Review: Slammed by Colleen Hoover

IMG_2194-0.JPGThere are many ways to choose a book. By its cover, by a favorite author, bestseller lists, book review sites, blogs, write ups in popular media…My all-time favorite way to pick my next book to read, however, is by looking at and listening to the books my friends are talking about.

So there’s this Muse you may know. Her name is Melpomene. And she’s a bit of a book nerd, thus explaining why we’re friends. She also is slightly obsessed with the author Colleen Hoover. She’s read everything Colleen has written, stays up until midnight to buy and read new releases, travels to author events just to meet Colleen, and can quote anything from any book ever written by her.

I on the other hand had never heard of this author until meeting Melpomene. But of course, when someone I know and trust speaks so highly of an author, I’m intrigued. So my question was, which book to start with? The answer was Slammed, so Slammed it was. And what a great first read it was!

Let me preface the remainder of this review by stating that I am in no way, shape, or form what one would consider a fan of traditional romances. My fellow Muse, however, is exactly the opposite. So it was with a slight bit of trepidation that I began this book. Would I like it enough to finish it? Would it be too mushy for me? Would I have to lie about how much I disliked it to avoid awkward moments and hurt feelings? No worries on all accounts.

When 18 year old Lake’s dad dies unexpectedly, her family leaves Texas for Michigan searching for a fresh start. They are now a family of three, and Lake knows it’s up to her to hold it together for her mom and her brother Kel. So, as miserable as she is about the move, she puts on a happy face and gives it her best shot. She’s not counting on the handsome new neighbor, though. Sparks fly instantly, and suddenly Lake’s not missing Texas any longer. Alas, happily ever after is never easy to come by…

And that’s all I’m going to say. It’s hard to give much more away without ruining the story. But I will say that it’s an amazing story, one that made me keep reading even after it was lights out on a school night. Yes, it’s a love story. But it’s also a story of loss, of grief, of resilience, of trust, of moving on. It’s a story I won’t soon forget.

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Slammed: A Novel

Review: I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan

20140707-124504-45904477.jpgI could not put this book down. Because it’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan. And she’s amazing.

This is the story of Sam and Emily. From the moment they meet, they realize they’re destined to be together. But there are problems. Sam and Emily don’t just come from different backgrounds. They come from entirely different worlds.

Sam and his little brother, Riddle, have been on the run with their thieving, murdering father since they were little. They haven’t seen their mom since the day they were loaded into the car and basically abducted by dear old dad. Traveling from town to town, they only stay long enough to exhaust the supply of people to victimize. Sam’s guarded and shy, and his only goal in life is to look out for Riddle who has been stuck in his own little world since he was a baby.

And then there’s Emily. She’s lovely beyond belief in both body and spirit. She comes from a good family, has plenty of friends, and doesn’t lack for male admirers. She has a happy, if somewhat uneventful, life. All that changes when fate intervenes and she sees Sam sitting in the back of the church as she sings one Sunday morning. And then everything changes. He becomes her everything, her reason for being. And he begins to live for someone other than his little brother.

But of course love is never easy, and in this story it’s downright dangerous. Sam keeps his family secrets close to his heart, although he finds it harder to do so as Emily’s family embraces both Sam and Riddle. They feed them, love them, and provide that emotional support that’s been missing in their lives. Just when we think that everyone might actually get their happily ever after, dear old dad decides they’ve been in one place for long enough. With nary a glance behind him, he once again uproots the boys and hits the road.

So this is is far as I’m going to go. To find out how the story ends, you’ll have to read the book. And read it you should. These are characters that you’ll find yourself pulling for, laughing with, and weeping inside over. Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to read the sequel…

~Thalia

Buy It Now: I’ll Be There