Tag Archives: New Adult

Review: First Match by Lynne Silver

First Match (Coded for Love 0)First Match by Lynne Silver

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided to The Romance Evangelist by the author in exchange for an honest review.

FIRST MATCH is the latest entry in Lynne Silver’s excellent Coded For Love series, and one I’ve been looking forward to reading. It’s essentially the story of a young man looking for his first real world experience outside the closed-off environment where he was raised, and the young woman ready to show him everything he’s been missing. But as a prequel to the entire series, it also fills in details about a key character in the series who has been a mystery until now.

Peter has never questioned his purpose in life or how he was raised to fulfill it, but as a healthy 20 year old male, he’s also longed for a chance to have some unsupervised fun, and maybe even meet a girl. When he and Allison first meet by chance at a local outdoor concert, her carefree personality is just as attractive to him as her physical appearance. Their immediate sexual connection convinces Peter that they are a genetic match, but how can he ask Allison to give up her whole future just to be with him?

Commander Peter “Shep” Shepard is one of my favorite secondary characters in the Coded for Love series, so it was a real treat for me to read some of his story before he was all grown up and helping to run The Program where all the previous books took place. I loved seeing the tender soul behind the tough guy, and the woman who’d helped him become the man we’d already seen. Peter’s love for Allison was genuine, going well beyond the genetic match that bound them together physically, and hers for him was just as strong and real. We see that each was ready to make every sacrifice to be with the other, and how their love never wavered even in the face of eventual separation. Part of me wishes that FIRST MATCH had been longer, but with Peter and Allison’s romance as the focus of the story, the shorter length made sense and worked well to get us to their ultimate happy ending. It’s a wonderful addition to one of my favorite series, and a joy to read.

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Blog Tour: Pulled Within by Marni Mann

Pulled Within Cover

Title: Pulled Within (Bar Harbor Series #2)
Author: Marni Mann
Genre: New Adult
Publisher: Booktrope
Release Date: September 12, 2014

Storms can’t last forever…can they?

For five long years, Rae Ryan has lived in a storm over which she has no control. Little by little, everything has been taken away from her—her job, her relationship, her best friend and her home. Plagued by nightmares and a terrible family secret, she carries her scars as much on the inside as she does on the outside.

Hart Booker, another disappointment from her past, returns to Bar Harbor and shelters her from the rain. He reminds Rae that forgiveness is possible, happiness can be found on the other side of darkness, and beauty rests beneath her scars. But a sinister figure lingering in the background seems determined to pull Rae back into a past she’s been trying to outrun. Can she survive the storm and become part of the light she so desperately desires? Or is she destined to remain Pulled Within?

Recommended for mature audiences due to explicit language, sexual abuse, disturbing situations, and drug use.

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About Marni Mann:
A New Englander at heart, Marni Mann, now a Floridian, is inspired by the sandy beaches and hot pink sunsets of Sarasota. She taps a mainstream appeal and shakes worldwide taboos, taking her readers on a dark and breathtaking journey. When she’s not nose deep in her laptop, she’s scouring for chocolate, traveling, reading, or walking her four-legged children.

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There will be 4 lucky winners in the Pulled Beneath Blog Tour Giveaway!
Grand Prize – Signed Pulled Beneath and Pulled Within paperbacks, $40 Amazon e-giftcard
1st Runner Up: Signed Pulled Within paperback, $20 Amazon e-giftcard
2nd Runner Up: Signed Pulled Within paperback
3rd Runner Up: Pulled Within e-book


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Review: Make It Right by Megan Erickson

Make it Right (Bowler University, #2)Make it Right by Megan Erickson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

After a year when I’ve declared so many romance tropes and subgenres off my reading list, only to be shown how good they can actually be, it should have been no surprise that I would find a book so wonderful that it redeems the one subgenre I’d sworn off for good: New Adult. But make no mistake, MAKE IT RIGHT by Megan Erickson is the one New Adult romance that I truly believe even those weary of that subgenre could enjoy reading.

