Book Review: Slammed by Colleen Hoover

Goodreads Summary:

Following the unexpected death of her father, 18-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and younger brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she’s losing hope.

Enter Will Cooper: The attractive, 21-year-old new neighbor with an intriguing passion for slam poetry and a unique sense of humor. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.

Not long after an intense, heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together, and the secret that keeps them apart.

Review:

DEBUT. NOVEL.

How the heck is this Hoover’s debut novel. It’s so freaking good. *dead*

Many of you that have been following this blog for a while now know how big of a fan I am of Colleen Hoover. That woman writes masterpiece after masterpiece, making the book community talk about tough topics no one wants to talk about (Ex: It Ends With Us and Ugly Love). In my book this lady is boss!

Alright, I’m going on a tangent… let’s go back to Slammed.

We have Layken (aka Lake) and Will.

Did I mention Will?

Y’all I’m thankful I never had a teacher like him in High School because I would have been a goner like Lake. *Swoons*

The book starts of as Lake is making the move from Texas to Michigan. Her father recently died and her mom is moving everyone to Michigan to begin anew. Then enters Will, the hot boy-next-door who not so long after meeting her asks her out on a date, and of course she says yes. The rest of the book is their journey navigating the discovery of him being her poetry teacher in high school once she finally makes it to school, and many other challenges that come along the way. As I try to keep this as non-spoilery as possible, I appreciate the fact that Hoover kept this as PG 13 as possible, which I’m assuming relates to the sensitive issue of a possible romance between a teacher and a student. Lake is 18, so she is an adult, but the fine print that keeps them apart is that she is still a student… at least for the next year.

My only “ehhh” feelings about Slammed is that the secondary characters didn’t come to life for me except for Eddie. She was amazing and her story is one I hope Hoover expands on one day. And as a last note, I want to talk about the poems within the story. They are profound and moving. I only WISH I could write poetry like Hoover. It even makes me want to go to a poetry slam session. As a writer, I am very jealous of Hoover’s ability, but I do tip my hat to her. Talent like that needs to be recognized.

Slammed is Hoover’s metaphorical mic drop in the publishing world and one can only keep expecting great stories from her.

Rating: 5/5

Check out Colleen Hoover’s other books here:

My Reviews:

Maybe Someday, Maybe Someday (Re-read review), Hopeless, Losing Hope, Finding Cinderella, Confess, Ugly Love

Liz’s Review:

Hopeless, November 9

Book Review: Come Back To Me by Mila Grey

Goodreads Summary:

Home on leave in sunny California, Marine and local lothario Kit Ryan finds himself dangerously drawn to his best friend’s sister, Jessa – the one girl he can’t have.

But Kit’s not about to let a few obstacles stand in his way and soon Jessa’s falling for his irresistible charms.

What starts out as a summer romance of secret hook-ups and magical first times quickly develops into a passionate love affair that turns both their worlds upside down.

When summer’s over and it’s time for Kit to redeploy, neither Kit nor Jessa are ready to say goodbye. Jessa’s finally following her dreams and Kit’s discovered there’s someone he’d sacrifice everything for.

Jessa’s prepared to wait for Kit no matter what. But when something more than distance and time rips them apart they’re forced to decide whether what they have is really worth fighting for.

A breathtaking, scorchingly hot story about love, friendship, family and finding your way back from the edge of heartbreak.

Review:

Holy freaking crap. That ending. That entire book. Even today that I am writing this the day after, my feels still cannot be contained. I was so wound up last night, I ended up cleaning my entire house.

Jessa and Kit. Jessa… and… Kit. I can’t with them right now. I think we need a gif to explain my feelings.

From the beginning of the book where we are foreshadowed a character’s possible death (This is not spoilery because we are literally foreshadowed that in the first three pages. I. AM. NOT. JOKING.) to the amount of feels and sexual tension between Kit and Jessa at her birthday party you’re in for one hell of a ride.

I really liked how real the book was. As a reader you are able to relate to the characters even though A. You’re not a marine like Kit & B. you’re not even close to being Jessa. Let me give you an example about what I mean.

I can’t count the times I’ve thought about telling Jessa how I feel, but to be honest I’ve never been sure if she’s interested. And admitting something like that to someone is purely a one-time deal. If it’s not reciprocated then not only do you look like a prize fool, but you also lose a friendship. I don’t care so much about the fool part because she probably already figures me one, but I do care about losing Jessa as a friend.

