Beginning Again at THE ACADEMY–A Review

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a Throwback Thursday review for a New Adult M/M contemporary romance from Quinn Anderson. THE ACADEMY is a new adult romance for two young men who meet at college, and unexpectedly connect. I read and enjoyed FOURTEEN SUMMERS, so I decided to check this one out.

About the book:
True love stabs you in the front.

Nick Steele just wants a normal life, cliché or not. He had one once, back in Chicago. Before his father died and he took a year off from college to grieve. Now, he’s starting fresh at a prestigious—but tiny—Catholic university. Adjusting to small-town life will be a challenge, along with making friends and keeping his scholarship. All he wants to do is blend in, get his diploma, and go back home.

But Sebastian Prinsen—campus heartthrob and a notorious player—has other plans. He notices Nick right away and makes a bet with his two best friends: Who can kiss the new kid first? Nick seems immune to Sebastian’s charms, and yet genuine chemistry sparks between them. Even worse, real feelings do too. Sebastian falls more and more every time Nick blows him off, but if he comes clean about the bet, Nick will hate him forever.

The last thing Nick wants is to fall in love while he’s still grieving, but Sebastian feels like home to him. Nick wants that so badly he may ignore the warning signs and risk his fragile heart once more.

My Review:
Nick Steele had taken a hiatus from college to care for, and then grieve, his dying father. Fulfilling his promise to return for his degree, Nick enrolls at The Academy, a tiny catholic college in Evanston, Illinois–a near-north suburb of Chicago. There he meets Seb Prinsen–wealthy party boy–and his cadre of hangers-on. There’s an immediate attraction, but Nick isn’t ready to break out of his grief and Seb’s aggressive wooing is off-putting.

Seb is an only child of wealthy parents who are divorcing. He’s a dedicated student, and a dedicated partier–with a well-worn fake ID. He and his childhood best pals, Theo and Dante, who are also Academy students have a long-standing competition for the fate of Barbzilla–a mangled Barbie trophy. Seb’s dissolving family has made him yearn for simpler times and the challenge of beating his pals at something seemingly innocent. He’s intrigued by Nick–from their first meeting–and wagers that he can beat Theo and Dante at getting Nick to kiss him.

Classes go on, and Nick’s nerdy roomie is happy to accept Seb’s invitations for parties on Nick’s behalf. Nick is attracted, but he’s not happy. He doesn’t like Seb’s pushiness. It’s actually through conversation with Dante that Nick gets some insight beyond Seb’s smarmy veneer. And, he see what Seb’s been oblivious to: that Dante is in love with Theo. And, it seems the more that Seb begins to understand about Nick, the more he really wants a true relationship for the first time in his life.

So, the love story here is a little more on juvenile side, for New Adult. The way Seb pursues Nick was on the border of stalkery. The Barbzilla bet was totally middle-school, but it gave a good sense of Seb’s emotional development. He’s been a neglected child and always acted out for attention. Nick claims to see those vulnerabilities within a slew of drunken texts Seb leaves him by way of pouting that Nick skipped his fab party. Nick’s gravitas seems to mellow those tendencies, and foster more grown responses. It’s a bit of a slow burn–page count wise–to get the physical on, in accordance with Nick’s hesitance for jumping into a relationship. It isn’t a lot of actual time however. The coupling of Seb and Nick is complemented by Dante and Theo making their commitment, too. That was kind of fun.

In all, it’s a breezy read with a silly bet sparking an attraction that grows between two lonely souls who truly need connection. The epilogue leaves no doubt of the HEA.

Interested? You can find THE ACADEMY on Goodreads, Riptide Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, and Kobo. I read a review copy via NetGalley.

About the Author:
Quinn Anderson is an alumna of the University of Dublin in Ireland and has a master’s degree in psychology. She wrote her dissertation on sexuality in popular literature and continues to explore evolving themes in erotica in her professional life.

A nerd extraordinaire, she was raised on an unhealthy diet of video games, anime, pop culture, and comics from infancy. Her girlfriend swears her sense of humor is just one big Buffy reference. She stays true to her nerd roots in writing and in life, and frequently draws inspiration from her many fandoms, which include Yuri on Ice, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Buffy, and more. Growing up, while most of her friends were fighting evil by moonlight, Anderson was kamehameha-ing her way through all the shounen anime she could get her hands on. You will often find her interacting with fellow fans online and offline via conventions and Tumblr, and she is happy to talk about anything from nerd life to writing tips. She has attended conventions on three separate continents and now considers herself a career geek. She advises anyone who attends pop culture events in the UK to watch out for Weeping Angels, as they are everywhere. If you’re at an event, and you see a 6’2” redhead wandering around with a vague look on her face, that’s probably her.

Catch up with Quinn online on Facebook, twitter and Tumblr.

Three’s a Crowd: FOURTEEN SUMMERS–Review and Giveaway

Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new contemporary romance from Quinn Anderson. In honor of the Three-Day-Weekend I’m featuring some “trio”-love stories. FOURTEEN SUMMERS is a new adult romance for two young men who unexpectedly reconnect–and the twin brother who feels shut out. It’s not a menage, but there is a lot of love shared between these three guys.

About the book:
Identical twins Aiden and Max Kingsman have been a matched set their whole lives. When they were children, Aiden was happy to follow his extroverted brother’s lead, but now that they’re in college, being “my brother, Aiden” is starting to get old. He’s itching to discover who he is outside of his “twin” identity.

