Tuesday, May 21, 2013

If You Stay by Courtney Cole + Featured Freebie

If You Stay (Beautifully Broken, #1)24-year old Pax Tate is an asshole. Seriously. 
He’s a tattooed, rock-hard bad-boy with a bad attitude to match. 
But he’s got his reasons.

His mother died when Pax was seven, leaving a hole in his heart filled with guilt although he doesn’t understand why. What he does know is that he and his dad are left alone and with more issues than they can count.

As Pax grew up, he tried to be the kid his father always wanted; the perfect golden boy, but it didn’t work. His dad couldn’t overcome his grief long enough to notice and Pax couldn’t keep up the impossible perfect fa├žade.
So he slipped far, far from it.

Now, he uses drugs and women to cope with the ugliness, the black void that he doesn’t want to deal with. If he pretends that the emptiness isn’t there, then it isn’t, right? 


And it’s never more apparent than when he meets Mila. 

Sweet, beautiful Mila Hill is the fresh air to his hardened frown, the beauty to his ugly heart. He doesn’t know how to not hurt her, but he quickly realizes that he’s got to figure it out because he needs her to breathe.

When memories of his mother’s death resurface from where he’s repressed them for so long, Mila is there to catch him when the guilt starts making sense. Mila is the one…the one who can save him from his broken troubled heart; from his issues, from the emptiness. 

But only if he can stop being an asshole long enough to allow it.
He knows that. And he’s working on it.
But is that enough to make her stay?

My Rating: 5 Roses
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Wow. If You Stay totally blew my mind! I'm not sure what I was expecting when I picked up this book, but, whatever it was, this book exceeded my expectations.

I was a little wary going into this book. I've only read a few New Adult books, but they follow the same trend of bad boy/player meets good girl. The bad boy tried to redeem himself, some conflict splits them apart for a few chapters, they make up, and-voila-a happy New Adult ending. That's all well and good, but it starts to get boring after a while. This book took that formula and turned it on its head. Did it follow that formula to an extent? Yes. But, somehow, it was still original and totally avoided being cliche.

Mila was a heroine that was easy to relate to. She was a realistic person with her own flaws that still managed to be very likable. I liked that she didn't just let herself get sucked in Pax's many issues because of a crush. When she first met him, she knew he was a druggie who obviously had some problems. Even though she liked him, she was still cautious and set conditions on their being together. And she knew when she needed to call it quits. Basically, she was actually intelligent about their relationship. She loved Pax, but she still knew to do what was best for her. Overall, she was a great character who a truly liked.

Pax had some major issues in his past. His mother's death hit him hard, more so than a death normally would, and he doesn't know why. I really appreciated that his reasons for becoming self destructive were legitimate. In so many NA books, the bad boy's reason for being an asshole is very weak and unrealistic. But, when I found out why Pax has his issues, I could't blame him. The truth of his mother's death was so horrifying that I felt he had a justifiable reason to break down. 
Another part of him that I liked was his reason for trying to do better. It wasn't the corny reason that he was smitten with a girl and was magically able to redeem himself. With Pax, it was more that seeing Mila and her innocence and general goodness snapped him out of his haze of drugs and sex. After only seeing people who were corrupted for so long, meeting someone who was was still innocent snapped him out of a daze and made him realize that he needed to make some changes. And, since he wasn't a true addict, more that he was toeing the line of addiction, he was able to do so.

But, let me actually speak of his character in general. Pax was a sweet guy. It doesn't take long into the book to fall for him. He was the perfect hero. Sweet to his girlfriend, incredibly attractive, determined to do better for Mila's sake, and just utterly perfect. What more could you ask for?

The romance was well done. The attractive between these two was immediate and the sparks were flying. But, the relationship developed realistically. Their feelings for each other slowly deepened until I could feel their love in addition to them declaring it. And the spice in this book was HOT. The love scenes were particularly well written. They were a sweet couple, a perfect blend between sweet and spicy.

The plot had me hooked immediately. It was fast paced and I was kept interested throughout the entire story. And the ending was so wonderful. Truly a perfect ending for this couple.

If You Stay was a fantastic New Adult romance! If you're looking for a great NA book, you definitely need to read this.

*Thanks to Netgalley and Forever Books for a copy!
Featured Freebie:
Today, I have two New Adult romance that sound great: Off Limits by Sawyer Bennett and A Beautiful Struggle by Lilliana Anderson. Go forth and get them for free!

Two years ago, Emily Burnham, had an epiphany about the shallowness of her life. And she made it her mission to become a different person…a better woman. Out from under the controlling thumb of her mother, Emily is tasting the real world for the first time. And she likes it.
Nixon Caldwell has served his time in the Marine Corps, surviving two brutal tours in Afghanistan. He is back home, surrounded by what he likes best…isolation. It's certainly the easiest way to avoid confrontation of the consuming guilt that is weighing him down.

When an accident brings Emily and Nix together, he soon learns he is not the master of his own fate. Struggling with his own pain, Nix tries to guard himself against Emily’s charms. He wants her in his bed, but he doesn’t want her in his heart.

Having grabbed life by the horns, Emily wants it all. But is she willing to accept just the small part of himself that Nix is offering? Or can she reach the part of his soul that he has deemed to be Off Limits?

Katrina Mahoney has a very full life attending university to study a law degree, training for triathlons and now she is working part time as well. She couldn’t possibly find time for a relationship, especially after her last one ended so catastrophically.
Right now she is content focusing on work, study and training while hanging out with her best friend David Taylor, a womaniser with a heart of gold that would do anything for Katrina – except watch her get hurt again.

That is, until the dashing Elliot Roberts, a junior solicitor from her work, shows an interest in her despite their office’s ‘No Dating’ policy.

Katrina struggles with following her heart or following her mind and has trouble seeing where her heart truly lies.

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