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Strings Attached (Tales from Ballena Beach #1)

3.42 of 5 stars 3.42  ·  rating details  ·  620 ratings  ·  74 reviews
Winner! ForeWord Magazine's Gay/Lesbian Book of the Year, 2006. Closeted teenager Jeremy is sent to live with wealthy relatives after his mother enters rehab. Struggling to fit into the posh world of Ballena Beach, Jeremy joins the high school swim team, dates a popular girl, and begins to think he may have landed in paradise - until his great aunt Katharine starts to dict ...more
Paperback, 312 pages
Published January 1st 2001 by Booksurge
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It's like reading The Fresh Prince of Bell Air. If Will was white, the show was actually gay porn, and somehow a murder mystery became involved. Oh, and if the writing was awful.
Title: String Attached (Tales from Ballena Beach, #1) Audiobook Version
Author: Nick Nolan
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Cover Artist: N/A
Publisher: Brilliance Audio
Reviewer: Jay
Genre: Contemporary
Type: Romance
Pairing: Questioning & Gay
Length: Long Novel (10 hours & 15 minutes)
Heat Rating:
Book Rating:

I had a hard time putting this one down. I just wanted to know what would happen next and would Jeremy be happy. The author suggest that there is a Pinocchio theme to the story. I didn’t really see
Strings Attached attempts to take a classic tale mixed with a teenage coming of age story, throwing in a splash of mystery and danger, some sexual tension, and a happy ending to tie everything up. The result is mostly successfully and the story is a very enjoyable to read. It has an engaging storyline, likable characters, interesting dilemmas, and a flowing writing style that is easy to read. On the other hand, the writing is overly descriptive in some parts and the style changes partway through ...more
Nichole (Dirrty H)
I read about a third of it, plus some flip-aheads. Frankly, the writing is bad. Not only is it bad, but it's smug. Nick Nolan thinks he has written a Masterpiece and the arrogance of it shines through every page. There was only so much I could stomach.
I flipped ahead to his little "afterword" where he explains how subtly and deftly he weaved in references to Pinnochio. Yes, Nick, you were very subtle. Like a freight train.
The book really suffered from a lack of editing. I had to fight the urge t
Mary Myers-Huff Barger
I read Strings Attached over 2 days, I could not put it down.
Nick Nolan does a fantastic job of weaving a coming of age tale into a nice mystery. Jeremy Taylor's father was killed in an accident and he is left with an alcoholic mom. When she hits rock bottom Jeremy is moved in with the rich Aunt he has never met. Trying to be what she wants and trying to figure out if he likes boys or girls as well as worrying about his mom leads him on a wonderfully tragic story. These characters feel like peop
Maggie Simms

This was a miss for me. I wish I had nice things to say about this book but the way I feel is that it was a waste of my time and money. I almost DNF. The characters were total caricatures and the book was just plagued with cliches. Aunt Katherine spoke like a character out of a movie from the 50’s or 60’s. ALL the other female characters were slutty, and trashy. I felt disconnected from the main character or any other character. I also didn’t buy the little romance that there was in this book.

Good but uneven m/m romance about a high school senior who discovers, after his alcoholic mother ends up in treatment, that his dead father's family is wealthy. His transition to a life of privilege while he tries to figure out who he is and what he wants does not go smoothly. The author's afterward reveals numerous references to the story of Pinocchio, only a few of which I caught. I'd suggest including a forward with an abbreviated version of that story to help the reader...
Rosei Constance Rothee
I fell in love with this book! Wow! What a ride!
Plenty of mystery, gay youth angst, opulent atmosphere and what I require
in my The love has got to be there or I hang it up.

Writer Nick Nolan weaves a terrific story which is as fun as it is smexy!
(That's smart and sexy! {:^D) The characters feel real and I fell in love with them myself!

Thank you author Nick Nolan!
This was a splendid read!
(I feel GREAT!)
Nick Nolan is such a great writer.

The setting near the sea brought back many of my childhood memories.

