Bookpushers Joint Review – Reaper’s Stand MC #4 by Joanna Wylde

cover_reapers_standPublisher: Berkley
Publish Date: 7 Oct
How we got this book: ARC from the publisher via Netgalley

As Reapers Motorcycle Club president, Reese “Picnic” Hayes has given his entire life to the club. After losing his wife, he knew he’d never love another woman. And with two daughters to raise and a club to manage, that was just fine with him. These days, Reese keeps his relationships free and easy—he definitely doesn’t want to waste his time on a glorified cleaning lady like London Armstrong.

Too bad he’s completely obsessed with her.

Besides running her own business, London’s got her junkie cousin’s daughter to look after—a more reckless than average eighteen-year-old. Sure she’s attracted to the Reapers’ president, but she’s not stupid. Reese Hayes is a criminal and a thug. But when her young cousin gets caught up with a ruthless drug cartel, Reese might be the only man who can help her. Now London has to make the hardest decision of her life—how far will she go to save her family?
Blurb came from Netgalley

1. Thoughts on the Hero

E: Ooh Picnic. He has been a staple since Wylde introduced her MC world. And in each one not only was he responsible for laying down the law but he had no issues with separating in his mind the women he wouldn’t mess with and the ones who knew the score. He never really considered dealing with the other side of things or how it would impact him if someone he cared about got sucked into the ugly side of motorcycle clubs. Given his behavior and attitude in the last installment I really wanted to see him get his comeuppance and join the rest of the mortals. While he didn’t physically pay for his past in this particular book, being the central male character he certainly had to deal with his fair share of emotional rollercoasters and the knowledge that he wasn’t infallible. I will say as with Wylde’s other heroes being able to see his point of view certainly provides a major plus for my tolerance/enjoyment of the story because if I judged based on action/verbal words alone I would have some major issues.

Lou: Oh this is going to be hard for me to write :(. I did not like the Picnic in this book. As E said above, he has been a staple character since the beginning of the series. He felt…off to me in this book. I don’t know if the mystery of not being inside his head is what made him tolerable throughout the other books but in Reaper’s Stand he didn’t come across as a hero who was utterly entranced by his heroine. He wasn’t very romantic towards London, not compared to the other heroes in the series, and there was a distance from his character and I wasn’t able to engage with him.

MinnChica: Ah Picnic, I have to admit that I loved him. I loved the way he was so devoted to his club, and how he was willing to go above and beyond to stay loyal to them. Picnic takes the bad-boy hero to a whole new level. He is an alpha-hole to the extreme, and while there were times that I couldn’t believe he was doing and saying certain things, I also totally got it. Although he was a total douche, Wylde had me believing in his character, and his overall intentions in a way that had me strangely okay with all the messed up stuff Picnic pulled.

Has: I was really curious about to see how Joanna Wylde will tackle Picnic because he was pretty much a womaniser in the previous books and it would be interesting to see how he would fare with falling in love again. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked the insights with his POV’s especially with his feelings for his first wife and how her death affected him. It made a lot of sense about why he would choose not to be vulnerable again and it really fleshed out his character. I also loved his interactions with London who broke through his resolve. Although I did wince at the few times that he became a bit of asshole but what I really love about Wylde’s writing is that she unapolegetic in presenting a real and authentic look into the MC world, but at the same time, you can’t not help like the characters and wanting to root for them. She made it work for Picnic and even though he was not a typical romantic hero, I really liked his thoughts and secret conversations with his wife and how it referred towards his relationship with London. I found this funny and even a bit poignant even though many of the exchanges was snarky and I liked that because it was true to the tone of this series and I enjoyed that.

2. Thoughts on the Heroine

E: I have mixed feelings about London as well. On the one hand I really admired how she basically put her life on hold to raise her cousin and how very hard she worked. On the other hand, I thought she had very questionable judgment at times. She certainly proved the saying the female of any species protecting her young can be deadlier than the male but her basic core of caring for/about people never changed. She made Picnic work for what he wanted and while he scared the mess out of her on several occasions, she never gave up, except briefly when she thought there was no hope left. I did admire how once she realized she couldn’t fix the problem herself she went into every situation determined to do whatever was necessary to support those who could regardless of the personal cost. It was like an entirely new aspect of her personality emerged and she tapped into an inner strength. I enjoyed watching her character grow as the story progressed.

Lou: Like E, I have mixed feelings about London as well. She’s probably my least favourite heroine in the series. Her personality felt at odds through out the book. At times her personality changed to suit was happening in the book and she didn’t feel consistent to me. London was attracted to Picnic and I’m so glad she resisted him at first and told him straight, even though he scared the crap out of her. Her love and patience with her charge was admirable, and I really did enjoy that aspect of London which was caring and loving.

MinnChica: I liked London. She was placed in an impossible situation, with no real easy way to get out of it. Did I agree with her wanting to keep everything a secret from Picnic? No, of course not. But at the same time, I understood why she did. I respected the fact that she was so accepting of her fate, especially as the story continued to progress. I think that showed so much character on her part.

