Friday, January 24, 2014

Book 3: Dangerous Boy

Posted by Dawn Dalton on 1:19 PM

Book 3Dangerous Boy
Author: Mandy Hubbard
Genre: YA Romantic Suspense

Full disclosure: Mandy Hubbard is my amazing agent. I hadn't heard of "Mandy Hubbard the author" before I signed with D4EO in late November 2013, and admittedly, I hadn't picked up one of her books. But I was pleasantly surprised to find a copy of Dangerous Boy at my local Chapters bookstore and can say with conviction, Mandy is not only Agent Awesome (truly), she's also a fantastic storyteller.

Dangerous Boy is a modern retelling of a "a classic gothic tale, full of suspense, lies and romance." Sharing which classic might spoil the twist ending, so I'll give you the official blurb, which is this:

Harper's new boyfriend Logan Townsend is everything she never knew she always wanted--tall, muscular, with tousled brown hair that falls effortlessly around his face. But what's most exciting about Logan is that he's exhilaratingly dangerous, and dating him allows Harper to say, "buh bye" to her good-girl past and "hello" to newfound adventure.

There's only one problem with Harper's otherwise heart-stopping romance: Logan's twin brother Daemon. Harper knows he's a bad seed, but she tries to look past his dark, icy stare and his chilling demeanor. After all, he and Logan are a package deal.

Then cow bones start appearing in people's mailboxes, a flock of birds show up dead, and all of the cars in the senior parking lot are given flat tires--and covered with blood-red handprints. Logan insists that Daemon isn't involved--sure, he's had some trouble in the past, but they moved to Harper's quiet northwest Washington town so that they could both start over.

Harper desperately wants to believe Logan, but the more he tries to protect his brother, the more she wonders what she isn't being told. Now, Harper must unearth the hidden secrets of the mysterious Townsend brothers' history if she and Logan are to have any hope of a future. But learning what brought Logan and Daemon to town won't put just her heart in jeopardy... She's playing with her life.

I really enjoyed this book, but I can see the tough line Mandy had to straddle—figure out the twist too soon, and the rest of the story could come crumbling down. Although I did see a spoiler before I began reading, it didn't deter from my enjoyment. Mandy throws in some clever red herrings that even had me questioning "who's really who."

I loved Harper. She's a bit more naive than your typical YA protagonist these days, which I found both refreshing and cute. It's been a long time since I've walked the hallowed halls of my own high school, but Mandy brought me back to a time when being with my "boyfriend" was the most important thing in the whole world. Harper is a much "better" student than I ever was, but she's the kind of girl I would have WANTED to hang out with. And clearly, she's popular—her circle of friends is supportive and tight-knit.

Logan is a fabulous "bad boy"—another character I could relate to, because let's face it, I've dated my share. (Some may argue I married the ultimate bad boy…though he's long left those rebellious days behind…) I didn't fall head over heels for him, but I can see why Harper does. That's not because he wasn't well written, or that their chemistry wasn't good (it was) — it was more of a function of knowing too much about the book and being "wary."

The story takes place in a small town—the same time in which Mandy lives—and while there were some "small town elements" (and, I suspect, some references to Mandy's real life surroundings: cows!) there is genuine tension. My heart DID race. I did turn the pages FAST.

Dangerous Boy is a wonderful introduction to a new author I can add to my "favorites" list.  I'm now on the hunt for the rest of Mandy's books, some which were written under the pseudo name Amanda Grace.

This week, I'm reading The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff. I can't believe how long it's been sitting on my shelf!

- Dawn

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