Category Archives: New Adult lit

Review: Before He Was Famous

before he was famous

Before He Was Famous

A Fool’s Gold Romance
by Becky Wicks
Published by Becky Wicks Books
279 pages
Genre: romance, new adult
4 / 5

Summary:

From International Bestselling HarperCollins Author, Becky Wicks, comes a new adult romance that will leave you starstruck.

***Warning: this book contains graphic language, sex, and mature situations. Not intended for young adult readers.***

One guy, one girl. One in the spotlight. One in the shadows.

Falling in love with your best friend isn’t always a great idea, especially when he’s Noah Lockton – the sexiest, most famous new talent on the planet. When 21-year-old small-town photographer Chloe Campbell is offered the chance of a lifetime – to join her celebrity childhood friend Noah on tour as an exclusive blogger for a New York magazine – she’s certain both have put what happened four years ago behind them. But his eyes still burn; his voice is still a jackhammer to her heartstrings; all his songs are about her. Is it possible that that night still haunts them both?

The music industry is a machine, spinning hype and rumors as much as his records. It’s not just Noah’s girlfriends who’ve got it in for Chloe (there’s no stopping the Twitter-obsessed, cat-loving pop-star Courtney Lentini for starters). Pretty soon, the jealousy and media frenzy surrounding these so-called-friends takes a life-changing turn and it seems making love means making enemies at every turn. When tragedy threatens to pull the final curtain on their relationship, both Chloe and Noah must make a choice. As much as this world leaves them starstruck, is living their dream really worth living without each other?

A story of lifelong friendships, love and hope, set in a world of celebrity, fame and social media gone very, very wrong.

 

My Review:

Let me just say that any book that has a cat named The Great Catsby must be okay reading. Right?

Now, the fact that the cat’s owner seems a bit too dim-witted to have conjured up this name with any literary allusion is something we will overlook. Because the cat? Is named THE GREAT CATSBY.

The rest of the book has a sort of nostalgic sweetness to it, along with some super hot headboard rockin’.

Noah and Chloe had that one night together, after which their friendship took a slight hit. She wanted comfort, he wanted her, and despite the fact that she had a boyfriend and that she and Noah had been friends forever, they rocked the – er – tree house together.  Quite magnificently, in fact.

But Chloe is nothing if not tentative and cautious when it comes to making any sort of romantic commitment. She has a boyfriend, but his gainful employment might just be of the illegal variety. And he isn’t very nice.

Chloe and Noah’s friendship, though, is rock solid, and the scenes of the two of them together pre-romance are some of the strongest in the book. That isn’t to say that the romance is weak; it’s hot and exactly what New Adult lit is all about. But the core friendship is so nicely written that it helps overcome some of the novel’s weaknesses (the contrived problems that arise in the romance would be Exhibit A for weaknesses).

As Noah’s career takes off, he’s able to bring Chloe along to document his travels. She gets to watch her best friend ascend to fame, if not quite fortune, pursuing something he loves to do. It’s a rough time for her, although her sunny disposition keeps most of the ill will at bay. The scenes with Noah’s struggles to be his own person in the face of a music industry fame machine are interesting and will make you look differently at those who win American Idol and its ilk.

As for The Great Catsby … well, you need to read to find out about him.

 

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Review: Tease

tease 2

Tease: The Ivy Chronicles
by Sophie Jordan
Published by William Morrow Paperbacks
320 pages
Genre: New Adult, Romance
3 / 5

 

Good girls meet bad boys every day in literature. What makes them interesting is when the good girl isn’t all that good and the bad boy isn’t all that bad. That’s called character development.

In this tale, Emerson is our good/bad girl. She has developed a reputation as a tease who follows through, but there is more to her than that. She is an artist with a wounded soul. She meets Shaw – dark, mysterious, hot Shaw – when he rescues her from certain doom at a biker bar. They are attracted to each other, but Emerson keeps men at arm’s length. No getting hurt for her, thank you very much.

Of course there are Reasons for this, and of course her family is at the crux of it all.

Shaw and Emerson have a hot relationship, though, and before too long, they are playing kissy kissy. As much as Shaw wants more physically, he wants even more emotionally. Emerson, though, needs to get her act together before she loses this stud.

