December 30, 2014

Short & Sweet (2)


Mini-reviews of New Adult and Romance novels that I enjoyed


Back in May, I did a Latest New Adult Reads post where I shared mini-reviews of some NA books I had read recently. I enjoy reading NA / romances and use them as a palette cleanser in between all my usual YA and review books, so I usually end up reading at least one per week. They're not all great but I've found some really enjoyable ones that took me by surprise and those are the ones I'll be writing mini-reviews for in my newly-renamed Short & Sweet feature.

[Publisher: Smashwords | Pub. Date: 10/12/2013 | Genre: NA, Romance]
Kelly told me to buy this (I will be saying this two more times throughout my mini-reviews) and because I trust her recommendations, I bought it without another thought. But when I finally curled up into bed one Friday night to start reading, I had no idea what I was in for. I was expecting a swoonworthy romance (which it did have!) but oh my goodness, it is so much more than that. I was seriously a crying mess at the end of it and I mean that in the best possible way. It’s heartbreaking, emotional and extremely well-written. It’s about Fern, a girl who has always loved romance novels, her best friend (in a platonic way) and admired Ambrose Young from far away. Ambrose is kind of a hot superstar in his small hometown and he convinces four of his friends to enlist into the army with him when they graduate high school. What happens overseas changes him in so many ways —  physically and emotionally — and the book deals with the aftermath as he comes back home to heal and move on. And Fern becomes a part of that healing process which surprises them both. We learn about them, their friends, their family. There’s so much wrapped up in this book and it is so, so good.

[Publisher: Metal Blonde Books | Pub. Date: 4/20/2014 | Genre: NA, Romance]
Another one Kelly raved about and I bought instantly. A few words comes to mind when I think about it: passionate, messy, unexpected. Looking at the synopsis alone, it’s a red flag for a non-Rachel book. I’m actually glad I didn’t bother to read it carefully before purchasing because I might not have and I seriously would've missed out. It’s about two completely different people who fall in love against all odds and frankly, against all reason. Vera Miles is a 23-year-old astronomy major who decides to spend a few weeks in Spain teaching conversational English to businessmen and women on an isolated resort. And one such businessman is Mateo Casalles. He’s 38, married with a daughter, successful. She’s a free-spirit and he’s bound by responsibilities. But they’re drawn to each other and while I didn’t expect to root for them, I did. I think it’s because the author builds the connection between them slowly. They don’t hop into bed after a couple nights. They fight their feelings every single step of the way, fully aware of the consequences of their actions and they deal with the repercussions. Vera doesn’t want to be the other woman and he certainly doesn’t want to be a cheater. It made me think of about how inexplicable love is. Are they really any rules for how or when it can happen? I’ve always tended to look at cheating in black & white terms and while I will always think cheating is wrong, Love, In English does show the shades of grey. The intensity the whole book really got to me and I swear it made my heart hurt and made me think a lot about love too.

[Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks | Pub. Date: 10/21/2014 | Genre: NA, Romance]
I’m a big fan of the Marked Men series. They’re addicting, fun reads with hot tattooed men and strong, realistic women. But I have to admit that Rule (Book 1) was and still is my favorite and while the other books are enjoyable, none came close to being as good (IMHO). Until Rowdy. Rule is still my main man but Rowdy is a very close second. The relationship between him and Salem felt a bit different from the previous romances, although no less steamy. They’re childhood friends who didn’t realize the non-platonic nature of their feelings back then. Partially because she’s older by a couple years and he fooled himself into thinking he loved her younger sister — you know that drama will come back to haunt them! And wow, now that I think about it, there are some parallels to Rule and Shaw here. Nonetheless, I loved Rowdy and Salem and watching their relationship unfold. Another thing I loved is the author’s portrayal of positive female friendships. Seeing Shaw, Ayden, Cora, Saint and now Salem have a girls’ night was one of my favorite parts in the book. Friendship, romance, sexy times — what more could you ask for in a NA novel?

[Publisher: Metal Blonde Books | Pub. Date: 1/25/2013 | Genre: Dark, Romance, Suspense]
After reading Love, In English I needed more Karina Halle and Kelly recommended this series. It revolves around three very flawed, unpredictable and volatile people (some more so than others): Ellie, Camden and Javier. It’s primarily Ellie’s story but these two men eventually make up a big part of it and of course, the love triangle. (FYI: Messiest love triangle ever.) Ellie is the daughter of con-artists and much of her life has been defined by an incident in which her parents used her in a scheme that went very badly. Now she’s an adult and the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree but she wants to start over. She returns to her home town in California and runs into her childhood best friend who she harshly rejected in high school, Camden McQueen. But he’s all grown up too. And tattooed and successful and pretty hot. They tentatively reconnect but both have secrets that eventually blow up in their faces and sets the stage for the rest of the series. Javier is only mentioned in Sins & Needles as Ellie’s dangerous, drug cartel-involved ex-boyfriend who broke her heart when he cheated on her. But then he’s all in after that and that’s actually when the series really hooked me, with Shooting Scars. The stakes were higher, the characters were a bit crazier / bad ass-er (yes that’s a word!), the emotions were more intense. Nonstop action and deceit and the romance(s) were off-the-charts. And it all came to a close with a ending I felt extremely happy with in Bold Tricks. This series was definitely an atypical read for me but again, Karina Halle's writing is just addicting.

Did you read and enjoy these books as much as I did?
Or do you have any NA recs for me? 
Let me know in the comments!

Also, thank you Kelly for always recommending
great books! <3

1 comment:

  1. It makes me smile that Kelly gets a shout out more than once in this post! That girl sure knows how to rec a good read ;) The only book I've read of the ones you wrote about is Making Faces. Though I did find the beginning a bit difficult, I do think that it picked up! Loved meeting Fern, Bailey and Ambrose and watching their stories play out <3

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