Tuesday, April 19, 2016

NEW RELEASE with ARC REVIEW - GRIT (Spartan Riders #1) by J.C. Valentine:

SERIES: Spartan Riders
AUTHOR: J.C. Valentine
GENRE: Contemporary MC Romance
RELEASE DATE: April 19, 2016
PUBLISHER: J.C. Valentine
PAGES: Approx. 374
IndieSage PR

RATING: 4 Stars!

Gabby Morgan isn’t looking for love. Not even a little romance. Following a rocky past that she’d just as soon forget, she’s determined to focus on the future. One that most certainly doesn’t involve the tough-as-nails, short-on-words, hot-as-hell biker…or his kid.

Blake Mahone may not be done with women, but he’s finished with relationships. Then Gabby Morgan enters the picture. She’s flawless, refined, and as his kid’s teacher, way out of his league. She acts like she hates him, but her eyes tell a different story. Before he knows it, Blake finds himself hot for teacher, and he’s more than ready to learn all her secrets. Now all he has to do is convince her to give him a shot…without getting them both killed in the process.

REVIEWER'S NOTE: Grit is the first book in the Spartan Riders series and is an Adult, Contemporary, MC Romance written by J.C. Valentine. I was gifted a copy from the author in exchange for an honest review through IndieSage Promotions.

4 Stars!
READ. STRAIGHT. THROUGH! Really Enjoyed This Book. 

The Review: 
Gabby Morgan has come home to fulfill one of her dreams of being a Kindergarten teacher. Running from a shaky past that seems to be a constant shadow on her present, she’s decided to live life again, and try to put the past behind her. On her first day of teaching, another kind of danger rides right up to the school steps and she knows she’s in even more trouble than before.

Blake “Quick” Mahone is the president of the Spartan Riders and a struggling father to his young son, Ash. Having just taken out the trash in the form of a drug addict, absentee mother and now ex girlfriend, he’s not looking for a relationship of any kind. But one look at Gabby with her snarky attitude and snobby position, he can’t help but get riled up at every turn.

Right from the start, these two are wary of one another. There is definitely attraction and a lot of lusty looks and thoughts but neither one of them want to get involved. Gabby, trying to learn from her past and live the good-girl morals her parents tried to instill in her, she instantly snubs her nose at Blake. I think she was so damaged by her past and so concerned with living how she thought she should, that she lost her way and filled herself with judgment and opinions. Truly, she had a good reason for not wanting to get involved with a guy like Blake, but not everything is as it seems and Blake can’t stand the condemnation he sees in her eyes. The push-pull between these two was so much fun to read. They had to slowly learn to trust one another before there was any real connection and that was exciting to watch.

Gabby is strong. She could have drowned in the wake of her past, but she didn’t. She moved forward and tried to live again. Blake is super hot! He’s a little rough around the edges, but he’s caring and his devotion to his young son was just one of the many reasons I loved his character.

I enjoyed how the author gives us a different look at a traditional MC story. The Spartans have cleaned up their act and are riding straight. Blake and his riders have been clean for ten peaceful years, but with enemies circling their town, they reluctantly put peace to the side. And wow, these guys definitely know how to throw down when they need to.

I really enjoyed this read. I started it and read straight through to the last page before I put it down. There were many things that felt “refreshing” in this book, but I also felt like there was something missing... some little push that would have sent this novel over the edge from “great” to “outstanding”. As much as I enjoyed Gabby and Blake's steamy romance, I also felt there was a missing connection between them and I, as a reader, didn’t connect with them like I wanted. I wanted to feel “more” from Blake. For example, there’s a point in the climax of the story where he’s not even front and center. He comes in after the action and that was disappointing. You know he cares, that he loves and that he adores Gabby, but I wanted to feel that desperation and terror when she was in danger. I wanted to feel more of an emotional connection in moments like that, in the book. I wanted to see him lose it just a little and break bad. But we lost all that in him playing backup to his crew.

I also wanted more of Blake's past, especially with his father since we saw how he was with his own son. And we get the jist of how the MC was in the past, and we get a clue to its struggle to go straight but I think I wanted more light shed on how that occurred. Maybe in future books?

The Wrap Up: 
All in all, I really enjoyed this read. I’m a huge fan of this author. I’ve loved her books for a long while now and this one is definitely added to my favorites list. It was a different kind of MC book. And it was sweet and a bit angsty with some great character interactions and some amazing dialogue. I can’t wait to read more in this series. Getting to know more about the riders and their past is going to be fun!

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