Tag: Sports

Retro Review: Fair Play by Deirdre Martin.

Posted July 19, 2017 by Rowena in Reviews | 8 Comments

Retro Review: Fair Play by Deirdre Martin.Reviewer: Rowena
Fair Play by Deirdre Martin
Series: New York Blades #2
Also in this series: Body Check
Published by Berkley
Publication Date: February 3rd 2004
Pages: 368
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Goodreads
three-stars

A little competition never hurt anybody...

Theresa Falconetti has it all: brains, beauty, a quick wit, and her own PR business. To the Deep disappointment of her large family, she never dates Italians, men from her old Brooklyn neighborhood, or professional athletes. Especially not athletes...

Michael Dante, popular hometown hero and winger for the Stanley Cup champion New York Blades is all three—and he is head over heels for her.

For Michael, Theresa's NO HOCKEY PLAYERS rule is a check to the heart. Nothing he does seems to melt her resolve. His stubborn refusal to give up on this wisecracking brunette, who—he knows—is hiding from her roots, is driving them both nuts. And whe he hires her to publicize his family's restaurant, more than the kitchen heats up. Then Theresa finds herself an Upper East Side kind of guy and Micheal is forced to take his game to the next level.

IT'S FACE OFF TIME...

*****As part of our 10 year anniversary celebration, we’ll be re-posting old reviews that make us cringe, laugh or sigh all over again.

Holly: I remember when Body Check, the first book in this series, was released. Everyone raved about it, but I didn’t care for it at all. I felt so vindicated after Rowena wrote this review because the heroine drove her crazy. Good times.

This review was originally published November 18, 2007

The book following Body Check follows Janna McNeil’s best friend, Theresa Falconetti’s journey to true love with Michael Dante’. We met Michael Dante’ in Body Check when he was trying to get at Theresa but failed to impress her because he’s everything she doesn’t want in a man…mainly he’s Italian and from Brooklyn and a hockey player so she’s not trying to have anything to do with him. She’s very snooty and she’s very stubborn and I found that I just couldn’t like her. No matter what DM wrote about Theresa, it set my teeth on edge. I understand that things happened in the first book that made her into the person that she is in this book but she had two guys in her life…one that was absolutely perfect and everything she SHOULD have wanted in a man but didn’t and then another one who was just totally slimey and wrong for her and who does she want?

Contestant # SCUMBAG!

It got on my hot damn nerves and I wanted to frickin’ shake some hot dang sense into her. Goodness each and every time she pushed Mikey away, I wanted to take a bat and beat her with it. He was so good to her and she just kept kicking him in the teeth and when he finally lost it and yelled at her I got mad at him for apologizing about that because he had every right to yell at her the way he did because he didn’t deserve everything that she put him through, he went out of his way to make sure she was comfortable AT ALL TIMES and what did he get for his trouble? A swift kick to the knee caps and every time she got pissed off because her family invited him to dinner at THEIR house?

Yeah, I wanted to smack the crap out of her. It was just more and more of all things annoying where Theresa was concerned, she was so annoying that even Janna was annoyed with her.

The whole Reese thing made me want to hurt someone because for her to want THAT when she could have someone like Mike totally went right over my head…I didn’t get it, AT ALL and the more she fell in “love” with Reese, the more I wanted to choke her the heck out.

This book was easy to read but it was easy to piss me off too…the more I read about Theresa, the more I wanted to backhand that tramp and the more Mike tried to win her over, the more I wanted to run him over with a motorcycle to get him to open up his dang eyes because he deserved so much more than Theresa gave to him and for him to pine away for her when he could have had any number of girls bothered me because it kind of made him look like a wimp to me…but my dumb ass still liked Mike. I loved watching him and Anthony fight and threatened and throw things at each other, I loved watching him with Gemma and the moonstone, she gave him was totally cute, the candles she gave him made me smile too. He was such a superstitious cutie patootie that I wanted so much more for him and I totally think that his reasons for not going to Theresa (the lie thingy with Anthony) at the end to tell her the truth was totally lame but whatev, I got over it.

