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Rebel by Rebecca Yarros

Posted in Action/Adventure/ Advanced Reader Copy/ Contemporary Romance/ Netgalley/ New Adult/ Reviews/ Sports 21st August 2017
Rebel by Rebecca YarrosRebel by Rebecca Yarros
Series: The Renegades #3
Published by Entangled: Embrace on August 28th 2017
Pages: 265
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four-stars

She'll defy his every expectation.

She’s Penna Carstairs. The Renegade they call Rebel. FMX-treme Magazine’s sexiest female athlete of the year.There’s no rule in extreme sports she hasn’t broken,No gender barrier she hasn’t demolished.

She’s the woman I met in a bar in Vegas.The woman I illegally BASE jumped for.The woman I spent one insane, incredible night with.But now I’m screwed.Or rather…not screwed.

Because the woman I can’t get out of my head is the one woman I can never touch again.I’m Dr. Cruz Delgado—the youngest professor on this campus. And Penelope Carstairs just walked into my class.

‘Rebel’ is Rebecca Yarros’s last book in her ‘Renegades’ series and it is quite a send-off for this group of daredevils accountable to no one…until Cruz Delgado comes onto the scene and messes it up, taking Penna Carstairs down with a bang while he’s at it.

For which I’m glad, to be honest.

Extreme sports aren’t exactly my thing and I’ll be the first to admit the Renegades hadn’t quite won me over with their deeds, which they do without caring too much about the consequences. But with Penna’s story, there’s some kind of redemption when the characters finally start to realise that there can be consequences too difficult to face with every action. Aside from the forbidden teacher-student relationship that Cruz and Penna had going, ‘Rebel’ has been by far, the best read of all in the series because Yarros also moves slightly away from the Renegades’ documentary making to writing about a daring rescue in Havana which ups the thrills and spills.

Penna—the only female extreme athlete among the thorns—shines so brightly it can get painful just to look at her. On paper, there’s everything going for her as she matches the boys step for step, ride for ride. But I liked the human side of her that emerges when she starts doubting herself after an accident caused by her sister and the loss of confidence that made her reckless in wanting to get back her mojo.

It’s only Cruz—the hot, older professor and Army vet—who gets Penna, matches her and outshines even the Renegades; in fact, I felt Cruz helped shape ‘Rebel’ for me and made it unforgettable. His grounding presence changes the entire dynamics of the story, bringing the sense of accountability that I appreciated, as well as a balanced voice of reason amongst the frat-boy, belligerent and petulant behaviour driven mostly by egos which left me sorely frustrated in the first 2 books. I loved how he looked these boys in the eye and held their actions up to scrutiny, essentially, taking care of the immature moments that frustrated me. He is the first to behave like the mature adult, making Pax and Landon seem like boys who didn’t really grow up in comparison, seeing through to Penna straightaway as she uses adrenaline highs in stunt after stunt to dull her mental state of mind.

My adulation of Cruz aside, the storyline does get gripping towards the end—the politics that Cruz got himself involved in gripped me more than the actual Renegades stunts—and I did ride the whole wave rather anxiously without stopping until I hit the deliriously happy epilogue though it came bittersweet. The epic adventures aside, seeing Penna/Cruz fight for each other simply made me one happy camper.

four-stars

Nova by Rebecca Yarros

Posted in Reviews 1st February 2017
Nova by Rebecca YarrosNova by Rebecca Yarros
Series: The Renegades #2
Published by Entangled: Embrace on February 20th 2017
Pages: 300
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three-stars

He’s Landon Rhodes. The Renegade they call Nova. Twenty-two years old, sinfully gorgeous, broody, tatted-up, adrenaline junkie. Four-time X Games medalist —Full-time heartbreaker.
They say a girl broke him once—That’s why he’s so reckless, so driven, so careless with his conquests. But I’m that girl. They can call me his curse all they want. He and I both know the truth—He’s the one who destroyed me, And I’m not the sucker who will let that happen again.

It’s hard to rate a book when the male protagonist has everything stacked against him and everything else skewed in the favour of the heroine whom he’d treated so badly a long time ago. (Casa)Nova, aka Landon, is hard not to despise for his actions which I found abhorrent in every way: ditching the girl he loved, then self-medicating the hurt away by becoming a manwhore and then only rushing to make reparations when they meet again— while keeping hair-raising secrets along the way.

There’s a ton that I can probably write about when it comes to Nova’s failings and there are that many to start with. By cowardly not going after the girl he wanted when he regretted his actions yet sleeping with so many others to get over her, then only deciding to do something about it when their paths cross is one. His inability to do anything but “self-medicate” with sex and not righting his wrongs before she came back into his life is another. That he took money and put his dream above her was even more unforgivable. As with my issues with second-chances stories, clichés can and do run the river dry, with lines such as “I thought about you everyday (even while sleeping with others who didn’t mean a thing to me, or whom I used to get over you” made it difficult to take Landon seriously at all. But clearly, this is my own bias in operation as well but I can safely say that the story is truly an exercise in grovelling, an uphill battle of lesson after lesson in winning trust back after the deepest kind of betrayal.

There is some convoluted history that muddies the waters however, and Rebecca Yarros does try to make Landon grovel as best as he can—the punishment befitting the crime, so to speak. I felt sorry for Rachel, who, though not initially blameless, was made too much of a pawn in some high stakes game of sponsorship and ambition: that she was collateral damage in the midst of people who played her over and out.

