Strength by Carrie Butler
Author: Carrie Butler
Series: Mark of Nexus (#1)
Publication Date: 8-16-13
Genre: New Adult, Paranormal
Source: Finished copy from author for review
When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, she’s stunned. Wallace Blake is everything she’s ever wanted in a man—except he can’t touch her. His uncontrollable strength, a so-called gift from his bloodline, makes every interaction dangerous. And with a secret, supernatural war brewing among his kind, there’s no time to work it out. To keep Wallace in her life, Rena will have to risk a whole lot more than her heart.
For a self-published book, Strength really surprised me in how good it was. The premise was unique and exciting, and I loved all of the characters. The sexual tension is high, but even though this is a New Adult book, there’s no actual sex. But, still, Wallace is definitely one of my new book boyfriends!
I really, really liked this book! It came out of nowhere and really surprised me by how good it was. My favorite part of this book was how funny it was. I was practically highlighting something on every page while I was reading it on my Kindle. I laughed out loud multiple times, which is a big sign of how great Strength really was. Butler’s writing was not only hilarious, but also exciting. It really reminded me of The Chicagoland Vampires series at times, which is one of my all-time favorite series.
Wilcox is just another dot on the map—one of a dozen sleepy college towns in Ohio’s northeastern snowbelt. Houses are modest, crime is negligible, and football is a widely practiced religion. Not the most exciting place to live. Unless, of course, you share a dorm with a madman.
Wallace was my favorite character of this book. He’s mysterious, intriguing, powerful, and…most importantly…SEXY. I can count the number of book boyfriends that I have on one hand, so I think that it really says a lot when I tell you that I want to add him onto my list! I thought that it was so interesting how he started out at the beginning of a book like a social outcast. Usually, the love interest is not the “loser” type. It really made his character seem more interesting, especially when you find out the reasons behind why people have labeled him this way.
His eyes narrowed, dark lashes obscuring an electrical storm of emotion. I’d never seen anything more caged — flickering and surging beneath the surface. Brooding cerulean one moment, hypnotic blue the next. It was all I could do to suppress a shiver as the warmth of his breath danced over my skin, his scent clouding the air between us. God, it smelled so familiar, like the air before a downpour. I took a deep, shuddering breath and forced myself to look up.
Everybody avoids and is scared of Wallace, but Rena is the one who finally meets him (by chance) and realizes that he’s not really all that bad. She overlooks the stigma surrounding him, and becomes connected to him in a way that nobody else ever has. I also really loved Rena’s character, too. We don’t learn much about her in the book, which I hope is something that gets addressed in the rest of the series, but I liked her caring, shy, brave, and vulnerable personality and was really able to relate with her because of it.
I pressed my cheek against his hand, forcing him to touch me. “Please.” The word lingered between us and brought me to an aching realization. Our friendship was about to change forever.
A little ways into the book, the story starts to go in a totally different direction. We start to learn more about Wallace and his family, and why Wallace is so strong. Wallace’s brother and grandmother are two more very interesting characters that I liked reading about. I love how the author was able to make all of these supporting characters so developed; it made the book just that much better. And I wasn’t expecting it to be so dark — it really starts to get kind of scary and intense at points.
The only reason that I had to give it a lower rating is because of the book’s ending. The book has this huge climax of a scene at around 80-80% of the way through, and it was so…confusing. I kept having to re-read passages because I didn’t really get what was going on. I didn’t understand the new characters that were introduced, their motivations, what they were trying to do, or anything about what was happening. I’m sure that this will all be explained more in the next book, but that scene left me with a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I was really disappointed that this great book had such a weak ending.
I also think that I need to mention the romance between Rena and Wallace. While it worked for me, it might not work for other people. This book is New Adult, yet they don’t have sex in this novel, and there’s only one sexual scene. Personally, I really liked the way it was done. The connection between them was hot, but very understated. There’s an explanation as to why they aren’t as physical as a “normal” NA couple, which makes sense with the novel’s plot, though. I just felt like I should say something, because I know that that kind of relationship isn’t for everybody when it comes to this genre.
I looked up, and my heart stopped beating. “I’m not most people.” His heady scent was all around me. It was like a spell had been cast, stilling my nerves, and entrancing my mind. I leaned closer still. “I know.” The husky tone of his voice sent a shiver down my spine, and I bit down on my lip. He lifted his hand to tuck an unruly strand behind my ear, but hesitated at the last moment. I could practically feel the heat from his fingertips, less than a caress away from my cheek; it was enough to push me over the edge.
Overall, I thought that the writing of this book was superb, and the characters were really well-developed. I wish that there had been more time spent on Rena’s background, and a less-confusing ending.
**Review copy kindly provided by the author and Grapevine Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.**