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Cristina T.

Against the Grain

Against the Grain - Charlie Cochet First read: August 2015
Reread: March 2016 – BR with Trisha


I was kinda nervous about reading this book, because I skimmed a few reviews beforehand, and a lot of them contained the lines 'not what I hoped for'. I tried not to let that temper my excitement, and thought I should just see how I perceived the book, as we all see things differently. Well, the thing is, up until the 63% mark, I was prepared to give this book 3 stars. But the second half was way better, so I'll settle with 4 stars.

Warning: I can't organize my thoughts enough to figure out if there are any spoilers in this, so I'd advise you to proceed cautiously if you haven't read the book yet. ;-)

The first half

This book picks up at the funny 'Old Betsy' scene with Tony. Needless to say, I was already laughing hysterically right from the start. But my laughter soon died when things got serious, and Tony told Ash the story of Cael's despicable ex-boyfriend. Broke my heart.

Things between Ash and Cael are tense, to say the least. They treat each other like they're walking on thin ice, and it's painful to watch. Because for one, Ash knows how Cael feels, and also, the feeling is completely mutual. Still, Ash finds it impossible to overcome his past and let go of the guilt which has shaped him as a person.

I was very sympathetic towards Ash, and I understood his struggle, but I couldn't help feeling really, really bad for Cael. While Ash is figuring his shit out, Cael is left standing with his heart on the line, waiting. That didn't sit well with me, since Cael is the sweetest guy ever, and he's put himself out there for Ash on multiple occasions.

The second half

After 60%, Ash basically stops living only inside his head, and realizes how much he's hurting Cael, who doesn't deserve his treatment. So, he decides to try and do right by Cael, and he commits to overcoming his demons while learning to care less about the world and more about his man.

I loved to see their relationship grow into something beautiful and nurturing for both men. What I loved even more was to see Ash's soft side, the side which only Cael gets to see. The part of him which is protective and loving and contains just a dash of sappiness. Yes, you read that right. Ash can be sappy, and he even calls Cael 'sweetheart'. I mean, how cute is that?!

About as adorable as this photo, I'd say...

Other fun stuff

The humor in this book was–yet again–really fantastic, and there were a lot of laugh out loud moments. Dex's shenanigans were as funny as ever, as were his scenes with Cael, and most importantly, Ash. I especially enjoyed reading Ash's POV when it came to Dex, haha. And Ash's training sessions with the brothers were hilarious!

The unexpected twist with Austen and the badass Sparks was also great. What's more, we get a glimpse into the domestic life of the Maddock/Daley family together with Ash and Sloane. It involves baking and Thanksgiving/Christmas dinner, photo albums, and headphones for...y'know, various reasons. ;-)

All in all, I really liked this book, and I'm looking forward to the next installments in the series. Hobbs and Calvin's story in particular. Because Hobbs broke my heart here, and I just felt this strong urge to hug him until his world stopped spinning! Can't wait to read THIRDS #6!