November 4, 2013

NEW ADULT MONDAYS: Foreplay (The Ivy Chronicles #1)

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.

Foreplay (The Ivy Chronicles #1), by Sophie Jordan
To Be Published November 5, 2013
Publisher: William Morrow
Format: e-galley, from Edelweiss
Genre:  new adult contemporary romance
To Buy: Amazon * Barnes & Noble

Rating:  4.5 STARS

(From Goodreads) Before she goes after the life she’s always wanted, she’s about to find the one she needs.

Pepper has been hopelessly in love with her best friend’s brother, Hunter, for like ever. He’s the key to everything she’s always craved: security, stability, family. But she needs Hunter to notice her as more than just a friend. Even though she’s kissed exactly one guy, she has just the plan to go from novice to rock star in the bedroom—take a few pointers from someone who knows what he’s doing.

Her college roommates have the perfect teacher in mind. But bartender Reece is nothing like the player Pepper expects. Yes, he’s beyond gorgeous, but he’s also dangerous, deep—with a troubled past. Soon what started as lessons in attraction are turning both their worlds around, and showing just what can happen when you go past foreplay and get to what’s real…

My previous experience with Sophie Jordan extended to her Firelight series, which is a YA about dragons. So, I was surprised to learn that she wrote a new adult contemporary novel next (nevermind that I didn't realize at the time that she previously has written a score of historical romance novels - in that light, it makes a bit more sense). The description of Foreplay sounded great, and I had recently read a few pretty heavy books in a row, so I was in need of something a little on the lighter side. Turns out, Foreplay was exactly what I needed at the time.

Pepper has been saving herself for a guy who only sees her as a little sister of sorts. Now, she's nineteen and finally has a real shot at him and has absolutely no idea what to do with a guy. So, her friends encourage her to hit on a hot bartender, and even though it takes her so far out of her comfort zone, she feels like she's in orbit, Pepper finds herself deviating from the plan she thought she had for her life. And, it's all because of a guy. Just, not the guy she always imagined it would be.

I'm not really sure what it was about Foreplay that engaged me so much. It's a story that's been done before - the sweet, virginal girl employs a supposed man-whore to show her the ropes and claim her v-card, only to fall for him in the end. I don't necessarily mind that so much. I mean, how many NA stories can be written before the plots start to be recycled a bit? As long as it's done well, I can read the same story over and over again. 

Thankfully, Foreplay was done well. Very well.

Reece - goodness, was this dude prime book boyfriend materials. He was a little bad, a little good, a little damaged, a little whole. He was a little of everything, which makes him a lot of one thing - AWESOME. Pepper's first meeting with him and her second meeting with him were completely and totally different, and I was left wondering which version was the "real" Reece. Turns out both of them were. And, I loved that about him. 

Pepper was frustrating beyond measure. She had been going through her sad life not really living it because she had it bad for her BFF's older brother. Why would someone do that? There were tons of guys I pined over in school. For some, the pining was embarrassingly epic. And, yet, I didn't really stop living. I had boyfriends and went to parties and had fun. Yet Pepper doesn't. Until Reece. Once Reece starts breaking down her walls, she went from annoyingly frustrating to fascinatingly frustrating. 

And, Reece and Pepper together was fun. Their banter was adorable. Their chemistry was off the charts. I liked who they were when they were together. 

I already liked the Firelight series. I'm definitely sold on Sophie Jordan now after Foreplay. Her writing is clean and tight with almost no editing issues. The pacing was perfect with the right amount and frequency of highs and lows. I was never bored - which is probably how I was able to read Foreplay from cover to cover in 12 hours. 

Bring on the second Ivy Chronicles book (Hunter? Emerson?). I'm sold.

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