Ready to Love is the first book I have ever read by Franca Storm, and it is also the first book in her Damaged Hearts series. This book is a standalone story. While this book was my first from Franca Storm, it might also be my last. I really hate having to do this, but part of reviewing is being honest even when it isn't what you wish you could say. I wanted to like this book so much. The cover was beautiful and the blurb was so promising. Friends to lovers and rockstar stories are two of my favorites ever. However this one just had so much that didn't work for me and unfortunately was a hot mess.
John Kingston and Nicola Lewis have been best friends for four years. They go to school together and are in the same band together. Though they are very close, they have never been anything more than friends. But when an arrogant frat guy, Axel, Takes an interest in Nicki, John begins to realize that his feelings for Nicki aren't as platonic as he once thought. But he knows that pursuing anything with her could ruin everything, including their band. If that weren't enough, Nicki's awful past keeps her from dating or touching others. She keeps her distance as a way to protect herself, but then a kiss changes everything. Can John and Nicki have a chance at something together, or will something or someone stand in their way?
Part of the reason that I struggled so much here was that John and Nicki both aggravated me constantly. John was used to sleeping around and didn't have a problem parading girls in front of Nicki, yet he would go completely alpha possessive on Nicki the minute another guy was around. He wanted Nicki and didn't want her with anyone else, yet he also "needed time" to stop being with other girls. He briefly used them being so close and in a band as one excuse not to be together, but it was the fact that he didn't want to commit that really kept him from giving in to her. The majority of this story was him telling her that they couldn't be together because of that. Nicki had some issues due to her past, and they were very understandable. She learned self defense with John's help, and she was very strong when it came to boxing. Yet she was completely weak and naive in every other aspect of her life. She was pretty much a doormat, allowing both John and Axel to basically do whatever they wanted. She had no backbone, and I didn't understand how physical she could be with both of them while being an abuse victim that supposedly still had issues with touching others. John was one thing as he was her best friend and she felt comfortable with him, but being that way with Axel didn't make sense at all and was completely unrealistic.
Another huge issue for me was the fact that this story felt like a lot was missing. John and Nicki would frequently get into arguments, and the story would suddenly pick up weeks later. They hadn't talked or seen each other in the meantime and usually both of them made some hugely incorrect assumptions. They would also usually move on to others assuming that they were no longer together without even saying the words or speaking to the other. It really bothered me, and most of the book it felt like Nicki was cheating on John with Axel, or John was cheating on Nicki with some random girl. Nicki would fool around with Axel or allow him to go too far when she was drinking, and then someone would bust in and remove Axel from her reminding her that he was basically using her. But yet she wouldn't stay away from him when she was sober either, so it made it really hard to feel sorry for her and as though Axel was taking advantage of her even when she said no. I never support rape or any attempt at rape, but yet why when you tell him no and he doesn't stop easily would you keep putting yourself in the same position, especially when you are sober? I just couldn't get over it, and I grew to dislike her because of it. I'm not saying she had it coming, but do you not learn? I also hated how the author always used "cuz" instead of because. It was with every character in this story, and didn't matter if it was dialogue or thoughts that they had. It was just flat out weird, and came off as amateurish. Surely not every single character in this book was incapable of using the full word because at all times. Overall, I wanted to like this story and I think that it really could have been great. But it was all over the place, there was too much going on and I felt like it was so back and forth that I just couldn't keep it straight. I wanted Nicki and John to figure things out, but after awhile I just stopped caring and only kept reading to see what would happen. I almost didn't finish this one, but I really felt like I had to see how things would end. While this one did wrap things up, I will warn that the ending was pretty abrupt. I don't know that I will read more from the author in the future, but if this one sounds like something you might be interested in then give it a shot. Not every book is for every reader, and just because this one wasn't for me doesn't mean that others won't enjoy it.
**ARC Provided by IndieSage PR**
Purchase: | Amazon |