Caged in Winter by Brighton Walsh


Though I didn't like this as much as I thought I would, it was an excellent New Adult read.

Winter depends on herself. Always has, always will. So when a random tattooed stranger leaps into her life and defends her against an unwelcome advance, she doesn't swoon at his chivalrous, knight-in-shining-armor bit. She's pissed off. She doesn't need someone to protect her when she can easily do it for herself.

Cade is instantly drawn to the fiery girl who stood up for herself, unwilling to accept his help. Inexplicably, he knows he has to get to know her, see what lights her spirit, make that dead look in her eyes disappear. Soon, all his thoughts focus on this complicated, skittish woman, and he's falling for her hard. But Winter's tough disposition seems impossible to fully penetrate, and she may never be able to give her heart fully.

This book was really good. The writing was fantastic, and I simply loved Cade. He was strong-willed and headstrong, but passionate and loving and intelligent. He had to deal with so many hardships in his life, but instead of folding in on himself, he just loved more and stronger. That's the kind of character I like. So many NA books follow a character (female) who has experienced tragedy and because of it, they've become a skittish, broken, closed-off person. But Cade took the tragedy as a way to improve himself, not to hide. He didn't become a victim or punish himself.

Which leads me to the thing I didn't like as much about this novel: Winter. She was the cliched NA protagonist who was unwilling to risk her heart, who constantly punished herself for a past that wasn't her fault. And I understand fully why she kept herself so closed off, but it was also annoying sometimes. I wanted to slap her. She has this guy that was so completely in love with her, willing to help her if she needs it, but also understanding about why she doesn't want help, and she just continues to push him away because she thinks she isn't meant to be happy, meant to have someone. And again, I understand that that's a completely legitimate reaction, but it's total bullshit. She deserved everything--maybe even more than others. But she didn't see it that way, and it pissed me off sometimes.

But the writing was some of the best New Adult writing I've read ever. It was beautiful and moving, and without a lot of hoopla. Straightforward and magical. Cade and Winter's voices were easily distinguishable from each other, which is something that doesn't seem to happy often with dual narrative novels.

Though I didn't like Winter sometimes, this book is still one I would recommend to any NA reader. It was everything you would want from a New Adult novel, and there were enough sex scenes, but not so much that all you read was sex. It was truly incredible, and I will definitively reread it someday.

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