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The Harder We Fall (Spotlight New Adult) (Volume 1) Paperback – November 13, 2014
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Daria needed to do a video project about the Rugby club in Addison Hill in order to get an internship spot and be on her way to Europe and Asia after graduation. Then she met The Monk, Nicholas Cevasco. Well, it was more like, she touched him, his massive back and strong arms, all grimy and sweaty. Upon meeting the other players of the rugby team, Daria found herself liking the Monk very much. (I did, too!) Who wouldn't? He's a genuinely nice guy, who's got the physique, the talent, the brain and the oh-so caring & loyal attributes a girl usually looks for in a guy. Too bad, the feeling's not mutual with Grayson, his co-captain, although he seemed like a nice guy with perfect teeth and all.
But Daria had to keep her feelings for Nicholas, because she's bound to move away after this video project is done. What made matters worse, even though Nicholas seemed to have fallen for her, he couldn't also stay with her because he's also heading to another continent to become the professional rugby player he's always dreamed of. Could they bottle up their emotions and just forget what happened that summer?
I really liked Daria in this book. She's one tough cookie! She gave her best in everything she did and didn't use her father's influence to gain credibility. Nicholas, on the other hand, had been to hell and back, to give his rugby team the recognition they deserve. He may look high and mighty and ruthless in the field, but deep inside, he was a kind-hearted, sweet, gentle giant. I think, Nicholas has become my swoon-worthy book-boyfriend, as of this moment. Plus, he has proven time and again, that he is not a "monk"... *wink wink*
I give props to Mina Esguerra for writing a steamy yet classy New Adult book. She has this way of setting a scene then building characters that are believable and easy to relate with. My heart fluttered while reading this because I felt the intensity of emotions. She's such an effective author who could write characters with flaws and complexities but you'll find yourself still rooting for them. To sum this up, The Harder We Fall by Mina V. Esguerra blew me away and almost rendered me speechless. (Yes, almost..)
This was a cute read. :) The characters had their own stories going on, but it was interesting getting little hints of Nicholas' thoughts and real feelings through Daria's inquisitive nature. The whole thing was really hot, but aside from the hot scenes, the rest of it all felt like I was enjoying something amazing with a very thing wall between us. I've read a few books by this author and her stories have always managed to shove its claws right through my chest and touch me. This one barely grazed me, but it still stands to be a cute college story with struggles and love. Maybe this story will reach you in ways it couldn't with me, so it's a recommend.
Having read some of Mina V. Esguerra’s romances in the past (the first and dearest to my heart being Fairy Tale Fail), I’ll admit to some doubts when I picked up a copy of The Harder We Fall. I knew the author had written the book as part of her #FlirtSteamyReads class, and I knew that the book was included in Flirt Publishing’s eight-story bundle Players: A Sports Romance Anthology (which also features Marian Tee’s Play with Me). Now, most of Esguerra’s novels are sweet and light, and sex scenes tend to be of the fade-to-black variety, much to my chagrin. So being both a fan and a friend as well as a reader who prefers her romance steamy, I felt both anticipation and trepidation when the book made it to the top of my to-be-read list.
Would she be able to pull it off? On one hand, I was singing hallelujahs because, honestly, I’m not fond of the whole foreplay-then-cut-to-the-morning-after approach to lovemaking scenes. On the other hand, I had attended some of Esguerra’s romance writing classes and had heard her talk about struggling to overcome her sex scene shame issues. Some friends had also read it before I’d gotten my hands on a copy and had promised a satisfying shower sex scene. So I dithered between excitement and worry. Which is probably why I think I did the author a disservice the first time I read this novel as I was almost completely focused on how she built up and handled the sex scenes.
On this point, I have two words—not bad.
Of course, the steam factor isn’t at Tessa Bailey or Sylvia Day levels. And the sex is on the vanilla side. But I had been expecting that. What pleased and surprised me was the way the sex scenes remained light with random injections of humor here and there. And yes, they were sweet. For me, The Harder We Fall took the steam factor up a notch (enough that I decided to put a content warning on this review, if you’ll notice, which wouldn’t be the case for most of her other work) while still maintaining that slightly self-deprecating and wholly good-humored tone that is quintessentially Mina V. Esguerra.
As for the story, well, I have to admit I had to do a second read to get a better grasp on its nuances, but this is probably because I pretty much had reading blinders on, with sex scenes in my sights, the first time I read the novel. I found the plot fairly straightforward—Daria Kramer, a filmmaker on the brink of graduation, feels she has something to prove because her father’s a hotshot in media, and she’s determined to get an internship that’ll take her halfway across the world on a humanitarian project. All applicants are required to put together a video to show off their skills, and Daria gets assigned a topic that she’s completely unfamiliar with: college rugby. But familiarity is something hunky rugby player Nicholas, an alumni of Daria’s college, is willing and downright eager to help her with.
Being fairly new to New Adult contemporary romances, I’ll admit I was surprised by just how much internal monologuing went on in the novel. But I’ve been assured that this is typical of the genre. It took some getting used to, as I usually prefer a lot more showing (doing) than telling. The grammar nazi in me also would have liked a somewhat more vigilant use of past participles where necessary, but this issue wasn’t so jarring as to render me unable to put it aside to enjoy the romance that developed between Nicholas and Daria. I salivated right along with Daria over the totally book-boyfriend-worthiness that was Nicholas “Monk” Cevasco. And I seriously hope a followup novel featuring his equally ripped best bud, Grayson, is in the works because the BBF potential on that particular rugby player is definitely sky-high.
Although this book didn’t oust the aforementioned Fairy Tale Fail as my fave MVE novel, I thought it a pretty fun read. It was easy to get through (I sped through it in under 3 hours, both times I read it), and while certainly steamier than most of the other titles by this author, it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It also isn’t set in the Philippines, and while there were some details that didn’t seem to ring exactly right for me, I found these fairly easy to forgive on the grounds of poetic license. And being just as clueless as Daria was about rugby, I can say I learned enough to scour the internet for pics of hottie players after reading The Harder We Fall!
(Originally published at http://www.willreadforfeels.com/reviews/the-harder-we-fall-mina-v-esguerra-review/)