Sunday, September 27, 2015

Shot to the heart and you're to blame - Undaunted by Ronnie Douglas blog tour

Being fearless never looked so good. . .

Aubrey Evans needs to get her life back on track after her father is indicted for embezzlement. All she has to do to hightail it out of small-town Tennessee is save up money for college tuition and steer clear of hard-muscled boys on motorcycles. Yet there's no ignoring someone like Zion. A knight in black leather, Zion looks like every bad idea she's been told to avoid, but she can't resist him. Whenever she's in trouble, he's there. Appealing as his rough exterior may be, it's the protective, principled man beneath who tempts her like crazy.

Zion knows Aubrey doesn't intend to stick around. She claims to want only friendship, but he senses there's a naughty girl hiding on the inside—one whose intense desires match his own. For now, he'll be patient and play by her rules. But he knows it's just a matter of time before he weakens her resolve.

As they join forces to figure out who's behind a local crime spree, it's clear that the danger goes deeper than Aubrey guessed. And when she needs someone tall, dark, and undaunted to keep her safe, Zion intends to be there—now and always.

Recently, I've become obsessed with biker books. For some reason the bad boy aesthetic is really appealing to me right now. Unfortunately, none of the few biker books I've tried reading* have clicked with me yet. As much as I wanted Undaunted to break the cycle, it just didn't come together enough to provide what I was looking for. That's a bit strange considering Ronnie Douglas is the alter ego of an author whose books I've enjoyed in the past.

The biggest issue I had with Undaunted was the plot and drama seemed to override any character development. For instance, Zion/ Killer, has decided he feels proprietary over Aubrey/Red the first night he meets her after rescuing her from a bad decision. I can go along with that.

But, as Killer and Aubrey get closer it becomes clear what Killer "does for the club," even though nothing explicit is shown and barely even gets talked about. Aubrey has a huge problem with his "job," in spite of knowing from the beginning this is what he does. Killer as a nickname isn't exactly subtle. There's this crazy hot and cold drama from Aubrey. She wants him, but she doesn't want him to give up his life, but she hates his life? And Killer totally feeds into it.

By the end Killer is talking about enlisting in the Marines, leaving his only family in the motorcycle club, and doing a whole 180 with his life. Which I wouldn't have minded in the least, if I felt like his character had actually developed into wanting something more for himself instead of playing into Aubrey's knee-jerk fears about the biker lifestyle.

Keep in mind this need for change from Killer after he's been shot in the climax of the book. He's still more focused on pleasing Aubrey than worrying about the fact he had to take a bullet for her. And the shooting wasn't even part of all the bad biker stuff Aubrey was worried about. It made her fears of the life seem unnecessary, which invalidated a lot of the power in her arguments against her and Killer's relationship.

Aubrey's constant tug-of-war over how she felt about Killer just ruined the story for me. I can understand her being uncertain about him, but the amount of times she overthought something or went completely hot and cold made her a weaker character than I'd like. Her indecision itself didn't bother me, but how often it was brought up and how huge it loomed in the book did.

Honestly, by the end I was more interested in Aubrey's grandmother and Zion's Dad's past story. I would have rather read a book about a fierce single mom gettin' some from a hot biker many years her junior and the struggles associated with that than Zion and Aubrey's book.

In spite of what this review may make you think, I didn't dislike the book. The structure and plot were solid. The drama was juicy. I loved the hot make-outs. But the glaring lack of character development was too big a problem to ignore. After a while I couldn't relate to Aubrey and I never understood what was going on in Killer's head.

If you're a die hard Melissa Marr fan or a reader who likes harder-edged romance and doesn't mind a few gaps in character development, I'd tell you to read the book. Otherwise, I'd borrow the book from a friend or the library before committing to purchasing it.

*Biker books I've picked up:

- Ride the Wind by Kristin Ashley - Liked the characters, but the huge time gaps made me feel like I was missing a lot and was reading a disjointed story. Haven't finished yet, but might.

- There You Stand by Christina Lee - Liked the story, but wasn't a fan of all the drama and mystery surrounding everything. It was drug out to the point I was more focused on when it was all going to get resolved than what was actually happening.

Keep reading for an awesome excerpt of Undaunted and a giveaway for a copy of the book. 

Where to purchase Undaunted


“You’re safe, Red,” he said in a softer voice. “I’ll take you to grandmother’s house.”

He watched me, obviously waiting for something.

The best my drunken brain could offer was, “The Big Bad wolf eats Red.”

He paused, grinned, and patted the seat. “You’re too drunk for that too.”

I blinked at him. Then his words sunk in, and I gasped. I hadn’t meant that, but now that he planted the idea in my mind, I couldn’t speak.

“You’re safe with me,” he promised, and then he patted the tiny seat behind him.

I wanted to tell him that I didn’t want to be safe, not after he’d planted such forbidden images in my mind. I yanked my mind out of the gutter and climbed onto the motorcycle, wrapped my arms around his waist, and tried not to shiver. I shouldn’t like the way he talked, but I did. I liked the whole package: the rescue, the insinuations, the motorcycle.

Maybe alcohol and fumbled petting with Quincy just skewed my judgment so severely that Zion seemed more tempting than he actually was. I wasn’t sure. I also didn’t think it mattered. By tomorrow, I would be too sober to think about kisses or any of the other things he might be good at doing.

He pulled my arms tighter around him, holding my hands together on his very taut stomach. It was a little embarrassing that being on the back of his Harley was doing far more for my libido than all of Quincy’s—and every other man’s before him—effort.

“Hold on, Red.”

About the Author

Ronnie Douglas is the writing name for a multiple New York Times bestselling author. Drawing on a lifetime love of romance novels and a few years running a biker bar, she decided to write what she knew—dangerous men with Harleys and tattoos. Her debut “Ronnie book” was indie-published as part of a series she created and wrote with friends in 2014.

HUGE, HUGE thanks to the wonderful ladies at Bookslapped, Jessica and Rachel, who invited me onto the tour!


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