Saturday, August 30, 2014

ARC REVIEW - HARD KNOX (The Outsider Chronicles #1) by Nicole Williams:

TITLE: Hard Knox
SERIES: The Outsider Chronicles
AUTHOR: Nicole Williams
AGE GROUP: New Adult
GENRE: Contemp. Romance
RELEASE DATE: Aug. 12, 2014
PUBLISHER: Self-Published
FORMAT: eBook and Paperback
PAGES: Approx. 310

RATING: 4.5 Stars!

Knox Jagger. The name inspires resent in every male at Sinclair University, want in every female, and contempt in Charlie Chase.

Charlie can be summed up in three words: independent, independent, and independent. To Charlie, Knox epitomizes everything that’s wrong with college males: prolific one-night stands, drunken senseless fights, and a body that hints at prioritizing gym time over study time.

As an up-and-coming writer for Sinclair University’s newspaper, Charlie’s tasked with getting to the bottom of who’s been dropping little white pills into girls’ drinks at parties. In an ocean of All-American boys sporting polo shirts and innocent smiles, Knox is the obvious suspect. As evidence piles up against the bad boy of Sinclair, Charlie becomes more and more certain it isn’t Knox. But when her drink is dosed at a party and she wakes up on Knox’s couch the next morning, Charlie’s left with more questions than answers when it comes to Knox Jagger.

How can Charlie ever hope to uncover the truth behind a guy so closed off he’s become . . .

Hard Knox.

REVIEWERS NOTE: Hard Knox is book one in The Outsiders Chronicles series and is a New Adult, Contemporary Romance written by Nicole Williams. I was gifted a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review through AToMR Tours.

4.5 Love Drugged Stars!
There’s A New Bad-Boy Book-Boyfriend In Town, And His Name Is Knox Jagger! 

The Review: 
Nicole Williams does it again, treating us to another fabulous read with a tough-as-nails, intelligent heroine and a sexy, brooding bad-boy with a beautiful albeit damaged heart.

I loved this read, which had so many quotable paragraphs, I couldn’t just pick a handful of favorites, so I didn't pick any. I’d probably have to quote the whole book! And the dialogue was sharp and witty and plain awesome in every way. The characters were a LOT of fun to read and the story itself was smart and angsty. I am a huge fan of this authors Crush series. In fact, I go around shouting “I heart you Jude Ryder” at random moments during my day to make myself feel better when things get tough. But my boy Jude has some serious competition on the “perfect hero” category. Insert Knox Jagger here! 

This was a great read from beginning to end. I loved every moment of it!

Charlie Chase is a sophomore in college and with her cynical and amusing attitude, which she unleashes on the campus populace with an eye opening column with the campus paper, she’s not the school favorite and since she tries to shy away from anything trendy, popular or even remotely flighty, she’s not a boy magnet either. However, after catching the eye of the most notorious womanizer on campus, things are about to change for Charlie in a big way, especially when suddenly it looks like someone is out to drug her with the date rape drug, Rohypnol, which seems to be sweeping it’s way across campus.

When she goes in search of her next big story, Charlie, who prides herself on being aware of her surroundings, somehow gets drugged. Just when she realizes her life is about to take a very dark turn, she’s saved by the most unlikely of heroes. 

Knox Jagger, known to all as Hard Knox, is a mysterious, walking contradiction. With a reputation as a man-whore and a brawler and with his I-Don’t-Give-A-Damn attitude, it’s hard to separate man from myth but once seeing how much trouble Charlie’s in, he starts to open up in unexpected ways. 

As they search out who's trying to harm Charlie, they form a friendship that starts with sparks and ends in fireworks. However, both of them are keeping secrets and there’s definitely a dangerous bad-guy on campus not only looking to hurt Charlie but is also finding his way through the female student body. Charlie has to figure out if it’s the devil she knows or some unseen villain wanting to add her V-Card to his notch.

Charlie has now become one of my all-time favorite heroines in this genre! I loved her quick witted, no-nonsense, snarky attitude. She didn’t take crap from anyone and she was so clear headed, it was almost unreal. She was fiercely independent, had goals, she wasn’t flighty, she didn’t appreciate fluff and her head was firmly planted in the here and now. I loved everything about her. Her trust and loyalty was refreshing and even when faced with insurmountable odds, she remained calm, trying to process the best way to achieve a better outcome. And even her “innocence” wasn’t eye-roll worthy because there was a real reason she hadn’t completed the deed. She wasn’t saving herself, she wasn’t shy, she wasn’t pained by some traumatic past. She was just Charlie and she wasn’t in a rush to get it out of the way and she wasn’t out to be intimate with just anyone. It just didn’t concern her at that point in her life and I thought that was perfect. She was who she was and she was proud of herself. And in her own way, she was out to help the world be a better place. Charlie was a wonderful, insightful character and I wish I had known myself that well at her age. Oh and I HAVE to mention how AWESOME her quoted t- shirts were!

Knox was oh-so-sexy. Sure he was a self-professed man-whore. Sure he enjoyed the sordid benefits of the panty dropping the local female population generously bestowed upon him. And he helped secure his bad-boy reputation by letting his fists fly whenever he felt confronted but there was so much more lurking behind that amazingly-muscled-defined-exterior than a mindless ape. He had soul. He had heart and he had passion. He also had a traumatic past but that didn’t stop him from trying to make a difference in his own way. His generosity and care of Charlie was swoon-worthy. And I loved that though they connected instantly, it wasn’t a rushed, overnight love that shot open without time. It was a seeded, bloomed, flowered and eventually exploded when they finally came together. Their chemistry was undeniable!!!

The Wrap Up: 
Nicole Williams has a beautiful, fluid writing style that creates a wonderful tale of hardships in life and characters who are surviving those trials. This book was refreshing, sweet and gripping. I read it all in one sitting and I simply couldn’t put it down. From the riveting story to the compelling characters, I’m once again in awe of this author. I can’t wait for her next book in this series!

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