The book could have been better but it was okay, I guess…It’s a total C read, not the best but it’ll do.

three-stars


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Joint Review: The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan

Posted November 6, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Joint Review: The Game Plan by Kristen CallihanReviewer: Holly and Rowena
The Game Plan by Kristen Callihan
Series: Game On #3
Also in this series: The Hook Up, The Friend Zone, The Hot Shot

Publication Date: November 1st 2015
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 331
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

A beard-related dare and one hot-as-hell kiss changes everything.

NFL center Ethan Dexter’s focus has always been on playing football and little else. Except when it comes to one particular woman. The lovely Fiona Mackenzie might not care about his fame, but she’s also never looked at him as anything more than one of her brother-in-law’s best friends. That ends now.

Fi doesn’t know what to make of Dex. The bearded, tattooed, mountain of man-muscle looks more like a biker than a football player. Rumor has it he’s a virgin, but she finds that hard to believe. Because from the moment he decides to turn his quiet intensity on her she’s left weak at the knees and aching to see his famous control fully unleashed.

Fi ought to guard her heart and walk away; they live vastly different lives in separate cities. And Dex is looking for a forever girl. But Dex has upped his game and is using all his considerable charm to convince Fi he’s her forever man.

*We call this a joint review but really it’s just the two of us discussing the book. There may  be spoilers and bad language. 

Holly: Fiona is Ivy’s younger sister. We met her in the previous book, The Friend Zone. We also met Dex in the previous book (I don’t remember him from book 1). He was the wise, quiet one in that book and we learn here that he’s like that all the time. He has deep thoughts and tends to be introspective.

He’s also huge, tattooed, bearded, has a man-bun and he’s a virgin. SWOON.

Rowena: I feel like this review is going to be me fan girling over how much I loved Dex.

Love You

Like it’s going to be filled with heart eye emoji’s and that’s it.

Heart Eyes

But IDGAD, let’s do this.

Holly: Now Dex is in the NFL and like her sister, Fiona wants nothing to do with professional athletes. Her father was a professional basketball player before becoming a sports agent. He cheated on their mom and has mostly been absent from their lives. Fi wants nothing to do with anyone who might even closely resemble their dad. But right from the beginning Dex is different. He’s quiet and observant, funny and sweet…she doesn’t want anything to do with him, but she can’t stay away. I loved how drawn they were to each other.

Rowena: The story really takes off right from the very beginning and I like that we didn’t have to slog through huge backstory to get to the meat of their romance. I liked seeing them both become aware of each other and I loved the forthright way that Ethan was with Fiona. There was none of that silly back and forth between these two. Fiona knew where Ethan stood right from the very beginning. I dug that

Holly: I dug that, too. And I liked that Fiona decided to be just as forthright with Ethan. She could have played games, but instead she met his honesty with her own. There were a couple times I thought she was going to close down or not share with him what was going on in her head, but she always came through.

The first half of the book worked better than the second for me. Something about the big drama rubbed me the wrong way. It’s not that I disliked it, or thought the reactions of the characters weren’t appropriate, but I guess I felt like it was a bit over the top.

Rowena: I thought the big drama was pretty interesting, especially considering everything that went down in the real world with a similar big drama. Does that make sense?

Holly: Yeah, it makes sense. I guess it just felt really dramatic. Though, you’re right, in this day and age it isn’t outside the realm of possibility. I think maybe I struggled so much because she was so selfish during the whole ordeal. She wasn’t the only one affected, yet she was the only one she thought about. Would I have acted differently? I can’t say. But the fact that Ethan fought for her the whole time, yet she turned him away when he needed her most..well. I guess I didn’t like that.

Rowena: That’s kind of realistic though, isn’t it? Wouldn’t you be more worried about yourself because it’s your naked body out there for the masses eyes. For your parents to see, everyone at work, at school, at CHURCH, everyone has access to private photos of you and they got it without your permission. I think I would have been more worried about myself first and foremost. I wouldn’t have thought about Dex for at least two days. ;D

Holly: Sure, I get that. I even agree. But the theme of the entire book was Fiona pulling away and Ethan working for her, for them. So then this big thing happens and yes, it definitely affected her, but it affected him, too. He had his own issues and he got fucked with, too, over that. So this one time, when he really needed her, she couldn’t have looked past her own issues to help him with his?

Ron Swanson WTH

Rowena: I guess not. Ha.

