Genre: Mature Young/New Adult
Publication Date: June 20th 2013
Format: Beta/ARC provided by author for review
Anguish was the status quo, until she walked in. Breaker James Collins is confined in a prison of his own making. Scarred doesn’t begin to define his hell since finding out his girlfriend had cheated, stolen, and lied two years ago. It led to a single event—one that would blacken his days and his nights from then on. Since then, he hasn’t left his house, crippled by fear of people and any social interaction. Ashland talks too much and has the voice of a meth-laden prairie dog, or so she’s always been told. She’s been called annoying and irritating all of her life and gave up on having friends for a long time. College has given her a new lease on a social life and she’s embraced who she is. But now she’s waiting for the one guy who can take her breath away and put up with her antics. A simple note pinned to a corkboard will lead Ash right to Breaker’s solitary world and she will learn that just because a guy doesn’t fit her ideal, doesn’t mean she won’t fall head over feet in love.
What is it about a broken guy that makes our hearts melt and swoon? In the case of Breaker James Collins I think it was the fact that you witness his unraveling at the hands of someone who was supposed to love him. When Breaker shows up to his friends house and finds his girlfriend basically dry humping a rando, his world crumbles. The woman he was in love with admits to using him for his family's money and basically dumps him in a room full of people he doesn't know which then triggers a sort of anxiety that leaves him a broken shell. He spends two years locked inside his home, afraid to face the outside world after being so thoroughly broken, just the thought of going outside causes him to panic. This one was difficult to get through for the simple fact that watching Breaker's total estrangement from society was painful. Breaker is such a thoughtful, sweet and loving guy, willing to do whatever he can for the woman he loves and seeing him so devastated by his ex Holly broke my damn heart. It's not until his mom intervenes and hires Ashland Cormier as a live in housekeeper that things change for him.
Ashland comes into the story early on with her own set of problems. Having lived most of her life with people telling her that her voice and personality are grating to their nerves she is in a self imposed bubble of her own. I could totally relate to how Ash felt because people always told me similar things like you play too much or you need to calm down. Her issues weren't ass glaringly obvious as Breaker's but still. It's apparent early on that his mother is up to something by having her live with him and even though she's a little cold and detached I did love her hand in them being together. At first Ash just tries to stay to herself and do her job and not really deal much with Breaker but over time as they get to know each other something deeper develops. I loved Ash so much, she was tough, spunky and downright determined to help Breaker once she got to know him. Her patience in dealing with his anxiety, mood swings and panic was amazing at showing how much depth her character has. The most beautiful part of their relationship was the friendship they developed slowly at first, before it became anything else they were friends. I think a love story is so much more potent when you have friends who turn lovers. Their foundation was built on a steady trust that I know Breaker needed more than anything after what he went through.
The only thing about this book that irked me was the fact that Breaker remained friends with this guy Memphis, who had a big part in why Breaker became so closed off. Memphis was in on everything from the start and it really got under my skin to see Breaker not let go of that unhealthy relationship. But on the other hand I guess it showed just how bad off he was to desperately cling to something that wasn't good for you. Another part I hated was the trashy ex girlfriend, Holly trying to weasel her way back into Breaker's good graces. What a stupid slut she was! Through flashbacks we get a glimpse of just what she put Breaker through and I swear I wanted to throttle the bitch even though she was just an imaginary character. Even though these characters sucked and make you hate them, it just makes the sweet romance between Breaker and Ash that much more beautiful. I loved how Lila didn't use Ash as a crutch for Breaker in this story also. Breaker realizes his dependency and when Ash puts her foot down he recognizes his need to seek help for himself. I loved watching his transformation from a weak, broken man to the strong and still healing guy he becomes by the end of the book.
Speaking of beautiful Lila Felix has a way with closing out story that leaves you speechless and teary eyed. None more so than with AnguiSH. (Clever play on words huh?) I try to be tough when I read a book but by the tie I was finished with the epilogue to this book and the things Breaker says to Ash I was a melted puddle of emotions. Not many people know that Lila Felix has lived her own romantic love story and it is evident by the way she writes her men and the circumstances that her own sweet experiences tend to bleed through to the heart of every book she writes. AnguiSH will be with me for a very long time. From the beautiful cover, to the trying times the main characters go through to the fantastic romance Anguish is a book filled with heart and humor with a feisty southern belle and probably the sweetest book boyfriend ever!
My voice has been compared to a meth-laden prairie dog, a hamster caught in a wheel and King Adrock from the Beastie Boys. The latter of which I kinda liked. Who doesn’t love King Adrock? I was too needy—too desperate for friendship. I showed affection too frequently. I trusted too easily and I trusted everyone. I tried to help people, sometimes even to my own detriment. I got run over—a lot. Beta/ARC Page 12
“You mean your voice? I don’t see how anyone could hate that voice. I dream about you, talking to me.” She smiled. The gleam of mischief lighted her eyes and I knew this intimate moment wouldn’t be long without a smart ass remark. “Oh yeah, and what does it say?” She thought I’d cower. She was wrong. I resumed breathing my words into her ear, loving the shivers that slid down her body as she listened. “It says, ‘more Breaker’, ‘yes Breaker’, “right there’…” Beta/ARC Page 122
“You know what just happened?” She said, smiling through her tears. “What?” She ran her thumb over my lips and pecked me once, a whisper of a kiss, “Finally Breaker James, finally, I knocked and you answered the door.” Beta/ARC Page 195