Book Review – Against the Ropes by Sarah Castille

by Maryse on September 5, 2013 · 12 comments

in My Book Reviews

Against the Ropes
I totally judged a book by it’s cover, and it paid off. It was great! :D  You know I couldn’t help but jump on this one with a cover (whooooo HOT!!!), title (ooooh… could he be a fighter?) and premise (YES!! An MMA fighter!) like that. The perfect trifecta to get my attention. I hadn’t even heard of it until it was released in Tuesday and there went my “TBR list” again. I jumped on it. ;)

And that wasn’t the only perfect trifecta going on here. That super hot hero up there? Not only is he an underground champion MMA fighter (one of my favorite kinds to read), he’s an uber-alpha, too. I’d even venture to say a Dom. That’s right… not just an alpha (although he’s soooo wonderfully alpha too). One of the best I’ve read, in fact. But OMG his Dom tendencies in the steamy scenes had me sweating. Oh right. What’s the third trifecta? I’ll let you discover that part.

Why won’t I let you in one of the trifecta qualities? ‘Cause if you know beforehand, you might be tempted to roll your eyes. I totally would have, knowing *this* going in. ‘Cause it’s all a little too convenient on just how much of a perfect of a match he is for us readers. Specifically us, those of us that love this “bad boy stuff”. He pretty much has everything going for us. I mean him. ;)  Let’s just say, he’s a few different “genres” in one.

But once you start reading (and chances are… loving) this, that “a little too convenient” won’t matter so much. You’ll be having too much fun to roll your eyes. The writing and the laughs (OMG the laughs!!!) and the serious moments are handled wonderfully.

Maryse’s Book Blog: I’m reading “Against the Ropes” and I can’t stop laughing. Even my husband is laughing as I tell him the stuff. So far, so good and so witty and well written, WITH an alpha-male! FUN. … Mind you, I’m at 30-something percent, but I’ve laughed my butt off, and OMG he’s the perfect alpha.

Kristi: Maryse, I am reading it too and loving it so far. I am about 30% in as well but laughing it up like crazy. So far he is very yummy!! Can’t wait to get back into it tonight!!

Maryse’s Book Blog: I’m almost done (70-something % – would have finished if not for work) and I still LOVE it and I’m still laughing… oh but when this alpha gets mad… *whoooo* YES!

Kandace: I started against to ropes and I’m loving it. … I’m seriously laughing out loud.

Jenny: Against the Ropes by Sarah Castille was fabulous!! I loved the bad-boy aspect and yet it still made me laugh! Highly recommend!!

Tammy: Just finished it – awesome

I’m not always into “funny” ’cause comedy romance often doesn’t have that angst intensity that I look for, but this alpha was just angry, bossy and tormented enough, to bring on that angsty *oomph*.

So hard. So rough. So warm. So dominating. I want more. More of this erotic manhandling of my body. More forceful, alpha-male.

No. I give myself a mental shake. Dominating bad. Manhandling bad. Forceful bad. Did I learn nothing as a child?

Hehe. Sounds like some of us, doesn’t she? I haven’t loved a heroine this much in ages!

Makayla is about one of the funniest, most down to earth, most “the way I think” kind of girls I wish I could ever meet. Her internal dialogue, her silly-sweet banter with “Torment”, and how she gets along with his crew had me in tears in the BEST way.

Like. Oh!!! Here’s one of the scenes that set me on a giggle-fest. The one where she was watching the hot guys sparring in the ring. Wrestling. Grappling. She was getting a little… bothered. ;) And then they needed her for a demonstration of a certain move…

“If you understand the positions, you can better understand the injuries.”

Hmmm. Do I want to roll around on the mat with two half-naked, super-fit men? Yes please!

“Okay, if it will help you out.” I slip off my shoes and kneel on the mat while Torment and Jimmy discuss what to do with me. My pulse pounds so hard I can barely hear them over the rush of blood through my veins. This is sports. It has nothing to with sex. Sports. Sports. Sports.

Torment puts his hand on my shoulder. “Lie on your back, hands over your head, legs apart.”



So much giggling, chuckling and some seriously full on belly laughs that would last far beyond the scene that *got* me. You know what I mean. When you experience something so funny that you crack up like mad on the spot, and then as you continue on, the chuckles continue. You keep cracking up, even though your beyond the funny scene. Although the spontaneous “funny” does keep coming, in this one. And it’s nothing outrageous or anything. Just totally off-the-wall normal… funny.

You’ll see where I’m coming from. It’s so much funnier and sweeter once you’re “in” it, with them, and so worth the chuckles.

So what’s it about?

Makayla and her best friend go to an underground cage match ’cause her best friend is dating one of the fighters. Of course, the unattainable “Torment” (the best of all of ‘em, and the boss) takes a serious interest in the quirky, “violence makes me puke” “Makayla”. Makayla is an EMT and Torment wants to hire her to “fix” his fighters when needed. Yes… I know, we’ve read a variation or two of this one before, right?

“I need the money, and if I stay in the first aid office and only come out when I’m needed, it shouldn’t be a problem.”

I take the sandwich he offers and peek inside the one inch thick piece of cheese slathered in what appears to be a half tub of margarine. Horrors.

“I made it myself,” he says. Pride shines in his warm, brown eyes.

Ick! and Awwwwww. <— Yes, I totally noted that in the book.

