Friday, April 14, 2017

REVIEW/RELEASE BLITZ: The No Jock Rule by Ashley Erin

Series: Rule Series

Nella Anderson isn’t your typical college student. She has a secret, one she can never share.

With secrets come rules.
Rules set by others.
Rules set by herself.
Nella’s rule is simple. No jocks.
Carter Jacobs doesn’t make keeping her rule easy, but she’s determined not to break it.
Carter refuses to let women get the best of him. He’s seen the fallout and learned early on that you can’t fully trust anyone. Giving someone his entire heart is not an option. Nella has captured his interest, but he keeps himself at a distance.

An online friendship, identities unknown, has Nella and Carter unwittingly trusting each other.
Secrets are uncovered, identities revealed.

Rules are meant to be broken, can they handle the consequences?

~Book Review~
2.75 rounding up to 3 ‘It’s okay but the messages are troubling’ Stars

As the blurb says, Nella Anderson, 20, has a secret. Now let me stop and explain that I’m usually skeptical of books that utilize that word in the description because, to put it bluntly, the “secret” in a romance is often either predictable or lame or both. But I’ve read the previous books in this series so I decided to give this a chance and hope for the best.

The “secret” is revealed to the readers in the first chapter so it’s only a secret to the rest of the characters.  In that scenario, it’s not a spoiler so there’s really no point in concealing it in the blurb when one of the main purposes of a book description is to establish the premise of the book to attract the right readers to the story. Otherwise you have frustrated readers.

See Nella’s a college student like her friends who we’ve met in this series. And initially her situation is a bit déjà vu of Ava’s in the previous book.  So right off the bat, I was frustrated that this had elements of a repeat plot. Except I really liked Ava’s story and thought she made a great heroine. Nella, on the other hand, instantly rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t understand why you would hide having a child from your friends, especially knowing how supportive and inclusive they were of Ava’s son. While I did believe that Nella cared for her daughter, her actions made it seem like she was ashamed of her. And as a mom myself, that’s just not cool.

Add to that, Nella seemed naïve, and she constantly lamented her situation, which didn’t make her a sympatric character; it just made her pathetic.
 “I still love the same boy. He just doesn’t love me back, because if he did, all that surface stuff wouldn’t matter. Our souls would recognize each other.”
Then there’s Carter Jacobs, the hero and baby daddy who he doesn’t know it. Again this is the premise of the romantic angle. The real reveals or “mysteries” in this story are how they work this all out, and how the hell does Nella and Carter hang with the same circle of friends and Carter does not only not know that they have a kid together but also doesn’t recognize Nella? Well that’s where you have to swallow a big load of suspension of disbelief, prepare for some predictability, and resist rolling your eyes at a very contrived situation that only gets sillier and makes the main characters look denser the longer it plays out. 
“I feel like there is something obvious that I’m missing.”
No shit, Carter!

Thank god this boy isn’t a math major or he’d have flunked out by now. On top of that, he has a tendency, especially in the beginning, to sound like a whiney brat.
“People have all these expectations of me in real life. They expect me to act a certain way, focus on specific things. It’s exhausting.”
No dude, that is real life!

What’s also a turn-off about Carter is that he’s apparently been a one night stand kind of guy simply to piss off his father. *WHAT?* Yeah, I can’t even begin to articulate how immature and illogical it is to sleep around just to spite your jerk of a dad, especially since he was acting just like him.

And that gets to the second big issue with this story—it’s 2017 and this sexist double standard where the heroine is celibate after losing her virginity while the hero screws around is not only outdated but it’s NOT romantic. In fact, the romance is pretty light, the steam factor rather low (or late to the game), and the new adult coming of age vibe decidedly high. And yet safe sex is downplayed and condom usage not shown, brushed off with an offhand comment after having sex that “We took care of that awkward conversation about protection and previous partners—for him—out of the way earlier today.”  Yet, these are scenes that should be developed in a new adult book. Instead the route taken is one where Nella absolves him of any guilt for sleeping around while patting herself on the back for staying true to the one she loved.

On the plus side, there isn’t any OW or OM drama, and Carter does grow up and, by the end, I found him much more likable guy.  Nella, however, I never connected with. There were some intriguing angles to their situation that kept me reading, but the details and the execution was where it lost its appeal.

Told by Carter and Nella’s dual first person POV, this story is plotted for readers who enjoy secret baby plots with an extra convoluted angle of secret identities. There’s no point in disguising it because it’s the kind of plot that either appeals to you or it doesn’t.  I personally don’t feel that children should ever be “secrets that can never be shared” as the blurb refers. They are innocent human beings, not skeletons in your closet.  So if you really want an engaging story about a single young mom negotiating new love and past missteps, then I totally recommend The No Bad Boy Rule in this series. It exhibits much better life lessons and far more likable main characters.  

Amazon US| Amazon CA| Amazon UK| Kobo| Nook|

~About the Series~
The No Asshole Rule
Andie has one rule she lives by, no assholes. She doesn’t befriend them and she certainly doesn’t date them. Upon transferring to Parkland University, she is irritated to discover her neighbor is not only an asshole, but an attractive one that her body and mind can’t seem to ignore. Can Andie let go of the one rule that safeguards her heart?
Lucas doesn’t date. Ever. At least not anymore but the sexy, distant woman across the hall intrigues him and the draw is more than he can resist. Will he like what he finds hidden deep inside her wounded soul?
They both fight to keep their rules, but the pull is irresistible. As Andie struggles with the demons from her past, old wounds open. Both Lucas and Andie will need to decide what is worth fighting for.
Some rules are meant to be broken. Are they up for the challenge?.

The No Bad Boy Rule
Six years ago, a positive pregnancy test destroyed Ava. Her goals, her relationship, the entire way she viewed her future.
From the rubble, a rule was created: No bad boys.
In their wake is chaos and destruction, something she could no longer risk.
Ava has been happy with this rule, until now.
The bad boy across the hall makes her want to abandon it. Those hazel eyes piercing her, as though they can read her mind. That gentle smile as he interacts with her son. Dax awakens something in her that she’s never felt before.
Will she regret opening her heart to another bad boy?
Dax is determined to earn back the respect he lost for himself years ago and create a future he can be proud of. He’s spent his life breaking rules and now he has a rigid set of rules to live by.
Ava is a distraction he doesn’t need.
Nothing like the women from his past, everything about her from her adorable son to the paint constantly covering her hands reminds him of why he needs to focus. He knows the look in her eyes, he fights the urge to give in to that look. He doesn’t deserve it, at least not yet.
Will Dax ever feel like he’s earned it, or will a call from his past cause him to push her away for good?

Rules are meant to be broken.
Ashley Erin lives in Alberta, Canada where winter and summer compete to take over. She wears flip flops as soon as it’s above freezing, because her hatred of socks outweighs her dislike of snow. Her boyfriend stays with her despite a penchant for adopting rescued cats and dogs without permission. Their two dogs and four cats are spoiled rotten. When Ashley isn’t writing, she is reading or working with horses.
Ashley is a self-published author of contemporary and new adult romance. Follow her on Facebook to keep up with her current and upcoming releases.
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