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Showing posts by: Brittany Melson click to see Brittany Melson's profile
Wed
May 28 2014 4:30pm

May 2014 New Adult Round-Up: Dysfunctional Families

Entice by Rachel Van DykenNobody escapes from childhood unscathed, and this month, the new adult novels feature heroes and heroines trying—and usually failing—to put their unhappy pasts behind them. From mobster families, to dead families, to absent and neglectful families, there's plenty of domestic drama to drive the plot. And by finding new loves, these scarred men and women can look forward to starting healthier families of their own.

Rachel Van Dyken's Entice, third in the Eagle Elite series, is a mafia-themed, marriage-of-convenience story. The heroine Mil De Lange recently took control of her mafia family, and she feels that marriage to her childhood sweetheart Chase Winter will cement her leadership. Chase, who feels guilty for the way he used her when they were younger, agrees to her proposition. Mil soon realizes that she might have gotten more than she bargained for with Chase, who is no longer a boy but an alpha male whom she simultaneously loves and hates. She struggles to reconcile her feelings and keep her family in line at the same time.

[Mafia+Marriage of Convenience? Yes, please!...]

Mon
May 5 2014 9:30am

First Look: Charlotte Hubbard’s Breath of Spring (May 6, 2014)

Breath of Spring by Charlotte Hubbard

Charlotte Hubbard
Breath of Spring (Seasons of the Heart)
Zebra / May 6, 2014 / $6.99 print & $5.99 digital

As a bright season brings a fresh start to Willow Ridge, Annie Mae Knepp feels she can never make peace with the past. Her disgraced ex-bishop father is furious she has taken her five siblings to live with her. She's never been truly at home in her faith. . .or believing in herself. And Annie Mae fears no man will want to take on the responsibilities she's gladly shouldered. True, her quiet neighbor Adam Wagler has been steadfast and unshakeable helping her through her trials, but he surely couldn't think of someone so lost as more than a friend. Believing she is unworthy because of her doubts, Annie Mae will find in a moment of surprising revelation that God can work impossible miracles—and that love makes all things new.

The theme of Charlotte Hubbard's Breath of Spring is hope. It's right there in the title. Spring brings warmth and new life, the same way that the love of family, friends and community restores the heroine's faith in God and in herself.

[Hope she finds her HEA!...]

Fri
Apr 25 2014 9:30am

April 2014 New Adult Roundup: Secrets and Lies

Rebelonging by Sabrina StarkA romance story featuring two lovers who are completely open and honest with each other sounds great, right? In reality, maybe, but in the land of fiction, reading about two such perfect characters sounds like a snooze feast. The best plots rely on deception, dishonesty, and miscommunication. Happily, the new adult novels topping the bestseller lists this month are full of secrets and lies.

Rebelonging by Sabrina Stark is the second book in the Unbelonging series. Chloe is a waitress with an accounting degree who is struggling to make a better life for herself. Lawton is a prize-fighting billionaire from Detroit. They form an unlikely connection, but neither Lawton nor Chloe is willing to be vulnerable and honest about whom they really are. As a result, miscommunications abound.

The Obsessed Series by Deborah Bladon consists of three linked novellas chronicling the ups and downs of Ivy, a jewelry designer suffering from a broken heart and broken engagement, and Jax, a wealthy man who tracks her down at an art show and keeps popping up in her life. Ivy feels irresistibly drawn to Jax, but the truth about who he is and what his intentions are with her remain a mystery.

[What else is hot in New Adult?...]

Thu
Mar 20 2014 9:30am

New Adult Roundup for March 2014: Variety Is the Spice

Fierce by Nina LevineThis month, the burgeoning new adult genre continues to expand. The best seller lists possess more variety, as new adult authors mix it up and cater to an increasingly diverse audience. As a result, readers can sample from a multiplicity of intriguing plot lines—from suspenseful to erotic to heartwarming.

