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Friday, February 14, 2014

Review - Lost in Us by Layla Hagen (Only $0.99)

A Review by Wendy

3.75 Angsty, Reckless, Chocolate Dream Stars *** ¾

We experience so much growing up as children; these experiences guide us either to be like our siblings…… or to run in the opposite direction doing anything to be different … or to sometimes feel responsible and tied to the sister or brother trying to save them …...

And the one of the big questions can be… am I just like them… do I have the same traits…am I just another crazy time waiting to happen like them… and if something really bad happens because of their behavior… will you do everything you can to not act the same way…

All of these questions weave through Lost In Us by Layla Hagen. She puts us in the life of Serena, an Economic major; soon to be Stanford graduate focused with accomplishing a few things.

First, get over a cheating ex fiancĂ© who she was tied to for 6 years…the one who she thought she was going to live her life with… only to be told he is off to Australia with another to find out the true meaning of life and joy….

Second, to acquire a position as soon as possible in investment banking so she can take over some of the financial burdens her parents have back in London.  She wants to make their lives a little easier by contributing after all of their support during college.

And finally….. the one thing she handles and focuses on everyday whether she wants to or not is compartmentalizing the guilt and loss of her sister Kat. Her death and what led up to it is a constant in her life. The coping mechanism Serena has developed is quite interesting… Boxes of Chocolates of varying types which seem to have no impact on her figure, collecting and watching DVD’s and working on school or employment applications to exhaustion… allowing sleep without nightmares.

Because, Serena feels broken; unfixable and most of all responsible for not saving her sister Kat from her reckless behavior.
Her best friend Jess sees all… they have been living together since Serena came to the US from London to escape the reminders of her dead sister. Together they went through high school and now Stanford. Where Serena is focused to the extreme, Jess is free spirit…. Where Serena is brilliant but unable to nail an interview, Jess can bluff with the best of them and nail it every time.

Jess just accomplished the first step to the dream job she wants and uses it as an excuse to drag Serena out of her hiding to celebrate. As the two of them enjoy their drinks, Jess is egging Serena to just do a rebound cleansing hook up to get rid of any leftover remains of the old boyfriend.

Serena spy’s her target, James Cohen… unfortunately he is surrounded by a redhead and blond… she knows his dark, messy hair, toned chest, tall frame and beautifully formed face is not a figment of her imagination… she has seen him on magazine covers and articles as the next big thing… like Facebook /Zuckerburg big….He is an alumni who has made a fortune as an entrepreneur.

Turning away from the vision, she looks to her drink and hears a voice telling her how cinnamon and orange slices would be better than the usual way of drinking her tequila shot. Standing next to her is James and Serena can hardly form a sentence… they banter… she plays hard to get because of the vision she had with his harem… It doesn’t turn him off… all it does is make him want to be with her more… so he arranges to have her come to an event without telling her anything about it… a car will come to pick her up… stunned she agrees and doesn’t even understand why she would agree…

The event is a masked charity function at his parents’ home… Serena meets James’ sister Dani and his cousin Peter… she also meets all of the “mean girls” in this moneyed click… she is led to a dressing room to pick a costume; she hears all of these girls talking about James; how he has hooked up with most and who would be next… They pay no attention to Serena as she is not considered any competition. 

James finds her as she enters the ballroom with the others and starts his wooing of her… they dance … he charms … he reaches into her soul and brings out the girl who is to challenges… and soon she is doing things which could be considered reckless, risky but freeing with James….

There are major swoon worthy scenes… things which are so perfect … your heart will hurt… sweet chocolate dreams shared between them and loving which feels so very real.

We go on a journey which causes so many feelings for the reader as we feel all the highs and lows with Serena and James. These two both have experienced life changing events and this draws them together in a very intense way…. Yet the same things that make them perfect for each other also cause incredible pain and hurt during their journey.

I am usually not a big angsty reader… and I did get a little frustrated with some of the back and forth which is the reasoning for my rating. If, however, you are a reader which relishes the angst…. the torment …. And the final realization of what love and life is about… then this is a read for you.

Layla Hagen asks us to question how we see behavior, responsibilities and guilt… she makes us look within and expects us to see our truths… I will keep an eye out for her next project, I have a feeling it will be worth the angst.

Arc provided in exchange for an honest review

About the Author

Welcome! My name is Layla Hagen and I am a New Adult Contemporary Romance author. 

I fell in love with books when I was nine years old, and my love affair with stories continues even now, many years later.

I write romantic stories and can’t wait to share them with the world.

And I drink coffee. Lots of it, in case the photo didn’t make it obvious enough ;)

Purchase Link (ONLY $0.99)

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