Has: I have similar feelings too about London, although I admired her loyalty and protectiveness for her Jessica, and later for her friend Melanie. And I can understand why she made a decision later that was pretty much a huge mistake because she was stuck between a rock and hard place. However, I did feel frustrated with her character by that point in the story but I really liked that she gave Picnic a run for his money, especially with little pranks to get him back and I wished we got to see his reaction because it would have been fun. I wished there was more time spent with Picnic and London as a couple although I loved the ending with the scene at the end.

3. Favorite Scene

E: Hmm, I think I have two favorite scenes. One when she gave a little back to the worthless excuse of a man who set up the major conflict and one when she had a serious discussion with Picnic about their future and her decision about how they could see if anything future was possible while still caring for her pre-existing responsibilities. This is a bit vague because I don’t want to give away any spoilers. I think the details of those scenes and what led up to them is worth discovering so you feel the emotional punch when it comes. I like the both because they showed how she was a complete character whose inner core never changed even if the things she was willing to do for that inner core did.

Lou: I don’t particularly have a favourite scene in the book so I’m going to skip this one.

MinnChica: I think for me, one of my favorite scenes was toward the end of the book when London did something to really prove herself trustworthy. I liked that although she was still in some major hot water with the club, she also went above and beyond to protect them in every way possible. I especially liked when she explained why she did the things she did in secret to Picnic, all while receiving some pretty nasty looks. LOL

Has: I liked the scenes that E highlighted, because it really reflected the changes and evolution for London’s character as well as the development of the romance. I also loved the scene when London gets drunk and Picnic tries to act like a gentleman towards her although doesn’t last long… But I loved the scene at the end which was sweet and playful.

4. Dislike about book

E: I have my reoccurring theme of disliking the treatment of a certain subset of women in this series, but that hasn’t stopped me from enjoying the stories. Otherwise I really didn’t like how London seemed to get stupid during one portion. Granted it was after receiving a pretty bad shock but she dug herself a deeper hole for several days and it wasn’t until she went through another traumatic experience that she seemed to come back to her senses. I think this bothered me because I know what my reaction is in a crisis and given how well London did at holding things together up until that point I was disappointed. But she redeemed herself.

Lou: I have a few things I dislike about the book. One is the lack of romance. This book is not very romantic. London and Picnic’s relationship is mostly sexual attraction and I didn’t feel as if they were that into each other emotionally. I wonder if it’s the short timestamp in which the book took place which made it hard for there to be a distinct connection between them. I also disliked a decision London made which yes, I’m going to say it, verged into too stupid to live territory. I can’t say anything because spoiler, but yeah, doing that particular action was really going to solve everything… I also didn’t like what happened to Em, which in my eyes was done just for London to look good in the eyes of the Reaper’s again. It felt too manipulative.

MinnChica: I agree that the lifestyle portrayed in these books is not one in which I think is healthy for women. The club brothers respect and love their ladies, but at the same time, this book showed just how far they are willing to go when someone betrays them. And let me tell you, these guys will go far, with no scruples about hurting women.

Has: I totally agree about the treatment of women, but then this is an MC book and Wylde does balance this with strong female characters who do stand up against and challenge their men. I think London was pretty stubborn and strong but I really hated her decision at the end of the book which really put her in an awful position. I felt that was a huge step back for her character and for the romance in some respects. I also was not keen on the way on another scene soon after, and I am in still in two minds about how I feel about that subsequent scene, however I felt the issues were resolved but I don’t think it entirely worked for me.

5. Any other misc. thoughts along with grade

E: This was another good installment in Wylde’s Reaper’s series. I liked seeing Picnic humbled a bit but I also enjoyed seeing his faith upheld. It was good to see him having to work to get what he wanted and deal with everyone else questioning his decisions. I also liked how London made her own place and wasn’t afraid to stand up for what she thought was right regardless of who was involved. She also never hid behind Picnic but managed to make him think about changing some of his behavior because he didn’t like how it made him look in her eyes. I am looking forward to seeing where Wylde takes this series because I have some guesses for upcoming relationships.
I give Reaper’s Stand a B-

Lou: This was my least favourite installment of the series and considering I was looking forward to Picnic’s book for a long time, I was disappointed. It’s still a good read but I don’t think I’ll be re-reading this book again.

I give Reaper’s Stand a C.

MinnChica: All in all, I thought this was another good addition to the Reaper’s series. Yes, it was hard to read and connect to at times. But overall I really liked the characters and their romance. I liked getting to see a softer side of Picnic, and London was another one of those unexpected heroines. I can’t wait to see where Wylde takes the series next.
I give Reaper’s Stand a B

Has: I really liked seeing a more vulnerable and even playful side of Picnic, it really fleshed out his character for me as well as seeing a different aspect to him which surprised me. Despite my issues with London’s decision with a major plot at the end of the book, I thought she was a perfect heroine for him and I definitely agree with E about those guesses about the new plot threads that Wylde teased us with. I think Wylde is one of the best, actually scratch that the best writer for MC romances. It is really hard to balance the seedy and darker elements of MC life with vivid and memorable characters with a believable romance. Reaper’s Stand is a great entry to this series and I highly enjoyed the humour as well as the darker aspects even if it was uncomfortable to read.

I also give Reaper’s Stand a B!

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