Book Review: Raising Ryann (Bad Boy Reformed #1) by Alyssa Rae Taylor

PPFF Rating: 3/5 Stars
MMA fighter, self-defense instructor, intertwined paths. 

goodreads blurb:

Twenty-year-old Reese Johnson can finally leave her troublesome past behind. She enters college with her best friend, Gia, and spends her time doing what she loves—working as a self-defense instructor at a local gym. Then Luke Ryann enters the picture. He’s the tall, dark, and tattooed MMA fighter her boss hires to privately train her. One minute, he captivates her with his piercing brown eyes and boyish dimples. The next, he infuriates her with his relentless banter and cocky bad boy behavior. He’s the last thing she wants or needs, and she never expects to fall in love with him.

Luke’s jaded past has him keeping a safe distance. Despite what he feels, some things are better left alone. He has a dangerous secret—one that has the potential to risk their lives. As he fights the attraction between them, can he resist the growing tension and protect the woman he’ll never be able to have?

Recommended for mature audiences due to situations of abuse, violence, strong language and sexual content.

Raising Ryann, the first book in the Bad Boy Reformed series, isn’t just a story about first love. It’s filled with action, suspense, mystery, and a touch of humor.

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“Oh, and just so you know, when we train together …” He smirks, then leaning in, he whispers against my ear, “I’m the one in control.” 

I was immediately hooked by the blurb – Reese Johnson, the girl with a past, initially had a lust/hate relationship with MMA fighter Luke Ryann (he sounds like your typical hot, alpha male character with an edge) who was brought in to train her. Luke tried to fight his growing attraction for her but we all know how that usually ends up.

“I said I was taking a break from alcohol, not taking a vow with the Jonas Brothers.”

This book has some pretty funny scenes. It had me laughing and even slightly cringing with embarrassment for Reese. It’s a given that I can always appreciate a book with a smart and witty dialogue.

“Say I fight like a goddess, or I’ll beat you senseless.”
“Fair enough. You fight like a goddess.”

In the beginning, I was really enjoying the book but quite honestly, I felt like it sort of fell apart around the middle. The story didn’t seem cohesive enough, there were so many things going on at once that they were almost like they were just thrown in but without clear premises. I struggled a bit to believe in whatever was happening at that point because the latter chapters just seemed open-ended.

In other words, I’m disappointed because I had truly expected Raising Ryann to be a great read from the blurb.

Another thing that was an issue for me was the lack of intensity between Luke and Reese. At first, I could feel the tension between them especially when Luke was being overly protective of her but it just fell flat. Nothing much happened. I mean, you’d think there would be at least a couple of really steamy scenes considering they supposedly had that lust/hate going on for them. He was supposed to be an MMA fighter so we totally wouldn’t have blamed him if he turned major alpha male on her but no, that didn’t exactly happen.

“Why’d you have to go and ruin a perfectly good night?” There’s a commotion in the crowd as the song, “Yellow”, plays in the background. “I mean… I love Coldplay!” I shout. “And you spit on me! What the hell!”

I understand this was Alyssa Rae Taylor‘s debut novel. In fairness to her, this book had its moments – there were several funny scenes plus Luke mentioned that he loves Linkin Park and Fort Minor (love them!) – and the story had a lot of potential but it was ultimately just too all over the place for me in the end.

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