Although MAKE IT RIGHT is the second in Megan Erickson’s Bowler University series, it works quite well as a stand-alone story. Starting the series with this second book might even provide an advantage to the new reader, since the story revolves around the redemption of a much reviled character from the first book, MAKE IT COUNT.

Max Payton is infamous among his college friends for the rotten way he treated his last girlfriend, Kat, and how before that, he’d slept with the high school girlfriend of his best friend Alec. Now that Alec and Kat are a couple, Max must content himself with the occasional nightly pickup of whatever women are still willing to throw themselves at him. But when Lea Travers shows up one night at the local convenience store where Max is slightly drunk and feeling down about his life, he realizes that this girl is someone he’d really like to be the true version of himself with, just for once.

Lea doesn’t have the long history with Max from high school like her friends do, but what she’s heard about him is all bad. Still, she sees something genuine behind the jerk facade he puts on for everyone, and as events on campus conspire to bring them together, it’s obvious that the attraction is mutual. What both she and Max eventually discover is a deeper connection that could heal the invisible wounds they both carry inside. But can it survive the mistakes they’ve both made and their unshakable assumptions about loving and being loved?

So many New Adult books make the mistake of fetishizing tragedies in their relatively young characters’ pasts, but in MAKE IT RIGHT, this is never a problem. The perfect tone is set from the start, and what makes us sympathize with the characters is constantly balanced with moments of humor that are never out of place. Max is much more than what he shows to the world, and we see his troubled home life from his point of view, even as its effect on his behavior is made all too obvious as the story unfolds. Lea, too, has endured both physical and psychological blows that would be daunting for a person twice her age. But the histories each brings to this new relationship are presented matter-of-factly, with no superimposed drama to forcibly wring the last bit of sentiment out of readers. This careful balance between lightheartedness and deep emotion is what I find missing in so many New Adult romances, and its presence here is one of the big reasons I loved Max and Lea’s story so much.

The other great feature of MAKE IT RIGHT for me was how the author always kept me guessing as to how events would play out, while always ensuring the necessary groundwork had already been laid for what would happen next. Even when I was able to predict the nature of the inevitable Big Misunderstanding, I was still surprised by the series of events it triggered, leading all the way up to Max and Lea’s happy ending, blowing away every assumption I’d had up until then. Ultimately, neither Max nor Lea should have ever trusted each other to be the person they needed, but when they took that leap of faith, I took it with them, and was rewarded with one of the best romances I’ve read this year.

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Review: Summer Rain (Love In The Rain series), ed. by Sarah Frantz

Summer RainSummer Rain by Ruthie Knox

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the authors for an honest review at The Romance Evangelist.

SUMMER RAIN is a new anthology of short stories by an all-star list of romance writers where each story has three things in common with the others. The first feature tying them all together is at least one scene where rain appears to play a key role in the plot. The second characteristic they all share is that each and every one is beautifully written and deeply touching. And the final, most important aspect of every story in SUMMER RAIN is that they were all donated by their writers and editor so that 100% of all profits from the sale of this anthology could be donated to the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (www.rainn.org), the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the United States.

As with any large collection of stories, even ones with such impressive credentials such as these, it’s likely not every story would be to every reader’s preference. But I have to admit that at least for me, I loved them all so much that I had to stop reading for a while after each one, so I could wallow in a lovely book hangover before moving on to the next. These may be relatively short stories, but each packed such a visceral punch that there was no way I could read them all in a single sitting like I usually do. More than one left me in happy tears at its end, but none left me unsatisfied, though it would have been nice to follow a few of the romances beyond what was provided here, if only to enjoy being in their world for just a bit longer.

I know I haven’t been very specific here about what is in each of the stories in SUMMER RAIN, but that’s because I want every reader to experience the same feeling of discovery I had, without any expectations other than the knowledge that you’ll be reading something very special. SUMMER RAIN is a wonderful way to help people who have suffered from sexual violence, but it is also a collection of achingly beautiful romances so good that I bought my own copy. I wish I could give it more than 5 stars.