One of the things that low key frustrated me was Fiona’s workplace issues. I wish Fiona would have been as forthright with her boss, or maybe not even the boss but the problem girl, as she was with Dex. I really liked her revenge though. That was some shady and petty goodness.

Holly: You’re right, she shouldn’t have been so quiet about what was happening. I get sometimes you have to eat shit at work. You can’t just run around and demand things. I get that. But she said nothing.

I did love her form of revenge, though. It was petty and shady, but I still laughed. Though, thinking on it a bit more, it was pretty immature. I’m going to laugh instead of worrying about it, though, because that girl at work deserved everything she got. And so did her boss.

Rowena: Holy cow, how dumb was that girl?

Holly: That girl was a moron. For real.

Rowena: The thing that kept me frustrated was that the stuff at work happened more than once. I get not wanting to be the office snitch but hell, don’t be the office bitch eithe/r. Stand up for yourself. Put that bitch in her place. I’ve had to do that and it’s not easy but it needs to be done sooner rather than later because that shit is not cool. At all. Those people are messing with your livelihood. Don’t let them. I kept wanting to yell at Fiona to cut that bitch up (professionally, of course…can you cut a bitch up professionally? Eh, you know what I mean) and I felt like it took too long for her to fix that shit.

cut you like bad bangs

 

Holly: I completely agree. She needed to stand up for herself way sooner than she did. That was no time to be timid and wait for something to magically change on its own.

Rowena: I did like her office friend Alice. We all need someone at work like Alice.

Holly: Yes, Alice was great and I’m glad Fiona had someone she could talk to.

Rowena: As far as the romance goes? I liked it. I liked that their feelings for each other weren’t in question. It was dealing with the dynamics of their lives that was the issue. She lives in New York, he lives in New Orleans. Him being on the road all the time, her hating that lifestyle because of the issues she had with it growing up. That world is so foreign to me so I found that part of their romance quite interesting. I wish I had the kind of money where if my bestie in New York City needed me, I’d be on the first flight out there. To bad for you, since if you need me, you have to settle for phone calls and cyber hugs. Sigh.

Holly: Ha. I wish we could afford to fly to each other every weekend. I will say, I loved that they were both willing to do that for each other.

The romance was sweet. They had good chemistry and a solid understanding of how the other worked.

Rowena: I thought that Callihan handled Dex’s story incredibly well. His insecurities and his background made perfect sense and sold me on Ethan Dexter as a whole. I loved the person that he grew up to be…and I really loved that his friendship with Grey and Drew was solid and long lasting.

Holly: I agree. Dex was wonderful. One of the best aspects of this entire series is the friendship between the guys. I love that they’ve maintained it even after their lives split and they ended up in different cities and on different teams.

Rowena: OMG, what about how Dex flew to San Francisco to watch the baby so that Gray and Ivy can catch up on their sleep? Gah. He’s the best.

Holly: I LOVED THAT! When he was like “I know babies and you need help” I about died. I want a Dex!

I loved Fiona. I loved Dex. Like, OMFG LOVED him. I thought the major drama toward the end of the book – or, more specifically, Fiona’s reaction to it – was a bit disappointing, but that didn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the book. I loved the way their romance developed and I wanted to see them work it out.

All About the Fairytale

I’m going to give this a 4 out of 5

Rowena: Like you, I really enjoyed this book. I loved Dex. I loved Fiona. I loved getting all of the Gray and Ivy and Baby Grayson bits. The romance between Dex and Fiona was hot and believable and my favorite part of the entire book. The minor disappointments of the happenings at Fi’s work didn’t take too much away from my enjoyment of the book because in the end, that revenge rocked my socks.

I’m giving this book 4.25 out of 5.

