Tag Archives: New Adult romance

The Hazards of Skinny Dipping by Alyssa Rose Ivy and Ransom by Rachel Schurig

To be clear, I am phoning it in so much with these two that I am putting two unrelated contemporary romances in one review, borrowing plot summaries from Amazon, and giving myself the personal challenge of reacting to both as succinctly as possible. I thought I had purchased new adult romances, but it turned out I had purchased young adult romances. It’s apparently a very fine line and I suspect down to tone as much as anything else. The Hazards of Skinny Dipping and Ransom are more coming of age stories than people starting out in life and finding each other tales.I have learned this is of no interest to me. I will be continuing to avoid of young adult books no matter how highly recommended they are.

The Hazards of Skinny Dipping by Alyssa Rose Ivy (Reed/Juliet)

From Amazon: This isn’t a deep book about first loves or self-discovery. If you want a book like that, I’d be happy to recommend one, but I don’t have that kind of story to tell. Instead my story is about rash decisions and finding out that your dream guy is bad in bed. It’s the story of when I finally went skinny dipping, and how my life was never the same again. Oh, and it’s also the story of my freshman year of college and realizing Mr. Right might have been there all along.

Except that it is a book about those things. A boring one about a young woman, maybe even technically still a  girl, who makes some bad relationship decisions before figuring out how to make good ones. The writing (originally mistyped that as “writhing” which will be the highlight of this review experience for me) was fine, the characters simple, the coming age welcome and necessary. It’s the girl’s story from start to end and I have no interest in characters who aren’t really themselves yet. I have read heroines this young before, just not this immature. I like a little more emotional mileage on my lead characters.

Ransom by Rachel Schurig (Daltrey/Daisy)

From Amazon: Daisy Harris has no reason to suspect that her day will be any different than usual. She’ll get through it the way she always does—alone. She won’t speak or make eye contact. She’ll do her best to go completely unnoticed. That’s what life is like for Daisy now—an endless cycle of loneliness and fear. A life lived hiding behind the walls she so faithfully maintains. It’s been a year since she’s seen Daltrey Ransome. A year since he and his brothers left town to pursue their dreams of rock and roll superstardom. A year since he left Daisy behind—left her to watch as everything she knew crumbled around her. And now that Daltrey has found her—the girl he’s loved his entire life, the girl he’d give up everything for—he’s determined never to let her go again.

First things first, all the boys in this family are named after rock stars and Daltrey is a totally cool moniker. His brothers are Cash, Lennon, and Reed, also funky and nicely justifiable from a “romance novel names are ridonkulous” perspective.

I liked Ransom much better than the naked swimming book, but again the characters were younger than I could relate to. They were sweet and sympathetic, the supporting characters good friends to them. Everything ticked along in their new , crazy-successful and a pretty good coming of age story even if it was more than a might tropey and I can only imagine what that much success at that young an age would do to people.

Daltrey had brothers and each of them has a book, but I’ll be giving them a miss. These darn whippersnappers are going to be staying off my lawn.

Last things last, the family/band name of Ransom sounded too much like Hanson and I had that damn MMMBop song stuck in my head while reading. Maybe you do now as well. You’re welcome.

New Adult romance recommendations can be found here. Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

 

 

New Adult Romances

I’m not sure I had heard of the New Adult subsection of the romance genre this time last year, but I have embraced it wholeheartedly.

Based on what constitutes a grown up in different historical periods, this list by default includes only contemporary settings and is somewhat subjective. The novels often feature folks who are in university, have just finished university, or are athletes.

Recommended books are in bold, reviewed books are linked.

Sarina Bowen’s Ivy Years Series – Recommended, except where noted.
The Year We Fell Down (Hartley/Corey) – start with this, buy the set
The Year We Hid Away (Bridger/Scarlet)
Blonde Date novella (Andy/Katie) CLASSIC
The Understatement of the Year (Graham/Rikker) – LGBTQ
The Shameless Hour (Rafe/Bella)
The Fifteenth Minute (DJ/Lianne) – skip this one, seriously

Kristen Callihan’s Game On Series:
The Hook Up (Drew/Anna)
The Friend Zone (Gray/Ivy)
The Game Plan (Ethan/Fiona) – wonderful

Christina Lauren’s Wild Seasons Series:
Sweet Filthy Boy (Ansel/Mia)
Dirty Rowdy Thing (Finn/Harlow)
Dark Wild Night (Oliver/Lola)
Wicked Sexy Liar (Luke/London) – best of the series
A Not-Joe Not-So-Short Short (Not-Joe/Perry)

