Book & Author Info:
Author: Lark O’Neal
Publication Date: December 20, 2015
Genre: New Adult/Romance
What it’s about:
When snowboard queen Kaitlin Bouvier gets a weird text from her friend Tyler—who has been missing for months—she tracks him to Iceland, where a volcano is threatening to blow any second.
She’s been in love with Tyler since childhood and the two shared a few very steamy nights last summer in Italy, giving Kaitlin hope that there might be a real chance for them.
Unfortunately, Tyler is as elusive as the wind. When the volcano does erupt, Kaitlin is trapped in Reykjavik with a group of young travelers who each have their own reasons for being on the road, including the very sexy, very smart grad student Gabe Walsh, who teaches her how hot her blood can boil. She tells herself he’s just a diversion—there’s no way their crazy lives can work.
☆➹⁀☆☆ 4 stars ☆➹⁀☆☆
Extreme by Lark O’Neal is a New Adult romance with a dash of adventure. I was pleasantly surprised when Extreme did not follow the usual NA formula. The story does not have the usual level of melodrama and angst I’ve come to expect in this genre. The narration was also unique. Kaitlin is the main character and primary narrator, but periodically there is a chapter from the point of view of the guys. Those refreshing small changes made for a more interesting read.
Kaitlin and Gabe are very likable characters, and I felt their connection and chemistry right away. I usually don’t buy the instant attraction/love idea, but O’Neal’s treatment of these two characters made their whirlwind relationship work for me. I appreciated that there wasn’t a rush into an intimate relationship, and they were both presented as strong individuals.
Kaitlin is a gold-medal winning snowboarder. She grew up a tomboy who was crushing on one of her older brother ’s friends, Tyler. She has been extremely lucky in that she can focus on her sport with full financial support of her wealthy family. Lest you think she is a snobby trust fund kid, she is down to Earth and totally focused on going for gold in the Olympics.
Gabe is a geophysicist who is working on his doctorate in volcanology. He is definitely more mature and a little bit older than Kaitlin. He’s just as dedicated to his studies as Kaitlin is about snowboarding. His good looks, brains, and charm make Kaitlin take a chance on him.
While in Iceland, Kaitlin meets several interesting characters. These young gap-year travelers don’t add too much to the story, but they do provide some color and a backdrop for readers to get to know more about Kaitlin. I didn’t feel like Tyler was developed much more that the other secondary characters even though he is the sole reason that Kaitlin has traveled to Iceland.
O’Neal’s writing is crisp, clean and descriptive, and her plot is well paced. O’Neal’s descriptions of Iceland’s northern lights, mountains, and folklore inspired me to add it to my list of places to visit. She snuck in some important messages about following your passion and being open to compromise into her sweet, tender story of love and friendship. I was charmed by the main characters’ magical connection as well as the ABBA song, Take A Chance On Me, mystically coming on the radio whenever the two needed a nudge to take a leap of faith in one another.
About the author: Lark O’Neal has waited tables, dispensed drugs to schizophrenics, loaded trucks, answered phones in a call center and tended bar, but the only thing she ever really wanted was to write novels. She writes new adult contemporary romance and paranormal young adult. As a noted romance and women’s fiction writers, she has won many awards for her books, and writes full time from Colorado. Connect with Lark: Website | Facebook | Twitter
Thanks to Xpresso Book Tours and the author for the opportunity to read and review Extreme.