Dec 20, 2015
Review - Aced (Blocked #2) by Jennifer Lane
Medical student Alejandro’s hot Latin looks get him plenty of attention, but his deep faith and admiration for his father keep him on a righteous path, with no time for something as frivolous as love. He strives to do the right thing—study diligently, take care of his siblings, represent the family well—so why does he feel so unfulfilled?
Enter Lucia’s friend and teammate Maddie Brooks, who shines at blocking the ball and acing the serve. Too bad this graduating senior isn’t so confident about her life off the court. Her longtime boyfriend has just bailed on her, and med school applications loom large. Oh, and a nerve-wracking tryout for Team USA also approaches.
Maddie meets Alejandro when he visits Lucia at school, and she’s soon drawn to his sharp mind. Alejandro is similarly intrigued by Maddie’s talent and strength. But will personal biases and family politics smother the slow burn of their attraction? Unless Maddie can learn to believe in herself, and Alejandro can become his own man, their kindling romance hardly stands a chance.
Will either of them be bold enough to try something new? Find out in this emotion- rich story that refuses to shy away from life’s hardest questions. Because love is worth the risk.
Overall I loved this book as much as the first book. It's a sweet romance the delves deeply into what it means to be an athlete as well as what happens when it's taken away. It also deals with darker issues of family dynamics, illness, and race. I couldn't put it down once I started. Based on the first book, I knew I would struggle with Alejandro as a leading man. I knew his principles would irk me, and they did. Jennifer Lane doesn't do cutout characters. She has a way of capturing them with all sorts of views that never come across preachy, even when they are ridiculously fixed in a somewhat narrow world view. Just like real people can be. This book is no exception.
I found Alejandro overbearing and self-righteous, especially at the beginning. But then, I found myself thinking he was a bit wishy washy when he couldn't stick to those same principles later in the book because they didn't suit him. Seriously, the poor guy couldn't catch a break with me. He did have his good points such as being kind and brave, and did eventually win me over. Although, we'd never be able to talk politics.
Maddie I could empathize with a lot more. She is struggling with depression and trying to hold her world together while it is being turned upside down. She had much more moderate world views, however, getting on with her own life seems to be enough for her during the course of the book. It's not that she doesn't care about the wider world, because she does. It's just that she seems to take it as it comes to her without preconceived notions about anyone.
There is almost instant sizzle between these two, although getting to the relationship part was a sort of slow, gentle burn that reminded me of old black and white movies. As if Alejandro was a gentleman courting her. Maddie deserved that, she deserved some love and care. I respected his character more for taking his time.
Since these books are set against the background of politics(Alejandro is the president's son) some of things discussed by the characters are very much a part of American current affairs. However, nothing that I wasn't already aware of or couldn't keep up with and the book is very much about the romance and relationships rather than the backdrops.
Like I said, all in all, I loved it. I'm very much looking forward to book three that will focus on another Ramirez sibling.
Easy 5 star read, for those who love sweet romance with a side of reality in all it's wonderful and broken glory.
About the Author
Get psyched for romance with psychologist/author (psycho author) Jennifer Lane! By day she’s a therapist, and by night she’s a writer. She can’t decide which is more fun.
Jen adores creating sporty heroines and hot heroes in her college sport romances. Volleyball wonder Lucia Ramirez found her love match in Blocked despite the glaring political spotlight aimed on her family. In Aced, the second book in the Blocked series, it’s her brother Alejandro’s turn to get lucky in love. Aced launches in December 2015.
A swimmer and volleyball player in college, Jen writes swimming-based romances as well: Streamline, a military mystery, and the free New Adult novella Swim Recruit.
Stories of redemption interest Jen the most, especially the healing power of love. She is also the author of The Conduct Series, a romantic-suspense trilogy that includes With Good Behavior, Bad Behavior, and On Best Behavior.
Ultimately, whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry. In her spare time she enjoys exercising, attending book club, and visiting her sisters in Chicago and Hilton Head.