Monday, November 5, 2018

REVIEW/RELEASE BLITZ: The Assist by Rebecca Jenshak

Series: Smart Jocks #1
Genre: College Sports Romance

~Blurb~

You know those stories where the smart girl tutors the dumb jock? This isn’t it.

Blair
What’s the probability of insulting the one guy on campus I need to help me pass statistics? If I knew, I wouldn’t be standing in front of Wes Reynolds begging him to tutor me.

Basketball player, sexy, arrogant, always sleeping through class… these are the things I knew about him. What I didn’t know is that he is a seriously smart jock.

Wes
What’s the best way to get rid of the peppy and unrelenting girl that keeps asking me to tutor her? If I knew, I wouldn’t be staring at her tan legs and attempting to teach her statistics.

Sorority girl, fine as f**k, determined, ball buster… these are the things I knew about her. What I didn’t know is that she is all the things I didn’t realize I wanted or needed.

Or that one semester with her would change everything.

~Book Review~
4.25 Stars

Blair Olson is determined to succeed. That includes getting on the MBA track. Too bad Statistics is kicking her butt. Basketball senior Wes Reynolds sleeps through class. So how he’s not only passing but acing the course is a mystery to Blair. But whatever he’s doing, she’s ready to try.
“‘You’re like the best of both worlds—hot jock meets hot nerd.’
“All I just heard was you calling me hot.’”
Told via their dual first person POV, the banter flows smoothly with these two from the start. Wes is super cute, suave but down-to-Earth, laid back, and not a manwhore. (Score!) 🏀
“Only two types of girls come over to hang at the house. Type one is the ball honeys who have only one objective—landing a basketball player….I stay far, far, like outer space far away from those girls.”
Now I’m personally not a wiz at either statistics or basketball, but I wouldn’t be opposed to Wes teaching me both if I was twenty years younger.
“The black rimmed glasses take him from hot jock to hot smart jock, and I know this must be what it’s like for guys watching a supermodel eat a double cheeseburger. It seems all wrong, and yet, it is sooo right.”
This is one of those stories that kinda makes you long for your college days again. Obviously, the hot guy doesn’t hurt, but it’s more than that. There’s a solid theme of friendship and camaraderie here with both Wes and Blair’s friends who have each other’s backs. I really liked how Wes’s friends were so accepting and supportive of Blair.  Joel’s advice though—that part was not only humorous but it added to the ‘realness’ factor with Wes.

I love romances that build both the ‘getting to know you’ process and the chemistry. This story has both so points for the absence of insta-lust and insta-love.  I’ve found that kissing scenes in contemporary romance are often neglected or difficult to pull off. Not the case here.  It definitely served to steam things up. The sexual tension was severely palpable.
 “His fingers trace up and down my sides in slow movements that leave me equal parts wanting more and wanting just this.”
It has the same affect on the reader. I wanted them to both drag it out and yet hit the sheets.
“Bless ready to get it on.”
Blair is outgoing and optimistic. She’s a pretty strong female character with the exception of one issue that’s she being backed into a corner over. I do wish she would have handled that a little better. It would have been nice to see her set an example to other girls who might end up in the same situation.

But for the most part, these two show maturity, and they inspired each other. That’s a great component for a successful relationship.  I especially thought Wes handled Blair’s problem well, and in many ways, I would have been happier if the story ended there with that conflict solved. But sadly it didn’t. In fact, around the 70-75% mark the story moved from an upbeat ‘love is a journey’ romance into a slightly teen angsty second conflict.  

The book was on track to be a potential 5 star read for me till the conflict dragged up and down the court, and they stopped scoring  (yes read into all the puns). The last quarter lagged. It wasn’t on par with the previous innings. Oh and there was one little itty bitty clichĂ©d moment that served no purpose at all.  I was sorely disappointed because this story almost boasted a clean record for no OW drama till then and it came late in the game.  In non sports lingo, more detailed sexy times with Wes and Blair and less separation would have gone a long way.

I’m also a little disappointed that the next book isn’t Z’s. While Joel was a fun guy, I’m not sure I can get past his manwhore ways. But Z sounds like a saint and I definitely want to read his book. Maybe even Nathan’s if he’s not a player as I have a weakness for grunge guys. 

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~Excerpt~
“Rise and shine,” Joel says as he nudges me. I’m not asleep.
I wish I were. My eyes are closed, hat pulled down, but there’s no sleep to be had.
“She’s coming back for more.” The tone in his voice is almost inspired.
I don’t have to look up to know who he’s talking about, but I do anyway. She’s the most entertaining thing about this class. Open my eyes and lift the hat, turn it backward so my view isn’t the least bit blocked.
Today she’s wearing little pink shorts that show off tan legs, yellow tennis shoes that don’t match but somehow work, and a bracelet with a little charm around her left ankle. It’s too small to make out, but I stare anyway. Her brown hair is pulled up in a high ponytail, and she has a megawatt smile plastered on her face. A big bow on top of her head is all she’d need to look like head cheerleader of my high school fantasies.
“Wes, hey, can I talk to you for a second?”
“What’s up?”
I’m hella impressed by the balls on this chick. She’s put her foot in her mouth, not once, but twice, and damn near insulted the entire student athlete population, but she keeps coming back. She has determination and grit. I admire that about her.
I also am not in the least bit offended by her assumption that I’m a dumb jock. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised she came right out and asked who my tutor was, but I know exactly what it looks like. I’ve fed into the stereotype for years, doing nothing to make it seem otherwise. Well, nothing but get straight A’s.
“I have sort of a favor.”
“What’s up?” I stand to walk with her out of the class.
“The tutor center was a bust. I know you said . . .” She looks like she’s choosing her words carefully. “Do you have old study notes or tests from previous semesters?”
“Still convinced I’m not capable of passing on my own, huh?”
“I’m sorry, really, no offense. I just want in on whatever study materials you’re using. I can’t afford to fail another test. What’s your secret?”
The secret? I’m fucking smart. Photographic memory smart and statistics is my whole world, but I can’t resist messing with her.
“You know, saying no offense doesn’t make whatever you’re saying less offensive. It just makes you feel better about saying something offensive.”
Joel snickers behind me. I just can’t resist fucking with her. She’s making it too easy.
“Sorry. I’m really so sorry. What about the other guys on the team? Anyone have any awesome math tutors who aren’t available to us non-jock students? I can pay.” 
“Couldn’t say for sure, but I don’t think so. Most the guys hold their own academically.” I lean in catching a whiff of her hair. It smells good—like sugar cookies or candy canes or something sugary sweet that I want to sink my teeth into. “Shocking, I know.”
Her shoulders slump in defeat, and I can tell she’s finally accepted that I have no answers for her. At this point, I almost wish I knew of someone to send her to. I don’t exactly travel in circles that clue me in on secret study sessions and underground tutor societies.
“Thanks anyway.” She gives a little wave with the hand clutched around the strap of her backpack.
Joel catches up to me, and we watch as she crosses the campus toward the library. “Dude. That chick . . .”
“I know,” I say, and we continue to stare after her completely awe stricken.


Rebecca Jenshak is a self-proclaimed margarita addict, college basketball fanatic, and Hallmark channel devotee. A Midwest native transplanted to the desert, she likes being outdoors (drinking on patios) and singing (in the shower) when she isn't writing books about hot guys and the girls who love them.

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