Romance | New Adult | Contemporary
“Caleb was like the sun. He was so warm, so big and bright that you couldn’t help but come closer. But what would happen when I get too close?.”
Diving into that romance now are we, erh? Can you blame a girl? I am a huge sucker for a good romance premise, it is definitely my comfort blanket genre. To be fair, there are tons of sub-genres within the romance themed bin, so I am always willing to indulge in anything deemed worthy, or has a sexy man cover. I will also admit that recently I have been getting more and more into New Adult Romance, which is surprisingly good, I do not think I have found one yet that really hit me in the wrong way.
So here we are, Chasing Red by Isabelle Ronin. This was in my November Guilty Pleasures Box (don’t you just love subscription boxes?) because if you would have asked me if I had looked, hell even known about this book, I would have told you nope. Not that it is bad, but because it just had yet to fall in my view until now and I gotta say, I am glad I read it.
Told from the perspective of two interesting (sometimes annoying) main characters, the POV switches between Veronica Strafford, who is a young college student with the ability to push everyone away from her as she does not trust easily. She has had a rough life and unfortunately from the beginning she is already in a bad place in her life – family drama, terrifying secrets of her past and a new development, she is now homeless just looking to get drunk and forget her troubles. Caleb Lockhart is the playboy of the college, sexy as hell and definitely the last person Veronica thought she would get any type of attention from, let alone help – say offering her a place to live. Caleb’s problem is he is use to getting what he wants when he wants it and Veronica, or Red as he dubs her, isn’t biting easy, or biting in any capacity he’d like. He actually has to work, fight for her, but as the drama and emotions get more developed, is her heart worth it?
A couple of things…
Veronica, or Red is definitely a tough cookie. However with this tough shell she portrays on the outside, she has an extremely scared, very insecure demeanor on the inside that is absolutely heartbreaking. She is constantly second guessing her emotions, doubting her situation then doing a one-eighty personality switch to more balls-to-the-wall attitude. For me, I think she is trying to figure out her skin. We get so many bits and pieces of her life struggles, it almost breaks your heart to read how much she fights herself, the internal battles are surreal. Ultimately, she is her worst enemy. In her portrayal though, I will also admit that her character development bothers me, almost to the point that her character fully lack luster case. I say this because her hot and cold persona, though was understandable to a point, became rather redundant – you can almost guess by every chapter she is running in some form which borderlines into annoying territory. Here Veronica has this amazing gentlemen, granted a man-whore, but he is really trying, hell he opened his home for her and she is constantly hot/cold on him, thus giving her character growth an overall lacking in luster for the overall plot. Very one-dimensional.
Speaking of Caleb, he was my biggest hitter for the novel. Honestly from the beginning I could tell you I was going to enjoy his character. While the novel continues, you get a taste that even though he is this playboy hunky-man meat, he has demons as well, and meeting Red, for him I think is the moment he realizes he has been missing something. I enjoyed his sexy attitude that was upbeat and happy, he seemed to have a solution and was respectful. I liked it.
Overall, the novel was enjoyable. It did take a little bit to really get attached, I wasn’t invested really, well until maybe 30% in – not saying it was bad in the least, but from my perspective, there was a slow build with such a repetitive outcome, you could basically assume what note each chapter would end on. However, as more situations were added, emotions were developed, characters introduced, everything really picked up. Queue the angst drama levels because they really hit legendary status. I will also say that while more characters were introduced, the overall building of the supporting cast was also well written in, Ronin made the transition from each character surrounding the main characters flowed effortless together in the plot mixture, instead of drowning them. Obviously I can’t leave out the real reason we read these romance novels, the steamy moments between Veronica and Caleb were beyond drool worthy, though haven’t rolled into mind-blow monkey sex scenes just yet, the passion between the two characters was very ‘hot and bothered’ delicious.
Secretly, I ordered book two, Always Red – I am really excited to finish the duology. I really want to see how the premise and characters evolve, or if this is the best Ronin has in her bag of tricks. I definitely think I will be a continued reader of Ronin, for my first novel read of hers, I was definitely impressed.