Review: Against the Cage by Sidney Halston

Review: Against the Cage by Sidney HalstonAgainst the Cage by Sidney Halston

Series: #1 Worth the Fight
Genres: Sports Romance
Published by Love Swept on May 27, 2014
Pages: 229
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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three-half-stars  

“Holy Hot Legs, Batman!” Officer Jack Daniels says as his routine speeding stop turns out to be his best friend’s little sister all grown up and back in their home town after over a decade staying away.  I read the blurb and thought the story sounded promising and it was a new to me author so I picked it up.  When I set it down, I had some mixed feelings about it, but at the very least I found it entertaining and amusing with a few over the top and laugh out loud scenes.

The story opens with Chrissy Martin experiencing one of the worst days in her life.  First her boyfriend breaks up with her by text, then she breaks a heel in a crack at the courthouse dealing with her brother’s situation, then she has to call AAA for a flat tire and now this…pulled over for speeding and accidentally punching the officer in the nuts when she thrusts her license and registration out her window without looking.  And who would that officer be?  Oh yes, the guy she crushed on all through high school and who never saw her more than a nuisance and her brother’s annoying little sister.  Welcome home, Chrissy!

Jack can’t believe that this long-legged confident woman with sass is the same as the nerdy, quiet and compliant girl who trailed after him and Slade on their adventures.  He never understood why she suddenly just up and disappeared with no word to anyone.  Now she’s back to deal with Slade’s bail.  Slade defended some woman from assault and gets sucker punched from behind, but because it was the mayor’s nephew, it’s Slade who is sitting in jail.  In the meantime, Jack attempts to adjust to this new version of Chris, his attraction to her and figure stuff out.

Chrissy has a long held grudge against Jack and a load of pent-up anger and something else that feels very much like attraction.  She passed judgment and now jumps to several conclusions about Jack and her brother, but as she sticks around town and gets caught back up on things, she learns that she might have gotten things wrong.  Her many attempts at keeping Jack at arms length aren’t going so well especially since she is the one to cross the line half the time.  But the cage fighting?  Nope!  She can’t accept that.  Too much violence not to mention the guys she cares about can get really hurt.  When a seeming betrayal occurs, Chrissy can’t deal and wonders what she is doing back home where there appears no reason for her to stay.

The story wasn’t riveting, but it was amusing.  I enjoyed the small town atmosphere and the quirky characters, the humorous moments, the best friend’s little sister romance plot, the strong theme against violence toward women, the terrorizing pit-bull chihuahua and even some of the conflict.  There were slow spots, but on average the pacing was good.  The sports part of it was more part of the backdrop than a dominant factor in the book, but it played out in a few action scenes with Slade and Jack in the cage.

As to the characters, this is where I had trouble.  I wasn’t that fond of Chrissy.  She has some redeeming traits, but much of the time these traits of compassion, humor, and caring were overshadowed by other traits.  Chrissy hated that people called her Prissy Chrissy and treated her like she needed to be cared for like she wasn’t a grown adult and normally I wouldn’t like that for her either.  However, she really was exactly these things.  How she survived as a doctor in those dangerous and intense third world situations is beyond me.  I just didn’t see that in the Chrissy of this story. She snaps off judgments and assumptions with the speed of light getting it all wrong each time, she’s jerkish with people because she has held grudges about stuff that supposedly happened over a decade ago when everyone was young, she flips out and does the stubborn-stupid stuff even while getting mad when people call her on it, and she has these long internal monologues about ending what she has going with Jack over and over which are probably supposed to be funny, but were only funny the first time for me.  Honestly, I found her exhausting.

I enjoyed the characters of Slade and Jack both their bromance and their ties to Chrissy.  Slade was on the self-centered and oblivious side.  Jack was such a put together, caring guy.  His encounter with Chrissy upended his world and it was fun watching him come to grips with it even as he explored what they had together.  The poor guy was constantly rescuing her from situations and he was totally amused or confused by her snark yet he still wanted her more than anything.  The story had a strong tone of humor running through it and I had fun with that.

So, by and large, it was a good read.  Those who enjoy humor in their stories and a spicy romance set against the MMA sports and small town back drop might want to pick this one up.

My thanks to Net Galley for the opportunity to read this story in exchange for my honest review.

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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.
  • Great review — Kame and Pat really enjoyed this book, too, so it’s definitely on my list! 🙂

    • Thanks TBQ! I love trying new authors and from what I understand this was her debut book.

  • Okay sounds pretty good other than the heroine. lol And oh my word yeah I’d say that was quite the day and reuinion. ::snort:: I may have to give this one a go. Thanks Sophia!

    • It was pretty hilarious and the humor was throughout. And hey, I’m hard on the gals so she might not bug other people so yeah, give it a go.

      • Me too, me too. But like we’ve said before a bit of warning sometimes really helps going in when you have one like that.

        • Tis true! Fair warning makes all the difference in the world sometimes.