Final Grades

Holly :  4/5
Rowena : 4.25/5

four-stars


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Joint Review: Falling from the Sky by Sarina Bowen

Posted March 23, 2015 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Joint Review: Falling from the Sky by Sarina BowenReviewer: Holly and Rowena
Falling From the Sky by Sarina Bowen
Series: Gravity #2
Published by Rennie Road Books
Publication Date: February 1st 2015
Pages: 266
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-stars

She's the woman he doesn't remember. He's the man she can't forget.
Bad boy Hank “Hazardous” Lazarus used to have everything: a gorgeous girlfriend, a career as a freestyle snowboarder and a spot on the US Olympic team. Nine months ago, after a bad crash in the half pipe, he woke up in the hospital, unable to move his legs. Now he’s landed there again, but gravity is not the culprit. With his family pressuring him to try a groundbreaking treatment, Hank self-medicates with too much tequila instead.
Doctor Callie Anders has the courage to restart a patient’s heart with a thousand volts of electricity, yet she’s afraid to risk her own. So she doesn’t confess to the clinic's newest patient they they met just before the accident, an encounter that he doesn’t remember. Even as their friendship develops, she won’t admit that she regrets turning down his dinner invitation, or that her heart stutters every time those inked shoulders roll through the door of the therapy department.
With another Vermont winter coming again, Hank needs a hand out from under the avalanche of his disappointments. If only Callie were brave enough to take the job.
This book is a standalone novel, no cliffhangers, no prior experience necessary.
"One of the highlights of my 2014 reading year." —Jane Litte at DearAuthor.com
"4.5 stars. Hank and Callie are an inspiration to love stories everywhere. HOT." — RT (Romantic Times) Book Reviews
"What a book! I’m always looking for different, inspiring, more in my books and Sarina Bowen delivers every time." — The Bookish Babe
"Sexy and heartwarming, Falling From the Sky is a story of redemption, trust and falling in love." — Mandi Schreiner of SmexyBooks
Keywords: contemporary romance, sexy romance, medical, sports, snowboarding, Vermont, sports romance, snowboard, spinal cord injury.

Warning: This review contains spoilers! 

Holly: I think the blurb outlines the story pretty well, so there’s no need to recap.

I’ve been in a weird contemporary funk lately, so I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to read this book when I started it. I’m really glad I gave it at try, though, since it ended up being really good.

Rowena:  I think I was getting close to burning out on paranormals so I took a break from them and picked up some contemporary NA. This one came up and I was so glad that I picked it up because Bowen delivered another story that I fell into so easily.

Holly: I really like that we got a glimpse of who Hank was prior to his accident, then watched him try to rebuild (but mostly wallow) after. I have to say, I cringed when he hit the halfpipe. My back hurt in sympathy.

Rowena: I’m with you on being glad to see Hank before the accident. To get that glimpse into the person he was BEFORE the accident. One of my favorite scenes in the book is when Hank is explaining the person he was before the accident to Callie. When he was trying to explain to her why she would have been on his radar back then. His explanation made me swoon a little. I really liked how both him and Callie tackled their issues….by just living through them.

Holly:  I liked his reasons for not remembering Callie. It showed a lot more depth than I expected based on his reaction when he first met her. Though I’m not surprised Callie read the situation wrong since she was so hard on herself. I thought his reaction to having sex (and maybe not being able to) as well. That really rang true for me.

Rowena: I also really liked his reasons for not remembering Callie. I liked that whole speech he gave her and how straight up he was with Callie. There was no trying to sooth Callie’s hurt feelings or smooth things over. He was up front about everything with her. Damn, I feel like I’m making a list. I love this and this and this and this…but anyway, I also really liked every time Hank tried to get jiggy with Callie. He was a big time flirt and I loved it.

Holly: I like that Hank worked things out for himself – his new normal, I mean. No one guided him through, he just realized things on his own. I liked how dirty he was, too. Trying to seduce Callie in the therapy pool and stuff. Good on him.

Rowena: I thought it was super cute how excited he was after the first time they had sex. His reaction to all of that was priceless.

Sarina Bowen did such a great job of showing how hard things got for Hank both physically and mentally after he was injured. Seeing him go through physical therapy and enter the program with no real desire to be apart of it. I was right there with him through it all and I fell in love with him a little more with each passing page.

The thing about Hank was the wheelchair didn’t define him. He was still Hank, just a different version of himself and I loved seeing him come to terms with that. I loved seeing him going after what he wanted (Callie) like a man because too many people looked at him like he was less and he really wasn’t.

Holly: That was my favorite part of the book; Hank realizing he was more than his chair. I really loved that he decided to accept his new situation, and work with what he had.

