Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Book Review and Great Excerpt: Undeniable by Shannon Richard

UndeniableUndeniable by Shannon Richard
Publisher: Forever Yours
Publish Date: October 1, 2013
Paperback, 400 pages
ISBN: 9781455547425

My Review:
First note, I did not read the first book in the series, yet. Yet being the key word. That said I would say there is a small spoiler of something that happens in the first book in the beginning of Undeniable. The fact that Brendan and Paige get together is not surprising and I don't think this spoiler will change anything for me reading the book, I will just know one thing that happens. So you can start with Undone or read Undeniable as a standalone.

Next I'll start with the Prologue. Oh my gosh, how darling and it really sets the stage for the rest of the book. I was hooked right from the beginning. I loved Grace, she's smart, she's independent, but she knows just who she wants for her man even though she thinks she can't get him to see her as anything but a little sister. Oh and she's an awesome baker and an amazing friend. What is there not to love about her. Jax is equally awesome. He's good-looking, a hard worker and trying desperately to outrun his past and his Dad. He also hasn't been thinking of Grace as a sister (Brendan is his best friend and Grace's brother) since she was about 18. However he's a little harder to convince that he's good enough for Grace. There are other key player, of course Brendan and Paige factor in. There are Grace's friends, Harper, Mel and Preston. There is Shep the third in the trio that have been friends since forever (Brendan, Jax and Shep). And briefly I must talk about Shep who I am guessing gets the next book. Now Brendan and Jax are good-looking, but I am definitely intrigued by Shep and he sounds hot as evidenced by this quote:

Out of the three of them, Shep was most definitely the bad boy of the group. Tattoos were scattered across both of his arms and forearms. He had perpetual scruff on his wide, chiseled jaw and above his lips, which were usually quirked up in a smile. He had the darkest blue eyes that Grace had ever seen on a man and thick wavy black hair that was always shaggy and rumpled.

I can't wait to read more about him. And to round out the men there is Bennett a construction worker who was once in the service, and I hope to learn more about him as well. There is family, Jax's awful Dad, Grace and Brendan's wonderful grandparents. And finally there are the bad guys who have always been around Hoyt, Judson and Chad plus the nasty gossip blogger Bethelda Grimshaw. So with this wonderful cast of good and bad characters where can you go wrong?

As far as plot, it moves along well. Jax and Grace's on-again, off-again relationship being the main driving factor along with some breakins that Jax is investigating. There are some incredibly funny moments like this conversation with Shep early in the book (see the excerpt below to find out what leads up to this):

"So it was a good talk then?"
No, the talking hadn't been good. Every time Jax had opened his mouth he'd said something stupid. Who was he kidding? Everything he'd done with his mouth had been stupid.
Incredible? Yes. But also incredibly stupid.
"Is there a point to this?" Jax asked.
"Yeah. Two of them as a matter of fact and they're on your ass."
"You've got some nice Grace-sized handprints."
"Shit," Jax said wiping his hands vigorously on the back of his pants.
"It's on the back of your shirt, too, and on your collar. You two roll around in flour or something?."

But more than that, Undeniable tackles some issues not in tons of detail, but enough to bring them to your attention. And I love how it does that while still being a romance novel. Some of the things it brings to the forefront are hate crimes, child abuse, bullying, homosexuality, losing a parent at early age and not even knowing who your father is. This is a light and fluffy book, but then again it isn't. Ms. Richards finds the perfect balance to deal with issues while still keeping the focus on Jax and Grace.

I would say the only thing that really bothered me about this book was Jax's struggle. Sometimes I wanted to beat him over the head. But I realize he had to have it to grow and for the book to move and him to finally come to his senses. Though it frustrated me, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.

Ms. Richards weaves a wonderful tale of a community of friends who will do anything to protect each other. And with a wonderful lesson that sometimes your family is not blood-related but those who have surrounded you, loved you and cared for you all along.

Sometimes blood wasn't the strongest bond. Sometimes your friends were your real family.

