In my debut novel, Breathe, Sadie may have fallen in love with the teen rock star, Jax Stone, but readers fell head over heels for Marcus Hardy. This is his story…
Marcus Hardy had hoped to enjoy a year away at college while he put the summer he’d rather forget behind him. But instead, he’s jerked right back to the coastal town of Sea Breeze, Alabama due to a family crisis. His dear ol’ dad found himself a girlfriend only a few years older than Marcus. So now his sister needs help dealing with their mother who is mentally falling apart. The only bright spot to returning is the fascinating red head who sleeps over several times a week. The problem is she’s sleeping in bed with his new roommate, Cage Watson.
Willow “Low” Foster needs a place to live. Running to Cage’s apartment every time her sister kicks her out isn’t exactly a long term solution. Juggling her courses at the local community college and a part time job doesn’t produce excess income. But Cage has a new roommate and suddenly sleeping over at her best friend’s apartment isn’t such a bad thing. Not when she gets to see those sexy green eyes of Marcus Hardy’s twinkle when he smiles at her like he wants her there.
Even though Cage seems a little territorial where Low is concerned, Marcus finds time to spend with Low without upsetting his roommate. Cage may use his small college baseball star persona to sleep with every hot female in his path but he’s still under the disillusion that when he’s through sowing his wild oats, he’s going to marry Low. Marcus intends to change that assumption for both Cage and Low. Until his carefully laid plans come crashing down with a revelation he never expected. He’ll have to choose between Low or his family. Because once the truth comes out…. there’s no other choice.
Did I Like it? Very much so…
Because of Low is the first novel I read by Abbi Glines. I discovered her through my new-found passion for New Adult author Tammara Webber (check my review of Easy). They happen to be CPs (critique partners), i.e. they review each other early drafts (grrr, I’m jealous). Well, when you see the quality of the ‘product’ delivered by Tammara, it does reflect well on Abbi Glines’ standards. So, here I was having downloaded Abbi’s Because of Low, her second installment in the Sea Breeze series. For the record, as soon as I was finished with Low, I immediately purchased Breathe (Sea Breeze #1), then The Vincent Boys and The Vincent Brothers (which I will review soon as part of the 2012 New Adult Reading Challenge).
I’m glad I started with Because of Low as I find it to be a much more accomplished work than Breathe. Don’t misunderstand me: The first book in the series is good, but the second one is excellent. While the characters were a bit thin and stereotyped in Breathe (starting with the teen rocker Jax) and the plot slightly flat, Because of Low offers a ride with two truly unforgettable, fleshed-out, multi-faceted people: Willow and Marcus. Abbi Glines knows how to make you fall hard for swoon-worthy bad-boys (Beau Vincent, yummy!yummy!), but Marcus isn’t one of them. He is driven by duty, loyalty, family, and fairness. Still, he isn’t boring one bit, but utterly falling-in-lovable because he treats people and the girl he loves as a person of worth… As far as Low, she has some similarities with Lana in The Vincent Brothers. She had it tough and suffers of a very low (pun intended) self-esteem. It is truly heart-warming to see her gaining in confidence. What Low lacks in self-esteem, she doesn’t lack in self-respect. I think it’s important to make the difference here. She’s open-minded and always tries and understands Marcus, but, still, she doesn’t compromise with who she is and believes in at core.
Now, you’re going to say, these two are really cute and likable. Great, so it’s easy to make them the main protagonists. Yes, they are good people, but, what I really liked about them, were their flaws. Marcus does some really stupid things. As far as Low, there’s the question of her ambiguous relationship with childhood friend, Cage. She relies on him as he’s the only person who has cared and supported her. They cling to each other, and she sleeps in his bed when she has nowhere else to go (although nothing has ever happened). I like that very much. Yes, it is screwed-up, but totally realistic. The book shows how their relationship evolves and becomes healthier. But if there’s one thing I absolutely loved in this book that’s how Low grows out of her dependence for Cage and embraces her own self and trusting Marcus.
So, if the plot twist is predictable and I wasn’t entirely convinced by the climax and resolution, I would whole-heartedly recommend to read Because of Low. The good news is that Cage gets his own story soon (31st July 2012) in While It Lasts. Can’t wait!
Abbi Glines is a writing force to be reckoned with.
Book Stats (From Goodreads) –
Published February 7th 2012
Edition language: English
Original title: Because of Low
Series: Sea Breeze #2
When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she’s single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, stalked by her ex’s frat brother, and failing a class for the first time in her life.
