Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Laid Out by Sidney Halston - Review, Excerpt, and Giveaway

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Author: Sidney Halston
Publication Date:  18 August, 2015
Publisher: Loveswept
Series:  Worth the Fight, book 4
Genre:  New Adult, Contemporary Romance, MMA and Military based
Age Recommendation: 18 and up
Rating: 4 Stars

~ I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review ~ 

Book Description:

Perfect for fans of Monica Murphy and Cecy Robson, Sidney Halston’s scorching new MMA romance proves there are no holds barred when it comes to seduction.

Growing up an Army brat, Violet Channing could never meet her dad’s high expectations. But in the eyes of her best friend, she could do no wrong. He even insisted that he should be her first kiss. Now Cain Sorensen is all grown up, hardened by years in special ops and always looking for a good fight. Tall, with striking blue eyes and impossibly blond hair, he’s a modern-day Viking warrior. Of course, Violet’s all grown up, too, and she’s ready to surrender to his every command.

Cain knows he’s bad for Violet. His work is dangerous, and his hobbies are downright deadly. As a private mercenary and a mixed martial arts fighter, he could never let such an innocent soul into his world. And yet his most grueling combat training is no match for Violet’s killer curves, hot touch, and suggestive glances. Now all of Cain’s most explosive fantasies are coming true—but once they cross the line between friends and lovers, there’s no turning back.

My Review:

This story of best friends turned lovers is a roller coaster of emotions.  There is so much sadness that comes along with this book but the love between these two characters outshines it all.

Violet Channing and Cain Sorensen have known each other since they were practically babies, the two of them and Jeremy Edwards were best friends their entire lives, but when the two boys (a few years older than Violet) follow in their father's footsteps and join the military things begin to change.  First with a passionate first kiss between Violet and Cain leaving Violet wanting more and then heartbroken and secondly with a letter sent across the ocean from Jeremy to Violet asking her out.

Tragedy strikes the trio with Jeremy's combat related death and nothing will ever be the same again.  Years of separation, years of quiet longing, and years of guilt have to be overcome for this couple to find happiness.  The barriers may be too much for love and ultimately too much for friendship.

I really enjoyed these two characters.  Violet is just a regular woman, she's you and me  She's the woman who while happy with herself also struggles from years of self-esteem issues.  She's a woman who has had her heart broken, she is the woman who is always the light for her friends but battles to find that light for herself at times.  She's the kind of woman you want to be your friend because she is fun to be around, she offers you the truth but never in a harsh way, she's kind and thoughtful, she cares about her friends and gives of herself freely.  She also has a fabulous profanity prone parrot, haha!

Cain...What to say about Cain?  First off this is my image of Cain:

The author describes him multiple times as a blond-haired viking...and there we have it, haha

Cain is dark and brooding.  He's the quiet guy that when he actually says something everyone stops to listen to because he only talks when he has something important to say.  He's a guy that is fighting his feelings of love, guilt, anger, sadness. He is a guy that loves with every part of him but somehow manages to not be able to love himself.  He is the kind of guy that you would want at your back but one the kind of guy you can never get a feel for.

A brief talk about the other character's in the book.  I really enjoyed everyone of them and I can't wait for JL and Enzo's story.  I loved the way that Sidney set them up at the end of this book.  The one thing that I missed though is what happened to Iggy Mitchell?  I am going to be stressing about this until I find out, but I can't tell you guys why because that would give away a major part of the story...but I know you guys are going to want to know too, so go read the book, haha.

I worried that I would get really frustrated with this book, the whole 'secretly in love with the best friend who was engaged the other best friend' bit bogging down the entire story, but I am more than happy to say that Sidney Halston pulled this one together beautifully.  It does take quite a while for the story between Violet and Cain to play out, it is a slow build up, but I never felt the need to skip pages or to toss my kindle.  The story flowed naturally and while the book is totally swoon-worthy from the first page to the last, the 'sexy' times weren't so superfluous that the book became only about that.  I like a good sexy scene (and there are some good ones in here) but I want a real story, I want to feel something from the characters, I want to know their hearts and minds and I can say very happily that you will get that with this book.

This was the first book in the series I read (I know, I know, you guys know how much I hate reading out of order) but I can say you won't be lost or confused if you read Laid Out before any of the other books.  I will however be going back and reading the first few stories because I loved these characters from the book so much I just want to know more about them.

The only thing I could say that I would h ave liked more of is more of the MMA fighting.  This series is MMA based and I kinda missed that, we got some of it with some underground fighting and of course the training the guy go through, but the whole story line with Cain fighting in a major MMA fight a year from when he comes back gets swallowed up by the rest of the story.  Maybe in the coming books we will get more of that, we will find out what he's doing now, if he is still fighting or totally out...but as far as in this book it gets kind of gets pushed to the side. There is more of a military background presence in this story than MMA which is just fine with me, except that the whole series is based around the Worth the Fight (WtF) Academy and we didn't get much of that in this particular book.  Don't forget though that this was the first in the series I have read, I have a feeling the WtF Academy comes in to play more in previous books.  But don't go into this one expecting a lot of MMA because you won't get it.  Again, though it doesn't take away at all from the book or the story.  I really loved the way this story came together and played out and I think you will too.

