My review contains spoilers and they're mostly my thoughts as I went with the book...
Oh my! Where do I start? Mine by Katy Evans have exceeded my expectations and more. TBH, after reading book 1, Real, where the only thing I loved was Remy, I didn’t know if Brooke is going to redeem herself in my eyes. I didn’t know if I’d enjoy reading her POV, again, when I could barely stand her at the end of Real. But, I absolutely loved Mine!
Before going into the review, I gotta address some things. One thing, apart from Brooke’s POV, I took issue with in book 1, was the writing style. It didn’t work for me, not that much. It felt repetitive and just annoying. But I loved Remy SO MUCH, I sailed through it just for him. In book 2, I felt that the writing style is improved than before. I can only say because I didn’t have that big of an issue with it this time... Or could be just Remy, again. lol But I liked the flow of the story and how Ms. Evans kept me hooked till the end, which definitely worked for me, alongside just reading Remy doing things for Brooke or to Brooke. *sigh*
In Real, we’re introduced to an underground fighter, Remington “Riptide” Tate. He’s sexy, hunky, beautiful with dark hair and blue eyes. He also has his dark secrets to bear. A bipolar and abandoned by his parents, Remy has had a tough upbringing. The exploration of his childhood, as narrated there, broke my heart. Remy found friends in Riley, Pete, his Coach. Also his nutritionist, Diane, who likes looking after a 25 yrs. old Remy just as one of her own. These people have been his family since he was a teenager and he loves them all, as they love him back. Remy is superb in the ring; a tough fighter who, it seems, was born a fighter. He’s hugely popular throughout the underground fighting world, hottest guy there is, making friends and foes alike for his continued success, even with his ‘black side’ (eyes turning black from blue) due to his bipolar state. This is the time when he’s too ‘hyper’, as his PA Pete likes to call it and doesn’t remember much. We also learn that sex is something Remy needs to cope with his hyper state, and so, sleeping with whores and fans alike is something he just... does. It’s easy to judge him, but I tried to comprehend the matter from his side. He had essentially been lonely all his life and had no one to call his own. Women wanted him as ‘adventure’ and not as a relationship material. Remy was vulnerable inside, more so knowing his condition might never let him find anyone special, though he never let anyone see it. Remy has always let Pete and Riley handle the women, bring them to him and deal with them when the deed was done. But he just wanted to be understood, someone who’d see the real him. He wanted his ‘real’, not knowing he’d find her in Brooke.
Brooke’s an ex-athlete, was aspiring to compete in the Olympics when all her hopes were dashed after suffering a very bad injury. It not only shattered her dreams but also most of her life plan. After her failed attempt at the Olympics, Brooke was depressed and did rehab. It made her determined to work with people in sports world who deal with depression just like the one she experienced... and more. She was looking for a job when her BFF, Melanie, takes her to this underground fight. Brooke had been the most unadventurous girl, sports being her life goal till, at 16, when she was injured. Underground boxing was something she never even thought of attending. Now, at 23, Brooke was about to have an adventure of a lifetime, thanks to one sexy fighter who spots her from the ring, winks at her, keeps looking at her throughout, and then follows her like a man possessed when she was leaving, introducing himself as ‘Remington’. Brooke didn’t stand a chance (as it was, neither did I).
