Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Furious Rush by S.C. Stephens

Too fast, too furious-and way too hot to handle...

Mackenzie Cox has a lot to prove. Daughter of a racing legend, she is eager to show the world that she has inherited her father's talent in the male-dominated sport of professional motorcycle racing. The last thing Kenzie needs is to be antagonized by her rival team's newest rider, Hayden Hayes. Plucked from the world of illegal street racing, Hayden immediately gets under Kenzie's skin. His insinuations that Kenzie is a spoiled princess who was handed her career fuels her desire to win, and much to her surprise, Kenzie soon learns she performs better when she's racing against Hayden.

As Kenzie and Hayden push each other on the track, the electric energy between them off the track shifts into an intense--and strictly forbidden--attraction. The only rule between their two ultra-competitive teams is zero contact. Kenzie always does her best to play by the rules, but when her team slips into a financial crisis, she has no choice but to turn to Hayden for help. The tension simmers during their secret, late-night rendezvous, but Kenzie has too much to lose to give in to her desires. Especially when she begins to doubt that Hayden has completely left his street life behind...

The first in an emotion-fueled, New Adult series from the #1 bestselling author of the Thoughtless novels.

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Book 1
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Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

I loved the idea of this book. Badass girl racing her Ducati for a living? Perfect. I enjoyed the Romeo and Juliet pairing of the bad boy street racer and the track princess. During the initial world building, I was enthralled, soaking up details about the unfamiliar world of motorcycle racing and enjoying the conflict set up between Kenzie and Hayden.

There are some brilliant racing scenes in this story and I loved the details and the drama of both the professional and street racing scenes. I enjoyed the competition between the riders and watching as the season long standings rose and fell.

However. The plot of this story left me bewildered. There was far too much story in this book and the result was an overcomplicated plot that became increasingly blurry and never properly resolved. The badass girl racer allows herself to be distracted at the outset and ends up sacrificing everything for a boy. Between her distractions and mood swings, I really failed to engage with Kenzie. And Hayden. Here and there the author tells us things about him that should make readers like him, but I needed more. I needed to see him, to know him, to understand him, and the author just never managed to make him real for me. I ended up ambivalent about the romance in this story and much more interested in the racing.

In addition to Kenzie and Hayden’s competitive racing season, the author adds a family wedding, illegal gambling, family bankruptcy, bike tampering, a child with cancer, race fixing, and illegal street races. Add in Kenzie and Hayden’s endless cycles of enemy/friend/lover/enemy and I really couldn’t keep up. The cast of characters grew too big by the mid-way point for me to fully recognise each character or for the author to fully develop each character.

And the ending. If we can call it an ending. I understand cliffhangers, but this story just seemed to limp to a standstill without offering much in the way of a resolution. I understood that some elements were introduced at the end to lead directly into the next book, but after nearly 400 pages, I felt like I deserved a resolution.

I was so excited to see a book about the motorcycle racing world, and to see it was from Ms. Stephens was an extra bonus I couldn’t pass up.

Furious Rush has a slow build up. I’m not saying it dragged but the beginning did start at a slow pace, but once it took off there was no stopping it. Kenzie needs to prove herself, not only in her first season as a professional racer, but she needs to prove she can follow in her father’s footsteps. He’s a racing legend. The Cox name carries weight, weight that is resting on her shoulders.

Hayden Hayes is an undefeated champ in the illegal circuit turned pro. He is signed by Cox Racing arch nemesis, Benneti Racing, he’s an instant favorite. Rules created by Keith Benneti and Jordan Cox, a once tight friendship that ended with so much hate that riders were prohibited from talking to members from the other team.

Hayden and Kenzie find themselves in a high angst, super-charged, chemistry-filled ride. These characters were easy to get invested in. The story leaves you wanting more. I can’t wait to see what’s next.

This is a good long read that pulls you in and keeps the story ticking over right to the end...with the possibility of a next installment.

If you like the intrigue and backdrop of the motorcycle racing world, then this will definitely grab your attention. There is plenty of detail and subplots involving the dangers and the pressures of that world. I liked the mix of characters, not all of whom were likeable or trustworthy – as in all things, money often speaks the loudest, and is dealt with in the darkness of night. I found the feud between Cox senior and Benneti to be a little laboured, especially after twenty or so years...but it set the story up, so was necessary.

Hayden was almost too good to be true – but maybe that is partly because we always see him from the outside – I would have loved to get in his mind! Kenzie was fortunate indeed to draw his attention, and she most certainly kept it. The slow burn, and faster racing that ensured she was hooked, made the buildup even more delicious. There were some great one liners and the dialogue was snappy at times. The chemistry was explosive and effective, and developed into a meaningful romance.

The family issues were complicated, and I'm again wishing that we had been given more perspective. I think that there are a number of loose ends, of bits which are missing because I'm still questioning how certain events turned out...it will be fascinating to know when surely another book will be released.

S.C. Stephens is a bestselling author who enjoys spending every free moment she has creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance.

Her debut novel, Thoughtless, an angst-filled love triangle charged with insurmountable passion and the unforgettable Kellan Kyle, took the literary world by storm. Amazed and surprised by the response to the release of Thoughtless in 2009, more stories were quick to follow. Stephens has been writing nonstop ever since.

In addition to writing, Stephens enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading fabulous novels, loading up her iPod with writer's block reducing music, heading out to the movies, and spending quality time with her friends and family. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her two equally beautiful children.

Connect with S.C.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Furious Rush by S.C. Stephens to read and review.

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