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Against the Cage. Worth the Fight Series. Sidney Halston
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
I’ve read a few MMA romances now and enjoyed them, but Sidney is an author new to me so I wasn’t sure what to expect.
What we get in this novel is a simple, fun romance, a little drama, and lots of sensual moments. Chrissy, she seemed very protective of her little brother even though he’s grown now, and she hasn’t actually seen him in years. Email and phone seems to have been their contact, and the latest one means she needs to go back to where they were brought up and he still lives, in their old house, with her teenage crush and his best friend Jack still living next door. I love the way she and Jack meet, he’s a local cop and stops her for traffic violation, she roots round for the docs needed and thrusts them out the window to him without looking up. Its not his hand that gets them though, but a much lower part of his body….luckily once he recognises her he’s so pleased to see her he lets her off, after a bit of chafing.
Jack’s amazed at the grown up Chrissy, blown away by her, and her teen crush on him quickly comes racing back. He’s even hotter now that he was then, and add to that he’s a genuinely nice guy and they quickly get into some hot clinches. Jack and her brother though ( and Slade, her brother, is a real jerk IMO) are really into MMA, a hobby for Jack, but a career for Slade. Violence and fighting brings up really bad memories from Chrissy’s past, so though she really likes Jack she needs to sort out what this part of his life means to her, and if she can get past it. Throw in some close calls with Slade doing illegal fights to make lots of money, ( he does have a good reason but Chrissy is worried about him and his health), Jack not telling her the whole truth about things and there’s some sad, bitter-sweet parts coming out.
I did enjoy the book, it was good but not great for me. I didn’t feel the highs and lows were really strong enough, but that’s me, I like lots of very strong emotions and dramatics. For those that want a simple, easy to read, spicy romance this will be perfect.
Stars: Three, its a good, one off read for me but not a re read.
ARC supplied by Netgalley
Fighting Love (Love to the Extreme)Abby Niles
Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews.
I’ve read and enjoyed several now of Abby’s books so picked up this one. At 352 pages its a bit longer than I expected, but for readers like me who go through books quickly longer is always better, so that was a bonus. The thing I love about longer books is they allow the reader to really get into the story and characters. The length on this allowed that perfectly, and I felt I really knew the characters in a way that in a shorter book just wouldn’t have worked. I really felt for Julie, in love since a child with Tommy he just sees her as his best friend. She’s tried to get past it but no-one matches up, so she’s concentrate on her veterinary career and made a success of it. She’s see the way Tommy acts with women, a real poser playboy, with no respect for them, and though she knows he’s more than that she doesn’t want him ever to regard her in that light – it would break her heart and destroy their friendship, so she tries to keep things on an even keel. I can understand why she felt like that – she’s seen it from the outside, but knows he’s another person when he’s with her and wants to keep that.
Then there’s Tommy, he looks on Julie as a sister and best friend all in one. His career hit tops, he let it go to his head, went more OTT and lost it all. Then a fire devastated his home leaving him with nothing, but as always Jules is there ready to step up into the breach. He stays with her for a while, but begins to see she’s not just his old friend Jules but a hot, sexy woman. That comes as a shock to him, but once the idea is in his head he (and his body) can’t forget it. Then one time he slips up, just one kiss changes everything. He knows what he is, thinks he’s going to end up like his mother, flitting from one person to another, that its in his blood and he can’t change. He is determined Jules deserves better. There’s some great humour though, for example when she tries to date another fighter – Tommy has to take a proper look at his motives for behaving the way he does. Jules finds him harder and harder to resist while her feelings for Brad, the fighter she is dating, are more brotherly. The challenge is can Jules and Tommy make a relationship work, they’ve tried unsuccessfully avoiding one, can they be successful at being in one.
Its great story, funny in parts ( Him Indoors kept saying “ what are you smiling at? It must be a funny bit”) but its the sort of humour that comes from a string of events, not one single part that can be explained. I felt for them both at times, though I could have given them both a shake and shouted “ get real. Take a chance!” Its a real mix of humour, love, sex and sensuality, happiness and despair when things go wrong. A tear jerking ending finishes it off nicely. A good read for when you want a nice uncomplicated romance to make you feel good. I really enjoyed it, but probably not one I’d re read though, I tend to need more complex reads for that.
ARC supplied via publisher
ARC supplied by Netgalley.
I’d just finished the wonderful Bitter Fruits when I noticed this one was on the review list. I think everyone knows bits of the legends, certainly Helen; the face that launched a thousand ships, is something that just rattles off the lips without thought its that well known. Still, I only knew snippets and not the whole story ( no – I rarely watch films, Him Indoors does so I’d seen bits of Troy) and was interested to see what take Sarah would have on it. Its very different to Bitter Fruits and yet – Myths and Legends, stories about Greek and Roman Gods and Goddess – they’re a kind of a Fantasy tale too aren’t they? I was always fascinated as a child by these stories, and in fact chose to do an English project on them at high school. As I went through the novel snippets of information from past research and readings slid back into the brain, and I was able to recall much of the later elements of the story. I don’t know how far Sarah has stuck to the original stories, but what she has done is created a very lively and enjoyable story. Its classed as Erotic, but though there’s lots of sex its not overly done and it fits well in the story.
I’ve always been anti war and I guess this story shows to me just how stupid the whole thing is, thousands of lives lost over many years fighting, heartbreak and starvation for families and all for recapture of a woman whose husband didn’t even love her…Futile but makes for a good story.
The old Gods always seemed terribly selfish too, and with all their power it was their way or nothing. Zeus turning into a swan to lure a woman he wanted is pretty typical, and the innate belief in the way that people prayed, and hoped their own personal gods or goddesses would help is typical of the time – and reminds me in a way of how we are now about more modern religions 😦
I felt for Helen from the first. She was treated simply as property, a bargaining tool as women of the time were, and yet she clearly had a good brain and wanted more. It wasn’t to be though, taken against her will at first then recaptured by her brothers, she’s blamed for the loss of her virginity, and the brothers seek to get her married quickly and make profits for themselves from her. That part was really sad, and then having to marry someone who told her he only wanted her for breeding. Unhappy story and I could understand why she was so taken when Odysseus was kind to her, and then fell for the young prince of Troy. That brought about such misfortune though 😦 history often blames her and yet she was a product of her upbringing and the times.
Its beautifully written, and I felt I was back in that time period with Helen, lost back in the mists of time. I felt their devout belief that their gods would prevail even though both sides were opposing, it never seemed to occur to them that they would lose. Its a tale of war and treachery, betrayals and double dealing, and lost loves.
There is no HEA just a sad story but one that was very different to what’s so often found under the romance genre and was a joy to read even though it was so sad. Its priced at 77pence for 99 pages so very good value for money. Its one I really enjoyed, and may re read when I want to slip back into past times of history.
Stars: 4 and a half, not quite a five star read.