2020 Book 389: SNAPPED by Alexa Martin

SNAPPED by Alexa Martin

Snapped, The Playbook #4, by Alexa Martin 
ISBN: 9780593102503 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9780593102510 (eBook)
ISBN: 9780593291375 (Audiobook)
ASIN: B088HHBFR5  (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B084786PTF   (Kindle edition)
Publication date: October 20, 2020 
Publisher: Berkley Books


With the stakes this high, it’s no longer just a game for the quarterback in this romance by the author of Blitzed.


Elliot Reed is living her best life—or pretending to. She owes it to her dad’s memory to be happy and make the most of her new job as Strategic Communications Manager for the Denver Mustangs. Things are going well until star quarterback Quinton Howard Jr. decides to use the field as his stage and becomes the first player to take a knee during the national anthem.



As the son of a former professional athlete, Quinton knows the good, the bad, and the ugly about football. He’s worked his entire life to gain recognition in the sport, and now that he has it, he’s not about to waste his chance to change the league for better. Not even the brilliant but infuriating Elliot, who the Mustangs assign to manage him, will get Quinton back in line.


A rocky initial meeting only leads to more tension between Quinton and Elliot. But as her new job forces them to spend time together, she realizes they may have more in common than she could’ve ever imagined. With her job and his integrity on the line, this is one coin toss that nobody can win. 


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Okay, the first thing you should know is that I am not a sports person by any stretch of the imagination, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed The Playbook series by Alexa Martin. I just binge re-read the entire series over the past few days (yes, I re-re-read Intercepted, Fumbled, and re-read Blitzed) in preparation for reading the latest addition to this series, Snapped. I’m so glad I did. It was nice refamiliarizing myself with the Lady Mustangs (the wives and girlfriends of the Denver Mustang players) and their drama and romances. Each book in this series touches upon some serious issues while also providing a great steamy romance read. Snapped is a bit more serious in that it takes to heart the issues of long-term adverse effects of head injuries or CTE and lack of player parity within the football league, as well as professional athlete protests on-the-field and racial representation within the industry. I knew little about any of these subjects before reading this book (trust me, you’ll want to do some research if you watch any professional football). 

Elliot “Elle” Reed is just as lacking in confidence as some of the other women we’ve seen in previous books in this series. If I were dealing with professional athletes pulling in millions of dollars each year and having hundreds, if not thousands, of groupies throwing themselves at these players, I’d probably be somewhat lacking in confidence as well. But Elle is also dealing with childhood issues from being biracial and not quite knowing how to fit into society as she was raised by her white father without any strong black role models or guidance. She’s had to quietly straddle the fence of both races without being fully embraced into either one and trying to live her life colorblind, the way she was raised. I can tell you that it isn’t going well. Quinton Howard Jr. is the new star quarterback for the Denver Mustangs and has become something of a problem issue by blacking out the league logo on his jersey at the start of each game and his taking a knee during the national anthem. He’s quiet and respectful to all, but he’s also using his voice and money to try and right some wrongs. Elle’s job is to make the Mustangs and the league look good, so she has to once again straddle the fence by keeping the team’s owner happy whilst also working with Quinton to assure his personal goals are met. Needless to say, there’s a bit of friction and attraction between the two. Will they be able to make things work or will things frizzle out? Hey, this is a romance, and what is a romance without a HEA. Yes, there is trouble. Not only for Quinton and Elle but also for “Vonnie” Lamar and her husband Justin Lamar. Most of the trouble gets resolved (not all, but most). This book deals with quite a number of issues, including racial identity, racism, systemic racism within certain professional sports leagues, lack of parity in the treatment of retired professional athletes (NFL vs. NBA for example), and more. Yes, these are heavy topics to be dealt with in a romance, but Ms. Martin deals with these issues without lightly glossing over them or being too heavy-handed, or at least she does so in this reader’s opinion. There are plenty of light-hearted moments (it is a romance, people) and some moments that just make you want to say “aww.” If you’ve read any of the previous books in this series, then you’ll definitely want to add Snapped to your immediate TBR list. If you haven’t read any of the books in this series and you enjoy romance, then you’ll definitely want to grab all three of the previous books as well as a copy of Snapped when it releases. Something tells me that I’ll be re-re-re-re-reading this series at some point soon (yes, I’m enjoying it just that much!). I’m hopeful that this isn’t the end of this series, simply because I want to read more about these amazing women along with their struggles, their careers, their friendships, their families, and yes, their romances. 

