Joint Review: Fighting to Forget by JB Salsbury

fighting to forgetReviewed by Carrie & Jen

Carrie: This book had been popping up in my feed lately and as soon as someone mentioned “tortured hero with amnesia,” my little fingers danced right over to one-click.  Then I learned that there was sort of a reunion component to the story and I was a goner. For those that like their heroes extra tortured, Rex will make your heart ache.

Jen: I don’t normally read contemporary romance, but when Carrie likened this hero to my beloved Zsadist from the Black Dagger Brotherhood, I knew I had no choice but to read it immediately. 

I can now see the comparison.  Rex is tortured to his core. His past is so brutal, he has blocked most of the memories away. But that doesn’t mean they can’t touch him.  They haunts his dreams, along with shadows of his childhood savior and single sliver of hope… Gia.

It’s been 14 years since they were in each other’s lives.  Mac –as Gia goes by now– has only recently found her foster brother again. But she can’t bring herself to do anything but watch him from afar, at first.  Once he takes notice of her, though, she can’t stay away. She loves him without limits. She blames herself for being unable to save him from all of the horrors he endured as a child. She wants to make his life better as she could never do all those years ago.  And she makes a decision you know will completely blow up in her face… she keeps her identity a secret.

Poor Rex is so messed up. He seeks comfort in pain.  He lives life on the edge and he can’t bear sexual contact. Every time he tries, it makes him sick.  He starts to make fragile progress with Mac, and watching that all unfold was really quite good.  At first I thought I wouldn’t like the rotating first person POVs, but ultimately it gave me a real connection to both characters. I was all in.  And then the secret came out.

Carrie: I felt so bad for Rex. His pain and struggle were so palpable.  So many tortured heroes are stuck or choose to wallow in their darkness but Rex was doing everything he could (therapy, self talk, behavior modification, etc) to try to make himself better.  All I wanted to do is give the poor man a hug!

Jen: I won’t spoil the particulars, but what happened with both characters after the secret reveal really damaged the book for me.  I didn’t like the way Rex acted, but given what he has been through, I understood it.  Mac, however, was a different story.  What she did was hard for me to reconcile with the character I got to know in the first half. And it really bothered me that we had to go through the events of the second half of the book to find a path to an HEA.   I wanted Rex to find healing, but their role reversal was too much for me and it really disturbed me that we had to go so far down this road with Mac before Rex could reach his epiphany.

Carrie: Mac, in many ways, was nearly as screwed up as Rex.  It’s unfortunate that Mac’s whole story is told so late in the book because, I feel, it shorts the character.  Had I had a bigger picture of her, I might have found the road she went down more reasonable.  

Jen: Overall, I did like it.  Rex hit my tortured hero buttons in all the right ways.  I loved watching him learn himself and find his worth. I just wish we did not have to endure Mac’s destruction to get him there. Worth reading for fans of the tortured hero.

Carrie: This is book 3 in a series and I thought it worked as a standalone.  However, there is a continuing arc and reoccurring characters that new readers might get a little lost in.  I would recommend this book for those who like their stories dark, intense and emotional.  

Jen’s Rating: B/B-
Carrie’s Rating: B/B-

Click to purchase: Amazon

Fighting to Forget
by JB Salsbury
Release Date: April 15, 2014

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