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Review: Wrecked by Shiloh Walker

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Wrecked
Author: Shiloh Walker
Release Date: April 2, 2013
Series: Barnes Brothers #1
Publisher: Berkley Sensation
ISBN: 978-0425264454
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Format(s): paperback (320 pgs), e-book
Book Source: Publisher / NetGalley

About the book:

     In the nineties, Abigale Applegate and Zach Barnes were the most beloved sitcom child stars in the world. Then they grew up and left Hollywood behind…
     Whatever happened to Abigale Applegate?
     She’s been wondering the same thing.
     With her Hollywood dreams long gone, Abigale now has a nice, neat, uncomplicated life—until the day her perfect fiancé needs to talk. Dumped, a little more than shattered, and totally confused, Abigale turns to Zach, her best friend since forever, to help her pick up the pieces. He does it with a gift—a copy of Wreck This Journal. She can vent her frustrations, and sketch out a new plan. Zach just hopes he’s part of it. Because he’s been in love with Abigale his entire life.
     When the journal falls into Zach’s hands, he discovers Abigale wants a new man. And fast. Nothing more than a hot distraction. Zach has a strategy, too. He’s going to be that man. It’s his last chance. Abigale might be out to shake up her life, but Zach’s out to reinvent it. Now, all he has to do is convince Abigale that life can go as planned.

What VampBards talking about:

     I simply adored Wrecked.  There’s no other way to put it.  If I’d had a 3-hour block to sit and read, I would have finished it in one sitting.  This sweet friends-to-lovers story was just what I needed to heat up a cold & dreary weekend.
     The fact that I completely love and identify with a book by Shiloh Walker isn’t anything new.  The woman needs to stop rooting around in my head for story ideas. Kidding.  She needs to tap me on the shoulder and remind me that the story is out of my psyche next time, however, before I begin reading.  My connection to her characters, this time her female character, is simply amazing.  I felt as though I was walking in Abigail’s shoes for the entire story.  Her situation, and the way she figures out Zach needs to be a part of her life, was a situation with which I could completely and utterly identify.  As the story unfolds, we see how a whim turns into something simply hot and intensely serious, no matter what is written in this new journal.  HEAT INDEX:  4 flames out of 5.
     As the story opens, we find Abby seemingly broken and seeking solace from her best friend and confidante, Zach.  Having grown up together on the TV show in which they co-starred, Zach and Abby became unusually close.  So close that Zach was perpetually saving her from different situations.  After the break-up with her fiancé’, Abby was a hot mess…for a short while.  I can completely identify with Abby.  Sometimes, we think we know what’s best for us; sometimes we are simply going through the motions of life, trying to please others and fulfill the expectations others and society place on us.
     Secondary characters, including Zach’s brothers and Abby’s mom (she who shall not be named), truly round out the ensemble of Wrecked.  Each plays a significant role in the story, much like people involved in our own lives guide and shape our future in ways we sometimes don’t recognize.
     I think that we see Abby’s realization that she has romantic feelings for Zach in a unique and revealing manner.  Ms. Walker isn’t in-your-face with the fact that these are truly two beautiful people.  As matter of fact, in getting to know the characters – especially Abby – we see that she’s a beautiful person on the inside before she is described to us in a way that allows us to believe it’s more than a love-sick dude’s impression of a girl.  Watching Abby learn that she has romantic feelings for Zach was intense, but heart-warming.
     One of my favorite things about Zach is the way he thinks. Even though he refuses to tell Abby that he loves her, Zach is constantly communicating and honest with Abby – about everything except his true feelings about her. He says to Abby, while she’s still mourning her wedding, “…You need to quit focusing so much on how you think your life is supposed to go and just let your life go.  Live it, sugar.  Stop trying to control it.”
     Some of Zach’s hot broody-ness could have gone away… but it didn’t take away from the story for me.  I actually loved his gothness, and the fact that he’s Mr. Artistic with a tat shop didn’t hurt (says the ink-addicted girl…).  I really ‘got’ Zach.  I mean, most everyone, at one point or another, has had an unrequited love.  We all can connect with Zach at that level.  Besides the ink addition and the broken heart, I also connected with Zach on the intensity level.  I thought he was pretty intense for a dude that was trying to hide the fact that he was in love with his best friend.
     Let’s talk for a minute about the external conflict in the story.  Oh, wait.  I can’t.  That’d be spoilerish.  BTW, I hate Keelie.  The Internal conflict, however, is out-of-this-world!!!  Both Abigail and Zach have this tremendous internal struggle about their relationship.  Friends-with-benefits was pretty much what was agreed upon…even though Zach totally was in the game to win her over.  I loved the way that both were so insecure about themselves and their relationship with the other that they never thought themselves worthy of the other’s love.  I think that this happens much more in ‘real’ life than anyone cares to admit.  We end up meeting and building our ‘serious’ relationships with people who aren’t as good for us as others that don’t fit neatly into the little boxes we’ve formed to compartmentalize our lives.  I know that I ended up looking outside the box for my ultimate happiness.  It’s pretty cool to see these former child stars do the same.
     I really, REALLY liked the fact that Ms. Walker didn’t portray either of her main characters as one of the totally messed-up child stars that we hear about all the time.  I’m exceptionally glad that Zach was nothing like Danny Bonaduce, for certain!  No catch-phrases from their show were included; had I heard something to parallel, ‘Whatchu talkin’ ’bout, Willis?’ I think I would have groaned.  Loudly.  These were simply grown-up, former child actors.  No biggie.
     The realization that one is truly and honestly in love is powerful.  When Abby realized that Zach was ‘it’, I completely and utterly understood.  I remember telling my husband something similar to Abby’s thoughts… and I was completely terrified at the time.  “She knew that this was the one person who understood her, knew all of her flaws, all of her foibles . . . and loved her anyway.  That, in and of itself, was a wonder.  But this just felt . . . more.  It felt like . . . everything.”
     The hot scenes were truly making love.  They weren’t sex for the sake of sex.  There was an intimacy conveyed through each scene.  Zach was reverent with regard to Abby’s body and pleasure, forsaking his own at times.  Tremendous respect for her.  Abby worshipped Zach’s body.  Mostly, there was a connection between the two characters that made them more believable, and realistic for me.  It’s difficult to describe… it felt like watching the sun warm a granite boulder on the shores of Lake Michigan in the fall.  The warmth radiates from the rock, and into the body of someone sitting on the rock.  It felt like the lump in my chest  that shifts to a warm radiance and expands to encompass two people.  Yeah.  Cheesy, right?
     I simply loved and adored Wrecked.  I’m not heading out to get a copy of Wreck this Journal anytime soon, but maybe someday… I can’t wait for another title from Shiloh Walker.  In the meantime, I think I’ll work through her Grimm series!

VampBards Rating:

Personal favorite – a must read (A+)
 
Purchase Info:
Wrecked
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