Reviewers: Has and Lou
Lou: I read Emma Chase’s first book, Tangled, but for some reason I never went back for more, despite enjoying the book. I know Has is a huge fan of Emma Chase and it’s only because of Has’ recommendation that I decided to give SUSTAINED a try. I’m glad I took the chance. SUSTAINED was a super fun read, featuring a sexy romance with a strong family theme. There were many emotional and humorous scenes with Chelsea’s brood that didn’t make me go, “oh no, precocious child syndrome,” which happens a lot in books. Jake Becker is an arrogant and very competent defence lawyer who also happens to be a semi-arsehole (some may argue full arsehole). But he’s fully aware of his shortcomings and doesn’t give a fuck. But then he meets a boy who reminds him of when he was a troubled youngster. Despite his coarse mouth and bullish attitude, Jake Becker is a good guy. We see early glimpses of this with the scenes with The Judge, which were quite emotional. Jake is a semi-arsehole, though, when it came to his non-existent-relationships and work.
Has: That was the main reason why I loved the book so much! I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Sustained because it was not only about the romance between Chelsea and Jake, but it was also about his relationship with her nephews and nieces. And like Lou said, the kids were not annoying or precocious, which can be more miss than hit for me. But I loved how Jake embraced the brood of kids. Each brought something funny and poignant into his character. It was wonderful to see him grow and develop throughout the book,because he starts off so self=centered and selfish. However, after interacting with the kids and Chelsea, he starts to open up and learn that there is more to life than being a womaniser and work, especially with the catalyst that brings him to that change in the beginning of the book.
Lou: There is a journey arc for Becker. I thought it was kinda brave of Emma Chase to have Becker receive something not very nice from a one night stand and it forced him (with a lot of nausea and horror) to make some changes. I loved his first introduction to Chelsea and his reaction to the kids. I love humour in my romances (at least my kind of humour) and his reactions were that of a guy who was so out of his depth. But Becker became a fast learner and he became such a natural with the kids. He took time out of his work to help Chelsea and it was lovely to see that he wasn’t just falling for Chelsea, but he was falling for the kids too. I’m not used to reading only male POV in my romances. I’m more drawn to the heroine’s journey but in Sustained there seemed to be a good balance despite not having Chelsea’s POV. In fact there were many times in which I wanted to kick Becker, especially towards the end because he was being such an immature shithead! He was flightier than a bird when it came to fully committing to Chelsea and he hurt her a lot in the process. But the fact he loved the kids so much redeemed him somewhat. I think Chelsea should have made him grovel that extra bit harder.
Has: I thought that was really refreshing to see that a hero was very experience had to tackle something like an STD in a romance. I found it refreshing because usually that is not dealt with in a romance. But I liked that Emma Chase was not afraid to cover this and I so agree that the humour was a fantastic balance to the darker issues which is explored in this book, such as bereavement and domestic abuse. The scenes, especially with the kids and Jake in their interactions with each other, really felt authentic and realistic. Whether it was humorous or a darker scene, the book was engaging and full of emotional depth which swept me further into the story and characters.
The romance was also great. I really liked how Jake felt this was going to be a normal brief hookup, but doesn’t realise his engagement with the kids and Chelsea created a deeper tie. I agree with Lou about the ending and how much of an arsehole he was when he screwed up. He did that several times which felt a bit forced. Those niggles were the only things I disliked about the book because while he groveled hard, I don’t think he really learned from his mistakes and repeated it again.
Lou That’s my main worry about Becker. I don’t think he truly realized how much he hurt Chelsea by his behaviour because he was more unhappy about his unhappiness than Chelsea’s. The heroine from the previous book (which I now have to read) gave him what for but there’s a small worry in the back of my head that Becker might behave in the same way again. Maybe Chase will show Becker and Chelsea along with the kids again in the next book and we’ll see glimpses of how they are doing.
All in all Sustained was a fun and sexy read. If you don’t like kids in your romances, this may not be the book for you but I loved the family theme which was quite emotional.
I give Sustained a B+
Has: I really hope we get future glimpses because I would love to read more about Jake, Chelsea and the kids. And while I had those niggles about Jake’s reservations and inner doubts, Sustained overall was a fantastic read. I think this is one of Emma Chase’s best books yet because it had everything that I loved in a romance; humour, passion and even poignancy that felt real– giving the story another layer that made it memorable and heart-warming. Sustained was a love story between Jake discovering and falling in love with a new family as well as with Chelsea. Sustained is firmly in my top ten reads this year!
I give Sustained an A-