I Promise You Won't Learn A Thing From This Blog

The official blog for author Ashley Chappell. Check back every week for a few laughs at my expense or, if you know the love-hate process that is writing, commiseration.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

HOT Book Review - 'Strength' by Carrie Butler

The best part about offering to do book reviews is that sometimes you find one that knocks your socks off.

Welcome to my stop for the Courage blog tour, organized by Grapevine Book Tours.

Well, Carrie Butler's first book in her New Adult Paranormal Romance series did way more than that to me. Strength steamed, smoked, and melted my socks off! This series is shaping up to be an exciting ride that I can best describe as Mortal Instruments (though Butler's writing is FAR better than Clare's) as Michael Crichton might have written it: It's smart, it's full of twists, and the bad guys aren't always the ones you expect.

Her supporting characters are thoroughly entertaining and full of individual quirks. Butler certainly didn't skimp on developing them - I feel like I could have a conversation with any one of them! But her main characters, Rena and Wallace, I enjoyed for more reasons than I can count. For one thing, Wallace is a gentleman of the variety that has been so sorely missed in recent bestselling romance novels. In a genre that has been overtaken by self-obsessed jackasses who can barely make room in the mirror for their love interests and boy-crazy insecure damsels who spend most of the book worrying whether they behaved well for their ego-maniacs, this book represents a wonderful return to characters with integrity and inner strength (not to make a pun!). Rena is relatable and even admirable as she keeps a cool head on her shoulders and always seems to think of others first, no matter what difficult task lies ahead. This is one girl who doesn't know the meaning of 'Woe is me' and I absolutely dig that about her.

And let me go ahead and put this out there... I'm definitely crushing on Wallace. When you read the book you will, too, whether you admit it or not.

I don't want to give any spoilers so I'll stop there, but check out the awesomeness for yourself and get ready for the second book in the Mark of Nexus series coming at you this month! Courage releases on 10/15 and I personally can't wait to my next Wallace fix :-)


When college student Rena Collins finds herself nose-to-chest with the campus outcast, her rumor-laced notions are shattered. Handsome, considerate, and seemingly sane, Wallace Blake doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, screaming and banging on the walls of his dorm room. Hell, he doesn’t look like he spends his nights alone, period.

Too curious for her own good, Rena vows to uncover the truth behind Wallace’s madman reputation--and how two seconds of contact had left her with bruises. Of course, there are a few setbacks along the way: guilt, admiration, feelings of the warm and fuzzy variety…

Not to mention the unwanted attention of Wallace's powerful, supernaturally-gifted family.

They’re a bloodline divided by opposing ideals, two soon-to-be warring factions that live in secret among us. When Rena ends up caught in their crossfire, Wallace has no choice but to save her by using his powers. Now they’re really in trouble. With war on the horizon and Rena’s life in the balance, he needs to put some distance between them. But Rena won’t let go. If fighting is what it takes to prove her own strength and keep Wallace in her life, then that’s what she’ll do--even if it means risking a whole lot more than her heart.



The Inimitable Carrie Butler!
Carrie Butler daydreamed her way through college—until they thrust a marketing degree into her hands, slapped a summa cum laude seal on the corner, and booted her out into a less-than-stellar job market. Instead of panicking at the prospect of unemployment, she used her Midwestern logic to steer into the skid and point her life in the direction she really wanted to go: writing out those daydreams.

Her passion for New Adult fiction led her to co-found NA Alley—a widely recognized informational hub for the category. She is the author of STRENGTH (Mark of Nexus #1) and COURAGE (Mark of Nexus #2).

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Got a question for Carrie? Ask away!


  1. Anonymous6:35 AM

    Wonderful review, Ashley! Thanks for sharing and participating in the tour. :)

    1. I thoroughly enjoyed it! 'Courage' is first up on my weekend reading list :-) Thanks for stopping by!

  2. You are going to make Carrie very happy!

    1. Then I'm just returning the favor - her book made ME very happy first :-)

  3. Hi, Ashley,

    Terrific review.... I am a big fan of Carrie's writing! Nice to meet you! I review Courage on the 25th!

    1. Isn't she fabulous? I'm so glad I got to be a part of it - I'll swing by and see yours on the 25th :-)

      Great to meet you, Michael!

    2. Greetings human Ashley,

      Delighted to note my adoring human fan, Carrie, has been featured on your lovely site. My human was okay in posing on her book cover :) A very thoughtful review. Hi Carrie!

      Pawsitive wishes,

      Penny the Jack Russell dog and modest internet superstar!

    3. Be still my heart, Penny visited my humble blog! I am thrilled to have you visit, Penny - I'm glad you enjoyed the post! :-)

  4. congrats to Carrie for making yet book for my hot and steamy man to come out of the pages, and join me on the couch as i read. *waves at Ashley!*


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