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Back To Good by Laura McCarthy Benson

Back To Good

by Laura McCarthy Benson

Giveaway ends April 07, 2017.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

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24 July 2012

Mature Young Adult and New Adult Genre (With SPOILERS!!!) (slightly tweaked)

I know I haven't been blogging much lately, but boy, have I been reading up a storm. I've found some new authors that I have become addicted to and I just cannot stop reading this genre! I guess you can call it mature young adult because the characters are older than your typical 17. They're either in college or have a job, and they have sex. The language can be harsh, but you know what? I'm okay with that. Some might even call it New Adult. There really isn't a genre for those between the ages of 18-26 (the college age years).

The first book I read in that genre was BEAUTIFUL DISASTER. You can say I became addicted to the story. I've heard a lot of people hemming and hawing because of the theme of the book. But you know what to me it was like a fantasy. As much as women are independent and strive to be their own person, there is one tiny bit of us that wants to be wholly encompassed (or consumed in every way possible) by a guy. We want that bad boy with the tats who has his own fight club and is successful at it. There's something incredibly sexy with having a guy want to own you body and soul and isn't afraid to let everyone around them know it. Lot's of people will say that isn't a healthy relationship. Then again, what constitutes a healthy relationship? A peck on the cheek in the morning after coffee? Reading the newspaper with your partner before you both head off to work? Sometimes I think women want that tempestuous relationship (I know I did as teen, early 20s Had a very similar albeit dangerous relationship). Why is Twilight, 50 Shades, Bared to you so popular? I'm not a psychologist at all, but I think reading these books unleashes an inner fantasy. Women for some reason want to be taken cared of and in return wants to do the taking care of. Whether it's cleaning, cooking, or doing whatever needs to be done in the bedroom. Travis and Abby may not have the healthiest of relationships, but what they did have was fantastic.

After reading Jamie McGuire's book, I was recommended Tammara Webber by Andrea Thompson (Bookish Andrea). I'm still thanking her a thousand times over for that. Although, Tammara's books, BETWEEN THE LINE series was a bit light and frothy compared to BEAUTIFUL DISASTER. It was still something that tempted me and I found myself looking forward to the next in the series. Her latest book EASY delves into a bit of a darker topic. Date rape at college. But also finding yourself as well. It amazes me how many girls will follow their high school boyfriends to college to be with them. But because they're getting older and needs are changing, they find themselves suddenly alone at a school they really didn't want to attend, trying to fend off a would-be-rapist. But with all that happening, falling in love with the right guy is something could possibly happen. Especially when that guy is everywhere.

The next series I read was from Elizabeth Reyes. THE MORENO BROTHER'S. Um, yeah, talk about alpha males to the max. First up in the series is the story of the youngest brother, Angel. He comes from a long line of sexy Moreno's. His older brothers are in college and he's still in high school. He's popular, the girls love him and he's very approachable. But the sparks fly when Sarah Lynn enters the picture. She's transfered to La Jolla, CA because her mother has been sent to jail for embezzlement. She had to leave Arizona and her best friend Sydney. The hardest separation she had to endure was leaving her bestie. When Sarah and Angel meet up a beach party, everything changes for the youngest Moreno. One of my favorite characters in FOREVER MINE is Sarah's cousin, Valerie. She's the complete opposite of Sarah, petite, blonde, and gorgeous. She also knows what she wants and doesn't mind just fooling around with the guys. To her it's not serious and she likes it just that way. Until Sarah introduces her to Alex Moreno. He turns out to match her wit for wit and everything else. Val has no intention to settle down with anyone and Alex is exactly the same way. These two are perfect for each other. With Sarah and Angel's relationship getting stronger and stronger, there is one little secret that can tear them apart. Sarah's best friend, Sydney is a guy. Angel automatically thought he was a she. Fireworks explode when he finds out. See Angel is of the mindset that men and women cannot just be friends with out other feelings pushing through. But he doesn't understand that Sarah's relationship with Syd is more of the brother-type. It's not until Sarah is physically threatened by the track coach that Angel realizes he has met his soul mate.

Let's jump a few years later to find out what has gone with Alex and Val. These two have taken fuck buddies to the extreme, but they just can't seem to stay away from each other.Until one night, after not hearing from Alex for a while after spending blissful time together, Val decides to spy on him and when she sees a gorgeous woman enter his house, Val loses it and tells Alex that she wants nothing to do with him. It's not until Sarah and Angel's wedding shower (three years have gone by), and a year since Val has cut off all communication with Alex, that they see each other again. Being Sarah's cousin and maid of honor, she knew that she'd somehow be connected to Moreno's. But it's when Alex kisses her and realizes that he wants Val back, things go to shit. The sexual banter between these two was gloriously written and Alex is just a funny guy. When he finds out that Val is being stalked he takes it under his power to protect her as best as he can, as long as she has not clue he's doing it. The Moreno's are fairly well off because their line of work is a Mexican restaurant that is successful. Val is a little spitfire and Alex knows that she own his heart and wants to make her his. With her stalker upping the ante, things come to head for all the Moreno's. Sarah and Angel's wedding is just a few weeks away and all of them could be in danger.