Remy was determined to have Brooke in his life no matter what. He was possessive from that very first moment. Hence a little research online, asking for Pete’s help and the offer of a job as Remy’s rehab specialist with a big salary that Brooke couldn’t reject. Funny thing was, when Remy invited her in his room at the hotel, she was prepared for a one night stand, so hot she was for him, and thought this’d be the ‘thing’ to shake up her love life. Then she had to take up on the job. Brooke starts accompanying Remy on tour, staying with him (with Diane actually) in the hotels. On Remy’s demand, she even starts attending his matches, sitting on a special place secured by him. Remy’s only intention is to keep her on sight while he’s fighting. And when Brooke watches, Remy fights like the very devil. He feels like a bloody king! Yah, the guy likes to show off to her. lol
The attraction between them was so palpable, it was inevitable that they end up in bed in each-other’s arms soon. Remy was as possessive of Brooke as she was of him. But Remy didn’t want just another female who wanted to shag him for his fame. He took his time to communicate with Brooke thru his favorite music, a pastime they both enjoyed and with drugging kisses. It didn’t take time for Brooke to be a goner but Remy wanted to be sure that she wants him and him only! Romance also blossomed, and when they started having sex, there was just no stopping them. You can expect some hot sex scenes because of our Riptide. *wink*
Trouble came in the form of Scorpion, Remy’s worse enemy in and out of ring, also a fierce competitor who wants Remy’s championship this year. Brooke’s sister Nora falls into Scorpion’s trap, something Brooke couldn’t stand to watch. This brings the biggest trouble there is. First, Brooke had to go and face Scorpion alone, making Remy very unhappy. Remy had always been scared of Brooke leaving him due to his ‘dark sides’, secrets that were just revealed to her. He was still trying to hold onto whatever little bond they’d created. I knew Brooke was trying to cope with these facts. She even thought she loved him back. But when Remy took it all for her, to save Nora, in his head ‘anything for his girl’ and gave up the championship, something he’s been working for all year, Brooke just up and left, leaving him a piece of sh!t letter, telling him she loves him but can’t watch him destroy himself this way. Damn that was so lame! I was SO mad because Remy was in the hospital at that time, unable to stop her doing it. I lost my patience and any respect/liking I had for her on that one act. So yes, I didn’t know if I could stand to read her POV in Mine too.
In the end, Remy brings Nora back to Brooke and family, secretly wishing that she’ll return to him. Oh the poor baby! Thank God she does, because by that time, Brooke realized just how badly she’d mucked up and was looking for a way to return to him.
Mine takes up just where Real left off, so I’d recommend you read Real before you pick this up. On Mine, don’t expect any big plot development because it mainly revolves around the same thing; Remy and Brooke’s relationship and Remy aiming to take back his championship from Scorpion. I didn’t mind a whit because there were actions a plenty; just to read Remy on the ring is sometimes enough for me. There were some bonus surprises that made it even better.
It’s been two months since Brooke returned and they’ve been living in bliss. Things are probably changing for the better is when she finds out Remy has been with... well, other women while she was not here. Brooke knows Remy needs sex when he’s ‘black and manic’. He slips into depression, and indulges. Most of the times, Remy doesn’t even remember anything he does at that time, which is why he depends a lot on Riley and Pete to tell him what happened. I was surprised that she never had any clue for two months and suddenly one lapse from Diane and there it is; the cat is out of the bag. It was a little unbelievable. And knowing Remy so closely, she should’ve expected this. They broke up, she left, she had no reason to be mad at him, yet she is quite mad. So much so, she wouldn’t even sleep with him (at one scene, Remy had to carry her off to his room when she takes refuge into Diane’s as she did before they started sleeping together).
The thing was, I wasn’t mad at Brooke for her dilemma. I would be absolutely jealous and dreadfully mad at him too. I’m just possessive that way, even if I was on the wrong to leave him. Which is why I totally understood Brooke’s mental state, yet kept thinking that, logically, she shouldn’t even make a noise. It was not even cheating, since Remy never wanted her to leave him. Anyway, they aren’t together for a while, though they keep touring together and working as she does with Remy to stretch him, message him after training or matches. I could also feel Remy’s desperation. He didn’t want her to know about this thing because he doesn’t remember anything. Remy wished it was different and he certainly enjoyed that she was so jealous but it still felt wrong. He’s restless, unhappy that she’s avoiding him. You feel his helplessness about the whole situation when you read it. The ring, which had always felt like home, isn’t one anymore when Brooke is not on her seat or avoiding his gaze. Remy’s world just tilts from its axis. That is how much he loves her. Remy just wants his girl back to him. And soon.
At that point, Brooke begins to feel sick in the morning but she doesn’t really bother about it. She thinks it’s something else, but even I knew what it was. After all, the last two months she had slept with Remy. To make matters short, after bouts of morning sickness and fainting spells, Remy is concerned and seeks out doctor’s help. Before that, Diane already asked Brooke to take a pregnancy test (hello, that’s what you do first after the way you two were going at ‘it’ like bunnies!). So the doctors, pregnancy kit, everything and everyone confirm that she’s pregnant. She and Remy are both excited but I was mostly loving Remy’s own reaction to this news. This was unexpected for him but not unwelcoming. And the best thing was, now everyone will know who Brooke belongs to. This possessiveness about Brooke is such an inherent part of him, giving him an immense male satisfaction that had me grinning while I read it.
