Published by Jen Frederick on September 6th 2015
Genres: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary, New Adult, Romantic Comedy, Contemporary Women, General
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What he wants he gets...
Knox Masters is a quarterback's worst nightmare. Warrior. Champion. And...virgin. Knox knows what he wants--and he gets it. All American Football player? Check. NFL pros scouting him? Check. Now, he's set his sight on two things. The national title. And Ellie Campbell. Sure, she's the sister of his fellow teammate, but that's not going to stop him. Especially not when he’s convinced Ellie is the one.
...but he's never met her before.
But Ellie isn't as sure. She's trying to start a new life and she's not interested in a relationship...with anyone. Beside it's not just her cardinal rule of never dating her brother's teammates that keeps her away, but Ellie has a dark secret that would jeopardize everything Knox is pursuing.
Knox has no intention of losing. Ellie has no intention of giving in.
Sacked is Jen Frederick’s attempt at riding the coattails of the extremely popular NA sports romance series created by Kristen Callihan and Elle Kennedy, Game On and Off Campus respectively. She makes no effort to hide that either, dedicating the book to both these authors and referring to them as her inspiration.
I almost wish she hadn’t started with that intro, because that made it all too clear that this book was set to emulate the amazing quality of The Deal or The Hook Up. Does Sacked come close to being as good as the aforementioned books/series? The answer for me is a clear, resounding NO.
Before I’m branded a hater though, let me state the positives. The story in and of itself is decent if you’re very much into heroes who are extremely possessive, crazy in love and determined to get the heroine at all costs. That’s actually one of my favorite tropes so I appreciated that aspect of the story… to a degree. Unfortunately, I feel that the way the story was executed left much to be desired. But more on that later. One other positive is that the story is competently written and for any football fans out there, there’s quite a lot of football talk that shows the author knows her subject very well. She doesn’t just use football as a character trait, she revels in it, and talks about it with joyous focus.
The case of the unicorn virgin
Now to the bad. I think Gitte, from Totally Booked Blog said it well. The book centers mainly around the hero being a virgin. I found this to be completely unbelievable. He’s a college athlete superstar who for reasons that never seem to quite convince, decides he never wants to engage in any sexual acts whatsoever until he meets “the one”. I was actually intrigued by this and went in hopeful that Frederick would somehow pull this already far fetched scenario off. Sadly, I found it contrived. I found myself rolling my eyes and uttering “Oh, please!”.
It’s not that I think all college superstar athletes are manwhores, or that I want all heroes to be sluts. I just had the hardest time suspending disbelief. The guy is as pure and virginal as they come in an environment completely non-conducive to abstinence. Groupies throwing themselves at him, all his teammates getting it on, being in college with the freedom that entails, plus the adoration of being someone as good as being featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated. And to be honest, that whole “well, it’s fiction” all purpose excuse just doesn’t work with me. Fiction still has to make sense or you’re going to lose me. For all these reasons, I dub Knox Masters The Unicorn Virgin. He exists only in the farthest regions of fantasy lalaland where the leprechaun resides.
You’re Ze Chosen One
The insta-love was real with this one. I mean within 4% we have gems such as:
Her. This one. The universe is talking to me…. Because you know, it’s me. That I’m the one for you, just as you’re the one for me. Like recognizes like.
Or the following at 12%. Keep in mind he barely knows the heroine at this point. They’ve only spoken once.
When you meet the girl who’ll be sitting on the front porch holding your hand when you’re eighty, you don’t let a thing like cool dismissive looks, big brothers, or fucking rules stand in your way.
Nice words but not believable in context. I’m all for crazy in love heroes but this was just plain crazy. Not enough build-up and let’s be honest, the build-up is what makes a romance good. I’m all for insta-love. I want my heroes desperately attracted at first sight, but this veered into the creepy weirdo territory for me with how the hero immediately knew he wanted to marry this stranger and grow old with her. He’s ready to bestow his golden virginity upon her like a grand offering.
I also immediately hated the MC’s names. Eliot for a girl? too far fetched in an attempt at originality. Every time the name came up I cringed. Knox Masters sounds like a porno name. I really really didn’t like it. These may be details, but they’re important details and they contributed to the disbelief of the story.
As much as I think the side characters were more interesting than the MCs, I feel like there were too many of them making it difficult to follow who was who a lot of the time (too much sequel baiting). I much prefer side characters to be introduced in well measured increments. It felt like too many people cluttering the pages.
All this aside, the book just didn’t work for me. I was never emotionally connected to the characters. Knox was too perfect and Eliot was just blah. I didn’t find anything special or endearing about her. She was just OK, sort of wishy washy.
The last 20% was the icing on the OTT cake for me. I won’t spoil it here, but things took too much of a detour into crazy-town for my taste. Rushed and convoluted doesn’t even begin to describe what happens. It’s clear it was meant to be romantic. I thought it was awkward at best.
I can’t recommend this book unless you’ve got a desperate craving for something similar to The Deal or The Hook Up, and would settle for a pale imitation of that. Also, I would only recommend this book to people who can suspend disbelief very easily, don’t want a single shred of realism in their romances, love multiple football references and absolutely don’t mind insta-love.
I would have DNFd but I held on to the hope that somehow the story would redeem itself. I should have known from those early quotes there was just no way. Still I gave it the old college try. I may give the second book in this series a chance, but I’m not exactly chomping at the bit.
It’s also noteworthy how many missing words and grammar/spelling mistakes I found, which completely pulled me out of the story over and over again. Two sad, disappointing stars.
This is the first book in the Gridiron series.
ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review