Thursday, November 20, 2014

review || HART ATTACK { blog tour }


We all have those little "shameful" things we don't want anyone to know -- guilty pleasure TV (Dance Mom's, anyone?), pickles dipped in ketchup, reading epilogues first....

Wait, no one else relates? Oy...

I know I've mentioned it in FIGHTING THE FALL, but sometimes (err... most times) I read the epilogue first. I am that lady hanging out in the book aisle at Target, reading the last ten pages of a book. Yes, that's me.

When it's an author I don't know, but the title or cover calls to me, it helps me gauge the author's writing style. It also helps me decide if it's a "must buy NOW" book, or a "put on the list" book. And sometimes, if my schedule is hectic enough, the "must buy NOW" list turns into an immediate Nook or Kindle download, and I'm reading it as I finish my shopping.

I'm not as bad at epilogue reading, I've found, with the addition of eBooks to my life... but if I really want to know how it ends... I will know. I like happily ever afters (which, of course, makes real-life painfully hard for the notoriously single, socially awkward chica over here, because I can't magically go to my epilogue and double check that life turns out OK).

HART ATTACK was one of those need-to-know books.

...and I needed to know yesterday.

I was at work, getting ready for an 0400 vital assessment on a kiddo when I finally managed to transfer the .mobi file from my email to my kindle (the file was too large the first 3 times I tried). I was getting impatient -- surely I wouldn't need my computer and USB cord to transfer this book over.

So when it was downloaded, I was jonesin' for Roman and Beth HARD. Let's be honest... I'd been jonesin' since the cover reveal... Nah, make that GARRISONS CREED.

To the epilogue I went.

And after reading the last three pages (that's all that I'd read, honestly), I broke out into a HUGE grin and thought (ear muffs, you virgin ears) "I'm so fucking excited".

...and then I had to be responsible and work, and Roman and Beth were put aside until I could read from page one.

To say I was excited for HART ATTACK, then, would be a severe understatement. And as much as I'm excited for Parker's book (BLACK DAWN!!), I'm a bit sad that this Titan group is going to be all married off soon...


Hart Attack by Cristin Harber

Publisher: Mill Creek Press (11/18/2014)
Series: Titan, book 7
Genre: Military Romance
Source: InkSlinger
Buy it from Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo || Goodreads

My Rating:

Outside of Titan Group, there are few people that Roman Hart would die for. He’s a soldier, a protector, and he’s haunted that one of the people he should’ve been able to protect didn’t let him. That was years ago, and now a hardened heart and a cocky attitude are his impenetrable shields, until one woman—one challenge—drives him to distraction.

On the outside, Beth Tourne has it all. Luxury car, gorgeous condo, and a job partying with the rich and famous. It’s a plush CIA cover, but she wants more. Anything for an adrenaline rush that can override her guilty numbness and let her forget the tragedy she never saw coming.

Their scars make them perfect operatives. Their mirrored pasts give them deep, wounded reasons to stay alone. But the more they ignore the tension, the more vulnerable they become. Survival means trust. In one another, behind closed doors, and on the job. The only way they’re making it out alive is if they find peace while waging a war.

About Cristin Harber

Cristin Harber is a USA Today bestselling romantic suspense and military romance author. Fans voted her onto Amazon’s Top Picks for Debut Romance Authors in 2013, and her debut Titan series was #1 romantic suspense, #1 military romance, and a USA Today Top 100 bestseller. She lives outside Washington, DC with her family and English Bulldog.

connect with Cristin || Website | Newsletter | Facebook | Team Titan Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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{ review } .

To begin...
Our hero is Roman, best friend to Cash; big brother to Nic; .......eye candy to Beth.
Our heroine is Beth, best friend and once-handler to Nic; eye candy and verbal sparring partner to Roman.
In GARRISON'S CREED, if you read it, you know that Beth thinks Roman's good looking, and vice versa. However, opening this book, Beth wants to stay firmly in the friends-zone. And while Roman thinks Beth is a fine-one to look at... there are times he wants to hate her -- she got years with his sister that he didn't.
But that aside...
He rather enjoys the little game they play -- verbal sparring and almost touching, always stopping just a millisecond 'in time'.
The problem is, though... to Beth it's not a game. Girlfriend has some serious hangups (not that I in any way blame her for them). She would like it to be, I'm sure, but she has a major attraction to this guy, and she can't afford to feel anything for a man.
"...but that's... not what's on my mind." His eyes held hers and the look could've melted the arctic shelf on a winter day.
"What is?" she asked, thought she knew the answer.
Maybe she didn't. "Excuse me?"
He laughed quietly. "Doesn't matter."
Disappointment bled through her veins. She wanted to hear, 'You, Beth, you've been on my mind.'
Shit. No, she didn't want that... Actually, yeah she did. Beth bit her lip, confused and frustrated and angry.
When they do give in (which happens more than once, both during and before this story) and do some heavy-petting and whatnot, Beth always somehow manages to step away and stop the process -- hence Roman calling it a game. And while the game is frustrating, it's what he can get of Beth, so the game he will gladly play.

