Gabriel's Inferno - Sylvain Reynard I started reading this book reluctantly. I was expecting another FSOG rehash but I was mildly surprise that I actually liked it. Okay, like is not really the word I would use but it's one of those books that make you feel guilty because everybody seems to love it but you. There are certain elements in the book I like and don't like. First off, the H/h. The hero, Gabriel; pretentious, moody, all-around asshole with a penchant for bow ties and did I say pretentious? Yup. He's pretentious and stuck-up Dante specialist who randomly sprouts poetry lines. I know, I know, it's suppose to be romantic and all that but sometimes it comes off as being forced and -- well, pretentious. It's like the author is trying too hard to let the reader know that this guy is a sophisticate, he's a tortured soul, he's DANTE waiting in bowels of hell for his Beatrice. We get it. I don't mind the Dante references too much but it came to a point where it was too much. I mean I really don't like having to rely on Google translate just so I could get what the characters are saying. But there are moments when I liked Gabriel. I mean, really like Gabriel. I liked the Gabriel who went to back to his hometown with Julia, saved Julia from Seth, reached out to his adoptive father, who gave Julia's father a piece of his mind. I liked that Gabriel. Yes, I even liked the part when he revealed his painful past to her. Those were the elements I liked about the character.Julia is another story. The lip biting annoys me to no end. Gawd, Freud would be able to write another batch of theories with the lip biting being done by Julia. "Julia bit her lip and stifled a sob." "Instead, she put her head down and worried her plump lower lip between her teeth, back and forth and back and forth." If I was her bottom lip I would be worried too. I blame you Anna Steele. You made lip-biting a trend. So annoying. And oh, don't get me started on the trembling. Ohhhhh yeah, our dear heroine trembles all the time. I will spare you the details but the lip-biting and the trembling is just not cute. NOT. CUTE. Just when I thought she couldn't get anymore annoying, our heroine FLUSHES. Yup. She spends 90% of the book flushing. FLUSHING. If I had flushed that many times, I'd be worried. I kid you not, my dear friends. Julia bits her lips, she trembles and she flushes. She's a klutz, too. (I'll stop now. I'm starting to get annoyed again.) The only time I really, really felt something for her was when she showed her backbone. Yay, backbone. She has one, and she showed some of it. Twice. I think. Anyway, moving on.Not surprisingly, it's the secondary characters who really stood out for me, namely, Rachel. God, I love Rachel. Rachel is the bomb! Rachel is cool! I want to be best friends with Rachel! Pretty please. I admit. I harbor somewhat of a girl crush on Rachel. And Aaron. I love them. Aaron is pretty much a non-entity in this book but the few times that he's there, you can't help but love him. Yeah, I even liked Scott too. He's an asshole but he redeemed himself. I also loved Richard and Grace. Wow. Their love story is just wow. Richard, stricken with grief over losing his wife was just heart wrenching to watch. And yet, he continues to love and care for his kids and especially Gabriel. I loved that man. And Grace -- what can I say? She's severe mercy personified. She made me want to call my mom and just say, "Love you, mom." And who can forget Paul. Paul the sacrificial lamp. This book reinforces the assumption that nice guys finishes last. But I digress. Nice guys just run a different race. I want a HEA for Paul. He deserves it. Overall, this book ain't that bad. It was an engaging enough read. As I have said there are times when this book just tries too hard sometimes with the brand dropping, the obscure music, the poetry was too much, in my opinion. Which is a real shame because if you strip those things, there's a great story there. A story of love and redemption, penance and forgiveness, mercy and joy.