First, there are the books that make your heart pound. They're filled to the brim with danger and suspense. It's not just a question of whether or not the main characters' love will survive but if they will survive. In One Day, which is the third and final installment in The Private Club series by J.S. Cooper and Helen Cooper, the heroine Meg works at a club owned by a wealthy, mysterious man named Greyson. Meg isn't sure that she can trust Greyson, and her worst fears seem to be confirmed when her roommate Nancy goes missing. Similarly, in Fierce by Nina Levine, an innocent country girl named Harlow falls for the vice president of a motorcycle club. Scott is a dangerous man with a checkered past, but when Harlow's life is suddenly in danger, he may be the only one who can save her. Finally, Unravel by Calia Read is a psychological thriller about a young woman named Naomi trapped in a psychiatric ward and told that she's crazy for believing that she has a lover named Max. Is she crazy, or is there a more sinister plot at work? Naomi's questionable reliability as a narrator kept readers enthralled and flipping pages.

[There's lots more where these came from...]

Thu
Mar 6 2014 10:30am

10 New Adult Romance Books You Should Read

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuireOver the course of the past few years, New Adult has emerged as a widely accepted and flourishing genre. Before it arrived on the scene, there was a gap in the young adult market for more mature fiction featuring heroines between the ages of eighteen and twenty-four. Talented authors led the way by writing stories that were too sexy to be considered YA but had a youthful focus on college and first loves not typical of adult contemporary romance. These authors inspired a passionate fan base and experienced great success. If you're new to the genre or just looking for a new favorite, here are ten books that you absolutely have to read.

The first book on your To-Be-Read list would be Beautiful Disaster by Jamie Maguire. The heroine Abby Abernathy flees her dysfunctional family to attend Eastern University and get a fresh start. She meets tattooed bad boy Travis Maddox when she attends an underground fight. She's a virgin, and he most definitely is not, but the mismatched couple is undeniably drawn to each other. Travis's dark past, controlling nature, and anger management issues, however, threaten his chances of a happily ever after with Abby.

In Hopeless by Colleen Hoover, the heroine Sky is only seventeen-years-old, but the serious issues she faces resonate with older readers. She's reeling from a traumatic past. She has a reputation as a slut, but she doesn't actually feel anything for the boys she hooks up with. But then she meets Dean Holder. He's an intense young man with an agenda and a past of his own, and he helps her start to feel again. The truth about who he is and what he really wants, however, could destroy his relationship with Sky.

[We want them wounded, but not destroyed!]

Mon
Feb 24 2014 3:00pm

February 2014 New Adult Roundup: Rough Reading with Motorcycle Clubs

Burn by R.J. LewisMCs, or Motorcycle Clubs, are a growing subgenre of new adult fiction, and this month, readers are hooked on leather jackets, shiny bikes, ex-cons, and tough chicks with tortured pasts. MC books tend to be grittier than the average new adult novel, and they often feature some sort of abuse, either physical or sexual, particularly as part of the heroine's story. What seems to intrigue readers the most is the mix of sweet, sexy romance with the dark, criminal underworld. So if bad boys and angry girls are your thing, check out some of these MC romances.

Burn, by R.J. Lewis, is a follow-up to Ignite, which features a heroine named Sara who grew up in a bad part of town with abusive parents. As a young girl, she formed a friendship with Jaxon, who defended her from bullies and tried to make her see how special she was. Life pulled Sara away from Jaxon, and when she tried to rekindle her relationship with him as an adult, she realized that he wasn't the same person anymore. In Burn, Sara finds herself in the clutches of Remy “Reaper” Martinez, a leader of the Jackals Motorcycle Club, who has been obsessed with her since she was a teenager. The only person who can save her is Jaxon, who joined the club to act as a mole. Will he risk his own safety to help her, despite the way she hurt him in the past?

[We certainly hope so!...]

