I have just joined NetGALLEY, a platform to promote and publicise new books. They “help readers of influence discover and recommend new books to their audiences.” The people who can join are: librarians, booksellers, educators, reviewers, bloggers and people in media. I’ve joined as a reviewer and blogger, and have just read my first book.
The Comeback by Kathryn Renard was published May 19th in 2016 and I got a free copy for review from NetGalley. I wanted to read (and review) this book because I like the genre, the cover seemed intriguing and I liked the blurb:
Maddy Cassidy has hit her stride at Montgomery University. She has great friends, stellar grades, and sees no bumps on the road to a drama-free junior year. Classes haven’t even started when sparks fly between her and Elijah Hart, a moody Navy SEAL who’s landed in academia after a devastating battlefield experience. He’s not planning on falling for anyone until Maddy’s looks and brains start to get under his skin. Will someone as beautiful as she is be able to look past his life-changing injury? And will Elijah’s passion for Maddy be able to protect her from an unexpected danger?
It sounds like a typical new adult romance novel right? Well, that is exactly what it was. So Maddy Cassidy is the female lead character. She is 21, super smart and beautiful and she knows it – but she is not stuck up about it. She accepts it about herself and is all in all, a confident young woman. She is in her third year of university and shares a small apartment with best friend Josie and Nella, a new English transfer student. While she is working out in the pool, she strikes up conversation with a muscled, handsome guy with a navy tattoo on his chest. This is Elijah, a navy SEAL and war hero who lost his lower, left leg in Afghanistan. When Maddy first meets him, she doesn’t notice his injury since they are both mostly underwater.
After her work-out, Maddy gets into the hot tub with some friends to relax. Elijah comes over on his crutches and gets in the hot tub as well, causing her friends to awkwardly say “Thanks for your service” and then they leave quickly. Maddy’s father was a navy SEAL as well, she is used to being around marines and the injury doesn’t bother her one bit. She tries to talk some more with Elijah but he soon blows her off, accusing her of being at university to find herself a rich husband. Deeply offended, Maddy leaves. Elijah is left behind, sorry that he snapped at the beautiful girl. He did so because he hasn’t been with a woman in a long time, and doesn’t want anyone pitying him. His injury bothers him and he thinks it must bother anyone else as well.
Things get more complicated when it turns out that Elijah is the guy that Maddy’s best friend (and roommate) Josie had a hot, torrid affair with three years ago. Maddy does not feel like hooking up with Josie’s leftovers, in fact she is particularly touchy about the subject. At the same time, she does feel attracted to Elijah, who in his turn doesn’t make it easy on her since he is loving and tempting one second and abrupt and cold the second. Elijah is dealing with his injury, and allowing people close to him, while Maddy is trying to get over the fact that Elijah was with her best friend.
There is a lot of back and forth, but it was very believable in my opinion. Maddy was always very honest: she said she was attracted to him but she also explained why she was hesitant. Elijah was obviously crazy about her, but was dealing with his issues about his injury and this gets in between them sometimes. However, they keep on getting closer and closer throughout the story and I think their relationship was sweet, hot, real and adult. I loved the two of them together, teasing and laughing one minute, not being able to keep their hands off each other the next. They had their discussions and arguments, which is logical when a couple is getting to know each other, and they were both dealing with some baggage.
Towards the end, when they are really giving into each other, another factor is thrown into the mix: Maddy is being stalked by a crazy, addicted drug-dealer of the genre “if I can’t have her, no one can.” This brings out Elijah’s (over)protective side and he won’t let Maddy, who is terrified, leave his side. But then one night, Elijah chokes Maddy in his sleep (a nightmare about the war, brought back because of stress) and she runs away from him. Of course, this is the opportunity her stalker has been waiting for, who abducts her and tries to kill her. Maddy fights back and when the police find them, they are able to kill her stalker, but unable to stop her from falling in the river. Elijah sees this happen and jumps in after her, saving her life. At this point, the story is mostly over: eventually they both admit their love for each other, Maddy makes it clear once and for all that she isn’t bothered at all by her leg which Elijah finally believes completely, and they end with a happily ever after.
I really liked this book. There were none of the typical, annoying clichés that you often find in romance novels. They had a really mature relationship, that needed a little extra time to grow because they both went into the relationship with a few reservations. But they handled some things separately and some thing together, like adults. The communication between them was mostly OK and they didn’t act all childish around each other. When they realised they loved each other, they both went for it fully and completely. I also liked the way that Elijah’s injury was handled. He was self-conscious about it, but adjusting really well. He didn’t like it when people stared and had a little trouble asking for help, but that is to be expected, I think. He felt good in his skin, he had accepted his injury and as soon as he realised that it wasn’t a problem for Maddy, he was over it.
This book is the fourth part of “The Montgomery University” series and the other stories are about Maddy’s friends and their relationships. I am going to see if I can find them too, because I was really into this book. I want to read the other books in the series as well!
Have you read this book yet? If so, what did you think? If not, if you like a romance novel, I’d suggest this one: it’s believable, with good storylines and not too many clichés.