Review: Taking Control by Jen Frederick

Posted September 26, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 0 Comments

Review: Taking Control by Jen FrederickReviewer: Holly
Taking Control by Jen Frederick
Series: Kerr Chronicles #2
Also in this series: Losing Control
Published by Pear Tree LLC
Publication Date: September 8th 2014
Genres: Fiction, Romance, General, Contemporary, Contemporary Women
Pages: 300
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four-stars

I thought I needed only one thing in my life--the money and power to crush one man. But the moment I laid eyes on Victoria Corielli, my thirst for revenge was replaced by my craving for her. No rule would keep me away; no obstacle too large to overcome. Not her will, not our differing social positions, not my infamous past.
When she lost everything, I helped her pick up the pieces. When she trusted me with everything, she sealed her fate. I've convinced Victoria she can put her heart in my hands. Now I have to protect it--from her shady stepfather and my business rivals, from enemies known and hidden. I'll do anything to keep her. And I might have to prove it, because now Victoria's risking more than her heart to be with me; she's risking her life.

While Losing Control was told primarily from Tiny’s POV, Taking Control is told mostly from Ian’s. For years his only goal has been to amass as much wealth as possible so he can get revenge against the man who ruined his mother. His plan originally included using Victoria aka “Tiny”, but then he fell in love with her. Allowing her to come in contact with his enemy isn’t an option, so he tries to put it aside. Keeping her happy is all that matters.

Ian and Tiny are still getting to know each other. He wants everything from her. Her love, her trust, everything.  He considers her his equal partner in every way, but she still holds part of herself back, which frustrates him. He wants nothing more than to give her the world, but she refuses to take anything from him.

When I say that you‘re my heart, my everything, those aren‘t just words. They are the only truth in my world. I‘d give up money, revenge, success—anything, as long as I can lie down next to you at night and wake up with your face beside mine.

Tiny feels like Ian holds all the power in their relationship. She doesn’t understand what he sees in her or what she contributes to the relationship. So she stands back, waiting for him to get bored with her. Add into that the grief she’s struggling to contain and the inadequacy she feels because of a learning disorder, and she’s kind of a mess. She wants to believe in Ian, but trusting what’s in front of her is one of the hardest things she’s ever been asked to do.

Even now, I‘m not sure how many walls I‘ve managed to tear down, how far inside the citadel of her heart I stand

One of the things I loved was how Ian thought in terms of “us”, when it came to Tiny. He considered everything of his, theirs. She was his equal partner,  not someone he considered beneath him. I felt like their relationship wasn’t fully developed at the end of Losing Control,  so it was good to see their romance continue here. I didn’t doubt their love,  but neither was secure in their future together.

“You don‘t have to change your life for me.”
“Why not? I expect you to change for me. I want you to live with me, accept my gifts, allow me to provide for you. It‘s reasonable for you to expect me to change as well. I want our lives to be different. That‘s the point of being together. You are now my life, and I want to see evidence of you here.” I wave at the empty shelves and drawers.

Tiny has to learn to live her life again now that her mother has passed away. For years she put her life on hold to care for her mom, forsaking friendships and education. Her struggle to find her place in Ian’s life, as well as learning to live again, felt very real. From the beginning I felt Tiny was both vulnerable and strong, and that continues here. She’s still living a half-life, but she’s working on it.

If I didn‘t love Ian so goddamn much I‘d run away. Run away from this job I don‘t really like. Run away from the lifestyle that makes me uncomfortable. Run away from the grief of my mother‘s death. But my love binds me to him more effectively than a pair of gold handcuffs.

My main frustration was the lack of communication between them in the beginning. They both kept secrets and tried to hide things in order to protect the other.  Just when I was about to throw the book, they realized what they were doing and took steps to correct it.

She grimaces. “And you didn‘t say anything?”
Taking another swallow of the beer, I raise an eyebrow. “I was waiting for you.”
“I guess we should start sharing things with each other.” She studies her hands.
The room seems slightly chilled, and after a day like I‘ve had, the last thing I want to do is fight. “We‘re both used to be carrying our own burdens. This is a process.” I pull her toward me for a quick kiss. “We‘re learning we can lean on someone else. That‘s new and it will take time.”

The sub-plot featuring the return of Tiny’s step-father seemed superfluous. I’m not sure why it was included. Same with the revelations about Tiny’s step-brother, Malcolm. I don’t want to spoil it, but I will say it wasn’t a surprise, I just don’t know why it was included. Ian’s quest for revenge was fleshed out better here than in the previous book, and I found I actually enjoyed watching it develop. I also really liked the glimpse into Ian’s business.

What made this book for me is the continued development of the characters, both Ian and Tiny as a couple as well as individuals. Ian’s devotion to Tiny and his determination to keep her happy really tugged at my heartstrings. His struggle to let go of the past and keep control of his company, along with Tiny’s struggle to find her feet in a new world – one without her mother where she’s safe and has stability – is what really kept me glued to the pages.

“Are you okay with the direction we‘re going?”
“Yes,” she says impatiently. “It‘s your business, Ian.”
“It has my name on it, but everything I do affects you now, so it‘s our business.”
Her face softens. She‘s finally getting it, I think. How much she means to me. How I‘ll do anything she asks. How all of my decisions start and end with whether they will make her happy.

The friendships they have and create also really worked. Steve, Ian’s bodyguard and Kaga, his best friend, were the most notable. I loved the inside jokes between Tiny and Ian about Steve. Tiny’s best friend also comes back in the picture, which was nice. She wasn’t solely reliant on Ian to make or have friends, which was good.

This book is at times tender, emotional, possessive, funny, and very dirty (but in the best possible way). The story of Ian and Tiny really engaged me.

4 out of 5

four-stars

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