Category: New Adult

Review: Before We Fall by Courtney Cole

Before-We-FallOne dark moment was all it took to turn twenty-four-year-old Dominic Kinkaide’s world black. On the night of his high school graduation, a single incident changed him forever, and he became a hardened man-famous in the eyes of the world, but tortured inside. Now all he cares about is losing himself in the roles that he plays.

At twenty-three years old, Jacey Vincent doesn’t realize how much her father’s indifference has affected her. She is proof that sometimes it isn’t one specific moment that wrecks a person, but an absence of moments. She tries to find acceptance in the arms of men to fill the void-a plan that has worked just fine for her, until she meets Dominic.

When jaded Dominic and strong-willed Jacey are thrown together, the combination of his secrets and her issues turns their attraction into the perfect storm. It could change their lives for good-if it doesn’t tear them both apart . . .

I feel slightly cursed with this being the second 3rd book in a series that didn’t live up to the predecessors. I loved If You Stay. I swooned for If You Leave. Pax was seductively sexy and could be a bad boy all he wanted. Gabe. Ugh, just shatter my heart and leave me here to die, soldier. But now there’s Dominic. And I guess he and Jacey weren’t my cup of tea.

Dominic is super dark with this secret that could DESTROY EVERYTHING. (Don’t they all?) and the first 2/3s of this book were spend with the “you can’t love me, I’ll destroy you” diatribe. Again, don’t they all do this? Meanwhile Jacey was just freed from one bad boy, only to find, well, Dom. And he’s the last kind of guy she should be around, but damn it, he’s just so sexy. I hate to say it, but I found this to be, well, stereotypical. Now, now, I am the first one to call a spade a spade. There are certain things we expect when we read romance. Like a happy ending. Otherwise it wouldn’t be romance, right? But that doesn’t mean I want over-troped characters and Jacey and Dom both just seemed so standard. However, there was some drama that exploded super, super, SUPER late and I was completely enthralled by that and what it added to Dom’s life, but it makes me wish it had started a little earlier on.

This being said, I have a feeling this will be longer than a trilogy. I feel like there are more broken boys to come and I welcome them (especially Brand, I mean come on), but I also would like to see some of the plot lines mixed up a little more. Just because I like schexy books doesn’t mean I want the same old same old all the time!

Similar recommendations: Ten Tiny Breaths by K. A. Tucker.

Blog Tour Review and Giveaway: Shelf Life by Stephanie Lawton

 

 Title: Shelf Life

Author: Stephanie Lawton
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Publication date: December 3, 2013

*Mature situations and sexual content – recommended for ages 17+*

It’s impossible to focus on college biology when your family believes doomsday is imminent and the government is out to get you.

All Pete Wilson’s ever wanted is to become a veterinarian, but those dreams are going up in flames. Commuting to an urban college and helping his parents with their apocalyptic prepper crap is more than he can handle.

Worse, Pete’s asshole neighbor is stirring up trouble, his family’s stockpile has been destroyed and farm animals are turning up dead.

Lindsey Linger is the tomboy sister of his best friend. Now a sexy spitfire, she and Pete are liable to set the barn ablaze as their romance finally heats up. But she’s hiding a terrible secret, and rural life isn’t all bonfires and hayloft romps. That becomes clear one icy winter night when the survival of everyone Pete loves hangs in the balance.

Can Pete be the hero they need, or will this be the end of the world as he knows it?

 

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This marks my fourth review for Stephanie Lawton’s books and to this day it never ceases to amaze me just how messed up her characters and stories can be. Shelf Life is such an amazing coming-of-age story that it certainly stands apart from her other works.

We have the story of Pete Wilson who’s going through the rough transition of being a teenager to being an adult. It’s not easy for anyone, let alone Pete who has to deal with getting (and promptly losing) the girl of his dreams, losing his best friend, a dangerously sexy college girl, dodging an asshole of a bully, a completely bratty sister who doesn’t give a flip about anything, a dad dealing with PTSD, and a mom just trying her best to keep everyone together all while trying to keep the family farm running and the bomb shelter stocked. Feel overwhelmed? Now you can imagine how Pete feels!

