Posted in Colleen Hoover, New Adult, Romance

Slammed (#1) – Colleen Hoover

13372690Synopsis

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.

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My Review

Three days ago, I was devastated, bitter, and hopeless. Today I woke up feeling happy for the first time in months.

After the sudden death of her father, 18 year old Layken is quite literally forced to be the rock in her family, for her mother and 9 year old brother. With her mother selling their house in Texas, they are uprooted from the house they have lived in all their life, to a smaller house in Michigan and Lake is not happy to be leaving at all. She’s still processing the death of her father, but she needs to act strong for everyone else.

What she didn’t expect to find upon her arrival was a very attractive neighbour in the form of Will Cooper. 21 years old, has a passion for slam poetry and has captured Lake’s attention, much as she has captured his. Within days, they are spending time together and have formed in intense emotional connection, leaving Lake with a feeling that maybe, just maybe she will be okay living here. But after a heart-stopping first date, Monday morning rolls around and shocks them both with the realization of what cannot happen between them both.

Daily encounters are painful, and with both their brothers becoming best friends and spending every second together, it’s becoming harder to keep a balance of being ‘just friends’ to staying away from one another when their feelings for each other keep pulling them back together, no matter how much they try to keep them at bay from the outside world.

I have to admit, I’m not one for poetry. It never has captured my attention and I just hated reading/writing it in school, but Colleen Hoover is the one exception! I have never heard of Slam Poetry but by gosh, the way Will describes how much it means to him plus his Slam poems really had me hooked on his every word, much like it did with Layken. Once I finished the book (1am UK time), I laid in bed, thinking of my own poem – it wasn’t very good, so I think I’ll let Will stick to the writing and performing it, he seems to know much better than me.

I say this with a lot of book that everyone on my Twitter timeline tweets about, but WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG TO READ THIS?! This is the second book I’ve read of Colleen’s and I was as much captivated by Slammed as I was with Hopeless. For avid readers of my reviews, you will know that I LOVE to read forbidden relationships and the forbidden factor of the whole relationship when they both eventfully find out who each other are. And Slammed, in no way, disappointed me.

Lake was super close to her dad, so when he died it was like her whole world fell apart. But she knew she had to be there for her mother and brother, to help them through the heartache too. I think that was one of the reasons she was so resilient in her life. On moving day, she meets her neighbours across the road, Will and his little brother Caulder, who instantly seems to become best friends with her brother Kel.

Upon meeting Will it was love at first sight – for both of them. Will asks Lake on a date, but it’s unlike any date she’s ever been on. They don’t indulge in the obvious ‘do you have a cat etc’ questions and he’s not about to take her to dinner either. Oh no, his plans involved Slamming and Slamming good!

Lake becomes absorbed in the Slam poetry, finding it powerful to hear and she begs Will to do one of his. He obliges and Lake just can’t seem to get enough of this guy. He’s something completely different and she’s fallen. But everything changes on that Monday morning, and her heartbreak over the realisation of who he is has not only shock her, but also Will. What is going to happen?

Will had had to grow up faster in his 21 years of life. He looks after his 9 year old brother Caulder, works his ass off to make sure he can pay his bills, put food on the table and make sure Caulder is okay. They have been through so much in their young lives that they only have each other now. He’s been closed off for years, but something sparks inside of him when he spots his new neighbour and he just has to know who she is.

Will knows this girl has awoken something in him and so he asks Lake out on a date. Of course, Will is different to every other guy and takes her to a club where he recites Slam poetry. Watching Lake’s reaction to the words people are expressing on stage, he’s falling that bit more for her over the fact she’s so affected by it.

Happiness being together has consumed both of them, even if they haven’t known each other long, but when he sees her Monday morning, he’s broken, he doesn’t know why this has happened, and no matter how much he wants Lake, he knows he can’t have her now. Not when it could affect his job and Caulder, who he has to put first.

Although both of them know they can’t be together, no matter how much it hurts seeing each other day in and day out, as well as having brothers who spend every spare minute together, they try to reach a middle ground where they try to be ‘friends’ because of their brothers but it’s getting harder and harder everyday to push their feelings away and act civil. They have to overcome many obstacles throughout the book, and you really do root for them to be together – they belong together. Everyone knows they belong together.

You go through all the emotions too; the fun times, the heartbreak, the tears. It broke my heart that Lake was hurting over knowing that she couldn’t have Will. She literally became obsessed with watching him come home from school, just so she could see a glimpse of him every night. But with so many factors standing in their way, and at times I did get annoyed at Will. Lake was doing so well trying to stay away and Will would just pull her right back in and made her start all over. I became obsessed to get to the end, hoping it was happy one, but although it was, in a way, I still had tears flowing down my face.  It really is such  a powerful book!

All the secondary characters in my eyes weren’t that. They were as much as the story as Will and Lake were. I loved Eddie from the beginning. She was a very bubbly person who embraced Lake on her first day and adopted her into her small group. You find out about Eddie’s past and you come to see that now, where she is, is where she should be. She keeps Lake grounded when everything is going to pot and she really is the best friend Lake could have in her life.

