Monday, July 22, 2013

NICE AND HOT MEN OF NA

I love New Adult literature. Love it. I love the raw edges, the intensity, the desperate passion of it. The characters walk a high wire--and for the first time in their lives, they don't have a net. It's electric.

One thing I've noticed as I've watched this genre come into its own, though--there is a plethora of tattooed bad boys, rock stars, bikers, boxers, wealthy playboys, etc. These are the alpha males. Physically powerful and intimidating, tending to keep emotions (with the exception of anger) close to the vest. Often ragingly possessive, often prone to jealousy. And in all these books, that possessiveness and jealousy are portrayed as romantic, because he just feels so much for the heroine. But I don't know, guys ... I really struggle with books that appear to glorify what feels to me like a borderline abusive kind of dynamic (abuse, after all, isn't just about hitting. It's about possession and control).

I would classify myself as a strong, empowered woman. And when I read books where the guy loses his shit when he thinks the girl is looking at someone else, or where he physically intimidates her, controls her, makes decisions for her ... I don't swoon. Instead, I want to knee that dude in the balls. As a writer, I don't want to write guys like that. I'm well aware they're popular, and some women LOVE them--and that's fine, because we're all different, and this is a matter of taste. Plenty of strong, empowered women like the bad boys.

But I have to believe there are other readers out there who are craving a non-jerky, non-controlling sort of romance hero.

It doesn't mean he can't be tough. Or have a tattoo. It doesn't mean he's weak. In fact, often, this kind of romance hero has more control over himself and his emotions than the dude who punches walls. This kind of hero can enjoy when a strong heroine is strong. He won't treat her like a child. Sometimes he'll be in charge, and sometimes she will. And when she is, he'll cheer her on and trust her and respect her. I want to read this kind of romance. I also write this kind of romance.

And I want to celebrate books that feature this kind of hero. A guy who's respectful. Whose first instinct isn't to be snarky or jerky or mean. Who can deal with himself when his heroine has a life and makes her own choices, and who stands strong behind her while she fights her own battles.

I'm on a mission to read and discuss books with these heroes in them. I've started a page on this blog where I'll feature them. I'd appreciate recommendations, with one stipulation--don't recommend your own book. Let someone else do that for you. Recommend one you've read where you fell in love with the hero, and tell us why!

To start, let me offer two examples from popular NA books (that I happen to ADORE):

Garrick from Losing It by Cora Carmack


Lucas from Easy by Tammara Webber

Now--tell me what I should read, and tell me whether you gravitate to these characters or not!



31 comments:

  1. I love this post. I'm not a fan of the alpha men in fiction, especially the ones who come off as potentially abusive or controlling. There's nothing sexy about that. I love the nice guys. Fortunately there are tons of great examples of those compared to the opposite extreme.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great post! I LOVED Flat-Out Love by Jessica Park. Matt made me swoon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Flat-Out Love is one of my favorite books. Ever.

      Delete
    2. I'm glad you both loved it! I haven't read it, but based on your recs, Flat-Out Love is now on my Kindle! Thanks!

      Delete
    3. You are going to love that book. Hands down one of my favorites of all time.

      Delete
  3. I LOVE Garrick, but now that I've read Faking It, I might love Cade even more. Yay for the golden boys!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Faking It is already in the queue, but I'll probably bump it up because so many people seem to like Cade. I did love Losing It, that's for sure!

      Delete
  4. I agree with this. Some of these "alpha-males" can be interesting to read about, and finding out why they are this way can be an emotional roller coaster that is fun to ride. But I too, love to read about the guys who still have a lot going on, but who are tender and caring. And not debilitating in their actions at times. I agree with Lucas from Easy and also Matt from Flat Out Love. The other guy that comes to mind immediately for me is Will from the Slammed series by Colleen Hoover. Such a great guy! And he has a whole lot of stuff going on in his life, but he isn't trying to be controlling. He isn't jealous or possessive on the extreme side. Also, Hoover's male lead in Hopeless, Holder, is another guy like that. Although, Will definitely holds a special place in my heart. Great post by the way! Can't wait to see what other's have to say.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for these recommendations! I can't believe I haven't yet read Colleen Hoover's books, but now I'm DEFINITELY going to have to--and I'll start with Slammed :)

      Delete
    2. Well between Slammed and Flat Out Love, I think you are going to be a happy reader for sure! I couldn't put either one down!

      Delete
    3. Yes! Will Cooper. Love him!

      Delete
    4. I loved Holder in Hopeless, he was amazing to me, especially after reading Losing Hope!

      Delete
  5. Friday Night Alibi by Cassie Mae (released next week!) is NA with a sweet guy. 3 Sides To A Circle by Jolene Perry and Janna Watts, actually, pretty much anything NA by Jolene Perry has non-Alpha males.