She’s literally sick with the thought of being anywhere near fighting (she has had a bad experience), yet her crush on Torment… deliciously torments her. She’s tempted! Plus, she needs the extra income since she has a debt collector making demands for her student loan payments.

*sigh* What’s a girl to do?

But this one, in all of it’s similarities, has it’s own rhythm, and I loved it. I’d say it’s like… if you mixed a pinch of “Real” with a pinch of… oh I dunno. Any hilarious Alice Clayton book, and you have an idea of the “feel”, and I’d add another book in here, ;) but I won’t say anymore other than… everything else these two characters (and hilarious crew) do and say become their own.

“Stop biting your nails.” Amanda slaps my hand away from my mouth. “And stop bouncing. I thought you were angry with him. Angry girls don’t bounce.”

Hehe. Angry girls don’t bounce. I was TOTALLY seeing this scene (all the scenes) in my head like a movie. Like I dunno… Katherine Heigl and I dunno who else. Another cute, independent and quirky actress. But you get where I’m coming from? It had that sweet comedy romance “mood” to it, and flowed like a movie, but reads like some of our favorite books.

Okay, now, I’ll admit. There were some over-the-top bone-headed moves on BOTH behalves. From her mooning his friends (tee hee!! But what was she thinking? Doesn’t she know that her alpha-male will find out that his butt was on display for all to see? He ain’t gonna like that). To issues with a creditor (that were both kind of funny, sad, sweet and way weird), to a few super-naive decisions that were so obviously bad choices, to one particular move of his that I was thinking… “Now Torment. What are you THINKING at a time like this? GAH!!!!!!!” Both of you guys are silly. Or nincompoops. But either way, sometimes y’all are just soooooo CUTE!!! Like… oh!! Whenever he would text her.

How’s my girl?

I’m not ur girl

Max frowns

Silly. Learn to text. Frown like this **frowns**


Bwhahahahah!! Pooooooor sweet thing. He’s not so good at texting but had me awwwwwing and giggling and loving him to death each and every time!

So you see… it’s not perfect. Where I would have been tempted to give this 4.5 stars, I just can’t ’cause of a few of the “weird” spots. But, overall? I enjoyed it immensely. The writing style, the pacing and the characters were just right! Just, at times… a little too far-fetched for my 5-star tastes. I laughed my butt off, tugged at my shirt collar many-a-time (…is it hot in here?), and I felt the heartache, too.

I LOVE these characters (all of them) and here’s hoping there’s more to come. Guys? Can I be your best friend too?

Hilarious, hot and occasionally heartbreaking. I loved it! As Max would text…  ”approved”.

4 stars! (4.5 stars for the “funny” and the alpha-intensity, romance and awww-factor, and 3 stars for a few of the unrealistic moments & cotton-headed-ninny-muggins decisions). ;)

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Rachel Harris September 6, 2013 at 5:53 AM

Fabulous review! I, too, fell in love at first sight when I saw this cover featured here a few days ago, and it immediately jumped onto my TBR list. Now it’s a done deal. I LOVE humorous love stories. I LOVE bad ass alphas/Dom-like heroes. It’s rare to find them both in one book, so very very excited about this one!

Thanks for highlighting this one!

Maryse September 6, 2013 at 7:48 AM

Thank you so much, Rachel!! :D I was laughing all over again, as I pulled up my favorite funny parts for the review.

Melanie September 6, 2013 at 9:30 AM

I really want to read this, sounds fun, but will wait until its a little cheaper.

Maryse September 6, 2013 at 11:19 AM

Oh yes…agreed! It’s a bit pricey. I bought it anyway ’cause I was just in the mood for something like this. And with how much I laughed and swooned (and the fact that he wholeheartedly ticked my alpha-bone) I ended up happy.

Hopefully it’ll go on sale soon, so I can add it to my Friday bargain list! It’s totally worth the read. ;)

Steph Ru September 6, 2013 at 1:45 PM

I agree. Sounds good…but between your review…and ARC reviews about certain parts being “crazy”….Its a little to pricey to take a chance on…Hope to see it on sale soon on one of your FRI.
Until then I’ll wait it out :)

Melissa September 6, 2013 at 4:02 PM

Thanks for the review. Saw this book the other day and did not because of the price. It is a definite purchase for me now.

LauraB September 8, 2013 at 1:34 AM

59% in! I love it when I find myself giggling out loud. It means the characters are ‘real’ for me.
I felt like spending the money because sometimes I NEED books with Alpha males and funny female leads.
The Dom thing is just strawberry jam on top *winks*

Sharon October 12, 2013 at 9:47 PM

I just finished this book and cant wait for the next. Loved these characters – Oh Thorment…….great read

Lisa M December 29, 2013 at 3:47 PM

Just bought it!!! Yeah!! Need something good to read after The Golden Dynasty!!! What an absolutely amazing book!!

Gabby December 29, 2013 at 8:10 PM

I seriously need to stop going on this blog ( JUST KIDDING ) I have read over 100 books that you have given reviews to and I’m happy to say this book is def going into my top ten!!! :)

Lindsay December 29, 2013 at 8:20 PM

*runs to 1-click*

Lisa M December 30, 2013 at 7:39 PM

Loved it!!! OMG!!!! Good not put it down!! How many book boyfriends can I have???? What should I read after The Golden Dynasty and Against the Ropes???

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