Monday, January 21, 2013

Strength (Mark of Nexus #1) by Carrie Butler

Strength (Mark of Nexus, #1)Strength by Carrie Butler
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:
When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, her rumor-laced notions are shattered. Handsome, considerate, and seemingly sane, Wallace Blake doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, screaming and banging on the walls of his dorm room. Hell, he doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, period. Too curious for her own good, Rena vows to uncover the truth behind Wallace’s madman reputation--and how two seconds of contact had left her with bruises. Of course, there are a few setbacks along the way: guilt, admiration, feelings of the warm and fuzzy variety… Not to mention the unwanted attention of Wallace's powerful, supernaturally-gifted family. They’re a bloodline divided by opposing ideals, two soon-to-be warring factions that live in secret among us. When Rena ends up caught in their crossfire, Wallace has no choice but to save her by using his powers. Now they’re really in trouble. With war on the horizon and Rena’s life in the balance, he needs to put some distance between them. But Rena won’t let go. If fighting is what it takes to prove her own strength and keep Wallace in her life, then that’s what she’ll do--even if it means risking a whole lot more than her heart.

My Thoughts: 
I really, really enjoyed SO much about this book!

Im pretty sure this is Carrie Butler's debut novel, and i have to give her full praise for the way she writes. The characters really came alive for me, and i could totally 'hear' their voices. The storyline moves quickly, without any slow points, but isnt rushed. I was really hooked on this book from the very first pages. There's nothing groundbreaking about this storyline- ive read much the same thing plenty of times before, but Carrie's writing really made this one a stand out for me.

I'd say for the first 80%, Strength really reads like a contemporary romance novel. A lot of the paranormal elements don't appear until much later in the book. Its mentioned in parts, to set it up, but the main story line follows the budding relationship between Wallace and Rena. I love Rena! She has so much spunk and attitude, and she just plain cracked me up in parts. Some of her lines were so clever and funny that i had to go straight to goodreads to quote her. :) I love that Carrie took so much time in building the relationship between them. Yay for no instalove!

Strength was absolutely headed for a 5 star rating from me, until the ending. It wasn't that it was bad, it just wasn't quite what i was expecting. A lot of (paranormal) information, and some new characters are thrown at you in that last 20% and i found it a bit confusing. The picture in my head went from crystal clear, to a bit fuzzy as i tried to follow what was happening.

Nevertheless, Strength was a great read, and I'll definitely be looking forward to reading the sequel. Be sure to pick up Strength in March when it's released! In the meantime, be sure to Add it on goodreads and to Follow Carrie on Twitter

*Although Strength is classed as New Adult, and is about early 20's characters in college, the language and heat level were both pretty tame, so if that sort of thing offends you about novels, then you'll be fine with this book*

*I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review. This does not in any way affect my opinion of the book*

Monday, December 31, 2012

Talking New Adult and "Her Heart's Secret Wish" with Juliana Haygert

In November, I was bitten by the New Adult bug. I love Young Adult, I really do, but being 30-something, it's not a genre i want to read ALL the time. New Adult isn't aimed at my age group either, but just like i often find myself relating to and loving YA characters and story lines, I found myself REALLY loving the NA genre. I love that it is easy and quick to read just like (most) YA's. But I was immediately drawn to the older characters and more adult situations.

I started searching out some New Adult authors, researching their novels and sent emails to a few, offering to review their novels, and asking if they'd like to help promote the New Adult Genre on my blog. Juliana Haygert, author of a New Adult, contemporary romance novelette called "Her Heart's Secret Wish' was one of those authors who took me up on my offer. Juliana is also a contributor to a great NA blog called NA Alley, and she's here on the blog today, chatting all things New Adult!

Please, introduce us to yourself and your novelette: Hi! I'm Juliana, a Brazilian writer living in Connecticut. I'm older than I look, and I feel much younger than the age on my DL. My novelette, Her Heart's Secret Wish, is about a girl player and a nerd guy set on a college campus during Christmas. It's short, fun, sweet and very romantic. (If you missed it yesterday, you can check out my review of Her Heart's Secret Wish HERE - definitely recommend it to all contemporary romance fans!)

What made you decide to write a new adult novelette? Writing NA wasn't a conscious decision. When I was younger, I wrote about me and my friends in school, because I was in school, I think. Later, when I was in college, I wrote about characters in college. And even after I was out of college, that stayed with me. I wanted to tell stories of people in college. I had no idea that it would be hard to sell NA, that people frowned upon it. I didn't even know this term, new adult. I found out about the term and all that came with it after I decided to take this writing thing more seriously, and was already well into my third manuscript. I thought about giving up and turning to YA or adult many, many times. But each time I tried, my writing seemed forced and I lost interest in whatever I was forcing myself to do. So I stuck with NA, fully knowing this would be a hard road to ride on, because that's what I love and want to write about ;)

Do you also write YA, or adult fiction? How does writing an NA differ? No, I don't. I've thought about it, but never gave in. My love is NA. The situation and the reaction to that situation are different in NA. When you're 19-25, you're considered adult, but you haven't found yourself yet. You're in college or working, trying to figure out what to do with the rest of your life. Doing laundry, paying rent, and other bills are becoming a serious concern in your life. The boys are becoming men.

I really like what NYT bestselling author Cora Carmack wrote about NA on her blog:
"Whether you’re at college or moving out on your own or working your first full time job—your life seems to change radically overnight. And yet for most people in that age group (18-25ish), you’re still not completely on your own. Your parents are still a large part of your life. You’re not a child anymore, but you’re also not quite an adult. You may call yourself an adult (as will others), but deep down inside you are petrified because you don’t feel like one. [...] Young Adult books are about surviving adolescence and coming of age. New Adult is about how to live your life after that. New Adult is the “I’m officially an adult, now what?” phase. 
Just like growing up, that life stage is different for everyone, but I do think there are some things that are constant."
I think she hit the spot right here.

