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5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis
23-year-old aspiring artist Sophie Walker can think of no better place than the exotic paradise of the Maldives Islands to escape the wrath of her controlling parents, the monotony of her boring legal work and her passionless boyfriend. With her two best friends along for the ride and to help her find herself again, Sophie is not prepared for the enigmatic Clayton Sinclair.

Clayton comes from another world of privilege that seems like a fantasy to Sophie.  Can this man introduce her to the passion & seduction she never realized she was desperately searching for? Sophie quickly becomes ensnared in Clayton’s seductive web until a shocking treachery makes her question her judgment and actions

My Review
I don’t quite know where to start –I have so many thoughts running around in my head after finishing this book. Conflicting thoughts. The story starts off like a typical contemporary romance. Sophie is beautiful but doesn’t see it as her gay best friend tries to convince her how gorgeous she is. After heading off on a tropical vacation so she can “find herself,” she immediately meets uber-hot rich guy, and they can’t keep their eyes off each other. Sound familiar?

But just past about the one-third mark, it takes an interesting twist, one I wasn’t sure I liked at first. Clayton is controlling, possessive, bordering on abusive. Sophie knows this isn’t normal, but she’s powerless to resist him. So many times I wanted Sophie to get a backbone and tell this guy where to go. But then it wouldn’t be a romance novel if that happened. The funny thing is, just as I reached the point where Clayton needed to take a long walk off a short pier, he’d do something so endearing, I’d begin to second guess my opinion of him. Like Sophie, I bounced back and forth between liking and loathing Clayton Astor Sinclair.

And that, I realize, is the brilliance of Colet Abedi’s novel. She drags the reader into the push and pull of Sophie and Clayton’s relationship. Makes us hate and then want him right along with Sophie. The author conducts a symphony of emotions like a master puppeteer pulling our strings. I greatly dislike needy female protagonists and rich, controlling, albeit generous love interests, and yet Colet Abedi has done something no other author has been able to do — make me want to read more about that which I claim not to like. Well played, Abedi, well played.

Plot
The plot isn’t all that intricate. It’s a pretty straightforward romance with almost no subplotting, but the romance is a triple E-ticket ride, so I didn’t have the stomach for much more anyway. We’re pushed up big hills, and then sent rushing back down, careening around corners, never allowed to catch our breaths before we’re climbing the next hill. The ending was so unexpected, I found myself smiling. When an author can completely throw me like that, I have to give her props.

Characters
Sophie can be extremely annoying with her insecure pretty girl, “I’m not good enough for him,” attitude. But she has a backbone and she’s not afraid to let it show when she’s pushed far enough. She can be a downright snarky bitch when she wants to. Her two best friends, Erik and Orie are somewhat stereotypical, but I think it works well here. They are the yin to her yang. Her parents and ex-boyfriend are little more than shell characters, but that doesn’t hurt in this instance. And Clayton…well, let’s just say the jury is still out on him. I’m not sure what I think of him yet. The guy has some SERIOUS emotional issues and seems to have more than a few skeletons in his closet, but he’s far from a stereotype. There is more to this guy than we’ve seen and I can’t wait to find out what that is.

Bottom Line
Initially, I thought the book was good, worthy of a three-star review. But as I continued reading, I began to see this story as more than that. It soon became very good and climbed up to four stars. But here I am days later, still thinking about it, about the characters and the plot, and wondering when the next book in the series comes out. To me, that’s the hallmark of a five-star story.

Title: Mad Love
Author: Colet ABedi
Publisher: Bird Street Books
Pages: 258
Category: New Adult Contemporary Romance
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
LinksGoodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Disclaimer
I was provided a copy of this book by InkSlinger PR in exchange for an honest review.

Colet AbediAbout the Author
Colet Abedi has been an entertainment industry executive for over ten years. In addition to working on many television programs for NBC, ABC, FOX, and most cable networks, she is best known for her work as head writer for the telenovela serials American Heiress and Fashion House, the latter of which starred Bo Derek and Morgan Fairchild, on the FOX-owned MyNetworkTV. Abedi currently has one television series in syndication, Unsealed: Alien Files, and has completed Five Souls, her first feature film. She is also the co-author of young adult fiction novel, FAE. Book one was released July 2013 by Diversion Publishing Group and was an instant online bestseller. The Dark King, the second in the planned FAE trilogy, was released May 2014. FAE was recently optioned by Ridley Scott. Colet is a native of California, graduated with a B.A. in English literature from the University of California at Irvine, and currently lives in Los Angeles with her husband and three dogs.

Where to Find Colet Abedi
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