Review and G!veaway: Wanted by Heidi Ayarbe

Publication Date: May 1st, 2012
Balzer + Bray
Format: Hardback, 400 pages
RATING: 5 out of 5 Stars

A one-word text message: That’s all Michal “Mike” Garcia needs to gather a crowd. Mike is a seventeen-year-old bookie, and Sanctuary is where she takes bets for anyone at Carson High with enough cash. Her only rule: Never participate, never place a bet for herself.

Then Josh Ellison moves to town. He pushes Mike to live her life, to feel a rush of something—play the game, he urgest, stop being a spectator.

So Mike breaks her one rule. She places a bet, feels the rush.

And loses.

In an act of desperation, she and Josh—who has a sordid past of his own—concoct a plan: The pair will steal from Carson City’s elite to pay back Mike’s debt. Then they’ll give the rest of their haul to those who need it most. How can burglary be wrong if they are making things right?

Wanted will thrust readers into the gritty underbelly of Carson City, where worth is determined by a score, power is derived from threat, and the greatest feat is surviving it all.

Bonnie and Clyde meets Robinhood – the premise couldn’t have sound any more interesting and unique as that. Come to think of it, there have been books written within the parameters of either work but never both. Such an ambitious undertaking, if I may say so myself.
Seventeen year-old Michal is a bookie who had never known what it’s like to live the life of a person of her occupation.  And although the temptation to gamble was severe, she’d never once given in…until Josh Ellison moved to town and dared her to step away from the sidelines. She’s always been careful – a bystander. But with Josh’s appearance in her life, she was suddenly craving for a thrilling life. She soon found the high of gambling addictive. But when she starts to lose, she felt little choice but to bet money she never had and on occasions, was never hers. As bad ideas go, Josh and Mike decided to steal to pay off her debts. It soon becomes a challenge, a mission. At first, the stealing was justified by giving them to those in need and stealing from the rich vindicated the act of thievery. Desperation sets in as authorities’ clue in on the Babylonia duo.  Mike makes the biggest gamble of her life in an attempt to right all the wrongs. One bad decision led to another and at the end of it all, she would come to a delayed conclusion that it was all worth it.
This was my first Heidi Ayarbe work and I have a hunch that it won’t be the last. I’ve read some of the blurbs for her books and they just give you a hint that the themes veer toward social consciousness. The same could be said for Wanted. It was so much more than just bored, rich kids gambling their money away. Here, the topic of social and racial divide between Mexican-Americans and Americans was highlighted by the lack of respect between the two. Like it or not and whether you agree or disagree, this issue is still relevant.
Wanted is also about a girl finding herself in a world where she felt she didn’t belong and where her existence wasn’t wanted. But if you’re anticipating a girl who’d cry a river about her shortcomings, and, or whine about her social inadequacies, Mike isn’t that girl. I thought that she was TOO accepting of her place in the world that when she was speaking about her failures, physical or otherwise, it felt too matter-of-fact. I have a lot of admiration for this girl; she commands attention with a single word; she’s strong when she wants to be and weak when she can’t help it. In other words, she’s pretty freaking normal.
The romance was subtle through practically the entirety of the novel. Finding her challenger in Josh, the boy showed her all the things she’s been missing while she was busy watching life pass her by. The subtlety however, added to the culminating build-up when these two finally happened. It was sad, unfair and ultimately just…tragic.
VERDICT: Powerful, heart-wrenching, eye-opening novel. Wanted goes to the very heart of a girl who would learn who she is through some questionable decisions she would make in life. The Bonnie and Clyde part gives you an inkling of how this book ends; the Robinhood, gives you some insight on what our two main characters are about. But this book turned out to be so much more. Heidi Ayarbe’s writing is very real and compelling. She stripped away all the high school drama and replaced it with a very mature reality. I can’t wait to read the rest of her work.

Psst! Want a copy of this fantastic book? Enter below. 

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Review: Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London

Publication Date: May 29th, 2012
Format: ARC, 342 pages
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars
This electrifying new trilogy blends the best of paranormal and dystopian storytelling in a world where the war is over. And the vampires won.
Humans huddle in their walled cities, supplying blood in exchange for safety. But not even that is guaranteed. Dawn has lost her entire family and now reluctantly serves as the delegate to Lord Valentine, the most powerful vampire for miles. It isn’t until she meets Victor, Valentine’s son, that she realizes not all vampires are monsters….
Darkness Before Dawn is a fresh new story with captivating characters, unexpected plot twists, a fascinating setting, and a compelling voice. Written under the name J. A. London by a talented mother-son team, the trilogy is perfect for fans of True Blood and the House of Night and Morganville Vampires series.

