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review 2016-02-19 21:42
Strong Side by Alison Hendricks
Strong Side - Alison Hendricks

Well, hello my lovely. Where've you been hiding? 


This one came completely out of left field for me. Here I was, waiting for the superbowl and really yearning for a new football story, and suddenly there is this COVER all over my news feed. Athletes, football, difficult past? Hell yeah, sign me up! And this story didn't disappoint. 


Jason, star quarterback with his eyes set on the NFL, is slowely but surely crumbling under the pressure of playing, school and finding some peace. His dad with his high expectations isn't exactly helping the matter, and it isn't like Jason is really friends with any of his teammates. 


Enter Derek, the great walk-on with some hang-ups that prevent him from having a chance at a pro-ball future. Jason likes him, wants to help him and finds a good friend along the way. Except, it doesn't exactly stay that way and soon enough things start to get comlplicated. 


I enjoyed that story so much! It a well done friends-to lovers story, with a lot of coming-of-age and new adult mixed in. It wasn't your typical football/jocks gfy/ofy story and I liked that a lot. The little twists kept me interested and both MCs drew me right in. Some of the solutions might have been a little too easy in my opinion. If the very mixed reactions to the superbowl halftime show showed us one thing, then it's that the NFL (maybe even sports in general) are still one of the most homophobic areas in society. Sometimes it's blatantly obvious, sometimes it's a little more subtle, but all in all, the sports world hasn't come as far as some of us might've hoped after a few of the bravest men came out during their active career.

That said, I was very surprised and somewhat sceptical when Jason seemed to have no problem at all going public with his bisexuality and his relationship with Derek after so little time to think it through. Of course I wish it was that easy, and in that respect this story is a nice fantasy, but although I'm not into romance for the realism, I didn't quite buy this part. It was just a bit too easy. Same goes for Jason's dad. It was nice how he came around so fast, but again, I wasn't exactly convinced.

(spoiler show)


All in all, this was a good story and I see a lot of pontential here. I am definitely looking forward to reading more from this author! But this is also a self-pubbed debut novel. So it has it's issues. When "stakes" are grilled and "wright" is shifted from one foot to the another, I did get pulled out of the story a little. In the end though, I still enjoyed the book very much, so I'll give it 4 stars and a big thumbs up. 

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review 2015-02-19 15:13
Keys to my Cuffs by Lani Lynn Vale - Grade: DNF
Keys To My Cuffs (The Heroes of The Dixie Wardens MC) (Volume 4) - Lani Lynn Vale

Well, let's get my first official Booklikes review off with a bang, shall we? Or maybe a whimper.


Keys to my Cuffs sounded really good when I read the blurb...


You’re the Keys

Loki’s life was a lie. Everything he’d done for the last eight years was under an assumed name for the Benton Police Department. He’d lied, cheated, and stolen all in the name of the law. He wore himself thin, and not even the open road could take away the pain anymore. Then his little next door neighbor moved in, and suddenly he had a reason to get out of bed every morning. Except he was an officer of the law, and a member of a prominent motorcycle club in the area, The Dixie Wardens MC. Neither of which she could deal with.

To My

It wasn’t the scars that covered her new neighbor’s body that scared Channing. It was the badge. The fact that he belonged to The Dixie Wardens MC was only icing on the cake. She should be running away as fast as her legs could carry her. But there’s something about Bryce ‘Loki’ Rector. Something that eased the unreasonable fear she felt every time she came into contact with something that reminded her of her past.


They say love isn’t easy, and it definitely isn’t for the two of them. Loki has to learn to feel again, and Channing has to learn to live. Their road isn’t an easy one by any means, but Loki makes two promises. One, he’ll never let anything hurt Channing again. Two, it’d be over his dead body that he’d ever let her go.


I love a possessive, tattooed Alpha-male lead as good as the next girl. With the exception of the name Loki (sorry, I can't help but picture Tom Hiddleston in giant horns every time I read that), the premise of this book checked all my boxes. And, just to be clear, I read the sample before I hit that handy-dandy 1-click button. But sadly, 2 chapters in I gave up.


To be fair, I could see there might be a good story buried in there somewhere, and the author's voice wasn't bad. The dialogue was okay, authentic for the most part. I'm not a huge fan of alternating first-person POVs, but I was willing to go with it because there were clear differences in each character's voice too. Also, the heroine worked in a mortuary...eww. Points for originality, but still, gross.


My problem was with the lack of editing. I mean seriously, none whatsoever.  An over-abundance of commas, wrong and inconsistent use of semi-colons, weird sentence structure and strange word choices ("yick" instead of yuck?!)--you name it, it was in there. I tried really hard to overlook it and keep reading, but when the word "main" was incorrectly used to describe a "mane" of hair, I gave up. Once my nitpicky brain zeroes in on something like that, I might as well be reading the back of a cereal box for all the interest I have in the story itself.


This book has a lot of 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon so I suppose I'm in the minority, but I can live with that. For the first time ever(!), I returned it for a refund of my $3.99. For that price, I expect decent editing.


Final grade: DNF

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