Elle Kennedy’s Off Campus Series:
The Deal (Garrett/Hannah)
The Mistake (Logan/Grace)
The Score (Dean/Allie)
The Goal (Tuck/Sabrina)

Everyone else, series or no:
Banner, Darryl Dog Tags (Brandon/Jesse)
Bowen, Sarina and Elle Kennedy Him (Wes/Jamie)
Bowen, Sarina and Elle Kennedy Us (Wes/Jamie) 
Butler, Eden Thin Love (Kona/Keira) – 1st DNF of 2017
Falkner, Tammy Tall, Tatted, and Tempting (Logan/Kit)
Falkner, Tammy Smart, Sexy, and Secretive (Logan/Emily)
Grace, Aria More Than Friends (Ryan/Zach) – LGBTQ
Harber, Cristin Sweet Girl (Cash/Nicola)
Ivy, Alyssa Rose The Hazards of Skinny Dipping (Reed/Juliet)
Lyons, Kathy Two Week Seduction (John/Alea)
March, Meghan Beneath This Mask (Simon/Charlie)
Milan, Courtney Trade Me (Blake/Tina)
Milan, Courtney Hold Me (Jay/Maria) LGBTQ
Roberts, Holly S. Play: New Adult Sports Romance (Killian/Rebecca)
Schurig, Rachel Ransom (Daltrey/Daisy)
Ward, Tracy Rookie Mistake  (Trey/Sloane)

LGBT romance recommendations, including New Adults, can be found here.

As always, recommendations are welcome.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

Play: New Adult Sports Romance (Completion Book 1) by Holly S. Roberts

A New Adult romance about a professional football player and a woman in her last year of university on a track scholarship, Play was an odd read. As happens sometimes with this genre, it felt like the version of romance conjured up by an awkward teen who has never been kissed other than that one time at a 13th birthday party, “but that was on a dare, so it doesn’t count.”

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I have some notes, but the first one is the showstopper:

Opening with an attempted sexual assault when a professional football player forces the heroine to her knees, “The scunt owes me a sblowjob”, she is rescued by the hero who offers to go to the police with her. The assailant’s friends dismiss the behaviour as a product of drunkenness. At the end of the book, the assailant, having apologised for his violent attack, is one of the groomsmen at the hero and heroine’s wedding.

[insert mic drop here]

Other items of note in Killian and Rebecca’s book are below. Direct quotes are in italics:

Scant minutes after a sexual assault and still shaken, Rebecca is overwhelmingly aroused in Killian’s presence and very concerned about how she looks.

There’s a lot of slutshaming both by Rebecca of her sister and by Rebecca of Rebecca. Something needs to be done about the “but those other women who are having sex and aren’t the main character are whores” situation in these books.

Killian and Rebecca find each other physically attractive.  No other reasons, rationalizations, explanations, or elucidations for their emotional connection are provided.

Every time they go somewhere, Killian fastens Rebecca’s seat belt for her.

Killian hadn’t mentioned anything about the hair on my lady bits, but I wanted to do this for him anyway. She gets her privates waxed as a gift for him to make herself more attractive. Is that really a thing?

I’m changing one rule and letting you have a hair tie while you run.” He said to the ELITE ATHLETE! Sidebar: Who says “hair tie”?

In addition to requiring she wear her hair down at all times, Killian has other rules; for example, Rebecca is also supposed to walk around naked whenever they are at home because he finds her so amazingly beautiful.

“Killian, please, I don’t feel comfortable.” Mortification caused tears in my eyes. Many times, the hero makes Rebecca feel this way and she is just supposed to accept that he knows best because he loves her so much and she comes around to agreeing with him.

Killian gets injured and pushes Rebecca away by vilely requesting a sex act.  When he comes to his senses, he stalks her – with the help of his severely disabled brother – until she gives in.

The temporary break up is so painful for Rebecca that it improves her running, so she gets the boy and wins races.

Rebecca wants to get married and have babies which is, of course, totally up to her, but she’s only 21.

The next time I read a romance in which a heroine complains about being thin, my head ass is going to explode.

Play has a rating of 4.4 out of 5 stars on Amazon.

