No one rides like Chase Austin.
Bad boy. Player. Adrenaline junkie. Snowboarder Chase Austin has a reputation—and not just for being the world’s best extreme athlete. He’s as cold as the mountains he rides, loyal only to his crew . . . and panties drop wherever he goes.
Photographer Brooke Larson knows better than to let him get through her emotional Kevlar. So what if she used to have his poster on her bedroom wall? She’s not a teenager with a crush anymore. Chase Austin is her key to the big time, and she’s getting his photo no matter what.
Too bad the only place Chase wants her is in his bed.
Men leave. Success is forever. Brooke knows the drill, and she’s not letting anyone get in the way of her career—or into her heart.
But whether it’s on the slopes or between the sheets, riding with the best means risking it all.
Hmmm. That’s more or less the only thing I can think to say when I think of this book. It’s been a few days and honestly, I’m still not sure how I truly feel about it. And the somewhat sad thing is that this book sounded beyond promising to me and was something that was basically perfect for me and yet? I’m having such a hard time feeling anything for it? At all? I don’t really want to call this book a waste because it had some good parts to it but it was like it didn’t really know what it wanted to actually do with its story. I’m not sure if that’s just a personal thing for me or if this is something that everyone else is picking up on, but there’s a whole lot of uncertainty surrounding this book. I wanted to like it, I really did, but if I think about it…..I didn’t.
- Regardless of my problems, the overall writing of this book was actually really impressive. I hadn’t known that this was coming from a new author and this was her debut, so I was already relatively impressed. But now knowing that this is a debut, my impression level goes up a lot more. Not thinking about the story, but just the style and the way Dallas phrased herself sometimes, it was so beautiful. It was the type of writing that definitely felt different from the usual NA prose, maybe because this book isn’t necessarily marketed as NA but fits into the category regardless, but wasn’t so pretentious or “adult” in the way that I couldn’t get into it. It was like Dallas was respecting her subject matter and didn’t treat them the way other authors tend to treat their characters because of their age. It just felt like she respected her content and really used her writing to her advantage. It’s hard for me to pinpoint what was so great about this writing but I think in the end she just had a style that I enjoyed and it made me want to read this book, even if the story didn’t mesh well with me.
- Urg, this romance was beyond frustrating. I don’t think it helped that both of Dallas’ characters were emotionally closed off and are the types of people who constantly push people away, and yet you’re expected to root for them to be together. I was initially interested in seeing something between Brooke and Chase, and was waiting for at least Chase to catch feelings for her first and begin to soften up as they spent more and more time together but it didn’t really pan out. It seemed like Brooke was beginning to change her mind about a potential relationship and her belief in shutting people out but every time she took a step forward, he pushed her back down three more. It was frustrating how he kept building his walls higher and higher while hers felt like they were coming down and it got to a point where I was starting to care less. And I think near the end where Chase DID pull his head out of his ass and start to admit his feelings for Brooke it was fine but it was also something that felt a bit too late. Like, in regards to the narrative, it came at a time where it didn’t have as much weight as it would’ve if it happened when they were still filming in BC. It’s just frustrating for me to actually be on board with this romance and these characters when they themselves are beyond frustrating. I think you eventually get to a point where you don’t even care if they end up together because they’ve wasted any potential they might’ve had in the beginning by the way they treated each other throughout the entire process. I don’t think it’s fair to either character nor do I think it’s fair to the reader because you don’t want to not root for a romance but that’s what I did here. And it sucks because there was so much potential here.
- I honestly should’ve liked Chase but I didn’t. I can’t go as far as saying that I hated him because he had some potentially good qualities about him, but the short version is that he was just an asshole. And not the fun kind. Typically when I encounter a character like Chase, about halfway through the story they start to change their attitude and become warmer and more caring but that didn’t happen with Chase. And honestly I think what happened with him was worse, because you’d think he was getting warmer but he’d shut down and freeze over and become even worse than he started off as. And what really made it worse was the fact that people like Hanne and JJ would say things like “yeah, he’s a mess but we still love him because we understand him” as if that excuses him from all of his bullshit. It doesn’t. And the fact that you don’t learn about his issues or his baggage until practically the very end doesn’t help, either. And then there’s the fact that he doesn’t want to address or acknowledge his issues and try to work through them or even talk to Brooke about them. Like buddy, you’re a grown ass man; maybe you should start acting like it. And I should be accepting of him when he finally got his act together and admitted his feelings to Brooke but like I said before, it was way too late for me. I think maybe if Dallas had given him a POV throughout the book, rather than saving him purely for the epilogue, I would’ve been able to understand him more but because she didn’t, there was nothing that tethered me to him or really made me care about him. He’s not a good “bad boy” (if we can even CALL him that because if we did, it’d be an insult to bad boys everywhere), he’s not a good character, and he’s basically just a dick that doesn’t want to respect women but when he decides to, it comes off as being too late.
- There was a really gross age gap between Brooke and Chase and it bothered me a lot. That might again just be a personal thing because it’s one of my deal breakers, but if you think about this 23 year old girl being with a potentially 33 year old man is really messed up. This might be another reason why I couldn’t connect to the romance because I kept thinking about how vast the age difference is and just being grossed out. Sure, it’s legal, but it’s gross.
THE BOTTOM LINE
- I can respect the story that Dallas was trying to get across with this book, because the overall plot was fine, but this book was more frustrating than enjoyable. And for a romance book, if you can’t connect to the romance then it’s not really accomplishing its job. I feel like this is a promising start for Harper Dallas and I wouldn’t mind reading another book by her but this is one that could’ve, and ultimately should’ve, been better. Womp womp.
BONUS: how this book made me feel in a GIF
ABOUT THE BOOK
Author: Harper Dallas
Release Date: May 10, 2018
Pages: 416 (eBook)
Until next time,
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