Saturday, April 28, 2012

Point of Retreat by Collen Hoover

Point of Retreat is the continuing story of Wil and Layken's romance that began in Slammed.  As the book opens, Layken's Mom has passed away 3 months ago.  She and Wil have fallen into a rhythm of college classes, caring for their little brothers, and seeing each other.  As the new semester begins a person from Wil's past will stir up trouble for him and Lake.  Again, I feel these books are so good that I don't want to give too much of the plot away because that is one of the best parts of this book was letting it unfold to me.  Lake begins to question whether Wil loves her because of their similar circumstances or if he really loves her for herself.  Life continues to throw curves their way that they must navigate. 
I loved this book as much as the first and it was so fun to have this one told from Wil's POV.  By the end of the two books I felt satisfied and even closer to the characters.   I would recommend this series to everyone that loves romance.  The love story is touching and real.  Both Slammed and Point of Retreat will be on my keeper shelf for re-reading!

Slammed by Collen Hoover

This book was spectacular.  It follows a romance between Wil and Layken who find each and begin to fall in love before life begins to "Slam" them from all directions.  Wil is not only sexy but is raising his young 9 year old brother every since his parents were killed in a car accident.  His job and responsibilities to his brother come first but this is just a part of what makes Wil so special.  He is kind, strong, and loves to write Slam poetry.  Layken has just moved in across the street when she meets Wil.  Having lost her Dad to a heartattack 6 months before,  the two immediately identify with each other.  Their little brothers are fast to become best friends which continues to have them running into each other.  Wil and Layken's first date is awesome.  Wil takes her to a poetry slam where he preforms a touching poem about his parents death.
There are some many twists and turns in the plot that I really want you to experience so I won't write much more about the story.  This is story with real characters that get battered by life but continue on through strength of character.  Many things stand in the way of Wil and Lake's relationship but they continually push through. If you enjoy love stories that have real life characters, this is a book for you.  You will not find silly high school drama in this book but incredibly real life situations that will etch this story on your heart.  This is definitely one for the keeper shelf.
The second book, Point Of Retreat, is out and is from Wil's point of view.  I was so relieved and excited that I could immediately read it.  It was so nice that this book was from Lake's POV and the next is from Wil's to give you a chance to get inside both their heads.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Callum & Harper by Fisher Amelie

Callum & Harper tells the story of two teenagers who have aged out of social services after being bounced from one horrible foster home to another.  Sitting next to each other while waiting, both are instantly attracted to each other and Callum offers Harper a ride to see if they can get a bed at Hope House a homeless facility.  They end up being turned away and Callum calls a friend who allows them to sleep at his studio.  An incredible relationship is forged out of shared circumstances and a deep understanding of being alone.  Callum is such a swoon worthy guy you will fall instantly in love with him right along with Harper.  He is protective of Harper while being respectful, humble and incredibly sexy.  He introduces Harper to his group of friends that envelop the two like a big mismatched family. 
Harper is strong and immediately drawn to the honesty in Callum's personality.  At first they seem to be staying together out of necessity but begin to rely on each other.  Ms. Amelie describes both with poetic reality that makes them identifiable and kept me reading deep into the night.  There is no way to describe the incredible romantic dance that becomes Callum and Harper's relationship.  They interact in a way that has your heart beating right along with theirs.  Callum convinces Harper to attend NYU with him as she was already accepted.  When they inquire about student housing they find there is nothing but married available.  Callum persuades Harper that the smartest thing to do would be to get married but believes that Harper thinks they are only just friends.  Harper agrees believing the same about Callum when both are madly in love with the other.  Circumstances and interruptions keep the two from confessing their soul deep love for each other.  Harper is also being stalked by an abusive psychotic man named John who once shared a foster home with her.  John is obsessed and deadly in his threats toward Harper.  John is a nightmare in the flesh and keeps the two to depend on each other and their friends beyond everything else.
Callum & Harper is one of the best books I have read this year and will most definitely be on my keeper shelf.  As I finished it, I wanted to immediately re-read it to not let my experience with these wonderful characters end.  I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a YA Romance with teeth that deals with real life and is still swoon worthy.  I loved the alternating viewpoints allowing me to get inside both Callum and Harper's heads.  I was captivated by this book and can't really do it justice in a review!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Beautiful Disaster by Jaime McQuire

