Series: Game On #3
on November 1st 2015
Buy on Amazon
A beard-related dare and one hot-as-hell kiss changes everything.
NFL center Ethan Dexter’s focus has always been on playing football and little else. Except when it comes to one particular woman. The lovely Fiona Mackenzie might not care about his fame, but she’s also never looked at him as anything more than one of her brother-in-law’s best friends. That ends now.
Fi doesn’t know what to make of Dex. The bearded, tattooed, mountain of man-muscle looks more like a biker than a football player. Rumor has it he’s a virgin, but she finds that hard to believe. Because from the moment he decides to turn his quiet intensity on her she’s left weak at the knees and aching to see his famous control fully unleashed.
Fi ought to guard her heart and walk away; they live vastly different lives in separate cities. And Dex is looking for a forever girl. But Dex has upped his game and is using all his considerable charm to convince Fi he's her forever man.
we were all looking forward to reading this book so we decided to do it together so we could talk about it. we had so much to say and so much fun during the buddy read that we thought it would be cool to do this combined review. i hope y’all enjoy it!
Alright, so let’s discuss The Game Plan. First topic is Dex. And go!
Beatriz: Dex is dreamy as expected
Perry: HOT AS HELL
Wilmari: I loved Dex. He was so hot. Hot AF.
Christina: Summed up in a few words… He is my soulmate. Sexy AF!
Angie: Dex…. A man’s man. Hot. Sweet. Swoony. Big.
Wilmari: I wish he was real, because he was so swoony.
Perry: Dex is a big part of what made this book for me. Strong, silent type, plus tatts, plus a glorious mane, plus beard, plus piercings!!
Wilmari: I’m a Dex convert
Christina: If he was real I would stalk his every single move!
Beatriz: I love how thoughtful and caring he is
Wilmari: Christina would definitely stalk him. I would probably join her.
Angie: Yes!!! He is a gentle giant.
Jaime: The best bearded, long haired, pierced dude EVER!
Angie: Me too, please. Stalking.
Christina: He is artistic, deep, caring, sensitive, loyal, compassionate, sexy as hell, he has some wonderful surprises under his clothing *winky face*
Perry: yes, his protective side. That just undid me. You could tell he was this big, strong, sensitive alpha and that just did a number on my ovaries!
Christina: Definitely a gentle giant!
Wilmari: We can officially say we would marry Dex.
Christina: In a heartbeat
Beatriz: For sure
Angie: Sensitive alpha is perfect! Marry, yes!!
Christina: Sorry to my husband. I will always love you too.
Perry: yes!! From the get go… There was this quiet intensity to him. And I think Kristen nailed his character in that sense.
Jaime: Talked like a girl sometimes 😕
Wilmari: Lol, agreed Jaime. He was a bit, um sensitive at times.
Christina: I didn’t think it was girlish. I think it worked for him because he was sensitive and deep. He truly feels deep within and is a true romantic.
Perry: I never quite got that from Dex… The girl thing. I thought he was just the sensitive type. But I didn’t think it was overdone or corny.
Wilmari: Sensitive for sure. But he was the artsy type.
Jaime: I just found that some of the stuff he said, no guy would of never said.
Perry: I think we all agree on the sensitive thing ahaha. True that! I forgot he was also artsy which adds to the sensitivity.
Wilmari: I do get Jaime’s point though.
Perry: you could tell he’s sort of a loner, a guy who keeps to himself, just waiting to explode. He feels strongly and comes on strongly.
What about Fiona?
Angie: I liked Fi. I get her reservations but I’m glad she woke up and went after him.
Jaime: Fiona was alright, she was a typical young girl.
Christina: I was worried about Fi at first, and she royally pissed me off at one point early on, but I’m glad she seen the error in her ways. She had a lot of character growth in the book, which I loved seeing. I will say I didn’t LOVE her. We didn’t have the bestie vibe and I love having that with the heroine.
Perry: I didn’t love Fi either, but I didn’t hate her. She was ok for me and I did understand her motivations.
