Friday, September 6, 2013

Striking (Forged In Fire #1) by Lila Felix & Rachel Higginson {Review}

Genre: Young Adult

Publication Date: September 1st 2013
Series: Forged In Fire #1
Pages: 300
Format: Beta/ARC
Source: Provided by author for review

 Cami Montgomery stole a car and smashed it into the front of a building in upscale Beverly Hills after a lousy date with the epitome of sleaze balls. The worst part, her parents are following through on threats after this latest plea for attention. Banished from her L.A. paradise and plunged into the Appalachian Mountains with her industrious aunt and uncle, Cami is about to find out how precious life really is. Stockton Wright has been thrust into a hard life. He sacrifices everything to give his family and community what they need. He’s exhausted from life and work—and he’s only twenty four. What he needs is some change, and some sunshine. Even he will agree to that. He just doesn’t expect to find it in a stuck up, pompous, entitled Californian. Cami bursts into Stockton’s life like wildfire, consuming all his thoughts and tangling him in her web. What starts out as a contentious rivalry evolves into a desire neither of them expected. When hammer meets metal, will they crack under pressure or be forged as one? Cami and Stockton might just end up being exactly what the other one needs, but first their love will have to be drawn out in fire.

My Take:

I am a sucker for stories where opposites attract. Stories where two people who wouldn't normally find the other person interesting enough to give a chance are suddenly thrown together by chance and end up finding something more than expected. Tale as old as time, or so Angela Landsberry says. "Barely even friends, then somebody bends, unexpectedly". When I started reading this I was looking for something sweet and not as heavy as the book I had been reading, and Striking was just the book to cleanse my pallet.

What do a spoiled little rich girl from Beverley Hills and a down home country boy have in common? Absolutely NOTHING! Well except for the fact that they both know what it's like to be stressed out and alone in the world. Cami grew up never having to worry about money while young Stockton grew up stretched thin working as much as he could to support his younger siblings when his parents died. While Cami had two parents who took care of her financially she lacked the love and connection every child needs from a parent. Her character was hard for me to connect with throughout most of the book. At first she is a bit entitled and stuck on herself, especially when she arrives at her aunt and uncles house. She's never had to do manual labor so this was a culture shock for her. It took awhile to break her but once she got used to everything she became a natural and started to like the feeling of accomplishment hard work gave her. It was hilarious to watch her try to do chores in her high end shoes. While her character was hard for me to connect with at times, I did like her. I love that she wanted to be a writer and made a decision to do something more with her life besides be her rich parents daughter. I really felt like she grew up tremendously throughout the story and became not only a better person but a much stronger young woman. 

Stockton had his fair share of grief throughout his life. After his parents died he took over raising his younger siblings and once his two younger brothers go to college it was just him and his younger sister Willa. After the finality of losing his parents set in Stockton closed himself off and lived hardened towards people so he didn't have to lose anyone again. The last thing he remembers telling his parents before they died in a car crash was that he loved them. He's so eat up with guilt over not telling them to be careful he's opted to never speak those word again choosing only to wish them safety on their travels. Being the only authority figure he's had no idea how to handle his sister until Cami comes along and starts to show Willa how to be a young woman and dress up and put on makeup. I really loved Stockton's character and hated watching him be so closed off but at the same time I related to him on so many levels. It's easy to close yourself off so you don't have to hurt again but as Stockton finds out it's not always healthy and you need someone to lean on. Being a talented iron worker, he made ends meet by fixing things for his neighbors and making decorative ironworks to sell. Although tough he was endearing and had a very peculiar character flaw that made me laugh every time it was mentioned.  

The romance between Cami and Stockton was a slow build up and was fleshed out throughout the story. They both have to grow and let down their guards more and more as the tension between them builds. I'm not a fan of "Just Add Water" romance where the attraction happens so fast there's nothing left by the end of the book and Striking didn't follow that format. This was a character builder and I loved how these two were fleshed out over time but I could have used a little bit more excitement from them. A few more tense almost kisses or innocent touches, eye connects with a stare down, or a little jealousy to get the blood pumping would have really made me fall head over feet for these two. I just felt like there was a disconnect between them at times and it seemed like they would take two steps forward and three steps back. It took awhile for them to get themselves together and by the end of the book they hit their stride. It was rewarding to watch them grow together and the ending was a very pleasant surprise because I didn't see it coming. It wasn't anything new under the sun, I just didn't expect it to be so amazing and sweet. 

Although some of the secondary characters were at times hard to like, they added depth. Cami's parents for one were just terrible. Most rich people have no clue how to do anything except spend and that was apparent in how they raised Cami. Her aunt and uncle while mean at the beginning, they turned out to be wonderful people just trying to show the rich girl what it's like to survive in a tough world when there is no safety net. I didn't think I would like them but I was surprised to find them growing on me towards the end. Willa, Stockton's sister was a big presence in this book and I hope she gets her own story. I loved watching the friendship between her and Cami develop as the story went on. Willa became a rock for Cami, especially when Stockton was being a jerk, and Cami was almost a motherly figure Willa desperately needed. The main thing I loved was that Cami ended up bringing Stockton and Willa closer together so it became apparent they all needed each other. That made for some really amazing moments between the three of them. 

Striking was a sweet story about growing up, learning to forgive, heal and love again. I enjoyed watching the characters grow and mature and I look forward to the next story in the series. If you enjoy a good clean Young Adult romance with tender family moments and sweet endings then I recommend Striking be added to your list.


My mother always said it was gonna take someone with a good bit of moxie to put up with me.  Obviously moxie was in short order around these parts.  I hadn’t had a date in years What was moxie anyway? And what would I do with a date, show her how to make a frying pan? Why weren’t the girls knocking my door down? Beta/ARC 14%

I was so sick and tired of people making me feel unworthy, of being looked down on, of disappointing people. God, fine, I’d made some really stupid decisions in my life, but if you took three whole seconds to give me a chance I might not frustrate you with every single thing I did or said. There were good things about me too. There were worthy things about me. And if all these people in my life didn’t want to see them, then to hell with them. I was forging my own path from now on. Haters be damned. Beta/ARC 35%

I lowered my lips from just a breath away from hers and pressed them to her supple neck, letting the sweet, obsession inducing taste of her linger on my lips and then on my tongue. Her knees buckled the tiniest bit and I caught her, hands around her waist.  “What’s gonna happen when I really kiss you, Duchess?  You gonna pass out on me?” Beta/ARC 51%

Lila Felix Author Links:         

Rachel Higginson Author Links: 


  1. lol I love your Beauty and the Beast reference.

    This does sound like a great story, and I'm a sucker for that kind of "opposites falling in love" romance. Great review, sweets!

  2. ROFL on this -->> Angela Landsberry says. "Barely even friends, then somebody bends, unexpectedly"

    Man, only in books! I wish I meet my "opposite" who I'm totally compatible with.

  3. I wish to know this character flaw of Stockton's that made you laugh! Added to TBR and wishlist.


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