Review: Cornered by JA Belfield

Posted June 13, 2016 by Lola in Fantasy, Review, Romance / 16 Comments


CorneredCornered (Holloway Pack #5)
by J.A. Belfield

Rating: 4 stars

Daniel Larsen is playing a dangerous game, and he doesn’t even know it.

A two-wheeled speedster. A little redhead in a bar. Evenings spent away from his pack. Innocent enough for most, but for Danny, the combination leads down a path of destruction and straight to a hell he doesn’t even see coming.

Entangled in a nightmare that started with his own brother and the cat he brought into their home, Dan’s driving himself toward a solitary existence—except for the curvaceous Olivia Fanella. Seduced by his new companion, and happy to ignore the divide growing between himself and the pack, Danny is oblivious to the trap being laid out for him.

Before long, Danny’s integrity gets questioned. His loyalty gets questioned. Hell, he even questions himself.

On top of that, just when he believes life might be going a little better, he gets served the roughest shot he could never have imagined—not even in his worst nightmares—and Danny has no idea how to come back from a hit like that.

**Cornered contains scenes that some readers might find upsetting**

My Review:
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review

It’s been a long time since I read the previous book in this series, but I still easily slipped back into this series. There was enough recap of important plot points where necessary to remind me of what happened. I really enjoyed reading Cornered, the pace was a bit slow at times, but not in a bad way and it was well written and kept my attention. It was so nice to be back into this world again. I liked how we get the sense of community with the pack and continuity through hints of what happened in previous books and knowing more about most of the side characters thanks to knowing their backstory. Although if you want to you could read this one as standalone you just would get the hint to their pasts less and know less about the side characters.

Cornered is Daniel or Danny his story. Daniel gets into a lot of trouble in this book and I really felt sorry for him. It was a bit frustrating sometimes how he got treated like a kid and I know what he did was stupid and dangerous for the pack, but it still felt like the others were a bit too harsh on him. And yes Daniel makes his share of not so smart decisions as well in this book, but not all of what happened to him was his fault. There were a few small things that didn’t fully make sense, some small plot holes or decisions that just didn’t seem right. No one was concerned when something happened to Daniel that no one could explain, although he never divulged everything to the pack I still felt it was strange they didn’t make a bigger deal out of it, until it was too late. And a few decisions and actions at the end felt a bit off to me.

It starts of with focus on Daniel his life, his evenings spent away form the pack due to his issues with Brook and Kyle. I thought Daniel could’ve been more forgiving of them and didn’t judge them so harshly, but it did make sense how he was hurt and now had trouble dealing with things. The story focused on how he gets into trouble, deals with the pack situation and interacts with Liv.

Only around the 60-70% mark the paranormal aspect got more attention when they land in some supernatural problems. There’s a nasty villain in this book, who is pure evil and crazy. Also how did she time things so perfectly and twisted things while things didn’t went to her plan, it just seemed like it went a bit too smoothly. I also never fully understood why she did some of the earlier things in the book and what her goal was with that. The reason just didn’t seem clear to me and never gets fully explained.

And there is this scene, the one the blurb has a trigger warning for and yes that warning is totally justified in my opinion. That scene enough would’ve been enough for me to DNF a book if I wasn’t that invested and far into the book by then and had enjoyed it up to that point. Because really the scene was that horrifying I wish I hadn’t read it. Even skimming over it, I still got to many details and it was way too disturbing for my taste and I also don’t get why it had to be in the book. Part of it felt like it was a bit rushed and could’ve used a bit more fleshing out the details and on the other hand it already was way too dark and disturbing for me, so I was glad it didn’t last longer. So yes that part I definitely didn’t like. And what happened next was a bit anti climactic in my opinion, part of it seemed to get fixed too easily and the other part was done realistically, but we still don’t fully see it through. On the other hand I did like where the book ended, while at the same time I would’ve liked a bit more story too and see what would happen next.