-Kit, Page 19

No one can tell me that they have not been right there in that type of situation at least once in their life. My feels were dying then and it was only the beginning of the book. I had to read the entire book in chunks at a time or I would have been a pool of feels on my apartment floor for at least a week.

I don’t want to give away much of the book, but I do want to say that you need to read it. I had rated it 4 out of 5 stars on goodreads because the Epilogue did not give me what I wanted… but looking back now it really deserves a 5. It’s been a week by now and I’m still not over it. Now that is some impactful writing.

Rating: 5 out of 5

Book Review: The Ending I Want by Samantha Towle

 

The Ending I Want

Goodreads Summary:

From the New York Times Bestselling author of The Mighty Storm, comes a heartfelt new standalone novel…

Taylor Shaw had the perfect life—until she was sixteen. That was when everything changed. From that moment on, life went from bad to worse…to the worst.
After recovering from a brain tumor, months later, she suffers the tragic loss of her whole family.
Since that fateful day, she’s been coasting through life.

Now, the brain tumor has returned, and Taylor decides she’s had enough. She’s going to take her fate into her own hands.
No more hospitals. No more surgeries. No more anything.
She’s going to join her family.
It’s her decision.
What she longs for.
The ending she wants.

She just has a list of things to do before she goes.
First, go to England.
Second, kiss a stranger…

Only, Taylor didn’t expect Liam Hunter, the stranger—with his handsome face, his six-foot-three of gorgeousness, and his oh-so-hot English accent—to change things.
To change her.
To change the ending she wanted.

What is a girl, who is standing on the edge of nothing, to do when offered the chance of everything?

My Review:

As I’m sure you’ve seen through my other review, I generally love everything I read. Even the other book by Samantha Towle I absolutely adored (and then convinced Veronica to read it). However, this books was extremely problematic for me. I think it had more to do with the fact that, while contemporary isn’t my favorite genre, it felt unrealistic.

I had a difficult time with the two main characters, Taylor and Liam. To me their relationship doesn’t make sense. I get wanting to do things for yourself and on your terms. I get that potentially meeting someone can change your plans. But the way Liam and Taylor met, their adventures, it all felt fake. And maybe I am being a skeptic here. I know I’ve read other novels where events and meet cute was just as exaggerated. Sometimes it works really well, other times it doesn’t.

In the end, this felt like a mix between Me Before You and 50 Shades of Grey.

Rating: 2 out of 5Blog Signature

 

 

ContempConvos: Hopeless by Colleen Hoover

Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)

GoodReads Summary:

Sometimes discovering the truth can leave you more hopeless than believing the lies…

That’s what seventeen-year-old Sky realizes after she meets Dean Holder. A guy with a reputation that rivals her own and an uncanny ability to invoke feelings in her she’s never had before. He terrifies her and captivates her all in the span of just one encounter, and something about the way he makes her feel sparks buried memories from a past that she wishes could just stay buried.

Sky struggles to keep him at a distance knowing he’s nothing but trouble, but Holder insists on learning everything about her. After finally caving to his unwavering pursuit, Sky soon finds that Holder isn’t at all who he’s been claiming to be. When the secrets he’s been keeping are finally revealed, every single facet of Sky’s life will change forever.

My Review:

Hopless is a roller coaster of emotion. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started this book. All of Colleen Hoover’s novels deal with some kind of serious issue throughout the story, and Hopeless was no exception.

I do have to say that this book and the theme’s represented hit very close to home for. I don’t want to say too much about what happens because that basically gives away the entire plot of the book.

I can say that Holder is a very caring and concerned person. He truly only wants what is best for Sky and that basically means telling her the truth, which has been locked away for a long time, and exploding her world apart. Sky is very much a simple girl who wants to go to school, love her mother, and live her file. Unfortunately, that just isn’t possible. When events take place they put a lot of pressure on Sky. But, with Holder by her side, even though he turned her world inside out,  she is able to face a past that was  suppressed. She came out on the other side stronger and more understanding of why her mother home schooled her and kept her in the dark.

Definitely know that if you have triggers for certain themes, this book may not be for you. But if you can handle serious life situations and learn from them, then read Hopeless.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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ContempConvos: November 9 by Colleen Hoover

November 9

GoodReads Summary:

Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

My Review:

I’d first like to thank Veronica for starting me reading Colleen Hoover. I have fallen in love with her writing and story telling, and November 9 is no exception. Also, November is my favorite month…

This story is magical, with heartbreak, and lots of character growth since it take place over the course of five years. Fallon and Ben meet once a year, on November 9th, to update each other on what has happened in their lives in the past year. It’s adorable how they come together, and tragic, due to the circumstances that follow their initial meeting. Fallon and Ben are both extremely complicated characters with pasts that haunt their present. Ben helps Fallon through her confidence issues; Fallon helps Ben through his writing.

