Sunday, September 1, 2013


Against the Ropes
Category/Genre: Adult Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Publication Date: 9/3/13
Format: ARC
Pages: 368
Source: Received from publisher for review
Rating: 3 stars
He scared me. He thrilled me. And after one touch, all I could think about was getting more…

Makayla never thought she’d set foot in an underground mixed-martial arts club. But if anyone needs a medic on hand, it’s these guys. Trouble is, at her first sight of the club’s owner she’s the one feeling breathless.

All sleek muscle and restrained power, the man they call Torment plays to win at any cost. Whether it’s in the ring or in the bedroom, he knows exactly when to use a soft touch and when to launch a full-on assault. He always knows just how far he can push. And he’s about to tempt Makayla in ways she never imagined.  

It will come as a surprise to no one that I wanted to read Against the Ropes because of the cover. I've actually had this ARC for a while, and every time I saw it on my shelf, I gave it the side eye and I sighed. When it finally came time to get started, I snatched the beautiful covet off the shelf and cackled (yes, cackled) in complete giddiness.

Against the Ropes was not the book I anticipated. It had so much more than the synopsis indicated. In fact, I found myself re-reading the synopsis multiple times, trying to see if I missed anything. I thought I was getting a story about a MMA fighter and the woman who wins his heart. And yes, this is essentially what the book is about. But there was SO MUCH going on in addition to that.

Torment isn't exactly who he seems; he has a bit of a double life going on. While I didn't hate that, it was not what I was looking for from Against the Ropes. In addition, Torent has some heavy issues in and out of the bedroom. While I didn't mind the outside issues so much, and his double life, I think his story would've been stronger without it. I would've preferred him as the gritty, troubled, sexy fighter, less the polished and dominant businessman to go with it. Torment also has control issues in and out of the bedroom, and some of his actions didn't always sit well with me. Overall, I dealt with the extreme curveballs well enough. But I will say that the synopsis was more clear so that readers know what to expect and can be better informed about whether the book is a good fit for their preferences.

As far as Makayla goes, I liked her. She was an "Everywoman", someone easy to relate to. She was a funny chick, had a serious mouth in her, and was likeable in general. Makayla was up for just about anything, anytime, anywhere. I appreciated that while she was very much into Torment, she was resistant to his "other life".  Like Torment, Makayla had serious issues from childhood, some that come into play when they're intimate, though I think these needed to be fleshed out more to really make a hard impact.

I know that I've already mentioned Against the Ropes had a lot going on, I think there may have been too much. There's the subplot with crazy debt collectors who threaten and harass Makayla. And I get it, because this causes her to make decisions that drive the story, but didn't make sense legally. Makayla's hospital co-workers also take up a good portion of the book, and some of that I could have done without as well. I felt that it detracted from Torment and Makayla's story.

Against the Ropes was often funny, sexy, and exciting. And when I say funny, I mean that there were times that I laughed out loud. I always appreciate that in a story. And though there were aspects that didn't work out as I'd hoped or expected, I did enjoy the overall story. I liked a lot of the secondary characters, the other fighters and one of Makayla's co-workers, but especially Amanda and Jake. Seeing as things were left very up in the air in regards to those two, I wonder if the author has more in store for them. If you're looking for a book that is way more than meets the eye, Against the Ropes may be worth a try.


 Favorite Quote:

   There is almost nothing I could refuse him at this moment. Sex on the picnic bench? Check. Strip off and do the Macarena on the grass? Check. Crawl under the table and do naughty things? Not much experience in that department, but...check. Ride off into the sunset? Double check.   ~ARC, pg 37

Purchase Against the Ropes
About the author:
Recovering lawyer, karate practitioner, and caffeine addict, Sarah Castille worked and traveled abroad before trading her briefcase and stilettos for a handful of magic beans and a home near the Canadian Rockies. Her steamy, contemporary romantic tales feature blazingly hot alpha heroes tormented or tattooed for your reading pleasure.
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  1. This sounds like it could've benefited from some additional editing if there was too much going on. Glad to hear you enjoyed it overall, Andrea. Great review! :)

  2. I have to say that the character of Torment appealed to me from the summary, but after reading your review, I'm not so sure anymore. Makayla sounds like a fun girl though.
    It's a shame that the book had a lot going on though. I completely understand your frustraion with regard to that.
    I think I might just borrow this from a library or something.
    Great honest review, Andrea!

  3. I got this book in the mail recently because someone thought I would like it. I'm gonna see what I think lol

  4. I'm pretty sure this cover has made LOTS of women read this book! ;) Glad you enjoyed it. I also always appreciate humor in books. It just makes it THAT much better. :) Great review, Andrea!

  5. Dang, I loved the cover and the guest post but now I am not sure if this is for me, sometimes a too busy plot can spoil the fun, and if somethings bothered you or didn't sit right I know I will probably feel the same. I do love humor though, great review Andrea :)

  6. This does sound like a fun read but I hate when there is too much going on in a story. I have no problem with a book that solely focuses on a relationship. Sorry this wasn't all you hopeed for. Great review Andrea.

  7. This sounds good. I think that sometime when too much is going on it can really take you out of the story a bit, but I'm glad that you enjoyed it still. Great review hon!!

  8. Bhahahahaha! The first thing I thought about when I opened your review--dat coverrrr!!! You know a LOT about guys in books so I trust you when you say that he isn't exactly what a lot of us look for in a book. The female MC sounds like a girl who is fun to hang out with and know you'll have a good time with--no matter if you're a female or a male. Perhaps the subplot did take a little too much away from the actual storyline. I'm glad you were able to enjoy it in general dispite your issues. I hope the book you're reading now is thoroughly enjoyable though!

  9. Ahhh so that's the cover everyone was talking about in my twitter feed! lol

  10. Yeah, I could just stare at the cover for ...a while! Mmmmm...I'm not sure how I feel about the disconnect between the synopsis and the story. That can be good or bad. I am glad you enjoyed it.

  11. That is a mighty appealing cover, lol! I do love a good story about an MMA fighter falling in love. And it made you laugh plenty of times?! That's def a plus! Great review!

    Confessions of a Vi3tBabe
    Deity Island

  12. Hmm. I have this one on my TBR, but now I'm not sure if I'll rush for it. I'm glad you liked it overall, but sometimes I just get irritated when there is too much going on. Nice review!


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