Reviews

BOOK REVIEW ~ HERO BY SAMANTHA YOUNG

The emotional and unforgettable new romance from the New York Times bestselling author of the On Dublin Street series.
Alexa Holland’s father was her hero—until her shocking discovery that she and her mother weren’t his only family. Ever since, Alexa has worked to turn her life in a different direction and forge her own identity outside of his terrible secrets,. But when she meets a man who’s as damaged by her father’s mistakes as she is, Alexa must help him.
Caine Carraway wants nothing to do with Alexa’s efforts at redemption, but it’s not so easy to push her away. Determined to make her hate him, he brings her to the edge of her patience and waits for her to walk away. But his actions only draw them together and, despite the odds, they begin an intense and explosive affair.
Only Caine knows he can never be the white knight that Alexa has always longed for. And when they’re on the precipice of danger, he finds he’ll do anything to protect either one of them from being hurt again…

I had a blast reading this book! It’s got the perfect mix of steam, angst and humor, and the writing was extremely addicting I couldn’t put the book down. I honestly believe it’s one of those books where it doesn’t matter what mood you’re in – you could pick it up anytime and be easily swept away by the captivating story and charming characters. But at the same time, I want to warn you to not go in with any expectations that this’ll be like the On Dublin Street books, because it’s not, and that’s a good thing. This one’s a fun, sexy, yet at-times emotional enemies-to-lovers office romance that just about had a little bit of everything sprinkled in the story, and is a winner for me!
So a little bit about the story…the heroine Alexa Holland is an assistant to a famous photographer and in one of those shoots, meets the hero Caine Carraway, an aloof CEO who shares a twisted and messed up past with her. A tiny altercation happens, and before you know it, Alexa is fired from her job and becomes Caine’s personal assistant. Frankly, I struggled a little with this first part of the story as I didn’t quite understand the motivations behind their actions – especially Alexa’s – but the more I read, the more I started to get it.
Because she’s the only one who knows what it’s like to have her father destroy not only her family, but Caine’s as well…that kind of similarity between them gives them a bond, and as much as he dislikes her and is reluctant to admit it, Caine knows that fact well too. From this moment on, everything I read was 5 star book material. I love that even though Caine was a mega jerk to her, Alexa took it all in stride and wasn’t easily intimidated by him, and had counterattacks of her own. There’s an underlying attraction there, but it’s not acted upon immediately (love that!!). Instead, I got to read how a genuine camaraderie developed between the two first, and it was so fun to see them banter. Seriously, I lost count the number of times I laughed! The romance and the steam gradually built up from all that and when it did blow up, it was explosive! One thing I can always count on this author to do is write scorching HOT sex scenes and she delivered again here.
Then the story took a turn down angst road, and for those that know my book tastes, you know that angst scares the crap out of me. I like to hurt when I read, but not too much you know? And I have to say, I adored the push/pull dynamic Alexa and Caine had here. Any and all drama wasn’t over the top, yet it was completely believable because of their intertwined pasts and loads of baggage they were each carrying. They both settled into a friends-with-benefits relationship and it both warmed and stabbed at my heart to see them struggle with their growing feelings for each other. Caine pushed, Alexa pulled, and the cycle repeated.
There was a lot of tension between the two, but not to the point where it was frustrating, and the main reason is Alexa. She’s persistent, know what she wants, and will make the effort to get it (in this case, it’s Caine). I’m a huge sucker for strong-minded heroines, and she embodied that sentiment perfectly. There’s actually a duality to her character – she’s a people-pleaser, yet she won’t let their demands get the best of her either. It’s not to say Caine was a total layover because he wasn’t – he was dominant and aggressive when need be, but also had a layer of vulnerability he showed Alexa. And together, they burned up the sheets! But they’d also have the sweetest and most meaningful conversations too. I could really tell that they were two characters that complemented each other perfectly.
By the time I got to the final quarter of the book, I was a little surprised with a certain plot twist. It wasn’t bad at all and it actually added a suspenseful quality to the story, but it just felt out of the blue. I had a disconnect with the plot there, simply because it was unexpected.
One thing I have to mention is that this author writes such realistic stories. Her characters may be rich and famous, but they have the same problems just like the average person does. If anything, her stories reminds me that birds poop, people fart, and not every sex position works on the first try LOL! Things I usually nit-pick about, I don’t have the urge to in this book. The small issues I did have were minor and in no way derailed me from enjoying the story. The sizzling chemistry, the witty banter, the laugh out loud hilarious scenes, and of course the romance were all well done. I only wish there was more!
Hero is an adult contemporary romance standalone unrelated to this author’s other books.
ARC provided by Penguin Intermix via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.