Thursday, April 24, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: Fighting to Forget (Fighting, #3) by: JB Salsbury + Giveaway

Title: Fighting to Forget (Fighting, #3)
Author: JB Salsbury
Reading Level: Adult
Genre: New Adult Romance
Theme(s): MMA Fighting, Rock Star, Child abuse
Length: 381 pgs
Binding: E-book, Paperback
Published: 15 April 2014


Every fighter is drawn to the violence, the release that a perfect hit can bring.

But very few are drawn to the pain.

Rex Carter lives behind a wall of indifference. The demons from his childhood act as an anesthetic, keeping him distant from emotional connections. Only the ache from a knock to the jaw, sting of a tattoo needles, or heat from a piercing, can jolt him back from the numbness. The fiery pain is all he can feel, and nothing compares to the burn. 

Or so he thought. 

Working in a Las Vegas bar isn't Georgia McIntyre's dream. But she hopes it'll be an end to the nightmare.

Over a decade she's watched him. Followed his career and kept tabs, all in preparation for this moment. To make amends, repair the wrong. But she didn't count on the feelings that seeing him again would stir up. The vacant look in his stormy-blue eyes, his perfect body now mutilated by ink and metal. 

And she knows why. She's lived his pain, every single day, since the day he left.

Changed by time, Rex doesn't remember the girl from his past. If only she could do the same. Will she get the absolution she's spent her life seeking?

Or will he continue, Fighting to Forget?

My Rating:

Is it just me, or have I hit the lottery? If you follow my reviews, then I must apologize for sounding like a broken record. I just can't believe I've dished out yet another 5 star rating in such a short period of time. The only difference is I've been a fan of J.B. Salsbury's Fighting series since the beginning and know the caliber of her writing. Because of this, maybe I was expecting a grand slam. Or maybe not... In Fighting for Flight, book 1 in the series, Salsbury gave us Jonah and Raven's story which blew me away with its unique plot, interesting cast of characters, and dark undertones. Then there was Fighting to Forgive, Blake and Layla's story. While I enjoyed their narrative, it didn't come across as intense as its predecessor. I'm not saying it wasn't good, it just offered a bit more comic relief, mainly because of Blake's personality and his overall way of handling situations with humor. Now we have the highly anticipated Fighting to Forget, Rex and Gia's story and while I was expecting a solid, well written romance, I NEVER expected the places this book would take me. The novel has set a very high bar for the rest of the series, and has skyrocketed Salsbury's writing to a whole new level.

So here are the reasons behind my 5 star rating. Fighting to Forget is a deeply emotional roller coaster ride with twists I didn't see coming. I'm going to try my hardest to stay away from spoilers, but I think it is safe and only right to warn people that this novel focuses on child abuse, some of the worst kind. It may serve as a trigger for those who have suffered from similar experiences. That being said, I commend Salsbury for digging deep and not sugarcoating Rex's horrific childhood.

On the outside, Rex is a successful MMA Fighter and musician. Covered in tattoos and quite a few piercings, he is known as a bit of a daredevil, a thrill seeker that doesn't shy away from the bite of pain. On the inside, there are days he's barely keeping it together, haunted by a childhood he can't remember, suffering from nightmares that he fears are all too real. Jumping from foster home to group home, Rex was assigned a shrink by the name of Darren Gale (whom I really like) and has been seeing him ever since. Over the years he has made progress, but there is no denying Rex's lack of memory drives him crazy, which has developed into a major OCD. No one has ever stepped foot in his apartment and when he is intimate with a woman--which is very rare and only out of pure necessity--there is a very specific way he handles the situation and the reaction is always followed by becoming physically ill. Like I said above, I really admire Salsbury because it is so apparent in the details how much research and thought was put into Rex's character. The pain from body modification and the daredevil, adrenaline junkie stunts help him to FEEL something other than remaining numb. The OCD is more of a way for him to feel in control since he had no control over his childhood and lack of memory. The only comfort he receives is from the colors of gray and red and the vague memory of a little girl with fiery hair and stormy eyes...

