couldn’t survive everything that these two seemed to be up against, which sends them down much different paths, destroying most of the hope Carrie once had and forcing her to endure a life that she would have never chosen for herself. It’s difficult to witness all the ways that Carrie is used as a pawn and she frustrated me a number of times throughout the course of Pretty Scars because I wanted her to truly see what was happening and fight harder for the life that she wanted for herself. But I also understand the lack of control she has and because Reiss takes readers back to two years ago when everything begins for Carrie and Gabriel and then forward to the present and everything that Carrie must deal with, it makes sense why Carrie’s too far encased in the darkness and unwilling to hope for a future of her own choosing.
What I love most about Reiss’ storytelling is the way in which she threads multiple story lines together in a way that both boggles the mind due to its complexity and leaves readers in awe with how cohesively she unravels every strain to shed light on the main conflict as well as explain how events and words said in the past both complicate and lend hope to the characters’ present and their future as well.
Pretty Scars is not an easy read; most of Reiss’ books push readers to their limits, but that’s what makes her stories so addicting and so thought provoking, which is exactly why I can’t wait for more from this author!
4.5 Poison Apples
After four years at USC, I knew how to survive. I went to the University Village mall, where Earl the security guard liked to hear me play.
I needed to practice anyway.
“Play that Stravinsky thing, would you?” I’d educated Earl in the ways of classical composers and he turned out to have a great ear. He always had a request.
“You got it.”
“Gonna miss your playing after you graduate,” he said as I set up my case.
“I’ll miss the acoustics in here.”
“Where you going?” he asked.
“New York.” I drew the bow across the strings and made an adjustment.
“Big Apple. You got a job there?”
“Not yet. But that’s where the opportunities are.”
He shook his head not as a negation, but with a rueful look back at youth.
When I started playing the piece Earl liked, I wasn’t looking to fall in love. I wasn’t looking to get tied down. I hadn’t fallen in love since Babette, and that was fine. Making a name for myself as a musician would take up all my time.
The acoustics in the front hall of University Village were outstanding. My eyes were closed as I played, listening for off tones and missed notes. I was in perfect flow. My fingers acted before my mind could correct, so my ears made adjustments. The conversations, the clattering food trays, the dim Muzak in the speakers were miles away.
There was no reason for me to open my eyes, but I did, and that changed everything.
She changed everything.
Standing with her friend, red hair covering her face as she rooted around her bag, she looked up just as I saw her, as if my gaze had called out.
USC is full of the children of actors, models, and athletes. My friend Danny said you couldn’t swing a dead cat without hitting something fuckable.
But she wasn’t fuckable.
She was more.
Calling her beautiful illustrated the inadequacy of language. She was a melody. A perfect symphony. The final crescendo in a masterpiece written by a genius. Taking my eyes off her would be impossible. All the air in the room bent in her direction and emanated from her as if she owned it.
And still, my fingers did their job, filling the room with music that had been written for her before she was born.
She was impossible. Eternal. Divine.
Nothing like her should exist anywhere but Olympus.
With a little smile, she dropped a bill in my case and walked out with her friend, getting momentarily lost in the afternoon sun.
I stopped playing to watch her go.
“You got a day’s worth out of her,” Earl said from behind his podium.
“Yeah,” I said, assuming he was talking about her looks.
“You gonna get greedy and keep playing?”
He pointed at my case with its dotting of loose change and a single, rolled up bill. I picked up the cash. Benjamin Franklin stared at me with a sly smile.
That couldn’t be right. Even if it was, I couldn’t take it. Not from another student. Not from anyone who wasn’t Bill Gates.
Looking out the glass doors, I saw her and her friend make their way to the crosswalk and wait for the light.
“You okay?” Earl asked with a knowing smile. “Or did that pretty thing shake you?”
“I’m shaken,” I said, grabbing the pen off his clipboard. I scrawled my number on the bill and handed back the pen. “Save my spot.”
I dropped my violin in the case and snapped it shut, losing a spray of pennies and dimes, grabbed my bag and case, and ran after her.
About CD Reiss
CD Reiss is a New York Times bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn’t pick up she’s at the well hauling buckets.
Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master’s degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.
She’s frequently referred to as the Shakespeare of Smut which is flattering but hasn’t ever gotten her out of chopping that cord of wood.
If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.
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