blurb (from goodreads):
Champion kickboxer Haley swore she’d never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can’t stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she’d stay away from. Yet he won’t last five seconds in the ring without her help.
West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it’s his fault his family is falling apart. He can’t change the past, but maybe he can change Haley’s future.
Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they’ll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.
How do I explain my reaction to this book? I’ll start with explaining that it took me a little over a week to read and finish this. Her previous novels, I devoured in usually 24 hours. Part of this can be blamed on the fact that it was the last week of school and my job took much higher priority than leisure reading, as it should.
Another reason could be that I wasn’t that interested in West Young as he appeared in Crash Into You. I’m still holding out for McGarry to write a story about Logan (Dare You To & Crash Into You). West, Rachel’s brother, didn’t intrigue me. I wasn’t as moved by Isaiah and Rachel’s (Crash Into You) story nor did Rachel etch herself onto my heart like Echo did. So, I wasn’t as excited to read West’s story but I was excited to have another McGarry to read.
I had to push myself through it. I was frustrated with both West and Haley 90% of the time and my sympathy was not triggered by either of their set of circumstances. And I should have cared because I don’t believe McGarry did anything different. And perhaps that’s it. I’m desensitized to her style. Which, if true, makes me very sad because I really adored her books and finding a new author to follow.
I didn’t believe in their love which is the one thing I found so compelling about McGarry’s books. That I bought the confessions of love between teens.
The fighting aspect also didn’t capture me. I found West’s impulsiveness annoying and Hayley’s meekness irritating. Despite knowing why they were that way, I couldn’t care.
I’m also bleeding sick of the Alpha males in her stories, southern or not. This ‘she’s mine and I’ll fight for her’ crap has me on my last leg. So some jerk calls her a slut. Shame on him but don’t fight the idiot. Especially when said girl is asking you not to. Don’t do what you think is right and overrule her choices and requests. I sure as heck do not find that appealing in a romantic hero.
I found myself put off by Isaiah because of this possessive ‘she’s my girl’ mentality and West is right there in the same wheelhouse.
I also found myself feeling told and not shown their growing feelings. I felt uncomfortable during their more physical times. Which again, I loved how McGarry wrote kisses and heat. Now I feel like I’m reading something that focuses more on the effects of angst and sexual tension than a story I’m completely engaged in.
All this to say, I cannot conclude if this mostly negative reaction is solely on McGarry or solely on me. I very well might be in a place that doesn’t want these types of stories. I read a sample of Cora Carmack’s new series, All Lined Up, and while adored her her first two novels, the third left me cold. I had hopes for this one butjn two pages I had a mostly virginal reserved type protagonist with her more forward, sex-obsessed friend visiting a frat party to have dome debauched fun. It felt disturbingly like my introduction to Bliss and her friend at the beginning to Losing It, Carmack’s first novel. And despite the tempting $1.99 tag on the new book, I wasn’t interested.
Maybe I’m in a non-YA/NA place right now.
I still want Logan’s (Dare You To & Crash Into You) story.
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