For over half of the book, each chapter opens with a piece of lyric that Rex has written with his band Ataxia. Again, this different form of literary prose shows how amazingly talented the author is. But the true purpose of the lyrics are to give us insight into Rex's tormented psyche. They are beautiful yet haunting, revealing yet heartbreaking. Here are a few examples:

Because inside my shell I'm that boy
Who was never given a say
The real me I'll cover and destroy
To keep the worst of the pain away. ~Ataxia

Vivid dreams, different faces
Waves of hate and lust in traces
Festering sickness, my insides rot
There's no pill for what I've got. ~Ataxia

Blue is the sky that I now see
A freedom the dark cannot touch
But the gray is the one that consumes me
And the comfort I miss so much. ~Ataxia

Then there is Gia, who we know as Mac at the beginning of the story. Gia has been working as a waitress at the bar/club that Rex's band Ataxia plays every week. Her past is obviously deeply entwined with his and her motives for moving to Vegas has everything to do with Rex. But thanks to her new identity and his lack of memory, Gia has had plenty of time to keep a watchful eye over him and it has given her the chance to play her cards just right. She wants to avenge him at the same time bring him a measure of peace. But once their paths finally cross and she comes to learn that he doesn't remember her or his traumatic childhood, she is torn as to what exactly is the right thing to do. Gia is a beautifully flawed young woman. I could feel her turmoil through the pages and could understand her indecision.

Later in the novel, Rex's lyrics at the top of each chapter turn into journal-like entries but this time in Gia's POV. Just like with the lyrics, these little snippets give us a better understanding of her past and how determined she was to find Rex and avenge him. Examples below:

"They can lock me up, but they can't keep me in here forever. I'll find my way back to him. Always." 
Georgia McIntyre- age 10

Georgia McIntyre
Gia McIntyre
Mac In Tire
Mac Entire
Mac Ellenshire
RIP Georgia McIntyre
~Mac Ellenshire, Age 17

Due to the serious tone surrounding these two fractured main characters, especially Rex and his intimacy issues, you can imagine how deeply emotional Rex and Gia's love scenes are once they begin to happen. Somehow, Salsbury still gives us all the heat and intensity that we expect from the alpha males she is so great at creating, but with Rex, she gives us MORE. This time, I wasn't just getting turned on while reading these love scenes, but my heart was aching as well.

"Her bare, pale skin beckons my touch. I run my hands from her ankles to her thighs, reading her resulting goose bumps like Braille. I record to memory the places I touch that make her tense and the others that make her melt into the bed. My mouth waters, a familiar feeling when I hook up with a chick, but this time it's not the nausea-accompanied saliva that rushes to my mouth. This is hunger, pure, simple, animalistic starvation."

As with the other two novels in the series, I love the fact that previous characters we have come to enjoy seeing make an appearance and each plays an important role in the story. They are all there, Jonah and Raven, Blake and Layla, Caleb--and Salsbury subtly hints at possible prospects for the next book in the series. I also like how Rex's boys have his back--he may think he is all alone, but the loyalty these guys have for each other really shines through in this book.

Fighting to Forget far exceeded my expectations. It's the type of story that catches you by surprise, rich in plot and character development. There are quite a few twists that I absolutely did not see coming and just when I thought the story couldn't get any more darker, it does. And I am not going to lie, I wasn't sure if I was completely sold on the twist that happens in the later half of the book in regards to one particular character's disturbing journey. Yet somehow Salsbury reigns it in and creates a completely satisfying ending. I very much look forward to reading the fourth book in the series, Fighting the Fall, although I can't help but feel nervous since her latest story has set the bar so high.

best wishes,mia

About the Author

JB Salsbury, USA Today Best Selling author of the Fighting series, lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her husband and two kids. She spends the majority of her day as a domestic engineer. But while she works through her daily chores, a world of battling alphas, budding romance, and impossible obstacles claws away at her subconscious, begging to be released to the page. 

 Her love of good storytelling led her to earn a degree in Media Communications. With her journalistic background, writing has always been at the forefront, and her love of romance prompted her to sink her free time into novel writing. 

 Fighting for Flight, Fighting to Forgive, and Fighting to Forget are the first three novels in the MMA romance series. Fighting the Fall is due to be released in October 2014.

Connect With JB Salsbury:


Is this your first time hearing about the Fighting series by JB Salsbury? Haven't read the first two books, but would like to before jumping into Fighting to Forget? Well here is your chance! Enter for a chance to win an e-copy of Fighting for Flight AND Fighting to Forgive, books 1 & 2! Who can enter? Everyone! It's a worldwide giveaway! Ends 5/4.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

good luck,mia


  1. Thanks - these are on my list and I haven't read them yet :)

  2. You have convinced me. I am getting this yummy series.

  3. omg this giveaway is awesomeee ! I don't have twitter so i got my bf to follow u on it and tweet it . does it still count ??

    1. Hi Vasia!

      Yes, that absolutely still counts! I appreciate you thinking outside the box. Thanks for entering and good luck!

  4. That is always a tough subject matter to deal with in a novel, but I'd love to see how the author has approached it.

    1. You are so right. I have read many novels with this kind of theme, but many of the authors just don't seem to get it right. Salsbury definitely has a gift and you can tell that she really took her time with this sensitive topic.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  5. Replies
    1. Thanks for stopping by and the friend request on goodreads!