Ever since the hit television show Sons of Anarchy came roaring into my life, I have been fascinated with MC culture. Obviously, I'm not the only one. Suddenly, the image of what a biker used to look like has a new face. Not all bikers must have long grizzly beards, fat beer bellies, and smell as if they haven't bathed in days. SOA helped reinvent the biker image and has given many authors inspiration to write about motorcycle clubs. While these hardened men may have the tats and sport a beard, underneath the leather cut is hot, sculpted muscle. I recently took a break from reading MC romance, mainly because the genre had become oversaturated with the same old story lines. It almost seemed like authors were trying to purposely make their novels more edgy, more twisted as if that is the key to writing a successful romance now. Anyway, I found myself getting irritated, so I decided to turn my attentions to something else for a bit. Then I came across the yummy cover for Severed Angel by K.T. Fisher and Ava Manello. Was it a book about angels? Demons? Imagine my surprise when I read the blurb and realized it was going to be a book about an Australian MC. That caught my interest and I couldn't pass up the opportunity to give this one a shot.
So here are some of the things I enjoyed about Severed Angel. As much as I wanted to give one whole star just for the drool worthy eye candy on the front cover, I was obviously looking for something different in the overall story and plot and thankfully the authors delivered the goods. First, you have Eve, a British girl who is traveling to Australia to visit her best friend, Teresa, who she hasn't seen in years and to participate in her wedding. Teresa's father is a member of the Severed MC, an Australian motorcycle club, and the man she is betrothed to, known as Prez, is the President. Angel (aka Gabe), our hero, is the VP of the club. But we will get to him later >=) Also, our heroine Eve has a 2 year old daughter. Since she will be visiting her best friend and helping her prepare for the wedding for a whole month, she decides it's best to let her mother watch little Elizabeth, as the travel alone may prove too much for a 2 year old. I like this unique twist. It's very rare to see a heroine with a child in novels like these, so I give Fisher and Manello credit for trying to portray a realistic female character. My curiosity was piqued just by the set up of the story alone.
At a glance, the Severed MC is not that impressive, nor are the members terribly scary guys like in some of the other MC novels I've read. While this may sound like a negative thing, I kind of found it refreshing. Like I said before, it seems like authors are trying to purposely make their novels more violent, more over-the-top on purpose to get a reaction, create a buzz whether positive or negative. While the men in the Severed MC may look the part, with their tattoos and everything, they are relatively decent guys. This particular MC is pretty clean cut; they don't sell drugs and try to run a legal operation. This may sound boring, but what they lack in illegal activity they make up for in their sexual appetites. WHOA. These guys are HOT. Eve gets quite an eye full during her stay, such as when she walks in on a foursome (3 guys on one girl). Then she sees Dragon and his old lady Diane partaking in some light BDSM...and they don't mind being watched. So yeah, while the men of the Severed MC may like to live on the right side of the law, they sure do know how to have a good time between the sheets. Or on the pool table. Or against the wall. You get the point!
Then you have the complete opposite with the Carnal MC, whose Vice President is Angel's twin brother, Satan (gotta love these names!). The Severed MC and the Carnal MC also serve as a sort of metaphor for good vs. evil because as laid back as the Severed MC is, the Carnal MC couldn't be more corrupt. Not only do they rape women and kill people (which is what got Eve in trouble in the first place), they consort in all kinds of illegal activities. And Satan, Angel's brother, is the head of all the trouble. It's almost like a classic Cain and Abel tale. I'm not trying to get all biblical here or even suggest that authors Fisher and Manello were trying to go there, but it's an interesting connection. There is one little instant where I kinda felt bad for Satan, when his and Angel's childhood was discussed. But my flicker of compassion was snuffed out quickly. The man is just evil, or has let anger and jealousy eat away at any kind of humanity he may have had, especially when you learn some of the horrible things he has done.
Back to the Severed MC guys, I thought K.T. Fisher and Ava Manello did a great job with Angel's MC "brothers". Ink, Dragon, Disney, Cowboy, Prez-- I absolutely loved their names and enjoyed learning how they got them through Eve's perspective. Like most MC's, they were a true brotherhood and had each other's backs. I especially appreciated the way they treated Eve.
I am assuming everyone wants to know about our hero and heroine, so I will get right to it. The chemistry and sexy time between Eve and Angel was SMOKIN' hot. There were quite a few hot scenes, like when Angel walks in on Eve pleasuring herself. WOW. And you gotta love his reaction:
He takes the vibrator from me, tossing it aside. "You won't be needing this anymore," he smirks.
