Wednesday, November 12, 2014

SUNNY - ARC BOOK REVIEW: "Undefeated" by Melissa Cutler

Welcome to Destiny Falls, New York, home of Bomb Squad—an ice hockey team full of rugged military heroes. The team’s battling a losing streak, but the season’s biggest game changer is one player’s second chance with the one who got away…

Yoga instructor Marlena Brodie is always up for a challenge, and her new job of snapping Bomb Squad out of their rut is definitely that, even though it means being in close contact with Liam McAllister, her high school crush gone bad. She can feel the damage pouring off of him—but also a wild and sexy strength that calls to her.

The Army turned Liam McAllister into a man, but as a combat medic, he saw far too much to ever be whole again. He’s not interested in the civilian world beyond his job as a carpenter, but he never stopped wondering what might have been with Marlena—and it isn’t long before she’s crashed through his carefully constructed walls. He longs for a new beginning with her, but to be the man she deserves, he’ll have to step out of his defensive zone and score the most important play of his life…

Liam McAllister
Marlena Brodie

Undefeated is Book 2 in the Bomb Squad series

I came into this book thinking I was going to get a sports romance, but it really wasn’t.  And yet, I was not disappointed after finishing this story.

Is there any other word for “angsty”?  I dread that term because it is so often used in conjunction with either New Adult or Young Adult books, and this is neither.  However, this is a book about a former soldier living with PTSD, feeling misunderstood and alone in the world.  Into his world comes a woman from his past, a woman connected to his present and he can’t get over this itch he feels when he’s around her. 

On the surface, they are seemingly incompatible.  She is a yoga instructor and massage therapist.  She is in control and exudes an aura of zen.  Liam is a returning veteran with a severe case of PTSD, reliving the horrors he experienced during the war. This book gives me more insight into this condition.  We get to rattle around in Liam’s head and gain insights into how debilitation PTSD can be.   Dig a little deeper and we see that she is exactly what he needs.  They are both survivors and healers. He describes her as both serenity and fire.  I like how she doesn’t come in to fix him, but rather accepts him for who is today.  She sees him not merely as a wounded veteran like so many others, but as “flesh, blood, pain, joy, and a million other facets in between.”   She works with him to make a satisfying life.  

This book is fiercely emotional and unrelenting.  If you are looking for a light-hearted sports romance, this is not the book for you.  But if you want a dive into an exploration of something deeper, you’ll want to snuggle under a blanket and break out your e-reader for this one.

Thank you to the author, publisher, and Netgalley for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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