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Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Review: Take Down by Harper St. George and Tara Wyatt

It's a little difficult for any book in this series to compare to the first one but while this one doesn't quite reach that level, it's still a good read and these two authors make a fabulous writing team.

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Pocket Star
Release Date: November 13, 2017

MMA champion Gabriel “The Sandman” Maddox prefers to live his life quietly and intensely. He plays by the rules, respects the sport, and trains harder than any other fighter. It’s this unwavering focus that helps him block out the pain from a devastating loss in his past. He spends his days slaying his monsters in the octagon, and his evenings numbing himself with sexual conquests. With his painful baggage, he’s not looking for anything beyond his no-strings-attached lifestyle.

But journalist Megan Sinclair won’t leave him alone. She’s intensely drawn to Gabe from the moment she meets him, and wants to know more about the secretive man who both intrigues her and makes her heart race. As she gets to know the quiet, brooding fighter, she realizes that giving in to their intense chemistry could mend her scars. Will these two be able to heal each other, or will ghosts from the past keep them apart?

What’s it About? Gabriel Maddox’s intensity inside the MMA ring has lead to a championship and notoriety but Gabe would rather train in order to hide the pain of a devastating loss he suffered not too long ago. Aside from training hard and fighting harder, Gabe loses himself in women who only want him for a fling. Then he meets journalist Megan Sinclair who carries around her own emotional baggage. Megan is drawn to Gabe’s quiet intensity and the their hotter than hot chemistry but Gabe is determined not to let Megan get too close to him and his scars, even if it means losing out on something special.

Overall reaction to the story? Tara Wyatt and Harper St. George are a great writing team and from what I’ve read so far (two books), they create engaging, passionate stories. However, as much as I liked Gabe and Megan’s story, I can’t help but compare it to the first book and while I liked Take Down, I didn’t love it like I did Dirty Boxing. I’m not saying Take Down was a loss because it definitely had some fine points to it, but again, it wasn’t in the same vein as the first book. It’s still a good book though and I did connect to both Gabe and Megan on an emotional level which can’t be overlooked. These two struggled through some tough stuff and I appreciated their journey.

Describe the hero in five words: Intense. Stubborn. Withdrawn. Reluctant. Passionate.
Did you like him? Yes.
Why? Gabe is carrying around a lot of guilt over what he lost in his past and it is a heavy burden that influenced his every thought, move, and decision. Gabe was super intense and extremely private that it took awhile for me to get a grasp on who he really was underneath all that pain and guilt. Once that was stripped away Gabe was a man who pulled at my heartstrings. He was more than capable of loving with all he had and that scared him to death but it also made him real to me. He wasn’t a fighting machine at that point but an emotionally vulnerable man that needed to be saved from himself.

Describe the heroine in five words: Survivor. Sassy. Caring. Loyal. Determined.
Did you like her? Yes.
Why? Megan tugged at my heartstrings too. As tough and snarky as she appeared on the outside, Megan was also hiding some bad scars, she just did the opposite of Gabe and lived life to the fullest instead of becoming an empty shell. Megan’s story is very real and she represented so many women and the hope that everyone should have to survive and thrive. She was definitely a stand out character in Take Down.

Let’s talk about the romance: I’m not a BDSM fan and I didn’t know that Take Down had some elements which yeah was a bit of a turn off BUT it didn’t lessen the amount of physical chemistry between Gabe and Megan. It was like the broken parts of them recognized each other as someone who could understand and possibly heal those wounds. Their romance was slow to build but at the same time it had the same intensity that was a constant theme in the story. These two didn’t do anything by halves; they were all in with a heavy amount of intense.

How about that supporting cast? With Gabe a member of a MMA league there was bound to be a whole group of supporting characters and I can’t single out a one that I wouldn’t like to see as a lead in the next book because all the characters that have been introduced so far have been interesting. I will say that I loved seeing Nick and Jules again because they’re my favorite couple.

Click It or Skip It? Click It. Take Down’s intensity level and heavy dose of realism makes it a bit more somber than its predecessor but that doesn’t make it any less passionate, especially if you enjoy light BDSM.

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