The war between humans and vampires has ended. And while humans would like to believe that both species could co-exist peacefully, Lessers and anti-vamps alike would beg to disagree. This is a world where a city is walled all around in the hopes of keeping the rogue vampires out. The delegate, Dawn Montgomery inherited the position from her murdered parents. The responsibility of keeping Lord Valentine supplied with ample supply of blood rests on her young shoulders. But the powerful patriarch isn’t so keen on making her job easy. With increasing demands for blood, Dawn’s spite for their kind grew with more determination. When she meets Victor Valentine, her will, principles and beliefs will be tested. But how much would it take to convince her that not all vampires are monsters?
Yes, I know. Not another vampire book. And while the authors did a phenomenal job on keeping the creepy ambiance throughout the book, it’s a mountain of a job to convince readers that this book has something entirely unique. The truth is, there really isn’t. Here are some of the plot elements: human and vampire forbidden love, humans enslaved by the vampires, and an overzealous overlord who’s bent on keeping the Victorian traditions in the modern times. Really nothing special. We’ve read the same ol’ thing before. 
The relationship between Dawn and Michael had such sweet beginnings; but the circumstance with how quickly Michael turned on Dawn was mind-boggling. Considering how respectful, loving and sweet Michael was in the beginning, the turn-around didn’t make sense and most of all, seemingly forced. It seemed like the authors wanted to get rid of him quickly. In which case, I wished he wasn’t part of the equation altogether. His role was diminished that he almost faded to black. I have tried to rationalize why Michael was in the book to begin with when he had very little impact on Dawn’s overall characterization. Other than the fact that he was the other side of the triangle, I thought his character was insignificant.The authors spent time building up the relationship that had eventually ended in a resounding thud. It was a waste of my time.

Victor Valentine was your run of the mill vampire; brooding, mysterious, holy-hotness. Unfortunately, his character suffered from underdevelopment. He could’ve been so much more but I found him aloof and cold. I always look for emotions from characters and Victor was as frigid as an ice box even though he was the equivalent of a humanitarian for his kind.

Dawn didn’t fare well either. She was supposed to be kick ass but she withered under the glare of the insipid token mean girl. I don’t get it. She dealt with the Lord vampire himself; the scariest, oldest vampire there was and yet she could hardly stand up for herself when it comes to the school’s queen bee.

And have I mentioned I have a general distaste for love triangle? Well, this one has it. Although it was less taxing as opposed to some of the ones I’ve read from the past, I think it was the primary reason why I didn’t love this book as much as I would’ve.

This book was actually quite predictable; no surprises and twists in the plot, though the authors tried. Unfortunately, I saw it from a mile away. The characters were a bit flat and quite forgettable. I was really looking forward to reading this book. Sadly, it didn’t deliver.
VERDICT: If vampires are your thing, then this book is right up your alley. If you’re like me who’s read one too many, then you might want to pick up another off your shelves. Honestly speaking, I think I’m still interested in how this story will progress and will probably check out the installment.   
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Review: Changeling by Philippa Gregory

Publication Date: May 29th, 2012
Simon Pulse
Format: ARC, 272 pages
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars
Dark myths, medieval secrets, intrigue, and romance populate the pages of the first-ever teen series from #1 bestselling author of The Other Boleyn Girl

Italy, 1453. Seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is brilliant, gorgeous—and accused of heresy. Cast out of his religious order for using the new science to question old superstitious beliefs, Luca is recruited into a secret sect: The Order of the Dragon, commissioned by Pope Nicholas V to investigate evil and danger in its many forms, and strange occurrences across Europe, in this year—the end of days.    

Isolde is a seventeen-year-old girl shut up in a nunnery so she can’t inherit any of her father’s estate. As the nuns walk in their sleep and see strange visions, Isolde is accused of witchcraft—and Luca is sent to investigate her, but finds himself plotting her escape.    

Despite their vows, despite themselves, love grows between Luca and Isolde as they travel across Europe with their faithful companions, Freize and Ishraq. The four young people encounter werewolves, alchemists, witches, and death-dancers as they head toward a real-life historical figure who holds the boundaries of Christendom and the secrets of the Order of the Dragon.     