I'm gonna skip Sofie Moreno's story (she's the only sister) and Romero's story (best friend) because well I didn't read them. I just wanted to know about the brothers. The last brother in the bunch is Salvador Moreno. The level headed one who thinks with his brain and not his cock. He's finished up his college career with a master's degree in business administrations. He's taken over the family restaurant for Alex who's wife, Val is pregnant with twins. Angel and Sarah have opened a second restaurant on the marina. When 21 year old Grace walks in for a head chef position, everything turns to shit. From him giving her a hard time, to Grace lying on her application. He gives her three strikes, but something about her intrigues him. He offers her a bartending position but she refuses. It's not until she rethinks things that she heads back to the restaurant and talks to Alex about the bartending position. He asks her to make a few drinks and she does it quickly and quite well. He hires her on the spot. Much to Sal's chagrin. He's not happy. But the first restaurant is Alex', so he's overruled. Here are three alpha males who are smart, latino, and successful. It's a breath of fresh air to read about these people. Grace's life hasn't always been easy and she has a mom who is forcing her on a 31 yo to help her drunken step-dad to get a job. It's just gross how her mother tries to whore her daughter out.  When Sal slips and his feelings for Grace are revealed, everything changes in the Moreno household. Finding out that Grace is a virgin, takes things to whole different level. Sal is the patient, loving brother. However, Sal has fucked up and while attending a bachelor party in Vegas. He wakes up to panties lying on the floor and his ex-girlfriend right beside him. When Melissa confronts Sal at the restaurant, (Grace and Sal are officially and item), Grace goes after Melissa. But it's not until a few weeks later, when Sal is at the other restaurant interviewing candidates, Melissa shows up again at the restaurant to inform Alex (and a pissed off Grace) that she is expecting Sal's baby. Grace leaves the Moreno's and heads back home to her really dysfunctional family. Her mother is still forcing her on to her stepdad's boss, now that Sal is out of the picture. Sal can't remember anything that happened in Vegas. He remembers bits and pieces, but everything is foggy.

Next up was a new series from Elizabeth. NOAH (5th Street). Noah is a 19 year old personal trainer who is also an up and coming boxer. An orphan who was in foster homes, he lives for the ring and the gym. Veronica Cruz has lost her mother to cancer. Depressed, she has put on 40+ pounds on her 120 lb frame. So her friend, Nellie, does what any good friend would do. She forces to a gym where she got free one-week passes. Of course, Veronica is not particularly pleased that this gym is more of a boxer's gym then say the local one at the mall. Noah has been itching to train and when the two ladies walk in, the owner gives them to him. Of course he's not particularly happy to help two older women who probably want to lose the baby weight. It goes from bad to worse, when Noah tells the women he has to weight them to chart their progress, Veronica absolutely refuses to step on the scale (normal reaction, I would hate it too!); He looks her over and tells her that he could possibly guess her weight by looking at her. At that she gives him a number, 160lbs, he writes 165, and when he walks away, she gets on and is pissed off when he guess within 2lbs. 167. Noah, doesn't want to scare the women off and he could use the money so he tries to go easy on them, but for women who are out of shape and dressed inappropriately. Really, Veronica wore sweatpants and a sweat shirt, but refuses to remove them. Having and extremely good looking trainer watching her sweat and seeing the t-shirt cling to her rolls just doesn't interest her. After Nellie has a serious asthma attack after finding out her husband is cheating on her. She begs Veronica to head back to the gym the next day. It will be good for her.