I chose to read Beautiful Disaster because I had been hearing so many good things about the book from reviewers and bloggers that I like and respect.  The story drew me in immediately with the opening scene as something out of Fight Club.  I personally hate fighting and never understood why guys would volunteer for that kind of punishment.  That being said something about the fight scene fascinated me and pulled me in like no other book.  I related to Abby and identified with her stunned reaction yet physical attraction to Travis.  I loved the dialog between Abby and Travis.  There is nothing sexier than a man who knows what he wants and Travis is just that man.  Travis falls for Abby and Abby is determined to stay away from anything that reminds her of her drunken gambler father.  Her father was a professional Vegas Poker player who famously claimed his daughter stole his luck.  Abby is tired of all the whispers and stares and wants to start a life of cashmere sweaters and preppy frat boys.  Travis as a Fight Club member and the campus man-ho is too close to Vegas for Abby to even consider.  The story is so compelling and full of plot twists that I couldn't put it down.  This book has everything I usually hate fights, violence, borderline abuse, and characters to stubborn to admit they love each other.  But I absolutely loved this book and it will be one I re-read with frequency. 
Warning:  Travis and Abby are often like oil and water and at times Travis seems almost close to abuse.  He is definitely all Alpha Male.  So if this is not your thing, I don't think this book is for you.  But if you keep an open mind, you just might love it as I do anyway. :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The Paladin Prophecy by Mark Frost

The Paladin Prophecy is a full on action movie where "Bourne Identity" meets Harry Potter.  I was immediately drawn into the action where Will West hits the ground running literally from mysterious black sedans.  Will has always lived by a book of rules his Dad made for him.  Will never preformed up to his abilities and always stayed below the radar.  He wasn't even able to join the cross-country team until he promised to always finish in the pack.  But as the book starts, Will notices the black sedans watching and following his running route.  After escaping to school, Will is called out of class to be offered a full scholarship to THE CENTER, an ultra exclusive school for the highest of achievers.  Will finds out that he scored off the charts of a regular exam he took in the fall.  Will figures his parents will be angry due to a violation of the rule to never draw attention to himself.  But when he gets home, he finds his Mom has been replaced by Stepford Mom, his mother by looks but who is not acting like herself at all and won't take her sunglasses off.  Will decides to run away and almost gets caught by some really demonstrous bad guys.  He is saved by a guardian of sorts who will not tell him what is going on.
Will struggles to escape the black caps who have captured his Dad and done something to his Mom.  Desperate to get away, he calls Dr. Robbins and accepts the scholarship to the center.  He barely escapes to the center when he is immediately challenged by a fellow student who is essentially the dorm advisor and security.  Will finds himself immediately thrust into a world of over-achievers that are mysterious and trustworthy.  Will finds a "family" of sorts that he learns to trust and even violates rules.  Will belongs with the center but knows that he hasn't really escaped the danger that found him in the Southern California hills.  Soon Will finds a connection that challenges everything he has ever known.  Will must piece together a mystery that could mean keeping the balance between light and dark.  With the help of his friends, Will uncovers the secrets that have been hidden in the world since before the English ever landed in America.
I loved this book and cannot wait for the next one.  This is the start of solid series in the fashion of Harry Potter.  I could totally see this playing out as a movie in the genre of Percy Jackson or HP.  The story hits the ground running and continues to engage the reader in a mysterious identity of Will.  Will West is also the best hero name in a long time!  I do wish there was a little more romance between Will and Brooke--It seemed rushed and an afterthought in the whole picture.  It didn't really need to be there but being the hopeless romantic I am I hope this will develop more in the future books.  The struggle of light and dark reminded me of the darkness that was written into Scott Westerfields' Midnight Hour books.  I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys action filled struggle between good and evil.  This series is poised to burst onto the YA scene and become the next breakout.