Foreword Reviews

Balance

The Amped Series - Book One

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

M. J. Woods’s Balance is a fun and seductive romance novel that develops anticipation for Alexis and Aidan’s next adventure.

M. J. Woods’s Balance explores emotional themes of family and friendship. It is a sexy romance set amid the fast-moving and sometimes scandalous worlds of business, wealth, and fame.

A smart and beautiful lawyer, Alexis Greene, is assigned to help a handsome billionaire, Aidan Pierce, with his new project. The hot-headed duo soon feel the sparks fly, discovering that they have natural chemistry. As they open up to each other emotionally and physically, events and people from their pasts threaten to destroy both their project and their budding relationship.

The novel follows Alexis and Aidan, switching clearly between their perspectives. While their speech and inner monologues are sometimes very similar, other characters have more unique voices and characteristics. Between Alexis’s and Aidan’s families, friends, and coworkers, there are a multitude of characters to keep track of, but they are described thoroughly and with backstories that connect them to the main narrative. Personal histories are revealed throughout the course of the book, creating surprising twists.

The people populating the business-savvy settings of Balance are humorous and easy to relate to, especially Alexis, whose emotional responses to situations drive the novel. Themes of grieving, overcoming insecurity, and handling estranged family members are expressed with authenticity. Alexis and Aidan’s sexual tension is well portrayed and cultivated at a believable pace. The intimate scenes between them are sexy and entertaining, though sometimes they seem short in comparison to their buildup.

The book is fast paced, with continued conflict that keeps its chapters moving. Many plot points and literary devices have commonalities with Fifty Shades of Grey, so much about the book feels predictable and familiar. Mundane romance tropes arise, if they are acknowledged as part of the emotional narrative.

As the story expands to include more subplots, the main story stays focused. The end is overloaded with revelations, but it sets up the rest of the series with its unresolved questions and a cliffhanger.

Descriptions are brief but detailed, and the contemporary setting is successfully conveyed through the book’s use of technology. Concepts like psychological attachments to places and rooms are realistically and dramatically represented. The text is liberally spaced, and sentences have a natural flow. A music playlist is creatively incorporated, leaving room for a multimedia experience that deepens the understanding of the characters and adds atmosphere to the text.

M. J. Woods’s Balance is a fun and seductive romance novel that develops anticipation for Alexis and Aidan’s next adventure.

Reviewed by Delia Stanley

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The author of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the author will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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