Yes, it’s predictable, NA fare. But it’s enjoyable and occasionally hot. Shaw all but writes the playbook for men; his pursuit of Emerson occurs at a steady, respectful pace. He demands that she respect herself enough to be honest with herself and him. He understands her struggles and wants to help her, not use her. His feelings are genuine and believable.

Emerson, too, is genuine in that she is confused and doesn’t know herself very well. Oh, she thinks she does, but she really has no idea. When Shaw sees through her, it puts her off. She can’t be with him until she accepts reality, and that will take her some time.

This is part of a series, but you don’t need to have read the first one. It’s fun, escapist fare and nothing more.

 

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Review: Spotlight

spotlight

Spotlight
by Krista Richmond
Published by The Writer’s Coffee Shop
324 pages
Genre: New Adult, Romance
2.5 / 5

Are you one of those people who reads People? No? But you might, on occasion, check out a lurid headline or two while in the checkout line? Perhaps when you paused when you heard George Clooney (GEORGE CLOONEY!) was getting married?

If so, you are not the reason why Lily became a journalist.

She has no interest in promulgating the culture of celebrity. If she’s going to write about you, it will be because she finds you interesting. She wants to get in your head, get to know you, understand you. So when she has the chance to ask heart throb Daniel Brighton a question at a press conference, no silly fluff ball from her. Instead, she asks something thought provoking and intriguing.

Daniel takes notice, as does his mysteriously hot PR guy, Nate.

And that’s where this book takes a detour from the expected. Daniel doesn’t suddenly see Lily and think he has to have her. Nate does. But as the public relations point person for a rising Hollywood star, Nate is cautious. Is Lily really what she appears to be? And can Lily trust that Nate will trust her?

Naturally, there are obstacles to their love story, most of them relating to Nate. Lily is almost too good to be true, sickeningly so, in fact.  I kept waiting for her to have a flaw of some sort, but if she does, it’s minor. It isn’t that he’s awful, either. In fact, most of the characters are just too … perfect. Daniel immediately senses that Lily is a journalist he can trust? Where does that come from? She’s a JOURNALIST, if nothing else. So she asks one good question in a press conference and he thinks, “Wow! I can tell her my most tightly held secrets”?

And therein lie my issues with this book. It’s entertaining and sweet, but too much of it just does not ring true. Even a fairy tale has believable tension, after all.

 

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Blog Tour & Giveaway: Fixed on You

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Fixed On You (Book 1)
by Laurelin Paige
Published by Laurelin Paige
228 pages
Genre: romance; New Adult 
4 / 5

Summary
Stalking and restraining orders are a thing of Alayna Wither’s past. With her MBA newly in hand, she has her future figured out—move up at the nightclub she works at and stay away from any guy who might trigger her obsessive love disorder. A perfect plan.

But what Alayna didn’t figure on is Hudson Pierce, the new owner of the nightclub. He’s smart, rich, and gorgeous—the kind of guy Alayna knows to stay away from if she wants to keep her past tendencies in check. Except, Hudson’s fixed his sights on her. He wants her in his bed and makes no secret of it.

Avoiding him isn’t an option after he offers a business proposition she can’t turn down and she’s drawn further into his universe, unable to resist his gravitational pull. When she learns Hudson has a dark history of his own, she realizes too late that she’s fallen for the worst man she could possibly get involved with. Or maybe their less than ideal pasts give them an opportunity to heal each other and finally find the love their lives have been missing.

My Review
There are different types of addictions.

There are the ones we all know about – alcohol, drugs, gambling – and then there are those we hear 17828418about and think, “Oh, yeah. That’s an addiction too.” Eating too much or shopping or eating too little.

But what about an addiction to being addicted?

On the heels of earning her MBA, hopeful nightclub manager Alayna meets Hudson Pierce (oh, that name), the piercingly (GET IT??) hot, gorgeous, and sexually compelling owner of the nightclub Alayna hopes to manage.

Hudson wants to hire Alayna (aka Laynie) to help him throw his mother off the scent of a forced marriage of sorts between Hudson and his childhood friend. Laynie agrees – Hudson will pay her enough to wipe away her student loans – but she’s worried. Laynie, you see, is easily addicted to the menfolk. She has a tendency to obsess over the guys she dates, to the point that she has restraining orders against her.

