Sink or Swim (Knockout Love #1.5) (Kelley R. Martin)


Declan Whitmore is used to fighting for what he wants, both in and out of the ring. His Pops used to tell him that anything worth having in life would take work. Declan thought he took the motto to heart, especially when Savannah came into his life.

With a razor-sharp tongue and intolerance for bullshit, Savannah was the complete opposite of what Declan usually went for, but he quickly realized she’s everything he didn’t know he needed. Declan, however, was everything Savannah needed to stay away from. She had a dark, troubled past and was fighting to keep her head above water. She simply didn’t have room for a beautiful, six-foot-three fighter, whose compassion and filthy mouth had the power to bring her cynical, jaded ass to its knees. But Declan wanted Savannah, so he fought for her. And he’s never lost a fight.

Declan is head over heels in love with Savannah, but the ghosts from her past haunt them both now. It puts a strain on their new relationship that neither knows how to fix, but Savannah’s determined to try. For the first time in her life she has something worth fighting for, and she’ll be damned if she loses anything else.

Come hell or high water, Declan is HERS.

A while back I read and absolutely loved Down and Out, the first book in the Knockout Love series, about Declan and Savannah. So, when Deanna @A Novel Glimpse let me know that a novella was available, I went ahead and bought it and then I had to read it right away – even though I have a massive TBR this month. 😀 I had to!

So, I already loved Declan and Kitten and I was super happy that we got to see a bit more of their relationship, because the ending of book one didn’t exactly give us much answers as to how they were going to make things work. This novella felt raw and honest. It was great to see how Declan was dealing or not dealing with all of Savannah’s past and how this time she was the one not willing to let them go. It showed a huge character development for her, and even a bit for Declan, as he faces his past and learns how to deal with his future.

I did miss sexy and bossy Declan in this one, and I thought that some things Savannah just gave up really easily and I wished she had fought a bit harder, but overall I really liked it.

I also appreciated the little glimpses we had to Blake and Macy’s story, though I really hope that we get the full explanation and resolution to that scene in the epilogue. I can’t wait for that story, because Blake seemed a lot more fun and amazing in this book.

Down and Out (Knockout Love #1) (Kelley R. Martin)


*Don’t read this book if you don’t like snarky, dominant, tattooed men who say things like “Open your mouth, and I will,” after you tell them to shove it. And don’t read this book if you don’t like sassy, strong-willed, fiercely independent heroines who use phrases like “bossy asshole” as a term of endearment. You have been warned.*

“Tattooed package of sin.” 

That’s how Savannah Ryan would describe her new boss, Declan Whitmore, the deliciously tatted and pierced fighter who holds the top spot in Boston’s newest underground fighting organization. She’d also describe him as bossy, arrogant, and–depending on what he does to piss her off that particular day – an asshole.

It’s that aloof attitude, along with Savannah’s witty comebacks and tight little body that land her on his radar. Unfortunately for her, Declan is relentless when he sets his sights on someone, both in and out of the ring. Unfortunately for him, this recently reformed bad girl is trying to go straight after heading down a dangerous path. She’s not going to make this easy for him. In fact, she’s going to make it – and him – very, very hard.

Declan’s not worried, though. He’ll have Savannah come hell or high water, because if there’s one word he’d use to describe her, it’s “MINE.”

I’ll be honest, I don’t even know how I came across this book, I know that I came across it on amazon and liked some of the dialog, and decided to buy it. People, let me tell you this: THIS IS MY FAVORITE NEW ADULT BOOK (so far). Don’t get fooled by the half naked men on the cover, or even the weird and vague title, or even the blurb, because neither does this book justice.

I loved the writing, and OMG, this had the best dialog ever! The banter between Savannah (who I really want to call Kitten) and Declan is the best. They push each other’s buttons, they’re funny, raw, sexy, and they don’t take any crap. Oh my, it was such a pleasure to read this book, and the main reason was this, the back and forward between the two main characters.


Speaking of characters, don’t be fooled by the blurb, Declan is a teddy bear, he’s like this big, muscled, tattooed and pierced marshmallow. He would do anything for Savannah and he’s not afraid to show her how much he cares, not once. And he knows when he does something wrong and he tries to fix it… poor guy. I really liked him. Savannah is a bit of a mystery throughout most of the book, she’s fierce and strong, and she says that she doesn’t want a relationship with Declan and so on, and even though we know that’s not true, the reasons behind it all broke my heart… even if I was seeing them coming.


I liked most of the plot, I never read a book about underground fighting, but I’m glad that it didn’t focus much on that, and more on their day to day and their struggles, within themselves and with each-other. I have a sense that some of the plot was left open because the second book (which will be about Declan’s brother) will touch on some aspects of his family and so on.

** Spoiler alert! **

The only reason that this book doesn’t take the 5 stars is because of the pregnancy, though I almost understand its presence, it was only the only way for Savannah not to fight and enter herself in a world that she would have trouble stepping out from. And they were together and well (as well as possible) when they found out, so my problems with it were mild.

I really loved how the book dealt with such a huge topic as it is rape, and the misconceptions that some people have about it. I watch Law & Order: SVU religiously, so some of the doubts and blames that Savannah put on herself were not new, but they were real. Just because you didn’t voice your NO, doesn’t mean it wasn’t rape. And your body can react against your brain, and it’s not your fault. These are important issues. And seeing what that weight was doing to her, broke my heart, but I loved how Declan reacted and how he wanted to do right by her, even if he didn’t know how to touch her, which I guess is normal too.