Autumn Reed is one of my unicorn authors. No matter what she writes or what genre she writes it in, I fall immediately in love with her stories. This story is certainly no exception. In fact, it’s quickly become one of my new favorite reads from this talented and imaginative writer.
Spineless is book one in this series of books inspired by The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, which is one of my all-time favorites (both the book and movie. I’m also going to include the musical Wicked because it rocks my socks off) and I love what Autumn‘s done with this reimagining.
There are a couple of twists that enriched this story in a way I couldn’t have anticipated. The *main* twist added to this story absolutely blew my mind and I have no idea how Thea–and the guys, once they find out–is going to handle this throughout the rest of the series.
Also, I love the beginning of the book where you get a bit of an understanding of their relationships when they were kids. The difference between the boys as children and the men as adults is astounding and proves just how much people–and circumstances–can change in a relatively short time. I loved getting that peek into their past together.
Thea–short for Dorothea–has quickly jumped to the top spot of my favorite Autumn Reed heroines. She’s independent, resilient, sarcastic, and takes no sh*t. She’s a little broken and a lot jaded, but she’s also strong and empathetic. When we first meet her as an adult, all she really wants is to leave the small Kansas town she’s been living in since her mother died. She has no delusions of grandeur; she just wants to get away and live her own life.
I wasn’t one of those girls who dreamed of a glamorous life in New York City or even a quiet existence in a village by the sea. Probably because I didn’t dream. Well, of anything but leaving this dusty farm behind and never looking back.
Thea has been through a lot in her young life. She lost her mom when she was a kid and then went to live with her aunt Emmy, who was very brash and cold. It wasn’t that she was abusive to Thea, but she came across as uninterested in her and had no warmth toward her at all. It was super sad to read Thea’s description of what her life with her aunt had been. While the way she grew up definitely helped shape her into the person she’s become, I think all children deserve a little nurturing–especially those who’ve suffered trauma–and it’s sad that she grew up with someone who was so apathetic. I don’t think Emmy intentionally meant to hurt Thea–I think that’s just the way she handled life in general–but it definitely wasn’t all sunshine and roses, either.
Leo, Tristin, and Hayle–inspired by the lion, tin man, and scarecrow, respectively–are all incredible. They’re all so different and they each have baggage in different ways. There’s Leo, the star athlete; Tristin, the “juvenile delinquent”; and Hayle, the brain. These men are so much more than the labels that imprison them, but they hold themselves under the weight of their “titles,” so to speak, and I think it’s going to be a slow-moving process for them to break free from these bonds.
They’re all kind of dickish at first, but the attraction is immediate and undeniable for all of them. Hayle even has the added complication of a girlfriend–who is terrible, by the way–and despite being in a relationship, he is clearly super into Thea, much to his awful girlfriend’s chagrin. And look, I know it’s super cliche to hate any girl who isn’t the heroine, but seriously–this girl is awful and Hayle deserves so much better, even if he does have his head up his butt for most of the book, lol.
I also want to give an honorable mention to Tobias–inspired by, of course, Toto–who is Thea’s best friend back in Kansas. There’s kind of a will they/won’t they thing between the two of them in the beginning, and I’m not fully convinced he’s completely out of the running yet.
- The angst! Oh, the angst in this book. For someone who has severe anxiety, you’d think angsty books would be a deal-breaker for me, but man, do I love them. While this one definitely doesn’t make you want to bawl your eyes out every three seconds, the angsty tension is palpable through every encounter. It’s what I refer to as “delicious angst”–the kind of emotional turmoil that adds that extra quality to a book and keeps the story moving.
- All the Wizard of Oz references!! I mean, obviously, there are going to be plenty with a book that’s inspired by The Wizard of Oz, but I felt like such a fangirl looking for all the little Easter eggs while reading. It was amazing, lol.
- Each dude is so incredibly sexy that the interactions between them and Thea were giving me a fever. ESPECIALLY when you throw in a few sexy interactions here and there. Hot damn, you guys.
I absolutely loved this book and I can’t wait for the next one! There are so many questions that need to be answered and I’m dying to see what happens next with the guys. There’s so much potential for the rest of this series and I’m so excited!
If you’re a reverse harem fan, then you definitely need to read this book!
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