However, as you read and find out, Beth has a pretty gripping secret that always causes her to stop abruptly, for the hot blood to run cold, for the fears and guilt and betrayal to seep in. So while Roman is pushing to move forward... so is his sister, who is extremely pro-Roman-and-Beth.
Nicola was still laughing because she didn't know the nightmares were back. Didn't know how Beth craved and feared Roman's touch. Nicole, without the reminder being shoved in her face, forgot about Beth's history and really wanted her best friend and her older brother to get together. Beth couldn't blame Nicole. So much time had passed.
Cash pulled Nicole against his chest. "What's with you, sweet girl?"
Finally, Nicola stopped laughing and deadpanned. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Oh! I love that excerpt for the Nic and Cash-ness of it, too. Quick note while I'm thinking it (total 'SQUIRREL!' moment, I apologize). I have always loved Cash's use of 'sweet girl' when talking to Nic. Roman, being best buds with Cash, starts to call Beth 'party girl' (when she was undercover as such, and when she's not being the true Beth) and 'pretty girl'. Aw. Seems Cash has rubbed off on his best buddy. Back to your regular programming...

I love how Roman goes all protective-bear over Beth when she confides in him about her job -- even though she mistakes it for just friendly-concern, when in fact, it's one part jealousy to one part more-than-friends-concern.
And I love how Jared goes all protective-bear over Roman when he's in a hospital room and Beth is apparently in the wrong one.
Jared glared. "Get your ass up and in there, so he doesn't wake alone."
 Oh, and just one more protective-bear Roman moment, but it made my heart go all soft and fluttery:
He chucked a pillow at her. "Don't sleep with him."
She laughed but her heart hurt.
"I'm serious, don't do it." His jaw muscles flexed. 
I don't know why, but that really sealed the deal for me on these two. The way I read it, all I see is this big bad Titan dude, nearly pouty over the idea of her sleeping with some guy for the job... And he's pouting because he's protective, jealous, and wants her for himself.

When Beth's past catches up to her, and guilt doesn't just seep, but flow, she turns that guilt into full fledged (wannabe-)hatred toward Roman. But when she starts using harsh terms to describe what the two of them have, instead of getting mad, Roman pretty much laughs in her face.
He smiled. He fucking smiled, then crossed his arms. "Which apparently sucks for you, since you also love me."
Then as he watches her unfold, rather than panic, he's a strong wall for her to lean on. There's just something about a strong man just being there that does a girl in.

Part of what I enjoyed immensely while reading this book was ALL the side-Titan stories. I have always loved seeing Colby and Mia (Mia is, after all, the cook in the Titan family); we see Sugar often (as she's Boss Man's wife, that one's a given); obviously, we're going to see Nic and Cash interact, as they're both Titan.
But seeing a sick Rocco, and mimicking his lovely Kitten:
"You think Caterina Savage has any intention of letting the flu in our house? It'd be all, 'ay Dios mio, spray down with Lysol."
...and seeing him, head in arms on table, begrudgingly sitting through meetings but pulling up his big-boy-britches and going full Titan... I just love Rocco.
And I love Boss Man calling out Roman and Cash whenever and wherever Nic is concerned:
"You good being the eyes on the inside, princess?"
She nodded. "Of course."
Boss Man turned to Roman and Cash. "Brother or husband have a problem with that, speak up now so she can tell you to cut the crap." 
Even though we do see a lot of Cash and Nic, Cash and Roman having a 'heart to heart' was a favorite of mine, as well (scene from after Nic leaves Roman's house, after he prepares a 'freaking Betty Crocker' meal of frozen entrees):
"What I've known is I've wanted Beth in my bed for a while."
"Say what you want, man. I've seen you chasing her since day one."
Roman shook his head. "Just have a hard time walking away from a challenge. A feisty, irritating, challenge.
"Roman, man, think about what you're saying."
"Beth's not a challenge. Shit."
"I don't have it in me."
Cash's jaw worked back and forth. "You ever going to forgive Nicola?"
"Already have."
"Bullshit, man. She still feels the angry vibe. You get that, right?"
Roman ignored him.
"It hurts her." Cash crossed his arms.
"Here it is, Roman. Since maybe your head's too far up your ass to know. [Nic] did what she had to do. And no one in the goddamn world was more devastated than me. You got that? No one. You're her brother. But she was mine. And I couldn't say a fuckin' thing. I was angry, so lost you can't imagine. But she is back and she had her reasons that included keeping your ass alive. Gotta forgive her. Gotta just let it go."
Silence. Roman rubbed his chin, not sure he'd ever heard the situation put to terms like that before, and sure as hell not thinking about it from Cash's perspective.
"Don't ignore Beth because you're angry at Nic."
"I'm not."
"Never mind." Cash laughed. "Sometimes you have to figure stuff out on your own.....You, my friend, are so far gone. And watching you deal with this?" Cash waved a hand over their frozen dinner remnants. "Makes me pretty damn happy for raw kale and a woman I can got home to...Something to think about." 

 And speaking of Nic....
So we know I love watching the big, bad alpha men of (really any) romance novels break down and cry (FIGHTING THE FALL, anyone?), but when Nic breaks down? Oh my... She's one tough cookie who's made some pretty hard decisions in her young life, so watching her break was nearly as heart wrenching as any alpha male doing the same.

So while reading back over this review, it seems as if I just loved HART ATTACK for all of the revisits, I enjoyed Roman and Beth falling in love. I enjoyed watching Roman fall, and I enjoyed watching Beth struggle to accept that it's ok to move on, and that Roman was willing to stand there for her. While Roman isn't the hardass of Titan, he's also not the cuddly one, either (is there one...?). If anyone were "soft", I'd mayybeee give that title to Cash, but really he's just a happy-go-lucky kind of dude. Where Beth is concerned, though, Roman's just a big ol' teddy bear and I love him for it.

I have so many notes and highlights in this book, it's not even funny. I tried to keep some things for you, the reader, to find out on your own; if I didn't, this review would have been much... much... much longer, trust me.

Thank you, Cristin, for bringing Titan alive again. I will be terribly sad when their chapter is closed, but excited to see where Delta is going..!

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