Thu
Feb 13 2014 3:00pm

Loyal, Ambitious, and Strong: Winter Athletes as Romance Heroes and Heroines

Golden Dreams by Darlene FranklinThe athletes currently participating in the 22nd Winter Olympics possess many of the qualities that romance readers are looking for in their favorite fictional heroes and heroines. They're strong, both physically and emotionally. They're loyal, dedicated, and hard-working. They're ambitious, with a drive to be the best. And they're passionate. They're almost too good to be true. And in some cases, they've inspired romance authors to write some heartwarming and sexy stories to entertain readers once the Olympics are over and all the athletes head home.

Golden Dreams by Darlene Franklin is a historical romance set in Maple Notch, Vermont, in 1931. Frank Sawtelle, a former figure skating champion, returns home an injured, but still beloved, town hero. Winnie Tuttle, who's also a talented figure skater, has always had a crush on Frank. When he begins coaching her, the crush grows into something deeper, but a romantic relationship could jeopardize Winnie's athletic future.

In Ice Games by Jessica Clare (a.k.a. Jill Myles), Zara Pritchard is a former Olympic figure skater who takes a fall from grace and ends up working in an ice rink at a mall. Ty Randall is an MMA Fighter with a violent reputation looking to improve his image. When Zara is invited to be on a reality television show called Ice Dancing with the Stars, she sees it at a chance to restore her career, but skating with Ty may end up being a more difficult challenge than she ever could have anticipated—particularly when her heart gets involved.

[Olympic sports ftw!...]

Mon
Jan 20 2014 10:00am

January 2014 New Adult Roundup: Start the Year Strong with Muscle-Bound Men

Torn from You by Nashoda RoseSome heroes are attractive in their own special way—whether it's their sexy scars or awe-inspiring smarts or generous hearts. And some heroes are just plain pretty to look at. The heroes topping the new adult bestseller lists this month are of the muscle-bound variety. From cage fighters to football players, these men ooze sex appeal and reel women into their beds with their hot bodies.

Nashoda Rose's Torn from You and its prequel novella With You feature a hero who is both a rock star and an underground M.M.A. fighter, encapsulating two female fantasies into one sexy protagonist. The hero Sculpt, a.k.a Logan, agrees to teach the heroine Emily self-defense in With You, and Emily discovers her raw physical attraction to the tattooed bad boy. In Torn from You, Emily is kidnapped and held captive by an underground sex operation. She thinks that Sculpt is there to save her, but she soon discovers that he's one of her captors.

[Well there's a twist...]

Sat
Jan 18 2014 3:11pm

First Look: Season Vining’s Beautiful Addictions (January 28, 2014)

Season Vining
Beautiful Addictions
St. Martin's Press / January 28, 2014 / $14.99 print, $3.79 digital

Josie Banks is a girl without a past.  After being found unconscious with no memory, she was shuffled in and out of foster homes where she suffered years of abuse. An experience that left her broken, damaged, and clinging to drugs and meaningless hook-ups to numb her pain.

When Josie disappeared years ago, she took a piece of Tristan with her.  She’s the girl he thought he lost forever—the one he’s never been able to forget.  Now a twist of fate has brought them back together, and he never wants to let her out of his inked arms again.  But Tristan is haunted by a dark past of his own.  On the run from ruthless criminals that shattered Josie’s world years ago, reentering her life puts them both in danger.

As Josie and Tristan’s lives become tangled once again, they find themselves unwilling and unable to escape the relentless pull that draws them together.  But will the past leave their love in ruins—or bind them together for a lifetime?

It's not unusual to find New Adult novels with gritty heroes who struggle with drug addiction, a life of crime, or a history of abuse. Finding equally dark and emotionally damaged heroines is not as common. Josie Banks, the heroine of Season Vining's New Adult novel Beautiful Addictions, is one of the darkest characters I've ever read about.

[Come on over to the dark side...]

