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#NAAugust: RADLEIGH UNIVERSITY Series by Dahlia Adler

Over on Books Are My Fandom, we are hosting a full month all about the New Adult genre! There you can read posts from bloggers and authors about what New Adult means to them. On Dani Reviews Things, Dani will be reviewing New Adult books all month! And on here, Books and Ladders, I will be reviewing New Adult books throughout the month!


LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT 

Author: Dahlia Adler
Series: Radleigh University #1
Source: eBook from Amazon
Publisher: Smashwords Edition
Publication Date: December 9, 2014
Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary:
Lizzie Brandt was valedictorian of her high school class, but at Radleigh University, all she's acing are partying and hooking up with the wrong guys. But all that changes when her parents are killed in a tragic accident, making her guardian to her two younger brothers. To keep them out of foster care, she'll have to fix up her image, her life, and her GPA—fast. Too bad the only person on campus she can go to for help is her humorless, pedantic Byzantine History TA, Connor Lawson, who isn't exactly Lizzie's biggest fan.

But Connor surprises her. Not only is he a great tutor, but he’s also a pretty great babysitter. And chauffeur. And listener. And he understands exactly what it’s like to be on your own before you're ready. Before long, Lizzie realizes having a responsible-adult type around has its perks... and that she'd like to do some rather irresponsible (but considerably adult) things with him as well. Good thing he's not the kind of guy who'd ever reciprocate.

Until he does.

Until they turn into far more than teacher and student.

Until the relationship that helped put their lives back together threatens everything they both have left.
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I think I liked Lizzie's story better than Frankie's (in OUT ON GOOD BEHAVIOR) but I still had a couple issues with it. I definitely recommend this series if you're looking for good NA books, though. I think there is the right mix of conflict, romance, and literal sex that adds up to the perfect combination for Contemporary NA.

I liked that this one started off with something pretty heavy because it made me like Lizzie right away. And from there, she just grew on me. I think she had a pretty good head on her shoulders and that she was doing the best she could under the circumstances. I could really connect with her and her struggles to get what she wanted while also doing what was right for her family.

However, I found myself a little underwhelmed with how the truth came out. It seemed a little over the top dramatic. And while I'm usually all for that, I wasn't quite impressed with it in this case. I think I built up how it would happen in my mind that it made it so meh when it finally came down to it. As well, I had a bit of a hard time getting a feel for Lizzie, Cait, and Frankie's friendship. I feel like because we started with Sophmore year and didn't get to see them as Freshman and learning new things about one another that I am behind in understanding who they are as people -- and as a trio of friends. I had to take it at face value and it made me just "accept" some things as true when I kinda wanted to know more about them.

I also wasn't a fan of the pacing of the relationship. It seemed like things were moving really quickly, then slowing down, then really quickly again. I understand that they had to figure their shit out before the end of the book, but it felt like I was getting whiplash. 

BUT I did really like that Connor had reservations about being with Lizzie not only because he was her teacher but also because he wasn't sure he was ready to be a Father Figure. I REALLY liked that. The only thing I didn't like was that two days later, he was like "FUCK IT, LET'S JUST BE TOGETHER" because ??? It was a huge shift AND a big decision. I think his indecision was GREAT but then it was kinda lame how he changed his mind so easily.

I recommend this series though! I really liked learning about Lizzie and her struggles and am going to read Cait's story next (since I started with Frankie). I can't wait to see what else comes from the three of them and their stories.

RIGHT OF FIRST REFUSAL

Author: Dahlia Adler
Series: Radleigh University #2
Source: eBook from Amazon
Publisher: Smashwords Edition
Publication Date: March 15, 2016
Rating: 3/5 stars

Summary:
On the lacrosse field, Cait Johannssen gets what she wants. Off the field is another story. Because what she wants is the school's hot new basketball student-coach, Lawrence Mason, who also happens to be the guy who broke her heart in sports camp two years earlier.

But it's Cait's new roommate who's got him.

Cait and Mase agree it's best to keep their past a secret, but she doesn't expect him to completely ignore their history...or how much it'll hurt when he does. So when a friend on the basketball team asks her to pose as his girlfriend for a night, Cait can't turn down the opportunity for distraction. (Okay, and a little spite.) But what starts as an evening of fun turns into a fake relationship with more lies than the usually drama-free Cait can handle, and it's only keeping her from the one truth that's nagged at her for years: Why did Mase cut her out of his life to begin with?