Daniel is an interesting main character and I liked following his story. I liked getting to know him a bit more as I don’t remember much details about him from the previous books, but that also could be because I read those so long ago. He has some trouble with Kyle and his mate and often escaped the house for that reason. I do think that Daniel basically got a lot of bad luck in this book, yes he makes some bad decisions, but mostly the things that happened aren’t fully his fault and it just felt like the author put him through a bit too much. It was interesting to see how the pack reacted to what happened and dealt with his behavior and how his time away from the pack gave him the opportunity to meet Liv. This book mostly focuses on Daniel and his story, although we do see the previous main characters and side characters as well, which was fun.

Daniel his relationship with Liv was one of the parts I liked most. I liked the slow build-up and how they just interacted with each other without acting on it at first. I liked their casual sort of meetings at the bar and seeing how it developed into more. There was a stage that felt like it went a bit fast, but that’s probably just me. I thought they were a great couple, although I had hoped to learn a bit more about Olivia. And there’s one sex scene which lasted almost a whole chapter, definitely impressive how the author wrote that one. Although I did cringe a bit at the fact his brothers were so close by, they never talked about protection or cleaned up in the middle of the multiple rounds. I liked that there was little drama in their relationship, and the drama that wast here felt realistic and not there just for the sake of it. There’s also a scene at the end, which got solved pretty nicely. And I liked how it was realistic, but still little drama got involved and I really respected Liv for what she did there and how she handled things.

The book doesn’t add much in terms of world building. In fact it’s pretty light on actual paranormal scenes. There’s only one shifting scene and besides that it is more about the implications of being a werewolf than them actually shifting into one. I do think it worked though and since a recent dolphin shifter series I read that handled the paranormal aspect in this way I have come to appreciate this way of handling the paranormal aspect more. I wasn’t a fan of the paranormal trouble they run into at the end as it didn’t feel fleshed out enough. I do like how we see how much being a werewolf changes their normal lives and how they live.

To summarize: I really enjoyed this book. It’s one of those series that seems to get better with each book. I liked the writing style and the pace was done nicely if a bit slow at times, but not in a bad way. I did feel a bit sorry for Daniel in this book as a lot of bad things happen to him and I thought the pack treater him a bit harshly at times especially as most of it wasn’t completely his fault. Daniel does make a few not so smart decisions that land him in trouble. There is one very disturbing scene towards the end, with way too many details for me and even while skimming it was too much for me. It’s a good thing I was already committed to finishing the book by then and had enjoyed it so far. I liked getting to know more about Daniel in this book and seeing his relationship with Liv progress. There’s little drama and I respected Liv for how she handled things. There’s also one impressively long sex scene. I just had hoped to see more of how things go next, but at the same time the ending was well done. There isn’t as much focus on the paranormal aspect, but I did like how it was handled. It mostly focuses on the effect of being werewolf while in their human body as opposed to actual shifting. I wasn’t a fan of the supernatural problems they run into towards the end as it felt a bit rushed and bad decisions are made, and only added to more bad stuff happening to Daniel. Overall this is a great series and I enjoyed this latest instalment!



Tell me about a series you enjoy that seems to get better with each book?


16 responses to “Review: Cornered by JA Belfield

  1. The disturbing scene you described had me intrigued. But I’m a faint-hearted so I’d probably skip it. *sheepish grin Hmm, a series that gets better with each book… I have to go with a middle grade fiction called All Four Stars. The plot and characters are wonderful 🙂 The last book is due to be released next month, so I can’t wait!
    Priscilla recently posted…Raymie Nightingale – So sad, so lonely, so hopefulMy Profile

    • It’s great when series get better with each book. I hope you’ll enjoy the last book in that Middle Grade series as well!

  2. I’m glad this series keeps getting better for you and, at least with the warning, you knew a disturbing scene was coming up. I like it when the authors or publishers let the reader know something like that is coming up. I’ve read several motorcycle club books and I know most of them are dark and gritty so I kind of prep myself for those although I read a paranormal romance at the end of last year and was completely unaware of the disturbing scene near the end.

