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Thursday, April 10, 2014

ARC Review: Lost In Us by Layla Hagen

This is a tough review for me to write. After really liking the prequel novella and the characters, I have been looking forward to reading this book ever since. I went into this one already knowing the characters and thinking that this one was sure to be a new favorite of mine. Unfortunately this one left me frustrated and with mixed feelings. While there were still things that I liked and I enjoyed parts of this story, there were some things that drove me absolutely crazy about this book. I was really drawn into the story after the prequel and the first half or so of the book, but after about half way things really took a turn for me and not in a way that I had wanted or expected.

This story picks up after the prequel novella in that Serena is a British girl living in California while attending Stanford. She has just been dumped by her boyfriend of six years. Her friend Jess drags her out to a bar and she ends up meeting James. The attraction between them is instant, and James asks her out for the following night. Serena views the well known and successful James as the perfect person to help her act a little recklessly for the first time in her life and takes him up on his date. Their date ends passionately and before long the two of them are seeing each other and are unable to stay away from the other. James isn't looking for commitment or love and Serena isn't looking to be one of many girls that James hooks up with. James and Serena begin to grow closer, but James and Serena both have a painful past that keeps them from moving forward fully. Can James and Serena find a way to not only be together but to heal each other? Or will they be doomed before they ever have a chance at a future with each other?

I really liked James in the novella, and I was sure that I was going to like him in this story as well. I wasn't surprised that he screwed up a few times and made some bad decisions. Anyone who had been through what he had and felt the pain and guilt he did was bound to do things wrong a time or two. I actually ended up really loving his character. He not only apologized several times, but you could tell just how much his mistakes and bad reactions really took a toll on him. He felt horrible and he really cared for Serena, even if he couldn't always show it. He never gave up on her though and he kept trying to convince her that she was all he wanted and would do anything to have a future with her. He was so determined and I loved that he really tried as hard as he did. Serena was one that I was sure I was going to love, and then she ended up driving me crazy. She had moments of greatness, and I loved that she made James work for it. She didn't allow him to just let her be another girl to him, and refused to accept that he wouldn't be with just her. But she also then took things too far and even though he was changing would continually push him away for not doing things exactly how she felt they should be done. I got really tired of her being such an emotional wreck constantly sobbing over things that were her own fault. I understand she had suffered and had been hurt in the past and had issues because of that. But I also do not get that she refused to see what was going on right in front of her and all the effort that James was making. James and Serena had really amazing chemistry though, and that was one thing about them that never changed. They were super hot from the very beginning and you could really feel the connection between them. I liked that they had more than just heat though, and they really seemed to bring out the best in each other when they weren't fighting what was between them. I loved seeing James bring Serena to life and take her out of her comfort zone.

What really lost me though and took me out of this story more than once was the constant push and pull. I don't think that I have ever read a book that had so many break-ups and reconciliations in such a short amount of time. These two could not get things figured out for longer than a few days without something going wrong, and to be honest it became really tiresome. Either James would push Serena away, or Serena would cut and run. It just was too much and happened too often. I kept waiting for things to finally turn around and each time something else would happen. The constant jealousy and outside influences also got old. These two had enough problems with everything that had going on that they really didn't need the added drama of those around them getting involved. By the time that we got around to the ending, I honestly felt like it was abrupt and not as believable as it could have been. I had hoped for an epilogue or something because after all the push and pull it was hard for me to believe that they had both finally figured things out. I will admit that I really loved Jess and Parker. They were really likable characters and I found them interesting from the start. I can't wait to read their story next and see exactly what has been going on between the two of them. I really hope that they don't do the same hot and cold thing though, because I am really not sure that I could handle that again. I did like James a lot and I liked Serena even with the issues I had with her, and I had to finish Lost In Us to see what would happen. It was a good story overall, I just was expecting so much more after having read the novella. I think that this is one that had a ton of potential and I think that a lot of people will still really enjoy this story. This is definitely one that readers who like a lot of angst will probably want to read and I think that many New Adult fans will find this one to be something that they can relate to. I look forward to reading the next installment in the series though and can't wait for more Parker and Jess!

**ARC provided by Xpresso Book Tours**

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  1. Great review! James seems like quite the character and very complex, too! Well Serena too, and I love it when a romance is really filled with chemistry and you can feel their attraction. I'm glad you liked it overall, Casey!

  2. Thank you so much for your review Casey :) I'm halfway through Jess & Parker's story (not so much drama there - that's a promise :-D)