The characters were well developed.
Jeremy Tyler, seventeen years old remembers neither the wealth into which he was born, nor his father who died two years after he was born, all he knows is a life of poverty living alone with his alcoholic mother, a life of missed meals, tattered clothes and little love. But the day he comes home from school to find his mother collapsed and near death's door is the day everything changes for him. With his mother facing a six months recovery in hospital he finds himself sent away to be cared for ...more
Catches You By Surprise and Then Whacks You

Let's be clear about this: The characters in this book are sometimes stereotypical but more often than not totally out-of-character. This tale of poor little poor boy becoming poor little rich boy is filled with angst on all levels and in every character except one, which may surprise you. Stick with it to stumble upon that character, and you will raise your eyebrow and accept how evil some people can be and get away with it, almost.

I liked Jeremy's tri
Cathy Ryan
Jeremy Tyler is a confused young man, unsure of himself and his sexuality. His father died, in what was assumed to be an accident, when Jeremy was a toddler and he’s been raised in near poverty by his alcoholic mother. That is until her latest episode which results in her being forced into rehab.

Jeremy is sent to live with his father’s relatives in the very upmarket Ballena Beach and gets a total makeover from his controlling Great Aunt Katharine as she attempts to turn him into ‘a Tyler’, wort
Don Bradshaw
Life for Jeremy Tyler has been nothing but misery and broken promises. His father was killed in a car accident when Jeremy was two years old leaving him to live alone with his alcoholic mother in poverty. At age 17 Jeremy came home from school to find his mother almost dead in a drunken stupor. He is sent to live with his extremely wealthy great-aunt and her husband Bill. Jeremy's life is turned upside down by the rags to riches way of life. Jeremy soon finds out that even the wealthy have thei ...more
Pure fluff, but very enjoyable fluff which I would happily recommend to anyone looking for an enjoyable holiday read. It's gay YA, which I reckon is a tricky genre to pull off in terms of tone, and to be fair I think the author does a good job. However you do get a sense that this is his first book - there are some great passages and descriptions and others which tend towards cliche. Critics might think of this as a gay O.C., but equally so would fans! So, while I'm a bit surprised it won some a ...more
Elisa Rolle
Until I haven’t read this book I was thinking that the “strings attached” of the title was a way to refer to emotional links, and in a way it’s like that since Jeremy, the 17 years old who is the main character of this coming of age novel has never had the safety you usually find in a family while you are growing up: his father died when he was only a little baby, her mother has an alcohol problem that prevents her to be a real role figure, and they are living far from any relatives. Considering ...more
Apr 16, 2013 A rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: audiobook
I just wrote a long review and then accidentally erased it, so I'm going to go with list form, here.

The things I loved:

Luke Daniels, the narrator on the Audible version. If you can, listen to this one. He's hands down the best narrator I've ever heard and I enjoyed the book even more because of him.

Nolan's characters. You don't know whether you love or hate them, and your opinion of each one of them changes many times throughout the book. They are damaged and a little selfish and, with the excep
Jeremy's mother is an alcoholic, and when a bender from hell lands her in rehab, Jeremy goes to live with his exceedingly rich great-aunt. Moving from poor to posh is tough enough, but Jeremy is also struggling with his sexuality and some unanswered questions about his father's death. It may seem a bit convoluted but Nolan weaves these stories together in such a way that they form an in-depth backdrop for a coming-of-age story.

If you had asked me before reading this book if a murder-mystery cum
3.5 for wanting to know what happens to Jeremy. 2.5 for the writing. Reading the afterword, I now see why some scenes felt gratuitous, and others didn't seem to jibe with the rest of the chapter. Descriptions were inserted to follow a Pinocchio storyline, and to change it from YA to an adult book. I think it would have worked better as a YA book for me. Plus the endless descriptions of what every single person was wearing! It felt like filler.

But I did debate about buying this after my prime me
Yeees let's start the book off with the Evil, Drug Abusing, Whorish Mother trope. Let's Do This. This will in nooo way make the reader hate the author. Nope. Not at all. All women are whores you see. WHORES (except you, pure reader, who paid good money for this drivel)

I think I got about three pages in.

Here's a clue, don't start your novel off by shredding the mother of the MC's child. I didn't even have a reason to care about him when he started throwing her sexuality in her face. If I were her
Update after listening to all three audio books - it is totally worth it to start this trilogy. This series is a roller coaster ride, but after reading the 3rd book, which was my favorite, I'm glad I stuck out the ride. Also, the audio version is amazing, highly recommended.

