Wednesday, 9 March 2016

First to Fight Series by Jeanette Murray ~ #bookreviews #belowthebelt #againsttheropes #fighttothefinish @BerkleyRomance @SignetEclipse #military #boxing #romance


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Below the Belt (First to Fight #1)


by

There's more than one way to win in the debut of the First to Fight series…

Athletic trainer Marianne Cook is ready to do whatever it takes to turn the men of the Marine Corps boxing team into fighting machines. After all, her ultimate goal is to land a job training professional athletes. But when she notices a certain hard-bodied marine trying to hide an injury, Marianne realizes that she’ll have to use covert tactics to get him talking.

First Lieutenant Brad Costa has waited years for the chance to fight for a spot on the Marine Corps boxing team, knowing he has to push twice as hard to get half as far as his younger counterparts. Brad tries to downplay his injuries to the attractive trainer who has his dreams in her hands, but Marianne isn’t buying it. Maybe it’s time to deploy some targeted flattery.

As Brad and Marianne’s attraction turns red-hot, there’s more than one person having a hard time keeping their eyes on the prize…


https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22668737-below-the-belt




Source: Kindle
Genre: Adult Boxing/Military Romance
Part 1 of 3

My Below the Belt Review . . . 

I had downloaded Against the Ropes to review because I quite like the writing of Jeanette Murray but I didn't realize at the time it was part 2 of a series.  Which made me have to read this book first, so I could get a grip on the story.  These books need to be read as a series NOT as a standalones. 
That being said once I started Below the Belt it took me forever to get hooked.  I kept putting the book down and starting a new book instead, but I really wanted to get to Graham's story in Fight to the Finish, so I had to get through these two books first. 

This series starts with a group of Marine's coming together to have the chance at the All Military Games boxing team.  At first each is for their own, but as the stories progress all the Marines come together as a team and as friends.   The three oldest on the team are Brad Costa, Greg Higgs & Graham Sweeney.  These three become fast friends and each story is about each of these men and their woman.

Brad Costa has a reason for wanting to make this team, which makes him almost desperate for it.  Marianne Cook is the head trainer for this team and wants to do it right.  So when she immediately meets Brad and is drawn to him, it makes things a bit challenging for her. 

Right at the beginning of tryouts Brad hurts his knee but keeps it a secret from everyone, even his new trainer and bed pal Marianne.  While everyone is training there is some vandalism happening towards the team making everyone on edge.  The stress of tryouts and the vandalism isn't enough for Brad because secrets always have a way of coming out. 

Once the truth comes out, it's always how the situation can be fixed in the end, and Brad had his work cut out for him. 

"If you can't take the information I just gave you and out two with two together, then the both of you aren't ready to date a turnip."

Once I finally got into the story, I found it cute.  I liked Marianne's sense of humor and sarcasm.  However, even though for the most part I did like Brad, his Jesus H's got to be too redundant throughout the story.  Their chemistry was good, but the banter between Brad, Greg and Graham as well as Marianne, Reagan and Kara is what keeps you wanting to find out more from this series.  If it wasn't for that I don't know if I would have finished this book.  Another thing that was hard on the eyes at times was Marine and Marianne because they were so close in spelling it played the occasional trick on my eye making me have to often re-read a part or sentence.

3 Pamphlet loving thumbs up! 

thumbs upthumbs upthumbs up 

Lauren





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Against the Ropes (First to Fight #2)


by

The author of Below the Belt continues her First to Fight series with a novel of one Marine’s battle to come out on top—in life and love…

As a troubled teen, Gregory Higgs channeled his energy into boxing instead of breaking the law. The ring gave him purpose and something to strive for. So did the Marines. Combining the two seemed like a natural fit.

Another natural fit? Reagan Robilard, the sweet athlete liaison who keeps all the fighters out of trouble and manages their PR—a job that gets more challenging when someone digs up the truth about Greg’s not-so-shiny past after equipment is vandalized at the gym.

Even if it wasn’t her job, Reagan can’t let Greg take the fall. Because passion doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to matters of the heart…



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24611518-against-the-ropes





Source: eARC for Honest Review Courtesy of Berkley | Penguin Group
Genre: Adult Boxing/Military Romance
Part 2 of 3


My Against the Ropes Review . . .

