Thursday, May 16, 2013

SUNNY: BOOK REVIEW "Skin in the Game" by Jackie Barbosa

Angela Peterson was always the quiet, shy kid growing up in Harper Falls, crushing on the high school quarterback and honing her football strategy skills. Now grown up and coaching the high school team, she’s shocked when that same sexy quarterback returns to Harper Falls asks her back to his hotel room. And then tries to steal her job.

Injured NFL quarterback Cade Reynolds is in Harper Falls to take over as interim head coach, and he never thought the tall, blond bombshell he propositioned would offer up any resistance. Not to a repeat of the amazingly wild night they shared and certainly not to his coaching position.

But the Harper Falls High Eagles are Angie’s team, and even the hometown hero won’t take that away from her, no matter how hot he is. As the two engage in a battle of wits and wills, this is one game neither is prepared to lose.

As a sports romance, this one is done well.  The game of football is integrated into the story - not just on the sidelines. I also enjoyed the twist of having the game played out from the female perspective.  She is the playmaker of the football team and he is there as a figurehead.  Her intelligence and knowledge of the game informs the strategy.  Nicely played. 

Hotness factor?  There is definitely chemistry between the Cade and Angie.  What starts out early as a one night stand never really dissipates.   In fact, the attraction grows and gets hotter.  Yes!  The tension in the story doesn't derive from the traditional will they/won't they conflict, instead it deals with lingering insecurities, the price of fame, and small town judgment.  

My criticism of the story lies more with the editing.  The narrative meanders a bit and could have been more tightly structured.  Instead of having one apex, it felt like there were several, kind of like episodic television.  Still, the story reaches a satisfying end - it reminds me of the feeling I get watching a Julia Roberts movie.  Left me smiling. 

One other small little thing - Cade is a USC Trojan.  As a UCLA Bruin, it is a good thing he is so cute.  But come on, Jake Hansson wanting to be a Trojan too?  It was almost too much. 

This book is a fun read with a sports theme.  Worth the time and effort.  Watch out for the end of the Epilogue - I am intrigued for what is clearly the next book. 

Thank you to Netgalley and Entangle Publishing, LLC for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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