Author: Gail McHugh
Genre: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Release Date: 22nd May, 2014.
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
A missed first encounter…..
Colliding with a second chance…..
On the heels of graduating college and trying to cope with her mother’s death, Emily Cooper moves to New York City for a fresh start.
While harboring secrets of his own, Dillon Parker takes care of Emily through her grief. Knowing he can’t live without her by his side, he’s sweet, thoughtful, and everything Emily has ever wanted in a man.
Until she meets Gavin Blake-a rich and notorious playboy who is dangerously sexy and charming as hell. Emily tries to deny the instant connection she feels, but Mr. Tall, Dark, and Handsome is not inclined to let go so easily. Recovering from his own painful past, Gavin will stop at nothing to win Emily over.
This unexpected encounter compels Emily to question her decisions, forcing her to make a choice that will destroy friendships, shatter hearts, and forever change her life.
There are times when a bookaholic has to give herself a slap on the wrist and scold herself repeatedly, saying “Why did you wait?!” and yes, I am referring to myself. Because when “Collide” was first published back in 2013, I was not a book blogger or even a reviewer yet, and I remember that even though I read plenty of reviews of it, I had a tendency to focus on only the negative ones. Stupid of me, right? At the time, I was unaware of the workings of the indie publishing industry, so I did not fully understand, or even know, the importance of reviews. Since then, though, I have become so much wiser – age and knowledge will do that to a girl – so I started looking through my list of unread books. And “Collide” immediately caught my attention.
To me, this is a story about the struggle between the head and the heart: do you follow through with what you think you should do, or do you have the courage to do what you want to do? For some people, such as Emily Cooper, our heroine, this is a real struggle and not an easy one to overcome, and I immediately connected with her because of this.
Emily moves to New York to be with her boyfriend, Dillon, and she is suffering from grief and heartache after having lost her mother to cancer. Needless to say, she is in a vulnerable state of mind, and she is not exactly in the best of positions to make any life altering decisions. Which is why she does not trust her feelings when she meets Gavin Blake at the restaurant where she works. Even though she feels a strong, physical attraction to this very enigmatic man, she reminds herself of her boyfriend who has been nothing but sweet and kind to her during the last year when she watched her mother succumb to that malicious disease, and she demands herself to stop thinking about Gavin.
But how is Emily supposed to do that when she realises that Dillon and Gavin are friends and that she is bound to spend significant time with Gavin on a regular basis?
I really love Emily: the way she handles her recent loss, her feelings of confusion about her connection with Gavin, and her strong sense of loyalty towards Dillon – even when he starts behaving in a less than a loving manner – make her a very believable character. In my opinion, you have to commend her for trying everything possible to make things work with Dillon, and that speaks very highly of her character. In the end, though, she has to realise that the heart wants what the heart wants, and that even when certain decisions are frightening to make, she learns that she has to stop listening to what her head is telling her to do. And that is not exactly an easy feat to accomplish.
Now onto Gavin: well, he holds a very high place on my favourite BBFs ever! He has a strong sense of right and wrong, he is incredibly sensitive and only looking for what we all are: that special someone who, although not perfect, makes your world become a better place to be in. The fact that he does not know how to deal with his feelings toward Emily when he knows that they are wrong – because she is not free to belong to him – is why I love him so much. He is just such a genuine, real man! Because of his position in society, he does not trust easily, but once he lets a person into his heart…? He does not hold back. And there is something so incredibly sweet about that…At least, that is how I feel.
I want to make something very clear here: I do not condone faithlessness in any way, but I do believe that not everything can be set up to be only black and white. There are grey areas that all are a contributing factor as to how and why you end up behaving in a certain way. And that is why I feel that “Collide” is such a realistic story: humans are flawed. We are not perfect, we make mistakes, and life is messy and hurtful at times.
I want to finish my review by applauding Miss McHugh on her writing style: it is amazing! It did take me a couple of chapters to get into the third-person-narration, but once I got used to it, I came to love the author’s storytelling. Furthermore, the fact that we not only get to experience this love story through Emily’s eyes but from Gavin’s as well is what makes it a personal favourite of mine. Last, the pace of the story is perfect, and all the secondary characters are well-rounded and interesting individuals that I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know.
There is a massive cliffhanger in the end, but that does not really matter to me: because the second book, “Pulse”, is also out, and I cannot wait to experience the further journey of Emily and Gavin.
Miss McHugh: thank you for creating such a fantastic love story! This bookaholic’s romantic heart has been more than satisfied, so far, and I am really looking forward to reading your future work.
**Complimentary copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
“The first of two sexy contemporary romances about a woman torn between her seemingly perfect boyfriend and a dark, mysterious stranger who will stop at nothing to have her.” – Publishers Weekly on COLLIDE, a Top 10 Romance pick!
Gail’s next novel, also publishing through Atria Books, AMBER TO ASHES, is slated to release November 4th, 2014.