Friday, August 5, 2022

REVIEWS: 4 Football Themed Romances

This summer I went on a little bit of a football romance bender and it was so much fun that I thought I'd put together a few mini-reviews of what I liked about all of them. 


I started my bender with I Dare You by Ilsa Madden-Mills. This novel starts with Delaney and Maverick one night their freshmen year of college and jumps forward to their senior year. She's coming off a bad break up and he's a seemingly notorious player. She's a proud nerd girl and he's the king of football. Seems like they're pretty opposite, right? Well, for as opposite as they are, they're also really kind, loyal, good people. Of course it's never that easy; there are secrets and lies and hurt feelings. There are mitigating factors with his sister and it never fails that a miscommunication makes for some angtsy moments but overall the angst was low, the romance was high, and the happily ever after was perfect for these two.


Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills returns with an all-new swoon-fest of a novel about what happens when you look beyond labels and take a chance on love. 

Bad Boy Athlete: 
I dare you to…
Delaney Shaw: 
Who is this?

The late night text is random, but "Bad Boy Athlete" sure seems to know who she is…

Delaney Shaw. 
Good girl.
Lover of fluffy kitties and Star Wars. 

His dare? Spend one night in his bed—a night he promises will be unforgettable—and she can solve the mystery of who he is. 

She knows she shouldn't, but what else is she going to do with her boring Valentine's Day? One sexy hook-up later, her mind is blown and the secret's out.

Maverick Monroe.
The most talented football player in the country.
Just ask him.

Too bad for him Delaney's sworn off dating athletes forever after her last heartbreak.

But Maverick wants more than one night and refuses to give up on winning Delaney’s heart. She isn’t one to be fazed by a set of broad shoulders. 

Will the bad boy score the nerd girl or will the secrets they keep separate them forever?

I DARE YOU is a full-length college football romance.

This series of stand-alone sports romances also includes: I Bet You, I Hate You, and I Promise You.


Next, I read The Varsity Dad Dilemma by Lex Martin. Single parent, football players, and a little enemies to friends to lovers? Sign me up! Gabby and Rider started out as friends their freshmen year and then he basically ghosted her. Here we are senior year and he and some of his football players, including her brother, live across the street. She pretty much hates everything about that house across the street but when a baby shows up, she puts her type A organization skills to the test and helps them out until they can figure out what to do with the baby. Along the way, Gabby and Rider fall for each other and battle through some obstacles to find their HEA. 

★ A sexy, small town sports romance from USA Today bestselling author Lex Martin! ★

What’s worse than having Rider Kingston, the star quarterback, give you the big brushoff because he doesn’t want to get serious? You’d probably think living across the street from him where you get a first-hand view of his hookups, right?

That’s what I thought. Until someone drops off a baby with a note pinned to her blanket that says one of those jocks—either Rider or one of his roommates—is the father. The problem? Baby mama doesn’t mention which of these numbskulls is the sperm donor.

I wouldn’t care about their paternity problems—not the slightest bit—except my brother lives there too. Which means that adorable squawking bundle might be my niece, and there’s no way I’m leaving her unattended with those bumbling football players.

They need my help, even if they don’t know it yet. Once we solve this dilemma and figure out who’s the daddy, I’m out.

I’ll just ignore Rider and those soul-searing looks he gives me every time I reach for the baby. He broke my heart three years ago. He won’t get a second chance.


Tight Ends and Tiaras is the second book in this series by Lex Martin and just when you think the surprise dad trope is done in this series, it's not! This time it's Ben who finds himself in a situation he didn't expect and the sweet Sienna finds herself trying to help him out. He's trying to make his way into the NFL, despite a dickish coach, and she's trying to find her way outside of a manipulative dad, and they're both trying to figure out how to parent a one year old who has basically been abandoned by a good for nothing ex. They find themselves in a fake dating situation, that very quickly turns into more. Throw in a little angsty times and one heck of an explosive scene and before you know they've broken up and found themselves back together again and if you're like me, you've inhaled yet another football romance and are ready for more.

★ USA Today bestselling author Lex Martin delivers a swoony, single dad romance about a college football player and the fake girlfriend he knows he should resist.

Football is one hundred percent the focus of my life—until a squawking toddler, with a temper to rival my own, lands in my lap and flips my life upside down.

I'll never be Dad of the Year. Anyone will tell you that. Except maybe Sienna, my sister's former roommate, who somehow manages to make my broody ass laugh and sees something in me no one else does.

When Sienna offers to let me and my little princess move in with her, I'm not sure if it's to help or because she wants revenge on my teammate and long-time rival, who broke her heart.

Either way, I'm game. Because I need to get my ex off my back, and Sienna doesn't mind pretending to be my girlfriend.

Only neither of us is ready for the sparks that fly between us or the consequences when they do.


That leads us to my most recent football romance, Beauty and the Baller by Ilsa Madden-Mills. Truthfully, the eye catching color of the cover is what initially grabbed my attention and the synopsis was interesting, so I dove in. The way that Ronan and Nova initially hook up was a little bit off for me, if I'm going to be honest but I quickly put it aside as the story moved past that to a few years later when they find themselves as neighbors. Nova immediately recognizes him but it takes him a little bit longer to put two and two together. He's now the coach of the local high school team, she's moved home to take care of her younger sister in is in need of a job, and low and behold, there's one available at his school and part time as his assistant. Between the nosy small town boosters trying to settle him down and her ex, they decide fake dating is a thing they should do to buy them some time and space. During their fake dating, we get to know them and I felt like the thing that was off about the initial hook up is explained. Lots of humor and heart and I'm looking forward to the next book in this series. 


An NFL quarterback turned small-town coach gets sacked by a Texas beauty queen in this swoony, passionate romance from Wall Street Journal bestselling author Ilsa Madden-Mills.

Gorgeous, talented, and brilliant, NFL quarterback Ronan Smith has the world in his hands. But after losing his career and his fiancĂ©e in a car accident, he falls into a pit of grief and bad choices. When a mysterious girl shows up to his party, he feels drawn to her and makes her his…for one night.

Former beauty queen Nova Morgan is on a mission. Scantily clad as a princess from a galaxy far, far away, she sneaks into a high-profile party to capture the attention of her favorite quarterback. But her hopes crash after an awful one-night stand.

Fast-forward two years. Broke and desperate, Nova returns home to Blue Belle, Texas, where, by a cosmic twist of fate, her broody neighbor is none other than Ronan, the shiny new football coach everyone adores. But he has no idea who she is.

The booster club keeps shoving women at Ronan to keep him in town. His solution? He proposes fake dating to Nova. But things heat up for real under these Friday-night lights when he realizes she’s the one who slipped away.

Has this jaded beauty found her forever baller, or will his past keep them apart?

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