Saturday, September 10, 2016

Review: Hard as Stone by Sara Brookes

Brady McConnell thrives on saving patients in his busy emergency room, but a handful of failures send him tumbling over the edge of sanity. There to catch him is real estate mogul, Garrett Stafford. Brady has always been jealous of Garrett's carefree attitude toward life, love and sex, but through the good and the bad, his sexy-as-hell best friend has always been at Brady's side.

All the money in the world can't buy Garrett the one thing he wants the most--Brady. But seeing Brady broken and exhausted on a busy, snow-covered Chicago street just days before Christmas is the last straw. Garrett finally gives in to the temptation that has haunted him for years and shows Brady there's more to life than rescuing those in need.

Roused by their desperate passion for one another, their desire reaches an explosive breaking point. Brady realizes one night isn't enough, but the always secretive Garrett is bound by rules he can't change. Now Brady's healing touch may save more than just a may just save Garrett's soul.

*This title was previous published by another publisher in December 2011, and has been extensively revised from the original edition.

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My Review:
2.5  stars

I have very mixed feelings about this story. While parts of it worked for me, others didn’t. To start with, the writing was good, but there was one part of it that really threw me off, the switches between thought and reality. Thoughts would be randomly thrown in, with nothing to separate them from everything else going on. Sometimes it was easier to figure out that it was a thought, but a few times I had to go back and re-read the paragraph to decipher what was what, which really took me out of the story. On the other hand, the characters were well developed and interesting, especially Brady. I really felt for Brady and felt that I got to know and connect with him and his struggle. It was also interesting to get to learn about Garrett, though there were mysterious tidbits that were introduced (like what happened with his family) but never explained, which made it hard for me to really connect with him.

For the plot, the story started off well. We got to see Brady’s breakdown and what led up to it, as well as getting background information on Brady and Garrett. The story drew me in at this point because a lot was going on, which kept the story moving quickly. As it went along though, it slowed down for me and became an in-depth romance, which I normally like, but didn’t work as well for me here. I just couldn’t get behind it, partially because Garrett was still a mystery and partially because the story went from being a getting to know you romance to an extended sex scene. While the sex was hot, it went on long enough that I found myself skipping ahead to try and see what would happen next in their relationship. I then ran into my biggest issue with the book.

My biggest issue came in the end when I wasn’t able to suspend disbelief. Brady’s entire world is crashing down around him yet one night is enough to magically fix everything and give Brady an entire new look on life? I find this extremely difficult to believe and unrealistic. I’ve been in a similar position before and it took a long time for me to work things out, yet it’s magically fixed in one day for Brady. I might have been able to suspend disbelief and go along with this if there were a magical reasoning behind this (fated mates, spell, etc.), yet the paranormal aspect is played down and doesn’t really play a large role in the story. The story started out so well and I thought it was going to become more of a hurt/comfort story, where we saw their relationship develop while Brady healed. Yet it was rushed at the end, which I felt was a disservice since the story started out so well. However, I did like Brady’s reaction to Garrett’s big reveal as it was different than what I was expecting and worked for the story.

While I think the book showed a lot of promise, it just didn’t deliver for me. As I said above, a lot of the beginning deals with their relationship as friends and then beginning a romantic relationship, and then we practically skip to a HEA that’s more of a HFN because it left a giant elephant in the room in regards to their future working out. I think the book would have been much better if more time was spent in the middle/end of the book developing Brady and Garrett’s relationship as a romantic couple after they decided to give it a try instead of just in the beginning. I decided to give this 2.5 stars because while I did enjoy certain parts of the story as well as its potential, I was left underwhelmed and a bit disappointed by the end.

*Review copy provided via Reading Alley in exchange for an honest review.*

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