Monday, 19 September 2016

Stroked Long (Stroked #2) by Meghan Quinn


From his dirty-blond hair and breathtaking smile, to the abs from heaven and the irresistible V in his waistline, everything about Bodi Olympic-gold-medalist Banks screams hot piece of @$$.

Yet there’s more.

Dark shadows lurk behind his soulful, serious eyes.

I’m enamored. He’s captured me.

How can running an art foundation with Bodi Banks turns into a slow-burning, epic romance, even though he tries to push me away at every chance? How can I stay away from a broken, routine-driven man whose soul cries to be forgiven for a crime only he believes he committed? Or is that a lie?

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Kristine's Review:
Reviewed: September 2016.

I've been a fan of Quinn's work since I discovered The Virgin Romance Novelist, since falling in love with her words then I've found myself earnestly following her social media profiles, eagerly awaiting her next release, unfortunately due to travel and event commitments I haven't had a chance to read the first book in the Stroked series, news of this latest release however had me intrigued, with catch phrases like damaged and broken being thrown around in relation to the hero Bodi I *knew* Stroked Long would be right up my proverbial alley, I'm a sucker for a few things in romance books, friends to lovers ...and I'm there, broken or damaged hero's ....*boom* I'm like a moth to a flame, sassy, outgoing lacking a filter heroine's...YES PLEASE... with all the trappings of what is essentially my go to list I wasn't going to let a pesky thing like sleep get in the way of me settling down with Bodi and Ruby.

"Sometimes the beauty in the art piece isn't about the strokes, Bodi. Sometimes it's about the colors and how you mold them together."

Bodi is a world renowned gold medal winning Olympic swimmer, arguably not only one of the best of his generation but undoubtedly one of the best of all time, his speed in the pool coupled with his single minded focus has ensured he is at the top of his game, only weeks out from Olympic trials Bodi is gearing up for the Rio games. To the outside world Bodi has the world at his feet, financial security, adored by millions, loving and close relationship with his sister, he seems to have the perfect life, appearances though aren't always what they seem, the carefully constructed fa├žade Bodi has created serves to protect him from prying eyes, the victim of unfathomable violence and heartbreak at a young age, the now Gold medalist is a far cry from the shiny Olympian he portrays to the world, crippled by self loathing and guilt, suffering from anxiety and obsessive disorders that effect his day to day life, Bodi's only goal is to get through each day without exposing his secrets.

"There are going to be times where I might hurt you, insult you, or make you mad. I just ask that you take a second to breathe before you leave me. Give me a second to make it up to you because I promise I will realize I was being an idiot."

I'll be honest here, by the end of the prologue I was absolutely smitten with Bodi, within the first few chapters I was ready to elevate him to new book boyfriend status, when something magical happened, I realised that I was falling for someone else, when I realised that not only was Bodi beautifully broken and devastatingly sweet but that I was head over heels for Ruby too. There's usually a moment in a book where I break down a character in my mind, and I look at them logically in terms of if I met this person in real life how would they make me feel, are they the type of person who I would want in my life, and while Bodi absolutely rocked the swoon train, especially in lines like the one quoted above, what I *knew* with clarity was Ruby was the kind of person I NEEDED to know, everything about her drew me in. Her absolute lack of filter, her curves, in the way that she wasn't scared to embrace them, her eclectic fashion sense, her undying belief that everyone deserves to have some colour in their life, that speaks volumes about who she is as a person, it was in those early moments that Ruby easily became one of my favourite characters.

"Don't downplay your character because you've forgotten who you are."

There's an essence of reality woven through Stroked Long, yes we're talking Olympic Gold Medalists and quirky Art History majors but there's an accessibility to Quinn's words that seem to effortlessly keep the story grounded, just the way I like my contemporary romance, there's aspects of both Bodi and Ruby that I could relate to, moments that had me laughing out loud at the sheer oddness of whatever flew out of Ruby's mouth, interspersed with moments of soul crushing guilt as Bodi struggled with a pain he may never fully let go of, everything about Stoked Long had me enraptured, and while I had moments of thinking I *knew* what was coming the beauty of this story is the message that rings true throughout that life isn't about finish times and regimented control, for me Quinn reminded me that sometimes the greatest joy comes from the unexpected and unplanned, that life much like art isn't about precision, sometimes the beauty comes from the mess you create together, the process, the journey.

About Meghan Quinn:

When I was in high school I occasionally read books but was consumed by other teenage things so I didn't take the time to appreciate a good book on a cloudy day, wrapped up in a blanket on the couch. It wasn't until I received a Kindle for Christmas one year that my world completely flipped upside down. When looking for books I came across the Contemporary Romance genre and was sold and I haven't turned back since.

You can either find my head buried in my Kindle, listening to inspiring heart ripping music or typing away on the computer twisting and turning the lives of my characters while driving my readers crazy with anticipation.

​I currently reside in beautiful Colorado Springs where the sun is always shining and there is a trail waiting to be hiked on every corner. I share a lovely and warm home with the love of my life and my five, four-legged children.

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