Original review: Luke Daniels has become one of my favorite narrators. He transforms this story from just an OK coming of age read to a truly wonderful experience. I don't think I would have enjoyed this story as much if I ha
I bought the audiobook, because the cover and blurb were screaming my name.

However, the Goodreads rating I discovered AFTER buying it made me a bit unsure.

I must say, this is the perfect example why overall ratings don't necessary mean that a book is bad. Actually, my friend ratings for this book were great and in my humble opinion this book deserves every single one of these 5 stars.

The main protagonist is very sympathetic, the mystery is intriguing and from the very beginning I was drawn into
Jeremy Taylor is the hero of this tale of coming out, dealing with a troubled family and greed. the story starts with Jeremy living with his alcoholic mother who gets sent to rehab and he is sent to live with a wealthy grandmother who he has had little contact with since his father was killed. Then the story turns into a roller coaster ride of a ya novel. It is refreshing to see a gay teen who has confidence in himself and at the same time questions his sexuality. The book was a light engrossing ...more
I really liked this one! Not so much a romance as a coming of age story with a little bit of a suspense plot. When his mother ODs, a teenage boy is sent to live with rich relatives; while accustoming himself with his new situation (including school, friends, girls, boys...) he also comes into a position to unravel the mystery behind his father's early death at about the same time he realizes his own danger. There are allusions to Pinocchio, which the author explains in great depth in the afterwo ...more
I mistakenly posted a review on the Judy Blundell book by the same title. I meant to post about this one:

This was on Amazon Kindle special for a buck, so I bought it.

The characterizations of everyone in this story are so cynical, so ugly, and so completely without compassion that I gave up quickly. If you think the worst of people and crave justification for your opinions sinking lower, this one should satisfy.

John Locke writes this way, although with tongue in cheek, and he's selling like crazy
Dave Barlz
Great read! Can't wait to read the next book!
Nick Nolan is a fantastic storyteller. This book is the perfect blend of intelligence and just plain fun. The story never bogs down. Once I had the time to actually sit down and read the book seriously, I finished it in 1 day. It was that hard to put down. I felt the same about "Double Bound" his second book. I look forward to reading more of his work. I recommend him to anyone that likes to lose themselves in a good story.
This was a pretty good book.
I was hooked from the beginning because the main character is instantly so likeable.
I have never read a book before from the point of view of a gay teenage boy so I didn't know what to expect.
It had a pretty good ending which always makes me happy, but the dialog between the teenagers was a little grating.
I hope they really don't talk like that, these days!
Jayson James
This is one of the best books I have ever read! I was quickly drawn into reading about Jeremy Tyler and completely sucked into the storyline, reading the entire book over the next couple of days. There is so much I loved about "Strings Attached", from the characters to the setting. I am glad that I was drawn t read this book after the beautiful cartoon artwork on the cover caught my eye.
I really liked this book and enjoyed reading it. The story came together nicely. The reason I rated it only 3 stars was because I felt that the characters didn't draw me into the story in a way that I would have liked. It's still a good book, and I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to read a good story, especially a coming-of-age, coming out type of story.
Some passages are so creatively and beautifully descriptive that I could close my eyes and taste the saltiness of being on the beach, etc. Believable main characters, and engaging story, especially the first half. The end seemed hurried and too "neat," as though the author was running out of space / paper and must found ways to tidy everything up quickly.
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Born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles, Nick Nolan worked nights and weekends selling furniture to put himself through college. After graduation he went on to direct a group home for homeless and abused LGBT youth, and during his scant spare time began writing. Inspired by the works of authors Gordon Merrick, Paul Russell and Paul Monette, Nolan penned his debut novel, Strings Attached, the ...more
More about Nick Nolan...

Other Books in the Series

Tales from Ballena Beach (3 books)
  • Double Bound  (Tales from Ballena Beach, # 2)
  • Wide Asleep (Tales from Ballena Beach #3)
Double Bound  (Tales from Ballena Beach, # 2) Black As Snow Wide Asleep (Tales from Ballena Beach #3) Rock Guitar Basics Mega Pack [With CD (Audio) and DVD] Prophetengift

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