And if ever there was a man to whom she could become addicted, it’s Hudson Pierce.

I’m sure you think you know how this will end.

Given that it’s the first in a trilogy, though, you may be surprised.

What I enjoyed about this book – aside from the scorching headboard rockin’ that I will discuss in a moment – is how evenly matched Laynie and Hudson are. They each bring certain compulsions to the romantic table, and despite Hudson’s immense wealth, he never comes across as if he’s got all the advantages to her disadvantages. They seem well matched. It’s a nice departure from the Dominant Man and Submissive Woman thing that can permeate erotica these days.

Instead, we have two people who are fairly close in age and even closer in spirit. However much she may care for Hudson, Laynie does not roll over and let him take command. She fights for herself and what’s best for her.

Yes, Hudson repeatedly tells us that he’s “dominant” and has a “dominant” personality. In this post-Fifty Shades apocalypse, when we see the word “dominant,” we think of belts and red rooms. Laurelin Paige never quite takes us there; instead, Hudson’s dominance is largely personality-driven.

That isn’t to say that the sexy times are wanting. Strap on your vibrators, girls, because Paige delivers some hot headboard rockin’. If the story and characters don’t inspire you to check out the rest of the series, the horizontal hula-ing sure will.
About the Author
Laurelin Paige is the NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author of the Fixed Trilogy. She’s a sucker for a good romance and gets giddy anytime there’s kissing, much to the embarrassment of her three daughters. Her husband doesn’t seem to complain, however. When she isn’t reading or writing sexy stories, she’s probably singing, watching Mad Men and the Walking Dead, or dreaming of Adam Levine.

Buy Links
Goodreadshttps://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17828418-fixed-on-you
Amazonhttp://www.amazon.com/Fixed-You-Laurelin-Paige-ebook/dp/B00IFVAAGA
B&Nhttp://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fixed-on-you-laurelin-paige/1115288520?ean=9780991379637
iTuneshttps://itunes.apple.com/us/book/fixed-on-you/id820484086?mt=11

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Off the Record (The Record Series)

Off the RecordOff the Record (The Record Series)
by K.A. Linde
Published by Montlake Romance
411 pages
Genre: romance; New Adult 
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
4.5 / 5

 

Strap on your vibrators, girls. Unless you can conjure up a real life Brady Maxwell, you will need it.

College sophomore Liz Dougherty has wanted to be a journalist since she exited the womb. Now working for her school’s newspaper, she heads with her editor to a press conference thrown by the state’s wunderkind senator, Liz knows she has an opportunity to make her mark. What she doesn’t know is just how successful that mark will be.

Brady Maxwell is one of those “to the manor born” kind of men. He’s in his late twenties, the son of a senator, and has been groomed to settle for nothing less than success. Sure, he’s a state senator now. But next year? A senator representing North Carolina. Ten years down the road? Why not President of the United States?

What Brady doesn’t count on is Liz Dougherty. He spots her at the press conference largely because she’s clearly from his college newspaper, so he throws her a favor and lets her ask a question. But that question … it isn’t a snowball from a college girl. It’s tough and demanding. It asks him to explain himself.

Its source intrigues him.

Also intrigued – and impressed – is Hayden Lane, Liz’s editor. Sure, he knows she’s talented, but he wasn’t expecting her to ask such an insightful question. Hayden’s interest takes a detour from professional to personal.

As for Brady Maxwell … oh, he’s interested all right. He arranges to spend a few moments chatting with Liz, and he wants more. Not necessarily more chit chat, though. To quote Elvis, Brady is looking for a little less conversation, a little more action, please.

And there is ACTION. Oh, Brady. Brady, Brady.

BRADY!!!!!

The thing about good old Brady, though, is that he’s driven. He WILL BE a U.S. Senator, and he is quite up front with that. He tells Liz, straight out, that he will choose the campaign over her, and she likely will be hurt in the process. But that’s okay with her. Any time with Brady is time well spent. And time spent secretively.

