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Monday, October 23, 2017

Review: The Final Score by Jaci Burton

I’ve read the Play by Play series off and on for the past few years and I have to say this one is one of the best!

Format: .mobi (A copy of this book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley for the purpose of an honest review. )
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: September 12, 2017

Nathan Riley is ready to follow in the footsteps of his famous football player father. He’s been drafted as quarterback for his dad’s former team, and his future is bright. When his friend Mia Cassidy moves to the same city, their years-long friendship suddenly sparks hot, reminding him of the one night they had together in college that he can never forget.

Like Nathan, Mia is from a sports dynasty family and embarking on an incredible new career—as founder of her own sports management company. Her friendship with Nathan means everything to her, and tossing sex into the mix again could jeopardize it. But the chemistry between them has always sizzled, and it isn’t long before Mia realizes she wants more with Nathan than just late-night talks and pizza.

Passion has a funny way of changing the rules, and soon Nathan and Mia discover that to win it all, they’ll have to make an unexpected play for love.

What’s it About? Nathan Riley and Mia Cassidy are both from families that are famous for their athletes and they’ve been best friends since they met in college. Except for a one night fling, they’ve never crossed the line between friends and lovers. However, now that Mia has moved to the same city as Nathan to start her sports management business their friendship starts feeling like a prelude to something more and it isn’t long before Nathan and Mia start mixing their friendship with sex. When an incident forces Mia back to reality she and Nathan have to decide whether or not their new relationship is worth risking the friendship they both depend on.

Overall reaction to the story? Since I remember both Nathan and Mia from earlier books (They were just kids a second ago!), I felt a little emotional seeing them all grown up and falling in love. I can’t quite put my finger on why though, maybe because the Play-by-Play series has always been very connected in terms of the characters so it was like stepping back into a huge family and suddenly the little kids aren’t so little anymore. I know Mia and Nathan aren’t the first of the next generation to get their story but for some reason, The Final Score felt like an emotional homecoming.

Describe the hero in five words: Humble. Charming. Fun. Loyal. Loving.
Did you like him? Absolutely.
Why? Who knew Nathan would be so awesome? Unlike most athletes in romance novels I found that Nathan was missing that arrogance that usually defines these kinds of heroes. Did that make him any less of a leading man? Heck no! It made him an even better one! Nathan didn’t need to show off or be bossy and possessive to prove he was tough and manly. Nathan didn’t need people to Ooo and Ahh over him to feel good either. He didn’t care about the attention, and the people in his life loved him because he was kind, funny, and supportive. How could he not be a total book boyfriend? He was such a normal, humble guy who just happened to be a football player with a very famous father.

Describe the heroine in five words: Strong. Intelligent. Caring. Stubborn. Fun.
Did you like her? Yes.
Why? Mia was a businesswoman with the drive to succeed and I loved that about her but at the same time she was a generous woman with the people she loved. Mia had this spark inside her that made her impossible not to like much less want her as a buddy. She was just so normal and had a bold, sassy personality that made her stand out. Like Nathan, she was all about her family and loved them to death. She could stand out in the sports management field without being cold, conniving, or manipulative which was a bonus. She was just Mia and let her skills and intelligence speak for itself. I really liked her.

Let’s talk about the romance: Nathan and Mia had such an unshakable friendship before they became lovers and even after they became lovers that friendship was still there. Their friendship was one to envy and one of the best male/female friendships I’ve come across in romance. Ugh, I wanted to hate Mia for having such an awesome friendship with Nathan but I couldn’t because she was so dang cool. As for their romance, their transition seemed so natural to everyone but them because they just had this seemingly easy way with each other. They liked to talk to each other about everything, they laughed, they spent time just being together, and then there was the physical chemistry that never went away and that neither of them denied. These two were just so good together!

How about that supporting cast? Nathan and Mia both come from large, supportive, and loving families and I’m so glad Jaci Burton included as many of them in The Final Score as she could. The warmth from those scenes stole my heart. Everyone should be so lucky as to have a families like theirs.

Click It or Skip It? Click It. Nathan and Mia’s romance is one of the best of the whole series. One of the best friends to lovers romances I’ve read this year.

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