Reclaiming the Sand by A. Meredith Walters

Reclaiming the Sand, #1
published on March 17th 2014
new adult | romance | contamporary

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Ellie McCallum was a bully. No connection to anyone or anything. A sad and lonely existence for a young woman who had come to expect nothing more for herself. Her only happiness coming from making others miserable.

Particularly Freaky Flynn.

Flynn Hendrick lived a life completely disconnected even as he struggled to become something more than that boy with Asperger’s. He was taunted and teased, bearing the brunt of systematic and calculated cruelty, ultimately culminating in a catastrophic turn of events that brought Ellie and Flynn’s worlds crashing down.

But then Flynn and Ellie grew up. And moved on. Until years later when their paths unexpectedly cross again and the bully and the freak are face to face once more.


THIS STORY. I don’t know how to properly describe how much I ABSOLUTELY ADORED IT and COMPLETELY HATED IT all at the same time. It is a romance between the bully and the one who has been bullied. It is a book full of angst, anger, regret, forgiveness, love and change.

This book was more than just your average romance–it was also a book about one who’s learning to be stronger for himself and others, and another who wants to become a better person for the one she loves.

Ellie’s a fucking bitch, and I could not for the life of me understand some of the shit she did to Flynn, but I loved how much she was willing to change for him. How she pushed her old life away to show him that  she cares.

As an avid romance reader, I can tell you that I love myself a fabulous story with angst. And boy did this book have it. But it fit gorgeously in the story of these two polar opposites who were drawn together by some unknown pull, and I loved it.

Recommended for: Anyone looking for a new adult romance that will make you cry your eyeballs out.
Not recommended for: Sensitive readers who might not be okay with bullying (and pregnant woman who drink and go to bars…).

4 stars



Come Back to Me by Mila Gray (Sarah Alderson)

published on June 19th 2014 by Pan Macmillan
new adult | romance | contamporary

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Home on leave in sunny California, Marine and local lothario Kit Ryan finds himself dangerously drawn to his best friend’s sister, Jessa – the one girl he can’t have.

But Kit’s not about to let a few obstacles stand in his way and soon Jessa’s falling for his irresistible charms.

What starts out as a summer romance of secret hook-ups and magical first times quickly develops into a passionate love affair that turns both their worlds upside down.

When summer’s over and it’s time for Kit to redeploy, neither Kit nor Jessa are ready to say goodbye. Jessa’s finally following her dreams and Kit’s discovered there’s someone he’d sacrifice everything for.

Jessa’s prepared to wait for Kit no matter what. But when something more than distance and time rips them apart they’re forced to decide whether what they have is really worth fighting for.

A breathtaking, scorchingly hot story about love, friendship, family and finding your way back from the edge of heartbreak.


I’m feeling like I’m a bit of a black sheep with this one. I wanted to love it so much to the point that I felt like I was forcing myself to cry and to feel and in the end, I still can’t say that I enjoyed this book.

Sure, Kit was really sweet and he knew how to make a girl swoon, but ultimately, I think he made some very stupid decisions and that he was a bad influence on Jessa. Like that one time he pushed her to skip school… Why the hell would you do that?

I also felt like the romance was too sudden. I get that they’ve been attracted to each other for forever, but Kit’s “I really like you” confession came out of nowhere and I don’t really know what triggered it.

The person that saved the story for me was Riley, Jessa’s brother. He was sweet and loving and I adored him, which is why I would totally prefer to read his story than Jessa’s. You know you don’t like a book when you’d rather read the side character’s story instead.

2 stars



Third Degree by Julie Cross

published on March 25th 2014 by Flirt
new adult | romance | contamporary

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I used to be “Isabel Jenkins, child prodigy.” As lame as that sounds, at least it was an identity. But now I’m not sure what I am. I just failed the most important exam of my life—the emotional readiness test required to get into a medical residency program—and it turns out my parents can’t stand each other. Now I’m trying to figure out how to pick up the pieces of my life, and that means re-enrolling as a college freshman, but this time I’m shutting the books and majoring in being eighteen.

But so far, my roommate hates me and I’m not into the party scene. The only good thing about school has been getting to know my insanely hot RA. Marshall Collins makes me wonder about everything I missed while I was growing up too fast. Pretty soon we’re hanging out constantly, but for the first time, I find myself wanting more than a no-strings-attached physical relationship. And the lesson I really need is one Marsh definitely can’t teach me: love. Because I’m going to be alone forever if I don’t learn fast.


Julie Cross’ contemporary romances have become auto-reads for me after her glorious piece that was Whatever Life Throws at You.

Third Degree was another cute, funny (like seriously, Isabel would totally be my super-genius best friend in real life) and definitely swoony read from Julie.

That being said, I wasn’t able to connect with the characters too much in this one. Maybe it was because Isabel was over-the-top intelligent or something else entirely, but for some reason I wasn’t able to form a deeper connection with her.

Marshall was sweet and he tried his best to keep up with Isabel and to help her get out of her comfort zone. He also had a troublesome problem himself, and Isabel was there for him in return.

Medical terms were slightly confusing and I had to use the dictionary a couple of times while reading, but other than that, this was a quick, fun read for anyone who needs a good book on a rainy day.

3 stars


About Aimee
Aimee loves being a little bookworm (okay–she doesn’t like being little). She also loves chocolates and sweets but is freaked out by the thought of possibly getting diabetes.
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23 thoughts on “Mini Reviews: New Adult Contemporary Edition

  1. I also LOVED Reclaiming The Sand and I remember liking Come Back To Me as well. :) Flynn was just adorable and that book made me cry, too. <3 And yes, I hated the pregnant woman who drinks too much. Argh.