Thu
Jan 2 2014 10:30am

First Look: Jennifer Beckstrand’s Huckleberry Hill (January 7, 2014)

Huckleberry Hill by Jennifer BeckstrandJennifer Beckstrand
Huckleberry Hill
Zebra / January 7, 2014 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

With their thirteen children grown, Anna and Felty Helmuth are ready for their next adventure. That means trying their hands at matchmaking—because what could be more fun than igniting love when it's right—and undoing mismatches when they're wrong. Now Huckleberry Hill just might turn out to be the most romantic spot in Wisconsin...

Lia Shetler is resigned to being a spinster. She's too tall and sturdy to ever be marriageable—so says her overbearing dat. Instead, she's helping her pretty, spoiled sister Rachel secure the perfect husband—the Helmuths' grandson, Moses Zimmerman. But the more Lia sees of Moses' gently teasing ways and quiet understanding, the more she wishes he could be hers alone...

Moses knew his grandparents couldn't resist trying to find him a wife. But he never expected it would be the graceful, sensible Lia—a woman who is tall enough to look him in the eye, and honest enough to make him question a promise holding him to his past. Now both will need the kind of miracles only faith and courage can bring to finally reach for a lifetime of happiness...

It’s always refreshing to read a novel where the main characters are thoroughly nice people. Generally, it’s easy to identify with one character or another, but to like and admire both characters equally is a rare quality.

In Jennifer Beckstrand's Huckleberry Hill, the hero’s virtuousness originates with his adorable eighty-year-old grandparents—Anna Helmuth, also known as Mammi, and Felty Helmuth, also known as Dawdi. Mammi is a scheming matchmaker with a heart of gold who knows intuitively what her grandchildren need to be happy. She’s worried about her grandson Moses. She says, “Moses is miserable, absolutely miserable. We must find him a wife.”

[And? Does she?...]

Sat
Dec 28 2013 12:57pm

First Look: Alexandra Ivy’s Born in Blood (December 31, 2013)

Born in Blood by Alexandra IvyAlexandra Ivy
Born in Blood
Zebra / December 31, 2013 / $7.99 print, $6.99 digital

Sergeant Duncan O'Conner has seen it all before. Beautiful erotic dancer murdered at home, no suspect, no motive. But there's one clue: she's missing her heart. It's enough to make the hard-bitten Kansas City cop enlist the help of a necro—one of the dead-channeling freaks who live in the domed city of nearby Valhalla. It's a long shot, but desperate crimes call for desperate measures. Unlike the other “high-bloods” in Valhalla, Callie Brown considers her abilities a gift, not a curse. But when she reads the dancer's final thoughts, she senses a powerful presence blocking her vision. This is no ordinary homicide. This is the work of a legendary necromancer who controls souls. A ravenous force that will put Callie's skills to the test, O'Conner's career at risk, and both their hearts on the line...literally.

Alexandra Ivy's Born in Blood is a sexy book. It’s a paranormal romance, so the world-building is solid and believable, the magic drives the plot, and the characters are in constant mortal danger, but when it comes right down to it, readers will enjoy the love scenes as much as—if not more than—the fight scenes. Thankfully, the story is filled to the brim with sexual tension.

[Just the way we like it...]

Tue
Dec 24 2013 10:30am

First Look: Kate Pearce’s The Sinners Club (December 31, 2013)

The Sinners Club by Kate PearceKate Pearce
The Sinners Club
Kensington / December 31, 2013 / $15.00 print, $12.99 digital

It's known as the Sinners Club...a private gentlemen's club whose members have mysterious pasts and secret fantasies too hot to reveal...

Unsure of his reception, Jack Lennox adopts the guise of his own secretary upon returning to his ancestral home to claim his father's earldom. When he arrives, he's stunned to discover the previous earl's lovely young widow, a woman of beguiling curves and sensual smiles, warming the bed...

Mary Lennox is determined to remain in Pinchbeck Hall and a mere secretary isn't going to tell her otherwise. But Jack Smith is a man of many talents and soon she's succumbing to his erotic games of pleasure. Only Mary may have underestimated the intensity of her wanton longings and the depths of Jack's dark desires...

