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REVIEW: Wrecked by Shiloh Walker

Dear Ms. Walker:

You and I are friendly on Twitter, but for the most part in the past, your books have not worked very well for me. But when I read the blurb for Wrecked, it sounded right up my alley. Abigaile Applegate and Zach Barnes are tied inextricably together by their past as child stars of the wildly popular Kate + Nate show. When Kate + Nate ended, Abigaile gladly left all of the trappings of Hollywood behind, including her conniving, ambitious mother who spent her money and allowed her boyfriends to make passes at her 15 year old daughter. Abby moves on with her life, becoming a successful caterer. Her only anchor to that past life is how often she’s recognized and Zach. She and Zach have been best friends for years, he’s her family and her support system. What she doesn’t realize is that he’s been in love with her forever.

Wrecked by Shiloh WalkerWhen Abigaile’s fiance dumps her because she’s “not being true to herself” (he means she should still be acting), she falls apart. She’s maintained sanity after Hollywood by structuring and planning every moment of her life, but she never anticipated that Roger would dump her. Of course, Zach is there to support her. Unbeknownst to Abby, Zach is hoping that Roger’s loss is his gain.

Zach is an accomplished tattoo artist. He left the trappings of fame behind him quite easily, with the exception of his friendship with Abigaile, which he has cherished and nurtured forever, he’s a mostly regular guy. He knows that Abigaile journals relentlessly, planning out each and every detail of her life. After witnessing her devastation over the break-up, he buys her a new journal, aptly titled, Wreck This Journal. The idea being that she should break away from her regimented life and live a little.

Abigaile makes a new list:

1- Stop worrying so much about the future.

2- Call Roger and tell him off.

3- Flip off the next photographer that you see.

4- Get a tattoo.

5- Have a torrid affair with a hot guy.

She decides to start with the tattoo and she wants Zach to do it for her. Giving Abby the tattoo is sweet torture for Zach, but it leads to conversation between them where Abby finally asks if Zach has ever been in love. Of course, he has. But why did he never do anything about it? Because she never noticed.

This gets Abby’s wheels turning. She’s been feeling the attraction to Zach for some time, but is quite sure that he’d never want to jeopardize their close friendship by attempting something more. Will they ever act on their mutual attraction and become the couple they’re meant to be?

I’m going to be honest, this book doesn’t cover new ground. It’s relatively predictable, and the characters should have been stock. Here’s the thing though, I was charmed. I loved how Zach pined for Abby. I loved her idiosyncrasies. They were a couple that fit together beautifully. They have terrific chemistry and the sex, once they get there, is very well written and emotional. There is a terribly romantic scene where Zach creates some art for Abby that is both titillating and really sexy. Overall, it’s just a charming, fun, entertaining, quick read. I wouldn’t have imagined that your writing voice, which I’ve always thought of as super angsty and a little dark would be so well suited to writing light, fun, contemporary romance. But I found this one to be all of those things. I’m hopeful that this book will be a success so we can have more from you as soon as possible. Final grade: B+

Kind regards,

Kati

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Kati

I've been reading romance for more than 30 years and reviewing regularly for the last five. My first romance was Irish Thoroughbred by Nora Roberts, and once I read it, I was a goner. I read most subgenres of romance (except inspirational and steampunk) but focus mostly on contemporary and paranormal, with a sprinkling of historical thrown in for flavor. I am an avid sports fan, so I have a special place in my heart for sports themed romances. I'm a sucker for old skool romance, which is probably most evident in the fact that The Windflower is my favorite romance of all time.

11 Comments

  1. Isobel Carr
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 12:24:49

    Sold!

  2. hapax
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 12:32:00

    Friends-to-lovers is my favorite trope. And I lurve me some good pining.

  3. Liz H.
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 12:51:53

    I’ve found that Walker covers a relatively wide range of tones/genres. (Speaking of a backlist I glommed.) A lot of her earlier stuff (for Ellora’s Cave, I think) was more straight-up contemporary, i.e. non-angsty, and no paranormal or romantic suspense overtones. I enjoyed them quite a bit. That said, Beautiful Scars, her last contemporary, was a miss for me. This review sounds a lot better; I’ll definitely be trying this one.

    Complete random note- This cover is great, but the cover model on Beautiful Scars is so emaciated that I acutally changed it so I wouldn’t have to see it on my nook when I clicked past it. Has anyone else ever had this problem?

  4. Danielle Gorman
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 13:40:25

    I’ve only read a few of Shiloh Walker’s books in the past and felt that they were okay. I picked this one up because I am a sucker for the friends to lover trope. I thought this book was great and it hit all the right notes for me. I thought the chemistry between Zach and Abby was hot. Yes, the book is predictable but even so it was so good. I read it in one sitting.

    Thanks for the great review. You made me want to grab my copy and read it all over again.

  5. Robin/Janet
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 14:25:55

    @Liz H.: Is that the book where the heroine is a cancer survivor? If so, maybe that accounts for the extreme thinness of the cover model?

  6. Lozza
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 14:42:07

    This looks great, and I like friends-to-lovers, so I clicked on the Amazon link and then discovered it’s $7.99, which is just more than I’m willing to spend on a new-to-me author. I guess I’ll just hope it goes on sale at some point!

  7. Megan S.
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 16:33:54

    I’ve enjoyed wrecking my own Wreck This Journal, so I was amused to see it as part of a romance, and now I’m looking forward to reading it. A predictable-but-satisfying, friends-to-lovers contemporary is a winning combination for me.

  8. Shiloh Walker
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 16:47:16

    thanks for the review, Kati! I’m so glad you liked it… especially that scene. I’m was almost giddy when I wrote it and then I had to email Helenkay to see what she thought of it. I was thinking it was either really, really awesome… or really, really stupid. :)

    @Robin & @LizH… yes, Chaili from Beautiful Scars was a cancer survivor. :)

    [spoiler]part of the entire story was her learning to accept who she was again, mentally and physically. She had always been lean as well, roughly a size 2. The whole story was actually inspired by a couple of pictures…
    http://www.thescarproject.org/gallery/slideimages/SCAR-2.jpg

    and

    http://www.thescarproject.org/gallery/slideimages/SCAR-21.jpg

    The second one is, mentally, how I see Chaili. As you can see, she’s very slim. I think she’s also stunning.

    I wanted to write a book about a woman who learning to accept her own beauty even with the scars, and I didn’t want to use a cover model who inaccurately depicted her.
    [/spoiler]

    Lozza…if you’re curious about the book, there’s a pretty long preview-the first 2-3 chapters, I think available at my site. :)

  9. cleo
    Apr 02, 2013 @ 17:09:01

    @Liz H.: Wait, you can switch out covers? I have a nook. I want to know how to do that.

    Oh, and the book sounds good too. I like a good friends-to-lovers story, especially with good chemistry.

  10. Angela
    Apr 03, 2013 @ 14:25:58

    Friends-to-lovers is one of my favorite tropes, too. I’ve been wanting this one ever since I first saw it mentioned somewhere. And now I kind of want to read Beautiful Scars too. :)

  11. Melanie
    Apr 06, 2013 @ 10:27:40

    Thanks so much for recommending this book. Just finished it, and it was wonderful. Love the friends to lovers trope. Tattoos are definitely not my thing, but this book made them sexy.

    I just love the whole setup of the book. Child stars who grow up, and are the only ones who can really understand what the other went through.

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