by Jen Frederick
Published by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform on February 4, 2016
Genres: Romance, Romantic Comedy, Coming of Age
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She's always played it safe... College junior Lucy Washington abides by one rule-avoid risk at all costs. She's cautious in every aspect of her life, from her health, to her mock trial team, to the boring guys she dates. When a brash, gorgeous jock walks into the campus coffeeshop and turns his flirt on, Lucy is stunned by the force of attraction. For the first time ever, she's willing to step out of her comfort zone, but can she really trust the guy who's determined to sweep her off her feet? He's always played around... Entering his last year of college eligibility, linebacker Matthew "Matty" Iverson has the team captaincy in his sights. And it's his for the taking, if he can convince his quarterback Ace Anderson to give up the starting position. Luckily, Matty already has an edge-the hottie he's lusting over just happens to be Ace's childhood best friend. Getting Lucy on his side and in his bed? Hell yeah. Matty is more than confident he can have both, but when he falls hard for Lucy, it's time for a new game plan: convince the woman of his dreams that she's not sleeping with the enemy.
Jockblocked is the second novel in the Gridiron series by USA Today bestselling author Jen Frederick. The story follows Lucy Washington, a college junior who works at a coffee shop, spends a great deal of time practicing for a mock trial, and steadfastly avoids jocks- especially the football players. Matthew Iverson is a star football player who plays defense, but when he meets Lucy studying in the coffee shop, he immediately moves into the position of offense. As Lucy tries to respect the wishes of her best friend Ace- the football team’s quarterback- and avoid his teammates, all while trying to manage her health issues and mock trial team, Matthew-or Matty-finds himself in the unique position of trying to pursue his interest in Lucy while keeping his own team together- by trying to convince Ace to leave his quarterback position.
From the moment Lucy and Matty meet in the coffeeshop, the metaphorical sparks fly and the chemistry between the two immediately pulled me into the story until I thought, “Oh yeah, this is going to be good.” I have read stories where the chemistry between the characters starts off strong, and then half-way through something changes and I have to struggle to detect the sizzling attraction between the two that the first half of the book promised.
That was NOT the case with Jockblocked.
Lucy was a compelling character in the sense that she was very believable- a mix of flawed and intriguing characteristics and morals. Lucy was adamant and consistent in her defense of her friends- she did not allow people to run rough-shod over her feelings, and she certainly did not say or do something that went against her firm beliefs in how a friend should behave or act. I respected Lucy for these beliefs, and respected Matty for understanding them as well. With that being said, Lucy realizing that what she had previously thought were strengths in her character but were well-rooted fears keeping her from taking chances, was what truly won her over for me.
Now, Matty Iverson…where do I begin with him? I have always been a fan of strong, alpha heroes who grin frequently, have a wicked sense of humor, dirty mouth, and are respectful and persistent. Matty was all of that and more! He won me over with that foot rub…seriously, I need that in my life. His character not only adapts to the health needs of the woman he desires in every sense of the word (what guy is that willing to go out to eat at a vegan restaurant?), but he demands that his friends respect her, and even sacrifices something he cares about to ensure her safety and well-being. Matty…you may have just won your spot on my next book boyfriends post.
Jockblocked was a humorous and sizzling mix of intense chemistry, laugh-out-loud moments, compelling characters, and non-stop fun! I literally could not put this book down. While I initially read it on my kindle, I loved it SO much that I am ordering the paperback version and the rest in the series along with it!
Five stars for Jockblocked! Racer
by Katy Evans
Published by KT PUBLISHING on November 24, 2017
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, Coming of Age
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A bad boy with something to prove.A woman with a mission.The race of their lives.The love of a lifetime.
I don't think his parents expected him to live up to his name?Racer Tate?but once he felt the adrenaline rush behind the wheel, he was addicted.
He's the fastest, fiercest driver around.
�Scouting new talent brings me to his doorstep... but his smile sends me to my knees.�
The sexy, mysterious Racer Tate is not the kind of man a girl like me falls for. He's secretive, reckless, elusive. But his proximity pushes me beyond reason, and his kiss....
This is our last chance to win, and he is our only hope. I'm supposed to watch him?make sure he doesn't get into trouble. But it's an impossible task. And now the one in heart wrenching, toe-curling, soul-crushing trouble is me. Because when your heart belongs to someone, their truths become your own, and their secrets become your salvation...or your curse.
He says he wants me. He says I'm the One. But he also thinks he'll break my heart, one piece at a time until it's gone.
Racer is a contemporary standalone novel by New York Times bestselling author Katy Evans. The story follows Lana, a twenty-two-year-old woman who is trying to keep the family business of racing professionally afloat. Unfortunately, without finding a driver for their team, the HW Racing Team may not see another season. This quandary sends Lana back to the States in search of someone to race for their team- a trip that sends her crashing- literally- into Racer Tate. Racer lives for the adrenaline rush fast cars provide and has earned a reputation among the illegal racing circuit as being one of the best drivers. So, when Lana approaches him about racing professionally with her team, he jumps on the opportunity. Of course, it isn’t just the promise of being able to drive at harrowing speeds that has Racer practically pumped with anticipation- it’s having the chance to grow closer to Lana and win her heart.
