Monday, December 23, 2013

Double Book Review: Wanted & Conviction

Wanted (Wanted, #1)
Wanted by Amanda Lance
(Wanted #1)
April 25, 2013
Limitless Publishing
346 pages
Genre: New Adult Romance
(contains: violence, but fairly clean)
Source: Personal purchase
Book Blurb:
Considering she’s a girl who calculates everything, Addie Battes knew the statistical probability of being abducted in her lifetime—too bad she never analyzed the odds of falling in love with her captor.

While stopping at a crowded rest area one summer night, seventeen-year-old Addie accidentally catches a truck hijacking in progress. Desperate to rid the crime of its only witness, one of the thieves kidnaps Addie. Yet surprisingly, when a renegade thief attempts to silence her for good, Addie is saved by the very man who abducted her. Now, forced on board a cargo ship in the middle of the ocean, Addie finds herself surrounded by international smugglers who want nothing more than to throw her overboard.

All except the artistic and intriguing Charlie Hays, whose strange protectiveness convinces Addie to trust him, even when common sense tells her otherwise. Yet, despite her doubt, and his unrelenting temper, their relationship develops into something much more. But, Charlie’s scorned colleague has stowed away, and as he seeks revenge against his coworker, Addie and Charlie are forced to put their new love—and lives—at risk.
My Review:

This is a kidnapping story with a twist. As the blurb describes, we have Addie, our 17-year-old kidnapping victim, and Charlie, one of her captors, both placed together through unintentional circumstances. This wasn't an intentional kidnapping, but simply Addie's curiosity got the better of her and she was in the wrong place at the wrong time. But through this twist of circumstances, and an unconventional attraction, could something right come from all of this?

This was one of those stories that I just didn't want to put down. I love a good character-based story, and though this book is centered around the kidnapping, the true story comes down to Addie and Charlie. These were characters I loved getting to know. Addie was a unique girl, and her outlook, life experience, and age, combined with her humor and general likability, made following her POV really enjoyable. And being in Addie's head gives us such a great perspective on all the questions that I imagine I would be wondering if I were in her predicament. I think the author covered so many bases and legitimate concerns really well through Addie.

Charlie, too, was an unconventional character. But I enjoyed how the author unraveled and revealed the mysteries of Charlie. We have to deal with the conflicting views of him - is he creepy or caring, sensitive or scary, loving or a liar? I really liked Charlie, and though I did not agree with his line of work, I liked how sensitive he was to Addie, and how aware he was of their circumstances and their age difference. And they have a bit of an age difference. But that didn't really bother me. My only concern was her age, being a minor. And that was addressed.

As for their budding relationship, I really enjoyed the author's approach to it. It wasn't sensationalized. It was unconventional, and while the situation was dramatic, their friendship felt genuine. I loved reading about them and couldn't help but flip the pages wanting to read what would happen next. There is a genuine sense of connection between Addie and Charlie that cannot be denied, and watching how it unraveled was really quite lovely and beautiful at times. I was touched by how these two could relate to each other and care for each other when on paper they can be seen as so very different. And despite my issues with Charlie's "job" or Addie's age, I found myself rooting for them.

There are also secondary characters that add such a spice and extra zip to the story. Again, unconventional characters, but whether their interactions are large or small, they make such a difference to the story. I love a story with a strong cast of characters, and this one certainly has it.

And of course there is drama. You can't have a kidnapping and a group of thieves without tension, craziness, and no guarantee of a happy ending. Again, I though the author was able to move the plot along really well, giving us tension here, sweetness there, and unpredictability once again. And because of the circumstances, the reader never quite gets comfortable, and that plays really well into the plot.

Why not 5 Stars? Well, for one the book was a little lengthy at times and some parts could have been condensed. I also found Addie's age distracting and could never completely get over it, as well as Charlie's profession. I was never quite sure where the author would go with it all, and while that made for intriguing reading, my maternal instincts kicked in and wouldn't let me be completely pushed over the edge. But this isn't saying it isn't good. I still really enjoyed the book and the characters.

This is the first of a two-book series. Fortunately, the second book, Conviction, is already out. Which I promptly started reading when I was done with Wanted. If you like an intriguing plot with a twist on a kidnapping, but not a "dark" kidnapping read, and unconventional but engaging characters, then I definitely recommend this one. This book is fairly clean, and could even be in the Young Adult category. But I placed it in the New Adult group because most of the characters are older than the heroine, and the second book steps things up a bit, though still remains fairly clean, which is welcome option in this genre.

Conviction (Wanted, #2)
Conviction by Amanda Lance
(Wanted #2)
October 2, 2013
Limitless Publishing
287 pages
Genre: New Adult Romance
(contains: non-explicit sex, dark thoughts)
Source: Personal purchase
Book Blurb:
Falling in love with each other was unlikely.
Surviving their adventure was doubtful.
Living without each other: impossible.

To everyone else, it may look like she’s leaving for college, but for Addie Battes, it is the beginning of another adventure. She and her kidnapper Charlie Hays have found a way to be together and eluded authorities. Yet fairytale romances aside; life isn’t easy with schoolwork, roommates, and meddling FBI agents. And balancing acts threaten to fall when violent competitors rise up to put Charlie and the guys out of business.

Addie soon realizes that keeping her relationship with Charlie a secret is the least of her problems, especially with Charlie’s growing suspicions and jealousies. When misunderstandings surface, Addie’s worst fears come to fruition. Desperate and alone, she is faced with a choice: try to find her own happy ending, or fight to make Charlie a part of hers.
My Review:

Conviction picks up quickly after where Wanted left off. First, let me say how wonderful it is that this is a two-part book and not a trilogy. I loved that we get an ending by the time this one is over, though I won't say whether it is a HEA or not. But I love that it ends and it was completely satisfying.

As for the story, the plot and twists this time around are completely different. The author really pulled some great punches in there and made me flip my pages eagerly awaiting what would happen next. There were several surprises that I didn't see coming, and several moments where I wanted to shake the characters. Charlie and Addie's relationship is not easy or uncomplicated. There is just too much at risk to be comfortable. And even though Charlie is much older than Addie, they both have a certain immaturity when it comes to a relationship, and that places them in situations that simple communication could solve, but jealousies and fears prevent. But in spite of all the craziness, I could feel Addie and Charlie's love pouring over the pages. There was such a genuine beauty to their relationship, and I couldn't help but root for them despite my concerns and worries. This made for truly great reading.

I continued to love all the other characters as well. It was such a great mix and everyone really added to the story. Makes me curious if we'll see more of any of them in any spin-off books. Regardless, I loved the role that each character, good and bad, played in this book, and thought the author really coiled their stories well.

My negatives were there were a few plot-holes that left me wondering and scratching my head. But I will say that, though they were noticeable to me, they didn't ruin the books for me. Just a slight distraction.

Overall, I truly enjoyed reading this series. I was impressed by the multi-dimensional and engaging characters and the suspenseful and intriguing plot. And by the end, I was completely in love with Charlie and Addie. They are a couple that I won't forget. This is also a fairly clean New Adult series, which is welcome in a genre that tends to be more explicit, giving readers of this age more options. I look forward to more books from this author.


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