I have read several of Ms. Gregory’s Tudor series. I love her writing and her dedication to keep her novels as close to the history books as possible. I was so excited when I found out that she was writing a YA historical and got even more excited when I got an ARC of this book in the mail! Needless to say, I didn’t waste much time and got started on it right away.
I have to say that while this book held so little of what I’ve loved about Philippa’s writing, it was passable enough for entertainment’s sake. I was swept away back to a scary time when religion – most specifically Catholicism and Rome had the world on their hands. When the difference between fanatics and heretics was what separated people from enduring unimaginable tortures in the hands of those appointed by church. And while there weren’t any of those scenarios in the book, if you’ve ever been familiar with her novels, you would have those very thoughts at the back of your mind.
Changeling is a story of a gifted seminarian who left his vocation for reasons that could have earned him a stint on a rack. This book was a fact-finding mission about everything that was paranormal and, or unexplainable in the world. At a time when the only explanation was either witchcraft or Satan’s doings, Luca Vero has his work cut out for him. His first mission was to explain the sudden madness that descended upon the nuns of a monastery reluctantly headed by a seventeen year-old Lady Abess, Isolde. The investigation unearthed some pretty disturbing findings least of them had nothing to do with the paranormal.
I thought it was pretty ingenious. I love the mix of fantasy, religion and the mystical. Gregory twisted those elements in such a way that the eventual explanation had more to do with basic human nature and nothing at all to do with theology.
If you ask me, you can ignore the romance that the synopsis alluded to. It was non-existent in the book. I’m pretty disappointed that they’re trying to sell a love angle that was barely there. Aside from some realizations about how Isolde and Luca were attractive to each other, nothing really happened. I did love Freize and Ishraq’s chemistry.
Another thing that I had a problem with this book was the lack of cohesiveness between the two missions that they found themselves solving. At 272 pages, it almost felt like Ms. Gregory had a collection of short stories that she wanted to publish and this series was her outlet. But perhaps this series will be told in this method: a group of unrelated stories told as they make their way to the world, solving mysteries and debunking the unexplained.
VERDICT: If you’ve ever had a problem with long, drawn out historicals, Philippa Gregory’s Changeling is just the thing to cure your boredom. I couldn’t resist staying up till the wee hours of the morning just to finish this book. Even if I had problems, I still think Ms. Gregory is a master story teller.
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Review: Dragonswood by Janet Lee Carey

Publication Date: January 5th, 2012
FORMAT: Hardcover, 407 pages
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars


Wilde Island is not at peace. The kingdom mourns the dead Pendragon king and awaits the return of his heir; the uneasy pact between dragons, fairies, and humans is strained; and the regent is funding a bloodthirsty witch hunt, hoping to rid the island of half-fey maidens.

Tess, daughter of a blacksmith, has visions of the future, but she still doesn’t expect to be accused of witchcraft, forced to flee with her two best friends, or offered shelter by the handsome and enigmatic Garth Huntsman, a warden for Dragonswood. But Garth is the younger prince in disguise and Tess soon learns that her true father was fey, making them the center of an exciting, romantic adventure, and an ancient prophecy that will bring about peace between all three races – dragon, human, and fairy.

This is a story about Tess – a blacksmith’s daughter who has suffered through most of her life in the hands of her father. And through the nights when the bruises and broken bones were the most painful, she would escape to Dragonswood – a forbidden place inhabited by dragons and faes. Suspected of witchcraft, she was taken by hunters led by Lady Adela to be tortured into submission. She was left with no choice but to give up the names of her friends, who then were forced to escape and hide from the clutches of the witch hunter. This led them right into the cottage of Garth Huntsman – a warden of the Dragonswood who were often aloof and sometimes enigmatic. The series of events that followed unearthed a prophecy that if came into fruition would lead to a peaceful existence between human, dragons, and fae folks. And as a true testament to any good fantasy novels, the road to fulfillment would be rife with adventure, danger and treachery with a side order of romance fit for a fairy tale.
It took me 2.5 seconds to get sucked in to this book; and it wasn’t so much as the appeal of the dragons, faeries and whatever creatures lurked in its pages but more so because of the author’s writing. Once upon a time, you couldn’t get me far away enough from historical and fantasy novels. But I seemed to have developed quite a taste for them now.
Dragonswood is as good as any other fantasy novels out there. However, I was disappointed with some of the aspects of the story. Tess’ power was a big miss. I had a hard time identifying her visions of the future as it came into fulfillment. I think the author could’ve worked it better. But perhaps I’m just the type of reader whose hands had to be held through the novel. There’s also a certain disconnection between the first part of the book and the other half. There was no smooth transition – no bridge; it was almost like reading two books in one.
The world building was stunning; none of the elements felt like it was manufactured but rather a flawless execution of a vision. There were times when I thought I was missing some character introductions and background and this is because of the fact that I’d never read the novel’s predecessor, Dragon’s Keep. But do not fret; some of them didn’t really play a big factor in the novel.
There were some disturbing realities to the story; the harshest one was the acceptable practice of abuse toward women and children. And of course, what happened to women accused of witchcraft. The writing of these scenarios was almost matter-of-fact that I couldn’t help but feel mildly turned-off.
VERDICT: Dragonswood is a fantasy novel that will sate your taste for one. But don’t expect it to be epic. It had all the key elements for a good one but not enough to be swept away by being a great one. This book has been sitting in a pile of books behind another pile, so the chances of my bumping it up my reads are pretty much minimal. I insist that the author’s writing is amazing that it’s the primary reason why I fell in like with this book.