Beatriz: I think Fiona is a cool chick, I hate that her family made her doubt herself so much.
Angie: I agree B, and loved that Dex said she wasn’t quitting, but searching.
Beatriz: Yes, Angie! I really loved that part.
Wilmari: I liked her enough, she’s forgettable because Dex dominated the story. They’re definitely not equals in this story. She didn’t annoy me though.
Christina: No they aren’t, but at the same time, their chemistry together worked perfectly.
Perry: I did think there was a strong chemistry there. For a while I felt like Dex was definitely the more involved one but she ended up proving herself.
Christina: I completely agree with you, Perry
Christina: Ooo, I loved that too Angie! She was like ” Hell no! You’re not making decisions for me!”
Jaime: Like I was shocked that she went to his home when he said they should cool it for a bit…I would of let him grovel for a bit…so kudos to her for being a mature person « Hide Spoiler
Jaime: I like Fiona better then her sister Ivy.
Christina: Me too, Jamie! For sure 100%
Perry: Oh I liked this better than The Friend Zone all the way. It was such a breeze to read.
Wilmari: She definitely came off as mature, but not really that strong though. Like she wasn’t strong, she let people walk all over her at work and crumbled in a second in other parts of the book. But not annoying
Christina: Very true, Wilmari! I agree on that too.
Perry: I thought that she was very mature, considering her insecurities and her age. She’s only 21. She was still trying to find herself in a family of overachievers.
Wilmari: She’s very likeable
Beatriz: Yes, Wil, definitely. And very well said, Perry.
Angie: Very likeable, for sure.
Christina: Yes! And I loved that she finally found her way.
Jaime: Hated her name, hated Fi and freakin hated Cherry.
Now let’s talk about Dex and Fiona together, the relationship.
Perry: Ahaha let’s talk pet names?! Cherry is a no for me.
Christina: I liked Cherry. It made sense to me. I know I’m in the minority with that.
Jaime: I liked Big Guy too.
Christina: I loved Big Guy! He was such a strong and Big Guy….mmmmmm
Angie: Chemistry was amazing.
Jaime: Hot, hot and more hot.
Wilmari: I liked them together
Angie: The first time in the bar….. I was definitely hot and bothered and they only kissed!!
Perry: They were good together. I bought this more than I bought Ivy and Grey. That first kiss was one of the best kisses I’ve ever read in a book.
Christina: I loved them together! I think they both understood each other in their true selves. They both showed side to each other no one else had ever seen. Especially Dex.
Perry: Chris, you nailed it!
Wilmari: Was this insta love/lust?
Angie: I don’t think so.
Beatriz: Well, Dexter had a crush on her for years
Angie: There was history and build up, ya know?
Wilmari: Apparently yes. Was the history and build up in the previous book?
Jaime: I kind of thought he was more into her the she was into him at the beginning, and at one point I think Kristen kind of went into stalker territory with Dex and him remembering every last detail about Fiona
Perry: yes… It felt organic. I could feel Dex’s intensity for her. His passion for her. And Fiona slowly giving in.
Angie: Not in FZ but it’s mentioned here.
Christina: No, I don’t think it was insta love/lust. Maybe on Fi’s part at first, but she later realized she had noticed small little things too. She just wasn’t ready. And my Dexy has loved her for 2 years, so he was ready!
Wilmari: It didn’t felt forced to me
Perry: Exactly!! No real build up in the previous book. But here, you can see how he was hung on her from the get go. Super hung.
Angie: Hee hee, super hung.
Perry: pun intended!!
Wilmari: Felt more like when you know, you know
Christina: No, absolutely not. I agree. It was like they just went together. They were each others halves *sigh*
Perry: yeah, like he could tell she was it for him. And Dex is a master at the waiting game. He isn’t about instant gratification. He is about purpose and meaning.
The virgin hero plot! Did we buy it?
Jaime: Totally bought it
Angie: I totally bought it.
Jaime: But I could have done without that image at spring break.
Wilmari: I have to say that was my biggest fear going into the book and I totally bought it. Kristen did a great job.