In her latest novel, The Sinners Club, Kate Pearce gifts readers with an intriguing, Regency-era erotic story about titles, legacies, and legitimacy. At its heart, though, it’s about wounded individuals finding love and acceptance in a time when they could have been punished severely for their sexual predilections.

[In which love conquers all...]

Fri
Dec 20 2013 10:30am

December 2013 New Adult Roundup: Sexy Sociopaths

Last Hit by Jessica Clare and Jen FrederickSometimes the best heroes aren’t always so…well…heroic. Whether they’re hit men, porn stars, or pirates, the heroes topping the bestseller charts in new adult romance are all sexy as sin and alpha to the core—no betas allowed. And of course, they’re bound to have a heart of gold—at least, they will after their souls are redeemed by the virtuous women who see past their rough exterior and love them anyway.

Last Hit by Jessica Clare and Jen Frederick is about a scary, tattooed Russian hit man named Nikolai, or “Nick.” His next target for assassination lives near the heroine Daisy, but instead of keeping dibs on his assignment, he ends up peering into her window through the scope of his gun and falling in love with her. He’s lonely, stalkerish, and a little twisted. She’s equally lonely, but also very naïve and untouched. After her mother’s violent death, her anxious father kept her sequestered from the world until she finally broke away when she was twenty-one. Daisy and Nick are two damaged souls who fall in love—and lust—with each other.

In Marked. Part 1: The Missing Link by J.M. Sevilla, the hero Jay Lincoln is also a killer, motivated by his traumatic past and a desire for revenge. His neighbor, Lily Evans, is a somewhat naïve, passive woman who recently emerged from an abusive two-year relationship. Lily’s mother urges her to invite their scary, scarred neighbor to Christmas dinner. He declines, but fate allows their paths to cross again and she ends up being drawn into his dark world where she finds an inner strength she didn’t know she possessed.

[What else is new to shelves?...]

Mon
Nov 25 2013 10:30am

The Genre Expands: November 2013 New Adult Roundup

Beautiful Player by Christina LaurenFor the past year or so, New Adult novels have been topping the bestseller charts. Despite some diversity in the genre, they generally tend to share specific characteristics—angsty, sexy, and romantic with tortured young heroes and heroines who find love in each other’s arms. While the latest New Adult books still possess those characteristics, the genre seems to be expanding into well-known tropes popular in the adult contemporary romance genre. There also seems to be a growing subgenre of New Adult romantic suspense.

Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren is the third book in the popular Beautiful Bastard series. While it possesses features that are quintessentially new adult—a sheltered heroine, a reformed rake, burgeoning sexuality—it also falls into the friends-to-lovers trope, which is very popular in the adult romance genre. The heroine Hannah Bergstrom has led a studious, cautious, uneventful life, but at the urging of her older brother, she decides to develop her social life. She throws caution to the wind and pursues her brother’s sexy friend Will Summer. Will is a playboy who has always had affection for his friend’s little sister, whom he calls Ziggy. Ziggy’s all grown up now, though, with some very grown up desires that she wants to explore with Will. Readers praised Hannah as a quirky, funny, loveable heroine.

[What else is new?...]

Mon
Oct 28 2013 11:47am

Dracula Season 1, Episode 1 Recap: Pretty Politics

Dracula NBC

Note: This post contains spoilers for the series premiere of NBC's Dracula.

There is so much to love about NBC’s new vampire drama Dracula—it’s dark, it’s sexy, it’s gruesome. And it’s atmospheric, showcasing candlelit English manors, London nightscapes, and luxurious ball gowns. The show is designed to transport viewers to another time and place, and it succeeds.

Tonight’s episode begins in Romania in 1881. A dark figure in a trench coat and wide-brimmed hat resurrects a mummified Dracula from his glass coffin by feeding him the blood of a greedy grave robber.