As their romance progresses, Liz finds herself completely at Brady’s mercy (sometimes quite pleasurably, if you know what I mean … wink wink). This is at odds with how she prefers to conduct her life, but it’s what must be done in order to be with him. She finds herself wondering if it’s worth it; yes, they share combustible passion, but they can’t hold hands in public. They can’t go to dinner together or tour monuments or do anything outside of their hiding places.

She can, however, do those things with Hayden.

When you love someone, how much of yourself are you willing to sacrifice? What becomes your greater priority: your needs or your lover’s?

These are difficult questions under the best of circumstances, but compounded by secrecy and passion and the threat of publicity, the questions become incrementally harder.

The characters are interesting, if not occasionally annoying (Liz’s best friend is a caricature straight out of Central Casting, as is Brady’s campaign manager). The sexy times are yummalicious. Brady Maxwell can rock that headboard, girls. He attacks sex like it’s a political opponent, and he is determined to win. No wonder Liz is addicted to him.

As much as I enjoyed this book – let’s just say that I enjoyed it so much that I want to scream at K. A. Linde for the cliffhanger ending – there were a couple of things that bothered me. Yes, the best friend is uninventive. But there is the matter of Liz’s age. It isn’t that she’s younger than Brady – only about seven years separates them – but it’s that she is able to drink. For a girl dependent on a scholarship that demands exemplary behavior, I found it strange that she, a college sophomore, had such ready access to booze. Unless she red shirted her first year on the paper, she should be about twenty, not twenty-one. Why the underage drinking? I know it’s part of the college experience for many, but Liz doesn’t seem like the type to risk the scholarship.

Sometimes I find myself obsessed with details like that, obsessed to the point of distraction. This is one of those times.

Still, though, it’s a fun book. I can’t wait for its sequel, and I pray this is not going to be a trilogy. PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GUTENBERG, NO MORE TRILOGIES!!!

And please, K. A. Linde, let’s get that sequel published, tout de suite.

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Blog Tour & Review: Be With Me

Be With meBe WIth Me
by J. Lynn
Published by William Morrow
384 pages
Genre: New Adult 
Thanks to the publisher for the copy
4 / 5

Young love. It never seems to proceed without complications, does it?

In Wait For You, J. Lynn introduced us to Avery and Cam, a couple whose relationship began on a rather torturous note. Avery had suffered some personal horrors that led her to Shepherdstown, West Virginia (where she can be WATCHED OVER by SHEPHERDS), and, eventually, the arms of the hot dude living across the hall from her.

That would be Cam.

We also met, albeit a tad tangentially, Cam’s BFF Jase Winstead. Who, much like Cam, is quite hot. And while we never met Cam’s sister Teresa, we heard about her through Cam, who’d gotten himself into a bit of a scuffle where Teresa and her ex-boyfriend were concerned.

So now, with Be With Me, we get to spend time getting to know Teresa and Jase.

Much like Cam and Avery, this romance will not take off without numerous hitches, each of them related to Issues that our hero and heroine have.

Teresa (or, as Jase – but only Jase – calls her, Tess) is struggling to recovery from ACL surgery that threatens to end her dancing career. (Avery was a dancer, too.) She’s decided to come to Shepherdstown for her first college semester (SO SHE CAN BE WATCHED OVER BY A SHEPHERD), just long enough to get the knee back under control and then head to New York to resume her dancing career.

And, perhaps, the thought of seeing Jase on a regular basis might have factored into her decision just a wee tad.

See, about a year prior, Tess and Jase shared a hot smooch, and she would like more. But Jase? Well, that hunka hunka burnin’ love hasn’t exactly been Mr. Correspondence since. In fact, the two have exchanged nary a word.

But now they are back in each other’s orbits, and it appears that Jase might be interested. At least certain parts of his body are interested. VERY INTERESTED.

Alas, just being interested isn’t going to seal the deal for these two. First they need to come to terms with Jase’s current personal situation (which is broadcast about as loudly as you can imagine, yet nonetheless seems to surprise Tess), as well as Tess’s wonky knee. Oh, and there is also Tess’s roommate, who may or may not be getting abused by her boyfriend, which serves as a sort of trigger for Tess because she knows what it’s like to be abused.