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Review: Fall From India Place by Samantha Young

Fall from India Place (On Dublin Street, #4)Fall from India Place by Samantha Young

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review at Seductive Musings.

This review may contain spoilers for previous books in the On Dublin Road series. You can probably read FALL FROM INDIA PLACE as a standalone, but I wouldn’t recommend it.

I’ve been a big fan of Samantha Young’s On Dublin Road series from the very beginning, with each book in turn reminding me why New Adult romances have become so popular in the first place. Her characters have genuine roadblocks in their lives that don’t appear just to gin up extra drama, and their coping mechanisms are completely understandable in the context of each story. And although each story is set in the same world with previous couples continuing to appear as recurring characters, each one is also unique in terms of what brings the main couple together and what threatens to keep them apart.

In FALL FROM INDIA PLACE, the timeline has advanced several years past the last book in the series, and many of the previously featured couples are married with young children of their own. Hannah Nichols, the younger sister of Braden and Ellie, is now all grown up at 22, teaching high school English by day and a weekly adult literacy course at night. Her job and extended family appear to be enough to keep Hannah content, but there’s a lingering sadness there, thanks to the only man she’d ever wanted but could never really have.

Marco D’Alessandro was introduced in BEFORE JAMAICA LANE as the busboy at a local Italian restaurant and Hannah’s first school girl crush. We only got a brief glance at them together back then, but it’s clear in this new book that something significant happened between them in the interim when when Hannah finds Marco’s picture in a box of old things that her mother has asked her to clean out. It’s at that moment that FALL FROM INDIA PLACE begins to tell Hannah and Marco’s entire story in both the past and and present, showing exactly how what they shared before could be the one impossible obstacle to finding that happiness again for good.

One of the things I loved about FALL FROM INDIA PLACE was how we got a complete picture of the adult Hannah living in the present day before Marco was ever mentioned. We see that her love life is practically non-existent, even as her friends from school keep trying to fix her up with eligible men. We also see how she channels her kind and loving nature into her job and interactions with family, while never really having much to do for her own happiness. So when Marco suddenly reappears in Hannah’s life after five years missing in action, it’s like a bolt from the blue for both her and the reader: Where has he been? Why did he leave? How can she possibly take him back? And that’s when both we and Hannah start to get a much better picture of who Marco was, why he left, and how that made him the man he is now. When Hannah agrees to give March another chance, it becomes obvious that the time apart has made them both better suited to each other in a way they never were before. But the secrets they both still carry from that time are on a collision course toward an inevitable confrontation that will either help them heal completely or split them apart forever.

What surprised me the most about FALL FROM INDIA PLACE wasn’t that I was able to eventually figure out what secret each of them was keeping back and how those two secrets would be in such horrible conflict with each other, but that I was actually happy with that outcome and how it was ultimately handled. It proved that being able to see where the story is going to end up isn’t a bad thing when the path there is written so beautifully and the actual events play out in a way you might not have expected. That’s what I’ve loved about every book in this series, and why FALL FROM INDIA PLACE was such a wonderful read for me. I can only hope that Samantha Young can keep up this consistent level of excellence in all the books to come.


Overall: 5
Sensuality level: 3

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Review: On The Way Home by Skye Warren

On the Way HomeOn the Way Home by Skye Warren

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A copy of this book was provided to me by the author for an honest review at Seductive Musings.

On the surface, the premise of Skye Warren’s ON THE WAY HOME seems simple. Clint is a soldier returning from a recent tour in Afghanistan, where he’s witnessed the worst of humanity, thanks to the undercover operation he was supporting there. Now all he wants to do is get back to a normal life, although he’s not quite sure if it’s still there for him. Della is the flight attendant on his plane home who has been warned she can only save her captive sister if Clint is handed over as compensation. Fate practically delivers him into her hands without much effort on her part. But how can she give this handsome stranger to someone she knows will kill him? And what will happen if she changes her mind?

