Series: Hard Knocks #2
on January 20th, 2016
Genres: Contemporary Romance
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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
The conclusion to the New York Times bestselling romance that began in Phenomenal X, about one womanÔÇÖs pulse-pounding relationship with a notorious bad-boy wrestler.
ÔÇ£WhatÔÇÖll it be, Anna Cortez? Are you in, or are you out?ÔÇØ
One momentary loss of control has now ruined everything Xavier Cold had going for himself. With his world unraveling fast, heÔÇÖs willing to do anything to save not only his job but his relationship with the only woman heÔÇÖs ever loved.
Anna Cortez, still reeling from shock, tries desperately to save the man thatÔÇÖs consumed her heart, body and soul. SheÔÇÖll have to dig deep and find courage she never knew she possessed to help Xavier fight demons from his pastÔÇöa past thatÔÇÖs even more haunted than she ever imagined.
Finally, Xavier Cold is BACK! The sequel to Phenomenal X is here, and we couldn’t wait to devour this one. It made the perfect #BuddyRead. So over the weekend we had fun discussing this long awaited read. We definitely enjoyed reading this one.
1. After what felt like forever, we finally got to read Xavier Cold, book two of the Hard Knock series. Now that we read it, has it lived up to the expectation created by us and the long wait for this conclusion?
Anja: I did feel like we waited forever for this book to come out. And due to the fact that I loved the first one and they way it ended, I think I built up my expectations of this one so high, that it needed to be an exceptional book to reach them. While I loved to see Anna and Xavier again and got closure to the cliffhanger we endure, it sadly did not live up to the immensely high expectations i had.┬á
Loredana: I waited forever for this book and even worried IÔÇÖd be left hanging with no conclusion to this book. That would have sucked. It was gratifying to have the story pick up exactly where it left off. ItÔÇÖs awful when thereÔÇÖs such a time gap in between books and you nearly forget all of the relevant details. ThatÔÇÖs the good part. The bad part is that this book didnÔÇÖt live up to the expectation I had.
2. What about Xavier and Anna? Do we still like them? Is the spark from book 1 still there?
Loredana: I definitely still love Xavier. We got to delve a bit more into her beautifully tortured soul. There were plenty of times I wanted to give him a wallop (specifically at the hands of Nettie), but he was still the same guy. Even though this story was a lot on the perspective of Anna, there were times when I felt like I was someone in a room with her rather than in her head. They definitely still had a great spark, but a lot of bonehead behaviors. In the end, IÔÇÖm glad theyÔÇÖre together.
Anja: I definitely adored Xavier and Anna as a couple. They didn’t lose any of their spark and their chemistry. And I enjoyed getting to know them a lot. And you’re right Loredana, I wanted to hit Xavier so many times during this story. I was also quite disappointed in him a few times throughout the book. They both were stubborn to the point of stupidity, which was quite frustrating. But I liked to see them prevail and conquer all of their issues.
3. What did we like most about the book?
Loredana: I liked Anna growing a pair of lady balls and seeing Xavier evolve into a better version of himself.┬á It was good to get some answers about family, characters and back story.┬á I would have liked to have gotten to know Cole a bit better.
Anja: I agree! Anna growing a backbone was definitely one of the things i loved reading about most. She needed to finally stand up for herself and quit letting others walk all over her, even if it’s Xavier. She needed to take control of her life and be her own person before she was able to have a healthy relationship with Xavier. I loved the supporting characters, even the evil ones, but I wish we’d have seen more of them, especially Cole and Corey.
4. And what bothered us the most about the book?
Loredana: Not everything has to be wrapped up in a pretty bow. Without giving any spoilers (which is hard), I have to say that sometimes itÔÇÖs better to see a character overcome some tragedy and be stronger rather than have a tangent story line to rectify something.
Anja: While I liked most of the story, I didn’t like the ending and how neatly it was wrapped up in a tidy bow. I second Loredana, not everything needs to be perfect in the end. Lose strings and messy endings aren’t necessarily a bad thing, especially if it means the character overcame a hardship that made him or her stronger. It felt like the ending was rushed and some solutions took the easy way out and ended up not making sense to me.
5. What about the story line? Do we like where it took us after that mean cliffhanger in book 1? Or not so much?
Loredana: This story didnÔÇÖt take me anywhere near expected. Many times I felt bereft because of the lack of character and story development. Some of the plot lines felt like they resolved too quickly in a manner that wasnÔÇÖt consistent with characters we had come to know. I expected things to get bad, but they didnÔÇÖt in the way I anticipated. In my opinion, there were a lot of story lines which could have either been further flushed out or not included.
Anja: I second Loredana, I didn’t have many expectations on where the story line will go, but I have to say I didn’t expect this to go where it went. There were so many places to take this story too, but sadly I think the easy and cliche way out was taken. Some things that happened didn’t make sense with the character development we saw in book 1. Also, I think especially the ending was too rushed and tidy. There is quite a bit of room for improvement with this story.
6. Any last comments? Things we need to get off our chests?
Loredana: I still really like Michelle Valentine, her writing style and characters. This story wasnÔÇÖt exactly what I thought it would be. However, itÔÇÖs hard to live up to the explosiveness of the first book. Though itÔÇÖs not my favorite book of hers, itÔÇÖs still good to know the conclusion to the story.
Anja: I will always like Michelle Valentine’s and her writing. Her books are entertaining and well-written, this specific one was just not my cup of tea. Though it did have a tough act to follow that’s for sure. I do am looking forward to the next Michelle Valentine book however.
~Review by Anja & Loredana