And I have to say, I loved watched Pete grow as a character, even if it was painful for pseudo-adult self to read at times. I really appreciated that even though this is marketed as a New Adult book, it’s really, really not about, you know, sexy times. There’s a lot of heavy, dark issues at work and the sporadic sexy times are more like breaks in the heavy suckage of reality. So if you are wary of the New Adult category, thinking it’s nothing but hot sexy times, this is a fantastic bridging of Young Adult and New Adult.

The only thing I wasn’t particularly fond of was Jay’s super brief and slightly random POV scenes. I wasn’t exactly sure the point of them, whether it to give Jay’s backstory or create sympathy for him. Note: any tiny amounts of sympathy the POVs might have created was quickly erased in the climax of the book. Jay, you a crazy ass and I don’t like you or your intentions.

Still, as this seems to be a series, I am very interested to see where this goes. I (of course) will be checking out any and all of Stephanie Lawton’s books.

LAST, BUT NOT LEAST. The first THREE PEOPLE who comment on this review will get a little swag pack. You know you want it… you know you do.

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Join us all day December 3rd on Facebook as we chat with Stephanie, as she celebrates Shelf Life’s launch day with giveaways, excerpts, special content, free downloads, & more!
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About Stephanie
Always a misfit, Stephanie Lawton writes twisted romance that tugs the heart strings then punches you in the gut.
She has a tendency to psychoanalyze people, which comes in handy when creating character profiles. She has a fascination with teacher-student relationships, bullies, psychics, doomsday preppers and larger-than-life characters.
Making readers squirm is her greatest pleasure.
Proceed with caution.

Website | Twitter | Facebook

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Review: Easy by Tammara Webber

easyHe watched her, but never knew her. Until thanks to a chance encounter, he became her savior…

The attraction between them was undeniable. Yet the past he’d worked so hard to overcome, and the future she’d put so much faith in, threatened to tear them apart.

Only together could they fight the pain and guilt, face the truth—and find the unexpected power of love.

A groundbreaking novel in the New Adult genre, Easy faces one girl’s struggle to regain the trust she’s lost, find the inner strength to fight back against an attacker, and accept the peace she finds in the arms of a secretive boy.

This is a novel I wish a few of my friends had read before they went off to college. EASY, by Tammara Webber, is not a portrayal of a utopian college — it’s the real deal. As the novel follows Jacqueline, a college sophomore, the reader can’t help but cringe, smile, and feel unconditional sympathy for her and her peers.

I have to admit, I was a little hesitant to pick up this book. The whole “good girl” “bad guy” dynamic seems to be a recent fad within this particular book genre and not commonly seen in real life. However, as I kept reading, I was pleasantly surprised by how beautifully and authentically the story is told. This is a novel any college student or former college student can relate to, I often felt like I was there alongside Jacqueline.

Given that I am a hopeless romantic, naturally, I loved this story. And despite each character’s very apparent flaws, there is an abundance of hope for all of them. What I found most captivating is how each person holds a unique story of their own. It’s amazing how their stories gradually weave together and are slowly revealed through even the smallest of gestures.

At one point in the novel, Jacqueline questions how someone could be “capable of ripping a girl’s self confidence away in the span of five minutes” and I think that, unfortunately, this is a question a lot of girls ask themselves. EASY was most certainly an enjoyable read, but it also was a powerful and uplifting one. This novel provides a great example of the type of standard everyone should hold when it comes to their relationships, both intimately and non-intimately.

I personally can’t rave about this novel enough. It is so well done at providing a typical college scene in its rawest form, but still manages to be informative and lighthearted. EASY is a story that draws upon emotions everyone can relate to, college student or not, which is why it will receive a special spot on my bookshelf to reread in years to come.

Review: A Little Too Far by Lisa Desrochers

Have you ever gone just a little too far?

Lexie Banks has.

Yep. She just had mind-blowing sex with her stepbrother. In her defense, she was on the rebound, and it’s more of a my-dad-happened-to-marry-a-woman-with-a-super-hot-son situation. But still, he’s been her best friend and confidant for the better part of the last few years … and is so off limits. It’s a good thing she’s leaving in two days for a year abroad in Rome.

But even thousands of miles away, Lexie can’t seem to escape trouble. Raised Catholic, she goes to confession in hopes of alleviating some of her guilt … and maybe not burning in hell. Instead, she stumbles out of the confessional and right into Alessandro Moretti, a young and very easy-on-the-eyes deacon … only eight months away from becoming a priest. Lexie and Alessandro grow closer, and when Alessandro’s signals start changing despite his vow of celibacy, she doesn’t know what to think. She’s torn between falling in love with the man she shouldn’t want and the man she can’t have. And she isn’t sure how she can live with herself either way.

