Review: Downed by @JenSFred Jen Frederick

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Redemption. In everyday life, that particular word is almost synonymous to “revenge” or “forgiveness.” In reality, though, redemption is more than that. It’s about learning to live with past mistakes, forging a happier future based on the lessons learned, and getting back up on one’s feet and winning against the odds. Jen Frederick showed us all of those qualities in a man and more in the third book in her Gridiron series, “Downed.”

I’ll be honest witcha. When I first read this book’s blurb, I was highly skeptical that I’d like it. I mean, c’mon, really? A Southern belle takes on college-aged boys and makes it her personal mission to transform them from jerk to gentleman? Puhleeze. Then again, I have been proven wrong time and again by Ms. Frederick, so I one-clicked it, despite my personal apprehension.

After only 5 pages into “Downed,” I was hooked. Desperately hooked. This was good, people. Really good. (Okay, I sounded a bit like Trump there, but it really was very, very good!) JR “Ace” Anderson found his way back to being less of a jerk, after being the bad-guy-extraordinaire in “Jockblocked,” and his lady-love, Bryant Johnson, also redeemed herself from perpetual do-gooder to just plain ol’ human. I loved it. I really did. (Okay, okay, I’ll stop the annoying Trump-isms.)

There was one (glaring, yet) minor editing error that I couldn’t help wondering about (e.g., Ace was supposedly moving to Ty Masters’ school, MU, according to book 2, but in book 3, they were suddenly both in Southern U). However, it’s an error worth ignoring. There’s just nothing better than a warm blanket, a fully-charged e-book reader, and a really good and ultra-sexy Jen Frederick book to keep one company at night. Well…….. okay, there are better things out there, but “Downed” is not a bad alternative (fact).

Okay, I’ll stop now.
4 stars

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Review: Jockblocked by @JenSFred Jen Frederick

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Continuing my self-professed love for all things Jen Frederick, I went plunging ahead with book 2 of her Gridiron series, “Jockblocked,” straight after finishing “Sacked.” Happiness: so freakin’ unlocked.

Ms. Frederick’s stories just compel me to finish, finish, finish, every time I open a new work of hers up. That’s why I have to be careful and not start a Jen Frederick book at 9pm, or else I suffer self-inflicted consequences (i.e., GREAT dreams, but hellish mornings-after). Nonetheless, I enjoyed every single moment of Jockblocked.

If I were a nitpicker with extreme OCD, I’d be disturbed that Ellie’s (heroine from “Sacked”) brother’s name was suddenly changed from “Jack Campbell” in book 1 to “Jack Camaron” in book 2. I may also be disturbed by the weird error made also in Jockblocked’s heroine, Lucy’s, name. On the author’s website, Lucy’s last name is Washington, but all throughout the book, she’s “Lucy Watson.” What is up with these names? Dunno. And I choose not to care, for after all, what’s in a name?

Matthew “Matty” Iverson and Lucy Watson’s story was easy to read, highly enjoyable, very sexy, and, if I were to be (too) honest, a bit trite. Its triteness, however, is not annoying or hampering in any way. There’s a reason why “sports romance” IS a genre. The way Ms. Frederick writes makes the story flow quickly, with the reader being enraptured in it whilst turning the pages. I don’t know why the author chose to make Ace Anderson, the erstwhile QB featured in book 1, the bad guy in this, together with their football coach, Coach Lowe (who came out as extremely selfish and weird – in the way that he expected Matty to resolve his team’s issues regarding Ace’s eventual demotion as starting QB. Then, in a later stage of the book, Lowe declares that the football team is his, not Matty’s or his teammates, despite him not interacting with his team when he’s causing a problem amongst it). But, hey, I suppose it’s better than the even more hackneyed plot of having petty jealousies come between the book’s main characters.

Lest I end this review with seemingly critical viewpoints, I want to finish by 4 starssaying: Jen Frederick, I really, really, REALLY liked this one. I’m slooooooowly chewing my way through “Downed” (book 3) now, seeing how book 4 is still eons away (i.e., September 2017). May the force be with you and may we please get more Gridiron books. Please.

Review: Sacked by Jen Frederick @JenSFred

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I loved this book. I read it in one sitting.

