Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Holding Strong - Review


Author: Lori Foster
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Harlequin Books
Series: An Ultimate Novel, Book 2
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance (Mixed Martial Arts: MMA)
Age Recommendation: 18 and up
Rating: 4 Stars

Book Description:
An up-and-coming MMA fighter wants more than just one night from a woman fleeing her past in Lori’s irresistible new novel.

Heavyweight fighter Denver Lewis plays real nice, but he doesn’t share. That’s why he’s been avoiding top-notch flirt Cherry Peyton. But a man can only resist those lush curves for so long. Their encounter surpasses all his fantasies, bringing out protective urges that Cherry’s about to need more than she knows…

Denver’s combination of pure muscle and unexpected tenderness has been driving Cherry wild. Yet no sooner does she get what she’s been craving than old troubles show up on her doorstep. And this time, Cherry can’t hide behind a carefree façade. Because the man by her side is one who’ll fight like hell to keep her safe…if only she’ll trust him enough to let him…

My Review:

Lori Foster's newest book in her Ultimate series takes us right back to Warfield, OH home of a group of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighters and the women they come to love. Denver Lewis has just been picked up by the SBC (Supreme Battle Challenge) and has his first SBC sanctioned fight just around the corner.  The last thing he needs is Cherry Peyton but that is exactly what he is going to get. 

Denver is, like the other guys in his circle of friends' an Alpha Male.  He knows what he wants and typically he takes it.  Until Cherry, the one thing he's afraid to have.   We've watched these two dance around each other through the first two books so while you may think that this is an 'insta-love' situation know that it isn't.  That is one of the things I like best about this series.  Each of the couples are introduced in prior books, we watch them interact, we get snippets of who they are and what they want. What seems like 'insta-love' in their own book really isn't because we know they have actually had months ( each book's timeline is taking place several months after the one before it, not just days after.) of watching each other and getting to know one another.  Denver has had time to get to know Cherry, to watch her interact with his friends and other people, to build up to loving her and find that he is afraid he won't be able to keep her because while he may know her he has been to afraid of getting hurt to learn to understand her.  What I loved best about Denver is his vulnerability.  Here is this bad ass MMA Alpha male who has this soft side, who is afraid of falling in love not because he fears love but because he fears loosing it. 

Cherry, the gorgeous, sweet, funny, loving girl next door that all the guys want to be friends with, that a good portion of the guys want to be more than friends with, the girl with a dark past that haunts her present, and keeps her from making attachments.  She's the girl that has fought for everything she has, the girl who has always taken care of herself, the girl who didn't let a horrible past keep her from becoming a beautiful soul, but she is also the girl who is afraid to let anyone in, who is afraid to ask for help, who is afraid to look weak, or unworthy.  She's been beaten down but not broken. If Denver knew who would he see, would he see her or would he see her past?  When Cherry's past comes back to haunt her she has to open her self up and let people see past the happy girl next door to the scared hurt girl underneath. 

I loved the chemistry between these two and Denver's determination not to give up on Cherry once he realized that being with out her was something he simply couldn't do.  They steam up the pages right off the bat (but remember this isn't a fast falling, they have been building up to these moments for two books) and the suspense and action follow along quickly keeping you turning pages.  We get to see more of each of the characters particularly Stack and Armie...I can hardly wait for the books for these two, most importantly ARMIE. Holding Strong did nothing to reign in my fire for his book, it managed to simply stoke the flames even more.  I don't want to take anything away from Denver and Cherry but Armies book I think is going to blow us all away.  Sadly it is the last book in the series, noooooooo!!!!!! 

One of my favorite things about this series is the sense of family between these guys, their girls, and the community that they live in.  They truly care for one another and are willing to put themselves in harms way and/or on the line to protect each other.  Make no mistake that each guy is wholly there for his girl and will do what ever needs to be done, but I love that they aren't afraid to ask for help when needed and that the rest of the group has no doubts in stepping up.

While this series revolves around a MMA theme it is not a focus in these books.  We get hints at what it takes to be a MMA fighter and we get glimpses of fights but these books are romances not fight books.  At times I have to admit to feeling like we are missing out on some of the story because we don't get much of the MMA side, but I love the romances enough to let that go.  It does kinda make me want to watch a few fights just to see what it is all about though, haha. 

If you  love Alpha males, if you like a little MMA in your back story, and if you love a good steamy romance these are great books to pick up.  Denver will not leave you disappointed in any respect....just ask the girls.  *Winks*  This can be read as a stand alone, but as always I think you should read the whole series so you aren't missing out on anything.  In fact I just discovered that this series is actually tied to another that is already complete.  Lori Fosters SBC Fighters series.  You do not need to read this previous series at all to read Ultimate, but as I just discovered a few characters from SBC Fighters make appearances in Ultimate. 

Since first publishing in January 1996, Lori Foster has become a USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly and New York Times bestselling author. Lori has published through a variety of houses, including Kensington, St. Martin’s, Harlequin, Silhouette, Samhain, and Berkley/Jove. She is currently published with HQN.

Lori hosts a very special annual “Reader & Author” event in West Chester, Ohio. Proceeds from the event have benefited many worthy causes, including the Hamilton County YWCA Battered Women’s Shelter, the Animal Adoption Foundation, The Conductive Learning Center for children with spina bifida and cerebral palsy, and The One Way Farm, Children’s Home.

***Each year Lori donates all proceeds from one book to charity. You can see the benefit romance books here:

No comments:

Post a Comment