Wednesday, February 18, 2015

[Kame's Review]: "Below the Belt"

Below the  Belt by Sidney Halston
Publisher: Loveswept (February 10, 2015)
Series: Worth the Fight, 3
Genre: Contemporary Romance -- Sports

In Sidney Halston’s latest sizzling MMA romance, a former title contender turns the tables on his knockout trainer with a lesson in seduction.

Once one of the most sought-after names on the mixed martial arts circuit, Antonio “Scarface” Marino watched his career go down for the count as he chased skirts and made tabloid headlines. Now he’s finally making a comeback, and it’s all thanks to Francesca Silva, a Brazilian bombshell as tough as any of her fighters. But who’s the real Francesca: the trash-talking trainer who rides him hard, or the vulnerable woman who blushes at his touch?

Francesca went to the mat to sign Tony because she believes he still has the potential to bring big success to her gym—if she can keep his head in the cage and out of her personal life. After a short-lived marriage soured her on love, a one-night stand is all she can handle. Now Tony’s kisses are stirring up complicated feelings—especially when he agrees to face her ex in the ring. Francesca’s used to freezing guys out. But Tony’s tempting her to give in to the heat. 

Where to Buy*:
More Info:

Reviews of Halston's Previous Novels:

Against the Cage (#1) -- Kame
Full Contact (#2) -- Kame

Kame's Review:

Francesca will make sure her Father’s gym, his legacy, carries on if it kills her. And keeping Tony “Scarface” Marino on task and training might just do that.  

Tony starts this book where he left off in the last, a hot headed stubborn man, who thinks he is the only one who knows how to win a fight. Neither one of these characters were some of my favorite secondary characters in the previous books; however Tony and Francesca together create a great couple that I feel can only find true happiness in all aspects of their life with each other.  Francesca mellows Tony. I didn’t like Tony much in the last book so I was unsure I would like him as a hero, but Sidney Halston quickly changed my mind.  He is a henpecked little brother who is dedicated to the women in his life. My favorite of Tony’s character traits was that he is the only one that sees through Francesca’s strong front. Francesca has worked very hard to cultivate her image, she tries to give the impression that she is strong as nails. I like her vulnerability, and even better I liked when Tony called her out for it.

The plot is the lead up to Tony’s next big fight and I found it to be rather long, or maybe the right word is slow. There were moments when I looked down at the bottom line of my Kindle to see how much was left and I was often surprised.  When the fight finally came it was a relatively short scene, maybe out of deference to readers who do not like boxing, so if you crave boxing scenes and detail this might not be up to your standard. The romance at times did seem strained to me, but I guess that showed the true emotion of the characters, as Francesca did not immediately allow herself to fall for Tony. Tony also had issues of his own to resolve. It took both characters a while to reveal their issues to each other and the reader, but once they did I finally started to feel connected to them.

My favorite part of this book however was the glimpse at the characters I grew to love from the other books. They don’t just come in and fill scenes, we do see how their lives have progressed and even get to witness an event. All of these characters have been come close friends, and I hope in book 4 (which I am crossing my fingers is Cain and Violet’s story) we see a glimpse of them all again.


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Kame received an e-ARC of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, in exchange for her honest opinion.

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Thanks for the review, Kame! :) With a sexy cover like that, and a solid 4 stars from you, I'll have to put it on my list!

Have you read Sidney Halston? Do you have a favorite of hers?


Until Next Time,


  *TBQ's Book Palace is a member of both the Amazon and Barnes and Nobles affiliates program. By using the links provided to buy products from either website, I receive a very small percentage of the order. To read my full disclosure on the matter, please see this post!


Red Iza said...

I like it when an author can make us change our mind about a character that was previously written as unlikeable, it's good to have many facets to one's personality :) Great review !

Lover Of Romance said...

Sounds wonderful. I really love stories like these, the not so easy to win romances.