Her econ professor gives her an email address for Landon, the class tutor, who shows her that she’s still the same intelligent girl she’s always been. As Jacqueline becomes interested in more from her tutor than a better grade, his teasing responses make the feeling seem mutual. There’s just one problem—their only interactions are through email.
Meanwhile, a guy in her econ class proves his worth the first night she meets him. Nothing like her popular ex or her brainy tutor, Lucas sits on the back row, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. At a downtown club, he disappears after several dances that leave her on fire. When he asks if he can sketch her, alone in her room, she agrees—hoping for more.
Then Jacqueline discovers a withheld connection between her supportive tutor and her seductive classmate, her ex comes back into the picture, and her stalker escalates his attention by spreading rumors that they’ve hooked up. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.
Author Recommendation: Mature Young Adults (language, drinking, sexual situations)
Did I like it? I loved it.
Okay, I’m going to try and be objective here. Easy by Tammara Webber is… a great book. I heard about Tammara through the New Adult forum on Goodreads. I didn’t start with Easy but her YA trilogy Between The Lines. I devoured it in three days: one book a night. When I turned the last page of Good For You (book 3), I directly purchased her latest (stand-alone) novel, Easy that had just been released (lucky me!).
And began another sleepless night…
What needs to be said first about Tammara Webber is the strength of her writing. It might not win her the next Pulitzer prize, but who cares… In my opinion, it is impeccable: fluid, strong, clean. She has a distinctive voice, and every one of her heroes (whether Reed, Emma etc.. in BTL, or Jacqueline in Easy) sounds totally unique. That’s a sure sign of her competence as a writer.
I don’t usually like books that are trying too hard to deliver a “message.” Most of the time, it is heavy-handed and clumsy. Yes, Easy deals with rape, but not the ‘attacked in a dark alley’ story. It deals with this very fine line treaded by many, and those stupid words we often hear. “She was totally hammered.” “Did you see how she was dressed?” “She followed him into his bedroom, so what else can she expect?”. “She’s so EASY.”
Easy reminds us that: No is No, whatever the circumstances, whoever the girl.
Now, on a lighter note, I melted for Lucas. I usually don’t like tattoos. I’m not a fan of the ‘artsy’ look. I don’t fall for guys driving Harleys… But he’s a character I’ll keep in my heart for a long time. The relationship with Jacqueline unfolded in a realistic and sweet (and sexy) manner.
It is a New Adult / Upper-YA / Mature YA novel, not just for the topics it deals with, but also for the way the author handles them.
Easy is about empowerment and standing up straight for yourself by doing what is right.
Book Stats (from Goodreads) ~
Kindle Edition: 316 pages
Self-Published: May 25th 2012
HOW FAR WOULD YOU GO?
All Meg has ever wanted is to get away. Away from high school. Away from her backwater town. Away from her parents who seem determined to keep her imprisoned in their dead-end lives. But one crazy evening involving a dare and forbidden railroad tracks, she goes way too far…and almost doesn’t make it back.
John made a choice to stay. To enforce the rules. To serve and protect. He has nothing but contempt for what he sees as childish rebellion, and he wants to teach Meg a lesson she won’t soon forget. But Meg pushes him to the limit by questioning everything he learned at the police academy. And when he pushes back, demanding to know why she won’t be tied down, they will drive each other to the edge — and over….
What I thought about it?
I wasn’t entirely sure if I would like GOING TOO FAR based only on the synopsis and what some of my friends (other YA/New Adult readers) had told me about it. Another boilerplate story about two entirely different characters: the loud, rebellious blue-haired teen versus the law-abiding, stiff, introvert police officer? Both of them would be fighting their own demons, while falling in love, and revealing a more likable side of their tortured souls…
I feared the cliches by the bucket. I was positively surprised and, I must admit, I felt bewitched by Meg and John’s love story and friendhip. Some reader might not like Jennifer Echols’ voice, the way she tags you along in her story-telling. I can see that. But you have to give to her that her writing resonates apart in the crowded YA literature. Is it whimsical? Maybe.
GOING TOO FAR reads a little bit like a short story, due maybe to its short timeframe (a week). But I really liked the density, depth and intensity of the book.
Will Meg and John stay together for ever AFTER? I don’t know. I’m not sure. But their friendship and respect for each other will nuture the rest of their lives.
An interesting read.
