Apr 26, 2013

Posted by in Reviews | 6 Comments

Review: Taking Shots by Toni Aleo (Assassins #1)

takingshots2 star

Contemporary Romance
April 23 2013
478 pages
Received from publisher via NetGalley

Yummy Man – Shea Adler
Kick Ass Chick – Elli Fisher

From Goodreads –
No matter how hard she tries, Elleanor Fisher never thinks she’s good enough, from her job to her weight to her love life. After enduring years of abuse at the hands of an ex-boyfriend, Elli has been drifting through life in a daze. Until, that is, she meets Shea Adler on a promotional shoot for the NHL’s Nashville Assassins. Before Elli knows what’s happening, the gorgeous Shea breaks the ice and shatters her world.

A brilliant athlete inside the rink, Shea Adler is tired of the life he’s living outside of it: the women, the money, the drinking. But everything changes when he meets Elli. After laying eyes on this feisty, witty, beautiful woman, he feels like he’s just taken the hardest hit of his life. No matter how skeptical she is, Shea knows they are meant to be together—if only he can convince Elli to put her insecurities aside before she misses out on a shot at love.


*le sigh* Every once in a while, you come across a book via friends, the blogosphere or Goodreads that just about everyone seems to be glowing about.  You see all of these rave reviews and you feel you must immediately go out and read this book.  Then, when you finally finish the book, the one that is supposedly one of the best books you were ever going to read in your whole entire life, you think to yourself “Um…I don’t get it”.  Unfortunately, this was one of those books for me.  When I closed the book (after having made myself finish it) I really wondered if I had missed something.

Taking Shots is the first book in Toni Aleo’s Assassins series.  The Assassins are a NHL hockey team out of Nashville and Shea Adler is their captain.  (This made me giggle because the Nashville Predators – the real NHL hockey team in Nashville – their captain’s name is Shea Weber and I wondered if the author loosely based her character on him).  I enjoyed reading Shea (the character).  I found him to be sexy and really sweet.  He was so patient with Elli and I found myself swooning a little bit over him, even while asking myself if there really is such a guy out there.  If there really was a man who would be that tolerant in dealing with one woman’s massive amount of issues.  In this book he was really the only character I enjoyed…until the end happened.  *sigh* I’ll get to that in a bit.

Just a heads up, from this point on this review is not complimentary 🙁

Elli is the heroine in this story and, as I mentioned above, is plagued with too many issues to count.  Her mother and sister are horrible, she has no self-esteem, she’s sick…and those are just the main ones.  She has a thyroid problem so her weight tends to fluctuate.  In the book she goes from a size 10 to a size 8 to a size 12 and back to whatever.  Her family calls her fat.  She calls herself fat.  Um, what?!  Yes, I know that many of us deal with self-worth issues when it comes to our weight and when it comes to our family but I found it was too much in this book.  It’s almost like things were done supersize in this story.  Everything was a disaster.  Everything was a problem.  Especially with Elli.  And it took most of the book for Elli to explain everything to Shea.  Why she was taking medication.  What her family is like.  Why she is hiding SO MUCH from him.  If Shea was patient enough to put up with Elli this whole time, he would have been more than okay with knowing ‘all’ of her – full disclosure.  I have trouble with heroines who know that the hero will be pissed when he finds out she has been hiding things from him yet won’t get things out in the open herself saving him the embarrassment of feeling like the last to know.  It’s cliché and frustrating.  Especially when the hero has only proven himself worthy of her trust over and over.

I didn’t get Elli’s friend Harper either.  She was rough and crass, obsessed with sex and not falling in love but then she falls in love.  She was an okay friend to Elli but she seems to be mostly about Harper.  And there was already SO MUCH going on in this book I didn’t see the need for such a full side story.  It wasn’t necessary and it didn’t move the story forward at all.  It just added more drama to an already overly dramatic story.

I talk about the issues and the ‘so much’ of them.  When the book was finally winding down and things seem to be working out for the couple, where they seem to be at a place where all things were taken care of and forgiven and understood, something happens with Elli’s sister and Shea that really frustrated me.  Again.  I knew where the story was going as soon as one word was said and I really hoped that I was wrong…but I wasn’t.  The author threw in yet another complication and one that was not only overdone but also not AT ALL necessary.  That comes up often for me with this book: so many twists and plots additions were not necessary.  If the story was a little more streamlined we would have been able to click with the characters better.  I understand the ideas the author had and why she had them but the delivery was lacking for me.

Here is the ‘until’ about Shea.  He and Elli have a fight.  In fact, it made me bring the book’s rating down.  The way he acts after the fight was not warranted.  Yes, he was heartbroken, but really?!  He’s a grown man who claims to adore someone in his life for the very first time!  How he dealt with things after the fight was not in character. I thoroughly dislike it when an author changes a characters personality so completely when tragedy strikes them.  Even Elli acted crazy but at least she stayed in character.  Shea had invested so much in his relationship with Elli and he is such a strong person and a fighter, there is no way he should have reacted the way he did.

I had other issues too with this book, such as the dialogue, but I don’t think I need to get into that really after all that I’ve said already.

I know this review is a lot bit more negative than my usual but honestly, I just found myself asking ‘why?’ much too often in this book.  Why did the author decide to write the characters the way she did?  Why did she throw so much drama into the mix when just two issues are more than enough in contemporary romance?  Even a contemporary romance book with extra emotion should still leave a smile on your face.  This for me just had me grunting with frustration.  I really wished I loved this book like many others did but I just couldn’t.  I even tried the second book thinking it may be better for me but alas, I dnf that one.  It was taking on the same feel as the first book with too much unnecessary drama.  Plus, it had one of my least favorite storylines: mommy had a baby and daddy doesn’t know.  And in this case, the child was already eight years old.

Now just because I have told you all about the issues I had with this book, it doesn’t mean you won’t like it.  Let’s face it – Taking Shots has an average 4.07 stars with 5,377 raters on Goodreads so there is something sweet about it for most people out there.  Unfortunately it just really wasn’t for me.

2 stars


  1. I DNF’d this one! I just couldn’t do it but I am really picky about my contemporary romances and this one just didn’t do it for me at all.

  2. Yep, I’m one of those that loved it….but you and I RARELY agree on contemp romance…LOL. smiles…

  3. I think I’ll skip this one. Thank you for the honest review.

  4. Felicia – Contemporary romances are tricky. I’m pretty picky too.

    Christi – You loved it! You’re right. This is yet another example of how we differ when it comes to this genre lol.

    Bookaholic Cat – Yeah…you would not get into this one at all either 😉

  5. YES! Someone else who didn’t love this book! I also thought it went on to long and the drama seemed forced towards the end.

    I also had issues with how the dialogue was written. I had to keep counting sentences to figure out who was speaking.

  6. Krista – You definitely weren’t the only one. The dialogue bothered me too. A lot. But I didn’t mention it in my review much because I thought I had griped enough lol. But I found it unnatural. Especially when they are getting to know each other. 🙁

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