Julia, Lake and Kel’s mother was a wise one. She moves them to Michigan because ‘they have no money’ but Julia is hiding something from her children, which you will find out and it will leave you heartbroken over her news. She really has some great words of wisdom for every character, and she adopts Caulder and Will into their life, which in turn, she treats them both like her own. She forces Lake is ‘man up’ and do the right thing regarding Will, which includes a stage and her poem and you can really see how much Julia is respected in every characters life.  Regardless of her secret, she really was a breath of fresh air.

There are way too many parts of the book to choose from as a favourite, but one that sticks out is at the start of the book, when Lake finds a hairclip from her childhood that her dad gave her. Although it’s dusty and mucky, it holds so many memories of her dad that she just can’t leave it behind in Texas and it means so much to her, even if she doesn’t use it again, she knows that it’s ‘magic’ to her.

Slammed is not just another fluffy book – it speaks to you through Slam poetry, which is so powerful that even as someone who hates poetry, become absorbed in each Slam poem that was expressed on the pages, through each character that got on stage and poured their heart out. It gives you wisdom, it gives you heartache and it gives you love. The power of the words, the poems, the advice and wisdom really stick with you after the finish the book. It kind of gives you hope that one day you will find someone like Will, who will be your own rock and soul mate.

I also have a new book boyfriend in the form of Mr Will Cooper and book little brothers in the form of Caulder and Kel – those two are so sweet, especially when they fell asleep together, with their hands in the shape of a gun. Oh adorable. They are the little troublemakers you definitely would want as your brothers.

If you were like me and either have this book on your kindle, sitting there for months or haven’t grabbed yourself a copy of Slammed (And Point of Retreat – which shall be read tonight) then GET IT NOW! Colleen Hoover drags you into the story until you just have to keep turning pages to know what is going to happen. It’s completely entrancing and I cannot wait to continue Will and Lake’s story in Point of Retreat!!

Posted in YA

Meant to Be – Lauren Morrill

11721314Synopsis

Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question.

It’s one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she’s queen of following rules and being prepared. That’s why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that’s also why she’s chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB (“meant to be”).

But this spring break, Julia’s rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she’s partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.

Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.

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My Review

Julia is off on a school trip to London for 10 days. It’s the city where her parents took their honeymoon and Julia has wanted to experience the London magic since hearing stories about the city and since finding her mother’s Romeo and Juliet book. She’s completely accident prone but she’s definitely one for following the rules and hates to break them. She takes books wherever she goes and always has her pocket Shakespeare in her pocket. She also has a MTB (Meant to be) in the form of Max Bixford, her childhood crush. He just hasn’t acknowledged her in years, but she’s determined he’s the one for her.

Jason is nothing like Julia’s envision of a MTB. He’s a jock who teases Julia, calling her Book Licker, he flirts with any girl in a skirt and is a total rule breaker. And now Julia is partnered up with him during the ten days – nightmare! But maybe this could be a good thing?

During their trip, Julia is slowly conforming to the ways of Jason. He presses her to have fun and be a rule breaker instead of being a stuck-up book worm and when she ends up getting drunk at a party he takes her to on the first night, and begins texting a guy she met – albeit she can’t remember him – Jason is there to help her find him.

This book reminded me of Bound Together, as Julia was alone on the trip without any friends, much like Zoe, and Jason was the misunderstood jock, much like Matt. Although they were both in different cities, they both were partnered together and grew closer and both Matt and Jason blew hot and cold, making both the girls confused over their feelings for the guys.

During the book, there were times when I loved Julia and times when I just wanted her to let loose and have fun and stop being so prissy. Albeit, her dislike for Jason turned her off following his plans, but I did like that she let her guard down sometimes and the chemistry between them was hard to miss, even through the bickering and the ‘cultural’ hours they went on – like the London Eye and at Stratford-upon-Avon. Boy did I love the rain part! Swooooon.

With the texts, I really thought Jason was sending them to Julia, but alas, I was totally mistaken, and was completely laughing when it was discovered who the texter was. It was a good twist to the ending, seeing I was adamant it was either Jason or one of his friends doing it to embarrass Julia. Thank god I was mistaken, because I loved the confession from Jason at the end of the book. For someone who doesn’t necessarily believe in MTB’s and love, it was a sweet declaration.

Mark – well what can I say about him? He seemed so lovely when he ‘saved’ Julia – I suppose you could say – but the more time spent on him, the more he became an absolute prick. I disliked him as soon as he mentioned the plane ‘gossip’. It just proves that even if you were best friends once upon a time, years can change anyone and it definitely changed Mark into an asshole. Jason repeatedly told Julia about him, but once you have a vision of how you want your crush to be, you don’t like anyone telling you otherwise. It was great to see the jealously steaming from Jason when Matt was mentioned and when the three of them went to Hyde Park. Boy was that totally awkward.

I loved all the texts, and after finding out about the phones at the end of the book, I literally went back and read them all again from SF. Seriously, if you read this book, take note of them, because everything will become clear with them at the end.

This was my Lazy Sunday book, and by God, I fell in love with it. I’m a sucker for bad boy/good girl loving so this definitely gets my seal of approval. It was a cute story about finding yourself and love, no matter how unpredictable it can be.