That said, Yarros does write emotion quite well and it was gratifying to read that Rachel’s hurt wasn’t glossed over too easily and how it (rightfully) took a lot for Landon to make things up to her. Even if I thought that the concept of the Renegades cruise/study tour was a little far-fetched, the exotic locales and the death-defying activities do provide a different setting for this particular story and a different kind of heart-pounding action that’s not just limited to the bedroom. It’s clear this series is still finding its stride and I’m more than a bit curious whether the rest of the characters would get their own books.

three-stars

Wilder by Rebecca Yarros

Posted in Advanced Reader Copy/ Contemporary Romance/ Netgalley/ New Adult/ Reviews/ Sports 30th September 2016
Wilder by Rebecca YarrosWilder by Rebecca Yarros
Series: The Renegades, #1
Published by Entangled: Embrace on September 19th 2016
Pages: 296
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two-stars

Twenty-two-year-old, five-time X Games medalist.
I have more tattoos than scars.
I've never seen a stunt I couldn't pull off...
Or a girl I can't get off.
Until she walks in.
My new tutor is sexy, smart, more stubborn than I am, and one hundred percent off limits.
That's right--the only rule this semester is “don't touch the tutor.”
For the first time in my life, I want someone I can't have.
She's the girl who obeys every rule.
I'm the guy who breaks them.
Our biggest risk is falling for each other, and I live for risk...

‘Wilder’, the first of the extreme sports series has so much crazy in it and I’m still wondering if that’s a good thing.

I struggled immediately with the entire setting which was just…way too batty to swallow without a vat of salt—a cruise ship with a work/study option sounded like a huge excuse for a frat party with equally trashy people around vying for bed-warming spots with every opportunity to film an extreme act after another.

Well, if anything, it’s a glimpse into the problems of the rich and privileged, aka, The Renegades, a group of extreme athletes who live hard and fast with everything.

But it simply seems that beneath the hot glow of the camera lights and the adrenaline thrill, we’re back to several tired tropes that seem stereotypical of this genre: extreme sports that engender extreme acts of behaviour, the apparent license to be a manwhore(s) given the privileged background of the romantic and the potential romantic leads, the sudden, inexplicable instant love and the constant mooning over why the heroine is different from other women and the ultimate twist that seemingly decides the fate of a relationship that seems to be based on arousal and heavy attraction.

The writing is good though; Yarros handles YA and the first person POV with a kind of deftness that helps flesh out the irksome and daft thinking of the self-indulgent characters who have their own issues to deal with in the stupidest of ways, which ironically, failed to endear me to any of them at all. I understood and even empathised with Leah’s fear of heights and her traumatic past, but couldn’t get past Wilder’s and Landon’s self-destructive, reckless behaviours and incredibly selfish ways of dealing with them. In fact, the latter felt like immature juveniles who needed to be managed by everyone around them because they couldn’t handle themselves at all, which made it increasingly difficult to see Leah and Wilder as equals in a relationship of respect and trust. I couldn’t see Wilder’s personal growth matching Leah’s own tentative steps into taking chances since her accident and that lack of sacrifice or compromise that he didn’t make for her (along with the instant lust) made both of them an unconvincing pairing.

My ranting skepticism here however, stems from my own personal hang-ups of overused tropes and clichéd characters that significantly lower the enjoyment of a book for me. ‘Wilder’ would generally be—and has already been—a hit for those who adore YA writing (and possibly over the top characters), so clearly it’s just me here.

two-stars

Point of Origin by Rebecca Yarros

Posted in Chick Lit/ Contemporary Romance/ New Adult/ Reviews/ Young Adult 28th July 2016
Point of Origin by Rebecca YarrosPoint of Origin by Rebecca Yarros
Series: Legacy #0.5
Published by Amazon Digital Services on March 6th 2016
Pages: 120
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one-star

In Legacy, Colorado, our inheritance is simple: Fire and Heartbreak.
Sebastian Vargas…he’s both.
He was my best friend. My first love. My everything.
Until he was my nothing.
It’s been ten years since the wildfire that turned our small town to ashes, taking the lives of our fathers and their elite hotshot crew.
Six years since Bash disappeared with my heart.
No explanation. No goodbye.
But now he’s home, fighting to resurrect the very thing that destroyed us both.
One look, and I’m breathless.
One touch, and he’s relentless.
And I’m not careful, he’ll burn me to the ground again.

The ratings pulled me in and thinking that it was a novella made the deal sweeter because of how easy it would be to finish the story and be in time for dinner.

I couldn’t have been more wrong and struggled to read on because the main characters irked me so much – one simply allowed lust to overcome six years of heartbreak while another swanned in like he owned the town when he’d cut and left like nothing – that I barely made it through at all. That Emerson so easily let Bash back into her pants after he cockily assumed she’d be his again while admitting he never really wanted to see her at all left an awfully foul taste in my mouth. That both of them fell into bed so easily made me wonder at the (lack of) self-respect Emerson had and the (lack of) integrity Bash displayed around the town he’d never wanted to be in. If this is story is in some way, an indirect stab at forgiveness and a definition of unconditional, everlasting love that follows a loose-playing partner (whether he stays or goes), I don’t think I want to be a part of it at all.

Yet the premise of the story itself was interesting, which left me a little torn. Should I really give the rest of the series another go? Maybe that’s better left answered another day, after my personal outrage dies down.

one-star
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