 Veronica continues going to the gym alone and the end of the first week, she's lost a good amount of weight (5lbs), the second week, 6lbs. With Noah's help and her willingness, she finds herself becoming more and more comfortable at the gym. After the 11lb milestone she invites Noah out for a drink. This is where we find out the problem. Noah is 19 and therefore underage. Noah has guess Veronica to be about 22 or 23, it's not until she mentions that she's 28, that it all comes crashing down. But Noah is not your typical 19 year old (who is turning 20 in a week), he just likens numbers to air. It means nothing. When Veronica explains that she's nearly a decade older. He reminds that her 19 yo trainer got her to lose 11lbs. Well he has a point! When Veronica shows up at the gym and Noah isn't there because of a leak in the roof at the garage that he lives in (it's quite a ferocious El Nino weather in LA), that she considers asking him if he'd like to rent a room in her house. She has three bedrooms and lives alone and wouldn't mind helping him out for bit. They've talked and she knows what his situation is like. When he agrees, things start to progress. Noah starts to notice Veronica more as she loses weight. She starts wearing clothes that are better suited for the gym, showing off curves that get the attention of the other guys in the gym. Of course that drives Noah crazy. Veronica is his. However, Veronica has a big issue with the age difference. She thinks that she can't have a relationship with him because they're in two different stages in their life. Noah doesn't believe that. He's a very old soul who just happens to be young. Veronica becomes wrapped up in Noah's life and he in hers. Although the heat is palpable, she does everything she can to not encourage him. Noah does everything he can to make the holidays that much better for her. Thanksgiving he makes a feast for her and her wall starts to crumble again. But when Noah heads over to his friend's Gio's house, Noah's holiday fuck buddy is there and she's got a car and is ready to break it in. In a moment of weakness, Noah takes off with Rita and well we know what happens there.  It's not until around the Christmas holidays that Veronica finds out about Rita and the jealousy ensues. Noah tries to explain that Rita means nothing and that Veronica means a lot more. Everything comes to a head on New Years Eve when Noah and Veronica's small gathering is crashed by a local gang. When one of the members make derogatory remark to Veronica, Noah goes after him and threatens him. When he heads back to Veronica and the party, the leader of the gang has come back and sucker punches Noah in a way that knocks him out. Once the guys and Veronica have Noah in his bed, he professes his love to Veronica and they finally kiss.

I loved Veronica and Noah's relationship. Age is nothing in the grand scheme of things. Noah teaches Veronica things that she never had with her ex-boyfriend. He makes her feel sexy and beautiful and young. But she's not willing to take the relationship that one step further. If she makes love to him, then their friendship has turned a corner and she's not willing to lose her best friend. With an ex-boyfriend trying to push his way back into her life (he left when her mother was dying because he couldn't deal with her depression. Yeah, great guy). Turns out that Veronica's ex was also the dean of the high school that Noah attended. Noah hates him with a passion and Derek has no qualms telling Veronica about Noah getting a girl pregnant, and drug trafficking. Of course, Derek may have stretched the truth a bit, but its enough to scare Veronica away from Noah. However, Noah, wants to know why she believes that piece of shit over him. (the irony here is that Derek is 8 yo older than Roni, something that Noah let's her know repeatedly.) When he informs Veronica that he loves and that he's done, does Veronica do something about it. She gives herself to Noah. All of herself to him. A lovely contemporary love story that has everything in it. I love Elizabeth's style of writing. She enjoys writing alpha males who enjoy making love and having sex and falling completely and utterly in love.

I'm gonna continue this one on Thursday because there is another series that I want to focus on and I've already been pretty long winded today! I really recommend these titles but remember they'll take you on a roller coaster ride, you're heart will palpitate, your palms will sweat and you just might fall in love!


  1. I swear, Laura, you're my reading hero! Now I need to read those. Can't wait to see your thoughts on Thoughtless!

  2. "As much as women are independent and strive to be their own person, there is one tiny bit of us that wants to be wholly encompassed by a guy."

    What? No. Also, GJ with the heteronormativity!

  3. Anonymous, I have no clue what you're saying.

    1. I don't understand, either. I'm independent, but also open and loving enough that I want an all-consuming love with my husband.

  4. What don't you understand? Look it up.

    1. Um, I didn't understand your "Also, GJ with the heteronormativity!". Okay, looked it up, but still haven't a clue what you're saying. Are you saying that I left out the whole gay/lesbian aspect of this? Because I was strictly talking about the books I read where the characters are straight and have heterosexual sex. Sorry if I'm clueless...

  5. Hi! I came across your blog and I gotta say all the books you have talked about I have read and let me tell you I agree with you in they are all pretty awesome. All 3 authors that you talk about are really awesome authors and I have read all of their books and they never disappoint!
    Also , mature young adult is my favorite genre now as well :). Anyways keep up the great blogging! You've made me a new follower! :)

  6. Great post! I just read Beautiful Disaster this week. It was great. A bit longer than I really thought was necessary but very good. I'm like you in that I want that extra steam and relationship building that this "new" genre has. I don't need the explicit sex scenes that a lot of adult romance novels have but I want the young adult relationships to at least branch into the realism that they do have sex.

    I'll have to check out the other titles you've suggested. :)

    And I too, don't understand what that anonymous commenter is trying to say.


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