Greg Higgs is the funny guy of the group and Brad's BOQ roommate.  But that humor is a shell to hide his past.  Originally he just wanted to have some fun, but this opportunity is starting to mean more and more to him.  

Reagan Robilard is young and fresh out of college, but she wants to make something out of herself, and get away from her small town and low expectations of her family.  So she takes the first job that is offered to her.  At first she thought is was going to be easy but with all the vandalism happening it's becoming so much more work. 

To get a head of the problem she's trying to do some feel good stories of the Marine boxing team.  Here is where Brad, Greg and Graham will come into play but it's Greg who steals her heart.  As Reagan is trying to do her job she's also trying to learn more about Greg's past but he seems to be tight lipped about the past which makes a kink in their potential relationship and her PR story. 

The closer Greg and Reagan get the more the vandalism increases causing all kinds of stress, especially when Greg's past comes into play.  I'm always a big fan of the most unlikely man falling hard, and Greg fell hard for Reagan.  Their chemistry was good.  Their banter was good.  The suspense is growing but becoming potentially predictable.  This series is getting better and better but I know my heart is going to fall for Graham.

3. 5 Humor and Heart filled thumbs up!

thumbs upthumbs upthumbs up . 5

Lauren

 



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Fight to the Finish (First to Fight #3)


by

The author of Against the Ropes takes her First to Fight series another round with a novel of a JAG officer who loses his cool, when love delivers a knockout punch...

Kara is a single mom working hard to keep life running smoothly for herself and her son, but a custody battle is wearing her down. When her friend suggests asking a JAG officer for some unofficial advice, Kara agrees—and soon finds herself officially head over heels...

As a Judge Advocate, Graham has seen his share of nasty custody disputes—and he plans on keeping his distance from this one. But this purposeful, passionate woman has a way of drawing him ever closer to the edge. And when Kara’s ex starts to throw his weight around, Graham will have to choose between toeing the line or stepping into the ring...



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25684845-fight-to-the-finish





Source: eARC for Honest Review Courtesy of Berkley | Penguin Group
Genre: Adult Boxing/Military Romance
Part 3 of 3


My Fight to the Finish Review . . .

This book was my driving force to finish this series, because Graham stole my heart from Below the Belt and I KNEW he was going to be a total sweetheart.   What can't you love about Graham Sweeney?  He's sexy, smart, generous, considerate, loyal and sweet. 

"What's with the clothes?  Denim and snuggling do not mix?"

The minute Graham laid eyes on the sexy yoga instructor he knew he was a goner.  What held him back at first was the fact that Kara came with a son, and he wasn't sure he wanted it all, but the more he got to know her son the more he wanted the whole package. 

Kara's best friend's with Marianne, and due to that friendship she got the opportunity to teach the boxers Yoga and Pilates to help with their training. Kara has her struggles, with the enormous challenge of having a child with MANY allergies and an ex from hell.  However, even though I read and understood her hardship I didn't really get the reason why it held her back so much in regards to relationships, as it could have been easy enough to work around.

"Thank me by giving that man a chance.  Don't take the orgasm and run."

Graham knows Kara & her son Zach are it for him.  He just knows he has to be patient if he wants forever, because Kara has thick walls around her and her son.   Kara tries extra hard to keep Graham at bay but his sweet & sexy ways make it hard to refuse causing her to fall just as fast.  Even though she falls doesn't mean she's over her past nor her personal restraints or demons.

"That's a close second to my real favor.  Lean on Graham. Don't just tell him about the big picture. Ask for his advice on this situation.  Don't say you don't want to dump on him.  Or burden him.  Just do it."  (Great Advice and thankfully a heroine listened to it) 

Thankfully Kara and Graham have great friends who are rooting for them which helps ease their burden so they can make their relationship a go.  But what would a romance story be without drama? Thankfully it wasn't too much for these two, but too much pride and the continuing vandalism.   

Kara grounds Graham and he will do whatever it takes to finally convince her that he's in it for the long haul.

"I didn't tell you so you could hopping off to see her like an antelope frolicking in the meadow.  I told you so you'd have something out there to ground you."

I absolutely loved Graham and wish all men were like him in real life . . . bud sadly this is fiction and not real life, so we can only dream.   In the end I ended up quite liking the series as a whole, but what made it work was the banter and interrelationships between all the characters throughout the series. 

4 Graham Loving Thumbs up!

thumbs upthumbs upthumbs upthumbs up 

Lauren















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