Friday, November 4, 2016

Review: Always Be True: Tino (Sergeant Joe's Boys #2)

Always Be True: Tino (Sergeant Joe's Boys #2)

by Alexis Morgan 

 When Sergeant Joe and his wife, Marlene, adopted Tino Gianelli as a teenager, the foster kid began to heal from his deep insecurities. Now, with a successful military career behind him and a good job as a contractor in the family construction business, Tino shouldn’t have any reason to doubt himself. He’s fallen hard for a beautiful heiress, and she seems to be crazy about him too. So why does he keep trying to hide his working-class roots?
Natalie Kennigan’s ideal guy is someone who will consider her an equal and his best friend, not merely a box to check on the road to success. Tino—with his down-to-earth personality, generous heart, and passionate embrace—might just be the one, at least until he finds out about Natalie’s family money and starts treating her like the typical rich girl who needs to be wined and dined. Natalie will have none of it. She won’t be happy until he accepts her for who she truly is—just as she wants to love the real Tino.
Themes: contemporary
Rating: 4.75 stars
Heat Rating: 
 I have been a fan of Ms. Morgan’s work for many years now, but though I have enjoyed her paranormal and historical novels, I was skeptical about her crossover into the realm of contemporary romance.  This series, revolving around three amazing men that grew from the lost and broken boys adopted by an old soldier and his loving wife some twenty years earlier, is quickly becoming one of my favorites.  I found myself drawn to this series from the beginning, not just because of Alexis’s writing skill, but because I can fully appreciate how much a truly loving family could change the way a person’s life progress and how much a difference that love can mean to them even after the man who saved them is gone.  As clichéd as it is to say, Tino has come to a crossroads in his life and he is feeling a little bit lost as he tries to make a decision about his future.  He has spent many years in the military, serving his country proudly, but now that the man he called father has passed and his older brother has found love, he is wondering if it’s time for some changes in his life as well.  While he is contemplating his navel, his adoptive mother suggests that it might be a good usage of time to do some volunteering and he agrees, never imagining he will meet the woman of his dreams while doing so.  Tino finds himself drawn to Natalie and is willing to see if he can convince her to go out with him, but when he learns who she really is, he stupidly tries to impress her with money instead of just being the sexy, badass, and sweet guy she has gotten to know.  I loved seeing Tino dealing with his issues and finding a way to let his past go so he can embrace a future with Natalie in his life.  Nat on the other hand is just trying to live her life on her terms and convince her family that she could never be happy in the tiny box of being an “heiress”.  She is obviously a truly good woman, determined to improve the lives of others, running her family’s charity with a true hands-on approach and a devotion to her goals that is often single-minded.   Her strength of character definitely didn’t come easy as she found a way to live beyond the expectations of her parents to just be a pretty, but useless socialite, and seeing how much she has succeeded in her goals shows that even the smallest of efforts can be life-changing for those that don’t have even the most basic of necessities.  Being with Tino gives her an immense amount of happiness, but she refuses to give up the woman she wants to be, just to be with him.  I loved seeing Tino and Nat find their balance and find love together, even as they both found their niche in their world. 
It’s impossible to read a story like this without being genuinely affected by the lives presented in the pages and hoping for them to find true happiness together for the long haul.  I am dying to read the final story in this series and seeing all three of these sexy brothers find their loves and future secured.  I am curious about the possibility of a time jump allowing for a fourth book where we see Tino’s new nephew all grown up and finding his own love after his tumultuous past and the love he was finally offered as a member of Tino’s family.  Morgan’s skill at tapping into a person’s subconscious feelings and doubts to show that others can often be dealing with the same fears you are is amazing, and her ability to share the love of her characters with us is truly what makes her such a great author, no matter what series she is writing.  Alexis scores a hit again with Tino and Nat’s story and of course it was awesome to get to see the lovers from the previous novel as well. 

*ebook provided by publisher (via netgalley) for the purpose of an honest and unbiased review.  No compensation was provided.

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