Hard to Handle (Gargoyles #5) by Christine Warren #mf #review @SMPRomance


The only male among four sisters, Michael Drummond is no stranger to women’s strength and formidable will. His Dublin pub, the Skin & Bones, is his refuge, a reassuringly masculine retreat. Until a fierce woman warrior from another realm bursts into his life, bringing with her a battle between good and evil…and an explosive dose of desire.

The first and only of her kind, Ash is a lone female gargoyle, a creature destined to protect mankind from Demons determined to unleash their darkest forces. But her arrival on Earth is more confusing than she expected: her bone-deep instinct to do battle is matched only by her untamed attraction to stubborn, stalwart Drum. If they manage to keep the world safe, can they turn the passion crackling between them into a love that will withstand the test of time?addtogoodreads_zps55cd15da14rachelle-tag

Reviewing this is going to be hard. The prose is sold and the world building interesting. I didn’t read any of the other books in this series and wasn’t lost so this can be read as a standalone. I haven’t read Ms. Warren for some years. I liked her books then and I still do. In fact, I plan to read the other books in this series.


So why only three stars? Two reasons which account for two stars. The first would be Drum. I think the idea was to make him stubborn but stubborn people can also be good people. My reading notes for the first fifty percent was progressively annoyed and then angered with Drum until I hit forty percent. At that point I was pretty sure that I hated him. The reason I didn’t believe him to be a good person was his consistent resistance to help Ash, even after his sister warned him that if he didn’t then the world was doomed. He had to be blackmailed, have his arm twisted, and be bullied every step of the way. If his sister hadn’t been there when Ash appeared then Drum would’ve left Ash to her own devises and ensuring that she failed. He repeatedly referred to Ash as a monster which put my back up every single time. He was ready to ditch her in a moment until she said she would go on without him. Then suddenly he wanted her. My opinion of him was so low I skimmed the following sex scene. I hated Ash was stuck with him as a love interest.


The second reason was the romance itself. The first half of the book was heavy on the plot but the romance was lacking. Because Drum was so intent on disliking Ash that there wasn’t a smooth transition from “get out of my life” to “I want you in my bed”. He did a 180 in behavior. If he had soft emotions toward her I didn’t see much of it. I’m not counting the drunken kiss because he was so bitter about being rebuffed. When he changes gears then their relationship went from zero to sixty in one point three seconds. So I didn’t believe him thoughts of love. With Ash, her growth toward loving him was better documented and I believed her growing emotions for him.


The plot itself was well laid out. I did notice a pattern of explore/fight then sit and discuss around the table. I noticed it the third time it happened. I am concerned that the nemesis of the series is more powerful that the heroes can overcome. There are returning characters, and again I wasn’t lost even though I didn’t read their stories. They were introduced in such a way that assumed that the reader already knew what they looked like and such. So they were sort of a blank for me in some ways with the exception of Dag and his mate. Those two played a bigger part and therefore had better descriptions.


By the end, my dislike of Drum had lessened but he still wasn’t who I would’ve have chosen to pair up with Ash. He didn’t even apologize for being a selfish prick. For this to be four stars I needed a little bit more from him after his change of heart or a little bit less of his attitude/behavior. Like I said, people can be stubborn but they can be good people, the type who help out even though they’d rather be elsewhere (without being forced). But I do know there will be many readers who will love what I didn’t like about Drum. 🙂  I do love the fact that Ash is a female gargoyle. So different after reading about so many male gargoyle characters elsewhere. From beginning to end, there wasn’t anything about her that I didn’t like. It’s because of her and the glimpse I got of the other characters that convinced me to go back and read the other books in this series.

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