Sweet Mary mother of God, Angel is one sexy alpha male! I loved the flirting between Ink and Eve and how it made Angel jealous. Sometimes adding in the third wheel or the "competition" can be annoying, but there is something really sensuous and sweet about Ink that sets him apart from the other guys. I definitely would like to see him get his own novel later down the road, but considering this is a 2 book series, I'm not sure if that is going to happen. We will just have to see.
Last, but not least, the cliffhanger ending. I promise to keep this spoiler free, but I do have to make a quick comment on it. First, I understand readers' frustrations at cliffhanger endings, especially authors that get in the habit of writing books that are under 200 pages. Sometimes readers feel strung along and it can get annoying. But I think the ending of this book is a perfect example of when a cliffhanger ending works. To be quite honest, I was at a solid 3 stars before I reached the last stretch of the story. But once I got there...the twist at the end was what made me give Severed Angel that extra half a star in my rating. I won't say any more then that, but if I could give Fisher and Manello a fist bump, I so would right now!
So here is what I struggled with. While there is definite chemistry between Eve and Angel and I do find them to be an interesting pairing, the story suffers from lack of character development as a couple. I originally thought this could be because of the length of the novel, that perhaps if they had made it longer, they could have added more. But then I remembered Eve was supposed to stay for a month in Australia and to be quite honest, the way her time there was described, it felt more like days, maybe a week or two at the most had passed. So the timing definitely felt off. Anyway, what bothered me the most was that not once, other than Eve telling Angel she misses her daughter, do you get a conversation where they talk about their pasts, to really get to know each other. All the hang-ups Eve has about her ex? I was waiting for her to open up and tell Angel about what an asshole her ex was, how she never had an orgasm with him. How he walked out on her and their daughter. She tells more to Ink then she does to Angel. Actually, it's sad that I can remember the scene where Eve talks to Ink about her horrible ex, yet I can't think of one conversation between her and Angel in those regards. Maybe there was an unspoken conversation that the authors decided not to add, but it was sorely needed. For example, Eve got mad on several occasions because Angel would leave in the middle of the night while she was asleep, leaving her to wake up alone in bed the next morning. Maybe if she explained to him about her hang-ups in regards to her ex, Angel would understand and not make those mistakes. Also, when things start to get serious, I was waiting for "the speech". You know, how her and her baby girl are a package deal. Does Angel even like kids? Yeah, he thinks to himself at one point that Eve should get her daughter and move permanently to Australia, but it's never a spoken conversation. They never had the kid talk. It felt like it was a lot of hot sex, but not enough was spent on building their emotional relationship to make it feel more believable.
I also was not thoroughly convinced or thrilled with the plan the Severed MC comes up with to take down the Carnal MC. I really can't say any more for fear of spoilers, but it was a weak part in the plot. Enough said about that.
I know this is kind of a trivial thing to complain about but there was one paragraph that irritated the hell out of me because of the repetitive use of the phrase "I don't think":
"I don't think she's really given Sue a chance. Whenever we've talked on the phone, she's always dropped in a complaint or a moan. I don't think she's fully gotten over her mother's death, and until she does, I don't think she'll be able to accept Sue in her life or her dad's."
Lastly, Eve's best friend Teresa really pissed me off. Again, I am refraining from spoilers, but something happens and she blames Eve for their misfortunate circumstances. I get what the authors were trying to do and the reason behind Teresa's behavior, but it was just wrong. First of all, Teresa is the one who has lived in the MC world and decided to marry the Prez of Severed. Yes, they are a relatively laid back MC compared to others, but still. You will always have a rival. What ticked me off more is the fact that SHE was the one who just HAD to throw a fit and whine to get her way to go out shopping when the whole compound was on lockdown. If anyone should be blamed, it should be her, not Eve. And I don't care if she was my best friend or not, it would take a lot more than an apology to get me to forgive her for the accusations and cold shoulder.
Severed Angel by K.T. Fisher and Ava Manello was a pleasant surprise. It has some refreshing qualities that will help make it stand out from other MC romances. This is a perfect example of a story that didn't need all the extra bells and whistles in order to achieve what it was set out to do. Although, I'm not gonna lie. The cover did serve its purpose. It definitely caught my attention and gave me something to drool over for awhile. This book could have been the full package if the authors would have found an equal balance between the physical side of Eve and Angel's relationship and the emotional one. But they still have time to redeem themselves as they are busy writing book 2 in the series, titled Carnal Desire. And thankfully it doesn't look like we have a long wait as the tentative release date is May 31st.
All credit goes to JaneDramaQueen for making this lovely fan made trailer.
K.T. Fisher and Ava Manello are giving away one $10 Amazon GIft Card and one $5 Amazon Gift Card. 2 runners up will receive signed Severed Angel postcards. Giveaway ends 4/13.
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