Series: Seeking Serenity #1
Genres: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: October 15, 2013
Format: eBook, 329 pages
How I got it: I bought it!
Add it: Goodreads
Buy it: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes
Graduate student Autumn McShane has had her share of heartbreak. She's been abandoned and betrayed and she lost her beloved mother in a tragic car accident five months ago. That loss damaged her body and fractured her spirit but she's learning to recover, until her ex-boyfriend returns to town, intent on making her life miserable.
Declan Fraser hates her ex as much as Autumn does, but the last thing she needs is to put her trust in the hands of another man, especially one like Declan: his hard body and lulling Irish accent makes more than a few girls weak-kneed. The talented rugby player is rude and sarcastic, with tattooed, muscular arms and a cocky attitude, but he's the only one who can help Autumn win an ill-advised bet that, if lost, could cost her more than she's willing to pay. The reluctant alliance between Declan and Autumn stirs up cravings she doesn't want to admit, but Declan is a hard man to resist.
Just when Autumn starts letting down her carefully constructed walls to the sexy bad boy, he betrays her when she needs him most. Autumn suspects Declan has secrets, and she is determined to uncover what drove him away from her, even if that means fraternizing with the enemy. But will the truth return Declan to her arms or add to the scars on her heart?
I … don’t even know where to start with my review for Chasing Serenity. That’s part of the reason I’ve put it off for so long. This is likely to be less “organized, coherent thoughts” and more “mind ramble to get out all the feels”. You’ve been warned.
I’d never heard of this book until my bookish bestie pitched it to me as her “favorite college romance”. That’s a strong statement. Who can pass that by? Certainly not me. So I ran off to Amazon, saw it was only 99¢, one-clicked it and decided it would be my next read. I jumped in as soon as I finished the book I was reading and found myself pretty much totally addicted right from the first few pages. I didn’t look back after that. In fact, I basically mentally kicked and screamed anytime I had to put the book down.
Autumn and Declan were both wonderful, though I wasn’t so sure about the latter in the beginning. Let’s just say he didn’t make the best first impression to either me or Autumn. (Spoiler alert: he grew on me relatively quickly and absolutely reached swoony book boy status.) It was easy to like and respect Autumn — for her strength, determination, wit and sass. She had been through a thing no person should ever have to endure and, while it did very clearly affect her, I admired her strength. I understood why she was closed off. Because I spent the entire book in her head, I just felt like I “got her”.
Declan was also amazing… even if it took a little bit of time to see that. Some might even say he was “fecking” swoony. (I certainly would.) He was a complicated guy — I mean, it’s not often you get a geeky, athletic guy in books. (Give me more, please.) If I’m being totally honest, I did want to smack him sometimes though. Those situations were generally resolved quickly though. I think the biggest reason I struggled at times is because I didn’t *quite* trust him as much as I wanted to. What were his intentions? Why was he so into Autumn? Whyyyyyy was the obnoxious Heather hanging around if he was “all in” for Autumn? Honestly, I wish the book had been written in dual POV so I wasn’t so uncertain.
Full disclosure: I was floating somewhere between 4 and 5 stars for this one because of ONE situation that occurred towards the end. It’s a scene I might’ve taken far too seriously, in retrospect. After I read the follow-up novella, Behind the Pitch, I felt like I had new insight into Declan and that pushed my rating back up to the 5 I wanted to give it all along. Behind the Pitch is written solely from Declan’s POV and that’s why I say I think including his POV here would’ve made all the difference. For me, at least.
I’m not going to tell you anything else about the plot of this one. I feel like it’s one of those books that’s just best experienced, knowing as little as possible going in. What I will say is that Chasing Serenity was a gorgeous book. It was a lovely coming of age story with characters I just couldn’t get enough of. However, it was NOT an easy read at times. The emotions are so raw and real. It was SERIOUSLY angsty — not that there’s anything wrong with that. Who doesn’t love a good angsty read? But, it was also light and funny at times. It was sweet and sexy. It was loaded with feels and there were more than a couple tears shed. In fact, I think I went through ALL THE EMOTIONS during this one. I do love drowning in feels sometimes… and I definitely did that here.
I’m so glad my bookish bestie told me about this book. It definitely did things to my heart. I’ve already read the follow-up novella AND the second book in the Seeking Serenity series and I’m totally in love. Now I just need to make time to read the rest of the series. Eden Butler is one of my new favorite new-to-me authors for 2017. I can’t wait to tackle the rest of her backlist!
It doesn’t make sense for me to embrace the love of the game more than my own safety, but rugby is in my blood, it breathes and thrives within and echoes who I am.
The climb ahead of me will be slow, stinging, but I’ve got my girls, I’m stubborn as hell and no amount of limping or drunken rugby assholes or returning ex-boyfriends is going to stop me.
Passion is not the same as love. Love shouldn’t consume you, shouldn’t breathe fire and rage and venom inside you.
“We spark. The pair of us, we bleeding spark, McShane.”
“I’m not for you, Declan. I don’t think I’m for anyone. I don’t want to be in love with anyone, but I do like you. You’re insufferable and an utter alpha male, but I do like you.”
“The whole of life’s questions, even those of the heart, can be resolved by the words and knowledge of Joss Whedon.”
Have you read any of Eden Butler’s books?
Do you have a favorite?