Blog Tour (Book Review & Giveaway): Vigor by JC Valentine


{BOOK REVIEW}

Title: Vigor (Spartan Riders #3)
Author: J.C. Valentine @AuthorJCV
Reviewer: Ivy @PoisonIvy70
Rating: 3 stars
Cover Designer: Sara Eirew
Publication Date: August 29, 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, MC Romance, Bikers, Standalone

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USA Today and International bestselling author J.C. Valentine is back with the latest in her electrifying, dangerous, and provocative world of the Spartan Riders MC…

After escaping an abusive marriage, Spartan Riders bartender Ginger “Red” Mercury is determined to live life on her own terms. When the club’s VP declares her untouchable and stakes his own claim on her, she finds herself ready to wage war.

A year after inoculating the threat from notorious cartel leader Ricky Cruiz, Garrick “Repo” Stone, the last-standing original member of the Spartan Riders MC, has his focus on something else: monogamy. Having decided to settle down and take an ol’ lady, he has his sights set on Red…and he has his work cut out for him if he hopes to win her.

When a new threat makes itself known, threatening everything the brothers stand for and care about, they’re left scrambling to find out who’s behind it before it’s too late. With the high-stakes game of war looming over them, will Red be able to open her heart to love before outside forces pull her and Repo apart?

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Motorcycle club romances are their own animals. They give me a peek into a world far removed from my own and tend to stretch my boundaries as a reader, since the level of misogyny and general WTFery can make me twitchy, but I need to shake things up from the fluffy and funny on occasion.

I like my MCs more on the lighter side of the WTFery scale. For those who don’t know my scale, it’s 1 to 5, with 1 like Kristen Ashley’s Chaos series (they just ride, yo) all the way up to a 5 like Madeline Sheehan’s Undeniable series, aka “oh dear Lord what the Holy Hell just happened, I need an adult.”

So, when I saw this series by JC Valentine, I snagged it, thinking it’s in the 1-2 range and cool. Then I realized it was three books into the series.

Now, I’m an OCD kinda gal when it comes to reading series in order. I have tried to just go with the flow, but it does bug me and leaves me with a case of FOMO that I’d rather not deal with. Since the earlier books were on Kindle Unlimited, I decided to read them all, in order, so this is more of a series review, rather than a single book. Yay, a three-fer!

So here’s the sitch. The Spartan Riders are an MC that used to be on the wrong side of the law until MC President Blake “Quick” Mahone turned things around and now they ride but they stay clean…ish. He’s a single father who meets Gabby, his son Ash’s schoolteacher and sparks fly in GRIT. The men in his club, like Tucker “Country” Abrams (who romances Talia McKinnon in METTLE) and Garrick “Repo” Stone (the hero of VIGOR), are the usual manly men, can be a-holes but when it comes to their women, they’re …well, the domineering and stubborn but they love them.

Since the beginning of the series, it’s been crystal clear that Repo LOVES Ginger “Red” Mercury, an older bunny with a complicated history with him and his brothers. Yes, there’s been sex had with many of the brothers – definite a push on my boundaries, but not a dealbreaker, at least the way it’s handled here. Anyway, Repo has staked his claim on Ginger with his brothers (hands off or I’ll break them off, kind of claim). Ginger is NOT having it.

From there, eventually romance happens.

The characters are interesting to me. Ms. Valentine hooked me from Grit and while I had issues with the writing (more on that later), I like the tone of this MC series – the chemistry between the characters (sexual and non-sexual) works and there’s an edge of danger that keeps the action flowing.

The overarching storyline dominates this narrative. In VIGOR more than the earlier books, the tensions between the Spartans and the main villain family Cruiz takes over and sidelines the romance. I think that’s because Ginger and Repo don’t have alot of conflict between them. They butt heads but their internal obstacle isn’t strong, it’s resolved quickly, undone, then resolved again. It felt more drama for drama’s sake. The first third of the book, when it’s more focused on them, is a bit rough around the edges then turns towards the more tender and man, I needed that turn.

Diversity and stereotypes. I wasn’t a fan of the fact that the villains were the stereotypical Latino cartel folk and other than that, there is maybe one more ethnic character, also a stereotype. This needs work.

Attention to detail is an issue. There are continuity discrepancies (locations, ages, things that happened in one book that are changed in the next) that stood out to me, especially since I read the first three books back to back. The stories all have the same rhythm and while the individual romances give the books a sense of completion,the endings are all abrupt with that “to be continued….” feel to them. Ginger and Repo’s ending was the same – I think because it was clear they should be together that the ending felt rushed and just left open for more Spartan adventures.

Ultimately I am enjoying this series, though it’s hard to rate, so I gave all three books the same rating. I would say there’s potential here that would keep me coming back for more and I think Ms. Valentine can create chemistry between her characters, a skill that should be appreciated. I am hoping that the issues I had with the series so far get resolved and that it gets stronger because this is a cast of characters I wouldn’t mind visiting again.

– Ivy

*An ARC was received for an honest review.

COMING THIS OCTOBER…

#PREORDER YOUR COPY NOW!

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2wgaiBT

SYNOPSIS:

Taco’s story…blurb coming soon!

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DON”T MISS THE FIRST TWO BOOKS IN THE SPARTAN RIDERS SERIES!

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Gabby Morgan isn’t looking for love. Not even a little romance. Following a rocky past that she’d just as soon forget, she’s determined to focus on the future. One that most certainly doesn’t involve the tough-as-nails, short-on-words, hot-as-hell biker…or his kid.

Blake Mahone may not be done with women, but he’s finished with relationships. Then Gabby Morgan enters the picture. She’s flawless, refined, and as his kid’s teacher, way out of his league. She acts like she hates him, but her eyes tell a different story. Before he knows it, Blake finds himself hot for teacher, and he’s more than ready to learn all her secrets. Now all he has to do is convince her to give him a shot…without getting them both killed in the process.

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BUY:

Talia McKinnon said goodbye to love the day she signed the divorce papers and moved across the country looking for a fresh start. With work occupying her days and nights, a relationship is the last thing on her mind, until a run-in with a hot-as-Hades, leather clad biker changes her mind. He’s everything she shouldn’t want but has to have. The problem is, he’s not that easy to catch.

Tucker “Country” Abrams believes in two things: brotherhood and women. He takes his job seriously and his women hard, but at the end of the day, the only loyalty he has is to his club. So when a night with a beautiful stranger threatens to change everything, he’s quick to apply the brakes. But when a little detective work reveals that Talia may be much more than a one-night stand, Tucker is tasked with an impossible decision. Will he push her away, or go against every instinct he has and pull her closer?

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J.C. Valentine is the USA Today and International bestselling author of the Night Calls and Wayward Fighters Series and the Forbidden Trilogy. Her vivid imagination and love of words and romance had her penning her own romance stories from an early age, which, despite being poorly edited and written longhand, she forced friends and family members to read. No, she isn’t sorry.

Living in the Northwest, she has three amazing children and far too many pets. Among the many hats she wears, J.C. is an entrepreneur. Having graduated with honors, she holds a Bachelor’s in English and when she isn’t writing, you can find her editing for fellow authors.

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