Hoover provides many quotable moments, but my favorite is in the beginning, when Ben and Fallon meet on the first November 9th: “Goals are achieved through discomfort and hard work. They aren’t achieved when you hide out in a place where you are nice and cozy.” I think that quote sets the mood for the book. In order to understand yourself, sometimes you have to go through discomfort and pain to truly know, not only yourself, but what you are capable of. Fallon’s mother states, “You’ll never be able to find yourself if you’re lost in someone else.” And I wholeheartedly agree with her. Before you can love someone else, you have to love yourself.

Rating: 5 out of 5

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Book Review: Scarred by Joanne Macgregor

Scarred

GoodReads Summary:

“Life leaves you scarred. Love can make you beautiful.”

Seventeen year-old Sloane Munster is trying to reboot her life after a serious car accident left her badly scarred and emotionally traumatized.

Starting her senior year at a new school, she’s delighted to see Luke Naughton, a swimmer whom she once crushed on, in the class in front of her. But when he glares back at her with disgust and revulsion, she’s shocked and hurt, and assumes it’s because of her appearance. Despite misunderstandings, the chemistry between them sparks and love grows against a background of guilt, secrets, and mounting tensions at a school where bullying is rife and Sloane is not the most deeply scarred person.

Sharp with bittersweet humor, Scarred is an intense, beautiful, compelling story of life, death and fighting for love against all the odds.

Review:

Scarred is about Sloane Munster, who suffers from a tragic accident in her life, leaving her physically and mentally scarred. Due to the trauma, she spends almost a year in hiding, finishing her junior year with private tutors. But through the help of her therapist, Sloane attends a new school for senior year, where she runs into old faces, new faces, and has to come to terms with the actions of her mother as well as herself and how she will move forward with her life.

Joanne Macgregor’s writing is a graceful look at the physical and emotional aftermath of a tragedy in a person’s life. It is evocative. It doesn’t push aside the effects mental illness has on a person. Or how, through the support of friends, family, and love, a person can move forward in their life- move past the tragedy and see there is a bright future ahead of them.

When I first started this book, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. Sloane Munster felt very one dimensional- she was focusing on how she looked and how her life used to be. She was beautiful. She was popular. “I didn’t used to get called anything nasty about my appearance, I used to be pretty. The GG’s- short for Gorgeous Girls- that’s what our clique was called, in my old school.” However, after moving further into the book, Sloane becomes more than a one dimensional character. The scar is just a representation of her emotions. By the end, I fell in love and didn’t want it to end.

Sloane is a truly tragic, and complex, character who has to adjust to her life A.S.- after scar. The girls at her new school taunt her looks, which shows just how juvenile and immature teenage girls can be. It also is a reflection of our society and how much pressure we put on young girls when it comes to physical appearances. She has to deal with boys staring at her. She has to acquiesce the lose of her family and guilt of ruining another family.

I truly enjoyed when Luke, Sloane’s love interest, was given a chapter. He is a central character, not only to Sloane’s development through out the book, but to the story itself. Seeing his point of view is vital to understanding his involvement in the accident and how he develops as a character. As a side sub-plot, the book also address the treatment of others in general, whether it is a student-student relationship, a student-teacher relationship, or a child-parent relationship, and how that can impact a person’s life, positively or negatively.

Joanne Macgregor is a counseling psychologist who specializes in victims of crime and trauma. It is very apparent that she knows what she is writing about; it is captivating and emotional and clearly understood from a psychologist’s point of view.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a gripping story of tragedy, loss, and survival. I think an anthem to this book is Scars to You Beautiful by Alessia Cara. Go listen to it during/after reading this book.

Rating: 5 out of 5

I’d like to thank Joanne Macgregor for the opportunity to read Scarred in return for an honest review. Receiving this book for free doesn’t influence my opinion.

Book Review: ROYAL MARRIAGE MARKET By Heather Lyons

Royal Marriage Market

GOODREADS SUMMARY:

Every decade, the world’s monarchs and their heirs secretly convene to discuss global politics and social issues—and arrange marriages between kingdoms.

