Tuesday, April 18, 2017

BOOK REVIEW: FULL CONTACT by SARAH CASTILLE
















Title: Full Contact
Author: Sarah Castille
Series: Redemption 3
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca 

Published: April 7, 2015
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Format: ebook

Pages: 304
Source: NetGalley 
Reading Challenges: Netgalley and Edelweiss Blogger Shame

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When you can't resist the one person who could destroy you...

Sia O'Donnell can't help but push the limits. She secretly attends every underground MMA fight featuring The Predator, the undisputed champion. When he stalks his prey in the ring, Sia is mesmerized. He is dominant and dangerous and every instinct tells her to run.

Every beautiful thing Ray "The Predator" touches he knows he'll eventually destroy. Soft, sweet and innocent, Sia is the light to Ray's darkness-and completely irresistible. From the moment he lays eyes on her, he knows he's going to have to put his dark past behind him to win her body and soul. 

I never remembered that I had received ‘Full Contact’ for review until I received a request to review the fourth book in the Redemption series.  Although it was unnecessary to read ‘Full Contact’ prior to reading the fourth book, I decided to read it in order.

Having read and enjoyed the earlier books in the series, my expectations for this instalment was high.  I hoped for well-developed characters, strong romance and a great storyline. I got most of what I hoped for except the romance, which was disappointing. What I got was a pull-push relationship and sex that had a touch of BDSM and lots of pain. I found the pain aspect of main characters’ sexual relationship disconcerting, in light of the heroine’s past issues.

Sia O’Donnell, a fan of underground fighting and even bigger fan of the MMA fighter known as ‘The Predator’. Her visits to the club are two-fold. As a tattoo artist, she goes there to get inspiration and ideas for her designs and to view her fantasy in the flesh. Sia has been fantasising about ‘The Predator’ for some time now but was not willing to go beyond fantasy due to the danger that surrounds him. However, when he sets his sights on her, she found that reality proved better than the fantasy.

I admired her resolve to move past her traumatic experience, although I thought the steps taken were drastic.  These steps were only a band-aid and not a solution to her problem, which was evident in her interaction with her family, friends, and associates.  Her failure to address the root of the problem prevented her from moving on and as result prevented her from having a meaningful relationship.  There were times her actions frustrated me. One moment she was confident and sassy and the next she appeared to lack confidence in her abilities to succeed and overcome her past.

Ray Black AKA ‘The Predator’ is a man of mystery and he remained that way even after the story ended. The tragedies from his past shaped him into the man he is today. He has no desire for a committed relationship due to the danger that surrounds him, but Sia would have him breaking his rule.  In addition to being an underground fighter, Ray is a PI and by all appearances, he is involved in other activities, which no one is privy to.  He is a man of few words, but when he speaks, his words have an impact.  Despite his dominant nature, he had a sensitive side, especially when it concerned Sia.

I was not a fan of how Sia and Rays’ relationship developed.  It lacked credibility and so I had a hard time connecting to them as a couple. Their knowledge of each was limited. He told her of the tragedies in his past, but she was not that forthcoming.   It was around 60% into the story before she disclosed her painful history to him. I found it strange that Sia did not know Ray’s full name until 90% into the story.  In addition, what was even more strange is that they have never been on a date. There was no substance to their relationship, as it was not built on a solid foundation. Furthermore, the constant push and pull between them nearly gave me a crick neck. One minute they are into each other, and the next, they are not good for each other.  I believe that having the story told from both character’s POV would have enhanced the storyline, as it would have helped the reader understand what makes the characters tick.   Unfortunately, we only got Sia’s POV. 

The story was well- written, for the most part. There is a scene I could not figure how it fit into the series of events. Someone connected to Ray kidnapped Sia, but the information provided was sketchy. He appeared in the story several times, and it was evident he was up to no good, but I had no idea who he was and why he wanted to get even with Ray.  I enjoyed the interaction with the secondary characters which funny and interesting. I am interested in learning more about them, especially Sia’s brother.

Verdict:
This was an average read. Out, of all the books is the series, this is my least favourite. Despite the issues, I had with this instalment, I am not giving up on the series.  If you have, an interest in contemporary romances set in underground fight clubs, with a dominant 

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