FicCentral received a free copy of this book from Inkslinger PR.
Series: Stupid in Love #1
Publisher: TKA Distribution on May 13, 2014
Genre(s): Contemporary Romance (NA)
Only fools fall in love...
After her senior year of high school leaves behind nothing but heartache, Olivia Beaumont is sure of this: She’s no stupid girl. She sets out for Winston College, promising herself that she will remain focused on her first and only love – astronomy. But all it takes is cocky sophomore Brax Jenkins and an accidental collision with a football, to throw her entire year off course.
A quick-tempered Southie who escaped the inner city streets of Boston to pitch for Winston, Brax is known to play way more fields than just the baseball diamond. So, when his name is drawn to take part in his fraternity’s hazing dare, Brax eagerly accepts the mission to take Olivia’s virginity. But he doesn’t plan on falling hard for the sweet and sassy Texas girl who sees right through his bad-boy persona.
As Olivia and Brax battle their feelings for each other, echoes of the past year begin to surface. A boy who once turned Olivia’s whole world upside down reappears, and “harmless” pranks wreak havoc. Pretty soon the aspiring astronomer is on the verge of revealing her most difficult, heartbreaking secret. All the while, Brax must wrestle with the irrevocable dare, and Olivia struggles against all logic as she does the one thing only a stupid girl would do: fall in love.
This book includes mature subject matter that may not be appropriate for readers under the age of 18.
Olivia “Gracie” Beaumont has left her hometown and the ranch behind for college, determined to start anew, somewhere she can just blend in and move forward. But all that’s out the window the moment Brax Jenkins crashes into her and kisses her senseless. She’s not ready to date anyone, but he’s not giving up, and all the warnings about the bad boy campus player aren’t doing anything to calm the butterflies in her stomach.
Well, if I’m to believe the synopsis, we’re now calling date rape “heartache” for some reason. Yeah, that was a pretty nasty shock in the first chapter. I’m usually pretty good at avoiding stories that include that subject, since most summaries make it pretty clear, even when they don’t actually spell it out ahead of time, or the author thinks to add a vague warning. I’m gonna have to start deferring to other readers’ reviews from now on, I guess, so at least I’ll have some clue. Needless to say, if you’re all triggery, you’re probably gonna want to avoid this book like the plague.
There were some small editing issues throughout the book, but it’s not as bad as some I’ve read lately. The most glaring one was kookoo, which I finally just Googled to see what the hell it was. Everything points to cuckoo, like the bird, so I’m guessing Hooked on Phonics is to blame. Oh, and it’s cojones, not cahones.
Also, I think I could have done without the constant italicized Boston accent pronunciations that followed much of Brax’s dialogue. At first, I suppose it served to point out how different he sounded from all the Texans, but it’s a pretty distinct accent, and once I got it, I got it. The incessant reminder got rather old long before the last chapter.
So I totally skipped the first chapter, given the subject matter (I think it was just aftermath, not in-the-moment, but don’t quote me on that), but after that, it was a pretty good read. Olivia, whom Brax dubbed Gracie, was an interesting character, smart and determined while rather capable of taking care of herself. She wasn’t what I would call ballsy, and she was definitely traumatized by the rape, but she was moving forward with her life in the best way. She was 100% girl, yet she didn’t hesitate to change tires, and sporting a shiner after being thrown from a horse was nothing. She had just enough grit to make her strong.
Brax was a hot mess, but that’s what made him so… well… hot. He was more than your average tatted up romance hero, and his rough edges were really rough, but Gracie brought out the best in him. At first he was just crazy flirty and cocky, but when he warmed to her, it was obvious his feelings were genuine. That, of course, made the break up so much angstier, but that’s why we read these stories, right? Without all that emotion, they’re just no fun. And that’s what this story did best — pile on the emotion. Brax and Gracie’s relationship was sweet, a slow build of trust and friendship that became all-consuming and just perfect. Of course, there was the nasty bit of drama that led to the break-up, but then there was the make-up, so I can’t really complain.
I was more than a little irritated that Gracie’s skeevy rapist ex-boyfriend was apparently coated in Teflon, but it’s not entirely unrealistic. Small towns, families with money, lack of morals and accountability… It’s not really that uncommon, sadly. It would have been nice, though, to see him get some kind of karmic kick in the face, something more than just presumably flunking out of school.
All in all, it was pretty great read, high on the friendship and romance, with Brax living up to everyone’s fantasy of the bad boy with a heart of gold. There’s plenty of romance, angst, and even grief, but there were also some great laughable moments. It’s definitely a pick for those who love a heavy dose of drama with their romance, but isn’t that what college love is all about?