Monday, February 8, 2016

Review: Natexus by Victoria L James

Seven breaths left in her chest, yet I looked back at him. He wasn’t meant to be there on the darkest night of my life, but the mysterious Alex Law continued to make a habit of showing up when I least expected him. With one look in his eyes, everything I’d ever been before him drifted away, and everything I was about to become revolved around him.

Grief threatened to ruin me no matter how hard I fought, and Alex had demons of his own to deal with, yet we found a comfort in each other’s pain. We found ourselves alone, two people becoming one. Just us. Natalie and Alex. Natexus. As long as we had each other, we thought we could make it through anything.

We didn't know there were things out there waiting to destroy us: people we couldn’t escape, fates we couldn’t outrun and regrets we couldn’t avoid. Not all love stories go the same way, and ours was about to take a turn neither one of us could have foreseen. All I could do was stand by and watch as my world fell apart for a second time.

I knew there had been life before Alex Law.

I just had to figure out if there was life after him…

That beautiful, tragic first love of mine.
- Natalie Vincent.

5 Fantastic Stars!

Review by Jen Hagen 

Two things you must know about me:  1) I jump to the ending of a book after I’ve been reading for 5 minutes, and 2) I seldom read stories that involve teenage love.  Having said that, I went against the grain on both these items and can sum up the book in one word – INTENSE.   For whatever reason I decided I didn’t want to know any spoilers – I purposely closed my Goodreads window so that I wouldn’t be tempted to take a peek.  This story was INTENSE (I said it again) and I became a selfish person just so that I could finish it– my children’s homework got ignored and my little girl didn’t get her bath so that I could finish the book.   

I knew from the very first chapter that this author was going to have me under her spell with her writing.  It is phenomenal!  There is so much dialogue without a lot of speaking.  She is able to convey EVERYTHING a person is thinking and feeling…oh the feels…she was ripping my heart out the entire way.

Natalie meets Alex for the first time on a night that will forever change her world and fill it with grief.  Alex was a witness to this moment and he too was affected by its profound impact.  After this evening their interactions are very brief with only occasional glances and  practically no speaking.  But the bus rides to school…oh my gosh…how much sweeter could a 17-year-old boy get?

“I saw your pain, Natalie.  I saw it and I guess it’s why I get on the bus each morning.  I look at you every day because I want to…because I need to.  Something happened to me that night that I can’t explain.  I don’t need to hear you speak.  I’m not hot on conversation myself.  I just need to get on that bus every day, see you and make sure you’re alright.”  

Did your heart expand outside its cavity size yet?  Alex is amazing.  This young lad is wise beyond his years with an old soul.  My main reason for not particularly enjoying a young adult read is I have a difficult time believing how somebody can profess they are madly in love with another at such a young age.  This book had me believing that it’s possible for a 16-year-old to know more than I can at 44 years.

He quietened my mind.  He took charge of my fear.  He made the world fall away and the warmth take over.  He woke me up.  

Natalie’s despair disappears when Alex surrounds her.  Things are great between them.  They both require little speaking to convey their thoughts, and one thing that is definitely not spoken about is Alex’s family or anything about Alex’s background.  Where did he suddenly come from?  Whereas one night changed everything for Natalie, the same can be said for Alex – one night will forever alter his course. 

The Alex I’d come to know and love was gone, and in his place was a broken boy with hatred in his heart and defeat fresh in his mind.  I was losing him.

How do you move on from losing the love that became as normal to you as the sun rising?  What Natalie does is pretend…
I pretended not to think of him on my 18th birthday.
I pretended not to dream of him on my 19th birthday.
I pretended not to remember him on my 20th birthday.
I pretended not to wonder about him on my 21st birthday.
I pretended not to miss him on my 22nd birthday.

I debated putting that last quote in regarding her birthdays because it gives you the spoiler that this book spans years.  It’s not just a quick romance as some teenage loves can be but it’s a life-altering love that never ceases.  It truly is beautiful and one of the most gorgeous love stories I have read for a very long time.   

“My love for you is unconditional, whether you love me back or not.  I know that now.  It’s not just there if you’re available, or if you’re in trouble.  It doesn’t just live in me if you’re by my side.  It’s a lifelong thing.  I can’t help it any more than I can help breathing. You’re a part of me now.”

Alex just made my heart burst again.  But look up and read the quote…do you see the word available?  Is Natalie available after all these years?  Somebody was there to pick up her pieces and put her back together again.  I won’t say who it is, but it is somebody that is strong and loving.  He knows the ghost he competes with and he has assurance that Natalie and he are solid.  He is a good, good man.  He almost made me cry with his goodness and sincerity.

If ever there was a man who was capable of loving someone selflessly, it was [I’m not saying!].  He was made to be that guy – the one who put everyone else before him.  He was born to make people safe, make them feel cherished, make them feel wanted.  

Natalie has a very difficult choice to make and no matter who she chooses there is a going to be a decent man moving on.
“I don’t want a life without you in it,” I admitted to him, my throat aching and tight.
“You won’t have to have a life without me in it.  Maybe we just always meant to be the best of friends.”

Is your heart breaking yet?  This is an INTENSE (the perfect one-word adjective) read.  My Kindle highlights for this book have surpassed any other book.  I had such a difficult time choosing what to use.  There are so many paragraphs highlighted at a time, sometimes leading into an entire page of highlights.  

Not only is the story empowering, but the writing is breathtaking.  I hope you all give this writer with her unique writing a huge chance.  One last thing to know about me…I rarely give out 5 stars.  I can count on one hand how many I gave out last year…I give this book a solid 5!!  

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