Saturday, 14 June 2014

Review: Swagger - Nikki Prince

Swagger by Nikki Prince
Nicole McCurdy's rating: 4 of 5 stars

I am such a sucker for reformed bad-boy heroes in books and Cruz- the reformed bad boy of Nikki Prince’s Swagger was everything I could have wanted in a character designed to steal my heart right from the get go. He’s plagued by PTSD after serving in the war against Afghanistan as well as having suffered through the hell of an abusive childhood while the only shining beacon of hope and affection he had in his young life had been the blossoming relationship between him and Roxie, a relationship that was cut brutally short nine years ago, before it ever really got going but through all the years they’ve been apart Cruz still feels that connection and depth of love he once experienced with Roxie.

Roxie too is a girl battling her own demons in the form of an absentee father who abandoned her after a gut-wrenching tragedy occurred in her family years before. Roxie’s a beautiful but seemingly lonely character. She’s so resilient in the face of such adversity, still managing to retain some semblance of compassion and humility even when faced with the vitriol and constant abuse at the hands of her mentally and physically ill mother. Cruz is a beacon of hope and strength for her too; they both want to save each other from their own respective darkness. “He makes me feel like everything will be all right, even when it seems like it won’t.”
Nikki Prince is very good at giving her character’s winning personalities without making them seem too perfect or cookie-cutter. Cruz and Roxie are both damaged in their own ways but because they both have fighting spirits and a beautiful chemistry together it works well with what some might see as an insta-love kind of storyline, but taking into account their histories and that they’ve both thought about each other and longed for each other for nine years, no one can really argue that it’s a love-at-first-sight storyline, their relationship simply progresses at a very rapid pace. You wait nine years for the love of your life why wait one more day to declare it?

It started off a little bit slow but once it gained momentum the drama and angst came hurtling at you. I smirked my way through some bits, I sighed in envy at Cruz’s love for Roxie – “…I’d give anything for this girl. Anything. All she needs to do is ask. No…that isn’t true, even if she didn’t ask- If I could do it, I’d stumble over hands and feet to get it done.” I cried for Roxie after she discovered the truth and I frowned a little once I realised I was almost at the end of the book. Over all it was a very good story and well written although there were more than a few instances where Nikki has confused which tense she wanted to write in but it never detracted from the overall enjoyment of the book. A lovely tale of heartache, strength and hope.

Swagger (Radioactive Tales of Love)

Nine years, two lives, one love.

We all have dreams. Mine were filled with college and the boy I loved, Cruz Montoya. But all that went up with smoke when he got sent to Juvenile Hall, my sister killed herself, and Dad up and left. My mother and I use that terminology loosely became a monster transferring her pains and disappointment and I became trapped.

Honorably discharged I’m back in Arlington Heights, the small town that only remembers the black sheep persona of my youth. I could list a dozen reasons for my return, but the only one that matters is Roxanne Waters. I should probably leave her be. I’m not much of a catch with PTSD and the childhood memories rattling around in my brain. Yet, I can’t walk away. There’s a darkness that surrounds the death of her sister, a secrets that’s slowly killing her. I’m going to find out everything. This is the moment of truth to see if we can make it or if I’m nine years too late.

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