Elsa may be the Hereditary Princess of Vattenguldia, but she finds the entire situation archaic and unsavory. While she wants what’s best for her country, she isn’t about to jump into an unwanted relationship—let alone a marriage—with a virtual stranger. Of course, her feelings matter little to her parents, whose wheeling and dealings over trade pacts and alliances achieved at her expense begin the moment they set foot in California for the Summit. So when a blindingly handsome royal runs into her, she doesn’t hesitate to tell him there’s no way she’s marrying him.

Christian is all too happy to agree: no marriage. As the Hereditary Grand Duke of Aiboland, his main goal is to get through the summit without a bride being foisted on him. Which is why he suggests they help each other field potential intendeds. As Christian slowly gets to know Elsa, though, he realizes they have a lot more in common than just their feelings about the Royal Marriage Market. Only he can’t fall for her, because royal or not, they’re not meant for each other.

Elsa and Christian will have to evaluate matters of the heart verses those of state and crown, and decide whether or not tradition trumps love.

LIZ’S REVIEW:

I wanted to like this book, so much. That is an empirical statement. I have read Heather Lyons’ other books- The Fate Series, The Collector’s Society, The Deep End of the Ocean. Each one was just as fascinating as the previous. She kept me enthralled, was able to tear my emotions apart. However, the Royal Marriage Market was less than spectacular. Actually, it fell short… like really short.

First, I got stuck on Elsa’s name. Maybe it wasn’t an intentional use of the name. Maybe that is just the character’s name? I understand this. BUT! Disney has a Queen Elsa, who is Scandinavian. I might be dramatic because my eye twitched. And of course all I saw was this blonde haired ice queen. But given that her full name is Elsa Victoria Evelyn Sofia Marie, could we have it mixed up? Give Elsa a different first name and she still be the same person? Probably. Speaking of names, the countries names! WHAT? I didn’t get them. They sound so fake. Doing research, Aiboland is a real thing… but Vattenguldia, nope it’s not (that I am aware of).

Second, it felt too wordy. Every statement Christian or Elsa made was followed with descriptors, upon descriptors, until I was to the point where I wanted to go read a children’s book for simply structured sentences. There were no back and forth conversations like you would normally see. Everything was prefaced with the POV of that character. And, maybe I missed them, but I didn’t read any descriptions of the characters. Maybe they were wrapped up in the complex sentence structures I had a hard time getting around.

The characters themselves felt one dimensional. Christian and Elsa didn’t want to be part of the RMM. They wanted to make their own choices. Their parents were the same- arranged marriage and you’ll do as I say or face the consequences! There was no real differentiation between each character’s voice, other than being told who is talking at the beginning of each section. And the action, or the juicy details, didn’t even make their presence known until 60% into the book. At that point, I just wanted to be finished.

That being said, I did enjoy the last 40% of the book. I liked the interactions Christian and his brother, Lukas, had. You could feel the sibling love (unlike Elsa and Isabelle). I appreciated Charlotte and Parker (Elsa and Christian’s personal secretaries). The Royal Marriage Market wasn’t a complete misadventure, but it wasn’t Lyons’ best work.

Rating: 2 out of 5

VERO’S REVIEW:

**Spoilery Review**

How do I start this… It’s been several days and my feelings are still mixed. Let’s start of with my favorite character.

Lukas. Every time he appears in the story, he makes it that much better. He is funny, real, and a great brother. His relationship with Christian is one of the best sibling relationships I’ve read in 2015.

I guess it is time to talk about my ‘mixed’ feelings. RMM is enjoyable. Once the story picked up, it was a breeze to read. Before that though… I questioned whether this was the book for me. It wasn’t the royal or romance side, but the writing itself. At times I was a little lost. At times it was hard for me to get through some sentences. I’m being lenient on that though because I was reading an ARC and not the finished product.

I both love and hate Elsa and Christian’s relationship. I like that they started of as friends, but disliked I was able to predict how it would go. I’m not saying everything that happened was predictable because Lyons threw me for a loop twice, but the ending was exactly as I thought it would end.

I did like that the story did not end at the end of the RMM. I loved that the story continued into weeks and months to come. I do wish I’d gotten more of Charlotte, and Elsa’s relationship with her father when she was younger. It would have been nice to see and not told.

Overall, if you are a fan of romance, I do think you will like this.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Disclaimer: Thank you KP Simmon at InkSlinger PR and Heather Lyons for giving Veronica and I the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review. Receiving this book for free does not influence my opinion.