Thursday, June 22, 2017

REVIEW: Strong Enough by Melanie Harlow and David Romanov


Strong Enough, an all-new sexy standalone from USA Today Bestselling author Melanie Harlow and David Romanov is available now !


Shel: For readers of Melanie Harlow's romcoms this novel will have a different feel; it does have small bits of humor sprinkled in but a more serious tone was what struck me from the start, and stayed with me throughout. It was with a head tilting interest that I flipped from page to page because I'm not sure I've read a character quite like Derek. He's evidently a son of very conservative parents and those values he grew up with definitely formed his views of himself and what he should want for his personal life. While he had seemingly no problem with how others lived their lives, he felt that he only had one choice, a "traditional" one, and it was really hard to read him struggle with trying to make himself okay with the only choice he had. This struggle became especially more challenging when Maxim entered his life and that's when I struggled with how I felt about him. A large part of me was very frustrated with his struggle because of the way he framed his choices as either a sinful/bad/depraved one or the moral/right/responsible one. I had to come to terms with the idea that there are probably many people out there who think like that. I also felt for how Derek struggled and felt so isolated and sad and yet I also wanted to shake some sense into him and show him how life could be with Maxim. Speaking of Maxim, he was so wonderful. His kindness and willingness to work hard and take risks for his dreams were inspiring. I also loved how he was understanding of Derek's conundrum and yet he didn't diminish himself or push aside what he wanted in order for Derek to continue living in denial; instead, Maxim did the hard thing and stood up for what he thought was the right thing for him.

Court: Right? He ended up being behind Maxim and his sister in the favorite characters department because he was so wishy washy in his choices. While I knew that his journey to self acceptance was probably going to be a big part of this story, sometimes I felt so bad for Maxim that I jut wanted to smack Derek! I suppose the old adage that if people communicated like they should we wouldn't have real life problems...and wouldn't have conflict in our books...I suppose we'd have very short books! So! I suppose that means for sure that things wouldn't be easy. At all. But...I really enjoyed the story and how they came to know each other and the premise was really good. The writing was really good. Derek is a challenging character to like, but I think we both got there with him in the end. He's complex...and can I say thank goodness for dual POV!

Shel: As I stated earlier, this novel definitely had a more solemn tone than some of Melanie Harlow's other works but it's still very much a novel in her style: it was easy to read, very steamy, with great secondary characters and an ending that made me smile. And even though I had a hard time with Derek's struggle (and I honestly think that's what Harlow wanted us to have), it was a struggle that made me pause and think and I love it when that happens. Add to all of this the very fresh take of matching an American and a fresh off the plane Russian trying to find his place in a new country, and I found Strong Enough to be a novel that I know I'll be thinking about for quite a while. Court: It is exactly what she wanted us to have, darn it all, lol. There is definitely an abundance of character growth and development here, and the plot grew even stronger as we went so that was incredibly delightful. We just didn't like Maxim being a not-so-dirty-little-secret, and we wanted him to come to terms with that asap! I enjoyed this one and stayed up way later than I should have to finish it!!! Moral of the review: read this book! 


Strong Enough

by Melanie Harlow & David Romanov

Genre: Contemporary MM Romance

Publication Date: June 19, 2017

I wasn’t looking for Derek Wolfe.
I wasn’t looking for anybody. All I wanted was to start a new life in America. But when I found myself stranded here with no place to go, he came to my rescue, offering me a place to stay.
He’s smart, successful, and sexy as hell—I can barely sleep knowing he’s right down the hall. And when the chemistry between us explodes one night with fierce, fiery passion, it’s hard to deny there’s something real between us.
But he does.
He says he was drunk. He says it was a one-time thing. He says he’s not into guys and what we did meant nothing.
He’s lying. Because it happened again, and again, and again. And it’s better every time.
I know we could be good together, and I want the chance to try, but I’m done hiding. If he’s not strong enough to admit the truth, I’ll have to be strong enough to walk away.


Figuring I’d had enough booze to blunt his effect on me, I rolled up the sleeves of my black button-down shirt and moved next to him. “I’ll help you.” “Okay.” I caught him trying to not to look at my wrists and forearms, and it made me smile. How does it feel to want someone and have to hide it? “You wash, I’ll dry?” “Sounds good.” We worked in silence, shoulder to shoulder, and I found myself increasingly—and disturbingly—pleased at the thought of him being attracted to me and being forced to conceal it. It was fucking horrible of me to take pleasure in his discomfort, but I liked being secretly wanted. Being illicitly desired. Being the object of his covert glances and maybe even his darkest, dirtiest thoughts. I let our arms touch more than necessary, as thrilled by the physical contact as I was by the thought of what it might be doing to him. For there is no man who does not sin. My dick started to get hard, clearly unbothered by the whiskey that was breaking down my inhibitions, pushing past all my defenses, and letting my imagination run wild. What’s in that gorgeous head of yours, Maxim? What’s behind those cobalt eyes? What would you do to me, if I let you? What would you let me do to you? “Carolyn is so nice,” he said, handing me the last serving dish left to be dried. What? He was thinking about Carolyn right now? He wasn’t supposed to be thinking about Carolyn—I was, goddammit! But I wasn’t. “Yeah.” He turned off the water. Rested his wet hands on the edge of the sink. “I didn’t realize you had a girlfriend.” And I heard it in his voice—the slightest edge of jealousy, so faint I might never have noticed it had I not been so hyperaware of everything about him right now. I fucking loved it. “She’s not my girlfriend.” “Oh.” Now there was confusion. “I guess I misunderstood.” “She wants to be my girlfriend.” Silence. Of course there was silence. Maxim would never ask what the problem was. But I wanted to tell him. I wanted him to know. I wanted to share the impossible longing I felt with one person who might understand it. “The problem is me.” He was completely still. Before I could stop myself, I covered his right hand with my left. “Sometimes I don’t know what I want.” He yanked his hand from beneath mine and we faced each other. For the first time tonight, I looked him right in the eye. Nothing around us existed for me anymore. I heard only his breath. Smelled only his skin. Saw only his guarded expression. I had to have him. SBPR-MHDR-SE-AvailableNow

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iBooks: Strong Enough
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About Melanie:

Melanie Harlow writes sexy, emotional romance about strong, stubborn characters who can’t help falling in love. She’s addicted to bacon, gin martinis, and summer reading on the screened-in porch. If she’s not buried in a book or binging on Netflix, you might find her running, putting a bun in someone’s hair, or driving to and from the dance studio. She lives outside Detroit with her husband and two daughters. Melanie is the USA Today bestselling author of the HAPPY CRAZY LOVE series, the FRENCHED series, MAN CANDY, AFTER WE FALL, IF YOU WERE MINE, and the sexy historical SPEAK EASY duet, set in the 1920s.

Connect with Melanie:

Twitter: @MelanieHarlow2
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About David:

For David Romanov, STRONG ENOUGH is to a great extent autobiographical. Born in Russia and raised in Europe, he landed in the United States at the age of 24, where he learned a lot about cultural differences between East and West. David firmly believes in ‘The One’ and learning through love. When he isn’t traveling or educating Melanie in Russian culture, he enjoys books and the company of his husband and dog in Los Angeles.

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