Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Christie's Review: Dearest Clementine by Lex Martin


Title: Dearest Clementine
Series:Dearest #1
Author:Lex Martin
Release Date: April 18, 2014
Rating:4 stars
Cliffhanger: No

Twenty-year-old Clementine Avery doesn't mind being called bitchy and closed off. It's safe, and after being burned by her high school sweetheart and stalked by a professor her freshman year of college, safe sounds pretty damn good.

Her number one rule for survival? No dating. That is until she accidentally signs up for a romance writing class and needs material for her latest assignment. Sexy RA Gavin Murphy is more than happy to play the part of book boyfriend to help Clem find some inspiration, even if that means making the name of research, of course.

As Gavin and Clem grow closer, they get entangled in the mystery surrounding a missing Boston University student, and Clem unwittingly becomes a possible target. Gavin tries to show Clem she can handle falling in love again, but she knows she has to be careful because her heart’s at stake…and maybe even her life.

DEAREST CLEMENTINE is a stand-alone novel with two companion novels. This New Adult romance is recommended for readers 18+ due to mature content.

Dearest Clementine was a great example of New Adult done right. Let’s move down the list:

No annoying friends-Check.

No unneeded drama-Check

No overdone angst-Check

No heroine that you want to kill-Check

No stupid decision making-Check.

That spells success.

New Adult is easy to screw up but Lex Martin has done something noteworthy. She’s made a heroine with a difficult past who’s a loner and doesn’t like to date or meet people. BUT- as standoff-ish as she is, I still LIKED her. Somehow, I enjoyed her character despite that cold wall she put up to keep people out. She didn’t seem bitchy or mean. She was just protecting herself against more betrayal. She gets her distant attitude from her family, her ex-boyfriend, and a horrible experience she had as a freshman in college. There’s only so much a girl can take before she starts to shut down.

They taught me how to shut out people. How to be cold. Shut off. Distant. Apparently, being a bitch is my only inheritance.

Clementine has a small group of friends that she sticks with that are always trying to bring her out of her shell. She doesn’t date. Ever. She doesn’t party or go out much-or at all. What she does do, is write. I loved that she was a published best-selling author who took care of her bills and tuition on her own when her rich family wouldn’t support her. She’s very independent and likes to take care of herself. Only now, she’s got a bit of a problem. Her writing has come to a standstill and she’s going to need to find some inspiration to move things along if she wants to continue to pay the bills. All she needs is the perfect inspiration-and his name is Gavin. She just doesn’t know it yet.

Gavin’s had a thing for her since they had a class together three years ago. He never got the chance to ask her out because she suddenly took a leave of absence from school when her life was out of control. She’s pretty shocked that he not only knows her, but he seems to like her despite her back off vibes she throws off.

”That was a long time ago and that class was huge. How do you remember me?”
He laughs, and his body moves against me. “You probably don’t realize this, but you’re hard to forget.”

He knows her reputation for not dating so he proposes that they become friends and sets out to change her mind on that little detail. When she pushes, he pulls. When she distances, he meets her in the middle. Slowly he starts breaking her down, all in the name of her story inspiration...right? She can't resist this sweet, hot, guitar playing, smart and sensitive guy. He's not like the others. He makes her feel safe and protected and she's never had that before.

I wanted that for her and so enjoyed their "inspiration kisses", their very believable relationship growth, and the sexual tension through all the uncertain feelings and emotions was just as great as the actual passion once he finally broke her down and got her to admit how she feels.

"You know you make me crazy, right?" he whispers as he kisses my neck. His words make my heart thunder in my chest, and I'm aching, everywhere. I've never felt like this before. Needy. Euphoric. Wanting him under my skin.

There was a large part of the book devoted to her stalker/attacker who was a former professor and there was a missing girl mystery. The professor kept popping up and foreshadowed something menacing, which turned out to be kind of anticlimactic. There was a lot of build up which I though would involve Clementine more but that didn't happen. I did predict what was going on as well so there wasn't a big surprise but it did add something extra to the story. This is not a fluffy New Adult about silly teens. It had some serious issues but at the same time, it wasn't overly dramatic. It had a nice balance to it.

Summing it up: Great story, great couple. They were two opposite personalities that worked together and fit. Lex Martin has a success here and I will definitely be reading the next book about Clem's brother.


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