Saturday, May 24, 2014

Rush review and Nyrae Dawn Author Interview

Rush by Nyrae Dawn
Published by: Forever Yours
Published date: May 6, 2014
Where to buy:
Amazon/Barnes&Noble/Kobo/ibooks

Description on Goodreads:
This new adult, male/male romance will capture the audience who fell in love with Nyrae Dawn's Games Trilogy.

For the love of the game.

Brandon Chase has always defined himself by one thing: football. Tough and athletic, he is a great college player who enjoys the hard hits and the sweaty grind of the gridiron. But when Brandon is injured, only one person can help him get back on track-a forbidden love he's desperately tried to put behind him. 

Alec Andrews has never quite forgiven Brandon for walking away when their friendship turned into something more. But he can't deny help to one of his closest friends. As the two spend the long, hot summer working together, their old attraction comes flooding back.

Now as Alec thinks about coming out to his conservative family and Brandon considers revealing he's a gay football player, the two men must be strong to fight for a love that could be the greatest rush of their lives. 

Approx. 70,000 words.

My Review: 

You might not have seen me around this sight lately.  I started developing a little anxiety with writing and posting reviews.  They take a lot of work and time for me because I have some perfectionistic tendencies and I really want to do justice for the books I love.  I only promote what I love over here.  This book is helping light a bit of a fire under me to get over it.  My reviews from now on will likely be less perfectly edited and written but I am going to embrace a good enough mentality to help myself get back to writing reviews.

What was it about this book that has gotten me passionate enough to face my anxiety?  Well, for one thing I have many family and friends that are gay.  LGBT rights and equality are very important to me.  This particular book, Rush, is a spin off book from an earlier released YA book entitled Four Summers.  Brandon and Alec, the duo featured in Rush are side characters in that novel.  I wrote to Nyrae after finishing the first book glad that she wrote about gay characters in a way that felt realistic.  They didn't feel like token characters and were written without many of the overused cliched ways of portraying gay characters that often populate contemporary fiction.  She confided that she was writing Brandon and Alec's story and I was really excited.

To be honest, I had never read a M/M romance book before hearing of this one.  The books I have seen posted about by friends and bloggers were M/M erotic fiction and since I am a reader who craves an emotional connection I never felt like erotic fiction was the best fit for my book tastes.  Sure, I can enjoy steam in a book but only if there is a true emotional connection.   Not long before reading this book I did read a YA contemporary fiction book entitled Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets Of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz that dealt with LGBT issues.  I enjoyed it so that increased my excitement over this book.  Then two things happened that made me a little nervous.

The first thing that happened was that the cover was released.  It is a cover that hints at an emphasis on steam.  I didn't have an issue reading about two boys in a relationship and the physical parts of that relationship.  I did worry about the steam being the focus especially as the cover seems to suggest this.  The second thing that happened was that I realized this book, unlike Four Summer, was going to be a New Adult book.  While I don't hate New Adult, I find that most of the books put an emphasis on the physical side of a relationship over the emotional.  It is often to where the emotional aspects don't get the time and attention I prefer when reading making them not the best fit for my tastes.

I am so happy to tell you that my nervousness was unfounded.  The emotional connection that Nyrae writes in this book is fantastic.  Yes, there is steam to rival many other New Adult books.  If that is what you crave it is present.  The reason it works for me here is that it never overtook the emotional connection between the two young men.  If anything it acts as a compliment.  The whole balance between the emotions and the lust is done with perfection.  Nyrae writes such an intense, soul deep connection and takes great care to show you the small and large ways that these two connect to each other and love deeply.  We even see them doing everyday types of things.  My favorite New Adult books get this balance.

The books takes you on many ups and downs for these two.  It really makes you think about everything one takes for granted in a straight relationship.  The worries, fears and challenges for these two pulled at my heart.  It is so authentic and heartfelt.  I want to give examples but I think this is something best experienced by reading the book. Everything felt completely authentic and genuine.  Even the sex scenes didn't feel gratuitous but added to the sense of love, discovery and growth between Brandon and Alex.

There is something else I've noticed as I've read books by this author.  She really does a good job of writing complex characters with both the good, the bad and the ugly.  With each book she writes she gets better at showing the reader all the facets that make her characters tick.  Some of her characters make big and small mistakes.  There are times they make poor choices or act in selfish or fearful ways.  There are also time where they shine and you see all that they are capable of becoming.  Some of her characters show growth and discover redemption on different levels and yet others are left to sit stubbornly stuck in their ways.  I enjoyed the complexity here in this book.

