From the very first line, Layla is a mesmerizing and twisty tale that will captivate, mesmerize, and terrify you. Colleen Hoover never ceases to amaze me with her creativity and uniqueness when it comes to her storylines, and Layla is no exception. Her foray into paranormal romance has been, in my opinion, a success.
Layla and Leeds’ connection is one of insta-love, but once a tragic incident occurs, their relationship is irrevocably changed. Layla never seems to recover, and Leeds doesn’t seem to know what to do to make it better for her.
As the story progresses, you start to realize that things aren’t what they seem, and more is happening beneath the surface.
What I like about Layla (the book) is that Hoover didn’t take the easy route and gives us a nuanced storyline that is intriguing, emotional, immersive, and will likely make you feel uncomfortable.
Of course, there’s also the signature twist, and I can honestly say that I never expected what happens—which makes it a winner in my book.
Layla leans in and I expect her to kiss me, but instead, she whispers, “Play me something,” against my mouth. Then she moves to the couch and lies down. “Play something worthy of that piano,” she says.
She crosses her legs at her ankles and lets one of her arms dangle off the couch. She runs her finger against the hardwood floor while she waits for me to start playing, but I can’t stop staring at her. I’m not sure there’s another woman on this planet who could make me want to stare at her without blinking until my eyes dry up, but she’s looking at me expectantly.
“What if you don’t like my music?” I ask. “Will you still let me kiss you?”
She smiles gently. “Does the song mean something to you?”
“I wrote it using pieces of my soul.”
“Then you have nothing to worry about,” she says quietly.
I spin around on the bench and place my fingers on the keys. I hesitate for a moment before playing the song. I’ve never performed it for anyone before. The only person I’ve ever wanted to sing it for is my father, and he’s no longer alive. His death is the reason I wrote this in the first place.
I’ve never been nervous while playing Garrett’s songs onstage, but this feels different. This is personal, and despite the fact that there’s only one person in the audience right now, it feels like the most intense audience I’ve ever performed for.
I fill my lungs with air and slowly release it as I begin to play.
That night I stopped believing in heaven
I can’t believe in a god that cruel
That night I stopped praying on my knees
But I don’t pray standing either
That night I closed the door and closed the
I’ve been sitting in the dark
That night I learned happiness is a fairy tale
A thousand pages read aloud
That night I stopped believing in God
You were ours, he didn’t care, he
So that night I stopped . . .
I stopped . . .
That night I stopped.
I just stopped.
That night I stopped.
I . . .
When I’m finished playing the song, I fold my hands in my lap. I’m a little hesitant to turn around and look at her. The whole room got quiet after I played the last note. So quiet—it feels like all the sound was sucked out of the house. I can’t even hear her breathing.
I close the cover to the piano and then slowly spin around on the bench. She’s wiping her eyes, staring up at the ceiling.
“Wow,” she whispers. “I wasn’t expecting that. I feel like you just stomped on my chest.”
That’s how I’ve felt since I first laid eyes on her tonight.
“I like how it ends,” she says. She sits up on the couch and tucks her legs beneath her. “You just stop in the middle of the sentence. It’s so perfect. So powerful.”
I wasn’t sure if she’d realize the intentional ending, but the fact that she does makes me all the more enamored of her.
Thank you for the advanced copy of LAYLA by Colleen Hoover. All opinions are my own.
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date published : December 8, 2020
pages : 303
audiobook narrator: Brian Pallino
audiobook length: 8 hrs, 10 min
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.
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