September 23, 2013

NEW ADULT MONDAYS: Courage (Mark of Nexus #2)

The New Adult genre - their bad boys and big problems and epic loves make them engrossing tales that are so easy to lose yourself in. What's not to love about that? And, now, thanks to the cool chicks at Bewitched Bookworms, we can show these books the love they deserve in a weekly feature - New Adult Mondays.

Courage (Mark of Nexus #2), by Carrie A. Butler
To Be Published October 15, 2013
e-ARC, provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
new adult paranormal romance

Rating:  5 STARS

(From Goodreads)
Making a deal with the bad guys wasn’t the highlight of Rena Collins’ semester, but, hey, it saved her boyfriend. Now, in order to appease the human-altering organization known as ERA, she’ll crawl under their microscope while they study the Mark of Nexus and plot their eye-glazed version of the future--until she realizes that’s not all they’re plotting.

Wallace Blake has always known his girlfriend is unlike most girls. But now that information has surfaced regarding the two bloodlines that balance his supernatural race, he finally understands why. Rena belongs to one of them. She’s been augmenting his power, all along...

Enter: Corynn Catley. Brought into the country under the guise of an internship, she’s intended to become ERA’s secret weapon. Kind of. Her abilities cancel out Wallace’s, rendering him powerless, but that’s exactly what he’s always wanted. Too bad it only works when his girlfriend’s not around.

All the while, Rena fails to notice the crush her geeky best friend, Aiden Ross, is nursing. He’d give anything for her to see him in a new light--even reinvent himself through questionable means--but there’s a reason people are told to be careful what they wish for. Finding the courage to tell her could put everyone’s lives in danger.

Stand up and take notice - Carrie A. Butler is a force to be reckoned with. In a new adult world of sameness, she has managed to create something truly unique in her Mark of Nexus series. There is literally something for everyone here. You need a good love story? It's here wrapped up in a kick ass paranormal package and tied with a new adult bow.

When we last saw Wallace and Rena at the end of Strength (Mark of Nexus #1), their battle with the nasty Faye and her minions had left them branded with matching arm band tattoos that allow them to sort of sense each other all the time. Not really a bad thing since these two kids are crazy in love. But, they're still trying to work around Wallace's super strength and all its implications, so it's definitely not easy street. Meanwhile, Faye has moved on to stage 2 in her master plan for creating a utopia. And, she doesn't care who she needs to sacrifice in order to do it.

Courage (Mark of Nexus #2) is told from four different POVs. Yes, you read that right. Four. Initially, I was afraid that would prove to be extra confusing - hell, sometimes TWO POVs are confusing, much less four. The thing is, when you see where the story is headed, the reasoning behind Butler's decision to do it this way becomes more apparent. There are a few things going on at once, all related to the overall master plan. The four POVs are a unique way to let the reader in, a little at a time, on where the story is headed. And, despite being in four heads, I was still surprised by the twists and turns. 

Rena is absolutely my kind of heroine. She is ballsy and brash and strong. She has integrity and a slight martyr-complex. She loves wholly and completely and despite her bad assery, she is not afraid to show emotion. Some secrets are revealed about her and her connection to Wallace, and after a momentary freak-out, she takes it in stride and moves on.

Wallace has grown and changed since the beginning of Strength. He was so alone and quiet, He internalized everything. In Courage, Wallace has found his voice. Funny thing is, he's not always good with words. But, he knows where his power lies and he's not afraid to use it anymore. For such a big, strong guy, his moments with Rena are tender and sweet.

One thing that Courage had in spades was some off the chart feels. I was getting the sideways glances from my husband as my throat closed, my eyes burned and I brought the tissue box closer to my seat. Rena and Wallace go through some tough stuff together, and the bad guys are even worse in this second go-round. Between the sadness and the frustration, the tears were falling. Thank goodness for Cole, Wallace's twin brother. He provides some much needed frequent comic relief.

The paranormal part of this story is, really, the best part. The Dynari - what Wallace and Cole are - are super cool. Like X-men. They all have different powers like super strength, super speed, ability to control the weather - and the other two either augment or neutralize those powers. Which means they can be used as tools for either side of the line of right. Once again, I LOVED what Carrie Butler did with the Mark of Nexus tattoos that Rena and Wallace have. There's something special about them that bonds those two together in tangible and intangible ways.

In this new adult series, the sex takes a back seat. Well, maybe a ride in the trunk, really. There's hardly any sexy times (there's a reason for this that has to do with the story, though). So, the feelings and the emotion have to come to the forefront since the physicality between Rena and Wallace is almost non-existant. If you require romance in your stories like I do, never fear. I never once felt it was lacking in that way.

The Mark of Nexus series is the best of my favorite genres married together.The characters are intricate and compelling. The romance is sweet and permeates throughout the entire story. And the paranormal parts are off the hook. One things's for sure - Loyalty (Mark of Nexus #3) is going to be one of my must-reads in early 2014.  

About the Author

Carrie Butler daydreamed her way through college—until they thrust a marketing degree into her hands, slapped a summa cum laude seal on the corner, and booted her out into a less-than-stellar job market. Instead of panicking at the prospect of unemployment, she used her Midwestern logic to steer into the skid and point her life in the direction she really wanted to go: writing out those daydreams.

Her passion for New Adult fiction led her to co-found NA Alley—one of the first websites dedicated to the category. She is the author of Strength (Mark of Nexus #1) and Courage (Mark of Nexus #2).

Learn more about Carrie --> Facebook / Twitter / Blog / Goodreads


Anna said...

This sounds like a series I would really enjoy! I added it to my to-read list. :)

Krista said...

I think you'd really love this series, Anna!