This is a great read for any Contemporary Romance fans, particularly those who like a book with  sports and military backgrounds.  It is a slow build but once you get into the meat of the story you will not want to put it down and when you are done you will want the next book in the series right then!



Violet put her hands up in surrender. “Tom really did chew strange!” She stopped and pinched the bridge of her nose. “Or was it Tim? Whatever. The point is that the way a guy chews is a legitimate flaw. I can’t marry a man who talks and chews at the same time, spitting little chunks of steak in my face. Ew! What if one of those little pieces lands in my eye? I could go blind.”

“The thought you’ve put into that exaggeration is really impressive, if not disturbing.” Her friend threw the scarf back at Violet. “Come on. Finish getting dressed already.”

Minutes later, Violet was sitting cross-legged in the middle of her bed applying makeup when JL walked in again, fully dressed to bartend at the Pier. “I was thinking . . .”

“Oh, no. Are you okay?”

JL playfully smacked Violet’s shoulder before sitting down on her bed and fussing with Violet’s hair. “Maybe the issue is Cain. Have you heard from him?” That was not something Violet wanted to talk about, and her friend knew it, which was why she’d brought it up. “What the hell is going on with you and Cain? And before you say nothing, remember we’ve been friends for a long time. I know you. We live together. That man has you in knots, and since he left four months ago, you’ve been a Debbie Downer. It’s depressing. You’re depressing.”

“One hundred and ten days. Not that I’m counting. I have absolutely no idea where he’s at. He just vanished. But even when he was here, there was never anything going on with us. You saw how he treated me when he bothered to speak to me. I don’t know what I did to make him hate me. We were best friends, and then we weren’t. Plain and simple. My issues have got nothin’ to do with him.”

“He doesn’t say a word to anyone. I’ve been living in Tarpon Springs for years now, and since he moved here I think I’ve heard him say ten words. So the talking thing, it’s a nonissue. It’s got nothin’ to do with you. The jerk thing—yeah, all you, babe. Not sure what’s up with that. He’s not exactly Mr. Friendly, but he’s not flat-out rude to anyone except you.”

“Except me,” she agreed.

“Why’s that?”

“No clue.” Violet lay back, sucked in her gut, and closed the top button of her jeans. “He’s so surly nowadays,” she said breathlessly. “When we were growing up he was always the quiet and introspective one, but he wasn’t the Cain I’ve met here in town. This Cain’s a—”

“A dick,” JL interrupted.

“Dick! Dick!” Bird cawed.

JL barked out a loud laugh. “I love that bird.”

Violet rolled her eyes and ignored the parrot. “Yep. He’s not very friendly. Cain, not Bird. Actually, both. Or neither.” Violet shook her head. “Ugh! What I mean to say is both Cain and Bird are not friendly.” Violet let out her breath and put her arms out to JL, who grabbed them and pulled her up. “But I’m so freakin’ worried about him. Mad or not, I hope he’s okay.” Violet stretched her legs and walked over to the mirror behind her door to look at herself. Normal to large boobs, average waist, biggish butt, and short legs. She was on the voluptuous side of the spectrum. But she liked the way she looked, and so long as she was healthy, she never dieted and never looked at the scale. It had taken her a lot of years of self-loathing, but now, at twenty-eight, she loved her curvy body and wore it proudly—her father’s opinion, God rest his soul, be damned.

She turned halfway, looked at her backside, and smiled to herself. She had long ago come to terms with the fact that she would never be the same size as JL—but neither were most women. The mean girls in high school who had tormented her and mooed at her when she walked down the hall were now cordially invited to kiss her big behind, because she was happy with her tush just as it was and she seriously enjoyed her cookie dough ice cream addiction.

“Looking good, sister,” JL said. “I swear I’m going to burn your scrubs.”

“You think John will like it?”

JL walked up to Violet and playfully eyed her cleavage. “Only if he’s a guy.” Violet swatted her away and adjusted her top so that she wasn’t spilling out of it. “Come on. You’re going to be late for your date, and I’m going to be late for work.”

Violet took a deep breath, grabbed her purse, and followed JL out of the house. A glass of wine would loosen her up. That’s what she needed in order to get rid of the butterflies in her stomach. She wasn’t so good with dates, and blind dates were the worst.

Sidney Halston lives her life by one simple rule: “Just do it.” And that’s exactly what she did. At the age of thirty, having never written anything other than a legal brief, she picked up a pen for the first time to pursue her dream of becoming an author. That first stroke sealed the deal, and she fell in love with writing. Halston lives in South Florida with her husband and children.


  1. Thank you for he review and for hosting today!!!

    1. I hate that this was the first in the series that I have read, but now I am so anxious to go back and read the other books! Wish I had found them sooner! Thank you got a great book!

  2. Thank you for much for hosting LAID OUT!