Monday, May 30, 2016

Until Now (Not Yet #2) by Laura Ward Review

Hey readers! Ethan here with another great review for you guys. This time we've got one of my all time favorite romance authors that I couldn't love any more if I tried. The sequel to one of my favorite debut novels of all time. What's on the chopping block this time? Until Now, the second novel in Laura Ward's new adult Not Yet series. Before we get to my thoughts, here's a bit about the novel and our author:

Dean Goldsmith is Indiana University’s star quarterback, and his dreams are about to come true. His undefeated season means he has a legitimate shot at the NFL. If he stays focused. Football comes first.

College senior, Grace Yeates, is determined to defy the odds. She is months away from graduating with a business degree, something no one thought she would be able to pull off. All she has to do is focus on her number one priority. Family comes first.

Dean has no time for distractions, but when a gorgeous, snarky, redheaded waitress refuses to tell him her name, he can’t seem to focus on anything else.

Grace knows she can’t let herself get caught up in a guy, particularly a man-whore like Dean, no matter how charming or sexy. She has two hearts to look out for now and no room for a Dean-sized distraction.

Everyone in Dean’s life agrees that Grace is the kind of complication his career doesn’t need. Grace knows that Dean is the kind of risk her heart shouldn’t want.

But what if the last person you think you need, the one you shouldn’t want, becomes the one you can’t live without? Can their biggest distraction actually be the focus they were missing all along?


Laura Ward

Laura Ward

Laura Ward lives in Maryland with her loud and very loving three children and husband. She married her college sweetheart and is endlessly grateful for the support he has given her through all their years together, and especially toward her goal of writing books. When not changing diapers, driving to lacrosse practice, or checking spelling homework, Laura is writing or reading romance novels.  

Find Laura Ward

My Thoughts:

I'm just going to lay this out here before we even start: feels ahead. And I mean lots of them.

It isn't often in our bookish lives that we find an author who is able to craft stories that reach deep and touch us in ways we never thought literature could. It isn't often that I, myself as a male reader, find myself so caught up within the emotions of a novel that I have to stop myself from totally getting lost in the emotional complexities of a story. Even more rare is a story that touches me so deeply that I have to immediately turn around a re-read the entire thing after finishing the first time. Recapturing the story and allowing it to fill me with great joy for a second time.

This, my friends, is the joy of experiencing a Laura Ward novel.

Regardless of how many reads of hers I devour, the outcome is always the same. Absolute awe and respect for the stories she crafts. Until Now was absolutely no exception. In fact, I think it's her best work yet.

It's not lightly that I type this sentences, but I would have to say that Until Now has probably become one of my top five all-time favorite New Adult Romance novels. Make room on the shelf Chelsea Fine and Sarina Bowen, you've got company!

Before I get too far into this, it is important to note that Until Now is a standalone sequel in Ward's Not Yet series, but this is probably one of the only instances I can think of where reading book one isn't necessary. I'll be honest, it's been nearly two years since I read book one and I didn't really remember it too clearly until getting into Until Now. So please don't be put off if you haven't read book one.

One of my favorite aspects of Ward's writing style is how fearless she can be. Ward doesn't listen to conventional genre standards and instead writes from the heart. Reminding us all that not everyone lives in the black and white and to embrace the grey zone. Not all new adults are the same. Everyone has different experiences in life that lead them to become the person that they are. Environment and societal factors impact us greatly, but Ward reminds readers that every choice you make has consequences on your future. Those choices can either become you or define you, the choice is up to you. It's a beautiful reminder of how we ourselves shape our own destiny in a time of our lives that is often the most challenging and impactful.

Laura Ward truly gets what it means to be a New Adult and words can't fully describe the respect this reader has for that.

Until Now shows us an entirely different side of the college life that we don't often see in mainstream novels of the genre. The womanizing, constant partying, laid back stress-free fun part of college? Yeah, that's definitely not the reality for most college students and instead of glamorizing that lifestyle, Ward tells it how it is.

The plot of this one isn't what makes the story stand out. It's your standard love story between college aged jock and nerdy girl. It's whats under the surface that will break you as a reader. Learning there is so much more to college and love stories than what you've been led to believe in a genre of unrealistic expectations. I won't say too much about the plot, but I will tell you that each and every page is worth the read and you absolutely will catch the feels. All the feels.

Ward really hits the ball out of the park with the character development in this one. Dean and Grace both are two of the most multi-dimensional characters I have seen in the genre and earn huge thumbs up from me. Just when you think Ward has explored all of the crevices of their psyches, another bombshell is dropped. It's truly a work of art to maneuver your way through their character development and emerge on the other side with a deep respect for not only their characters on the page, but for all the real life New Adults that have lived through the lives and situations they have. Their own personal stories will have all readers reflecting on their own lives in a way that makes Until Now even more special.

In true Ward fashion, she writes on some truly hard-hitting themes such as death, depression, loss, adulthood, responsibility, and sacrifice. While these are all very emotionally disturbing themes at times, Ward tackles them in the most intimate of ways, tying in the theme of the novel with the emotional plot and character development in a way all readers can appreciate.

Over the course of the past month, when it comes to this novel the phrase 'triggers' has been brought up be some readers. I know that all readers have their own triggers and tropes they either do not want to read or would like to be warned upfront about. Not me. I like having surprises in a novel that I can make my own decisions about. I have to say that I find it offensive that a reader wouldn't take a chance on a novel just because one thing may not potentially be explicitly mentioned upfront. That completely takes the joy out of reading for me. That being said, Until Now has a rather large plot twist that I didn't actually see coming that ended up making the novel incredible special and sentimental. I think most readers would agree. Again, Ward goes a bit outside of the box with her delivery, but it truly does add something special to the novel particularly involving the character development we see between Dean and Grace. I give Ward a huge amount of kudos and praise for the way she handled this non-conventional plot twist for a NA novel.

As you can clearly see, I loved every word of Until Now. It's one of the only novels I have actually re-read in a very long time. It's just that good. That being said, it should come as absolutely no surprise that I am granting Until Now a near-perfect 5-star review. I can't say enough about how incredible this story was. Be sure to add it to your TBR today you absolutely will not be disappointed!


Alright readers, that's all I have for you on the topic of Until Now by the incredible Laura Ward. As you guys well know, I absolutely love Laura Ward and every novel she has released thus far. Trust me when I tell you she is one author you're going to want to keep an eye on! Thanks so much for stopping by. Until next time, Happy Reading!


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