3 1/2 stars for Taking Him Down. This is another book that I liked but didn't love. I've read (and loved!) a few other books by Cara McKenna but this was my first Meg Maguire book, which has a lower heat level. (Spoilery discussion below.)
I liked the set-up, the friends, the relationship with her sister Maya, Rich (woo!!!), and Lindsey's inner voice. There was humor, a real sense of family, and struggles with identity and separation from family. There was also McKenna/Maguire's gift for writing real, grittier characters than we normally see in Romancelandia. Generally, they are scrappy--love it! There are no billionaires here, which I find to be refreshing too. I also liked that there was never an idea that Rich would "save" her. It was quite the opposite and Rich didn't see it coming. Bonus for female MMA fighters and punching scenes. :)
While I liked her most of the time, I found Lindsey to be passive, a quality that did not change for her over the course of the book. She was a matchmaker who had an on-again, off-again relationship for five years (!) and then continued to live with her ex while looking for a new place. I got the sense that they had done that several times. It just made me pity her. Girl, move on. So when she and Rich start to have feelings for each other I kept hoping she would speak up, tell him how she felt, put it out there that she wanted a relationship and not just accept their friends with benefits arrangement. But, no.
This is the second Harly I read where the heroine merely/mostly accepted the hook-up terms without a fight or conversation. I'd be fine with this if she really wanted just a hook-up, but I didn't get that sense. Too passive for me.
I thought the last 15 pages were excellent. Everything that had been held back came pouring out, written in Maguire's/McKenna's lovely style. The smexy scenes were steamy and character-focused, again, another of her strengths.
I will definitely be reading more by this author.