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In My Mailbox #34

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Sirenwhich showcases the books we’ve purchased, borrowed and received in the mail this week. This is the 34th episode of HOARDERS, Books Edition.


Darkness Before Dawn by J.A. London
Lost Voices by Sarah Porter
(Much love to HarperCollins Canada & Thomas Allen for these books!)

 The Six by K.B. Hoyle
Dark Companion by Maria Acosta
Onyx by Jenniffer L. Armentrout
(Much love to Net Galley, TWCS, Tor/Macmillan and Entangled Publishing!)
The Nightworld by Jack Blaine
While He was Away by Karen Schrek
The Book of Blood and Shadow by Robin Wasserman
Mister Death’s Blue Eyed Girls by Mary Downing Hahn
Destined by Aprillynne Pike
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins
What She Left Behind by Tracy Bilen
Silence by Michelle Sagara
Black Dawn by Rachel Caine
Endure by Carrie Jones
Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan
The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze
Waiting by Carol Lynch Williams
When You Were Mine by Rebeca Serle
Wanted by Heidi Ayarbe
Insurgent by Veronica Roth
Purity by Jackson Pearce
The Right & the Real by Joēlle Anthony
The Lifeguard by Deborah Blumenthal
Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore
1NF1N1TY by Rachel Ward

Please check out my current giveaway for a chance to win a copy of FIRST COMES LOVE by Kate Kacvinsky (sponsored by Thomas Allen).

What’s in your mailbox?

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Review: Thyla by Kate Gordon

Publication Date: April 1st, 2011
Random House Australia
Format: Paperback, 287 pages
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars
“My name is Tessa. I am strong. I am brave. I do not cry. These are the only things I know for certain. I was found in the outback, ragged as a wild thing. I have no memory; not even of how I got the long slashes across my back. They make me frightened of what I might remember. The policewoman, Connolly, found me; and placed me; in a boarding school and told me about her daughter, Cat, who went missing in the outback. I think there is a connection between Cat, me, and the strange things going on at this school. If I can learn Cat’s story, I might discover my own and stop it happening again.”
A thrilling paranormal tale of shapeshifting, a centuries-old war, and              finding out who you really are when your memories betray you.

Tessa woke up without a single memory of who she was. No family, no identity. The only truth she knew deep into the marrow of her bones is that she’s a strong person, incapable of tears and she’s fearless. Little by little, snaps of recollections come back to her as she’s thrust into a mysterious world inside and outside of the boarding school she was forced into – a school, which held more memories of who she was than she cared to remember.
The synopsis wasn’t very forthcoming; I had no clue what I was getting into when I started reading. As a result, I was overly anxious for the mystery to unfold and Kate Gordon took her sweet old time revealing what kind of paranormal creatures she has on the offing. She took lycanthrope and spun with a bit creepier factor than normal. It was definitely different. I think that having the setting somewhere much novel (novel to me, anyway) added to the mystery. Port Arthur (Van Diemen’s Land), Tasmania was a penal colony and the hardened British and Irish criminals’ destination back in the days. You can just imagine how Gordon wove this history into her novel.
It took almost the entirety of the book for the revelation to come; most of the story really focused on Tessa’s memory recovery. It was a jigsaw puzzle – intricate but very slow in giving pieces of clues away. Lucky for me, the book isn’t really hefty. While the writing flowed smoothly, I was encumbered with the unhurried speed of the plot. And I understand that the primary reason was because it’s the initial offering of the series, ergo, the author spent some time with the set up. I also think that because this story was told in a journal entry form, the sparse dialogues contributed to the tedium. 
VERDICT: This is my first Australian paranormal that I managed to finish. To be honest, this is probably far more superior to the other shape-shifting books on my shelves. But a story needs to grab me right off the bat and hold my interest for the entirety of the novel. Unfortunately, this book didn’t. 

