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Kele Moon

REVIEW:  Crossing the Line by Kele Moon

REVIEW: Crossing the Line by Kele Moon

Dear Ms. Moon:

I saw that this book was out and kind of balked at the price. I liked the first one in the series but I never finished the second one so I hovered over the buy button.  The author then offered the book for a potential review.  Here’s my two cent summary. If this book was $3.99, I’d be telling everyone to buy it. At $7.99, it is a tougher call. I liked it but I want to let the reader know a few things that might affect whether this is a purchase for them.

Crossing the Line (Battered Hearts #3) by Kele MoonFirst, the story is told in five different parts. It starts out present day when Tabitha, a best selling YA author, returns home to care for her sick mother. She ends up injured and puking out her guts when Wyatt, the town sheriff shows up.

The story then goes backward. We see how Wyatt and Tabitha first meet in third grade; Tabitha’s strong friendship with Clay  (the hero of the first Batter Hearts book) and then Wyatt and Tabitha’s young adult romance. About 60% of Wyatt & Tab’s story is before the present day.

Tabitha lives with her alcoholic mother and her drug addled brother. She’s never sure whether she’ll be eating ketchup for dinner or a piece of bread. When Wyatt offers her a cookie, Tabitha wonders what he wants but she takes it because in third grade, that might be the only food she has the for the day. Wyatt’s attention is arrested by Tabitha and his devotion to her never wavers, not through elementary school or even into high school or through their long separation.

For Wyatt, the only woman (and I mean only in every way) is Tabitha.  The reverse is true as well although Tabitha attempts, at times, to deter Wyatt’s interest.  There young love is sweet and endearing.  As Wyatt starts fighting professionally, the story follows the couple until their eventual separation. The fight scenes were fun.

I also felt that there were some great emotional punches (as Melissa from SMS Obsessions would say) such as when Wyatt tells his twin sister that love hadn’t been so kind to him and Juju replies that she just fought harder than he did.

I really enjoyed the childhood and young adult romance of Wyatt and Tab but some people prefer older protagonists. They are older by the end of the story but not for a good portion of it. They aren’t bogged down by high school concerns such as who gets to sit next to whom in the lunchroom but issues such as whether Tab and Clay have enough to eat or whether Tab is safe in her home.  Plus, Wyatt’s father is the sheriff and he has to keep his relationship quiet from his family because Wyatt is certain that his father would want the relationship to end.

The major sticking point for me was the long term separation. That is not shown in the book but we know that there are thirteen years during which Wy and Tab are separated and Tab’s reasons for this are both good at the time but lose power after the years pass. Why couldn’t she have returned earlier when she knows how much she loves Wyatt and how much he loves her? The thirteen years could have been two or three or even five. I didn’t get Tab’s reasoning and that really bugged me. And conversely, I felt like Wyatt could have been more proactive.  It seemed pretty obvious what was the root of their separation and that neither did anything for years and years seemed worthless.

I enjoyed this story of young love that blossomed into a lasting adult love. It was full of longing, angst, and emotion. B

Best regards,

Jane

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REVIEW: Defying the Odds by Kele Moon

REVIEW: Defying the Odds by Kele Moon

Dear Ms. Moon:

This book caught my eye on Twitter. KatiD recommended it and I can see why. The story featured two really sweet characters who had never been special in anyone’s lives before and who found, in each other, the perfect companion. As I read the book, I kept thinking of how much potential the story had. It could have been an amazing story but it lacked serious character development. Every time an opportunity arose to engage the reader’s deep emotional connection was bypassed. It was a superficial story that had a ton of potential.

kele moon defying the oddsMelody Dylan escaped her abusive husband. Broke, she ended up in Garnet and got a job waiting tables. She may be poor but she’s independent, and most importantly, safe. Melody catches the eye of UFC fighter, Clay Powers. Melody has no clue who Clay is but she bristled when she ran into the sheriff, a former UFC fighter and the best friend of Clay.

The sheriff proceeds to tell Clay that Melody won’t want anything to do with him because of his past. This isn’t true because to Melody it isn’t the size but the attitude of a man that is frightening and while Clay looks like he could break her in two with one hand, he doesn’t give off the the same scary vibe of a man who could be a danger to her.

But Clay, believing that he would only be rebuffed, can only look at Melody with longing each time he comes to the cafe and sits in her section.

“I dunno the details. She seemed to feel like he was a real danger, enough to move here of all places.” Wyatt took another sip of his coffee, his tall frame still hunched low over the booth as he spoke to Clay. “You get why it wouldn’t work out, dontcha? Why a UFC Hall of Fame heavyweight might not be her ideal man?”

Yeah, Clay got it, and he knew Wyatt was right. It wasn’t even a shock to his system. He was too rough around the edges, too mean, too big and intimidating. Nice girls didn’t fuck guys like him—groupies did.

Much of this is told to us in summary fashion and it is too bad because there is nothing more endearing than a tough guy beset with unrequited love. For instance, seeing Clay choke down pumpkin pie that was gifted to him by Melody did more to show me the type of guy that Clay was (willing to suffer rather than hurt her feelings) than all the summary paragraphs that followed. Further, Clay doesn’t love sex. He finds it largely unsatisfying because of the lack of emotional involvement to the point he has become celibate. His attraction, both physical and emotional to Melody was sweet and touching and I wished there was greater development of this. Likewise, Melody’s past abuse and her recovery was glossed over. There was also a very truncated timeline. The romance takes place between Thanksgiving and New Year’s but there are several timing issues that seemed off.

I am not a fan of the use of dialect and it is heavy in this book. I’m not sure why it is used other than to emphasize stereotypes of small southern towns being full of people using incorrect grammar.

As a sports book, the UFC bit is important to the story and not just there as a backdrop. Clay is struggling with the trajectory of his career. He is currently on top but it’s getting tiresome. He hates the showmanship aspect of the position and his lust for winning is diminishing. I’m not very well versed in UFC so I have no idea about the accuracy of the scenes but it did feel right. Clay worked out daily; he was ribbed about his eating habits that might affect his performance; the violence of the sport was emphasized. There was both an appreciation for the sport that was exuded in the book but a cautionary note regarding the possibility of serious injury.

This was a very wweet romance that missed a huge opportunity to build great backstory. It was a bit slow in the beginning but the pace was offset by fun banter between Clay and his best friend Wyatt and fortunately, the story picked up speed toward the end. I loved the characters and felt it could have been so much stronger. Again, this is a very sweet book but I just felt left wanting so much more. C+

Best regards,

Jane

The book is fairly expensive being that it is published by Loose Id but it may be worth putting on your wish list at Fictionwise and buying during one of the 40-60% off sales.

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