Oliver’s goals for the summer are simple: survive his invasive family, keep his divorced parents from killing each other, and stay in shape for rowing season. He’s thrilled when he runs into his old friends, the Kingsman twins, especially Aiden, the object of a childhood crush. Aiden is all grown-up, but some things have stayed the same: his messy curls, his stability, and how breathless he makes Oliver. Oliver’s crush comes back full force, and the feeling is mutual. Summer just got a whole lot hotter.

Fun-loving Max takes one thing seriously: his role as “big brother.” When Aiden drifts away, Max can’t understand how his own twin could choose a boy over him. Summer won’t last forever, and with friendship, family, and happily ever after on the line, they’ll have to navigate their changing relationships before it’s too late.

My Review:
Aiden and Max Kingsman are identical twins with loving and supportive parents. They have a childhood best friend, Oliver Jones, who is so close that Aiden and Max want to make him their other brother. In fact, Aiden presides over little marriages between Max and Oliver to make him their official brother–when they are, like, in kindergarten. Their deep bond is encouraged by Aiden and Max’s parents because they know that Oliver’s home life is troubled. His parents fight a lot and Oliver seeks the peace and security of the Kingsman home until his parents finally divorce and Oliver moves away for middle school.

Fast-forward ten years.

Oliver’s father has bought a little house in their old neighborhood so he could be nearer to his own extended family and to where Oliver lives. See, his dad had moved to San Diego, but, now that Oliver is an adult and entering his senior year at NYU, there’s no legal impetus to force Oliver to spend his school breaks with him. Oliver loves his dad, but his extended family is a bit…in your face. Oliver’s a shy guy, used to blending into the shadows after years of weathering his parents fighting. And, he thinks his dad’s family, especially his beefy uncles, look at him sideways now that he’s come out as gay. He’s in the grocery in his old neighborhood when he runs into Max and Aiden, and they reconnect. It’s a boon to Oliver, who is tired of his loud family and has few friends in the area. Plus, Oliver nursed a crush on Aiden…since forever.

Aiden is likewise excited to see Oliver. An introvert living in Max’s outgoing shadow, he’s never even dated a guy, though he’s had years of wondering about it. And Oliver was a big part of those imaginings. This is a quandary, because Max and Aiden often come as a matched set, and Oliver and Aiden are getting closer while Max is somewhat oblivious. Until, well, Oliver can’t take the pressure anymore and he seeks out Aiden one night on his own.

Seriously, these guys are so sweet together. Aiden is initially timid, but he feels safe with Oliver, his childhood love rediscovered. They still have a connection and the chemistry is intense. But, they are afraid to let anyone else know what is building between them in case it doesn’t go right. When Max inevitably picks up on it he feels snubbed; he wants all of Aiden’s attention and he sees Oliver as competition. Aiden needs to break out of Max’s shadow in a way that doesn’t damage their relationships if he doesn’t want to lose Oliver. Because, well, Oliver’s felt like he already ruined his parents’ marriage and he won’t be in the middle of the Kingsman twins’ battle.

I seriously liked this one. It’s tender and thoughtful, with strongly connected characters. It’s not a menage–Max is straight–but there is no denying that Max, Aiden and Oliver share a lot of love. Aiden, while being his own man, is inextricably tied to Max, and Max–well, he has to learn to back off. It’s hard for him to not be Aiden’s guide, hero and protector, but he manages to move past his own needs so Aiden can find love with Oliver. Not that Oliver doesn’t love Max, because he does–as a brother. There are some really special moments here with growing pains that gave me pause. I liked how Oliver talked with his parents, working on his relationships, as well as how he was honest about his needs with both Max and Aiden. This trio is all about love, and they work together to find the right balance for each of them. The ending is absolutely happy and might bring a tear or two.

Interested? You can find FOURTEEN SUMMERS on Goodreads, Riptide Books, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, and Kobo. I read a review copy via NetGalley.

****GIVEAWAY****

Click here to comment on the giveaway post over at Joyfully Jay in order to enter to win a $10 GC on Riptide.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!

About the Author:
Quinn Anderson is an alumna of the University of Dublin in Ireland and has a master’s degree in psychology. She wrote her dissertation on sexuality in popular literature and continues to explore evolving themes in erotica in her professional life.

A nerd extraordinaire, she was raised on an unhealthy diet of video games, anime, pop culture, and comics from infancy. Her girlfriend swears her sense of humor is just one big Buffy reference. She stays true to her nerd roots in writing and in life, and frequently draws inspiration from her many fandoms, which include Yuri on Ice, Harry Potter, Star Wars, Buffy, and more. Growing up, while most of her friends were fighting evil by moonlight, Anderson was kamehameha-ing her way through all the shounen anime she could get her hands on. You will often find her interacting with fellow fans online and offline via conventions and Tumblr, and she is happy to talk about anything from nerd life to writing tips. She has attended conventions on three separate continents and now considers herself a career geek. She advises anyone who attends pop culture events in the UK to watch out for Weeping Angels, as they are everywhere. If you’re at an event, and you see a 6’2” redhead wandering around with a vague look on her face, that’s probably her.

Catch up with Quinn online on Facebook, twitter and Tumblr.