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Guest Post: Angel Lawson

Hello there!

Today on the blog, I have the lovely author of Wraith, Angel Lawson with some fun insights about her book. If you haven’t read it, I will have the deets at the bottom on how you can snag yourself a copy. I have read and reviewed the book and was amazed by how fantastic this book was. You can check out my review here.

So I asked Angel to do a little bit of word associations for me. The first things that popped in her head when following words were mentioned are in  BLUE.
WRAITH – What?
JANE – Strong.
CONNOR – Trouble.
EVAN – Lost.

Describe your book in 143 characters or less.
@Wraith is A YA thriller with a ghost, a bad-boy and an emotionally fragile girl who try to fight their way to freedom, sanity and love.
(A bit of a background, Connor is one of those endearingly persistent guy, so for the better half of the book, he can be seen annoying Jane but in the cutest way possible. So here’s a transcript of their convo on Twitter.)
Talkswithghosts @tagger where are you?

Talkswithghosts @tagger you said you would use this account.

Talkswithghosts @tagger Seriously. Where are you?

Talkswithghosts @tagger …

ArtsyAva @talkswithghosts I knew he would bail on tweeting.

Talkswithghosts @artsyava Evan would have tweeted me.

ArtsyAva @talkswithghosts Who?

Talkswithghosts @artsyava Nevermind.

@tagger fine. pick me up in five #weak


1.   I’m Not Okay—My Chemical Romance

2.   This Woman’s Work-Greg Laswell

3.   Creep-Radio Head

4.   Changes-Stars

5.   Fade into You-Mazzy Star

6.   Breathe Me-Sia

7.   Love the Way You Lie-Eminem & Rhianna

8.   Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands—Elliot Smith

9.   Up All Night-Blink 182

10.  Return to Innocence—Engima

I’d like to thank Angel for stopping by on the blog today. Check out the book trailer for Wraith and please don’t miss out on this wonderful book! 

FIND ANGEL HERE: Web | Twitter | Goodreads

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Review: Run From Fear by Jami Alden

Publication Date: February 28th, 2012
Grand Central Publishing
Format: E-ARC, Net Galley
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars
With each step she takes, he tracks her every move, waiting for the perfect time. The perfect revenge. Until then, he’ll watch her . . .
More than anything, Talia Vega wanted to leave behind her harrowing past. Moving eight hundred miles away, she succeeded . . until the one man who knows her darkest secrets wanders into the restaurant where she works. Now the agonizing memories come crashing back-along with an undeniable desire for Jack Brooks, the ex-Green Beret who rescued her from a sadistic monster two years ago.
Jack Brooks knows that showing up unannounced is a purely selfish move. Talia doesn’t need his protection anymore, but he can’t get the raven-haired beauty out of his mind. And when a twisted madman is hell-bent on resurrecting her torturous past, Jack vows to do anything to keep her safe-even risk his own life to save the only woman he’s ever loved.

Two years after Talia Vega survived the harrowing kidnapping and torture from the hands of a psychotic, sadistic serial killer, she was managing a semblance of life that she put together for her and her sister, Rosario. She was content for the most part until a man from her past showed up bringing with him some memories and feelings she wished were buried right along with the man who almost killed her. She’d rather not owe Jack Brooks any more than she owed her life, but when a copycat serial killer started targeting young women with the same MO as her tormentor, she didn’t have a choice but to turn to him again.
I didn’t realize this book was a series when I requested it from Net Galley. The premise was interesting and I was looking forward to the romance angle. The hero and the reluctant damsel in distress caught my attention right away.
This was when I realize that perhaps bypassing books 1 and 2 was not such a good idea after all. I didn’t have any in with these two characters – didn’t know what they were like in the previous books. I liked the innate chemistry between the two, however, the attraction seem a bit imbalanced. Jack seemed more into Talia than she was.
Talia is a frustrating character to read; she was too prideful. I think there are strong female characters and then there are those who are just too stubborn to accept help. I get that Jack took his guardian role to the extreme but Talia seemed too caught up reading into his intentions.
I was able to follow the story for the most part; I never once felt lost while reading. Sure there were characters that I wished I knew beforehand but I credit the author for quickly glancing over the previous books just enough to be able to go along. 
VERDICT: I don’t read much suspense geared toward the adult audience (sad, I know), so this one had some pretty disturbing scenarios, in my opinion. I think the author has a great ability for this genre and I’m willing to spend some money to check out her other works.  

