Review: Undaunted by Ronnie Douglas

Monday, September 28, 2015

I'll let you in on a little secret. Ronnie Douglas is actually Melissa Marr! Yes, THAT Melissa Marr, the bestselling YA author.

Undaunted (Knights in Black Leather, #1)
Title: Undaunted (Knights in Black Leather #1)
Author: Ronnie Douglas
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Date of Publication: September 15, 2015

Being fearless has never looked so good . . .

Aubrey Evans needs to get her life back on track after her father is indicted for embezzlement. All she has to do to hightail it out of small-town Tennessee is save up money for college tuition and steer clear of hard-muscled boys on motorcycles. Yet there's no ignoring someone like Zion. A knight in black leather, Zion looks like every bad idea she's been told to avoid, but she can't resist him. Whenever she's in trouble, he's there. Appealing as his rough exterior may be, it's the protective, principled man beneath who tempts her like crazy.

Zion knows Aubrey doesn't intend to stick around. She claims to want only friendship, but he senses there's a naughty girl hiding on the inside—one whose intense desires match his own. For now, he'll be patient and play by her rules. But he knows it's just a matter of time before he weakens her resolve.

As they join forces to figure out who's behind a local crime spree, it's clear that the danger goes deeper than Aubrey guessed. And when she needs someone tall, dark, and undaunted to keep her safe, Zion intends to be there—now and always.

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My Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Thank you to William Morrow Paperback for the review copy! Having received one did not affect my views of the novel.

Sigh. I know nothing about motorcycle clubs so I was interested in reading this one to hopefully learn a thing or two. On that front, I did achieve that goal as I know A LOT MORE about motorcycle clubs and how they operate from reading this. But on the other hand, I didn't particularly like the story the information went along with...

Aubrey, twenty years old, moved to Tennessee from Portland, Oregon, after her father was charged of embezzlement. That's also when her parents decided to have a divorce and forgetting they actually have a daughter. With her college fund went kaput, she has no choice but to leave her beloved Reed College and stay with her grandma. No problem with the company, she loves and idolizes her Granda Maureen. But here comes the problem of earning money to continue her studies. So she takes a job at the local motorcycle club bar, where Killer, the guy who saved her from a douchenozzle son of the useless sheriff at the town fair, spends most of his time. Killer, real name Zion, is the right-hand of the president of the Wolves, the local motorcycle club. They're attracted to each other but given how possessive the Wolves are, it's a rule in the bar for barmaids not to date the members.

Aubrey and Zion were attracted to each other right from the get-go but they can't date so that's capital-C Conflict for you. It doesn't help that Zion's cousin, who's not a Wolf, is into Aubrey as well. There's also a bit of a mystery thrown in because break-ins kept on happening in the senior neighborhood and no one knows who's doing it.

At best, I knew this was going to be a three-star read after a chapter. It's just that, I didn't feel any connection with any of the characters. I wished that it would change but my indifference remained all throughout the entirety of the novel. Sure, Zion was sweet and a bit swoonworthy but I didn't go gaga over him. Sure, he was dangerous but I didn't feel that. To me, he's this super sweet guy who can completely restrain himself, which was very impressive. He asks Aubrey what she likes and wants and doesn't push her. So it's like, I kept being told that Zion is ~dangerous~ when I don't see it. Sure, at some point, he confesses that he already used his gun and he did some illegal things but nowhere did I see anything that made me fear Zion. I know, he's the love interest but characterizations must have evidence.

Still, I was enjoying the novel and was so sure that I'd give it three stars. But then, Aubrey started irritating me and I began to notice and nitpick A LOT. First, all the non-drama with Noah. Aubrey being so indecisive and unfair. I mean, I'm also an indecisive person but gah, she quite possibly loves Zion then she dates Noah because she doesn't have feelings for him and she needs safe. But then, she always said that she doesn't date and so WHY IS SHE DOING THIS? I couldn't figure out her thought process. So it felt like the author was just creating conflicts to fill the pages.

Next, she tells Zion that she can't be with him because he's a criminal and she can't be with one after her father's embezzling indictment. Okay, I understand that. So Zion does everything to try and leave his family AKA the Wolves and then she just gives up at the first sign of an obstacle! It felt like Zion was the only one doing something to make them work. He talked to his boss so she can date Aubrey even though she's still a barmaid at the bar. I didn't feel like Aubrey truly loved Zion because I didn't see any action of hers done out of love.

I have lots of other issues with the novel but probably the final straw was how easily the resolution at the end was made. We've all been building up to this and then it just becomes resolved right away. O-KAY. Then, the final FINAL straw was that HEA right after the quick resolution. *facepalm*

Oh, and don't get me started on the random Zion chapters! The novel was mostly told in Aubrey's first-person perspective then there were two or three random chapters where it's Zion's third-person perspective. WHAT GIVES? It was so jarring.

I wouldn't give up on Ronnie Douglas just yet because she did create these interesting secondary characters, Zion's cousin Noah and Aubrey's friend Ellen. I'm sure the next novel is about them because they had a past. WHAT?!?!?! IT'S NOT ABOUT THEM?!?!?! Okay, I'm fine with Ellen-Alamo but HUHUHU, I was wishing that there'd be a second-chance romance with Ellen and Noah. OH WELL.

Anyway, I'm not ruling out Ronnie Douglas' future works since I found her writing okay. I just had problems with the other aspects of the novel, hence, the two stars.

About Ronnie Douglas

Also writes as Melissa Marr.

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