Fighting The Pull (River Rain Book 5) by Kristen Ashley
Contemporary Romance. Can possibly stand alone, but WAY better if read in order.
Thank you Kristen Ashley and Blue Box Press for sending me an ARC in exchange for an HONEST review.
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If you know me or follow my reviews at all, you know Kristen Ashley is my favorite author. That being said, the River Rain Series has been very hit-or-miss for me with one of the books being my least favorite of hers, and one being a recent favorite. Fighting the Pull was a hit, and may have even surpassed Taking the Leap for me. I loved Elsa and Hale!
If you haven’t read any of the others in the River Rain Series, I’d recommend you start from the beginning. Though the romance stands alone, the characters do not, and their backstories play heavily into this novel. To refresh your memory, Hale is Cory Szabo’s son, but Tom and Imogen treated him like one of their own. Elsa is the celebrity gossip columnist/blogger whom Hale tried to hate but couldn’t.
First, as a Jewish reader, I was so happy to see us represented, especially in a strong character who I liked that wasn’t a stereotype. But that’s not all I liked. Hale. Raaawr. Ridiculously rich and bossy, he can give me orders all he wants.
“Tomorrow,” he said. “My place. Nine. And I’m renting this space for you, and you’re going to move your ass into it, because you won’t want to find out what’ll happen if you don’t.”
Hale has BAGGAGE. I mean his dad didn’t know how to be a dad. He left him billions but also left him with a lot of confusing thoughts and feelings, trauma and pain. And his mom, well no comment there.
“You don’t talk much about him,” she said, handling him with obvious care. “So I can’t know. But I wonder if you want your legacy to be different, or if you work so hard so you can make his different.”
I absolutely loved Elsa for Hale. She wasn’t a seedy paparazzi type even though she reported about the latest Hollywood gossip. She had class and aspires to be more like Barbara Walters or Oprah interviewing celebrities. While I didn’t love her in earlier stories because she was kind of the bad guy, I loved her for Hale and I loved her relationship with her dad.
“But please guard your heart, shayna punim, because I can’t always be there to do it for you.”
Shayna Punim is “pretty face” in Yiddish and I loved the way Kristen worked in some Jewish expressions without ever hitting you over the head with it. She is a little less subtle with her political leanings but that’s 100% a-okay with me because I feel exactly the same.
“I look at the shit people say about you, and it makes my skin crawl. There are alt-right crazies who think you’re the devil incarnate. They’re pissed about your position on the environment. They’re pissed you give money to pro-choice organizations. They’re pissed you give money to justice initiatives. They’re just pissed they’re not you. And a lot of those assholes have guns.”
Though Hale was one of the richest people in the world, I loved how Elsa made it clear that she wasn’t interested in his money. She is independent and very career-minded. I loved the way she treated him with care, and how he stood up to her family for her. They were just so good for each other!
This series has a ridiculous amount of characters to keep up with, and I am still trying to keep everyone straight, especially because they all pop up in this book. That might be my only real issue with Fighting the Pull, there are even more characters to know, but that’s okay, it’s totally worth it. Just a note: while Hale is definitely a dominant in bed, there weren’t any over-the-top sex scenes (though there were some good ones). It could have become more of an erotic romance with this aspect, and I’m glad it didn’t, because it allowed the story, not the sex (which was still hot) to stand out to me.
- Visiting with all of the River Rain characters.
- Hale is broody and demanding. Yum.
- Elsa was wonderful and I have a crush on her dad. I loved how well she was portrayed as a Jewish character.
- So much growth on Hale’s part. I always thought of him as “poor Hale, the kid whose dad killed himself” but he’s not a kid, he’s all man, and I love how he came to terms with his father’s legacy in this installment.
- I didn’t think Kristen could redeem Corey at all, and she really did here. Not fully, but I’m way more sympathetic to him.
- Rhys Vaughn popping up again. I hope we get his story!
- Still too many characters to keep up with.
- Too many rich, famous, and important people. I hope to see more average Joes in future books.