C REVIEWS C- Review m/m MMA Hero

Review – The Brick Yard by Carol Lynne

Review: The Brick Yard by Carol Lynne

Publisher: Totally Bound
Where did you get this book: E-Arc from Publisher
Release Date: Out Now

22913614“For Lucky Gunn, the hardest fight of his life happens outside the cage. On the south side of Chicago sits an old gym called The Brick Yard. Ten years ago, on a bitterly cold day, Lucky Gunn wandered into The Brick Yard dressed in a threadbare jacket, looking for refuge. He hadn’t expected the owner, Tony Brick, to welcome him with a job and a place to sleep when Lucky’s abusive and drug addict mother made it too dangerous to return home.

Dray was a gay man living in a world of straight fighters. When his secret was exposed to the media, he dropped out giving Lucky a piece of advice, if you want to make it as a MMA fighter, bury the part of yourself that won’t be accepted. Lucky discovered the cage was the perfect place to keep his demons at bay, but when he learns his trainer and mentor, Brick, is suffering from end-stage cancer, he begins to spiral out of control. After eight years, Dray returns to help Lucky and Brick deal with the devastating news.

With Dray so close, Lucky’s old desires return, and Dray teaches him more than how to fight. Torn between his career and the passion he feels for Dray, Lucky’s past demons resurface in full force, threatening his sanity and his budding relationship with Dray.Despite leaving the cage years earlier, Dray finds himself in the battle of his life with the only man he’s ever loved. Will he stand and fight or walk away like he did years earlier?”

I wasn’t really feeling the UFC angle here and I guess I’d classify it more a MMA-lite story than anything. Although their world revolves around the fighting there just wasn’t enough details for me to really be invested in that aspect of the story .I also was surprised to see Dray leave that world he loved so desperately when he was outed without any kind of fight. I think length restrictions here impeded a lot of Dray’s history and
character as the focus seemed to be more on Lucky.

I liked that the men knew each other when they were younger but the time jump that lead to Dray watching fight videos of Lucky and then crushing him didn’t really feel authentic. Although Lucky’s feelings for Dray when he was younger did translate well as he aged.

The men had some good chemistry but the relationship dynamics were a bit skewed because a kind of virulent jealousy reared its ugly head several times and that made me wonder if they have a strong foundation to build on. I did like the stories that were surrounding the MCs and their romance. A bit gritty and bittersweet but that worked for me. Their desire to help the man who was always there for them was touching. They, in turn, looking for ways to pay it forward within their community touched me as well.

Although it provided a hot and steady chemistry with interesting characters I found the pacing didn’t quite work for me and that combined with a few dropped threads (what happened with Dray’s farmhouse that he was stressing over?) and a shaky relationship foundation resulted in a read that didn’t engage me.

I’m giving The Brick Yard a C-

By Heller

In the United Nations of Book Pushers I represent the Canadian contingent. I've known Has, Lou, E and Minn for a few years now and I've discovered many a new author from them for which I will be forever grateful. New to me often translates to "Where has this book been all my life?" and leads to endless re-reads.

The majority of my childhood was spent with my nose in a book (not that it's any different now) and I always carried at least one with me wherever I went no matter whatever trouble I was up to. My e-reader is something I could never give up now, despite my initial resistance to it. I love my books but carrying around a library in a small electronic device is a thrill that never gets old.

I read anything and everything that strikes my fancy: Regency, Retro-Romance, Sci-fi/Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Urban Fantasy, Post-Apoc...the list is pretty much endless. I tend to cycle through interests so it really just depends on my mood at the time. I would say that right now M/M books have me firmly in their grasp and they've been the majority of my reads for the past couple of years. I think there's nothing better than headjacking into a story and characters created by an author, I'm always up for a ride to a place I've never been before.

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