Book Review: Down and Out by Kelley R. Martin

Down and Out by Kelley R. MartinTitle: Down and Out
Series: Knock Out Love, Book 1
Author: Kelley R. Martin
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Sensuality Rating: Steamy
Source: review copy provided by author
Published: September 30, 2014 (self-published)

“Tattooed package of sin.”

That’s how Savannah Ryan would describe her new boss, Declan Whitmore, the deliciously tatted and pierced fighter who holds the top spot in Boston’s newest underground fighting organization. She’d also describe him as bossy, arrogant, and—depending on what he does to piss her off that particular day—an asshole.

It’s that aloof attitude, along with Savannah’s witty comebacks and tight little body that land her on his radar. Unfortunately for her, Declan is relentless when he sets his sights on someone, both in and out of the ring. Unfortunately for him, this recently reformed bad girl is trying to go straight after heading down a dangerous path. She’s not going to make this easy for him. In fact, she’s going to make it—and him—very, very hard.

Declan’s not worried, though. He’ll have Savannah come hell or high water, because if there’s one word he’d use to describe her, it’s “MINE.”

*Don’t read this book if you don’t like snarky, dominant, tattooed men who say things like “Open your mouth, and I will,” after you tell them to shove it. And don’t read this book if you don’t like sassy, strong-willed, fiercely independent heroines who use phrases like “bossy asshole” as a term of endearment. You have been warned.*

Reviewed By: Laura

Why I Read This Book: Four words, “Tattooed package of sin.” That’s how easy it was for this book to grab my attention. The blurb held my attention when it continued to explain the sassy and snarky banter between the main couple. I’m pretty good at making double entendres, but reading them just gives me more fuel!

What I Liked: Seriously, the chemistry between these two is off the charts. Not just their physical chemistry, but their emotional and verbal chemistry are a feast for the reader. Kelley Martin does amazing work where she gets the attitude and posture of the characters just right without sacrificing witty writing and sharp intellect. When would you ever think to hear an illegal boxing champ/gym owner use the word “dour” to describe himself while still being able to think he’d “fuck her till I’m dehydrated of semen depletion.” Honestly, it sounds outlandish, but it works.

I also enjoyed the realness of the relationship. They both admitted where they were coming from, both screwed up and didn’t know how to fix it, and both tried to recover from something they couldn’t really identify or face with the other person. While at times I wanted to smack some sense into them, that was part of their give and take balance. I think it made for less high brown drama and more emotional drama that I don’t find too often with these kinds of characters.

What I Didn’t Like: There is a repressed rape that gets dredged up after an intense sexual session. For a couple whose chemistry is partially rooted in their physical reactions and interactions to one another, this was a devastating and kind of unseen blow. I like that they work through a lot of each other’s baggage, but you can only do that when you go in knowing that the baggage exists. While I feel their responses to such revelations were warranted and understandable, I felt icky as a reader.

I won’t spoil the ending, but I will say that it was unsatisfying. I was unaware going in that this would be a series (although it won’t directly follow Declan and Savannah) so I feel like we kind of just got left hanging. I pretty strongly disagree with how the final chapters play out because the book builds up this grand scene and it seems like Savannah is on her way to reclaiming a lot of herself that she had lost over the years and it all just gets taken away. It’s a little too “love will make it all okay” for my tastes.

Overall Impression: I have to say that this was, on the whole, a fun, feisty read. Savannah lives up to her feline nickname and Declan is as scrumptious to the eyes as he is to the ears. If you don’t like tough-talking, dirty-talking scoundrels, pass this one by. If you can tolerate some emotional intense scenes dealing with past trauma and are okay with a kind of “meh” ending, then enjoy this book along the way!

Laura’s Rating:
3 1/2 Frogs

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About Brianna: Supermom by day, naughty reader by night. Addicted to chocolate, Twitter, her iPad, her Kindle, and 99¢ Kindle deals. You can follow Brianna on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, and Instagram.


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