The Hurricane (The Hurricane #1) by R. J. Prescott

The Hurricane (The Hurricane #1) by R. J. Prescotton 2015-02-16
Pages: 306
Amazon
Emily McCarthy is living in fear of a dark and dangerous past. A gifted mathematician, she is little more than a hollow, broken shell, trying desperately to make ends meet long enough to finish her degree.

Through an unlikely friendship with the aging, cantankerous owner of an old boxing gym, Em is thrown into the path of the most dangerous man that she has ever met.

Cormac “the Hurricane” O’Connell is cut, tattooed and dangerous. He is a lethal weapon with no safety and everyone is waiting for the mis-fire. He’s never been knocked out before, but when he meet Em he falls, HARD. Unlike any other girl he’s ever met, she doesn’t want anything from him, but just being around her makes him want to be a better person.

They are polar opposites who were never meant to find each other, but some things are just worth the fight.
four-half-stars
The Hurricane Book Cover The Hurricane
The Hurricane #1
R.J. Prescott
Romance
Grand Central Publishing; Hachette Audio
February 10th, 2015
Kindle edition
300

Emily McCarthy is living in fear of a dark and dangerous past. A gifted mathematician, she is little more than a hollow, broken shell, trying desperately to make ends meet long enough to finish her degree.

Through an unlikely friendship with the aging, cantankerous owner of an old boxing gym, Em is thrown into the path of the most dangerous man that she has ever met.

Cormac “the Hurricane” O’Connell is cut, tattooed and dangerous. He is a lethal weapon with no safety and everyone is waiting for the misfire. He’s never been knocked out before, but when he meet Em he falls, HARD. Unlike any other girl he’s ever met, she doesn’t want anything from him, but just being around her makes him want to be a better person.

They are polar opposites who were never meant to find each other, but some things are just worth the fight.

This love story was intense, sweet and fulfilling. It wasn’t overly dramatic and angst-filled. More than that, it had a sense of family and/community along with the romantic love that made the whole experience satisfying.

Emily McCarthy was a strong heroine who amazed me with her growth in the story. I was proud of her. Cormack O’Connell “Conn” grew a lot too and I was proud to see them give each other space as well as support.

While I loved this book, I didn’t feel like this story was unique. The storytelling was interesting enough that I wanted to know more about everyone from the main characters to the supporting characters like Danny, Kieran, Tommy, Nikki etc. That’s a sign of a good writer, when you weave the supporting characters in so that we care about them too.

Pearl Hewitt added to my enjoyment of this audio. Her accent really brought home the character’s background as well as their environment. Her various tones elucidated the emotional states and kept me engaged the entire time and I listened to this book straight. I will definitely listen to book 2.

The Good Fight (Time Served #3) by Julianna Keyes

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Good Fight (Time Served #3) by Julianna Keyeson 2016-07-01
Pages: 216
AmazonB&N

I was born a fighter. You had to be, to survive in Camden. Lucky for me, I loved it. The thrill, the pain, the glory. Until one night things went too far and I almost lost my ticket out.

So I swore off fighting. Never again. No matter how much I wanted it.

I went to college. Got a degree. A job on Wall Street. Yet I still wasn't smart enough to stay away. So now I'm back. And it's just as bad as I remember.

Enter Dr. Susan Jones, superstar neurosurgeon. She's brilliant, she's sexy and she's a pain in my ass. I can't get enough and she's too busy for a relationship. She wants to hook up, get off, go home. She doesn't have time for a thug from Camden. But she keeps coming back.

This place brings out the worst in people. Every day it threatens the project I'm working on, the plans I'm making. Every day it drags me down just a little more, until the hands I vowed to keep clean start itching to get dirty.

If I don't start fighting for what I want, I'll wind up with nothing.

I didn't come back to Camden for nothing.

I came back to start something. And when people hurt the things I care about, the gloves come off.
three-stars

I was looking for that tension and angst from Undecided and I didn’t find it here. Still this author is a good writer because both characters were compelling protagonists. Oscar Hall uses boxing to cope with the tragedy that took his loved ones from him when he trip to the emergency road brought Dr. Susan Jones into this life. Susan Jones was a brilliant surgeon who needed someone to see past the mask she hid behind. This book was a process of emotional maturity for both characters.

