Monday, August 24, 2015

Belong to Me by Laura Howard (4 stars)

About Belong to Me

Belong to Me by Laura Howard
(Moore Crossing #1)
Publication date: March 26th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult, Romance

Kate and Noah thought they had the kind of love that could last through anything. Until their world crumbles out from beneath them. 

After months of separation, the tragic death of Jack, Kate's twin and Noah's best friend, throws them back together. As they try to heal from the horrific loss, will they be able to overcome old wounds or are they destined to live separately forever?

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Kate and Noah discovered love together but didn't build a solid foundation first. When things got tough, she bolted. Then, Kate's twin brother dies and she heads back home. Noah's there. They can't deny the magnetic attraction, but can it ever be more?

I look for four things in a memorable romance: strong characters (no whine, please), a slow build, emotions, and reality. I know... I'm not typical. Every once in a while, I can get lost in the love-at-first-sight quick read. But for something to stick with me, there has to be more.

Belong to Me hits on all of these points really well. Kate is a strong character who doesn't sit around and pine for Noah. When he disengages from the relationship, she leaves. Even when she comes back, she forces him to confront what went wrong the first time. Not until after giving into attraction, but I'm okay with that. Raw magnetism is cool. Overlooking life to be with someone (puppy dog eyes) is not. (It might also have something to do with the fact that I'm raising three girls who are now 15, 13, and 10). 

As far as emotions and reality, this story scores a home run. Not only is Kate dealing with her brother's death, but her family is suffering, she's reconnecting with her first love and facing their problems, and an old wound (a devastating loss) is reopened. You can't help but feel for everything she's going through. It's real life. And finding love even with the challenges of real life... to me, that's a true love story. Not love in a void.

I do wish there had been more of a slow build, but it's hard when the relationship started (and in backstory seemed to actually happen slowly) before the first page. Can I ask for a prequel novella? Still, by the end, I believed in them and was rooting for them. 

Oh, and I'm sappy about my endings. I love epilogues where we find out what happens in two or three years. Heck, maybe even five to ten. I don't want to give away what I wanted for this couple, but I didn't get it, and it left me a bit disappointed.

Overall, however, this is a heartwarming and memorable read. Perfect for those who love a New Adult romance with heat (but not erotica light like too many are), challenges, and rewards.

Rating: 4 stars

About the Author

Laura Howard lives in New Hampshire with her husband and four children. Her obsession with books began at the age of 6 when she got her first library card. Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and other girly novels were routinely devoured in single sittings. Books took a backseat to diapers when she had her first child. It wasn’t until the release of a little novel called Twilight, 8 years later, that she rediscovered her love of fiction. Soon after, her own characters began to make themselves known. The Forgotten Ones is her first published novel.