How did the NA Alley blog come to exist and how did you become involved? I met Victoria and Jaycee some time ago and knew they wrote NA like me. One day I got an email from them asking if I wanted to join them and come up with a blog dedicated to NA. I swear, I was thinking about emailing them and asking them the same thing! That was around Feb-March 2012. In May 2012, we launched NA Alley.

What books would you recommend for readers that are new the the NA genre? We have a good rec list on NA Alley , but I suggest Easy by Tammara Webber, My Favorite Mistake by Chelsea M. Cameron, Slammed by Colleen Hoover and Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park.

Thanks so much Juliana!

Check out Juliana's Website ~ Say Hi to her on Twitter ~ Add Her Heart's Secret Wish on Goodreads ~
Purchase Her Heart's Secret Wish at Amazon

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Her Heart's Secret Wish by Juliana Haygert

Her Heart's Secret WishHer Heart's Secret Wish by Juliana Haygert
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:
With a renowned reputation as a player, she had everything figured out... Twenty-year-old college student, Natasha is the life of every party and the reason behind many celebrations. The easiest girl on campus has all guys at her feet and more than a few in her bed. …until he came into the game… Having entered the academic world by chance, Professor Jason Stone is surprised to find one of his young students a huge temptation. The infamous Natasha has caught his attention. But is there more to her than meets the eye? …and changed the rules. As their unexpected friendship grows, so does their attraction to each other. When Jason’s Christmas plans are canceled and he ends up at the same party as Natasha, sparks flare, destroying the safe zone around them. Will they figure out how to break through their self-imposed barriers to be together, or lose one another forever? **New Adult contemporary romance novelette**

My Thoughts: 
Her Heart's Secret Wish is a super short, quick, romantic read, perfect for the holidays!

I didn't expect so much to happen in such a short read, Or to be able to really like the characters in such a short space of time. But i did :) I liked Jason from the get go, and although Natasha could be a bit of a bitch at times, she quickly grew on me too. And she had her reasons for being the way she was. I loved that it was the girl being a 'player' and the so called 'bad' one. Was a nice change from all the bad boys! Jason was such a sweetheart! The chemistry between the two was hot, but theres nothing overly graphic about it, and would be suitable for older teens/adults.

The story jumps right in without much preamble and it moves quickly. I loved the ending, and finding out the reason for Natasha's sleeping around. It really explained her behaviour.

The only problem i had with the novelette, was that the writing occasionally felt awkward. All sentences technically made sense, but a few, towards the beginning especially,either didn't really flow very well, or some words were what i'd class as an odd choice. But it was only a minor distraction, and by halfway through, i was more involved in the story and it stopped bothering me.

Overall, i really enjoyed it! Actual rating =3.75 stars. I'd definitely recommend this if you're a contemporary romance fan!

I received this novelette for free from the author in exchange for review. This in no way affects my opinion of the book.

Be sure to check back before the new year for a mini interview with Juliana about all things New Adult!

Get Her Heart's Secret Wish at Amazon ~ Add Her Heart's Secret Wish on Goodreads
Say Hi to Juliana on Twitter ~ Check out her website

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines

The Vincent Boys (The Vincent Boys, #1)The Vincent Boys by Abbi Glines
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:
There was something wicked about Beau that drew me to him. What was wrong with me? Why did I want to sin so badly Ashton is getting tired of being good, of impressing her parents and playing ideal girlfriend to Sawyer Vincent. Sawyer is perfect, a regular Prince Charming, but when he leaves town for the summer, it’s his cousin Beau who catches Ashton’s eye. Beau is the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, and even though he’s dangerous, Ashton is drawn to him. Beau loves his cousin like a brother, so the last thing he wants to do is make a move on Sawyer’s girl. Ashton is off-limits, absolutely. That’s why he does his best to keep his distance, even though he’s been in love with her forever. When Ashton wants to rekindle their childhood friendship in Sawyer’s absence, Beau knows he should say no. Ashton and Beau don’t want to hurt Sawyer. But the more they try to stay away from each other, the more intense their urges become. It’s getting way too hard to resist...

My Thoughts:
Gotta say, the first 20% of this book felt really rushed and was seriously cringe worthy in parts.

We're introduced to the 3 main characters, Ashton, Beau and Sawyer very briefly before Ashton and Beau are heating up the pages with their forbidden sexual attraction. I felt like I should have felt sorry for her poor boyfriend Sawyer, but i didn't because his name is barely mentioned before Ash and Beau are getting it on. It was hard to believe that this affair was so forbidden because we don't even see Sawyer and Ash as a couple.

And as for the cringe worthy - some of the conversations that take place between Beau and Ash were just so corny i wanted to smack myself in the head with my kindle.

BUT, After i managed to look past the lack of story line set up, i started really enjoying it. The dialogue became much more realistic. The relationship between Beau and Ash is hot. Beau himself has joined the ranks of my literary boyfriends. And the story line ended up being really good! I loved the way the author dealt with the return of the boyfriend and i ended up really feeling for all three of them and wanting the best possible outcome for them all. This could have easily been one of those typical, YA love triangle stories, but Ash knows who she wants the whole time, its just her working out if she has the courage to go after it.

I think this is supposed to be YA (well at least the characters are 17 and in high school so i'm assuming...)but there's really too much sexual content and language for it to be appropriate for that genre. If i had a 13 year old i wouldn't want her reading it, but older teens would probably be fine. Probably fits better into New Adult.

This was a really quick, enjoyable, no thought required read. If you like a good, hot but not graphic, not exactly YA appropriate romance this is one you should pick up. I went and bought the sequel as soon as I'd finished :)