Perry: I had major doubts when I heard about the virgin trope, especially after my terrible experience with another book. But Kristen Callihan nailed this trope. She made a believer out of me. For that alone she deserves a standing ovation.
Wilmari: Ok, safe to say we all bought it. Well done Kristen
Christina: Ok, so I was freaking nervous! I have been waiting for Dex’s story since the first of May. This was my most anticipated book of the year! This virgin thing could have RUINED the story for me. But Kristen nailed it! It was totally believable! And their first time was so freaking intense and it felt real! That he asked her for help, help him to make her feel better….my God I swooned so hard in that moment!
Perry: The backstory to why this amazingly good looking, talented pro athlete is a virgin made sense to me.
Angie: Oh, major hesitation here too, but Kristen pulled it off for sure.
Moving on to the good part… How did you girls like the sex scenes?
Christina: DED. Lol
Wilmari: Holy hot sex scenes!!!
Perry: Oooooof get a bucket of ice water cause I’m going to need it!
Wilmari: They were all hot. All of them. And believable.
Beatriz: Even the making out scenes were hot
Perry: That beard does amazing things to a woman!
Christina: It was so HOT! Dex was amazing! Every single sex scene was on point and hot af!
Jaime: They were on fire
Wilmari: So much hotness
Perry: And that man knows how to suck a nipple!! Just saying!!
Jaime: And a pussy!
Christina: Every single thing that Dex did was hot! A little nipple beard action and I was done for. He had me from the first touch.
Angie: Creamed my panties. That. Is. All.
Perry: plus, piercings! As if this man wasn’t hot enough already, he turned out to be a natural dirty talker!
Wilmari: But it was still realistic though. Like he was definitely a Virgin at some point.
Christina: Angie said it perfectly!
Jaime: Yep the tingles were there while reading those scenes!
Christina: True that, Perry! *high 5*
Perry: *high 5*
Christina: The pierced nipple, the tattoos and the pierced dick! I liked the reason behind the piercings… Everything about the man is HOT! « Hide Spoiler
Jaime: I loved his dirty talk and it wasn’t over done.
Wilmari: Kristen nailed the sexy times
Jaime: That she did, Wil
Christina: She did!
Wilmari: Dex is a walking wet dream
Angie: Walking wet dream. Just. Yes.
Christina: Yes he is…..sigh
Wilmari: Anything else about the sexy times?
Perry: we’re going to combust if we keep going, ha!
Wilmari: Other than we would all do Dex if given the chance?
Christina: I need a minute. Like a cool down, bahaha
Perry: totally agree with that!! All the way into next Christmas!
Angie: They were on fleek. I need a fucking cigarette. And I don’t smoke.
Serious business now. How do we feel about the plot twists?
Beatriz: Yeah… I don’t the like the turn the story took at 50% at all.
Christina: Ummmm, I wish they would have been different. That being said I felt like Kristen did them right, but in general I didn’t like it.
Wilmari: Not a fan of the whole plot twist, it was kinda funny at some point. Like I couldn’t take it serious. It didn’t raise to the “ruin the book” level but it was off.
Perry: there was a plot twist that I found a bit far fetched. Around 77%. It wasn’t very believable. Especially the way it happened. It was obvious the author needed to create major drama and that was the only way she could.
Angie: The plot twists for me was a tad overdone. I know this was her “ripped from the headlines” book but, for me, way too many headlines.
Jaime: She threw so much shit at these two that even I the angst whore was like WTF…at one point I thought Dex was slitting his wrists
Christina: What happens at 77%, 2 and 2 aren’t equalling 4. How things happen seems a bit far fetched.
Angie: Level was off, yes!
Perry: I did get that she based this off Tebow and the Ashley Madison incident. So there is a level of believability to what happened later on in the book.
Wilmari: But Tebow is a high profile quarterback or was. And I felt they led nowhere, they resolved too fast or lagged for too long and went nowhere
Beatriz: I didn’t enjoy myself reading the second half of the book like I was while reading the first half.
Angie: I’m with B. I found myself wanting to get back to Dex and Fiona, not the headlines.
