Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Book Tour for In His Corner by Vina Arno (Review & GIVEAWAY)

As a fan of stories taking place amidst the gritty world of fighters I was immediately drawn to In His Corner by Vina Grey.  Keep reading to get a tantalizing glimpse of this book of opposites attracting along with my impressions of it.  Make sure to fill out the form below for the chance to win an awesome prize of a $50 Amazon GC, an Italian wooden keepsake box, Italian cookies and chocolates, as well as e-copies of this book!

No sex for almost a year could kill a guy, but when you’re the boxer known as the Juggernaut, it’s the price you pay for turning pro. Tommy’s fully dedicated to his craft, until he meets the incredibly gorgeous Dr. Siena Carr. Now he’s looking forward to taking on this prim and proper lady in a wet and wild workout…
Siena has seen many patients come through the ER, but none as sexy as Tommy Raines. With a nasty cut over his eye, she knows he needs stitches, but after he takes off his shirt, she needs some air. With rock-hard abs and taut biceps, it’s clear this man takes care of his body. And all Siena can think about is letting him take care of hers…
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As a reader obsessed with sports-themed romances the premise of this story hooked me immediately.  As the burgeoning relationship between Siena and Tommy unfolded though it was clear that it was going to be a rocky romance indeed.  From misunderstandings to preconceived notions and prejudices, their time together was rife with frustrations amidst a few steamy interludes.  It all added up to a story that showed great promise but left me conflicted once the final page was turned.

Siena is a girl who comes from money and who's used to the finer things in life.  Her previous relationships have been with men like her, from an Ivy League school with a well-paying white collar job.  She cares about the patients she works on but it's clear that on a personal level she's a snob...which is reiterated by her friends, her coworkers, and even Tommy.  While many things about Tommy disappoint her, in particular is his boxing which wars with her job of healing people, she can't help but be drawn to him as his sweaty body and dangerous side has her wanting to break free from her picture perfect existence.  These conflicting feelings lead to an inner sexually-charged battle of wills that results in a lot of wishy-washy moments from her which left me frustrated by her juvenile behavior.  She was a hot and cold character that I ultimately couldn't connect with despite moments of kindness and the crackling connection that she occasionally allowed to shine through when she was with Tommy.

Tommy, on the other hand, was someone I could connect with courtesy of his down to earth nature.  He's a caring guy with a heart of gold who left college to care for his dying mother.  He speaks his mind, no subterfuge for him, which sometimes makes him appear abrasive but at least it makes him honest.  He hasn't let his growing fame go to his head and is still just part of the neighborhood.  He's endearing in his awkwardness when it comes to relationships and understanding women, but his issues also exacerbate the frustrating tug of war that becomes his and Siena's relationship.  He wants her wholeheartedly but often acts before he thinks which angers her and has them taking two steps forward and three steps back repeatedly.  Some of their problems are a result of his being young but his father's abandonment also contribute to their rocky road to HFN.  It all combines to make a young man you can't help but like for all his awkwardness, outspokenness, and dedication to his family and his sport.

This was a good story that I desperately wanted to love.  It had some enjoyable moments but Siena's inner battle over class differences marred much of the romance.  For Tommy alone I felt compelled to keep turning the pages as I was rooting for him as his big fight drew closer.  The world of boxing was nicely depicted so as not to overwhelm readers but draw them in to the fights going on in the ring as well as out of it.  There was also a large cast of secondary characters who were a fun and supportive group who clearly loved Tommy too.  Though this was my first time reading Ms. Arno, the promise I saw in this story has me wanting to give her another chance as I eagerly await her next book.

My rating for this is a C.

*I got this book from NetGalley for review in exchange for my honest opinion.


Vina Arno is a pen name used by Cindy Fazzi. She is a Philippine-born American writer who has worked as a journalist in the Philippines, Taiwan, and the United States. Her two decades of experience as a news reporter and editor includes working for the Associated Press. She has a master’s degree in journalism from Ohio State University. Her short stories have been published in Snake Nation Review, Copperfield Review, and SN Review. Her debut romance, "In His Corner," published by Lyrical Press/Kensington Publishing, is scheduled for release on April 14, 2015.  You can read more about Vina/Cindy in the April 2015 issue of Romance Times Book Review magazine.


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