All For Hope by Olivia Hardin #Review

Posted April 28, 2016 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 16 Comments

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I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

All For Hope by Olivia Hardin #Review
All For Hope

One StarOne StarOne Star

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Indie/Self Published
Released on October 28, 2014
Pages: 240
Format: eARC
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I read this one as part of the Red Hot Lovers Box Set.  This was a new to me author and I was looking forward to the story after reading the blurb.

The story jumps right in with Hope coming late at night to her friend Mark and asking for his help and his discretion.  She needs ready cash to get out of town no questions asked.  Their friendship is something a bit more, but had to stop with friendship because Mark is married.  He gladly turns over the funds Hope needs and watches her disappear into the night.

Brennan is stopped at a gas station with his annoying girlfriend when he encounters someone from his past.  Hope is startled to see him and even fearful.  He doesn’t know what to make of her quick request that he forget he saw her.  But Brennan can’t forget even after he has a long overdue break up with the latest girlfriend.  Hope was his childhood friend and he loved her- still does, but he pushed her away when his demons got too strong.  He can’t give her what she needs.  Now, though, once he sees the news, he will not let her go on the run by herself.

Hope took baby Michelle from the grandparents’ home at the wish of Michelle’s mother because the grandfather is an abuser and pedophile.  The court ignored the mother’s pleas when she went to jail and as far as Hope is concerned the system let them down by refusing to investigate the claims before handing the baby over.

Now she is fearful and on the run with the last person she wants with her.  She loves Brennan, but he has made it clear that he doesn’t want her love.  He struggled with addiction and anger and the guilt over not being around when his mother died.  She hasn’t seen Bren in three years and now she has a hard time believing that he has changed or that he will stick around and really help her.  Bren not only wants to do that, but he also wants to finally connect with his estranged Rawley roots.  Being on the run together may be the restart they both need.

Alright, this story had some engaging points, but it also left me wanting.  I struggled to buy into it from page one.  And speaking of page one, it dove right in with not a lot of set up and not in that exciting thriller way.  More of the ‘I’m so confused’ way.  The flashbacks that filled in the backstory of Hope and her connection to Mark and Brennan were clearly delineated, but they were distracting and made the story advance in stops and starts.   Hope’s choices left me scratching my head because it was over the top stuff.  I think it didn’t help that almost from the beginning I thought of more than one way she could have achieved the result she wanted- Michelle’s safety- without resorting to the antics that she did.

It wasn’t just the overall kidnapping plot that was troublesome.  I also wasn’t comfortable with the heroines’ ‘friendship’ with the married guy, Mark.  They are friends, they say I love you and mean it in a romantic way, but he’s married so they don’t act on it.  She needs several thousands of dollars to go on the run and Mark says sure here you go.  O-kay…  She ended up being with Brennan and they worked through stuff, but that thing with Mark just seemed odd.  Can’t figure out why it had to be there to be honest.

Now what did work for me and made this a worthwhile read was Brennan.  Brennan is a really messed up guy.  He was a partier and got into alcohol trouble from his youth onward.  He has anger issues.  His dad left them and it was just him and his mom with whom he had strained relationship.  He was out living it up when she died and he can’t forgive himself for that.  He drove Hope away because he was afraid of having something serious and didn’t love her as more than a friend at the time.  But now, three years later, he wants to prove to her that he’s changed.  He’s gotten cleaned up and he’s a stable person.  He still doesn’t want a relationship and he plans only to be with her until she gets settled, but he wants to show he’s a better person.  I enjoyed seeing his feelings change and how he started to see baby Michelle as his and even Hope.  His girls.  He started to dream of love and family and I rooted him on all the way.

I found the revelations about Brennan’s Rawley connections a distraction from the romance and the existing situation with being on the run with baby Michelle, but at the same time I loved the inclusion of the other Rawleys.

So this one was a bit of this and a bit of that.  It was moderately good and I liked it for being a quick heartwarming story.

