Review: Collide by Melanie Stanford

Review: Collide by Melanie Stanford

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Series: Romance Reviisted #2
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Indie/Self Published
Released on November 28, 2017
Pages: 298
Format: eARC
Source: Author

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When their worlds collide, neither will be left unscarred.

Suffocated by her small-town life, Maggie Hale runs away to Las Vegas to pursue her dream as a contemporary dancer. But Vegas doesn’t turn out like she imagined. She doesn’t make it into Essence Dance Theater and the only job she can find is working in a greasy diner—again.

Jay Thornton wants to quit enforcing and own his own boxing gym one day. But his loan shark boss saved him from the streets as a kid and he owes the man everything. Cutting ties isn’t so simple.

When Maggie pledges to pay back a friend’s loan, she becomes Jay’s next mark. Sparks fly between them, but choosing each other could mean the end of both their dreams.

COLLIDE is inspired by Elizabeth Gaskell’s NORTH & SOUTH

The Delight

A country girl dreaming of something more out of life heads to big city lights to make her dreams to be a professional dancer comes true.  A hard-bodied enforcer trapped in his work for a dangerous, ambitious boss has dreams of buying his friend’s boxing gym and teaching the sport.  The pair collide in this tempestuous and fiery opposite side of the tracks romantic suspense.  Devoured it in two sittings!


Collide is book two in a series, but it easily works as a standalone story since it has very little connection to the previous novel and novellas.  Even the connection to Elizabeth’s Gaskell’s classic, North and South, doesn’t mean the reader has to be familiar with that story either, though it certainly made it engaging seeing the parallels.

I loved this story and particularly the situations of these characters and how it portrays people just doing the best that they can.  Maggie starts out as a cautionary tale because she’s so cocksure that I wanted to thump her.  She has no idea how good she’s had it all her life and doesn’t get that not everyone started with the same breaks.

But that was the beginning.  She grows less naive and she starts to really look beyond her snap judgements to see Jay was right about her trying to simplify everyone’s motives to black and white and she starts to get some street smarts.

She is also right to push for more and to not just settle for status quo like Jay has been doing.  Jay feels he owes loyalty to a man who has grown morally bankrupt over the years and has to figure out how to extricate himself and keep Maggie out of the danger she dove into.  Maggie challenges him to believe that he can have something better and to get out of the bad stuff he’s doing.

It was well-paced and the tension built nicely.  The balance between character development and action were perfect.  The characters are flawed, but they learn and grow.  And what really impressed me was the mature behavior both Maggie and Jay demonstrated in that mistakes are owned to and apologies are made.

This is a sweet romance, but this works well because the pair spent most of the book out of step with each other because of Maggie’s assumptions about Jay, his need to get out of a bad situation and then both of them in trouble up to their necks.  I liked seeing the subtle shift in their feelings and thoughts about each other.  It was organic to the story rather than forced.  There is sizzle and chemistry.

All in all, this was an engaging story where I could root for the characters’ romance, hold my breath at times when they were in trouble, and appreciate the echoes of connection to a well-loved classic.  Sweet romantic suspense and contemporary romance lovers are the target group for my recommendation.

My thanks to the author for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.


Romance Roundabout #298 CR
New Release #178 




About Melanie Stanford

Melanie Stanford reads too much, plays music too loud, is sometimes dancing, and always daydreaming. She would also like her very own TARDIS, but only to travel to the past. She lives outside Calgary, Alberta, Canada with her husband, four kids, and ridiculous amounts of snow.

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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.


  1. I don’t mind if a character is a bit frustrating in the beginning if they wise up as the story progresses. The only thing that I think I would’t like here is the Las Vegas setting. I’m not a fan of the town. Wonderful review, Sophia Rose! 🙂

    1. Yes, I was enjoying the story, but I was uneasy at first b/c she kept leaping to conclusions about him, but then she realized she was wrong and apologized. That always scores big points from me. Jay also discovered that he had some preconceived notions, too. They definitely grew and matured which I really liked.

  2. Generally I am not a fan of a gangster type book but sounds like he’s trying to break free from that life. I can just imagine the problems that will cause for the couple! Glad it was a good read for you!

    1. Yeah, this one comes at it from a different direction. He’s definitely trying to go straight and be a better guy. I knew there would be only one way out of it, but it was going to be hard b/c the guy holding him back was his father-figure. It was definitely a good story, Lorna. 🙂