Happy Reading, y’all!

 

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the “Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

2019 Book 160: AYESHA AT LAST by Uzma Jalaluddin

Ayesha At Last by Uzma Jalaluddin
ISBN: 9781984802798 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781984802804 (ebook)
ISBN: 9781984890405 (audiobook)
ASIN: B07L2HG6F2 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Berkley Books
Publication Date: June 4, 2019


A modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice for a new generation of love.

Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.

Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.







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Ayesha Shamsi, along with her mother, maternal grandparents, and younger brother, immigrated to Canada when she was a child after her father’s death during a riot. Fortunately, for Ayesha and her family, her mother’s older brother resided in Canada and was able to provide them not only with housing but with financial support. Ayesha’s mother, although grieving the loss of her beloved husband, studied nursing and embarked upon a medical career. Although Ayesha loved poetry, partially due to her grandfather and his love of Shakespeare, she knew that it would be impossible to make a career as a poet so she studied education. Now in her mid-twenties, she knows that her duty as an obedient daughter/grand-daughter/niece is to work hard to repay her uncle for his financial support, help her mother to support their family, and do whatever she can to be a role model for her young cousins. It doesn’t help that her younger cousin Hafsa, is a bit of a flirt and somewhat flighty. At the moment, all Hafsa is interested in is obtaining at least 100 proposals of marriage so she can launch her wedding event business, funded by her father, of course. 

Ayesha is considered the old maid of the family because she’s over 21, not engaged, and doesn’t seem to have a single prospect in line. To make matters worse, her best friend Clara, is trying to set her up with a Muslim guy from her workplace. Needless to say, that doesn’t exactly work out as planned. Just when Ayesha doesn’t think things could possibly get any worse (famous last words), her cousin Hafsa is talked into assisting with planning an event at the mosque but never shows up at any of the meetings. Of course, Ayesha being the good cousin she is, goes in her place and, yes, she runs into Clara’s workplace acquaintance, Khalid. Both Ayesha and Khalid jump to conclusions about one another based on superficial appearances and mistaken circumstances. Can these two become friends or will they allow their prejudices to color their opinions? Is it possible to overcome cultural traditions and find true love or should we stick to the tried and true?

Ayesha At Last is a fast-paced romantic comedy with elements of tragedy, inter- and intracultural prejudices, family secrets, and tons of family angst and drama. As a Muslim, and someone that thought they were familiar with Indo-Pakistani culture, it was interesting to learn more about the cultural traditions and expectations, such as the families’ adherence to arranged marriages (no, not all immigrant families have this but some do), the rishta proposals, deference to elders no matter what (similar to Black American culture – always show respect to your elders), and more. I enjoyed Ayesha’s longing to be more creative with her poetry but feeling that she needed to be more productive and a breadwinner. I felt empathy for Khalid because he truly was torn between being a dutiful son, a helpful brother, a good employee, and his ideals of being a devout Muslim (trust me, when you read about Sheila the Shark at his workplace you’ll understand). I liked Amir and his struggles and was glad to see the inclusion of a nominal-Muslim that was dealing with issues that were commonplace in today’s world (again, read the book to understand this a bit better). Yes, there are bad guys in this story, such as Sheila the Shark, Tarek, and even Khalid’s mother to a certain degree. The main storyline is Ayesha and Khalid’s romance, but there are several other intersecting storylines and that made for a much fuller story in my opinion. I enjoyed getting to know Ayesha, Khalid, Ayesha’s Nani (maternal grandmother) and Nana (maternal grandfather), Ayesha’s brother – Idris, life coach Masood (a veritable fount of comic relief), Ayesha’s cousin – Hafsa, Khalid’s sister – Zareena, and Ayesha’s best friend – Clara. I wish we could have gotten to know Ayesha’s mother a bit better, but I realize it’s impossible to get to know every single character introduced in the story. I found Ayesha At Last to be much more than a romantic comedy, it is a delightful story that blends Eastern and Western Cultures and incorporates an oft-misunderstood religion. It seems quite fortuitous that the US release is on the first Muslim holiday for the year. Eid Mubarak to all of my Muslim reader friends. (By the way, I 💜 the US cover!) If you’re into romance, romantic comedies, or just want something a little bit different to read, then I strongly encourage grabbing a copy of Ayesha At Last. Thank you, Ms. Jalaluddin, for this amazing and timely story. I look forward to reading more from you in the future.



Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”