INTERCEPTED by Alexa Martin

July 29, 2019

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The Playbook, Book 1

From the publisher:

Series in development with Starz & G-Unit Films and Television by 50 Cent and La La Anthony!

One of NPR’s Best Books of 2018
An Amazon Best Romance of 2018 Pick
An iBooks “Best of September” Pick
A GoodReads Best of the Month pick for September
One of Booklist‘s Top 10 Romance Debuts for 2018
One of BookBubs Best Fall Romances of 2018

Marlee thought she scored the man of her dreams only to be scorched by a bad breakup. But there’s a new player on the horizon, and he’s in a league of his own…

Marlee Harper is the perfect girlfriend. She’s definitely had enough practice by dating her NFL-star boyfriend for the last ten years. But when she discovers he has been tackling other women on the sly, she vows to never date an athlete again. There’s just one problem: Gavin Pope, the new hotshot quarterback and a fling from the past, has Marlee in his sights.

Gavin fights to show Marlee he’s nothing like her ex. Unfortunately, not everyone is ready to let her escape her past. The team’s wives, who never led the welcome wagon, are not happy with Marlee’s return. They have only one thing on their minds: taking her down. But when the gossip makes Marlee public enemy number one, she worries about more than just her reputation.

Between their own fumbles and the wicked wives, it will take a Hail Mary for Marlee and Gavin’s relationship to survive the season.


I love a good sports romance, and the reviews and buzz around Fumbled, the second book in the series, originally brought me to this author. So yes, again, I am reading a series out of order. Luckily, there are only two books so far, so at least now I’m ready when the next book comes out! Plus can I just say that this is a great romance with diverse characters, always a welcome addition to the genre. Martin has a bit of writing quirk that may be just a generational thing, but she uses hashtags. A lot. Sometimes they are super appropriate and usually they are funny, but now and then I thought she went a bit over the top with them.

As I mentioned in my review of Fumbled, this has some real life behind it. Both these books revolve around NFL players (albeit for a fictitious team) and in real life, Martin is married to a retired professional football player. So she speaks with some authority here which really added to the story for me. One of my favorite sports romance series is from Susan Elizabeth Phillips, who writes about another fictitious football team, and Martin’s books almost seem like an updated version to me.

A friend told me she never reads sports romances because she doesn’t like sports, but trust me, that is not a prerequisite. Not to stereotype (much!) but professional athletes make great romantic leads because they are young, good looking with ripped bodies, and they are loaded, leading so many women to fantasize about meeting/marrying one. And what is a good romance novel but a good fantasy?

Intercepted introduces some terrific characters and the writing is smart and funny. Marlee is terrific; strong, feisty and feminist, all traits I can relate to. Gavin is a cut above the usual jock, and is deserving of this wonderful woman. I loved watching how they come together and there is some hot sex along the way before they even get their happily ever after. All the cattiness with the football wives added a lot of humor and I loved Marlee’s best friend having her back. Good friends and a supportive family go a long way here.

Martin is definitely on to something here and I hope she continues her journey. I’m really looking forward to her next book.

7/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

INTERCEPTED by Alexa Martin. Berkley (April 23, 2019).  ISBN 978-0451491978. 336p.

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FUMBLED by Alexa Martin

May 3, 2019

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The Playbook, Book 2

From the publisher:

One of Amazon’s Best Romances of the Month 
One of Apple’s Best Books of April

A second chance doesn’t guarantee a touchdown in this new contemporary romance from the author of Intercepted.Single-mother Poppy Patterson moved across the country when she was sixteen and pregnant to find a new normal. After years of hard work, she’s built a life she loves. It may include a job at a nightclub, weekend soccer games, and more stretch marks than she anticipated, but it’s all hers, and nobody can take that away. Well, except for one person.T.K. Moore, the starting wide receiver for the Denver Mustangs, dreamt his entire life about being in the NFL. His world is football, parties, and women. Maybe at one point he thought his future would play out with his high school sweetheart by his side, but Poppy is long gone and he’s moved on.When Poppy and TK cross paths in the most unlikely of places, emotions they’ve suppressed for years come rushing back. But with all the secrets they never told each other lying between them, they’ll need more than a dating playbook to help them navigate their relationship.

I love a good sports romance, and the reviews and buzz around this one drew me in. I haven’t read the first book in this series, Intercepted, yet – but after reading this one, I searched it out and it is now on my Kindle ready to go.

This has some real life behind it. The story revolves around an NFL player and Martin is married to one (now retired.) So she speaks with some authority here which really added to the story for me. Poppy is a terrific character, a great mom, and a good friend. I wouldn’t mind hanging out with her and when you can feel that comfortable with a character, that is a very good thing.

The football player in question, TK, is also a well developed character, not just a one dimensional athlete. I liked how his relationships with his mother and the other women in his life were explored; it all rang true for me. An important plot point centers around the concussion issue in the NFL. Martin tackles it head on, (if you’ll excuse the pun) which was a real plus for me. I love football, despite being a Dolphins fan (this is a rebuilding year, go Fins!) but CTE is a very serious issue so I was very glad she addressed it.

Martin is a good storyteller and her writing is crisp with lots of humor and pathos. She brought me to tears several times but also had me laughing out loud. A very enjoyable romance!

5/19 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

FUMBLED by Alexa Martin. Berkley (April 23, 2019).  ISBN 978-0451491978. 336p.

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RESCUING THE RECEIVER by Rachel Goodman

July 12, 2018

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How to Score, Book 2

From the publisher:

From the author of the critically acclaimed Blue Plate series comes the second novel in the How to Score series about a rescue dog shelter owner and a wide receiver who needs a little rescuing himself.

Caught between the media’s crosshairs and his own questionable decisions, Colorado Blizzards wide receiver Chris Lalonde has a choice: watch his storied career burn to the ground or rehab his bad-boy image at the local dog shelter. His goal: rescue the oldest, saddest, most mange-infested canines in the hopes that the pups can rescue his reputation in return. What he doesn’t expect? Hazel Grant, shelter owner, do-gooder, and beautiful all-American girl next door. She has no time for Chris’s excuses, antics, or cheesy pick-up lines…challenge accepted.

Hazel Grant can’t believe she got saddled with Denver’s cockiest–and most eligible–football player for a volunteer. She needs people she can trust and count on, not a man packaged in abs and wrapped in confidence who thinks scoring touchdowns is an honest day’s work. But since the shelter is in need of some serious TLC, she can’t afford to turn away help.

Chris and Hazel get along like cats and dogs. But when it comes to Chris Lalonde, there’s a new surprise around every corner, and Hazel finds that, like the pups she cares for, Chris has hidden depths, secret talents, and meets every test she throws at him. As the pressure mounts to save the shelter–and Chris’s career–lust bubbles to the surface, and suddenly love becomes anybody’s game…


Football, dogs and romance – this is definitely my happy place. I liked these characters as they were well developed and real. I loved this animal shelter that cares for and rehabilitates abused animals, and wished there was one like it in every neighborhood. Hazel’s money troubles was a bit of a stretch seeing as her uncle owns an NFL franchise, but I went with it because it was such a fun read. I love this whole sports romance sub-genre, and this is an excellent example. Not sure why it’s only available as an ebook but no one asked me. If you have a Kindle or don’t mind reading on a tablet, go for it.

7/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

RESCUING THE RECEIVER by Rachel Goodman. Pocket Star (June 11, 2018).  ASIN: B078MD4J5C.