Racer Tate was a force of nature in this novel. His energy and intensity were consistent throughout the story. He was the first male protagonist in a romance novel that I have read about that has bipolar disorder. It was interesting to see how this disorder would play out in his professional life, as well as his romantic life. Lana has grown up the youngest of four children- with three older brothers, an ill father, and a mother who was no longer around. This has sort of forced Lana into a position of having to be strong, patient, and steady. Luckily, both Racer’s intensity and Lana’s steadiness help to balance each other. The chemistry was palpable between both characters and remained overwhelmingly present- there’s just no hiding something as raw and beautiful as the charged emotions between these two. While I usually don’t like male characters to be overly confident (as it often comes across as arrogant), Racer pulled it off nicely! In fact, Racer’s confidence and assurance in his ability to win Lana’s heart managed to snag mine in the process (hello new book boyfriend!).
What I also enjoyed about Racer was his consistency in the story. Racer kept me constantly engaged and sleep-deprived for a good couple of days. In fact, I’m quote confident that I strode into work a couple of days with blood-shot eyes and haphazard pony tails with a serious case of “book hangover”. Not surprisingly, I finished the novel faster than I would have liked because I enjoyed the characters so much. It was also refreshing to see two dominant and strong men (Racer and his father) being able to express their love for each other. Racer’s father is inspiring and admirable in his support of his son and the mental health issue he is facing. Also, Lana’s relationship with her father is equally warm and supportive. In this, both Racer and Lana have something in common.
In all, Racer was a fast-paced, humorous, and sizzling read that completely absorbed my world for a good couple of days. It also holds the current position in my life as the giver of a pretty solid book hangover. I’m going to need to cure this feeling pronto.
FIVE stars for Racer!! Elite
by Rachel Van Dyken
Series: Eagle Elite #1
Published by Grand Central Publishing on October 14th 2014
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, New Adult, Coming of Age, General
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For Tracey Rooks, life with her grandparents on a Wyoming farm has always been simple. But after her grandmother's death, Tracey is all her grandfather has. So when Eagle Elite University announces its annual scholarship lottery, Tracey jumps at the opportunity to secure their future and enters. She isn't expecting much-but then she wins. And life as she knows it will never be same . . .
The students at Eagle Elite are unlike any she's ever met . . . and they refuse to make things easy for her. There's Nixon, gorgeous, irresistible, and leader of a group that everyone fears: The Elect. Their rules are simple. 1. Do not touch The Elect. 2. Do not look at The Elect. 3. Do not speak to The Elect. No matter how hard she tries to stay away, The Elect are always around her and it isn't long until she finds out the reason why they keep their friends close and their enemies even closer. She just didn't realize she was the enemy -- until it was too late.
Elite by Rachel Van Dyken
Eagle Elite 1 of 8
Elite is the first novel in the Eagle Elite Series by #1 New York Times bestselling author Rachel Van Dyken, published by Forever Publishing on July 9, 2013. This also happens to be the first book that I have read by this author. I found this novel during one of my frequent, and numerous, visits to my local book store (see Trip to Portland). As I usually do, I first scour the bargain section looking to score a deal on a variety of titles and authors. It was during one of my bargain section walkabouts that I first noticed this novel. I can’t exactly pinpoint what drew me to first pick this book up- as you can see, there is a lot of intensity between both the characters on the cover, and the color scheme hints at mystery, passion, and intrigue. After reviewing the synopsis of the novel , which basically touches upon my initial first opinion of the book, I decided it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try. After all, I am all for discovering new authors.
The book starts off strong with the protagonist, Tracey Rooks, arriving at Eagle Elite University and meeting the university’s “Elect” members. The Elect, consisting of four predictably good-lucking guys, are apparently running the University and have a strange affinity for rules. In fact, you will hear these rules mentioned repeatedly throughout the book. I will admit to being intrigued by the Elect and their strange dynamic. Their parents are all in a position of power, which results in the University being watched by armed security guards. They are also, apparently, able to take control of when you’re allowed to eat lunch, what you’re able to eat for lunch, and limit the number of times you use an elevator. These bizarre actions are explained later in the book, by Nixon the protagonist’s love interest and leader of the Elect, as a way to “keep the peace” around campus. He continues to demonstrate unusual ways to respond to safety and peace by bullying Tracey throughout the novel. His constant barrage of personal attacks on her person results in Tracey being on the receiving end of peer brutality and humiliation. Nixon later explains that he humiliates her in an effort to “protect” her. Unfortunately, he does a rather poor job explaining the vagueness behind this reasoning. But, I kept on reading. As Polonius once stated in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, “there’s a method to his madness”. Considering this a possibility, I kept reading.
We later learn that Tracey Rooks is the only heir to one of three different mafia families. I imagine this accounts for the armed guards at Eagle Elite University and the domineering and superior attitude of the Elect, as they also happen to be embroiled in the three families. So, you would think that this discovery would push Nixon and Tracey closer together and thus end the bullying, right? Nope. Nixon continues being an ass to Tracey, despite the confessed feelings between the two. Tracey once again begins to feel sorry for herself rather than rallying and fighting back. It is a little frustrating, but I suppose as the series unravels, Tracey will begin to grow stronger as a character. There is a lot of promise between Nixon and Tracey, and their families provide constant mystery and contribute to the fast-paced plot. The promise of more danger and intrigue at the end of the novel did incite me to purchase the next two books in the series.
I would say that despite the constant mention of rules (which I think are my least favorite part of the book) and the irrational bullying on Nixon’s part in an effort to “protect” Tracey, the novel itself was well-written, the characters were strong, and the plot moved along nicely. I find myself intrigued to discover what the Alfero, Abandonato, and De Lange mafia families will find themselves embroiled in next. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a fast-paced romance that includes suspense and intrigue. For another review on a novel that is less romance and more suspense check out my review of Uninvited by Sophie Jordan!
This book is available on Amazon Instantly for the Kindle or Paper Back with Two-Day Shipping.