Rowena: I also really liked Callie. She was just all around great.

Holly:  I liked Callie, but I didn’t really understand why she had the issues she did. Okay, she was too busy studying to really have a social life. I get that. But still, her self-confidence is not what I thought it would be based on her age and profession.

Rowena: Hmm, I never thought about that but you’re right. Why did Callie have the hang ups that she did? Because Hank didn’t remember the first time they met? Or was it solely because of her douche of an ex? Which, kudos to Bowen for giving him what he deserves. Remember when Sherrilyn Kenyon used to make the douche exes suffer at the hands of the new guy? Ha, oh man I loved those…and I loved that Bowen made sure we saw that Peter (that was his name, right?) didn’t get off easy.

Holly: Ha! Those were my favorite scenes in Kenyon’s books. I love it when the exes get their comeuppance. I like that Nathan (that’s the ex’s name, not Peter) got his in the end, too. Served him right. That’s another thing..how was he having a midlife crisis at 30? He’s a doctor, FCOL. He’d have just barely been out of med school. Makes no sense.

I loved her sense of humor, though. She had some of the best zingers. I also liked that she stood up for Hank right from the beginning.

Rowena: I think what I liked most about Callie, outside of her humor, was the way that Hank was just a man to her. She never treated him as anything other than a man.

Holly: I agree, Hank was just a man to Callie. I like that her eyes were opened to the ways people in wheelchairs are treated, but for her they were just people like everyone else. It wasn’t like she was trying too hard or faking it, either. For her, it just didn’t matter.

Rowena:  You know what I didn’t like? Bear (Hank’s best friend) bringing Hank’s ex over. WTF was that about?

Holly:  Okay, at first I was super pissed at Bear for bringing Hank’s ex, too. But then I thought about it a little. He wanted to be a serious filmmaker and he was offered the opportunity to shoot a tourism video for the state of Vermont, which was a paying job. Hank’s ex was an athlete and I’m assuming the state hired her, too. So he probably didn’t have a choice. He could have given Hank a heads up, but I’m sure he figured Hank would hide if he knew, so I forgave him for that. I also forgave him for bringing he over to Hank’s house with him because 1) he wanted Hank to see he wasn’t missing anything (which he wasn’t) and 2) he said he couldn’t take anymore of her on his own (which I believed…she was a piece of work).  In the end, he did Hank a favor. Hank was hung up on her, not because of her, I don’t think, but because she represented his old life. Plus, as he said, he’d forgotten all the bad about her and was wallowing about losing such a great girl. Which, hello…no.

Rowena: Bear had a choice. He could have told the ex, hell I’m terrible with names today because I can’t remember Hank’s ex’s name either. And haha, now I remember Callie’s ex was Nathan so thanks for that, that she was on her own for the night. He didn’t have to bring her at all but you are right that bringing her did Hank a favor in letting him see for himself that he wasn’t missing out on anything. I liked that he was mad at Bear for bringing her over not because he was still hung up on her but because it chased Callie away.

Holly: I agree that Bear had a choice, but he didn’t know about Callie. He watched his friend brood and mope for close to a year over a girl who wasn’t worth it – so he decided to do something about it. Was it cool? No. But I get his heart was in the right place. But yeah, I love that Hank was worried about Callie disappearing more than anything else.

Rowena: When Bear brought over the ex, it wasn’t Callie that I was initially pissed off about. It was Hank. Hank was going through some major emotional drama and I was pissed that Bear brought his past right back into his world. I got over that when I realized that it was exactly what Hank needed but at first? I wanted to punch Bear in his stupid bearded face.

Holly: I get what you’re saying. I was pissed at first, too. I just got over it as soon as I realized what his motivation was.

Holly: Can I be shallow for a minute? Hank has got to be one of the least sexy names, ever. It makes me think of someone blowing their nose.

Rowena:  LOL, I hear you about Hank especially because that’s my brother’s name and even he hates it.

Holly: OMG, how hilarious was the end? I totally cracked up when Callie was like “Did you have to jump it!” and then on screen he was like “Yes, I had to.”  Ha!

Rowena:  The ending was great too. That whole thing with the movie and Hank’s thing at the end was all icing on an already great cake.