Additional note:  This book is free in Kindle and Nook formats if you want to pick it up for a try.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #146 CR
New to Me #61 author/series
Mt. TBR #61
Blogger Shame #15
Bad Boy #17

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

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Mary Kirkland
6 years ago

Probably not for me at this point. Thanks for the review though.

Sophia Rose
6 years ago
Reply to  Mary Kirkland

That’s what I decided, too. I don’t think I’ll read book two.

You’re welcome, Mary!

6 years ago

That’s some serious stuff going down

Sophia Rose
6 years ago
Reply to  Blodeuedd

Oh yeah, it jumped right into the kidnapping and going on the run to protect the baby from a dirty old man. My head was spinning until it stopped and explained stuff.

6 years ago

It sounds like it had some good elements but the way it unfolded diminished your enjoyment. Great review Sophia!

Sophia Rose
6 years ago

Yes, that is a good way to summarize for me, Kimberly. The second chance romance, the keeping the baby safe, and even the surprise family were all good, but the execution of making it a story left me distracted and confused a lot of the time.

Christy LoveOfBooks
6 years ago

Okay, that weird about the Mark situation. I was expecting him to be the love interest, but … okay. lol. Well, at least it isn’t a bad read, just distracting at times.

Sophia Rose
6 years ago

Yes, exactly. There were a few times when I wondered if the author couldn’t make up her mind about the plot so mashed it all in there together.

6 years ago

This one sounds like it an interesting set-up with Hope taking the baby and going on the run. And how she then encounters one of her previous boyfriends. The confusing start doesn’t sound good though. And flashbacks can really be a hit or miss at times. I sometimes like then and other time find they distract from the plot. And the whole situation with Mark and how they love each other, but he’s married so they don’t act on it, sounds a bit weird. And then he gives her a lot of money, no questions asked. It sounds like it… Read more »

Sophia Rose
6 years ago
Reply to  Lola

Yes, this story was all over the place, but there were some good parts. I did love seeing Brennan grow and prove himself.

Anna@herding cats&burning soup

Wow I feel confused. lol Yeah the Mark thing would bother me even though they didn’t act on it. Kind of just leaves a little ick on it that doesn’t sound needed at all. Glad you were able to find a few things that made it enjoyable 😀

And I’m done comment bombing ya now 😀 lol

Sophia Rose
6 years ago

Haha! Bombs away! I’m always tickled when folks comment so I’ll never get upset to see more.

Yeah, the Mark things was the oddest thing. I mean, why? Not necessary on any level to the story and only made her look like an almost cheater and a gal who couldn’t make up her mind between the two men.

Anna@herding cats&burning soup
Reply to  Sophia Rose

LOL good to know! Things have been so crazy here that I’m getting to do my blog visits about once a week for everyone and doing a little posting spree 😀

I always wonder with things like that why the beta readers or editors didn’t mention that eh might not be the best call. Though maybe they do and are ignored. I think it would set me off the heroine at the beginning. I tend to hold grudges and that would be hard for me to get over 🙁

Sophia Rose
6 years ago

I do wonder about that sort of thing, too. You may be right about advice sometimes getting ignored. I was a beta reader one time and the author argued with me every single time I made a suggestion. And I got to have an editor a couple times for my short stories and if I wanted to, I could have argued a ton of suggestions that were actually really good even if different from what I thought I wanted.
Who knows with this one.
Yeah, I was put off the heroine right away and read on mostly for Bren.

Anna@herding cats&burning soup
Reply to  Sophia Rose

Yup I had a similar with a beta read. She got defensive on everything and had to give out long reasonings why I was wrong and she wasn’t. (she had some other oh it’s perfect betas too) then she was upset when it released and reviewers weren’t impressed with the bits she’d refused to change. Oops!

I totally get not taking every bit of advice or suggestion but an outside voice is sometimes good too 😀

Sophia Rose
6 years ago

Exactly. That is the point of beta readers and editors. Encouragers and cheerleaders are great, but that is a different job. It will be a good long while before I consider beta reading again. 😉