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Review: Point of Retreat by Colleen Hoover

Publication Date: February 25th, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars


A follow-up novel to Slammed, by Colleen Hoover.

Hardships and heartache brought them together…now it will tear them apart.
Layken and Will have proved their love can get them through anything; until someone from Will’s past re-emerges, leaving Layken questioning the very foundation on which their relationship was built. Will is forced to face the ultimate challenge…how to prove his love for a girl who refuses to stop ‘carving pumpkins.’

This book happened some months after Slammed; dust settled, they lost their mom, Will and Lake are working hand in hand to keep their little household together but NOT. They’re parents, older siblings, protectors, care-givers; sometimes, keeping a relationship intact was hard but they must do what they have to do. The clichè, “life throws you curve balls” couldn’t be any more appropriate for these two.  
Point of Retreat pretty much followed the same formula used in Slammed; beautiful prose, hilarious situations, snarky dialogues. I was almost bored to tears. Almost but not really. Heh.
I just want to say that I’ve fast become a fan of Ms. Hoover. It can’t be that easy trying to sustain the awesomeness of Slammed to this sequel. Well, she didn’t disappoint. However, I’d like to say that I cried more in Slammed than I did here. Surprising, given what ‘almost’ happened to Lake. And heck, these two almost didn’t happen!
She introduced some new characters that made this series even more of a delightful read. The opinionated 11 year old, Kristen and her mother completed their not so conventional family.
And of course, the highlight of this book is still Will’s Slam. Goshdarnit, boy. YOU OWN ME. Completely, even though your lie of omission almost did you in. What the heck were you thinking? Don’t you know anything about women at all?
And this –> “Sometimes, two people have to fall apart, to realize how much they have to fall back together.” SOBSOBSOBSOB
VERDICT: Laugh out loud funny, weep until gooey snots run down from your nose. This book took me to extremes but heck, I’ll take that ride again. Ms. Hoover, please ma’am, can we have some more?

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Review: Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Publication Date: January 1st, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
RATING: 4 out of 5 Stars


After the unexpected death of her father forces eighteen year old Layken and her family to move across the country, away from everyone and everything she knows, her outlook on life is anything but hopeful.

Enter Will Cooper: the attractive twenty-one year old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry. After a night together that turns out to be everything but the expected, both Layken and Will are left with feelings they never knew they could have. Unfortunately in Layken’s life, things are never what they seem. Just as quickly as it develops, their relationship is derailed by a shocking revelation, sparking a tumultuous battle between their hearts and their ethics.

As if the dramatic turn of events in her life isn’t enough, Layken is slammed again when her mother reveals a secret of her own. A secret so intense, all of Layken’s current problems pale in comparison to her seemingly insurmountable future. Unable to confront the changes that lie ahead of her, Layken ignores her conscience as she turns to Will for solace. Struggles ensue as both Layken and Will search for a balance between that which keeps them apart and the feelings that pull them together.

It started like a normal YA romance; girl meets boy, girl gets annoyed by too-forward boy but couldn’t stop being all, omg-he’s-so-adorbs! In a span of a week, these two creatures found themselves surrounded by floating hearts, y’all. And then, the unsuspecting plot twist came and shot every floating hearts over their heads. How rude.

If you can get past the mild cheddah in the beginning, you’ll end up wondering why this book never made it to your Kindle earlier. This turned out to be one of those, omg! Is that the time? How have I read this book in a little less than three hours?! And something else…how did the author manage to make this insta-love romance endearing and not at all annoying?

My eyes are burning and I’m fighting off the urge to tape my lids open.

I should’ve downloaded the second part of this series right away because, heck, I didn’t get much sleeping done after reading Slammed anyway. It was addictive and had the annoying ability to make you think long after you’re done reading. And if that’s not what will keep you awake, it’ll be the heavy pressure on your chest that will not dissipate as fast as you want it to.

The beginning was a lot of telling but as the story progressed, I found myself ignoring it – distracted by the fantastic plotline, beautiful poetry, humorous scenarios and dialogues and lovely, well fleshed out characters. And dear God. Did this book make me cry. A lot.

VERDICT: Two words: WILL COOPER. Gah. Box of tissues required.

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