Wilmari: Still I don’t think Tebow had paparazzi everywhere. The whole paparazzi in New Orleans deal is far fetched
Beatriz: Yes, it is. I was a little annoyed at that part. View Spoiler »I thought it was stupid how Dex didn’t do anything concrete to stop that nonsense. It was hard for me to believe that they would be too mean to Fiona if he said she was his girlfriend so he didn’t want to do that. « Hide Spoiler I just don’t buy it.
Wilmari: Anyway, not my favorite plot line
Perry: So other than the mechanics being far fetched (something concerning the stealing of a personal item) I didn’t find it hard to suspend disbelief about the media frenzy situation. Then again please bear in mind I’m not a football expert.
Christina: Perry, I am 100% with you.
Wilmari: In order to rate this book high I’m suspending disbelief. It didn’t bother me that much.
Perry: Yeah like it wasn’t the most realistic turn but it didn’t interfere majorly with my enjoyment of my overall feeling about the book. It wasn’t a deal breaker.
Beatriz: Lol, I was rolling my eyes but yes don’t mind me. I think most readers won’t care so much.
Perry: I think Dex is a classic overprotective guy. He’s all about protecting Fi, to the point of exaggeration.
Beatriz: He is also a thinker.
Perry: Yes and an over analyzer.
Wilmari: Most readers won’t mind the football or paparazzi inaccuracies for sure. So I’m letting it go, because Dex.
Perry: … Dex!!!
Jaime: I was bored with a lot of this book but my love for Dex got me through it.
Angie: A thinker for sure, protective… *sigh*
Perry: I think it did flag in the middle but thankfully not to the point of boredom or even considering DNFing.
Jaime: I loved that part, Wil!
Wilmari: I laughed out loud, and kinda loved it! I loved that for once he showed emotion. He was so contained and he went full beast!
Jaime: I was like yeah you go Dex and you just know he looked hot as hell with a clean face and shaved hair.
Beatriz: He must have looked really hot after, yes!
Christina: Ok. So I called this. In the first few chapters I told y’all he would do it. I also might have said some not nice things about Kristen, if she made him cut his beard or hair. BUT I totally bought his reason so I’m not mad. I mourned the loss of his precious beard and mun, but he broke and he broke my heart.
Perry: Full beast for sure. I was shocked!! I liked that the last part did end up surprising me. When the word razor was mentioned I literally gasped!!
Wilmari: I was surprised too
Beatriz: The full beast scene… I was like “WTF is this now?”
Perry: and when he finally lets go of that inner beast… Wow, I was blown away. It broke my heart. I could tell that he had been on the verge of exploding for so long.
Wilmari: Beauty and the Beast. Ripped off the Disney storyline
Perry: yes!! But I think it worked here.
Wilmari: Yeah he was contained. Strong and silent, meant to happen
Christina: I was gripping my phone on a full on sweat! I was so sad! When he went all Hulk. I was strangely turned on. I loved that he finally let it all out! I was like “Yeah Dexy! You let it out! You be pissed!”
Perry: I’m glad hat Fi didn’t bail. I thought for a minute she would.
Wilmari: Fi was mature
Angie: Yeah, that scene…. Ugh…. I felt so bad for him. All that pent up frustration….
Perry: I would have been so pissed had she left him when he was at his most vulnerable.
Angie: She was super mature.
Christina: I’m glad she didn’t either. I was proud of her. She was the adult. While Dex was destroying his living room she calmly leaves to go get soup!
Angie: Soup! Ugh.
Christina: That whole hulk scene broke my heart
Wilmari: Yes she was a grown up
Angie: Me too, Chris.
Wilmari: He needed that release
Perry: that’s when Fi proved her worth to me!
Angie: He definitely needed that.
Wilmari: He could’ve just fuck her though. Lol. Hot angry sex
Perry: ahahaha yeah that would have been one violent fuck. Overprotective Dex kept his dick away from her.
Angie: Mmmmmmmmm, yes Wil, angry sex. I need another cigarette. « Hide Spoiler
So tell me what you loved the most about the book (1 reply each)
Perry: that one is easy. Dex!!
