Monday, 20 February 2017

Under The Bleachers

Under The Bleachers

by K.K. Allen

3 out of 5

Synopsis
One kiss can change everything.

Fun and flirty Monica Stevens lives for chocolate, fashion, and boys … in that order. And she doesn’t take life too seriously, especially when it comes to dating. When a night of innocent banter with Seattle’s hottest NFL quarterback turns passionate, she fears that everything she once managed to protect will soon be destroyed.

Seattle’s most eligible bachelor, Zachary Ryan, is a workaholic by nature, an undercover entrepreneur, and passionate about the organizations he supports. He’s also addicted to Monica, the curvy brunette with a sassy mouth—and not just because she tastes like strawberries and chocolate. She’s as challenging as she is decadent, as witty as she is charming, and she's the perfect distraction from the daily grind.

While Monica comes to a crossroads in her life, Zachary becomes an unavoidable obstacle, forcing her to stop hiding under the bleachers and confront the demons of her past. But as their connection grows stronger, she knows it only brings them closer to their end.

It’s time to let go.

To have a future, we must first deal with our pasts. But what if the two are connected?



Review
Monica works so hard to be emotionally independent, she never lets guys get close, and she's happy with that. But after she cracks and agrees to go out with American football star Zach, things are about to change.

I received an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.
This is a follow up to Allen's Up In The Treehouse, but it works very well as a standalone.

I really liked a good chunk of this. I thought that it was really flirty and fun between Zach and Monica. It's a little bit sporty, but not too much - it focuses a lot more on Bellecurve, the marketing company Monica works at; and Zach's side projects.
I thought the background was very natural and smooth, feeling like a well-rounded setting for their story to take place. I actually really enjoyed the work scenes, showing Monica's passion for what she does.

The part I especially loved about the plot was the big twist - I did not see that one coming!
I don't want to say anything, because yeah, you should read that part for yourselves!

The story feels like it starts somewhere in the middle of Zach and Monica's acquaintance, and the timeline happen to jump around a bit, sometimes in very unexpected ways. Sometimes it was really well done to show the histories of Zach and Monica; but at other times, it left me baffled and turning back the page to see what was happening. (The one that stood out was Monica's flashback to falling down the bleachers - it read as a current event, rather than a flashback, and I had to go back and re-read a couple of times working out why she was/wasn't in hospital in the next scene.)

I really liked Zach for 95% of the time. He's cool, funny, and really relaxed for an up-and-coming Seattle celebrity. He's very sweet and patient, he's not afraid of his emotions. He's also not afraid to drive the desire between him and Monica to breaking point, every time they meet.
Oh yes, and he's an amazing cook  what more could you ask for!
The only hiccup I had was when his attitude suddenly changed later in the book for a short period. It felt out of character, and almost wedged in there to make sure there was enough strife and drama to their relationship.

The biggest problem I had was with Monica. I did not like her. That was a surprise. I've enjoyed Allen's previous characters, and when I started reading about this one - a complete commitmentphobe who enjoys flirting and male company, but doesn't want to let her walls down, because she knows she's stronger alone. I was really excited, I thought I'd really connect with this character, because.... hello, commitmentphobe!
To be fair, I didn't mind Monica when she's with her friends, or working, or even when she's innocently flirting with Zach. She seems pretty normal and likeable.
I think the problem I had was that her head was so full of Zach from the beginning, and she was already relationship-minded when it came to him. It made it a very stark contrast whenever she pulled away. Which also felt quite repetitive - whenever it felt like there was a chance to move forward, Monica would pull back three steps.
I know she has daddy and abandonment issues, but it just came across as spoilt and overreacting.
I know that NA relationships can't be smooth and boring, but the repetitiveness made some of the drama feel contrived.

Overall, it was a fun, flirty drama, and I'm intrigued to read Chloe and Gavin's story.

Goodreads link
Amazon UK

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