If you want to read a good New Adult romance featuring athletes, I suggest one of the following:

  1. The Off Campus Series by Elle Kennedy: The Deal and The Mistake
  2. Him by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen
  3. The Ivy Years Series by Sarina Bowen
  4. The Game on Series by Kristen Callihan, especially The Game Plan

More New Adult romance recommendations can be found here.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

Us by Elle Kennedy and Sarina Bowen

A follow-up to the

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new adult romance Him, Us follows up five months later with Ryan “Wes” Wesley and Jamie Canning. Living together in Toronto as Wes skates through a stellar NHL rookie season (doomed to failure and disappointment as the Leafs haven’t won the Stanley Cup since the year I was born) and Jamie is establishing his career as a coach. They don’t get to spend enough time together and when they do, they are constrained by the need to mask their relationship. Wes just wants to get through his first season without becoming known as the first out gay man in professional hockey. The burden of Wes’s travel, hiding their relationship, and lack of time together is wearing on the couple.

Many adults try to figure out how to manage new careers and a serious relationship, but Wes and Jamie’s efforts are further complicated by the arrival of the world’s largest plot moppet in the form of Wes’s teammate, Blake. He moves in upstairs and takes to dropping by at inopportune times to interrupt sex and ratchet up “we can’t tell anyone I’m gay and you’re bisexual and we can’t even be ourselves in our own home” tension before proving he has a heart of gold when everything hits the fan.

The guys are still likable and sympathetic, if not especially well fleshed out characters, and their intimate scenes are still hot, but Us, while it does provide some realistic feeling situations, wasn’t really anything surprising. It’s an enjoyable, but not particularly memorable, trip down a familiar road with some nice guys doing the best they can. Honestly, the most notable thing about the story is the unbelievable suggestion that Toronto Maple Leafs ticket holders would give up their seats, even if only for one game:

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Those tickets are worth their weight in gold!

Note: I have re-read this book a couple of times since posting my review and I feel that I didn’t give it enough credit. It’s a good one and I recommend it if that wasn’t clear. Read its predecessor first.

I highly recommend Sarina Bowen’s new adult romance The Ivy Years Series and suggest you buy the box set, including the classic novella Blonde Date, but skip The Fifteenth Minute entirely. She is an author to watch.

Elle Kennedy’s new adult romance Off Campus series consists of The Deal  (great, recommended), The Mistake (good),  The Score (no), and The Goal (fine).

New Adult romance recommendations can be found here.

LGBT romance recommendations can be found here.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

Knitting in the City Series: Ninja at First Sight and Happily Ever Ninja by Penny Reid

My reaction to Happily Ever Ninja is why Penny Reid continues to be on double-secret probation with me, a situation that started with The Hooker and the Hermit, deepened with Elements of Chemistry and was cemented by Truth or Beard. I wasn’t going to buy Happily Ever Ninja. I WASN’T. No matter what joo-joo a couple of earlier books in the Knitting in the City series possessed or how much I liked Beauty and the Mustache. Penny Reid’s status as an autobuy was over. Then I read Ninja at First Sight and it intrigued me. I followed with a sample of Happily Ever Ninja and enjoyed the set up. Giving in, I bought the full length novel. Boy, was I disappointed. The strong beginning devolved into a Truly Silly and Pseudo Serious Adventure acting as a metaphor for marriage. Thinking again, I’m placing Reid on triple secret probation. I don’t really know what that means, but I won’t be paying for any more of her books.

Happily Ever Ninja

From Amazon: There are three things you need to know about Fiona Archer… I would tell you what they are, but then I’d have to kill you.  But I can tell you that Fiona’s husband—the always irrepressible and often cantankerous Greg Archer—is desperately in love with his wife. He aches for her when they are apart, and is insatiable when they are together. Yet as the years pass, Greg has begun to suspect that Fiona is a ninja. A ninja mom. A ninja wife. A ninja friend. After fourteen years of marriage, Greg is trying not to panic. Because Fiona’s talent for blending in is starting to resemble fading away.  However, when unexpected events mean Fiona must take center stage to keep her family safe, her response stuns everyone—Greg most of all. It seems like Greg’s wish has come true.

Greg and Fiona have spent the entirety of their marriage, and most of their relationship before that, living far apart. Years of long distance life have taken their toll and on Greg’s latest, brief visit home he realises Fiona is slipping away from him. When his professional life takes a Very Dramatic turn, she works to set everything to rights.

Fiona was consistently, wonderfully competent which was her blessing and curse. While a riot, Greg was dismissively autocratic when dealing with her. Not in a rude or high-handed way, he was just won’t listen to her. She is more capable than him, he really should clue in and when he continues not to it is very frustrating. I know that was the point, but it was overplayed. The two end up on a whirlwind adventure and how Fiona makes it through without slapping him is beyond me, even if I understood why there were together.