I was really quite excited to read this book, so color me emotionally confused when I have to say that I felt extremely awkward for 90% of it. Let me better explain this awkwardness. Remember middle school? When you were so horrendously awkward around friends or social situations that you wanted to peel off your own skin and hide in it? Yeah. Now picture a party where everyone is sitting down, glaring at each other and not having fun because there is just SO MUCH TENSION that it might as well ignite the air and explode the room. Now drop yourself in it. That was how I felt, reading this book.

Even if you didn’t read the summary above, here’s the basics: she sleeps with her step-brother and then becomes interested in an almost-priest. Okay, so the step-brother thing wasn’t squicky to me — remember, I’m the girl who loved Forbidden with all her little heart. In fact, I was Team Trent, I guess. Oddly enough, the priest thing was a bit more salacious to me even though I am not what anyone would call religious in the slightest. There were even certain points while reading that I was texting a friend, quoting Bartok from Anastasia saying “this can only end in tears!”. I was even betting with myself that a certain character was going to die because, really, that could be his only ending. What I’m saying here is that I kinda forgot this was supposed to be a New Adult romance because of the ‘holy crap, shove a piece of coal in this book and you’ll have a diamond pop out’ tension.

Here’s the twistiest thing I didn’t expect with this: as much as I was waffling over whether or not I even liked it for a good 100 or so pages, it actually ended resolutely and I actually liked it. Despite my mid-read text complaints to my friend. So for those of you people going, ‘eh, New Adult’. I’d give this book a try. Because it doesn’t really feel like a romance. Don’t get me wrong, there were some serious sexy times that I totally shouldn’t have been reading while sitting on a subway, but it really wasn’t the ‘focus’ of the book like a lot of New Adult books do. It’s good for the “New Adult” category and it’s good for the “romance” part because it made it less romance-y and more book-y. Does that make sense?

As much as I don’t want to admit it . . .  I’m rather intrigued for the sequel (I didn’t even know there was going to be one at first) and I will brave another 200-odd pages of tense and awkward middle school feelings to know what happens next.

Similar recommendations: The Secret of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen and If You Stay by Courtney Cole.

Blog Tour Excerpt: Every Shattered Thing by Elora Ramirez

EST Blog Tour banner
I am very excited to be apart of the blog tour for Every Shattered Thing, a sexy New Adult book by Elora Ramirez and today I bring you an exclusive excerpt AND a giveaway. Really, what could be better?

Every Shattered Thing synopsis:
Stephanie fights reality every day. The voices inside, the ones declaring her worth, deem her broken, used and dirty. She is an object. A toy. Something to be tossed aside when bored. Who will believe her if she whispers the truth about her wrecking ball of a family? Eventually, her secret explodes and the person who means the most to her knows just how shattered she is and why she’s so afraid. But rescue is closer than she realizes. Hidden in plain sight, her horror hasn’t been ignored by everyone. Racing against the truth of what she faces, forces are joining together and developing a plan to free her from the hell in her own backyard. And while she’s at her lowest point, she’s hit with the beauty of love at any cost – redemption in the face of ruin. Will it be enough?

*Warning: Contains mature content that may not be suitable for younger audiences*

And now, without further ado…

Every Shattered Thing excerpt:
The hint of a smile forms on his lips and he catches me staring. The smile spreads across his face and he moves his hand right under my face, pulling me closer.

“You know you can kiss me any time you want to, right?”

I swallow.

“Um…”

He steps even closer and brushes his lips with mine, and I swear. The wind picks up around us and blows my hair up and out and I pulls me in even closer and I can’t breathe but he’s kissing my neck, my throat, and oh god those lips.

I’ve kissed people before. This is something different. This is a cold rush of wind and the warmth of summer. This is the crash of an ocean wave. I gasp when he nibbles my lower lip. My hands run through his hair, tugging on strands before moving down his arms and around his waist. I want him closer. I’ve never wanted anyone close but damn. I want him close. I want to feel every inch of him.

Pathetic fallacy. Mrs. Peabody told us about it in literature. Sometimes, the atmosphere mirrors that of the characters. It’s the gloomy weather and pointed description of the castle in Wuthering Heights. It’s picnics on sunny days with someone you love.

