Friday, September 25, 2020

Brenda Rothert - Bound

College senior Kate Camden has learned to adapt - to her last year of school, to the promise of

motherhood, to the fact that she’s doing it all alone. But just when she’s learned to adjust, heartache threatens to break her apart.
Pro hockey player Jason “Ryke” Ryker has it all: adoring fans, a promising career, and a beautiful wife. But when his seemingly perfect life is shaken by tragedy, he’s left questioning whether having it all is ever more than an illusion.
When circumstance brings Kate and Ryke together, they discover they don’t have to hurt alone. Bound by a grief that haunts them both, they must rely on one another to survive heartbreak. But that grief is more powerful than they realize, and the tie that binds them together may ultimately tear them apart.

Comment: I had this book in my TBR since 2015 because it would be a sports romance - I'm not a devoted fan but I like the types of plots usually involved with sports - and the main protagonists would be dealing with grief and would fall in love. I didn't know about this author's work, so it would be a novelty for me.

In this story we meet young Kate, who got pregnant but isn't confident her having the baby will be the best for her. Still, she decided to go ahead and have the child.

On the other hand, the hero Jason Ryker (Ryke) has an apparent perfect life which didn't prepare him for when things go very wrong. 

These two meet when they see themselves in a difficult position, with the need to overcome something that broke both their worlds. Will they be able to cope past grief in order to reach happiness?

When I read the blurb for this book, I imagined something epic, one of those stories where the emotional  content was so well interwoven with the plot that it couldn't be a bad story. I also saw some positive reviews, on GR the average rating isn't bad... I've created some expectations. However, I didn't enjoy this book because, to me, the not so good things seemed to be more than the good ones.

It's not a surprise that the main element in this novel is the way the characters process grief so it's to expect something bad happens in both their lives that led them both into grief counseling, namely by attending a group therapy. This is quite fine and happens pretty soon in the story so it's not as if it's such a surprise. Nevertheless, the way things progressed started to become a little less appealing as more situations were presented.

First, I should say the writing style is easy, fluid, nothing specially noteworthy about it made the story "bad". I was surprised, though, by how short it was. I suppose I didn't pay attention but my ebook edition only had around 160 pages (I guess it might vary from device to device) and that means the action is rather fast paced. Nothing wrong with it but added to the things I didn't like much... I think the writing style and the small page count made the story feel a bit rushed.

Still, I could ignore that if the plot was as engaging as the blurb suggested but I was not very fond of the plot choices the author took. I would say the most glaring one was how the protagonists got to spend more time together, interacting outside the grief therapy session. So, the hero, a famous hockey player, asks the unemployed heroine to be his assistant. I was...I mean, is this realistic? The he felt attracted to her and wanted to help sure, but to give her a job that - according to the way things developed - was not really necessary? Couldn't a better option been found instead?

Then, the relationship between them followed the expected obstacles if we are talking about people dealing with grief and it's true everyone faces that differently, but I was not convinced by their superficial dealings, that their emotions were as committed as their physical attraction.I suppose I can say the fact the writing style is so simple, that perhaps the emotions and the doubts weren't conveyed as seriously or as well presented as they could? I can't tell, but from a certain point on, it felt as if the details got meaningless, there were some clichés over the behavior of both their exes (to be a significant way to see how different their pairing actually was) and even the secondary characters were there to just add some situations that forced them to interact more.

The main characters are obviously a little more developed but even they didn't really fascinate me. Ryke is a good guy, he behaves mostly well but he never came across as that special, nothing in his personality nor in his description made me think he would be someone I wanted to meet. Kate is described as being 22, I think, and like many other new adults, some of her behavior is very immature, which not even her grief seemed to influence. Yes, I can't guess what someone in her shoes could have felt but some of her actions and thoughts sounded a little silly. Together, they made a cute couple but I was not convinced by the depth of their feelings.

All things considered, this was not a very good book to me. It's easy and quick to read but the story didn't captivate me. I might try another installment of this series one day, perhaps this couple's story just didn't work well for me.

Grade: 4/10

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