I’m really looking forward to reading the other books in this series. I’m going to dig into Dane and Willow’s story once I finish with the book that I’m reading right now. I can’t wait!

Holly: I’m really looking forward to the other books, too. I started Dane and Willow’s book. It’s early yet, but I’m already enjoying it.

Rowena: Overall, this book was great. I thought the pacing of the romance between Hank and Callie was good and the actual romance between the two was sweet. The set up for Bear and Stella’s book was done well too and it’s that book that I’m mostly looking forward to.

Grade: 4.0 out of 5

Holly: I was bothered by Callie’s self-esteem issues and a few other minor things, but overall I really enjoyed this, too. Their romance was sweet and I really liked Hank’s personal journey.

Grade: 3.75 out of 5

Holly’s Grade: 3.75
Rowena’s Grade: 4.0

four-stars


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Review: Tempting the Player by Kat Latham

Posted November 6, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 2 Comments

Review: Tempting the Player by Kat LathamReviewer: Holly
Tempting the Player by Kat Latham
Series: London Legends #3
Published by Carina Press
Publication Date: November 10th 2014
Pages: 166
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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four-half-stars

Libby Hart and Matt Ogden are perfect for each other—as friends. They've known each other for ages. They act as each other's plus-ones. They even share custody of a dog. And if there's always been a little spark between them, so what? It's never been worth jeopardizing their friendship.
Professional rugby player Matt is fighting for a starter position with the London Legends—and that's not the only thing he's fighting. A crippling fear of flying means he's struggling to get his career off the ground. He has no time for a relationship, even if Libby does make him ache. As an airline pilot, Libby's looking for a stay-at-home husband so she can have a family without sacrificing her high-flying career. Matt's certainly not that man.
But just because they don't have a future together doesn't mean they can't have a right now. When Matt asks Libby for help overcoming his fear, they agree to take a vacation from their platonic relationship—whenever they fly together, they can have sex. It's the perfect way to resolve all that built-up tension. As long as they can avoid getting a little too comfortable…

I’m really loving this series. 1) Hot professional rugby players. 2) Independent, career-minded women. 3) Hot Rugby players. Did I mention the rugby players? 

I’m a big fan of friends-to-lovers stories. Especially when the friends in question are really close friends. Matt and Libby are the best of friends. They’re neighbors and they often share their thoughts and feelings, along with joint custody of a dog. Matt didn’t realize how important Libby was to him until he has a panic attack on an airplane during some particularly rough turbulence and the team doctor tells him to picture his happy place, and that turns out to be Princess, the dog, and Libby.

His career was on a fast track upward until he got divorced and a breakdown ruined his chances of staying with his team. He traded to the London Legends, a move everyone expected to be mutually beneficial. But for five years he’s done nothing to standout. He occasionally shows flashes of brilliance on the pitch, but more often than not he’s unremarkable in every way. Until his chief rival for a starting position has to take an unexpected leave and Matt finally gets his chance to prove he’s worthy to start. Unfortunately his fear of flying is really putting a damper on his career. How can he be a starting player when he can’t even fly with the team to the games?

Libby didn’t know about Matt’s fear of flying until one of his teammates mentions it in her presence. When he asks her for help overcoming his fear, she’s happy to help. Except, she’s been dealing with an uncomfortable attraction to Matt for some time. One that’s been escalating at a rapid pace since Matt saw her naked. Being alone with him in a small aircraft doesn’t seem like such a good idea. Especially since Matt’s a career man and Libby is looking for a mate who will be willing to stay home and look after their family, so she can focus on her career. Until they decide to use their mutual attraction as a way to relieve Matt’s tension about flying. While they’re home, it’ll be business as usual – no inappropriate touching or couple-like activities. But after they fly together, all bets are off. Except, keeping things separate is never easy, especially since they had a mutual caring for one another to begin with.

I thought Libby was great. She’s a pilot who isn’t afraid to go after what she wants professionally. She’s strong and independent, but also kind and caring. Her feelings for Matt were complicated. She truly thought of him as a dear friend and she wanted the best for him. While she was attracted to him, she realized he wasn’t looking for the same things she was in life and didn’t push the issue or build castles in the sky about him. I did think it was rather shortsighted of her to expect a man to give up a career for her so she could focus on hers. Not that I didn’t applaud her for having ambition, but the expectations she had were a bit ridiculous. Nothing in her life would change, yet she’d have a husband and children? I’m glad Matt pointed this out to her and made her face exactly what that would mean for her in terms of her relationship with her spouse and future children. I definitely empathized with her need to start a family soon, however, since she was 35.

