Release Date: September 10, 2013 Published by Beyond the Page Publishing Review Copy from NetGalley
When I ran across this title on NetGalley, the cover caused me to pause. I mean I love sports books, so that football really caught my eye. Seriously though, Kate Donovan is a new author to me, and since I’m always trying to find new writers and material, I decided to give it a try. I’m really glad I did.
This story was a nice surprise. I’ll be honest, from the synopsis my hopes weren’t super high. It seemed like pretty classic contemporary romance, a little bit predictable but enjoyable to read. This is true to an extent; what won me over was Kate Donovan’s writing. You guys, she’s so funny! The main character Jake Dublin is a sports blogger, so the book is partially written in blog post format. Donovan gave Jake a great writing voice and rapport with his blog followers. And the blog comments! I was dying! It’s so realistic, I was actually looking forward to each entry.
Jake meets Sophie for the first time in the elevator and offers to help. She declines, but Jake vows to get another chance to talk to the mysterious woman he calls “Elevator Girl.” Naturally Jake chronicles this and all future encounters with EG on his blog, which will never be the same. He gives play by play, and his followers offer advice and opinions on his chances to land a date. Little does he know, she’s interested too, and eventually things start to heat up.
Was this story a little predictable? Yes. Did I enjoy it anyway? Yes. I liked the plot twist with Sophie’s family – I didn’t see that coming. It’s no secret she’s from a family of jocks, but I didn’t expect that detail to have any other significance than causing her determination not to get involved with one. If I had to name one thing that disappointed me it’s that the book didn’t finish as strongly as it started – it gave up a little steam during the conflict resolution. I felt it was too quick and too easy; I guess I really wanted Jake to squirm and have to work for it. Instead he doesn’t grovel nearly enough and gets practically everything he wants. That being said, it’s still a fun, entertaining read that leaves you happy and feeling good.
WELCOME TO THE 3 CHICKS AFTER DARK RED ZONE BLOG TOUR STOP!
We’re so excited to be a part of launching this incredible book. Author Sherri Hayes stopped by, and we’re asking her just a few questions.
BOOK SUMMARY: After a case ended badly for Rebecca Carson, she’s losing her mind sitting around her apartment waiting on her superiors to allow her to return to work. Since she was a teenager, the only thing she’d ever wanted was to join the FBI. Now that dream was in danger. Gage Daniels has made a pretty good life for himself. A nice house. A career he loves. As a professional football player, he’s used to getting almost everything he’d ever want with just the snap of his fingers. This includes women. A well-timed smile is usually all it takes to attract the opposite sex, especially in Nashville. When a stalker threatens Gage, the team owner calls an old friend, Rebecca’s ex-partner Travis Hansen, to help protect his star quarterback and find the person responsible. Hansen offers Rebecca the job, and she jumps at the chance. It’s work, and it will get her out of her apartment. How bad can it be? Posing as Gage’s girlfriend, however, isn’t as easy as it seems. The man is relentless. Rebecca must work to protect Gage while staving off his advances. She’s there to do a job, nothing more. The last thing she wants is to be another notch on a hotshot athlete’s belt. As the stalker continues to up the ante, Rebecca finds it harder and harder to keep her distance from Nashville’s star quarterback. He isn’t what she expected in one of the city’s most notorious playboys. Now all she has to do is keep him safe until they can find his stalker, and hope she doesn’t lose her heart in the process.
3 CHICKS AFTER DARK REVIEW:
Release Date February 7, 2013 Published by The Writer’s Coffee Shop Publishing House Obtained for review from NetGalley
WHY HAVEN’T I READ ANYTHING BY SHERRI HAYES UNTIL NOW???One thing’s for sure, I’ll make sure to read everything she writes from now on.
Gage Daniels is being watched. As the high profile, star quarterback for Nashville’s pro football team, he’s used to getting a lot of attention. Stalking isn’t the kind he’s after.
Rebecca Carson is a bored FBI agent on mandatory leave recovering from the trauma & stress of a previous case. While waiting to be reinstated, she jumps at the chance to help her former partner turned PI, Travis Hansen. Hansen’s latest case – find Gage’s stalker.
Sherri Hayes has a style to her storytelling that drew me in from the first page. It’s laid back and easy going; as a reader it’s easy to go where she leads you. The characters were interesting and complex, never giving away too much at one time. I absolutely loved the mystery as well as how she develops the romance between characters but doesn’t muddle the two. Don’t get me wrong – the storylines are intricately related, but less skilled writers might end up blurring the lines so you can’t see where one begins and the other ends.
