Saturday, November 14, 2015

ARC Review: Exchange of Hearts by N.R. Walker

Eighteen-year-old Harrison Haddon has grown up alone. Surrounded by wealth, nannies, and material things, all he craves is the approval of his father. Sent away to the boarding school his father and grandfather attended, it’s assumed he will follow in their footsteps from Sydney’s prestigious Ivy League school straight into medical school.

But Harrison doesn’t want to be a doctor. He dreams of music and classical piano. His only true happiness, his escape from the world expected of him, is dismissed by his intolerant and emotionally detached parents.

Levi Aston arrives from London for a three-month student exchange program. Free-spirited and confident in who he is and what he wants to do with his life, Levi convinces Harrison not give up on his dreams. But convincing Harrison not to give up on his family might not be so easy.

Dani's rating:

N.R. Walker books are my warm blanket and cup of tea: pure comfort and lazy afternoons. With the exception of the Turning Point series (the second book was a doozy!), Walker's books are low on the angst, high on the romance.

Exchange of Hearts is no exception. This is a YA/NA novel (the MCs are 18 when they meet) about two boys on the brink of adulthood, from very different worlds, who have each other at hello.

When Levi arrives at a boarding school in Australia, he does not expect to meet his other half. But dark-haired Harrison, who plays the piano like an angel and kisses like the devil, captures his heart from day one.

Levi is British and has an amazingly supportive family. He is passionate about architecture and wants Levi to pursue his dream of becoming a classical pianist.

But Harrison's distant, relentless father pushes Harrison to follow in his foot steps to medical school, and Harrison craves his father's approval.

I enjoyed the friendship that blossoms between Levi and Harrison. They genuinely care for and support one another, and seem more mature than most 18-year-olds.

The steam level is low-moderate; the smexy scenes are soft and not particularly explicit, and most of them are off-page. Harrison is a virgin, and that's handled with sensitivity and gentleness. This is exactly what I expect from a Walker book, especially considering this is a YA/NA novel.

I love me some fluff. I avoid heavy angst like the plague. But this book was almost TOO easy. Save for the conflict between Harrison and his father (which gets resolved with minimal drama), there is no angst at all in the entire book.

The MCs meet, do the covert pretend-boyfriend thing for a while to make Harrison's closeted ex jealous, fall in love, and live happily ever after.

There was a bit too much telling and skipping ahead in time. The entire first year Harrison and Levi are together in London is summarized in a couple paragraphs.

There's an epilogue set a few years into the future that made me smile, but I missed the tension, the what-ifs. I kept waiting for some kind of disagreement, anxiety, anger ... anything at all, but there was not one cloud in this silver lining.

Levi's family is wonderful, and Harrison's family comes round. Harrison has to perform a final piano exam while injured, but he pulls through.

Everything here is fluffy and BRIGHT and lovely. Recommended for an easy, mellow read.

Get the book:


Good friends, good books and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.
~Mark Twain

An ARC of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. 

Download links are provided as a courtesy and do not constitute an endorsement of or affiliation with the book, author, publisher, or website listed.

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