I gobbled up 1800 pages in 5 days. Double review. Binding 13 and Keeping 13 by Chloe Walsh

Synopsis

Binding 13His first, last, and only true love has always been rugby.
Until now.
He wants to save her.
She wants to hide.

She’s damaged.
He’s determined.

Fate brought them together.
Love binds them.

Johnny Kavanagh has everything going for him. On the rugby pitch, he’s a force to be reckoned with. Primed for stardom, he’s heading straight for the top. Nothing can possibly get in his way, right?
Not even the shy new girl at Tommen College. The one with the sad eyes and hidden bruises. The one that distracts him like no one ever has.
Plagued with a hidden injury and desperate to impress the scouts watching his every move, Johnny has been placed on a pedestal so high, he has no room to make mistakes.
Striving to maintain balance, and on the crest of the International Summer Campaign, Johnny needs to keep his head in the game. He needs to stay focused, and cannot afford to let distractions get in the way of the bigger picture.
But what happens when a lonely girl with sad eyes becomes the only picture?

Life has never been easy for Shannon Lynch. Bullied and tortured, she arrives at Tommen College mid-way through the school year praying for a fresh start and desperate to shake off the demons that plague her.
On her very first day at the prestigious private school, she comes into contact with the notorious Johnny Kavanagh.
Thrown through a hoop over her feelings for him, and desperate to keep a low-profile, Shannon finds herself once again the target of bullies as she forms a fragile alliance with rugby’s rising star.

Falling into a complicated friendship and grappling with their undeniable chemistry, Johnny and Shannon must face obstacles that threaten their relationship.

Two teenagers from opposite sides of the tracks collide.

Friendship, first love, rising fame, horrifying secrets, and pain all fuel together in Binding 13.

Hearts are binding and lives are entwining in Binding 13.

Binding 13 is the explosive first installment of a brand-new series from Chloe Walsh. Based in Ireland, the Boys Of Tommen series is bound to captivate and lure you into the world of rugby, love, and teenage heartbreak.

*************

 

Keeping 13

His first, last, and only true love has always been rugby.
Until now.

Following a devastating injury that has left him sidelined and stripped of his beloved number 13 jersey, Johnny is struggling to hold onto his dreams. Lost, insecure, and desperately seeking comfort, he sets his sights on unraveling the mystery of the girl with the midnight-blue eyes. With his best friend, Gibsie, by his side, Johnny embarks on his quest of exposing the secrets surrounding the girl who haunts his every waking hour.

Keeping secrets has never been a problem for Shannon. The life she was born into demands nothing less. She knows that demons and evil men don’t just exist in fairytales. They exist in her world, too. Traumatized beyond repair after her return from Dublin, and desperate to protect her little brothers, Shannon finds herself falling into the same old cover-up, barely keeping her head above water, as her future unravels before her eyes. Beaten and broken, her walls are up and her trust is shaken. Only one boy has the ability to climb those walls. The boy who owns her heart.

Secrets are exposed and lives are changed forever in Keeping 13, the explosive sequel of the bestselling book, Binding 13. Follow Johnny and Shannon as they try to navigate their way through the aftermath of that fateful rugby match in Dublin.

Falling in love was the easy part, what comes next is the test…

Friendship, first love, rising fame, horrifying secrets, and pain all fuel together as two teenagers from the opposite side of the tracks collide in Keeping 13, the concluding story for Johnny and Shannon.

Based in Ireland, the Boys of Tommen series is bound to captivate and lure you into the world of rugby, love, and teenage heartbreak.

***** Warning *****
Some scenes in this book may be extremely upsetting for some readers. Due to its bad language and certain scenes, Keeping 13 is recommended for mature readers.

 

 

Review

 

5 addictive stars all along!

OK here is the deal: I read these two books in a row while I had several ARCs to read and much awaited books coming in my mailbox.

Whomever recommended these books to me (Yes Sarah J Penas I blame you lady!) on my FB page will have to address all complaints by PR agencies if I fail to meet my commitments regarding ARCs!

Kidding Sara relax, I will manage.

 

Chloe Walsh was a totally new author to me. I had never heard about her.

She managed to write two contemporary NA books about high school romances totaling 1825 pages!!!!

Yes you’ve read it correctly: more than 1800 pages.

That’s so unusual for contemporary NA romances! You find these big books in Fantasy like Sarah J Maas and Cassandra Clare but not contemporary.

 

I read them in less than one week.

That’s how addictive these books are.

 

Fair warning though: some will hate them and will have eye rolling moments.

 

Why?

 

Because the female character Shannon is the definition of damsel in distress. Or a small mouse perfect meal for all mean cats *and there are plenty in the story* around her.

Many will see her as weak.

I saw her as insanely strong. Because she has resilience like you never encounter. Because if she had super power it would be survival. Against all odds.

I bet in her skin you would have stayed on the ground long ago.

“The girl was the definition of fall down seven times and stand up eight. No matter what seemed to be thrown her way, she always dusted herself off, climbed back up on her feet, and tried again. “I’m just so tired of being here,” she was so strong, so resilient, and she didn’t even know it.”

 

 

Second reason why some will loathe the book: the hero is just perfect. Yes really, really perfect!

Johnny is tall, muscled, future rugby star. Handsome. Smart. Like really brilliant. Protective. Loyal to his friends and Shannon. Good. He is above all else a very good person.

Honestly he is a teenage wet dream. Mister Perfect. And I loved him to pieces.

 

Third reason why some won’t like it: all what happened to Shannon and her family was unbelievable. Sadly unbelievable in “some people are born with just bad luck and grim future”.