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sleepy

Sorry, I snoozed there for a bit, particularly because I haven’t slept yet. Jen Frederick, if you’re reading this: you’re all kinds of amazeballs. Because of you, I now know that I really am a glutton for insta-love and that book-heroes are better than reality.

Sacked” features college All-American football player, Knox Masters, and good girl, Elliot “Ellie” Campbell. Ms. Frederick’s portrayal of a virgin football player and his first lover is a marked difference from this one. I suppose because Ms. Frederick thanked Kristen Callihan for giving her inspiration to write a sports-themed novel, we ought to thank Ms. Callihan, too, because “Sacked” is heads and shoulders above “The Game Plan.” Ms. Frederick gave us a bit of drama, but not too much. Frankly, I still don’t understand why Ellie helping her brother, Jack, out in his non-graded collegiate academic pursuits is such a big issue. I mean, hello, Trump is currently accusing non-existent “fly” voters for causing him the popular vote in the 2016 election. And, there are unanswered charges of corruption in the Philippine Immigration Bureau. But, then again, who am I to assume what is considered a big or small controversy in American sports?

I digress, though. While there are some elements of OTT in this book (e.g., the 4 starspredictably oft-repeated theme of terrible parents to Jack and Ellie), they’re forgivable. I breezed through Know and Ellie’s story – thankful that their HEA was easily achieved, and that Knox and Ellie, despite their young age, have the potential to be our society’s ideals of a sporting romantic success. I gave one huge big sigh after I finished the book, and am now heartily diving through the next book in this “Gridiron” series.

P.S. I already bought the third book in the series on my e-reader, but I’m trying to delay my own reading gratification, as the fourth book, which is supposed to feature Ty Masters (Knox’s identical twin), is scheduled to come out in September 2017. SEPTEMBER 2017, people! Sigh.

Review: The Ghost by @MonicaMcCarty

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When Kellyanne Conway talked about “alternative facts” last weekend, that’s when I was 100% sure I’m right: she reads Monica McCarty’s books. No way in heaven, earth, purgatory, or hell would this seemingly cunning/smart political lobbyist and current U.S. Presidential top aide be referring to U.S. Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s tirade/lecture to the U.S. media last weekend (about the pictures showing U.S. President Trump’s less than impressive inauguration crowd attendees) as “alternative facts.” To Trump et. al., the fact is 1.5 million billion trillion people watched him get inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America.

Yeah.

Jesus, help us.

Praying

Anyway, I still like Ms. McCarty’s alternative facts better, as depicted in all 12 of her Highland Guard books. “The Ghost,” the last of those reimagined and romanticized truths about Scotland’s history, is the culmination of her addicted readers’ (a.k.a. me) adventures in 14th century Europe. It tells the story of Alex Seton, former Scottish Highland Guard, and Joan Comyn, secret spy for the Scots. As the closing to a great historical romance series, I cannot complain about “The Ghost.”

In my opinion, it was certainly a thousand times better than its preceding book, “The Rock.” Where “The Rock” featured a wishy-washy idiotic heroine, “The Ghost” celebrates a woman who was the very definition of the word “heroine.” While there were times that I glossed over the lengthy inner monologues and some corny parts that the author has generously given, I still find myself devouring the story quickly, in order to: (a) find out 4 starshow Alex resolves his internal struggle (and wishy-washiness), and (b) find out how Robert The Bruce finally unites Scotland. All-in-all, a great fictional read in the face of today’s non-fictional scary world.

Review: Happily Ever Ninja by Penny @ReidRomance

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I liked this. It was an over-exaggerated rendering of what marriages look like, and a subtly unsubtle lecture on what the author thinks couples ought to do to make their marriages work (i.e., they should work harder; compromise x10; love unconditionally; be patient x1,000; have fun). Frankly, I agree with Penny Reid‘s unsubtle hints – which is also precisely why I don’t ever want to be married.

But I digress. “Happily Ever Ninja” features Fiona and Greg Archer, the couple who is married for the longest amount of time within Fiona’s knitting circle. In this book, they go through a series of impossible challenges (i.e., the couple lying to each other; having differing views on how to raise their kids and how to invest their savings to get higher returns; Greg getting kidnapped in Nigeria; Fiona rescuing him using her highly-trained CIA operative skills; Greg anesthetizing her without her consent; Greg leaving her behind while in the middle of nowhere; etc. etc. etc.) that test their marriage and love – challenges they surpass unsurprisingly well, since this is, after all, a romance novel.

