Friday, July 29, 2016

Review: Love to Win (Fireflies #3) by Lisa Ricard Claro

I could spend hours in that gazebo!

Book Blurb:

She hates to lose . . . Competitive barista Brenna Kinkaid loves a challenge, and she’ll do whatever it takes to win, especially when it comes to her nemesis, Dante Caravicci. But when forced to team up to save their best friends’ wedding, Brenna recognizes that Dante might just be her ultimate win.

He plays to win . . . Restaurateur Dante Caravicci won’t quit anything until he can claim success. He’s bided his time, but he’s used to taking big risks and surviving, so he figures he’s got nothing to lose by playing for Brenna.

Hearts at risk . . . These two fall fast, and it looks like a win-win—until a competition pits them head-to-head and one of them goes way too far. A nudge from an improbable source may be the only way these two competitors will ever admit that the only way to win is to lose their hearts.

My Review:

In Love To Win by Lisa Ricard Claro, Brenna took an instant dislike to Dante from the first time they met and has never looked any deeper at the man.  Dante doesn't know why Brenna dislikes him so much, but he definitely likes her and has decided she's worth trying to know much better.  Living in a small town with mutual friends means they do have to see each other sometimes, and there is that one time that changes everything.  Slowly, and not without bumps, their relationship changes and grows.  Things are looking really good for them, but Brenna plays to win too, and not just Dante's heart.  Soon she might go too far and risk everything they've got together.

I had really mixed feelings about Brenna.  She was realistic mostly, smart, driven and loyal to family and friends...but when it came to Dante, she seemed to turn into someone else.  Someone I wasn't sure I'd enjoy being around.  Having said that, Lisa writes her character so well that she is believable.  Everyone has their flaws.  If Brenna was perfect the plot, what Dante and Brenna go through just wouldn't have the same feel.  I really loved Dante!  From the start he struck me as a man who had so many hidden depths, and I loved getting to know him as Lisa peeled away his layers and developed his strong character.  I felt for him and admired him.  He has worked hard to get where he is today, and he is strong, smart, and talented.  He keeps a lot to himself, and he has his reasons for this.  I felt that this was ok, it was how he was.  Brenna's very poor judgement was all on her, it shouldn't have mattered what had happened in Dante's past, but what was happening with them in the present.  I couldn't believe what she did, and the fall out was heart breaking for both Brenna and Dante.  Forgiveness is a powerful thing, but also a difficult thing at times, and I hoped that they could both forgive and move on to a relationship that feels like it was meant to be!

I really enjoyed all of the secondary characters in Love To Win, most of whom were in the previous Fireflies books.  They play strong roles in Dante and Brenna's story, and the connection they all have felt so good, like something everyone should have.  It was good to see where these characters were now, but Love To Win can be read as a stand alone without feeling lost.  (I do highly recommend reading the other books in this series though because they are all fantastic!)

Love To Win was entertaining, emotional, and a great book to lose myself in.  I thoroughly enjoyed immersing myself for a little while in Dante and Brenna's world, and feeling like I was part of it.  With tension, conflict, hurt, love, and a little bit of push from an unexpected source, I'd highly recommend Love To Win by Lisa Ricard Claro to any romance reader.

5/5 stars

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