ARC Reviews,  Reviews

Colleen Hoover’s Layla ARC Review (& Giveaway)

Thank you to Colleen Hoover and the team at Montlake for the advance reader copy of Layla, releasing on December 8th. Stay tuned at the end of this post for a special giveaway.

I swear it still feels quite unbelievable that I have again been granted an ARC for a Colleen Hoover novel. It was a milestone for me in my blogging career when I was able to review Regretting You last year. I jumped at the chance to pick up Layla, Colleen’s first foray into paranormal romance.

Check out the Goodreads synopsis…

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover comes a novel that explores life after tragedy and the enduring spirit of love.

When Leeds meets Layla, he’s convinced he’ll spend the rest of his life with her—until an unexpected attack leaves Layla fighting for her life. After weeks in the hospital, Layla recovers physically, but the emotional and mental scarring has altered the woman Leeds fell in love with. In order to put their relationship back on track, Leeds whisks Layla away to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. Once they arrive, Layla’s behavior takes a bizarre turn. And that’s just one of many inexplicable occurrences.

Feeling distant from Layla, Leeds soon finds solace in Willow—another guest of the B&B with whom he forms a connection through their shared concerns. As his curiosity for Willow grows, his decision to help her find answers puts him in direct conflict with Layla’s well-being. Leeds soon realizes he has to make a choice because he can’t help both of them. But if he makes the wrong choice, it could be detrimental for all of them.”

Check out my more detailed thoughts below…

  • Characters: Leeds and Layla are the main characters of this paranormal fantasy. Leeds is a bass player and a songwriter who meets Layla at her sister’s wedding. Leed first noticed her absolutely awful dancing and from then on he was mesmerized by her. I am going to stress now that you should really go into this story as blind as possible, so I am not going to tell you too much more.
  • Pacing: This story is paced extremely well. The way Colleen wrote this makes you want to keep reading, just after the first few pages you cannot help but be hooked. She did an excellent job at revealing the information slowly, the mystery was so epic.
  • Setting: The main setting of this story was the bed and breakfast where Layla’s sister Aspen had her wedding. A year later Leed decides to bring Layla back to the place they met and the hijinks ensue.
  • Romance: In comparison to other CoHo romances I would not say the romance was the key factor in this story. This is not her usual contemporary romance it is a paranormal mystery story. If you loved Verity I think you would really like Layla. If you love her traditional romances I would really push you to still pick this up. The romance between Leeds and Layla is a great backdrop for the larger story. Leeds loves Layla to death and watching him fight for her in different ways over the course of the story.

Check out this Q&A with Colleen…

You have written in many different genres and always keep your fans wanting more. For Layla, you are dipping your toes into a paranormal story that has lots of secrets. How do you describe Layla without giving anything away? #spoilerfreezone 
What is supposed to be a short, romantic getaway for new couple Leeds and Layla turns into an extended vacation full of bizarre occurrences. But no matter how much Layla wants to leave, Leeds is more focused on finding answers for the unexplainable.
The paranormal elements in your story are faint…just a whisper…until they take over. What was it like adding another worldly twist to your writing for the first time?  It was HARD. Super hard. I love using my imagination, but I also love realistic stories, so I found myself trying to pull back on things I didn’t feel were realistic. But then it got a lot easier when I decided to just make Leeds’s reactions sort of mirror what I would do orsay in those early moments. I put a lot of my own thoughts in Leeds’s character. He finds it hard to explain some of the things that happen, so his reactions are probably what my reactions would be at first. Until there was no room left for doubt, anyway. Then his actions veer very far from what mine would have been.
Love-at-first-sight is such a mundane phrase for what these two share. Their passionate relationship seems to move in fast-forward. What is it about these characters that make their connection so instantaneous?
I knew where the story was going to go, so I needed their meet-cute to be believable, fun, and I wanted them to be a couple readers would root for. I probably rewrote that first chapter dozens of times,but I focused mainly on their banter. Sometimes we meet people we instantly click with on so many different levels. Leeds and Layla clicked with their sarcasm, their humor, their taste in music. And she read him without even knowing him. To Leeds that was special. I think he felt seen in a world where he’s often overlooked. 
It becomes somewhat of an inside joke between your couple that, before Layla, Leeds’ always wore a look like he was“dying inside.” The truth is that he was deeply unhappy before meeting Layla. How does she change his life?
Leeds is lonely and holding back on his dreams because of doubts. Leeds sees something different in Layla. She’s carefree, fun and gives him confidence to follow his dreams. In a sense, I think she’s his missing puzzle piece. She fills the parts of him that are empty.  
Before Leeds, Layla doesn’t have a real direction in her life. What does this romance provide to her and why is she so grateful to have found her hero? 
Layla is fresh out of college, living with her parents and unemployed. Leeds’s career gives her focus, and being with him in Tennessee got her out of a place where she probably felt useless and unproductive. 
Can readers expect more paranormal elements in your books moving forward?
I’ll never say never! 

Layla receives five out of five stars.

Follow Colleen on all her social channels…


Thank you again to Colleen Hoover and Montlake Romance for the review opportunity. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog!

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