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Friday, April 29, 2016

ARC Review: Without Borders by Amanda Heger

Without Borders is Amanda Heger's debut novel and the first book in her Wanderlove series. Knowing that this is her first book, I went into this one hopeful but not sure what to expect. I ended up with mixed feelings, and not entirely sure how I feel about this one. While I enjoyed the story for the most part and liked Heger's writing style, the ending of this one completely changed everything for me and unfortunately that was the last impression I have of the book.

Looking to gain acceptance to a top school, Annie London heads to Nicaragua for a month to help pad her application. But nothing could possibly prepare her for the attraction she feels for her best friend's older brother Felipe, who just so happens to be the doctor in charge of the trip. Felipe Gutierrez doesn't normally like the tourists masquerading as volunteers that help keep his family's clinic running, but when his old crush Annie shows up she quickly changes his mind. The more time they spend together, the more he realizes that she is nothing like the snobby Americans he is used to dealing with and the spark between them is one that neither of them can fight. But with Annie's time limited, will they be able to find something together or is their relationship over before it ever really has a chance to start? 

I liked both Annie and Felipe. I could feel the chemistry between them right away and I really liked seeing them spend time together in such an interesting setting. They had great banter and were a lot of fun. I will say though that both were immature at times, especially Annie. It got to be a bit old, especially considering that it seemed to come out at the worst possible times. Their communication was horrible at times also, and I just couldn't figure out why they couldn't just talk to one another. They did show growth though, and that was really good to see here. While it was nice to see them change as the story progressed, I would have liked to have seen more romance between them as this really felt like more of a coming of age story than a romance. 

My biggest issue here though was with the ending. All the good parts proceeding that ending were kind of ruined for me when it was all said and done. This ends with a HFN ending that was so anti-climactic. I was kind of shocked that after all that build up we had led up to the point it did. It wasn't very satisfying to me at all because honestly the situation they were in was one that I didn't really believe would work. The whole thing felt very temporary and I didn't really feel like we were left with any solid ground to stand on and that left me really disappointed after everything that we had gone through with Annie and Felipe. I also saw that the next book in this series is going to be Marisol's story (Annie's best friend/Felipe's sister), so I don't really feel like we will really be given proper resolution for these two even if they are more involved in Marisol's story. As much as I enjoyed parts of this book and was hopeful that this debut would live up to the promise it had, I didn't feel that it did and was disappointed with the ending. I'm not sure if I will read the next book to hope that we get more of Annie and Felipe, though I did like Marisol a lot. At this point I am still feeling really torn and don't want to become even more invested in these characters to be disappointed again. I did think that Heger did a great job of showing the environment they were in, and it felt very authentic and she clearly did her research. I think that this one could be a case of it being me rather than it being the author or story though, and if this sounds like one you might like I recommend giving it a shot. I think if I had gone in expecting it to be more fiction than romance I might have looked at things a little differently.

**ARC Provided by Publisher**

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