Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Game Plan (Game On #3) By: Kristen Callihan

So this is one of the few reviews I get to do just for the fun of it, so I have no one really to thank like I normally do here. So instead I will just throw a huge shout out to Kristen Callihan for writing such an amazing book and series in general. I LOVED The Game Plan and cannot wait to tell ya'll why ;)

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.

Game On

Where to start with this book????
Where oh where?
I only ask because there is just so much love I have to share for this book.
I started this series back a little after book 2 came out, and let me tell you... the hype for Gray Grayson was astonishing. But like any good Bookie I dove in with Drew's book and didn't stop till I was I was on the other side of Gray's. I am pretty sure I spent that whole weekend without food, water, or human contact. I may have even growled at my family members when they tried to talk or even look at me in that time. I can't say I'm particularly proud of my behavior in that dark dark book induced crazy time. But I can tell you that it was completely worth it. Because when the weekend was over I had fallen for a fictional guy, and I had fallen hard.
Gray-Gray was seriously my honey. But oh boy... I am pretty sure after finishing TGP I have a new honey. and his name is Ethan "Dex" Dexter. 
Ok so incase you don't know, I am a total nut when it comes to all things bearded and man bunned.
So guess how excited I was to find out that the next book in this awesome series was going to star the rather quiet, brilliantly smart, bearded, tatted, and bunned Dex???
Oh yes... there was some major freaking out happening. 
I liked the guy back in the 1st 2 books. He's always been the quiet one who just kinda stood in the background but yet was there to give advice when anyone needed it. We knew he was pretty artistic and a great player as well. But those things were about all we did know.
And then BAM!!!! Here we have this whole book dedicated to him and Fiona, and seriously I squealed when I started reading it.

Ok so I guess before I totally go off on my Dex gushing I should talk about Fi. Because we all know when I get going on my fictional men, it can sure go on and on hehe.
So Fiona Mackenzie.
I sort of love this girl to be honest. She is spunky, and pretty funny. A little flighty (I'll get to that in a minute) and just one of those girls that wants to enjoy life. And while she is finally starting realize that she may want more than a quick fling and a fun party she is still not sure of everything she wants in life.
Enter big man mountain, bearded, and bunned Dex. He makes her see things that she hadn't. How fun a beard can be (Told you I'm obsessed hehe) that it's ok for her to keep changing her mind until she finds what makes her happy. Because something about Fi is that she kind of bounces from one thing to another. And let me tell you I kind of found that refreshing to read. I know I've probably said it more than once over past reviews but I like characters I can relate to. And Fi I can relate with. For the longest time I had an idea in my head of that I wanted and how to accomplish it. 2 years ago I got big into the book world, decided that as much as I loved the idea of being a nurse that that life just didn't fit into what I wanted anymore. Instead I found myself drawn to wanting to work more in the field of publishing or PR. I mean I run a bog, I work as a PA for an author (I am pro at this right?) Ha wrong. While I still wouldn't mind going that route in life I just don't think it will ever happen. I made the decision of this big life course change at the start of my junior year of college and yeah, after realizing that I would essentially have to start over to do that... I gave up, chose to switch to a bio degree to later go to a master's program for physical therapy. And here I am now, hoping to be done with my bio degree here soon.

So yes, I can relate to that feeling of searching for something. For your purpose in life to just smack you one day while you're looking for it. The difference between Fi and myself though? And something I really liked about her, was that she wasn't afraid to keep looking for that thing. While I love the road I'm taking (I have some pretty personal reasons for taking it) I know I've settled. I just want to be done and in my profession and happy. And here is Fi who is trying to make things work so she won't let anyone down and in doing that she actually finds herself. She realizes that sometimes you have to move on from one thing to something new to be happy. And yes I know she isn't real... but for someone like me who lives more in the fictional world than the real one I look at her as this stunning role model.
And I really respect Kristen Callihan for writing a character like her. Now don't get me wrong. Fi goes through some pretty terrible stuff near the end of this one. And like anyone would she shuts down. But her ability to take back her life after what happens was pretty amazing. And having authors like Kristen that are willing to write characters like that makes me all warm and fuzzy. We need more people out there willing to do that. To create strong characters that go through real problems and work their way to overcome them. (Yes I know there are a lot of books that do that. I  totally will fist bump all these authors too. Ya'll are the bomb diggity)

So on that note I guess I'll takel Dex now. He plays such a big part in why Fi is as strong as she is. He supports her, and loves on her, and just wants t take care of her and make her happy. And I love that in a big hairy man.
Dex is seriously everything a girl could dream of. Well a girl like me who's into all that hehe. But it isn't just the excessive amounts of hair and ink that draw me to him. It's how deep and (profound?) I think that's the word I want. But it may be a bit too extreme, he is. He is literally the guy you turn to then something is wrong because he will make you think about your problems and figure out a solution without really even giving you a long lecture or too much advice. He makes you question yourself and your own actions and then see what the problem you're having is. But he is also the quiet type that keeps to himself. he's had some screwed up things happen to him (nothing too major) and he finally starts to realize that is artsy alone time may not be all he needs. And Fi and Dex are literally perfect together. The chemistry between them was sizzling and I couldn't stop reading once things got going between them.
And ok. I know I'm totally changing the subject, but we just talk about how vulnerable Dex is too. I mean we are talking this guy who is a hot pro football player who I may or may not be a virgin. He's never been close to a girl in that sort of way and seeing those walls go down for Fi sort of amazed me. To see how much trust he gives her. But also to see a male character in general that isn't just sex on a stick "oh baby come and get it" I'm a successful cocky dude who knows exactly how to make you crazy and be successful at the same time kinda guy. Dex is learning how to be the man Fi deserves and needs, but he's also finally discovering the person he wants to be. To not hold back everything till the timing is right. And I love that Kristen took the risk and gave us a character like him. So many of the times everyone assumes those things can't happen to men and yet here is a prime example of the fact that even big burly football players can be scared and upset and not know what to do all the time.
For real though, Dex just is one of those people (Yes yes fictional people) that I could see myself becoming friends with if he were real. And oh Dex has so many secret quirks. One in particular I will tell you I found so extremely hot. Just everything the man does screams yummm with a side of muuummm and as much as I have loved some book boyfriends in the past this guy it totally getting ranked pretty high up there.

I also want to just talk about Gray and Ivy real fast too because Gray was my favorite before the tatted bear made his way in my life. The two of them are still adorable as ever and I was so happy to see things working out for them. If you've read the series you know they went through their fair share of heartaches and to see them happy and a little sleep deprived was something that made the fuzzies come back. I love books like this that overlap characters, I love that I always get to see more of how everyone is doing. And just to see them so settled and enjoying life was something great. (Also I guess I should warn you Game On series fans. This books takes place 2 years in the future from Gray's book. Just so you know)

Also I was happy to see Rolando again. I don't know what it is about the dude but he makes me smile. He's one of those characters that you just love to see pop in time to time, and I will admit I'm not a big M/M fan. I wouldn't mind seeing a book or even Novella starring him farther down the line.

So just incase you weren't sure after all that... I seriously LOVED this book. It just had everything I look for in a good sports romance, and I really truly loved the characters in this one. They were so dimensional and fun. I can't wait to see what Kristen has in store for us next. And you can bet I will be counting down the days ;)

I give The Game Plan: *****5 Stars*****