But it’s not a happy pregnancy for Brooke. She starts bleeding at one of Remy’s matches, scared to hell that she’s losing the baby. Doctors ask Remy to let her rest somewhere for the next two months; no travel, no sex, only full bed rest. While Brooke wants to stay and travel, Remy will do anything to keep her and their baby safe. You can imagine, Remy living without Brooke is just no done! Yet, he’d travel without her for the next two months until she’s got the green signal from the doctors that she’s safe to travel.
Remy even decides to leave this year’s competition and Brooke will not have it. She, like the rest of the team, knows how much he’d love to get back at Scorpion. Remy takes her home, settles her in with everything she might possibly need, in Brooke’s old room that she was sharing with her Melanie before moving in with him. He even meets Brooke’s parents who, at first, were not happy about this situation, thinking their daughter got knocked up and the guy’s just leaving her. I’d say it was logical. Nora didn’t help the matters by telling negative stuff about the UG environment. However, they had to change their image of Remy once they got to meet him in person. Brooke was unhappy at Nora’s treachery, more so when she up and leaves, saying she’s returning to Scorpion, asking her to not look for her!
In between, Remy and Brooke were trying all kinds of long distant communication. I simply loved every bit of it. It had phone calls, texts, skype calls (including, er,... other things). Damn I just loved it! There was no doubt both were missing each-other much and counting the days when they can be together again.
Nora’s disappearance does cast a shadow. Pete and she had a thing going on, and he’s very concerned, not knowing what’s really happening. But Brooke has made up her mind. She’s not letting anything happen to Remy, their baby and the championship... not even for her sister. It’s a tough choice but a girl’s got to think of her own life too. But Remy is not the type to back off, so when he’s aware of it, he starts planning something in secret with Pete and Riley.
Remy is at his happiest when finally his Brooke gets back to him after long months of separation (you gotta read the phone call as between him and Brooke as she was packing up... it was so sweet and sexy). And oh my, the love scenes afterwards with him and Brooke... HOT (oh the tub, on the couch, on bed... on the freakin’ ring after training! Sh!t.). I was literally muttering to myself ‘whatta lucky b!tch’, ‘crap, I’m miserable, someone get me Remy’ (don’t mind me, I have... those moments from time to time) lol.
When I was so wrapped up into him, bam! There’s another revelation that knocked the breath outta me. Literally! This was when Remy is in Austin and goes black after another bad encounter with his parents. Their callous attitude (as usual) left Brooke angry as they implicated that by being pregnant she’s bringing danger because, of course, Remy’s problem can pass onto the baby. It was a fact, I get it (even Brooke got it) but the way they framed the words was not, like Remy is some kinda nasty thing that should avoided and locked away at all cost. This left Remy depressed. It was too bad, so much so that he begins avoiding everyone, including Brooke. Then he decides that he’s going to need that electric shock treatment (pardon but I’m no expert of the medical terms) that is directly ministered to his brain while he’s unconscious. Brooke breaks down rather badly, seeing Remy in this state. Pete tells her this is something they’d done before multiple times, so no need to worry. Brooke is left, once again, guilty of the fact that this was needed after she left him. But she needs to be strong for Remy, as Pete keeps reminding her. He also admits to the fact about those other women... Remy never slept with anyone. He was so listless, no amount of women could bring any life into his body. They lied to him, thinking Brooke is gone and Remy needs to move on. Of course things have changed now and Pete and Riley have been feeling the burden of guilt and the need to fess up. But the funny thing was how Remy took it, calling them ‘bozos’ and that he’s thinking of what to do with them. Needless to say, Brooke was beyond relieved.
Then FINALLY comes the day of the championship. It changes quite a few lives, for better if I might add, with a little too early arrival of Racer Dumas Tate. I think Remy needed this transformation in his life. Him becoming a dad, something he never imagined he’d ever be. I already loved how Brooke fought for him when he was depressed, telling him he’s going to be a great dad and they’ll do whatever is necessary if their baby inherits his symptoms. After presenting Remy with this beautiful gift, Brooke has redeemed herself in my eyes.
“I used to dream of medals and championships, but now I dream solely of a blue-eyed fighter who one day changed my life, when he put his lips on mine...”
I’m glad you realize Brooke, very glad indeed. 4.25 stars.
Now I’m off to read Remy, which is from Remy’s POV. I’m super excited to about it!
This ARC was provided to me by Simon and Schuster/Gallery Books via netgalley as a part of Mine VBT 2013, which didn’t influence my review and rating in any way.