Hard Love is the next standalone installment in the Guns & Ink series by Shana Vanterpool, a world of tattoos, love, and redemption from Swoon Romance.
Lord, I don’t even know what to say about this book. I liked it well enough, but it was depressing as hell. From beginning to end…depressing. I feel like I need to take a happy pill (or twelve) after finishing it. I loved Brando and Cat in the previous book. I still liked them in this one, but both of them were like Eeyore on steroids. Their inner thoughts were doom and gloom all the frigging time. It got tiresome after a while to just never have a single moment of positive or happiness. Was the book well written? Yes, very much so. It was well paced as well. I even found the plot super engaging, but I didn’t ENJOY it. It made me feel like I was sitting under a wet blanket the entire time I was reading it. Maybe that was point. It wasn’t meant to be a “light” read, which is fine. For me though, I needed a little lightness to make the heavy a little more palatable, and I never felt like I got that.
BRANDO…I liked Brando. Who doesn’t love a 6´6 tatted up and damaged hero? But like I mentioned above, dude was a major downer ALL. THE. TIME. I honestly don’t have much more to say about his character. *shrug*
CAT…I actually liked Cat a lot more than Brando. Oh, she was still all “doom and gloom” most of the time, but at least she had the lady balls to take a chance on happiness. She was feisty. She was strong. She fought for Brando. I really liked her character a lot.
This one was pretty light on secondary characters. Klay and Madison (the couple from book one) are really the only secondary characters worth mentioning. We briefly see Isiah as well, his book is up next in the series.
Low to Medium. This was a pretty slow burn romance in my opinion. I don’t think this couple actually has sex until 65% (maybe 70%) into the book. That said, due to certain circumstances the slow burn was a good fit for the story. Once we do get to the sexy times, they were suitably spicy, and this couple had a very good on page chemistry.
~ANGST LEVEL – SEXUAL HISTORIES~
High. The angst in this one was mostly due to the depressing nature of the story. The characters backgrounds were super tragic. Their inner thoughts about how anything between them was doomed from the start. Like I said, it was exhausting to read. Neither were virgins. Brando didn’t seem like a manwhore. There was a smidge of OW drama and OM drama. Both of which felt pointless. And since I felt the same way about the OW drama in book one, I kind of get the feeling pointless OW/OM drama is a thing this author likes to use in her books.
~IN THE END~
So yea, I don’t know. This wasn’t a BAD book by any means. I am sure a lot of people will love it, and rightfully so. For me, it was just way too heavy without any lightness to give me a break. I pretty much just ended the book feeling like I ran an emotional marathon without a break. But like I said, the writing was still fantastic. The plot engaging. The characters had depth, and I am intrigued enough by Isiah to give the next book a go. Hopefully, it will be a little less depressing (lol). In any case, I am struggling with what rating to give this one. I feel like 3-Stars is a bit too low, but my enjoyment didn’t quite reach 4-Star territory. I am going to go with 3.5-Stars for the time being and marinate on it some more.