This week's review is over an ebook that was (and possibly still is) available for free download from amazon. It's the first book in the "Fighting Connolly's" series and is thus meant to pull you into the story and purchase the other books.
Before I get into my thoughts, though, here is the book's Goodreads description:
After a stalker breaks into her home, internet entrepreneur Bee Langston decides Kelly Connolly is the only man who can help her—but seeking help from the former Marine isn’t easy, especially after she made a spectacular fool of herself trying to kiss the sinfully sexy bodyguard.
When Kelly spots Bee weaving her way through the Houston nightspot where he’s working security, all those feelings he’s desperately tried to deny for his best friend’s sister come flooding to the surface. He’ll do anything to keep her safe, even if means getting up close and personal with the one woman he simply can’t have.
Soon, Bee’s stalker isn’t his only problem. His gambling addict father is tangled in a mess of debts to two of Houston’s toughest loan sharks. With the family gym on the line, there’s only one way for Kelly to make everything right. He agrees to fight for the Albanian mob in an underground bare-knuckle fighting tournament.
But winning the tournament and saving his family’s legacy comes at a high price—one that just might cost Bee her life.
This book has a pretty good average of 3.93 stars, and it isn't terribly long, so I was looking forward to reading it. It seemed like it would have the gritty tones that make me like Kit Rocha's "Beyond" series so much without being a dystopian- and over all, I did enjoy it and would recommend it, if nothing else, because it's available for free. However, I noted quite a few things that anyone who was reading critically would notice.
In the beginning there is quite a bit of clunky exposition. The backstory is necessary, but I feel like it could have been done smoother.
Kelly's reasoning doesn't make much sense. He's supposed to be Bee's bodyguard, he's supposed to keep her safe...and he does that by dragging her into his own dangerous personal problems.
The fact that everyone knows each other gets a little confusing, partially because the connections between them aren't always clear.
Bee is the typical "quirky" (or just clumsy) female character who jumps to conclusions and doesn't use her head because she's "independent" when in reality she's just being stupid. I mean, Kelly is telling her things so her stalker doesn't start wearing her around as a jacket, not because he wants to patronize her like the little sister he never had. Her doing this, among other things, makes her come across as immature and at times had me really questioning how I was supposed to believe she created such a successful company when she couldn't understand even simplistic things (all the misunderstandings serving solely as fuel for drama that didn't need to be there).
The romance was rushed. I understand why, that's the reason people are reading the book, but there should have been either 1) less initial conflict or 2) more time for those feelings to organically develop and become known.
The romance scenes weren't written the best. They're heavy with adjectives and adverbs that don't intensify the scene, but rather makes it seem like the author didn't quite know what she was doing and was trying to hide that fact. While at other times, there were details that were on the ridiculous side.
The "everyone has a secret" plot point that drives Bee's storyline is overdone. Not to say it's an impossible secret, but it's definitely extreme, and in a story that has a lot of extremes, that one wasn't exactly needed and was only there to beat in the idea that the book is supposed to be edgy.
Certain reactions and descriptions were repeated.
The "I want to take this slow and really get to know you so it will be special" perspective regarding sex is completely dropped. Not even in a way that acknowledges that it existed in the first place.
The end had a lot of forced conflict, and I found myself really having to force myself to get through the last 50 pages or so of the book.
In the end, it was a flawed story and I wasn't so invested in it that I could look past the numerous problems I noticed, but it wasn't bad. I think someone who just wants a fun read and won't be scrutinizing everything as they read it will enjoy it, and while there are many better books out there, this one is available for free download, which is always a positive.