As one of the big names at his family’s gym, Legends, MMA star Rory Kavanagh is used to being in the spotlight—until a gruesome leg injury knocks him out of the cage. Rory is left feeling sidelined in more ways than one, battling the inner demons that come with losing the one shot at his dreams. Then Clare walks into his life and gives him a new dream: winning her heart. There aren’t many new faces in Woodlawn these days, but this tough, beautiful stranger makes Rory want to get his life back into fighting shape.
Clare Ivers doesn’t think she’ll be able to tell anyone what really brought her to the close-knit Bronx neighborhood where she just started bartending. But her life’s on pause and her past is catching up fast, try as she might to move on—with new friends, steady work, and a chiseled alpha male trying to get her attention. Even though Rory’s more than a little intense, she can’t deny that her heart beats faster when he looks at her with those soulful silver eyes. Clare thought she was done with love, but Rory might just be man enough to show her she thought wrong.
Aside from being a Top 10 Barnes & Noble and Amazon Bestseller, Sarah Robinson is a native of the Washington, DC area and has both her Bachelors and Masters Degrees in criminal psychology. She is newly married to a local police officer, Justin, who is just as much of an animal rescue enthusiasts as she is. Together, they own a zoo of rescues including everything from mammals to reptiles to marsupials, as well as volunteering and fostering for multiple animal shelters.
~ ARC received from Random House Publishing Group - Loveswept via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review ~
The description was intriguing, an MMA star and hometown boy of a huge and well known family falls from grace and meets a woman who is running from her own demons meet and fall in love, and in all honesty the book started off very promising, but as the story progressed there were some aspects that just didn’t sit well with me and unfortunately lessened my enjoyment of what had the potential to be a great story.
I am going to be unable to keep this review spoiler free in order to properly explain my rating, which is definitely not my normal modus operandi, so will be going about this one in a different manner altogether.
The good aka promising:
I’m a sucker for books about big families. I love the dynamic it brings to the story and how it gives a deeper insight to the MC and in this case the Kavanagh family was awesome! I loved the bantering and bs’ing that went on between them and could feel the love. *This aspect alone is the one reason I am considering giving the next book in the series a try*
Ace, the dog. Yup, the dog get’s his own shout out. He was apart of some of the best moments in this book and really did a lot to show me just the kind of person Rory is.
The prologue definitely had me ready to fall down the rabbit hole and I enjoyed the MMA portions of the story.
The okay aka I can deal and go with it:
Rory and Clare. While I didn’t dislike them, I can’t say that I loved them either. Rory, of the two, was the one that I liked the most. He had issues and seemed to be hell bent on finding oblivion and staying in it, and yet he still loved his family and made the effort to be apart of it.
Clare I just couldn’t really get a bead on. She’s running from her abusive ex and is trying to start over. Her spirit is totally broken, something that I found refreshing, and yet we never go deeper than that until almost the end of the book and by then it was too late for me to form any sort of connection with her.
Their relationship has a very “insta” feel to it. I wouldn’t say it was insta love, but more the ‘I feel a strong connection to this stranger and think that they may be the one’ thing. It had an imprinting type of feel to it and while it’s not always my favorite thing, it made sense considering how lost they both were, but there was also no real passion. Any issues that came up were handled with an ease that had me going back to see if I’d skipped something, and for me, a person who isn’t a huge fan of an over abundance of angst, it’s a pretty huge thing.
The Bottom Line: I wanted to love this book. The potential was there, it really was, and there were some sweet moments, but there were just some things I couldn’t get past.
The not so good aka The things that I’m having a hard time getting my head around (This portion of my review can be looked at as spoiler heavy which is why it's at the end. If you are not one that minds spoilers the click on the 'Read More' link under the rating to see what else I had to say)
Rory deciding to give up the booze and pills for Clare: I have no issue with this at all because everyone has to have that light at the end of the tunnel, that reason to better themselves and Clare is Rory’s. My issue is that we are led to believe, and even shown, that Rory has become a pill popping functioning alcoholic and yet he goes cold turkey without any withdrawal symptoms? How is this possible when we are led to believe that this behavior has been going on for awhile and are shown that the man is regularly downing a fifth a night and popping pills like candy?
Clare’s freak out after finding out about Rory’s pill popping: Had there been more information given about her past and what she’d been through then I could have done more than simply roll my eyes and be annoyed. Her issues with drugs was mentioned, but it was like a passing thought and forgotten. Had more time been spent on letting the reader know what she’d truly experienced then I could have empathized with her, but I just couldn’t.
The crime scene: Yes a crime is committed and while I won’t get into the specifics as to what occurs, it’s the aftermath that had me growling. Now, I may have watched too many episodes of NCIS and CSI, but allowing people who have no reason to be at the crime scene to just walk into the area where the crime was committed is just not done. I don’t care who they are.
The last 80% or so: It just felt so disjointed and I skimmed most of it.