July Round Up

Monthly Mini Review

1001 (from 1001 Dark Nights) is in huge font and the 0s have a picture of a shirtless hot guy (head and shoulders) and a football on a field.Too Close to Call by Tessa Bailey – B Branded as part of the multi-author 1001 Dark Nights series (linked only by a Scheherazade-like prologue), this novella also fits within Ms. Bailey’s Romancing the Clarksons series. I haven’t read the other books in the series and I didn’t have any trouble following the story so it stands alone well. The blurb caught my eye: Guy gets drafted to the NFL from college and realises that it means nothing without the girl of his dreams – the girl who broke up with him in their senior year of high school and who he’s been pining after ever since. He decides he’s going to win her back and heads to his home town to do just that.

To mix my sports metaphors, what follows is a full court press. Kyler Tate has been faithful to Bree Sutton the entire four years they’ve been apart. He still doesn’t understand why she broke up with him after they’d made all these plans to go to college together. But either way, it doesn’t matter, he still loves her and will do whatever it takes to have her in his life.

First & Then by Emma Mills

A pattern of rainbow coloured raindrops around a white shape of a heartWhy I read it:  I borrowed this one from my local library.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Devon Tennyson wouldn’t change a thing. She’s happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon’s cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn’t want them: first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  Most of the book was sweet, charming and very engaging. But there was one thing which really bothered me. More on that later.

Devon Tennyson is a high school senior. She considers herself average, ordinary and uninspiring. Her parents are still together, they all get along well; no major traumas have really touched her life. She has no particular passion; there’s no career or sport or hobby she’s all that attached to. She has a huge unrequited crush on her best friend, Cassidy (Cas) but otherwise, she thinks there’s not much all that interesting about her. She’s wrong of course because everyone is interesting in one way or another but I get where she’s coming from. And, in the end, she celebrates about herself some of those things she bemoans when the book begins.

The Wall of Winnipeg and Me by Mariana Zapata, narrated by Callie Dalton

picture of a black football helmet against the hip of a guy in white football pants, on a football fieldWhy I read it:  I really enjoyed Kulti so I queued this one up hoping for another winner. I got it – but I liked Kulti better.

What it’s about: (from Goodreads)  Vanessa Mazur knows she’s doing the right thing. She shouldn’t feel bad for quitting. Being an assistant/housekeeper/fairy godmother to the top defensive end in the National Football Organization was always supposed to be temporary. She has plans and none of them include washing extra-large underwear longer than necessary.

But when Aiden Graves shows up at her door wanting her to come back, she’s beyond shocked.

For two years, the man known as The Wall of Winnipeg couldn’t find it in him to tell her good morning or congratulate her on her birthday. Now? He’s asking for the unthinkable.

What do you say to the man who is used to getting everything he wants?

What worked for me (and what didn’t):  I was expecting this to be a workplace romance. But, you guys! It was a marriage of convenience story (which is even better in my book). Vanessa Mazur has worked for Aiden Graves as his personal assistant for two years. Her job includes answering his emails, posting on his social media, cooking his vegan meals. He’s terse, uncommunicative and opaque. She’s been saving so that she can pursue her work as a graphic designer. She has been doing graphic design after hours and has finally saved up a year’s salary so that she can launch her own business full time. She’s planning on leaving and even gives notice, but when she overhears Aiden’s shitty manager, Trevor, talking about her and notes that Aiden’s response to Trevor’s words are a big fat zilch, she throws in the towel and leaves immediately.

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