I was really excited to read this book because I loved Undecided by this same author. Unfortunately, this one lacked the emotional depth and character building that I had expected. I loved Oscar “Oz” Hall because he was sweet, thoughtful and hardworking.

Dr. Susan Jones was a disconcerting character.
I had a hard time really understanding and being interested in her journey. She was emotionally detached from almost everything except her work ambitions. At first, I thought that perhaps Susan had Asperger’s Syndrome and thus she lacked the ability to connect with others. However, the author never really took the heroine’s narrative that way. Instead, the heroine was portrayed as someone who coped by shutting down emotionally.
Susan was almost inhuman and robotic even with her daughter and I couldn’t help feeling that Oz could do better. There was so many times he described her actions as “mechanical” that I couldn’t even enjoy their sex scenes.

The chemistry and attraction didn’t work for me so I had wished that either Oz would find someone else or that Susan’s ice princess veneer would melt. Susan thawed, but not early enough to engage me. But I did like that she forced Oz to work harder at everything. Susan kept him unbalanced and that was the key for Oz to find Oscar again. Had the author introduced Susan’s past might have made her more relate-able earlier. I also wanted to know more Jade and Rian. I hope they get their own HEAs soon.

*Special Thanks to the author for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.

Counterpunch (Belonging #2) by by Aleksandr Voinov

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Counterpunch (Belonging #2) by by Aleksandr Voinovon Sep 15, 2014
Pages: 212
AmazonB&N
Fight like a man, or die like a slave.

Brooklyn Marshall used to be a policeman in London, with a wife and a promising future ahead of him. Then he accidentally killed a rioter whose father was a Member of Parliament and had him convicted of murder. To ease the burden on the overcrowded prison system, Brooklyn was sold into slavery rather than incarcerated. Now, he's the "Mean Machine", a boxer on the slave prizefighting circuit, pummelling other slaves for the entertainment of freemen and being rented out for the sexual service of his wealthier fans.

When Nathaniel Bishop purchases Brooklyn's services for a night, it seems like any other assignation. But the pair form an unexpected bond that grows into something more. Brooklyn hesitates to call it "love"—such things do not exist between freemen and slaves—but when Nathaniel reveals that he wants to help get Brooklyn's conviction overturned, he dares to hope. Then, an accident in the ring sends Brooklyn on the run, jeopardizing everything he has worked so hard to achieve and sending him into the most important fight of all—the fight for freedom.
four-stars

This wasn’t a light read for me, but it was engaging. I know coming into a Voinov novel, not to expect a simple, shallow read, and I wasn’t disappointed.

Brooklyn Marshall was the top slave boxer but wanted to compete with the free man boxing champion. In this society, people could be born slaves or sold into slavery as punishment for crimes. Brooklyn was a cop who convicted of murder, and thus became a slave. When he isn’t boxing or training, his owners farm him out for the sexual whims of rich clients.

When Brooklyn meets Nathaniel Bishop, a well-connected lawyer, it was clear that he found a client who didn’t just see a slave. Nathaniel saw a man and treated Brooklyn with care. Soon their relationship evolved and the two of them started a real love affair. Nathaniel convinced Brooklyn that they could fight to get his conviction overturned and Brooklyn’s status as a slave reversed. So as the lovers grow closer, there is this sense of foreboding that I couldn’t shake. Of course, the happily ever after hit a huge snag and some of Nathaniel’s past was revealed.

Honestly, one of the things that I enjoy about Voinov’s writing has to be the slightly dark romance with hope still lingering. It’s clear that Brooklyn was that are full of despair, but he still yearned for his life before his conviction. Boxing was a way to unleash his anger and rage, but the sex scenes with Nathaniel were intense as well. I was pleased with the outcome of the story and with the direction that Brooklyn’s life is headed.

This story wasn’t all hearts and flowers, but there was light at the end of the tunnel and so the journey was worth it to me. The writing was very visceral and I just felt the emotions from the main characters. I was firmly  rooted in Brooklyn’s corner and I was pulling for him to win both in the ring and in his life.

*Special Thanks to Riptide Publishing via Netgalley for the reading copy.