You could think this was overdone.

Yet I believe this happens. In real life. Just read the newspapers when some cruel people committed atrocities on teenagers. Or when big bullies at school made life a living hell for some other students. When the synopsis comes with words like “tortured “ “demons and evil men” they are not kidding! If you are sensitive to such topics stay far far away from these books!

 

Now that all is in the open let’s get into the nitty gritty: what are the books about and why I loved it so much.

 

The topics are ….many.

Even if the “main” trope is a love story between Johnny rising but injured rugby star and Shannon lost girl from the “wrong side of the track” there are many sub tropes.

 

-The “finding my way” trope.

Johnny has been focused, single minded really about rugby for years and years. He is the overachiever. He has a big goal: play for Ireland. He has made his body a well-oiled machine. Feeding several times a day with healthy meals. Training all the time. No going out. No living like a normal teenager.

But is all this healthy in the long run? Is rugby really all that matters in a life?

Meeting Shannon will be eye opening for Johnny.

Soon enough he will obsessed about the girl with big sad eyes. Rugby will still be important but it won’t be everything anymore.

 

-The “abuser and bullies” trope.

Shannon is one of these persons every bully or abuser instantly target. Why remains a mystery. The scenes in this book are harsh, brutal. I sometimes wanted to throw up. And protect Shannon like Johnny NEEDED to do. You will have evil in all its glory.

Sadly this happens at school, at work, at home, everywhere.

 

-The “mental manipulation” trope.

Not only are bullied mentally manipulated but I am speaking about conditioning.

How you condition someone to obey for years and years. Because there sill be consequences. And even adults can’t find their way out and begin to find excuses for their abuser. Chloe Walsh did an excellent job here depicting the brain washing. How manipulators can make you believe that it’s your fault what’s happening. It’s your fault if they are beating you. It’s your fault if they beat your beloved ones because YOU made THEM angry. You are worthless and guilty.

And of course you try to hide what is happening to you.

 

-The “foster care’s limits” trope.

Because foster system is not perfect. You have fantastic and loving foster parents and you have …the others.

 

-The “rich boy/poor girl” trope.

I know this is a used and abused trope. But you could compare with Cinderella. When the Prince falls in love with the poor girl. Blame it on Disney if I love this trope! Especially when it is perfectly executed like Chloe Walsh did here.

 

I am not even finished here as the story has many layers.

 

I also loved the characters.

They are all with their own character’s trait, flaws and quirkiness. They are fleshed out perfectly and you really can imagine them! Gibsie the best friend with his own brand of crazy. Manwhore with a golden heart. Johnny the boy I would love to have falling in love with my daughter as he is just perfect. Shannon small, gorgeous, selfless, shy, terrorized a survivor. Claire-Bear big blond beautiful bubbly and solar. Shannon’s best friend. Lizzie with all her snark and anger. Joey big bro with a huge heart. So generous that he is drowning. I would have loved to have a big brother so protective and dedicated. Edel and John, Johnny’s parents. Just rich, gorgeous and generous. Loving and protective. Everyone wants parents like these ones!

And I could go on and on.

Every character, side characters included, add colors and “meat” to the story.

 

The pace was just right, the story flowed effortlessly and even if it is not a Pullitzer and is filled to the brim with clichés it worked brilliantly! I loved that story. I even read till the wee hours to finish because I really really really could not stand the suspense anymore. It was just “it” for me.

 

Oh and last parting words: if you are allergic to angst don’t read it either ….LOL

 

Recommend? A thousand times!

Have you read this author before? Do you mind when authors use traditional tropes in romance?

 

Thanks for reading!

Sophie

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10 Replies to “I gobbled up 1800 pages in 5 days. Double review. Binding 13 and Keeping 13 by Chloe Walsh”

  1. Wow..these are really long reads! Another terrific review, though I’m going through a “lighter read” phase I guess I’m too stressed with real life right now, LOL!

  2. Oh dear, this sounds right up my alley Sophie, which is dangerous because I have quite a few ARC’s that are here. Looks like I might be spiraling down the rabbit hole again from one of your review and getting this now – lol! Great review!

  3. Wow that’s a HUGE number of pages to read in two days!! It’s great that it has so many layers. Excellent review!

  4. Great reviews, Sophie! I’m not into sports romances but I loved reading your review.

  5. I love romance, especially sports romance, and this sounds like it was enthralling. However, I am a little leery of a contemporary book being 887 pages. Holy cow!

  6. Wow, 1,800 pages in less than a week?! That is impressive and says a lot as to how amazing these books must be. I’m glad you enjoyed them so much. 🙂

  7. This is a great review, though, not for me. I like more danger and less psychological harm done to kids ( I have 3 teens). I get a little weirded out by the whole bullying thing because my kids are the weirdos that get bullied. So, because that’s my reality, I don’t want to delve into a book that deals with what I’m dealing with now, unless it’s nonfiction.

  8. This is a great review, though, not for me. I like more danger and less psychological harm done to kids ( I have 3 teens). I get a little weirded out by the whole bullying thing because my kids are the weirdos that get bullied. So, because that’s my reality, I don’t want to delve into a book that deals with what I’m dealing with now, unless it’s nonfiction.

  9. Holy cr#p, Sophie, you read how many pages? That must be some kind of record, even for you. 😉 Obviously, you loved them. Gotta love your enthusiasm, Sweetie … now, go lie down and take a nap!!!

  10. Great review, Sophie! I don’t think I’ve read NA, but you’ve tempted me with these books 🙂

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