Monday, 29 December 2014

Review: Defenseless [Diamond Girls #3] by Elisa Dane

Title: Defenseless
Author: Elisa Dane
Author Info: Website|Facebook|Twitter
Genre: Young Adult
Series: Diamond Girls #3
Source: From author for review
Publisher: Swoon Romance
Publication Date: January 2015

Tell Me About It
High school senior, Claire Reilly’s world revolves around All-Star cheerleading. The Diamond Girls, are gearing up for a major competition, which, if they win will allow them to compete at Worlds for the first time. But the unimaginable happens, and both Claire and her team are rocked by a devastating loss. Determined to get to Worlds any way she can, Claire finds help from the last person she imagined would give it—up and coming UFC fighter and notorious bad boy, Ryker Vaughn.

Fouled out of the octagon by a dirty opponent and a vicious kick to the head, Ryker loses control when he learns he may never fight again. Angry over the loss of his mother, an unsupportive family, and the world in general, he gives up, gives in, and unleashes his rage—destroying part of his cousin’s cheer gym in the process. Things go from bad to worse when Ryker is given an ultimatum: help the Diamond Girls compete for a bid to Worlds, or go to jail.

Overwhelmed with anger, sadness, and grief, the unlikely pair learn that what you see is not always what you get, and that the most difficult losses sometimes open the door to a frightening, yet amazing new future.
My Thoughts
When I first heard about Defenseless I knew I had to read it. I fell in love with the Diamond Girls and getting to read a new story from one of the girls was an opportunity I could not miss.

Defenseless is Claire and Ryker's story, and while I cant remember much about Claire from previous stories, I didn't have to worry about missing out on anything as the author has done a great job of introducing you to Claire.

Ryker was a hard person to like when we first meet him. He came across as arrogant, selfish, and unreasonable. Having Tayla's input on the matter only helped to solidify my feelings towards him. But as we get to know him and we see that he can actually act like a human and show kindness to others then I did begin to slowly change my feelings towards him. By the time the book was over I loved him just as much as the other characters in this series.

The Diamond Girls have set their sights on entering Cheer America, and to do this they need to practice, practice, and practice. However when they lose one of their team all hope is lost, until Ryker is recruited to join them, and his partner is Claire. Claire is non too pleased about this new predicament she finds herself in, but if she refuses to co-operate then the Diamond Girls can't participate in Cheer America. Stuck with no other choice she reluctantly teams up with Ryker, and ends up finding out more about him than she ever planned to do.

Defenseless is a story of hope, of loss, of friendships, and of fighting to the end. We see how much Ryker has lost in his life, and what he has had to deal with. His own family quick to judge and blame and ensure that everyone knows their version of the truth, spreading vicious rumours to all who will listen. Claire is also feeling a lot of emotion herself. She is feeling guilty about the accident and blames herself for the other person's actions, this affects her ability to sleep, to eat, to feel anything but guilt and sadness, making it hard for her to concentrate on school and cheer.

Defenseless was an unputdownable read, it made me cry, it made me laugh, and it made me gasp in sock over some revelations.  I really enjoyed the progression of the story, it didn't feel rushed at all, and it also felt real. The emotions that we experience through Claire were hard hitting, but very real, and I could not only sympathise, but also empathise with her. The ending of the book was deserved by all and I loved the little touch of respect that they did. I really hope that we get to meet more of the Diamond Girls in another story.

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