Early Review: Unstoppable by Shannon Richard

UnstoppableUnstoppable by Shannon Richard
Book #3 in Country Roads

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Publication Date: July 29th 2014
ARC Provided by Netgalley and Forever

Synopsis from Goodreads: Some things you don’t dare let go . . .

Melanie O’Bryan knows life is too short to be afraid of taking chances. And former Air Force sergeant Bennett Hart is certainly worth taking a chance on. He’s agreed to help her students with a school project, but she’s hoping the handsome handyman will offer her a whole lot more. Yet despite his heated glances and teasing touches, Mel senses there’s something holding him back . . .

Bennett Hart is grateful to be alive and back home in Mirabelle, Florida. Peaceful and uncomplicated-that’s all he’s looking for. Until a spunky, sexy-as-hell teacher turns his life upside down. After one smoldering kiss, Bennett feels like he’s falling without a parachute. But with memories of his past threatening to resurface, he’ll have to decide whether to keep playing it safe, or take the biggest risk of all.

Christal’s Review – 3.5 Skulls – B-

The Country Roads series focuses on a group of friends finding love in small town Mirabelle, FL.  In Unstoppable, we follow a young teacher, Mel, and a former soldier, Bennett, as they find their way to each other and learn what it means to love.

I love Shannon Richard’s writing.  She makes her characters pop and the small town setting is very well done.  She has “meet cutes” and sweeping romantic gestures, but also grounds it with good friends and fun nights out.  That said, I didn’t love Unstoppable as much as the first book, Undone.  It was still an entertaining read, but just didn’t have the same… pizzazz as the debut novel.  I think a lot of that stemmed from who the characters are — not that they were bad, just quieter people than Undone‘s Paige and Brendan.

Melanie, or Mel as everyone calls her, was a very sweet girl and a great teacher.  I loved seeing her interact with her students and seeing how much she truly cared about their well-being.  She was a little bit quiet when it came to her worries with Bennett, but I did like seeing her let herself go with him in the moment, especially when they were checking things off her “I didn’t kick the bucket” list.  Bennett was the strong, silent type but he did make some stupid mistakes from time to time.  He’s still suffering from survivor’s guilt and probably some PTSD, so some times he makes bad choices in regards to his relationship with Mel that he then regrets.  All in all though, the characters were interesting, if a little placid, and it was fun to see their whirlwind romance.

I do think the second half of the book was stronger than the first.  The beginning of Unstoppable focused on getting Mel and Bennett into a relationship and then settling them in for the long haul.  I like romances where we get glimpses of the more domestic side, but it did drag a little bit here and there.  I did love when Bennett bought Mel a puppy though; so sweet!  There is a big event that happens in the second half of the book that makes Bennett start questioning things in his life.  It seems like whenever things are steady, something bad has to happen and takes away someone he cares about.  He starts questioning whether or not he could go through that with Mel and wondering if the good times would be worth it if you lost them in the end.  He doesn’t react well to this situation and he hurts Mel in the process.  It was interesting to finally see Bennett’s war experiences coming to the surface and how they cloud his thinking.  It would have been nice to get more glimpses earlier, but it served as a good plot point here.  I did think the end was a little too tidy, with Bennett being forgiven much too easily.  I know he gets some slack because of his experiences, but he said some really hurtful things and I just expected a much bigger “grand romantic gesture.”

Even with my complaints, I did find Unstoppable to be an enjoyable read and I continue to love Shannon Richard’s ability to tell a heart-warming romance.  I know what I am getting with these books and that’s a feel-good happily ever after.  I’m not sure whose story will be next, though there seems to be a setup for both Hannah and Nate.  I plan to continue with this series and know that I can expect a romantic pick-me-up whenever I am in a rut.

Thank you to Netgalley and Forever for providing an ARC copy of this book!

Rating: ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  ☠  + ½

Series Reading Order:
1. Undone
2. Undeniable
3. Unstoppable
4. Unforgettable

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