ARC Review: The Good Fight by Julianna Keyes

Format: E-bookthegoodfight
Read with: iBooks for iPad
Length: Novel
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Series: Time Served, #3
Publisher: Carina Press
Hero: Oscar Hall
Heroine: Dr. Susan Dufresne Jones
Sensuality: 3
Date of Publication: July 25, 2016
Started On: May 22, 2016
Finished On: July 22, 2016

Book 3 in the Time Served series was a novel experience for me. This was my first time reading a book told in the first person totally from the hero’s point of view.

34 year old Oscar Hall is the one who managed to get away from the shit hole that is pretty much Camden where he grew up. Years later, having had the success he had sought back then, Oscar returns, wanting to give back something to the community that is pretty much wasting away.

Oscar meets the formidable Dr. Susan Dufresne Jones by chance at the hospital where she works. The interest on Oscar’s part is immediate, perhaps because Susan gives off the “nothing amuses me” vibe rather effortlessly. However, things don’t work out as smoothly as Oscar envisions it for him and Susan. Though off to a rocky start, Susan and Oscar work things out by taking one day at a time, while at the same time Oscar sees to his dreams of building something that could give back to the people of Camden.

Miscommunication, the fact that both Oscar and Susan try to keep a lot of things bottled up, and most of all mistakes that both Susan and Oscar makes in the course of their relationship tests the strength of the bond that forges between them. A bond that is often seen to be rather fragile, but stands firm in many a storm it weathers through.

The Good Fight is not a story that just looks into the romance and the relationship that grows to life between Oscar and Susan. Rather, it focuses on Oscar’s relationships with various other secondary characters, the ups and downs that he goes through while trying to build his dream into a reality that is sustainable and long-lasting, and his own shortcomings when it comes to trusting his ability to hold onto and be worthy of someone like Susan.

I loved the whole mess that was Oscar’s life as it was portrayed through his inner thoughts. It was messy. It was real. That was what I connected with most and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I loved the friendship that was between Oscar and 24 year old Jade Romero, who puts up a false sense of bravado for the rest of the world to see. I would love to see whether Jade gets her own story, preferably with Wyatt, the man who does not get along at all with Jade, someone who is able to charm any man out of his pants and then some.

While I loved the novelty of the experience of reading a book solely told from the male lead’s perspective, I felt that when it came to a character such as Susan, without knowing how she saw things through that logical and direct to the point sort of brain of hers, proved to be the reason why I failed to connect with her on an emotional level. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the ending that took place a year after the story takes place, which gave me all warm fuzzies on the inside and showed to me that the bond between Oscar and Susan was one that was very real.

Susan I believe, was the character that got shortchanged because her story is the one that sits on the backburner, simmering and calling for attention where little if at all was given. I wanted to see Susan emerge out of that cold and logical shell of hers long enough to realize that there was more to life than being in a constant state of competition with ones own self to achieve more, to be better. That there was a daughter who required her love, understanding, empathy and kindness so that she might grow up and embody the same characteristics that Susan could teach her.

While there were bits and pieces of Susan’s interactions and difficulties when it came to dealing with her 11 year old daughter, whom we met in the 2nd book of the series In Her Defense, I would have loved to see that take centrestage in the story, be it even for a little while so that readers would have been able to see a warmer side to Susan, a character who comes off cold at first and began to thaw towards the end of the book.

I would have thought that given that this novel was totally told from a male perspective, that there would be more sex scenes involved of the kind that would make for a panty melting read. But, contrary to that notion, I found that the sex scenes were more toned down than the previous two books in the series. Not that the ones that were included were any less hot or potent. But perhaps owing to the fact that I had some difficulties in connecting with Susan on an emotional level, I found myself a bit removed from what was happening in the bedroom until towards the latter part of the story where Susan broke out with a gut wrenching confession of the difficult times she had had with trying to make her previous marriage work, a marriage that had already been doomed to failure.

It is a testament to Julianna’s talent that even with all the issues I had that I managed to enjoy the story that unfolded. Perhaps it was because through Oscar’s life, the reader gets to experience a wide range of diverse characters, and get to see something fresh develop and burgeon to life right in front of your eyes. The whole concept of cultivating produce inside the confines of a building is an idea that is being explored quite fervently across the world, and to read about it and feel as if you were a part of the experience, that was one of the best aspects of this story.

Recommended for fans of stories that feature characters who are real enough to make mistakes and wise enough to own up and learn from them. Makes for great reading!

Final Verdict: Gritty, honest, hard hitting and real!

Favorite Quotes

“Oh, Jesus, Oz, please,” she begs some time later. “I can’t—I need—just do something.”
“I’m doing something,” I tell her.
She whimpers and writhes, her body laid out like an offering, and I ease off and position myself on top of her, elbows on either side of her head. For the first time since I penetrated her I drag out my cock so just the tip is left inside, and dip my head so my lips brush against her ear. “Squeeze,” I order.
She squeezes the head of my cock with her pussy and I shudder violently, unprepared for how amazing it feels.

Her lips and tongue feel like they’re everywhere, tracing the shell of my ear, the pulse points over my throat, my collarbone. When she frees one hand to reach between us to undo the button at the top of my pants, I seize the opportunity to slip my own hand down the back of her shorts, sliding my fingers as low as I can until I find the damp heat between her thighs. I moan at the contact, then moan again when her fingers wrap around my cock, stroking like the pro she is. Pump, twist, fast, slow. It feels good, but it feels like a fucking textbook, too. Like she read the chapter, took notes and aced the test. I want messy and flawed. I want real. I want the scratched-out lines and the red ink and all the steps that come before you figure out what gets you off fastest.

Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | BAM | Kobo | eBookMall | ARe | iTunes

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