There are tons of sports books out there, and I like to read them because athletes fascinate me. Society paints them in a certain light, and I like the stories where they don’t necessarily fit the niche that’s carved out for them. Gage Daniels is no different – he’s so much more than you see on the surface. I can’t wait to learn more about his family throughout the remaining Daniels Brothers books. Speaking of, I’m off to find book one of the Daniels Brothers series, Behind Closed Doors. I just hope I haven’t missed too much by reading them out of order!
RATING: BAD ASS BOOTS!
INTERVIEW: Thank you so much for stopping by our blog!! We’re so happy you’re here. First thing we’d like to ask is just about your writing in general. It’s a little cliché, but we need to know. Have you always wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
No. Being a writer wasn’t anything I ever considered. I didn’t even write my first story until I turned thirty. My husband and I were fans of a television show, and they were completely destroying the love story between two of the main characters. That was when I decided to try my hand at fan fiction, and give them a happily ever after. Two years later, my publisher read one of my stories online and asked if I’d written anything I would want to submit to them. I did, and two weeks after I sent it to them, I had my first publishing contract. That was just over two years ago, and I’ve been writing ever since.
That’s amazing! We’re so glad you did. One of the things we loved about Red Zone was your ability to mix mystery with romance. Was this tough to do? What was the most difficult part?
This is the third romantic suspense novel I’ve written. I wouldn’t say it’s difficult to mix the mystery with the romance; it’s more of having to be constantly aware of what’s going on and when. In order to have a good balance, I try not to let the romance go for too long without putting in a mystery element.
Well we certainly have an appreciation for your ability to balance them well. Gage Daniels is pretty down to earth for a professional athlete once you get beneath that superstar persona. Is there a real life quarterback who inspired his character or did you create your dream player?
Gage is purely dreamed up from my imagination. I did, however, pay close attention last February during the Superbowl when they did a profile on the player’s wives. It gave a nice insight into what their lives were like off the field, and I used some of that in my story.
We’re finding that most of our perfect guys are entirely fictional. *sigh* You did a great job of making his life very realistic, so your research paid off. Red Zone is set in Nashville, home of the Tennessee Titans. While I was reading it was tough for me to separate Gage’s team from the Titans. Is the location a coincidence or are you a fan?
I guess you could say I picked Nashville in honor of a guy in my high school that played for the Tennessee Titans for a few years. When I began developing Gage’s character in Behind Closed Doors, it was the first team that came to mind. Of course, due to copyright issues, the team name either has to be changed or not mentioned. The location also worked for what I wanted to do with the characters as well, so Nashville was perfect.
What a great way to honor him! Love that there is a real tie there. While of course we love Gage, we really enjoyed Rebecca’s character and thought she was the perfect balance of femininity and girl power. Can you tell us a little bit about how you developed her character?
First, I knew I needed a strong female for Gage. He has such a strong personality, and he needed someone equal to the task. A straight-laced FBI agent sounded perfect.
There is a lot of myself in Rebecca. She grew up in a dysfunctional family, and being the oldest had to grow up very quickly. When that happens, there are skills you hone well, and others you let fall to the wayside. Rebecca chose to protect her sister, and take control of her own life. Unfortunately, that meant she inadvertently pushed people away in the process. It’s one of the reasons Gage is such a great match for her. She pushes, and he pushes right back.
You did an great job -she’s definitely a perfect match for Gage. Okay, just one more question, and this one because we know everyone’s going to need more Daniels Brothers. Red Zone is the second book in this series. How many books do you have planned? Any other projects in the works that we should be on the lookout for?
There will be four books total in this series, one for each brother. Paul’s book will be next. I’m hoping to have that out to readers sometime in 2014.
Right now, I’m in the process of editing the third novel in my Finding Anna Series, Truth. The series is about a young woman who is rescued from slavery by a young Dominant. It deals with some pretty dark issues including human trafficking, and contains BDSM themes. That book is due out this summer, and I’m hoping to have the fourth and final book in that series finished and out to readers early next year.
Oooh, that sounds really interesting – yet another series we need to check out. (Our poor TBRs!) We’re definitely looking forward to Paul’s book, but 2014 seems so far away. Thanks again for hanging out with us. We really enjoyed having you! To get your own copy of Red Zone, follow the links below:
Sherri is the author of four novels: Hidden Threat,Slave (Finding Anna Book 1), Need (Finding Anna Book 2), Behind Closed Doors (A Daniels Brothers’ Novel), Red Zone (A Daniels Brothers’ Novel), and a short story, A Christmas Proposal. She lives in central Ohio with her husband and three cats. Her mother fostered her love for books at a young age by reading to her as a child. Stories have been floating around in her head for as long as she can remember; however, she didn’t start writing them down until she turned thirty. It has become a creative outlet that allows her to explore a wide range of emotions, while having fun taking her characters through all the twists and turns she can create. When she’s not writing, she can usually be found helping her husband in his woodworking shop.