There have been so many dark and angsty New Adult romances released in the past few years that I’ve just about sworn off them for good. But the beauty of reading is that there’s always at least one writer out there who can make me love something I’ve vowed to hate forever. And apparently for dark and angsty New Adult romance, that writer is Skye Warren. Della’s tragic history is never played for sympathy or cheap sentiment, only as a necessary backdrop to why she would even consider turning Clint over to a known murderer. Clint is shown as the more sympathetic character whose weariness has caused him to let down his emotional guard, however briefly, and his temporary weakness may well be a fatal misstep. But when Della decides to reach out just once to take what she sees within him, it’s the shock of their unusually compatible souls recognizing each other that forces the reader to cheer for them both to prevail. The road to their happy ending takes a series of twists and turns that might seem improbable in a less skilled writer’s hands, but it all makes sense by the end, and that feeling of rightness makes the journey there worthwhile and completely satisfying. Their road to love was dark, but not too dark, and it was beautiful to see Della and Clint both find security and happiness in each other. ON THE WAY HOME is yet another extraordinary story from Skye Warren and I loved every moment of it.


Overall: 5
Sensuality level: 3.5

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Review: Unraveled by Jen Frederick

Title: Unraveled
Author: Jen Frederick
Series: Woodlands #3
Genre: contemporary New Adult romance
Publisher: self-published
Format: ebook
Release Date: January 20, 2014

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.

Publisher Summary:

Twenty-five-year-old Sgt. Gray Phillips is at a crossroads in his life: stay in the Marine Corps or get out and learn to be a civilian? He’s got forty-five days of leave to make up his mind but the people in his life aren’t making the decision any easier. His dad wants him to get out; his grandfather wants him to stay in. And his growing feelings for Sam Anderson are wreaking havoc with his heart…and his mind. He believes relationships get ruined when a Marine goes on deployment. So now he’s got an even harder decision to make: take a chance on Sam or leave love behind and give his all to the Marines.

Twenty-two year old Samantha Anderson lost her husband to an IED in Afghanistan just two months after their vows. Two years later, Sam is full of regrets—that she didn’t move with her husband to Alaska; that she allowed her friends to drift away; that she hasn’t taken many chances in life. Now, she’s met Gray and taking a risk on this Marine could be her one opportunity to feel alive and in love again. But how can she risk her heart on another military man who could share the same tragic fate as her husband?

My Review:

One of the best things about reading and reviewing is when I find a new series that gets even better as it goes on. Jen Frederick’s Woodlands series is a very recent discovery for me, but if what I’ve read so far is any indication, it’s one I’ll be enjoying for quite some time to come. Both UNDECLARED and UNSPOKEN are great reads, but the latest book, UNRAVELED, is easily the best of the three. It tells the story of how a woman still mourning her dead husband two years after his death is brought back to the land of the living by a man who finds her love is worth taking every chance in the world.

Samantha was never a particularly adventurous person before Will died. But his death only made her hide even more, existing more than living, and the way everyone still treated her like his grieving widow just made everything worse. It’s only when a perfect stranger instantly awakens her comatose desire that Samantha realizes what she really wants, and decides to go after it…and him.

Gray can’t decide if he wants to stay in the Marine Corps now that his contract is nearly up. He’s a natural leader and the Corps has been loyal to him in a way he never had with Carrie, the woman he’d once planned to marry. But when Samantha comes into his life, Gray thinks he has to choose between her and reenlistment because he’s convinced no relationship could ever survive any length of time apart. In UNRAVELED, both Gray and Samantha learn just how much they are capable of doing for each other when love is on the line.

We get to see the whole Woodlands group from the other books in UNRAVELED and it’s great to see how their relationships have progressed. But what I loved the most about this particular book was how both its hero and heroine had their own emotional baggage to deal with, but neither one ever lost sight of how much they cared for the other person. Samantha had to learn to love another person who could die and leave her like Will did. Gray had to learn to love another person who might cheat on him like Carrie did. But they both knew they had these issues and kept trying not to let it affect what they had together now. There were setbacks, of course, including one gigantic screw-up that nearly ruined everything. But Gray and Samantha never truly gave up on each other despite all the obstacles in their path, and that made their HEA all the sweeter. 5 stars