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Ninja at First Sight

I liked this prequel to Greg and Fiona’s novel and wish it had been longer, although some gaps from it were filled in during the full length book. Having recently read a bunch of new adult romances, this story of two university students filled that bill nicely. Fiona has chosen to go to college far away from her parents. It’s her only hope for independence from their pressure and ongoing concern as a result of a serious health crisis she suffered as  a teenager. Incredibly shy and a bit awkward, she is dragged around her residence by a well-intentioned roomie and meets Greg. He’s older, British, and attached. He also knows a good thing when he sees it and is gone on Fiona from day one. Their courtship was sweet and involving. I blame it for getting me to overlook my Penny Reid book-buying embargo and buy Fiona and Greg’s full length story.

Penny Reid’s Catalogue gives an overview of her published works , some of which I recommend and some of which I dislike intensely.

Links to my other reviews can be found on my complete reading list of books sorted by author or Author Commentary & The Tallies Shameful.

Christina Lauren’s Catalogue

Themes: In Christina’s Lauren’s world, the person who lets you be your true self and calls you on your bullshit is your best match.

The Wild Seasons Series:
Sweet Filthy Boy – liked it
Dirty Rowdy Thing – really liked it, the sex was distracting
Dark Wild Night – good
Wicked Sexy Liarfantastic, my favourite of the group and their books
A Not-Joe Not-So-Short Short – for completists only

The Beautiful Series:
Beautiful Bastard – lots of ihateyou sex
Beautiful Bitch – more ihateyou sex
Beautiful Stranger – surprisingly romantic exhibitionists
Beautiful Bombshell – ihateyou sex bachelor and bachelorette parties
Beautiful Player – A Rake Is Reformed by a Girl with No Filter – GUILTY PLEASURE
Beautiful Beginning -ihate you sex, we’re getting married
Beautiful Beloved – exhibitionists getting back on track after having a baby
Beautiful Secret – quiet guys need love, too
Beautiful Boss – Meh.
Beautiful – only makes sense if read as a series finale

Dating You/Hating You – very good
Roomies – It’s $8 and the story doesn’t appeal to me.
Autoboyography – two dudes, will likely buy it

The Wild Seasons Series: Wicked Sexy Liar and A Not-Joe Not-So-Short Short by Christina Lauren

Finally, a Christina Lauren couple that doesn’t scream the house down in the throes of passion. Quiet people need love, too.

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In the first three books of the new adult romance Wild Seasons series, each of a trio of close friends made impulsive marriages on a graduation trip to Las Vegas. The aftermath of each of these choices was the basis for Mia, Harlow, and Lola’s novels. Book four brings Lola’s surfer roommate, London, to the fore and pairs her with Mia’s ex-boyfriend, Luke. I have enjoyed the Wild Seasons series and I think Wicked Sexy Liar may be my favourite. It struck the right balance of romance, sex – which is important given that Christina Lauren writes novels billed erotic – and character development.

Luke Sutter is a protector-type in rake’s clothing. He has been playing the field, sowing his oats, and tapping everything in sight for the past few years. A legal intern about to undertake law school, he’s 23 years old and out for fun. In Mia’s book, Sweet Filthy Boy, he was portrayed as a total player who had broken her heart. Of course, his heart was broken, too, and while he has created the impression that he handled it well by seeing a succession of women, he hasn’t been in a relationship since the “Great Breakup of 2010”. As the one with Mia lasted about 7 years, the reader quickly realises he has good boyfriend potential once he decides to grow up.

London has completed university with a degree in graphic design. Rather than toil for peanuts and build a clientele, she is taking some time to figure out what she wants to do as she surfs by day and tends bar by night. When Luke approaches her and they have a one night stand, he is smitten, but she is wary of the delicious man in front of her.

I have railed against the plot I call “The Pig Becomes a Person“, but that is not the case here. Instead of being some louche douchecanoe waiting for a magical transformative female to attach himself to, Luke has proven that he is capable of a steady and healthy relationship, he just needs to climb out of the hole he has dug himself into. Often, those heroes who have been chasing any and all willing females, but have never met The One and don’t change until they do. Luke had and lost his One and Lauren does a really good job of his slow recognition that he has turned into a skeevy guy who needs to do some rearranging with his life. Convincing London of this takes a while. She sees him as a potential boff buddy, but nothing more and, after a distasteful public encounter, not even that. She also struggles with her obligation to her circle of friends. It felt realistic within the heightened reality of a new adult romance. Liking both of them, and the sister who gives Luke endless sh*t about his life, Wicked Sexy Liar made for a relaxing, romantic read.

A Not-Joe Not-So-Short Short after the jump

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