It’s the electric feel of Kevin’s hands reaching places they’ve never explored while the storm inches closer and closer.

It’s more than I can handle. I pull away, slowly, and rest my head against his chest. The tears are flowing and I’m trying to keep them as silent as possible but it doesn’t work. He tucks his finger underneath my chin and lifts my head gently.

“Steph?”

I place my hands on his chest where my head rested and avoid his gaze. “I just..I just need a minute.”

He wraps his arms around me and my head falls right underneath his chin.

“It’s just so different,” I whisper.

He says nothing, just kisses the top of my head and briefly tightens his hold before releasing me. “Come on. We still have a little while before the storm hits.” He helps me walk up the soggy embankment to the tracks. “This is something else I use to do when I was younger and needed to get away from everything.” He focuses on the ground beneath us, looking for possible grooves which would cause me to trip. “But, when I was younger it was less of me getting away from a serious crisis and more me just wanting to get away from my overbearing parents.”

“At least you have parents who worry about you.”

He nods. “Yeah. Before, I saw it as something I hated. They just ‘didn’t get me’ and only wanted to ruin my fun.” He picks up a stick and examines it before tossing it aside. “Before the party, before everything got weird, they were simply trying to protect me.”

“Do they know about me?”

Kevin smiles and continues to walk, measuring his words before he speaks. “Yeah.” He looks at me and puts his hand up as a promise. “They don’t know anything else other than you being my girlfriend. I haven’t said anything about…your situation.”

 “Do you think your mom would like me?”

He’s quiet again, this time for a longer period of time. When he does begin talking, his words are quiet. “I don’t know. My mom has this tendency to take everything at face value. Because of this, she’s already pinpointed girls she wants me to date. Girls who know how to put on a pretty face for the adults and usually turn around and party harder than anyone I know. Girls I would never dream of dating.”

I notice the darkening clouds and their similarity to the growing storm inside me. Apparently I had been holding my breath, because I exhale slowly and press my lips together. His parents know about me. For some reason, this excites and terrifies me at the same time. What if I screw something up? What if he realizes my situation is too much to handle?

He stops walking and pulls me toward him again. His voice breaks through my downward spiral and I notice the emotion just beneath the surface of his eyes.

 “Stephanie…I don’t want you to worry about my mom. She doesn’t matter. I’ve spent way too many moments worried about what they think and I forgot about what was important, what I needed to rely on wasn’t them but something bigger, something more stable. It doesn’t matter to me if she likes you or not. This won’t change my feelings for you.” His voice moves to a whisper and he comes closer. “I know what I want.”

He leans forward and kisses me again, this time slow and gentle, before turning again toward the trail.

I stretch my shoulders and walk beside him a little more until we find ourselves getting ready to cross the bridge. I stop for a split second and Kevin looks at me.

“Everything okay?”

I stare down at the drop—nothing more than twenty feet—but my palms start to sweat and my knees start to shake. I croak out. “I’m afraid of heights.”

No, afraid isn’t the word. It’s more like terrified. Scared shitless. Horrified.

He laughs. “Stephanie. I got you. Come on, you’ll feel better once you cross this. Besides, it’s quicker going this way than turning back and walking all the way through the meadow again.” He shrugs his shoulders and motions again toward the clouds. “Think of it as a shortcut.”

I shoot accusatory glances his way. “Did you know this was here? Did you know we’d have to walk on this bridge? What if a train comes?”

“Impossible. This track is dead at night. I use to walk it all the time, remember?”

I take a deep breath and grab his outstretched hand. “Okay. Let’s do this. But I swear, Matouse. If I die…”

He leans over and kisses my cheek. “That’s my girl.”

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Add the book on Goodreads here.

Elora Ramirez Elora Ramirez lives in Austin, Texas with her chef-husband. At the age of four, she taught herself how to read and write, cutting her teeth on books like Dr. Suess and writing anywhere she could find the space—including her Fisher Price kitchen set, the pages of picture books and Highlights Magazine. Since then, she’s grown to love the way words feel as they swell within her bones. Writing holy and broken is her calling, and pushing back the darkness and pursuing beauty through story is her purpose. She loves hip-hop, wishes she lived by the beach and cannot write without copious amounts of coffee, chocolate, and her husband’s lavender liqueur.

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