Review: Phenomenal X (Hard Knocks #1) by Michelle A. Valentine

Good Girl. Notorious Bad-Boy. One Phenomenal Love.

From the mean streets of Detroit rises the newest superstar of professional wrestling, Xavier Cold, better known as Phenomenal X. His muscular physique makes men cower before him and women lose their minds with desire.

Anna Cortez is fresh out of college and naive to the harsh realities of the real world. Tired of living under the thumb of her conservative family, she defies them when she accepts a job as the assistant to wrestling’s most notorious bad-boy. Phenomenal X has an animalistic nature that even good girl Anna finds hard to resist.

One night forced to share a bed in a sold-out hotel, lines blur between them and they quickly learn that one lustful night changes everything and neither one of them will ever be the same.

This is one of those books where everyone has been going crazy about and somehow I'm just not seeing it. It wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't necessarily a great one either.

Now I love me a fighter book, which lately has been mostly MMA, so wrestling was something totally new for me. I know even less about wrestling than I do about MMA, which is like three fights I once saw on late night tv. The only thing I knew is that it is mostly scripted kind of fights, though no idea how that industry works, but we do get a little bit more insight in this during the story.

I do know what a personal assistant is and what tasks that include. Anna might have accepted the job because it was available, but we all know X offered it because he just wants her near him and that's secretly the real reason Anna goes for a job which she knows nothing about. Also she's all about claiming not wanting to be like his last PA, who X had a friends with benefit thing going on. So I do not understand how she does exactly that. Things between them might be more serious, but the girl isn't doing any real work which she was hired for.

There were moments I really liked Anna, her naivety was cute 'til a certain point, but after a while it just got very tiresome. She flees away from home, to get away from her controlling family, to experience life and make her own choices. When she arrives in Detroit though, to me it seemed she still allowed all the people around her to make most of the decisions. Only Xavier is a bit different in this, though the guy is so relentless Anne eventually comes to see his way.

Xavier is like most fighter characters. Women have always been available, he's not used to someone saying no and has a difficult past leaving him with some serious issues. I don't deny that his past didn't affect him, but these guys seriously need to learn to seek some professional help. They always leave it up to the love interest to save and fix them.

The thing is, this book ends with a major cliffhanger, but I'm actually not interested to read the second one. Which tells me, and this is my very personal opinion, that I just couldn't get into the story and characters enough.The writing is good and the story flows pretty well, though the plot seems a bit rushed at times. Characters are pretty much what can make or break a book for me and these two aren't just quite cutting. In general there were too many clich├ęs.

So we have all these elements that I've come across many times and I've read books where the concept simply was executed better. If you are a fan of this genre and style, you will probably like it.

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The Author
New York Times and USA Today Best Selling Author Michelle A. Valentine is a Central Ohio nurse turned author of erotic romance and New Adult novels. Her love of hard-rock music, tattoos and sexy musicians inspired her BLACK FALCON series.

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