James Patterson + hot sex isn’t something I saw coming.

“I was never one for the jocks in high school.”

I have to agree with Mel’s statement in Sacking the Quarterback, a flaming-hot, new readSacking the Quarterback by Samantha Towle from James Patterson’s BookShots imprint. Jocks don’t normally light my fire, but this book will satisfy you in one way and leave you hungry in another.

If you haven’t heard, Patterson is working with some very talented new writers to bring short, two-hour reads to those who want to get into a book and wrap it up in one sitting. I never thought I’d see one of the world’s most highly respected writers delve deeply into the romance genre, but I’m not surprised that Patterson would take up the challenge of working with writers in an attempt to satisfy some of the world’s most discerning readers.

Under Patterson’s direction, Sacking the Quarterback was written by Samantha Towle, a fairly new writer who has only been writing novels since 2008. However, she can give long-time romance writers a strong run for their money. I’ve been reading romance books for over 20 years, and I know that I (and other avid romance readers) have high standards for what is and what is not a strong love story.

Sacking the Quarterback will not let you down. It’s a quick race across the field that ends in a touchdown without any fumbling along the way. (Hey, as a non-football fan, I’m rather proud of tying in sports terminology in my description haha!)

Folks, if you want a book that will make you squirm with passion yet still manages to amazingly still feel like a clean read, you NEED to pick up Sacking the Quarterback. It’s cheaper than my beloved pumpkin spice lattes, and it will make you feel all charged up and ready to go grab your significant other. (Golly, remind me to block this post from my mother and Facebook friends). I’m seriously impressed how Towle is able to bring such an emotional intensity to a short book while managing to keep the plot going at lightening speed.

In Sacking the Quarterback, it seems like the golden boy of the Miami Dolphin’s football team has gone bad when rising star Assistant State Attorney Melissa St. James first meets Grayson Knight. However, Knight’s halo might not be as tarnished as it seems–it could be that he’s protecting another person by claiming he’s the owner of the stash of drugs found in his possession. Will the truth come out? Will Melissa get busted for playing around with the person she’s prosecuting on a drug charge?

You’d think that in order to be a short, two-hour read that you’d feel like the story is missing something or too abbreviated but this is happily not the case. It is a quick roller coaster ride that you won’t want to put down because you just have to see what’s going to happen next. It takes some serious skills to keep a book short yet make it as satisfying as a full-length novel, so hats off to the BookShots team for successfully doing this. And at the paperback price of $4.99 (US) or $3.99 for an e-book, you can enjoy very many hot reads for very little money.

4.5/5 Stars, so close to being 5 stars but knocked .5 off only because I knew who Grayson was covering for as soon as the character was mentioned.

Amazon Paperback | Kindle

Barnes and Noble Paperback | Ebook

P.S. Full disclosure, I know the editor personally/professionally, but that only makes me want to be more honest in my review so that her books are fantastic and do wonderfully.

When First Love Becomes Forever Love.

First Love by James Patterson and Emily Raymond

First Love by James Patterson and Emily Raymond

I’m still living in the world of First Love. The audio book may have ended, but I’m not ready for the story of Axi Moore and Robinson to end. I want to rewrite the last few chapters of their beautiful story. A story filled with hope, strength, humor, and loss.

I normally summarize a story in my own words, but I find this description from James Patterson’s website too perfect to try and rewrite.

An extraordinary portrait of true love that will move anyone who has a first love story of their own.

Axi Moore is a “good girl”: She studies hard, stays out of the spotlight, and doesn’t tell anyone how all she really wants is to run away from it all. The only person she can tell is her best friend, Robinson—who she also happens to be madly in love with.

When Axi spontaneously invites Robinson to come with her on an impulsive cross-country road trip, she breaks the rules for the first time in her life. But the adventure quickly turns from carefree to out of control after the teens find themselves on the run from the police. And when Robinson suddenly collapses, Axi has to face the truth that this trip might be his last.

A remarkably moving tale very personal to James Patterson’s own past, FIRST LOVE is testament to the power of first love—and how it can change the rest of your life.

Though I highly respect James Patterson’s extraordinary career–I honestly haven’t read too much by him since he hasn’t published many romances except for those he’s just started publishing under his new imprint, BookShots. However, when I saw this romance that he co-wrote with Emily Raymond, I knew it was probably going to be good–and I wasn’t disappointed. Granted, I’m not sure how much of this book was written by Patterson versus Raymond, but this book will make you smile, cry, laugh, and appreciate your own life twenty times over.

When I started reading this book, I was guilty of expecting the plot to go a certain way. I was wrong. This story goes much deeper than Axi just being an unhappy kid wanting to escape the boredom of small town living by going on a road trip. Robinson was much more than just a high school dropout. I didn’t realize until the story progressed that both Axi and Robinson had met as cancer patients in the hospital. That makes their relationship reach a deeper, more intimate level than the typical first love relationship. Nothing builds unbreakable bonds than getting chemo treatment and facing death together.

The adventures of Axi and Robinson as they drive across America are somehow both far-fetched and realistic at the same time. I mean, how many times can kids steal cars with witnesses and not get caught? Why wasn’t there a manhunt for two teenagers who handcuffed a cop after threatening him with his own weapon? You’d think the police would have checked with the local bus lines to see if anyone matching their description had bought tickets. Nevertheless, this journey ended up setting Axi and Robinson free on so many levels. Free to love one another. Free to reinvent yourself. Free to simply exist in the moment, without any fear for what tomorrow may bring. I think this book can teach many people to get out of their daily grind and truly live. Especially since none of us are promised tomorrow.

As a side note, in case you didn’t catch it, I read the audio version of First Love, by Hachette Book Group. Narrator Lauren Fortgang truly hit the nail on the head in her portrayal of Robinson and Axi. I truly felt like I was listening to the two teenagers. Props to a stirring, awesome narration!