I have to be honest and say it was Matt who made this story for me. He loves a toy Chihuahua, is afraid to fly and has insecurities that made him seem cute and sweet. Plus, he was a badass rugby player. Such a winning combination. Though he’s several years younger than Libby (6, I think, though I can’t remember for sure) he was more self-aware about a lot of things. It wasn’t surprising that he didn’t want to face his fears and insecurities, but I admired the way he rallied when he could no longer keep his head in the sand. I also liked how honest he was with Libby. Not just about himself, but in his feelings about her and their situation. He didn’t pretend they had nothing, or scoff at her dreams. Instead he put it out there that he cared about her but wasn’t looking for the same things she was at that point in time. That he was vulnerable and in need of direction only added to his appeal. 

The role reversal, friends-to-lovers theme, strong characters and open and honest development of the relationship really drew me in. It isn’t often I read a book and close it with such a deep sense of satisfaction. Definitely a winning read.

4.5 out of 5

four-half-stars


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Joint Review: The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan

Posted October 17, 2014 by Holly in Reviews | 5 Comments

Joint Review: The Hook Up by Kristen CallihanReviewer: Holly and Rowena
The Hook Up by Kristen Callihan
Series: Game On #1
Also in this series: The Friend Zone, The Game Plan, The Hot Shot

Publication Date: September 8th 2014
Genres: New Adult
Pages: 352
Buy on Amazon | Barnes & Noble
Goodreads
four-half-stars

The rules: no kissing on the mouth, no staying the night, no telling anyone, and above all… No falling in love.

Anna Jones just wants to finish college and figure out her life. Falling for star quarterback Drew Baylor is certainly not on her to do list. Confident and charming, he lives in the limelight and is way too gorgeous for his own good. If only she could ignore his heated stares and stop thinking about doing hot and dirty things with him. Easy right?
Too bad he’s committed to making her break every rule…
Football has been good to Drew. It’s given him recognition, two National Championships, and the Heisman. But what he really craves is sexy yet prickly Anna Jones. Her cutting humor and blatant disregard for his fame turns him on like nothing else. But there’s one problem: she's shut him down. Completely.
That is until a chance encounter leads to the hottest sex of their lives, along with the possibility of something great. Unfortunately, Anna wants it to remain a hook up. Now it’s up to Drew to tempt her with more: more sex, more satisfaction, more time with him. Until she’s truly hooked. It's a good thing Drew knows all about winning.
All’s fair in love and football…Game on.

Warning: This is a review filled mostly with Rowena and I gushing about the hero of this book. Read on at your own risk.

Holly:  Let me start by saying I love Drew Baylor. He absolutely,  100% made this book for me. Usually I have to have a connection to the heroine, too, no matter how small. But I don’t think I’d have cared if Anna was a stone-cold bitch. I still would have loved this book just because of Drew. Not that I’m saying Anna was one, but you get what I mean.

Rowena: I agree. I would have loved Drew if Anna was freaking Cruella DuVille but it’s a good thing that I came to like her character. If anyone drove me up the wall in this book, it was Anna. I understood where she was coming from but holy crap, that constant back and forth and doubt drove me bonkers. I wanted her to make a decision long before she did. Was she going to trust Drew or not?

Holly: I got frustrated with Anna, too, but not as much as you did. I understood where she was coming from, especially after she went home to see her mother.  Between her being overweight and a socially awkward dork in high school, and the way her mom latched on to men and gave up everything for them, I would have been surprised if she hadn’t been turned off relationships.

Rowena: Meh, I understood it but it didn’t stop me from being annoyed that Anna kept those doubts long into their relationship. She held back for too long to suit me.

Holly: But we had the added benefit of seeing things from Drew’s point-of-view. Anna didn’t. Even Drew admits he wasn’t upfront about his intentions right now away. Plus, she admits how he makes her feel.

