Review: Strong Enough by M. Leighton

Title: Strong Enough
Series: Tall, Dark, and Dangerous #1
Author: M. Leighton

Genre: Erotic Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Berkley

Pub Date: August 4, 2015
Rating: 3 Stars

Previously posted on No BS Book Reviews

Our thoughts...

This book will serve you well if you are willing to gloss over issues for the sake of escapism. If that is you, you will most likely rate this higher than 3 stars. I, however, wanted more than escapism and, therefore, found the story lacking.

Strong Enough has elements of erotica and romance but also suspense. I love this combination but Leighton fails to blend the genres, instead opting to chunk them. The first three-quarters is heavily erotica and romance followed by exclusively suspense and action until the very end of the book where romance is briefly revisited. I would have liked to have seen more suspense throughout the story, experience the suspense build and unfold over the course of the entire book. The separation of elements leaves the story feeling like two separate novels rather than one cohesive one. The romantic and suspenseful parts of the story hold quite a bit of potential but the lack of cohesion and blending causes it to fall short.
The romantic line of the plot starts with a major case of insta-love and I’m fine with that. Sweet girl wants to fix damaged man, instantly falls in love, and is ridiculously accepting of his “issues.” I can get past all of it and still enjoy the story. There are a lot of cheesy moments, though. We’re talking melted Velveta levels of cheese. But again, if you’re just looking for a good time it isn’t too bad. What I found most annoying was how this closed-off, unloving, unemotional, tough guy has a mushy internal monologue. Jasper repeats his lamentations far too many times; he simply can’t believe Muse is making him feel and is breaking down his carefully built walls. I get that. But at some point his character needed to evolve. I felt like it took too long so see that happen.
I read an advanced copy of this book and I hope that an editor reigned in the number of similes and italicized words before publication. I love similes. I use them fairly regularly and find them to be beneficial and expressive. I don’t, however, bust them out every time I describe something. The overuse of similes is profuse to the point of taking away from beautiful moments. A paragraph should not exclusively consist of similes. It’s just too much. And the italics. Oh man, the italics. I have never encountered more italicized words in a single book. Again, I appreciate the benefit of them but there’s a point when they become excessive and unnecessary. It took away from the natural flow of many scenes and was more distracting than helpful.
Strong Enough could have been something great but fell short for me. The story has a lot potential but just missed the mark. As I mentioned earlier, this would be a fine read for anyone looking to checkout of reality for a bit and just enjoy being in someone else’s shoes. There is a cliffhanger of sorts but only in regards to the suspense aspect of the plot that will play out in the next two installments. The relationship between the two main characters is left in a fairly wrapped-up state.