  2. I don’t read a lot of NA, just because I’ve had a quite a few bad experiences with it before. However, I most certainly shouldn’t limit the genre just because of a few bad apples, I’m bookmarking these reviews for future references (: That way I can hopefully pick one of these up and actually enjoy it. Reclaiming the Sand sounds so emotional, I know just from the synopsis I’ll want to hate the MC because her past bullying ways. However, a romance between the bully and the victim? Don’t think I’ve read that before and it sure as hell sounds like it’d be angst ridden. Added to my TBR.

    Awww, think I’ll be avoiding the second book. Though it’s disappointing to write that because I’ve read Sarah Alderson’s Hunting Lila series and adored it. But yeah, I’ve definitely read books where the side characters are more interesting than the main- it definitely isn’t a positive haha. Also, pushing somebody to do something they really don’t want to do (I’m referring to the skipping school) is not cool. Peer pressure like that shouldn’t be promoted.

    ooooo Julie Cross! Love her YA Tempest series. I think I may enjoy this one a little more than you just because I do know my medical terms [; or at lease some. Lol woooo, thank Bio AP for that. The romance already sounds super cute (:

    Great mini-reviews girl! You’ve definitely shined some light on NA here for me


    1. I’ve read a handful of annoying new adult novels, but I have found a few gems here and there, so I’m still looking. ;)
      Reclaiming the Sand is definitely an emotional read, so if you like those, definitely check them out!
      Lots of other readers adored Sarah’s NA book, and I think I’m in the minority about disliking it! I’ll have to give her YA books a shot, though.
      Julie Cross’ NA are some of my favorites! You should definitely check this one (and Whatever Life Throws at You) out if you enjoyed Tempest. ;)


  3. I’m not usually a huuuuuuuuge NA reader but some of these ones look good! A shame about Sarah Alderson’s one, though; I’ve read some of her YA novels and loved them, so I know I’ll probably pick up her NA just to see what I think of it. But at least now I know to lower my expectations some more. Lovely reviews!


    1. Ah, I haven’t picked up any of Sarah’s YA books, but I think I have a handful of them on my TBR. :) Tons of other people loved Come Back to Me, so maybe it’s just a black sheep case for me..


  4. I LOVEEEE me some New Adult and I can’t believe I haven’t heard of ANY of these titles! I’m definitely interested in Reclaiming The Sand, it seems like something I would enjoy, so I’m adding it to my TBR like NOW! Thanks for sharing :)


  5. I’m always looking for some NA books to give a go Aimee, as even though I haven’t had the best of luck with this genre, I haven’t totally given up on it! I’m sorry that you weren’t able to love Mila’s book more, I always have a soft spot for stories which feature MC’s falling for their brother’s best friend, I don’t know why! I’m thinking that Reclaiming the Sand will be more my sort of read, as I love books which wreck you with all the feels!! Lovely reviews!


    1. Same here, Jasprit! I’ve discovered a few gems from this age group, so my faith in it isn’t all lost! I had that phase where I was obsessed with the older brother’s best friend trope, too! At the time, I was reading *all* the Wattpad stories about it. ;) If you’re in the mood for something epicly heartbreaking, definitely read Reclaiming the Sand! <3


  6. I LOVED Reclaiming the Sand! Such a wonderful, beautiful story about redemption and forgiveness and love. I didn’t always Ellie and her choices and I hated her friends. But I loved how Flynn made her want to be a better person, just by being who he was. Adored this book.

    I had never heard of the second until I saw your review, and I’m sorry you didn’t like it! I read the synopsis, and I want it now, so I hope I have better luck than you. :)

    Great reviews!


    1. Eep, I’m glad you loved it too! :D I wasn’t a big Ellie fan at first either (and her friends are HORRIBLE people), but she pushed through in the end for me. :) Flynn kind of creeped me out sometimes, but it’s a given because of his condition.

      Lots of other people loved Come Back to Me, so hopefully you do end up having better luck than me. ;)


  7. You’ve been on a contemporary NA kick lately Aimee! Love it:) I’m both hugely curious and a little scared to read Reclaiming the Sand. On the one hand, I love a story that features a great deal of character growth, and clearly Ellie comes a long way from beginning to end, BUT I fear some of her actions pre-change are going to make it hard for me to forgive her. *sigh* Maybe I just need to suck it up and read, right? Right:)


  8. I absolutely love me a mini review Aimz, snack sized snippets that lure you in. I’m not a fan of new adult generally, the storyline is always too sexual and us old married woman don’t need that. Reclaiming the Sand, my goodness I love the premise, I can’t imagine forgiving anyone for tormenting me, never mind falling in love with them. She sounds like an needs a bitch slap with a plank of wood. So naturally I’ll need to read it now too.

    Lovely reviews poppet <3


  9. NA mini-reviews are perfect for me because I don’t try that much NA and need to know what’s what. Sounds like I could go either way (or both!) on Reclaiming the Sand. I generally like angst in YA — teenagers are supposed to be angsty — but am less tolerant of it when the characters are older. I have the Sarah Alderson on my kindle but the print is sooo tiny and I can’t adjust it :( And I do want to try a Julie Cross NA but maybe I should start with a different one if this isn’t your favorite!

    Thanks so much for stopping by! Jen @ YA Romantics


  10. I’ve never heard of any of these?! They all sound rather interesting although I don’t think I’d go for the second two. :P I love it when a book can really mess with my feelings though so I’ll have to check out Reclaiming the Sand. Thank you for sharing these 3 lovely reviews Aimee!


  11. Wow, Reclaiming the Sand I’ve never heard of but you make it sound so good! It sounds angsty and like it has some great character development. Come Back To Me, well when the characters confess their love too quickly it’s a surefire way to alienate the reader. Third Degree sounds like it is cute, I do love intelligent characters! Great mini reviews Aimee!


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