    Is it okay to recommend my own books? My novel, Blindsided, has a non-Alpha male, too. It's the second in a series, but you don't have to have read the first for it to make sense. The first book in the series has a VERY Alpha male.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Excellent, excellent post. I'm in complete agreement.

    Tracey Garvis Graves

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, I thought it would delete everything, not leave behind my profile. I re-published under a different account below for which I actually check my email since I wanted to follow this post. I want suggestions for books with nice guys too.

      Delete
  8. Amen! I have friends who love that stereotypical bad boy and that is fine. However, I can't ever get into them or the books and feel just as you do. The relationships always make me cringe.

    It feels like there isn't much out there for those of us who like the nice guys in New Adult. I'll follow your blog so I can keep up with recommendations when you find them.

    I loved Easy as it is my favorite New Adult book. I also enjoyed Losing It. I see you have already put Flat-Out Love on your to-read list and you'll immediately want to read the companion novel when you finish. That is also a favorite. I loved Slammed as well.

    Depending on what you like there is a lesser known Louisiana author who wrote Life on the Edge (by Jennifer Comeaux) which can be read as a stand alone or you can continue on with the series. It is New Adult with a nice hero. I loved how she incorporated the skating world and she captures that aspect really well. The heroine is a professional skater with aspirations to go to the Olympics. It leans to the flowery versus edgy so you have to know what you like. I loved that it broke the trend of what I had been reading.

    Some of the others that I loved are actually YA so don't fit what you are looking for (My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick and Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E Smith). I am looking forward to seeing what everyone else recommends because I am craving more of these guys too.

    Oh, and have you read Tammara Webber's series Between the Lines? It is worth a read but it has a slightly younger feel than Easy.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Falcon in How it Rolls by Lila Felix, Evan in the Out of Breath series by Rebecca Donovan, Josh in the Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay. Read all of Colleen Hoover's books, you won't regret one! Left Drowning by Jessica Park is fantastic. That's just a few off the top of my head.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hadn't heard of some of these--thank you!

      Delete
  10. The one that pops into mind right away is Trey from The Only Exception by Magan Vernon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have The Only Exception on my Kindle and am excited to read it!

      Delete
  11. Oh, I liked Edge of Never, too. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Read and loved it :) Andrew is interesting because he can be rough, but I loved how sweet he was with Camryn.

      Delete
  12. Josh Bennett from The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Milay, any of Colleen Hoover's books, any of AL Jackson's books, A Different Blue by Amy Harmon, The Good Life by Jodie Beau, and any of Charles Sheehan-Miles Thompson sisters books are great reads with nice guys.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ohhh I loved A Different Blue. I agree.

      Delete
  13. Great topic for a post! I'm a huge fan of New Adult too.

    Just finished The Sea of Tranquility and Josh did put his fist through a door, so not sure he fits this into this mold. Although he was pretty mild-mannered throughout the rest of the book, with a bit of a jealous side.

    I absolutely LOVED Going Under by S. Walden. Ryan is unbelievably sweet and caring, and he rides a skateboard instead of a motorcycle. This book isn't for the faint of heart because of its heavy subject matter, but it made me an instant fan of this author and Ryan had a lot to do with that.

    I also thought Trent from Ten Tiny Breaths by K.A. Tucker was a sweetheart, although he does have the tats and token motorcycle.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The trappings--tats, motorcycle--are merely that, I think. I don't mind those at all! For me, it's more the out-of-control anger, jealousy, snark, and proneness to physical violence that I find off-putting--the opposite of sexy. I also tend to gravitate toward more edgy, heavy subject matter ... I write tortured heroes, after all :) I'll definitely put Ten Tiny Breaths and Going Under on the TBR!

      Delete
    2. Trent was really awesome, what a great book. One Tiny Lie is also great by KA Tucker.

      Delete
  14. Funny that you posted both those books as your examples. I loved Lucas and Garrick (also Dean Holder from 'Hopeless') from the very first. Thanks for this post.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Ben (Ben Shaw) from Grounding Quinn and Beautiful Things Never Last, by Steph Campbell, is another empathetic, generous and supportive nice guy, even though Quinn really puts that to the test!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thank you! Thank you! Love this article and wrote down all of these suggestions. I agree with the male choices above and have a few more to add. I like the darker stories also but that plot seems to be everywhere these days. Here are a few "less tortured" characters:
    On The Island (TJ) by Tracey Garvis-Graves. Rainbow Rowell's Attachments (Lincoln)and Eleanor & Park (Park). E&P might be more "teen". Priscilla Glenn's Back To You (Michael) & Emancipating Andie (Chase). Playing Along (George-a less jerky rockstar) by Rory Samantha Green. Jennifer Echols has mostly YA but Going Too Far (John) was excellent. Gayle Forman writes beautiful male leads in Just One Day (Willem) and If I Stay (Adam) followed by Where She Went.

    ReplyDelete