Review: Love Hard

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


Review: Love HardLove Hard by Nalini Singh
Series: Hard Play #3
Published by Tka Distribution on March 10, 2020
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 320
Goodreads
five-stars

FINAL DECISION: Oh, I loved this one. Jake is sweet and adorable and such a good man trying to raise his daughter until Jules comes and knocks his well ordered life for a loop. These are adults dealing with things in a mature and reasoned fashion and I loved their story.

THE STORY: A wedding brings high school classmates Jacob Esera and Juliet Nelisi together again. As students, the two were uneasily connected by Jacob’s girlfriend who happened to be Juliet’s best friend. After his girlfriend’s death, Jacob has spent the last six years raising his daughter as a single parent and working on his career as a rugby player. There is definite heat between them but Jacob wants a quiet private life and Juliet seems to bring scandal and attention wherever she goes.

OPINION: This book is a joy to read primarily because these are adults who deal with their relationship in an adult way. Less unnecessary drama and more smart people who talk things out make this book a wonderful read.

Jake is a really decent man. Raising his daughter alone after the death of her mother, she is clearly the center of his life. Definite gooey heart stuff seeing this strong man completely wrapped around the little finger of his girl. What is particularly good in is that the kids feel like real people and not convenient plot points. As a parent, I also really felt for Jake who has conflicting emotions regarding this daughter that he loves greatly and yet wants her protected and yet independent.

Juliet is a woman who is smart and clever and has made mistakes. She owns her mistakes which felt mature and realistic. I appreciated having a heroine that was imperfect and dealt with her past with humor and aplomb.

I just love the serious guy with the naughty girl, but even better, these characters are complex and are ultimately they have more in common than at first it seems. This is a lovely story with intricacy of character. There is angst and some drama, but such likable people.

The story is also very sexy as well as being sweet and romantic.

This book just made me feel good and happy.

WORTH MENTIONING: While it is certainly not necessary to read the other books in the series, I highly recommend reading ROCK HARD. A highlight of this book for me is the community of characters that Nalini Singh brings into the story (especially in the beginning). One of my favorite aspects of Nalini Singh’s books is the supportive cast of characters in her books.

CONNECTED BOOKS: This whole series is a spin-off from ROCK HARD in the Rock Kiss series. This book, however, is especially connected as it has the wedding of Gabriel and Charlotte (the couple in ROCK HARD). This book can certainly be read as a standalone as the romance is completely self-contained.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own. I purchased a paperback copy of this book after its release.

five-stars

Review: Rebel Hard

Review: Rebel HardRebel Hard (Hard Play, #2) by Nalini Singh
Series: Hard Play #2
Published by Tka Distribution on September 18, 2018
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
five-stars

 

FINAL DECISION: Fabulous story of two people who struggle with their expectations and learn to communicate their wants, desires and needs. I absolutely adored Nayna and Raj who are sweet and sexy and have a relationship of mature respect. This is a great addition to a great series.

THE STORY: Nayna Sharma has agreed to an arranged marriage as part of her effort to keep things peaceful and happy in her family. Nanya has kept her own wants and desires suppressed to make her parents happy. One night out with her friend at a party results in her meeting a sexy hunk, Raj Sen. Raj is a man damaged by his childhood. He wants security and a traditional marriage. He meets a woman, however, that calls to him in passionate ways he never expected, but their conflicting dreams seem destined to keep them apart.

OPINION: This is a sweet and yet emotionally fraught story. Nanya and Raj feel a connection from the moment they see one another, but the question quickly arises of whether the two will be together because Nanya capitulates to her family’s expectations, whether the two will be at odds because of their different desire for the future or whether they can manage to forge something new together.

I loved this story, loved this couple. Nanya is a woman finding herself for the first time. Indeed, her relationship with Raj gives her the springboard to forge a different life for herself. At the same time that she finds comfort and companionship with Raj, she also must face the possibility that her growth might take her away from Raj.