And is it really too late to get him back?
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I had some issues connecting to Cait and her story until about 60% but it was still really good. I think Cait is the more "logical" of the trio, especially when it came to romance, which made it harder to get swept up in her romance. I do, however, like that she gave everything she did 110%. 

I liked that Cait was really sure of herself. She was confident in who she was and when people were on her case about it, she didn't really let the pressure about it get to her. She made her decisions and she stuck by them. I really liked that about her. I thought in that sense she was really relatable. I also loved that she knew Mase was off limits unless he was single. I am not a fan of cheating, even in fiction, and I am glad that nothing happened between Cait and Mase while Mase was dating Andi. And I really understood Cait's desire to see Andi and Mase work out but also not because she felt like she couldn't justify saying "no sorry you can't date him" when 1) she didn't really know Andi and 2) she hadn't been with Mase for years. I think Cait was definitely really relatable.

I just couldn't 100% connect to her issues and her story until closer to the end. She had a lot of flip-flopping between what she was going to do -- and what the right thing to do was -- and I just couldn't connect with her on those thoughts. It wasn't until she actually made her decisions that I was like "Yes, I get this girl." Once that happened, I was invested.

I think, however, this was my least favourite romance out of the Radleigh University series. Cait and Mase had a lot of chemistry but it's just like with the trio's relationship: we don't get to see the past on page and that really disconnects me from how I should be feeling about things. We learn that Cait and Mase spent time together at a summer camp but we never really got to see that time so I didn't have any of their history to go off of when trying to figure out if Mase should dump Andi for Cait or not. It felt like I was blindly following along with the story and I had to just assume everything at face value because we didn't get to see them together previously and the interactions they had in the present were "Hi we used to have feelings for one another but now you're banging my roommate and IDK how I feel about that" so it was a little difficult to really get a feel for them.

However, I really like this series. I think this is a great cast of characters and like I've said previously, I would love a book just about Lizzie, Cait, and Frankie off having and adventure. I really like them as a friend set and think their stories are interesting.

OUT ON GOOD BEHAVIOR

Author: Dahlia Adler
Series: Radleigh University #3
Source: eBook from Kobo
Publisher: Smashwords Edition
Publication Date: June 14, 2016
Rating: 4/5 stars

Summary:
Frankie Bellisario knows she can get anyone she sets her sights on, but just because she can doesn't mean she should—not when the person she's eyeing is Samara Kazarian, the daughter of a southern Republican mayor. No matter how badly Frankie wants to test her powers of persuasion, even she recognizes some lines aren't meant to be crossed.

But when Frankie learns she's been on Samara's mind too, the idea of hooking up with her grows too strong to resist. Only Sam's not looking for a hookup; she wants—needs—the real thing, and she's afraid she'll never find it as long as Frankie's in her head.

Forced to choose between her first relationship and losing the girl who's been clawing her way under her skin, Frankie opts to try monogamy...under her own condition: 30 days of keeping things on the down low and remaining abstinent. If she fails as hard at girlfriending as she's afraid she might, she doesn't want to throw Samara's life into upheaval for nothing. But when neither the month nor Frankie's heart go according to plan, she may be the one stuck fighting for the happily ever after she never knew she wanted. 
Purchase:

I enjoyed this one but I'm still not sure I really am sold on the New Adult genre as a whole. I think this one had some of the better sex scenes that I've read but I was still skimming them. I think this was one pretty fun though and I liked the different things that Frankie and Sam were doing to "date."

I thought the pacing in this one was pretty good. I thought they had a good system of working out whether or not they were going to be together or not and what that meant for the future. I did like that Frankie knew she needed time to figure out whether or not she could actually be with Sam through the good and the bad. I really connected with Frankie and her personality was one that I really liked. I think she was a really strong character.

I also liked that she interacted with Lizzie and Cait. I thought they were a good trio and I liked seeing how all of them interacted with one another. I think they have a really good friendship but I would like to see a book just about them and their shenanigans. I think it would be helpful to the reader to be able to see them as a trio together outside of their relationships.

I really connected to Frankie in this one because I too am of the persuasion that I don't need to be in a relationship to be happy. But I was still rooting for her and Sam to get together. I thought their dynamic was really interesting and I am glad I read this one. I am going to read Last Will and Testament and Right of First Refusal as well because I really enjoyed the setting and the characters. 

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