Fifteen years later, in London in 1896, Dracula has cleaned up and fleshed out. He’s a young, sexy, virile-looking man, played by the handsome actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers. He’s also taken on a new identity—Alexander Grayson, Master of Carfax Manor and an American Industrialist He develops an unpleasant twang and says, “I’m as American as God, guns, and bourbon.”

Grayson hosts a ball in his gorgeous home to introduce himself—and his new business venture—to London society. His guests’ clothes are beautiful, but their attitudes are not. They mutter under their breath about him being an American show-off as they take advantage of his hospitality.

[Dracula in an American's clothing...]

Fri
Oct 25 2013 12:14pm

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Season 1, Episode 3 Recap: That’s Anastasia?

Alice and Will in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland 1x03Last week, ABC debuted its Once Upon a Time spinoff, following the adventures of Lewis Carroll heroine Alice and her genie, Cyrus, in Wonderland. Need to catch up? Don't miss Brittany Melson's thoughts on the pilot and episode 2. And now, without further ado, here's what happened in  Once Upon a Time in Wonderland 1.03, “Forget Me Not”:

NOTE: This post may contain spoilers for all aired episodes of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.

The third episode of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland explores the theme of what it means to be a thief and focuses on my favorite wisecracking thief, the Knave of Hearts—a.k.a. Will Scarlet. It begins with a well-appointed carriage racing down a wooded road. The caption “a few years ago in the Enchanted Forest” appears on the screen. Where is the Enchanted Forest? Wonderland? Apparently not, as we will soon find out. So keep that in mind—it’s the Enchanted Forest in pseudo-medieval England.

A group of men block the roadway, forcing the carriage to stop. One of the men in the road claims he fell off his horse and broke his leg and begs for water from the carriage guard. It’s all a ruse, of course. While the carriage guard helps the “fallen” rider, an unidentified man lowers himself from the treetops and steals two bags from the carriage.

[Robin, is that you???...]

Thu
Oct 24 2013 2:00pm

Traumatized Heroines and the Bad Boys Who Love Them: New Adult Roundup for October 2013

When It Rains by Lisa De JongEvery romantic heroine is bound to have a past, but some heroines have pasts that are more memorable—and awful—than others. The latest batch of New Adult stories topping the bestseller lists feature heroines who have had to face some genuinely horrific, life-changing events during their formative years. They are lucky enough to find special heroes, with scars of their own, to help them heal. Ultimately, their ability to overcome their trauma is what stands between them and true love.

Nineteen-year-old Kate, the heroine of When It Rains by Lisa De Jong, was a talented track star with plans to attend college and become a lawyer, but one night something terrible happened that changed her life forever. She quit track, skipped college, and went to work in the same diner as her mother. When her best friend Beau Bennett finally admitted that he had feelings for her, she told him she couldn’t be with him and encouraged him to go away to school and find somebody else to love, somebody who wasn’t so broken. Then she meets Asher Hunt, a sexy, motorcycle riding bad boy who makes her feel alive again. Beau isn’t happy to learn of her budding relationship with Asher, but Kate believes that she’s found her one true love—until she learns that Asher has a secret as well, one that could tear them apart forever.

[What else is new in New Adult?...]

Fri
Oct 18 2013 2:35pm

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Season 1, Episode 2 Recap: Whatever It Takes

The evil Red Queen in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland 1x02Last week, ABC debuted its Once Upon a Time spinoff, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, following the adventures of Lewis Carroll heroine Alice and her genie, Cyrus, in Wonderland. Missed the first episode? Don't miss Brittany Melson's thoughts on the pilot. And now, without further ado, here's what happened in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland 1.02, “Trust Me”:

Last week, the first episode of the season found poor little Alice searching for her lost love Cyrus, a genie she thought was murdered by the Red Queen but who had actually been locked up in a cage by an evil magician named Jafar.