Raj is a man who wants a traditional marriage and life, but then he meets Nanya and he must confront the reality that he wants this woman above all other things. And yet, the tension remains as to whether giving Nanya the freedom she wants means that he will lose her forever.

This book is subtle and intense and personal. There aren’t flashy, overdramatic events. Instead, this is a complex, emotional journey for these characters. Is it possible for Raj and Nanya to change and grow and reconcile their disparate visions of the future?

These characters are grounded in their families. Singh always has a wonderful way to creating community around her characters and this book is no exception. The people around Nanya and Raj matter. They are developed characters with personalities and complexities of their own. We get to see their culture, their personal foibles and strengths. It always seems that any of the secondary characters in Singh’s books could be the subject of their own book. They are that interesting and well constructed.

This is a wonderful book about compromise and understanding, about change and the importance of family and tradition. There are no easy cliches in this book. And Nanya and Raj are just adorable together. Loved it.

WORTH MENTIONING: I love the inexperienced hero and heroine combinations.

CONNECTED BOOKS: REBEL HARD is the second book in the Hard Play series. The romance here is self-contained and can be read as a standalone. I think this book is so connected with the prior book in the series (and in fact happens concurrent with that book) that I would recommend reading the books in order.

STAR RATING: I give this book 5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to help prepare this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

five-stars

Review: Cherish Hard

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


Review: Cherish HardCherish Hard (Hard Play, #1) by Nalini Singh
Series: Hard Play #1
Published by Tka Distribution on November 14th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Goodreads
four-half-stars

“He was no Prince Charming. But he was a man who would love Isa forever if she just gave him a chance. Because she was it for him. For now and always.”

FINAL DECISION: Adorable sexy gardener approached by woman who wants to claim something for herself. Sweet, adult working out of issues. Loved this one.

THE STORY: Sailor Bishop is only a teenager when he sees a college girl getting her heart stomped on by her boyfriend. Sailor tries to track her down but is unsuccessful. Years later, Sailor sees her again when he is doing landscaping at a school. The redhead approaches him and kisses him and then runs off again. Now Sailor is determined to find out her identity. Isa Rain is ready to settle down, find a husband and have children. What she doesn’t want is a sexy younger man who is determined to build his own business. When her mother blackmails her into working for her for the summer, Isa finds herself in charge of the sexy landscaper and having to decide what to do with him.

OPINION: I love books where the true conflict is a difference in outlooks that have to be resolved in an adult manner. There are no easy solutions here. Isa and Sailor must determine not whether or not they can love one another, but whether it is possible for their lives to merge together.

In the process, both Ina and Sailor must confront their pasts and the impact their parents have made on them. Ina and Sailor are both nice people and I loved their interactions.

Sailor is a caring and determined man. He has built his own landscape business but has plans for much bigger things. He has a plan for what he wants to do with his life driven by the ghosts of his past. But he is not mindless or willing to hurt people as he goes through his life. In fact, he is entirely normal. He has a plan for his life until something makes him question his plans.

Isa is trying to build her own life apart from her parents’ expectations of her. She is good at the business her mother wants to draw her into, but it isn’t Isa’s dream. I liked that it isn’t a matter of talent, but a matter of choice for Isa. She has her own past to deal with. Two parents who prioritized their work over their family. That makes her wary of a man who has his own empire to create.

What is wonderful is that these characters work out their problems. The book begins on a gimmick as Ina wants to avoid Sailor, but develops into a mature and adult story of two adults figuring out if the attraction they feel can be something to last a lifetime. I loved the maturing and adult manner in which they characters operate in the world.

There is also something beautiful about how these two characters interact with their families. I loved that these characters are grounded and real. The story is also pretty sexy between these two but always grounded in relationship.

WORTH MENTIONING: Hero is about five years younger than heroine.

CONNECTED BOOKS: CHERISH HARD is the first book in the Hard Play series. CHERISH HARD is also a prequel to ROCK HARD from the Rock Kiss series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.

four-half-stars