Once PureSeries: Shattered Past #3
by Cecy Robson
Published by Loveswept, Random House on May 19th 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, New Adult
I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Sofia Tres Santos remembers a time before her life went sour, before her innocence was ripped away, before she began punishing herself with risky behaviors and unworthy men. Now, at twenty, she just hopes she’s ready to rebuild some of what she lost. One way or another, it always comes back to her childhood friend and longtime crush, Killian O’Brien.
As strong as Killian is, Sofia has always been his one weakness. He knows Sofia has suffered and wants to ensure she’s never hurt again—not like before, and definitely not under his watch. When Sofia agrees to work at his mixed martial arts gym, Killian seizes the opportunity to help and protect the sweet girl he’s always cared for. And yet, as he trains Sofia to defend herself using his hard-hitting MMA techniques, he’s drawn to the vulnerable beauty in ways he never expected.
As Sofia grows stronger, she also grows brave enough to open herself up to love. And along the way, she challenges everything Killian believes to be true, showing him that no matter how much he dominates in the ring, the real battle is fought in the heart.
So, I’ve let yet another book sit, stew, and not get reviewed properly. Story of my life lately, huh? I remembered the story, I looked over my notes, but for the life of me I couldn’t figure out why I didn’t abundantly love Once Pure. I needed to investigate this! So I re-read the book. Here comes the conundrum: what review do I write?
I will write for you two reviews for Cecy Robson’s final book in the Shattered Past series.
First, let me tell you about my first read through of Sophia and Killian’s story. It came quickly on the heels of Lety and Brody’s amazing story. I may have still been “engaged” with Lety and Brody’s story so much so that I just couldn’t let any other story take it’s place in my heart and mind. Or, more simply put, I was still jacked up on Lety and Brody’s story that Sophia and Killian’s paled in comparison.
Back in April when I first read this, I wrote on Goodreads:
“I was really looking forward to ‘reading’ Sofia’s voice ever since she was introduced in the first book in this series. And Killian had me intrigued when he swaggered in at the end of the first book. I was just a weeeeee tiny bit let down with the overall story. Don’t get me wrong! Its fantastic!! Ms. Robson does a great job of illustrating the after affects of trauma in a person’s life – how it can affect not only the person who goes through it but those around them. I guess I just loved Lety and Brody’s story too much and it’s going to be hard to beat it :D”
Now that I’ve had some space and I actually read Once Pure a wee bit slower this time, I more thoroughly enjoyed the overall epicness of Sophia and Killian’s love story. When a love story starts out with M&Ms and Matchbox cars between kids, it can only end up being the stuff of legends.
Killian O’Brien is an up and coming MMA fighter but he’s also Teo Tres Santos “brother”, entrusted with watching over Teo’s little sister, Sophia, when Teo went into the military. Sophia and Killian had always been friends but a two year age difference can be a lifetime when you’re fourteen and sixteen years old. Sadly for Sophia who crushed hard on Killian, he grew up ahead of her… and then tragedy struck (cue ominous music).
Less of a character based romance and more of a plot based romance, I found myself more wrapped up in the romance this time around. I adored Sophia’s timidness around her longtime crush Killian. She trust Killian so much that she opened up her heart, mind, and (hello!) body to him. But there were so many personal obstacles on both sides for them to overcome to get to their HEA.
I again appreciated the intricate (I can’t think of a better word for it), unique (Lord, I hope it is), and detailed story of Sophia’s trauma and how it affected not only herself but those around her.
The real prize for me came when I got to the epilogue. I had forgotten about that epilogue. The epic epilogue… Oh, Killian, you better not mess up again.
OH, before I forget!
Just double check your price before you check out to make sure it’s still the sale price 😉