Series: Rook and Ronin #1
Published by: Science Future Press on May 15, 2013
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Buy on Amazon • Goodreads
Rook Walsh is TRAGIC
Because life so far—just sucks. Some girls get parents. Rook got the foster care system. Some girls get Prince Charming. Rook got an abusive frog. Some girls get lucky…
Rook got a second chance.
And she took it. Because when fate throws you a bone—you grab it with both hands and run.
Antoine Chaput knows the minute he spies Rook in his photography studio that she’s got The Look. The dark and desperate look he must have to land the exclusive TRAGIC media contract.
Rook is paired up with top model, Ronin, and he’s everything her abusive ex-boyfriend wasn’t. Patient, gentle, happy, attentive, and sexy! He knows exactly what to do to make Rook blush for Antoine’s camera.
Rook’s luck changes in an instant and suddenly she’s the darling of the modeling world. It’s a dream job to go with a dream guy and all she has to do is look pretty and follow directions. But there’s always a price to pay—and Rook is about to get the bill.
This is a really hard book to rate. Tragic had a lot of problems with it, but despite those problems I still enjoyed reading it. Sometimes when I read a book, I can list off a lot of things that should have been changed or could have been improved.. but just because I have a long list doesn’t mean I hated the book. This is one of those cases. So keep that in mind!
One of my biggest problems with Tragic was both a good thing and a bad thing. As soon as I finished the book, I ran and bought book 2. Now on the face of it, that sounds like a great thing, right? But the reason I had to run out and buy book 2 was because I felt like book 1 wasn’t a self-contained story. It didn’t have a beginning, a middle, a climax, and an ending. I literally felt like the book was cut off mid-story, which was why I had to buy book 2.
So on the one hand, I think Tragic lacked a strong central conflict—that’s bad. But on the other hand, it was interesting and captivating enough to make me want to continue with the series—that’s great!
I do wish that some of the characters were fleshed out more. Antoine feels so absent from the book, which is surprising because his role is quite important. I mean he’s mentioned in the freaking synopsis. And yet he was always in the background, never actually present. Same with Ronin’s sister. At the beginning, I thought I was going to love her, but then she totally disappeared! She rarely makes an appearance in the story because it’s just 95% Rook and Ronin. I think Tragic would have been a more solid book if the other characters had more of a presence and were better developed.
My other main problem with the book was Rook and Ronin’s relationship. I thought it was too much too fast. There was just so much immediate lust, flirting, and sex. I didn’t have time to catch up to it! Their relationship moved way too quickly and I didn’t have time to really fall for it. It didn’t win me over until much later in the story, when it just slowly wore me down until I finally succumbed and decided I actually did like it. But I think I would have enjoyed the story more overall if the romance progressed at a pace that worked for me.
One other minor thing: I feel like I’ve been watching too much America’s Next Top Model, and as a result, I feel like Rook took to modeling too easily. She just waltzed up off the street, stood there while people took photos, and was “amazing”. She seemed to put very little effort into it, and was just amazing without trying. I didn’t quite buy that.
I also feel like the modeling thing didn’t get as huge as I expected. The synopsis says:
Rook’s luck changes in an instant and suddenly she’s the darling of the modeling world.
I imagined Rook’s modeling career taking off and her face being on billboards and advertising campaigns all over the US. But nope. She doesn’t even have an appearance or a rep in the US at all. The TRAGIC shoot just lands her some Japanese book covers. I don’t feel like Rook actually makes a true name for herself in the modeling world, she just has one campaign that a few people in that select industry might know about.
But those things aside, I did enjoy Tragic. Most of my problems with the book are technicalities. Overall I did like the story. I almost can’t even explain why or give specific examples. I just liked reading it! I got invested in the story and what happened to the characters. It was super easy to get through and it kept me interested! I read it SUPER quickly and it’s definitely a good sign that I immediately had to buy book 2.
Manic (Rook and Ronin #2)
Manic by J.A. Huss
Series: Rook and Ronin #2
TRAGIC is over and Rook is ready for the future—Spencer Shrike and the STURGIS contract!
It’s three months of body art modeling! That means three months of Spencer Shrike’s paintbrush all over her body, three months in front of Antoine’s camera, and three months of twenty-four hour filming for Spencer’s Biker Channel reality show.
Wait a minute…what reality show? Maybe she should’ve read that STURGIS contract a little closer? 😉
Sure, Rook’s bank account is almost overflowing, but Ronin is angry, Clare is trying to escape rehab, Antoine is a worried mess, and Elise is just trying to hold everyone together. Her new family is about to fall apart before she even gets the chance to enjoy them.
Add in a mysterious man from her past, a road trip to the famous Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, and a final show in front of the entire world where all her goods are on display, and you’ve got Manic—a new adult contemporary romance that will definitely make your summer sizzle!
I liked Manic quite a bit more than Tragic. It had the plot and conflict that I thought Tragic should have had. Rook’s abusive husband gets involved and we see a lot of action on that front. I think that conflict made a lot more sense than the lack of conflict in book 1. It worked well and kept things interesting!
I also really liked all the detail about the STURGIS modeling contract. I felt like this modeling contract had a much bigger and more substantial presence than the TRAGIC one did. I felt more involved in what was happening and I liked being able to see it progress. This contact lasted several months, whereas TRAGIC only lasted like a week or two.
Panic (Rook and Ronin #3)
Panic by J.A. Huss
Series: Rook and Ronin #3
Rook is chasing her dream—film school and a chance at a life beyond the one she ran from six months ago. But before she can become the girl she wants to be, she must deal with the girl she left behind.
Ronin is also chasing his dream—a family of his own and a life away from erotic modeling. And he too, has a past he’s trying to forget. A past that makes Rook question everything about their life together.
Lies, secrets, and shocking truths will rock the foundation Rook and Ronin have built. Can they put the past behind them and move forward together? Or is this just another too good to be true relationship that will crash and burn in the end?
This is a hard book for me to review because I don’t want to sound like a bitch.
In Panic it’s all about Rook’s ex-husband Jon. All about him. And to be honest, when Manic ended, I was ready to be done with Jon. It was over and I was ready to move on. But suddenly, he’s back full force in Panic. A lot more comes to light about Rook’s relationship with Jon and what happened there. I just felt like I was sick of Jon Jon Jon and was ready to move onto different things in Rook’s life.
The reason I feel like a bitch for saying that is because this book focuses largely on the abuse Rook faced. And I just feel bad for basically saying I didn’t want to hear about it. I don’t necessarily feel that way, it’s just that I assumed it had gotten wrapped up in book 2, and I thought book 3 would move on to different things.. but it didn’t.
I also think that Ford was such an awkward character. He always seemed so half developed for me, just dodging in and out. One minute I think he’s going to be hugely important, but he never actually gets there. He remains awkwardly lurking in the shadows, just popping in and out to remind me that he exists and that he might be ridiculously obsessed with Rook.
And also, I felt like the end was wrapped up so quickly and so neatly. The book spends a lot of time building up to the conflict and verrrrry slowly introducing it, but then it was over in like 10 pages. It seemed so quick and so easy, I didn’t totally buy it.
Also, Rook and Ronin spend a lot of time apart in Panic and that did make it slightly less interesting for me.