It's a beautiful book with a great romance and I can't wait to go back and read Undone and be drawn in by more of Ms. Richards magic. And I'm all set for Unstoppable, the third book in the Country Roads series as well! I love small town novels and this is quickly becoming one of my favorite series.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0

Grace King knows two things for certain: she loves working at her grandmother's café and she loves the hunky town sheriff. She always has. As she bakes him sweet treats, Grace fantasizes about helping him work up an appetite all night long. But whenever she thinks she's finally getting somewhere, he whips out some excuse to escape. Growing up, he never looked twice at her. Now Grace won't rest until she has Jax's undivided attention.

Jaxson Anderson can't deny that his best friend's kid sister is the sexiest woman in Mirabelle, Florida. Unwilling to burden Grace with his painful past, Jax keeps the sassy blonde at arm's length. Yet one heated kiss crumbles all of his carefully built defenses. But when a town secret surfaces, threatening to destroy everything they have believed in, can the man who defended Grace from bullies as a child protect her now?

About Shannon Richard
Shannon Richard grew up in the Panhandle of Florida as the baby sister of two overly protective, but loving brothers. She was raised by a more than somewhat eccentric mother, a self-proclaimed vocabularist who showed her how to get lost in a book, and a father who passed on his love for coffee and really loud music. She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor's in English Literature, and still lives in Tallahassee where she battles everyday life with writing, reading, and a rant every once in a while. Okay, so the rants might happen on a regular basis. She's still waiting for her Southern, scruffy, Mr. Darcy and in the meantime writes love stories to indulge her overactive imagination. Oh, and she's a pretty big fan of the whimsy.


It was then Jax did the most impulsive thing he’d ever done in his life. He knew exactly where the impulse came from; he’d had the desire for years. He just wasn’t sure how the overwhelming need overran all of his sense. He grabbed Grace before he even realized what he was doing. He gripped her elbows and brought her body flush up against his. His mouth came down hard on hers. She inhaled, startled, and Jax took full advantage of the tiny opening of her mouth, dipping his tongue in and finding hers.

Holy shit.

Never in his life had Jax kissed a girl and felt like his whole body was on fire, burning from the inside out. This was incredible, like nothing he’d ever known. She was warm, and sweet, and soft. How could the inside of someone’s mouth feel this way? Taste this good?

Grace sighed in pleasure as her body relaxed against his. Her arms wound around his neck. He wrapped his hands around her waist as he walked her backward. When her back hit the counter he put his hands on her bottom and pulled her up to sit on top of it, their mouths never breaking.
Holy shit, his hands were on Grace’s ass. Her perfect, incredible ass.

Her shoes hit the floor a second before she pulled her legs around him, her bare feet running up the back of his thighs. Her hands were on his chest, as one of his pulled out the tie in her hair so that he could run his fingers through it. She grabbed on to his side, and her hands slid around and lowered until they were on his butt. She squeezed and he thought he was going to go off, right then and there.

He pulled away from her mouth, letting his lips travel down the slope of her neck. How many times had he fantasized about this? About feeling her soft skin underneath his lips? God he loved her neck, the soft delicate space at the hollow of her throat.

“Jax.” She said his name with so much need that he abandoned his exploration of her neck.
He palmed the back of her head in one of his hands as he slanted his mouth over hers. Grace moaned when their tongues found each other again. The sound of it rumbled in Jax’s chest and settled low in his abdomen.

 Jax wasn’t sure how long they stayed like that, wrapped around each other in more ways than one, before a crackling noise filled the kitchen. Mary Landers’s voice squawked through the speaker attached to Jax’s shirt.

“Seventeen, what’s your location?”

Jax pulled back from Grace, both of them breathing hard. Grace’s hair was everywhere, courtesy of his hands. She opened her eyes slowly, as if she was delaying coming back to reality, but Jax slammed into it hard.

What the hell had he just done?

***I received this book from the publisher for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  ***