    For a series that keeps getting better, I would have to go with Molly Harper’s Half-Moon Hollow series. It’s such a great paranormal comedy series.
    Angela @Simply Angela recently posted…Death of a Nurse by M.C. BeatonMy Profile

    • Yes the warning definitely served it’s purpose here and it did help a bit to know something disturbing was going to happen. Although even then you never know quite when ti happens, but you can prepare yourself a bit for it.
      While I can appreciate the advance warnings, I am a bit mixed about my opinion of trigger warnings in general. But I have a whole post written and scheduled about that topic, so I won’t go into more depth here.

      I have read one of Molly Harper her books I think and I enjoyed that one.
      Lola recently posted…Lola’s Kitchen: 5 Ways to Eat Tortilla WrapsMy Profile

    • I don’t stomach rough or hard to read scenes well, especially when they have a lot of details. I think you might enjoy this series as I know how much you like paranormal reads.

    • I am starting to appreciate it more lately, but with shifter books I kinda expect the shifting scene and this one was more character focuses and on the implications of being a shifter. But it still was a really enjoyable book.

    • I really enjoyed this series so far. Ah yes some of the novella’s can be read as standalones, which one did you read? The main novels can be too, but I think they work best in order. I hope you get the chance to give this series a try!
      Lola recently posted…Review: Cornered by JA BelfieldMy Profile

    • Yes, especially as there was a long time between this one and the previous release, it was nice to get a bit of recap to get right back into the story.

  3. I read a prequel to this series and enjoyed it. One of these days I’ll read it. I love that it builds and gets better. I sometimes feel sorry when a character gets into trouble, but it’s not always their fault and others come down harshly. I can see both sides and all, but tough to read. Seems like that’s how it is for poor Danny. Glad he has a nice strong heroine that works well in the story.
    Oh another nasty villain for you.
    Good to know that the scene truly is disturbing. Thanks for the warning.

    As to series that get better, I think Shawntelle Madison’s Covet series is like that, most of Rebecca Zanetti’s series, and I’m sure there are more, but those are the ones that come to mind.
    Sophia Rose recently posted…A Chance of a Lifetime by Marilyn Pappano #ReviewMy Profile

    • Glad to hear you enjoyed one of the prequels to this series you read! It’s a fun series, the first book was just okay, but every book after that I enjoyed more.

      I felt like everyone was a bit too harshly on danny in this book, yes he did so some stupid things, but not everything that happened was his fault and I felt like they judged a bit too harshly. Ofcourse they didn’t know the whole truth so that’s probably the reason they reacted that way, so it was understandable, but I did feel sorry for Danny. The romance sure was a bright spot in his live.

      Yes it’s good to know beforehand that the scene really is disturbing. It’s definitely a disturbing scene, too graphic for my taste.

      I wouldn’t know which series to mention if asked these questions myself, I just kinda go with what comes to mind when i write the review.

  4. That sounds like it could be interesting, the implications of being a werewolf rather than just shifting and running around doing wolf-y paranormal stuff.

    A slow pace can definitely be a good thing if it’s done right. I’ve read some really great slow-paced because the pace allowed for lots of character and relationship development.

    Daniel sounds like kind of a tortured hero, or at least like he’s dealing with a lot of rough stuff. Sounds like a character I’d like.

    I love how you called it an “impressively long” sex scene lol. I’ve read one of those too. I still remember being amazed at just how long it was.

    Anyway, I’m glad you enjoyed most of the book and that the series is getting better and better for you!
    Kristen @ Metaphors and Moonlight recently posted…Book Review: The Vengeful Half (The Hidden Lands Book 1) by Jaclyn DolamoreMy Profile

    • The actual shifting scenes always used to be one of my favourite parts of shifter books. I remember fondly one of first shifter books I read, Bitten by Kelley Armstrong which starts with an awesome shifting scene. But lately I started enjoying these kind of shifter books more as well where the focus is more on the implications of being a shifter than the actual shifting.

      The slow pace was the good kind here and allowed the focus on the characters and relationship development.

      Yes I think you would like Daniel, he’s a bit of tortured indeed who has a lot of rough stuff he goes through in this book.

      I think the scene was almost a whole chapter, it just went on and on, I was impressed by the length of the scene so I had to mention it in my review.

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