Disclaimer: I'm normally more thorough in my research when I want to begin reading a new novel but for some reason I added this novel to my TBR list without checking to see if this was a new standalone or a spin off. Turns out, it's a spin off and I didn't find this out until I read and finished my draft for this review. So it's safe to say that this is my introduction to Tug, Tori and Brady. While I now know that they have a past, that was given in details, I still can't change my review because below is my true thoughts from what I read without this new knowledge.
There is a range of emotions involved in reading 'Tug', from hate to indifference and just plain 'ol frustration. There is too many crazy, unbalanced people in this story and the story line contain more drama than a script of the 'Real Housewives of Atlanta'. Yes, Tug is a douche but I never expected to leave this novel unsure of Maria and tired of the drama with the other characters.
Brady is a little too convenient for my liking, as he lives life on the line of right and wrong and seems to always come out the good guy, while Tug can't seem to get anything right and always end up losing and sacrificing the most in the end. It's all a continuous cycle with Tori in the middle and she being crazy doesn't excuse her. As for Liv and Harrison, Liv is an idiot and Harrison is a pig.
Maria threads the line of naive and eventually untrustworthy, to the point where I just decide to give up on them all. They are confused, which in turn makes you unable to build solid relationships with the characters while keeping a certain level of empathy. I especially hate the fact that I read an entire novel just to have an avoidable upset at the end that makes me question everything I spent my time reading. Also, not that I excuse his behavior but Maria is sort of a bitch with that final decision. An ungrateful one at that. Though it's not clear, it doesn't look good either.
Tug's character is possibly bi-polar but neither him nor the author knows it yet. It's either that or he's just a douche. I'll like to think it's an illness. You will hate him and eventually tolerate him but I never loved him.
I think this story keeps itself interesting occasionally, more so than not, but there is so much drama towards the end that I am pissed I even bother. I'd prefer to just read book 2 and get the updates and solutions.
I believe that all the characters in this novel are doom to be miserable and never fully able to live in the light because there is too many dark and gray areas. While I don't know anything about the US/Mexico border, I doubt it is used as frequently as they do without raising suspicion and this crew uses it like a bus route.
The sex in this novel isn't inspirational but then the focus was on the unrequited love, new love and new relationships being built. It's surely not your usual romance and there is no HEA. These friends also don't mind stepping on you to get to your man if it's convenient.
Their back story is strange, common and different all in one. There are no loving parents and while they all have mommy issues, they don't rely heavily on it. If not for their sporadic reminders of their mom and dad crimes, I'd forget that they had a Lifetime movie upbringing.
There is a certain level of confusion for me in reading this novel and it might show in my review, because even though I understand the story, had no problem with the progression and was entertained for the most part, I felt like the ending killed it all for me and made me want to go over the novel to see what the reader's hustle might be.
Even with a few glitches, it's a good read but you have to be willing to put your emotions aside to garner anything from it. I was unable to do that so I feel duped like I read all that for nothing. Honestly, I didn't see nor understand the change in the wind that lined us up for a book 2 but I guess we are trying to get as close to reality as possible and splitting novels seem to be all the rage these days.
Also, after finding out that this triangle stretched across two other books, I'd like to think that the author might have gotten a little more creative in her efforts to tee us up for a book 2.