As silly as this plot sounds – and I realize, as I type, that it sounds silly – the book, nonetheless, is entertaining and good. Tess is feisty and headstrong, but she’s also a girl in love with a boy who captured her heart several years earlier, and who happens to be her brother’s best friend. She is desperate to connect with him, but every time she does, his immediate reaction is to tell her he’s sorry it happened. Is it any wonder he confuses her?

One thing Tess knows for certain is that she cares deeply for Jase, and she wants to be with him. If only his intentions were as clear.

While this is a fairly standard YA plot, it distinguishes itself as NA because of the headboard rockin’.

There IS some hot headboard rockin’. More than in Wait for You, which gave us blue boobs waiting for Cam and Avery to shuck their clothes and get after it. Little sister Tess just needs a brewski or fourski and she is read to gooooooo. 

I got into the story, largely because I always get emotionally attached to female characters who suffer from unrequited love. When Jase tells Tess that he made a mistake – and he does this more than once – I might have teared up. In fact, a big fat tear might have rolled down my cheek. Maybe even more than one.

The hot headboard rockin’ is nicely done. Detailed, but not graphic. Let’s just say that your boobs won’t be too blue after reading this one.

Yes, it’s a bit overly dramatic and hyperbolic at times, and, yes, it’s predictable. But it still feels real. You can imagine these situations unfolding in a college dorm room somewhere. It isn’t as if one of Tess’s classmates turns into a vampire or anything.

Then again, we do meet Calla, and she does have a strange scar on her face. So I guess anything is possible in the third installment.J. Lynn

For more information about J. Lynn, check out her website, follow her on Twitter, and like her on Facebook.

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Blindfolded Innocence

blindfolded innocenceBlindfolded Innocence
by Alessandra Torre
Published by Harlequin HQN
304 pages
Genre: erotica; New Adult
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
4 / 5

One of the things I enjoy about Alessandra Torre’s writing is that she doesn’t just deliver hot, hard headboard rockin’, she also challenges the way you think about sex.

In Sex, Love, Repeat, her heroine vigorously embraced sex with two men, one of whom she loved, the other of whom she enjoyed. (wink wink) In Blindfolded Innocence, she continues with her “sharing” theme, this time asking you to consider how willing you would be to allow your partner to watch while you partake in sexy times with someone else (or several someone elses at the same time).

Julia is a college student preparing to apply to law school. (Again the girl is young – they are ALWAYS YOUNG in erotica.) She lands an internship at a big time law firm, where she winds up working for a somewhat dull but extremely driven attorney. While she slaves fifteen hours a day, she hears nothing but fun times coming from the wing housing Brad De Luca, resident rogue divorce lawyer. When Julia actually meets Brad, he almost literally takes her breath away. Older (OF COURSE HE IS because men in erotica novels are ALWAYS OLDER AND RICHER) and considerably more experienced, Brad is intrigued by Julia.

He makes sure their paths cross, and he asks her to join him on a weekend jaunt to Vegas. He doesn’t want to be alone, and Julia – ever perceptive, because these young girls in erotica novels are always Wise Souls – senses that Brad is secretly lonely, despite all of the sex he has. Despite her wariness, she joins him in Vegas.

Fortunately for us, what happens in Vegas does not stay there because Alessandra Torre shares all of the fun stuff. Brad and Julia get “close,” but … well. There is ALWAYS A “BUT” IN EROTICA, and it tends to relate to the man’s ISSUES.

So Brad and Julia have some things to discuss, namely his enjoyment in watching.

Yep, THAT KIND OF WATCHING.

At least that’s different, non? He’s into something potentially kinkier than spanky panky.

The problem is, though, that Julia may not be. So what will our happy couple do? And will you care?

Yes, I think you will. Brad is fun. As in FUN. He knows how to please a woman (and he should, because he’s been with nearly 200 of them). Can you blame him for wanting to share his talents? I mean, really.

His talents are indeed prodigious. Strap on your vibrators, girls, because this one is hot. Brad has Needs, and you will enjoy reading about his pursuit of satisfying those Needs.

Bless him.

Oh, yeah, Julia. She’s not nearly as annoying as most erotica heroines. She’s feisty, and she doesn’t seem as vapid as her genre sisters. I liked her much more than I thought I would, although not as much as I like Brad.

I’m looking forward to the next installment in the series, even though I am so over erotica series. But for Brad De Luca, I will make an exception.

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