Raven by Ashley Suzanne
In the debut of Ashley Suzanne’s blistering-hot Fight or Flight series—perfect for fans of Monica Murphy and J. Lynn—two sparring partners put their hearts on the line and push their bodies to the edge.
Rian Fields is done being a punching bag. When Rian was thirteen, her only friend walked out on her, leaving Rian alone to mourn when she lost her mother three years later. Then he came back into her life senior year, igniting new desires—and breaking her trust permanently when he enlisted in the army. Now Rian has finally found an outlet for her rage against the world: mixed martial arts. But just as she’s learning the ropes, Garrett Rhodes turns her life inside-out one more time.
As much they hurt each other, Garrett never got over Rian. So when he gets the call that she’s in jail, he bails her out, no questions asked. The years have toughened her. Made her harder. Sexier. All she needs to make it as an MMA fighter is the right coach, and Garrett’s man enough to train her. He just has to go toe-to-toe with “Raven,” the fearless woman who takes control in the ring . . . without falling for Rian, the vulnerable girl who still drives him crazy.
I was recently reminded of Ashley Suzanne and how much I enjoyed her Destined books I read. I started off Raven very excited to see what else she has written, but unfortunately this book really wasn't for me. I really did not enjoy this one. Some spoilers ahead.
The first issue I had? Everything moved way too quickly and was really not realistic. Like you get bits and pieces of time that just don't work for me. So Rian and Garrett were bff until he moved away. Now, after Rian moves to the same town as him, they are once again going to the same school and bff again. Only they both want more obviously. So Rian gets asked out by one of Garrett's friends and she can't tell if he is cool with it or not. The whole clenching jaw angry thing didn't clue her in cause it was really cryptic so she said sure, even though she liked Garrett. So then he is super angry and she just cannot figure out why! I mean she would like to date not just hang out with him all the time! When she says this he is all I will take you on dates! And she immediately thinks it would be a pity date and she doesn't want that and yes it was annoying to read. It was like obviously he likes you! He quickly tells her he likes her and wants to be her boyfriend and then instantly it is just yey! Swoon! I have loved him since I met him he is my boyfriend now yey! The way it was written just didn't work. It was too quick and not quite right so it didn't make a lot of sense. The conversation wasn't believable. It just was off and wasn't written in a way made me think oh yey these two are getting together. It was written in a way that just made me roll my eyes like yeah this is not real.
I also didn't really care for Rian and the farther into the book I got the more I hated her. She is way too immature for my tastes. She finds out Garret joined the Army and she is instantly all he is leaving me again! Maybe I should just break up with him now, but then decides no some time with him is better than no time with him. Okay...only things happen and she needs him, but he is off in the Army and cannot get back to be with her. His family is 100% there for her, but she just treats them like crap. I can understand the initial upset and being angry with his mom for not just letting her do whatever she wants when she is not thinking straight, but to hold onto that? To do what she does afterwards and stick with it for years? I hated her. I hated her so much. I had no sympathy for her after awhile. How she can just walk away and leave Garrett without a word, without a way to find her, just abandon him then have the audacity to be poor me everyone leave me? Seriously? That doesn't fly with me. You broke poor Garrett's heart. Yes, I didn't see you guy all in love, but you are supposed to be. You just leave without even a Dear John letter to him while he is in training in the Army. It is the Army. I know you were upset he wouldn't get leave when you needed to see him, but from my understanding you don't really get a choice in the matter. It is not like a normal job and you can say hey, I need a few days off thanks. Or just leave. You can't. She annoyed me so much! Her poor me made me angrier than normal since she chose to do this herself! No sympathy from me.
So then four years later she is still upset everyone leaves her things and is just not happy. She sleeps around, which is fine if that is what you want, but she is pretty terrible to a lot of people. She gets in trouble for beating up a lady (she was going to go home with her husband who had told her he was divorced. The lady called her a whore and that is just a no go. Slut would have been fine, but whore is too far!!) and she realizes she has no one to call to bail her out. The only number she knows is Garrett's moms number. So she calls at 2am and wakes her up all I need help. What does the mom do? Say f you, you broke all of our hearts when you were being a selfish bestest friend these past few years? Nope! She is all of course I will be right there. Sure. I buy that. The mom is a much better person than anyone I know. The mom is much better than Rian deserves. Really they all are too good for Rian. I really did want her to end up sad and alone while everyone else was happy. Yeah it was not good.
Then Garrett is the one who shows up to bail her out and he is pissed, and rightfully so. Recently engaged so I was hoping he would have actually moved on from Rian, but no. He cheats on his fiance, breaks up with the fiance and then tries to get together with Rian again. This is where the MMA fighting starts to come in. Really through the whole book Rian has enjoyed beating people up which was kind of creepy. Starting with her horrible step-dad who beat her mom and continuing through the lady who called her a whore. She finds a gym and starts training with Garrett eventually fighting her for practice. She has one fight, one, and that is it. From the synopsis I thought this whole MMA fighter thing was going to be a main part of the story, but it really isn't. It is almost an afterthought. You could easily take it out and have the same story. It was just kind of lame. Especially since she is supposed to be this big MMA fighter, but when her step-dad shows up to kidnap her she does nothing to try and stop him. She doesn't fight at all because she is paralyzed with fear. Really? Really that is what you are going with? That is how this is playing out? She is so afraid of the guy she almost beat to death when she was a teenager? Why? If he would have been brought up more, if she would have thought about him and been afraid of him coming back to get her or something it could have worked, but as it was she never backed down from anything. She was never afraid of anything even when she should be. So why would she start now? It made no sense. Then everything that happens with that....super lame. It was just all not very good. I didn't like or couldn't connect with the characters, the writing wasn't realistic, the storyline itself was kind of cheesy and lame, I just didn't enjoy this book. Too bad. It might have been better has I not hated Rian and her whiny poor me self through the middle of the book, but I still wouldn't have loved it. Oh well. On to something else.