Do you note my cynicism? Well, yes, it’s there, particularly because I couldn’t suspend my disbelief throughout their entire tale. Don’t get me wrong, though. “HEN” is very well-written and there weren’t any of my usual pet peeves (e.g., annoying/trying girlfriends, excessive and unnecessary angst-ridden inner monologues). It’s just highly unbelievable and idealistic. Then, again, that’s why I read romances – to get that feeling of “goddammit, happily ever after is real!” Hence, my conflicted attitude towards it and a 3-star rating.

Review: Love in Lingerie by @ReadAlessandra Torre

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Love in Lingerie” by Alessandra Torre is a slow-burning love story. It features business owner, Trey Marks, and fashion creative director, Kate Martin, both of whom, in the course of only several seconds, fall in lust, but also whom, in the course of several years, finally fall in love. It’s a different type of love story. It feels real, particularly because the characters are heavily, heavily flawed. It feels fresh, in a way that it doesn’t follow the typical contemporary love story formula. Mostly, however, it feels… weird.

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Because the book was almost too real for me, I didn’t quite get myself as invested and immersed in Trey and Kate’s story. Sure, there were the hot, sexy scenes that Ms. Torre is known for; there was also that element of “will they or won’t they?” that I’m sure was meant to keep the reader in suspense. TBH, I just skipped a lot of the inner monologues and zoomed my way thru the dialogues. I mean, as soon as I found a quotation mark on the e-page, I was right there, man. I still got the story. And, in the end, I went from a “meh”-star to a 3-star rating.

Would I continue reading more of Ms. Torre’s books? Yes, I absolutely would. After all, I’m still in the search and in the hopes of another wow-zer such as her “Black Lies.” Would I recommend “Love in Lingerie” to anyone else? Yes, but only if that other person has read other Torre books. It’s not for a first-time Torre reader, in my opinion. There’s a chance that someone might not like it as there are traces of infidelity in it. Moreover, there were those weird moments in the book where the hero and heroine fight their physical attraction towards one another, and yet they “quality assess” the women’s lingerie they make in the name of “research.” Trey, at one point, was also into the sub-underworld type of sexual athletics, plus a bit of BDSM, too.

All in all, Ms. Torre’s latest book reminds me of3 stars how very human her fictional characters are. This may be some readers’ cuppa tea; others might be wary. I, for one, like it, but am now looking for fiction that is fun, lighthearted, and, well, stays in fiction. Realism be damned.

Review: Egomaniac by @ViKeeland

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I am seriously in love. With Vi Keeland and her books. Her latest offering, “Egomaniac,” was exceptionally and cleanly written, funny yet though-provoking, and is just all-around sexy.

What I especially love about reading Ms. Keeland’s books is that there’s minimal angst and self-imposed drama. No annoying best girl-friend who can mess a girl around with lousy advices and meddling “good intentions.” No exceptionally bad or poor portrayals of women (as far as I’m concerned, that is). And, most importantly, no inner monologues that last an entire trek through the Sahara desert. The characters’ dialogues make sense, thus making this a fun, easy, and relaxing read.

“Egomaniac” features a loyal yet naive relationship counselor, Emerie Rose, and a cynical divorce lawyer, Drew Jagger. Now, if you know me personally, you’d know that I have read hundreds upon hundreds of romances, and now have the dubious ability of having book endings pre-written in my head. Of course, there’ll be a happily-ever-after, but how they get there is almost always predictable. Not for Emerie and Drew, though. Ms. Keeland had a few surprises, twists, and turns hidden for her readers in this one. I had originally thought this was just a straight love-hate relationship story, where the hero and heroine get to live in New York City’s Park Avenue forever. Was I wrong.

I loved this book. I fall continuously and hopelessly in love with happily ever afters, all thanks to Vi Keeland. 5 stars

 

P.S. I had the tiniest hope that there’d be a longer epilogue (i.e., what happened to the Park Avenue office space that’s been rented to a member of Drew’s family for several generations?; how many kids do they eventually have?; etc.)

P.P.S. The book is tagged as “A Tight Spaces novel.” I’m also hoping this is a new series, and the next book will feature Drew’s BF, Roman. Fingers and toes crossed!