This week’s episode opens with a gruesome flashback scene that occurred “many years ago in Agrabah.” Evil Jafar torments a poor scarf seller named Farzen. He demands to know why Farzen has such a “well-appointed” home, two camels, and a full vegetable garden, which Jafar describes as “everything a man could possibly wish for.” Farzen fails to lie his way out of the situation, escapes to his kitchen to wake Cyrus from his bottle, and—despite Cyrus’s protestations—uses his final wish to send Cyrus “as far from Agrabah as the earth from the sun.” Jafar bursts into the kitchen just as Cyrus disappears in a puff of smoke. Farzen pleads for “mercy,” but Jafar denies him, revealing just how evil his character really is. He’ll do whatever it takes to get his hands on Cyrus. Meanwhile, Cyrus wakes up in his bottle and asks, “Where am I?” The answer: Wonderland.

[Though it probably doesn't seem so wonderful at the moment...]

Fri
Oct 11 2013 12:08pm

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Season 1, Episode 1 Recap: S’more Knave, Please!

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland posterLast night, ABC debuted its Once Upon a Time spinoff, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, which will follow the adventures of Lewis Carroll heroine Alice and her genie, Cyrus, in Wonderland. H&H's Brittany Melson will be recapping the show, so be sure to check back weekly to read her thoughts on the episodes and to share your own! And now, without further ado, here's what happened in Once Upon a Time in Wonderland's pilot episode, 1.01, “Down the Rabbit Hole”:

Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is a spin-off series from the popular Once Upon a Time. It’s set in the same universe and may have some crossover episodes in the future. It answers the question—What happened to Alice after she emerged from the rabbit hole? Unfortunately, she didn’t live happily ever after.

The show opens with a bang—literally. There’s an explosion, a hole in the ground opens up, and a little blonde girl dressed in Victorian garbs shouts, “Home!” She’s dressed like the traditional Alice we all know and love. She runs homes to her father who is surprised—and not exactly overjoyed—to see her. He says that she’s been gone a long time. He thought she was dead.

A creepy Victorian shrink emerges from out of nowhere and talks with the father about how poor little Alice is delusional. Alice hears them and says, “I’m not a liar. It was real. And I’m going to prove it.” 

[Better to stick with Wonderland, Alice?...]

Tue
Sep 24 2013 4:30pm

September 2013 New Adult Roundup: Bad Parents and their Rebellious Offspring

Out of Line by Jen McLaughlinThere’s an old Freudian joke that goes, “If it’s not one thing, it’s your mother.” Unfortunately, the joke hints at a sad truth—sometimes, it’s easier for adults to blame their controlling, violent, or altogether absent (through death or otherwise) parents for their messed up lives than it is for them to take personal responsibility. The latest New Adult novels topping the bestseller charts feature adult children still struggling with their parents’ role (or lack thereof) in their lives as they venture into love relationships for the first time.

Some New Adult stories features parents who were more focused on acquiring wealth and power than on raising their children. In Out of Line by Jen McLaughlin, college offers sheltered heroine Carrie her first taste of freedom from her controlling father, who’s a wealthy senator. At her first college party, she meets Finn—a tattooed, motorcycle-riding marine/surfer. He’s not her usual type, but she falls hard for him. He falls for her, too, even though he knows he shouldn’t—because he has a secret that could shatter her trust in him and tear them apart forever.

In Very Bad Things by Ilsa Madden Mills, the heroine Nora Blakeley is a privileged nineteen-year-old finishing her last year of high school at a prestigious academy in Texas. She has her future mapped out for her by her wealthy, perfectionist, and largely absent parents, but she rebels and fills her time with partying and sex until she meets 25-year-old Leo Tate, a down-to earth business owner raising his teenage brother alone. Leo struggles to resist the forbidden temptation that Nora presents, but Nora’s used to getting what she wants. Leo’s not just another notch on Nora’s belt of achievements, however; he’s her one chance at happiness and a life and love she deserves.

[What else is new to shelves in New Adult?...]