Drew doesn’t make me feel like myself. He makes me feel better than myself. As if there is a little broken part of me, rattling and loose, and whenever he’s near it falls into place and tightens.

Rowena: That’s true, but it drove me bat shit crazy when things were going great and then after a talk with her bestie, Iris, the doubts are right back in our lives.

I wanted to scream at her, “You’re really going to listen to her? SHE’S DATING THAT DOUCHEBAG HENRY!!!”

Holly: Let’s talk about Iris for a second. Why in the world was that girl with Henry? I will never understand why girls stay with d-bags. When she walked in on him with another girl, I cheered. Then I had to bang my head against the wall when they got back together. Had she paid even a small amount of attention to how he acted with Anna, she would have realized his cheating on her wasn’t a one-off.

Rowena: I thought that we’d get Iris’ story somewhere in the series but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen. I guess she’s really going to end up with douchebag Henry….sucks for her.

Holly: I wondered if Iris would end up with one of the players from the team. Maybe Callihan will surprise us?

Rowena: This is a trilogy, right? Or is it an open-ended series? The blurbs that I read so far were for other players on the team, no Iris in sight on any of those blurbs. Not even a book for Iris’s twin, George. I liked him.

Holly: I’m not sure if she plans to go past the three books. I wouldn’t mind a book for George and Iris. Maybe novellas?

Rowena: I do want to see what George gets into when he moves to New York but I’d be okay with not getting a book (novella or not) for Iris…I was surprised she didn’t get one but I’m not mad about it. She stayed with Henry. Pukey.

Let’s talk about Drew’s point-of-view for a minute…LOL. I about swooned when he said,

“I’m not going to say that it was love at first sight. No, it was more like, oh, hell-yes-please, I’ll have that. With a helping of right-the-fuck-now on the side.”

swoon

Right from the very beginning, I loved Drew. I thought he was a great guy and it was refreshing to find a normal guy with normal guy worries in a NA.  Usually, it’s all gloom and doom in the NA books that I read. It was a nice change, getting to know someone like Drew. I adored him. Of course, it helped that he was super hot…haha and the star quarterback.

Holly: I loved Drew from page one.  Like you, that quote sealed it for me. I loved how he was this super star quarterback who never had trouble with the ladies, but with Anna he was all tongue-tied and bone headed. It was refreshing that he wasn’t closed off to love and relationships. I really just wanted to wrap him up and put him in my pocket.

I think it was good we got to see both of them having struggles, while the other propped them up. I don’t know if I would have believed in the sustainability of their relationship if it had ended with Anna waking up and agreeing to be with Drew. She needed to see his vulnerability to realize she was needed by him as well, and to prove her staying power. She didn’t run when things got tough.

Anna was definitely saved for me in the second half of the book. When she committed, that was it. She was all in. If she hadn’t, there’s no way I could have overlooked how reticent she was in the beginning.I loved how fierce she was, too. When they got into that giant fight and Drew was being such a jerk, my heart melted for Anna. Her reaction was just right. I ended up adoring her.

Rowena: Oh, I forgot about the fight but you’re right. I loved that she stayed and fought it out with him. I loved that she didn’t let her fears from before resurface and push them apart. I loved that she was willing to fight for them, even when he wasn’t. She won me over by duking it out with his coach but you’re right, she was freaking awesome after that fight. She handled that whole thing far better than I ever could.

What about those love scenes though? Daaaaaammmmmmnnnn Drew.

Holly: Oh yeah, the love scenes were smoking hot.  Their first one had me all kinds of warm. And their makeup sex was off the charts, too.

Rowena: I’m pretty anxious for Gray’s book now. Did you read that excerpt in the back of The Hook Up? Awww, it sounds so cute.

Holly: I did read Gray’s excerpt. I can’t wait for his book. Man, I spent the majority of this book just wanting to cuddle him.

Rowena: What would you grade this one? It was a 4.5 for me. If I didn’t stay mad at Anna for a good chunk of the book, this would have been a 5 star read for me.

Holly: I think I’m going to give it a 4.5 also. There were some minor frustrations with Anna and the middle dragged a bit, but Drew. Sigh. Drew.

Rowena’s Grade: 4.5
Holly’s Grade: 4.5 

four-half-stars


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