Book Stats -
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: MTV Books (20 April 2009)
I had so much fun reading the reviews on Amazon, Goodreads and Shelfari for ‘Fifty Shades’. There are some real jewels out there, and you guys cracked me up. I could agree with all the One/Two Star(s) reviews, I could… Most of what these readers say is true (and very funny, and well-written etc). I totally see where they are coming from, but… I ABSOLUTELY LOVED THE ‘FIFTY SHADES’ TRILOGY
Before I share with you WHY I loved the novels, I thought I would start by listing all the reasons you might find ‘Fifty Shades’ a smelly pile of poo-poo meant for sexually-frustrated soccer moms. I hope it is fine for me to refer directly to some truly great reviews on Amazon.
1/ The Suspension of (Dis)Belief
So, yes Christian Grey is a BILLIONAIRE mogul at the tender age of 28… He has even made his money all by himself after dropping from Harvard when he was 20 (I think Bill Gates did it, so why the hell not?). But what’s really amazing is that the dude has a 9-to-5 job… I need the name of his headhunter-slash-career adviser pronto!
2/ The Repetitive Writing
What most reviewers seem to find annoying is E.L. James’ repetitive writing style.
I would tend to agree with all those points: the facial expressions, the lip biting, the 50 shades of everything, Ana’s Inner Goddess (although the Goddess references often made me laugh) and her subconscious… They kind of are on almost every page.
3/ The Non-PG-Rated Twilight Parody
Yes, sure, you can go on and on for that one: the location (Pacific NW), the hero and heroine sound-alike names (Edward Cullen/Christian Grey and Isabelle Swan/Anastasia Steele), the theme (falling in love with the evil), SPOILER the marrying and baby making, the characterization (the awkward, introvert, virginal girl being the most obvious), the mother of the heroine living in the South… Yes, yes, they are all there.
4/ The Explicit Sexual Content
Actually, I haven’t read reviewers objecting to that specifically. If you decide to read ‘50 Shades’, there are enough warning signs out there to dissuade you to do so if you normally like inspirational romance.
No, what is more relevant is how unrealistic the sexual content is. Check that review by a semi-retired gynecologist.
Seriously, I’d like to know what Anastasia Steele is made up of: How does she do it? Same question to Christian: Don’t you ever get tired of…. you know? Every five minutes? Really?
Okay, now I agree with everything you guys say… ‘50 Shades’ is a love story where the two characters fall blindly and obsessively in love at first sight. Duh? There are no real subplots or secondary characters of any consequence. You basically read the book for the two key protagonists—Christian and Ana—and what’s happening to them (they fight, they make up, they cry, they make up and so on). I can hear you in the background… Yes, you there, in the back row. Repeat what you just mumbled, yes, out loud this time: “Boooooooring”.
Well, my friend, I strongly disagree with you. I’d say that it’s GENIUS. Whether E.L. James is a genius or not, isn’t the point. What matters is that she had a stroke of genius when she created those two characters. She captured something very deep, a secret need, a shameful desire inside many women of today. Yes, I said women because ‘50 Shades’ is a well-orchestrated operation for us to fall in love with Christian Grey (and drop our panties doing so). They’re not loving this book because of all the kinky sex… or just for that. There’s more.
Who is Christian Grey? A totally sc***ed-up dominatrix seeking redemption through his love for a virgin. Ana needs his 24/7 protection, his exclusive and controlling ownership, his constant reassurance about her beauty and sex-appeal.
What does that say about me? Or any other of those female readers who dived into it and have become totally obsessed with the trilogy? Is that the end of feminism? Do we all dream of being taken care of, pampered, worshipped, controlled? Can’t we stand on our own two feet anymore and be independent and assertive?
Nooooooo… Harsh critiques of ‘50 Shades’ should give more credit to its readership. Do not underestimate us. We’re not lobotomized damsels-in-distress. We can fight, we can bite (well, euh, it’s BDSM after all), we can win and make our own money. And so we will.
I think the success of ‘50 Shades’ reveal more about how we, women, perceive men nowadays, especially in the context of a relationship. Should all men be control freaks like Christian Grey? Please, no, spare us that (and most of you guys aren’t a billionaire mogul anyway, dah!). But (maybe, maybe) some of our expectations (the biological ones) aren’t meant anymore. We need men to stand up more, to make us feel protected and safe, to make us feel… WOMEN…
We accept for men to have as many shades in them as they want, but can they not forget to be… MEN?
What do you think? Am I just talking a lot of cr**p here? I would love to know WHY you REALLY liked ‘50 Shades’, instead of just WHAT you liked in it.
One last thing, I’ve seen many dream-casting on the Web for the coming movie. I would just say two words: RYAN and GOSLING.