All I can say is that if you like NA with a lot of emotion, YA but don't mind some added steam and also reading about a beautiful love story between two young men I can't recommend this one enough.  You don't have to have read Four Summers first.  This book stand alone just fine.  But if you want to know a little more about the background and events that take place before the time frame of this book then you can pick up Four Summers first.  Both books, while companions, have their own distinctive feel and vibe.  Final rating: 5/5.






Bonus:  Interview with the lovely Nyrae Dawn.


Q) Rush is a spin off from your novel Four Summers.  At what point did you know that you wanted to write Alec's and Brandon's story?  Was it while writing the first book or after you finished?

Nyrae Dawn:  I knew while writing Four Summers that I wanted to write Alec and Brandon's story.  From the beginning I knew they needed and deserved to have their story told as well.

Q) Can you share some of your inspirations for this story?  How were you able to capture the details of what these two young gay guys were going through as a straight female?

ND: In a way, I think the characters inspired me. I consider myself a character writer and my people are always very real to me—Alec and Brandon maybe more than any others. I can’t really say how I was able to capture their struggle…I worried the whole time whether I actually was or not, but I felt very close to them and their story. It actually just flowed out of me, obsessively in a way. I wrote the book very quickly because I always wanted to be with them. I needed their story told as badly as they did. 

Q) You and I have bonded amongst other things over LGBT rights and equality.  Can you share anything that has led to your passion for this?

ND:  It’s so funny because I can’t say anything specific that “led” to my passion for LGBT rights and equality. It’s just something I’ve always felt very strongly about. It’s something that’s important to me on a very human level because that’s what it is to me, human rights and human equality. Maybe part of it comes from the fact that I’m a champion for love. I’m a romantic and I think love has the power to do amazing things. We all deserve the right to experience that equally. 
Q) What was your biggest challenge in writing this book?

ND:   Staying true to the characters and their story…or maybe that’s not the right way to put it. I just really wanted to get it right. I was so scared of not doing their story justice or not telling it the way it deserved to be told. More than any other book I’ve written, I consider RUSH to be a true LOVE story. Not a romance, but a love story and I took that very seriously. 
Q) What was your favorite scene to write?

ND:  I loved writing scenes where Alec and Brandon were able to let go… When they felt comfortable just being themselves and being happy. I loved writing each step they took, and I also loved writing the emotional scenes because there was just so much heart in them. I love writing that. 

Q) What was the hardest or most emotional scene for you to write?

ND: The scene toward the end with Brandon and his dad was hands down the toughest scene for me to write. There was so much pain in it from multiple directions. Also, in the beginning, the prologue was tough for me and also the last night Alec spends in NY when he goes to see Brandon. Brandon’s pain and struggle there gets me every time. 

Q) If anyone has enjoyed Rush the way I have can you recommend other books that involve M/M romance?  It would be helpful to describe for the readers which books emphasize the emotional connections and which are more for steam.  Personally, I have to have that emotional connection in any romance or the steam falls down for me..

ND:  If you’re newer to m/m romance or are looking for a really emotional story, a great place to start is Faith and Fidelity by Tere Michaels. It’s very much about love and connection and exploring feelings. It’s a beautiful story. It’s an adult romance but low on the steam. Also Promises by Marie Sexton. It’s a little steamier than Faith and Fidelity but it’s also very much about emotional connection and love. Slide by Garrett Leigh is great. Very dark and it’s sexy but there is a lot of love and emotional connection there too. For YA/NA there’s Suicide Watch by Kelley York. It’s a little darker but a really wonderful story. I’m also a big fan of JH Trumble. These next books may not be considered romance in the traditional HEA sense but Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan totally inspired me. It’s narration is very unique and it’s a very deep read. Also I LOVED Fast Fields of Ordinary by Nick Burd. 

That's it for now.  Thank you for taking the time to answer my qustions.  Also, thank you for writing this book and putting your heart out there in this way.  I'm crossing my fingers for a Logan book one day!

ND: Thank you so much for having me and I’m crossing my fingers for Logan too! 

1 comment:

  1. I'm impressed, I must say. Very rarely do I come across a blog that's both informative and entertaining, and let me tell you, you've hit the nail on the head. Your blog is important; the issue is something that not enough people are talking intelligently about.

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