Wilmari: Dex definitely made the book for me. Dex was worth it.
Christina: Dex!!! Hands down. Every single thing about him made this book.
Perry: Lol yes… Every single thing about Dex was drool worthy.
Angie: About the book? Dex. He is it for me here. He’s a great friend, a great lover, a great person and I love him.
Beatriz: I liked the bromance. I had a lot of fun with them (a love letter to 11-55-88 )
Jaime: Ohhh, I liked that too B
Now tell me what you didn’t like about the book (1 reply each)
Beatriz: How she dragged some plots for too long just to add drama
Perry: The wordiness of the prose at times. It made the book just a bit overlong.
Angie: Too many “ripped from the headlines” plots.
Christina: Oh, that’s a hard one! The wordiness and what happens at 77%.
Wilmari: I think her writing is beautiful, but it’s also wordy. Too long, the book got unnecessary long at times, borderline boring. The plot twist was a little weak and some of the NFL assumptions are wrong. But all of these were minor annoyances.
Jaime: Fiona’s boring as hell job.
Wilmari: Lol true. I felt like some chapters were just fillers in an already long book
Perry: this wasn’t one of those addictive reads for me. I could put it down. But it did keep me interested enough all throughout.
Christina: I felt like we were present in some scenes that we could have been told about. 2 chapters in particular made my eyes glaze over. There was important information that needed to be known in those chapters, but I didn’t need to be present. A recap would have worked just fine.
Perry: One chapter in particular felt like shameless sequel baiting
Wilmari: Agree with Perry. The first 50% I couldn’t put down, the rest 50 was slower.
Angie: Agreed, Perry, about the sequel.
Christina: I didn’t see the sequel hints, but my eyes were glazed over, so I could have missed it. I mean I seen it, but not like “OMG I need that to happen!”
Taking this as what it is, a sports NA, would you recommend it? 1 Word
Beatriz: I guess (sorry, that’s two words)
Jaime: Yeah, I think those who read it, will like it.
Angie: My answer is, yes.
Anything else you want to say about the book before we rate it?
Perry: Just how pleasantly surprised I was. I’d given up on this series after rating The Friend Zone 3.5 meh stars.
Christina: My Dexy was everything I imagined him to be plus more! I’m so happy that Kristen did him well! I seriously love him so freaking much! I could go on and on. I would stalk him in real life and I want to have his big beautiful babies!
Angie: I, too, was pleasantly surprised.
Christina: And I want to feel his beard all over my body. Nuff said *winky face*
Perry: Fear the Beard!!
Wilmari: I haven’t read FZ but I loved both heroes I’ve read so far in this series. And she seriously pulled off the virgin storyline.
Angie: Definitely pulled it off.
Christina: Yes she did! I was nervous for no reason.
Jaime: I was too, Chris! I was so pissed when she said Dex was a virgin.
Perry: I was rolling my eyes so hard they hurt. And now I’m a believer!!
Christina: Oh, me too. Y’all have heard my many of rants about it. But I ate some crow, because she did it!
Beatriz: I loved her writing in the beginning. It easily sucked me in the story and into their minds.
Perry: The Hook Up is still my favorite in this series but this book is a worthy addition to it!
Christina: I will say the Hook Up is still my favorite book, but Dexy is my favorite man!
Wilmari: Hook Up is still #1 for me too
Jaime: Okay, on to Dean’s book!
Let’s rate The Game Plan!
Christina: 4.5 stars but rounding up to a 5.
Jaime: Oh right….4 stars. This was a 3 star read for me but I upped it to 4 for everything Dex.
Perry: 4 stars!! I didn’t absolutely love it but I absolutely loved Dex. I’m glad I read it and it was an easy quick read for me.
Beatriz: 3 stars… I genuinely had a hard time with the second half of the book.
Wilmari: I’m between 3.5 and 4, because Dex was everything
Angie: 4 stars
Perry: Dex alone is worth a full star if not more!
*We received an ARC in exchange for a honest review*