Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Book Review: Covering Kendall by Julie Brannagh

Title: Covering Kendall
Author: Julie Brannagh
Publisher: Avon (HarperCollins)
Release Date: October 21, 2014
Where to Buy: Amazon Barnes & Noble  |  Kobo  |  iTunes
Rating: 5 stars

From the book:

Kendall Tracy, General Manager of the San Francisco Miners, is not one for rash decisions or one-night stands. But when she finds herself alone in a hotel room with a heart-stoppingly gorgeous man-who looks oddly familiar-Kendall throws her own rules out the window…and they blow right back into her face.

Drew McCoy should look familiar, he’s a star player for her team’s archrival the Seattle Sharks. Which would basically make Drew and Kendall the Romeo and Juliet of professional football…well, without all the dying. Not that it’s an issue. They agree to pretend their encounter never happened. Nothing good can come from it anyway, right? Drew’s not so sure.

Kendall may be all wrong, but he can’t stop thinking about her and he finds that some risks are worth taking. Because the stakes are always highest when you’re playing for keeps.

My review:

Julie Brannagh's fourth Love and Football series, COVERING KENDALL, is her best work yet. Brannagh is an author I've been with from the beginning - as an Avon Addict, I was introduced to her with her debut novel, Blitzing Emily (which I enjoyed). I saw improvement in her writing in her second, Rushing Amy, and her style became even better with Catching Cameron. (Why didn't I review this?! I loved this novel. I'll have to review it so you, dear reader, can make a decision to buy it. Spoiler alert: It's worth your money.)

But this one?

She. Nailed. It.

The characters' struggles are so real - career vs. personal life. It's one many of us struggle with in our everyday lives, and Brannagh injects so much feeling into the dialogue and setting that I related all over the place. (As I mentioned in earlier posts, I'm not a football lover. I'm not really a sporty type. But this series - this story in particular - transcends all that.)

Kendall is a busy career woman. She has climbed to the top by working her behind off; she's professional without being cold, which is a difficult thing for any author to pull off. Brannagh balanced her just right. One of the subplots in this book is that Kendall has to deal with one of her players involved in a domestic abuse case. Instead of going all icy and "I'm a woman and I'm bad-ass, I'm going to kick this guy out of the NFL," Kendall responds with such grace, humility and realism that I cheered out loud. It was wonderful. And that's just one example of the wonderfulness of this novel.

Drew is another well-rounded character. I wish I could turn on the TV and look for him on the field! Drew thinks he has it all together. He wants the perfect family - the same one he grew up with, really. Two loving parents, siblings, white picket fence. He even bought a house that would support such a family, when he found the perfect woman to marry. (Ha! I love that. He has such confidence that all will fall neatly into place. Life never works that way, and again, Brannagh nails this by blowing it completely out-of-the-water!) His high-profile job gives him a great insight into what it will be like for Kendall if their romance secret ever got out (which, of course, it does). Then it gives him great sensitivity to how she has to deal with it. He doesn't handle it perfectly - he is, after all, human - but his character arc is impressive, natural, and above all, realistic.

Drew's parents, by the way, are an excellent subplot that surprised me. Brannagh interwove it so seamlessly that I didn't see what she was doing until it was done. Read it. You'll know what I mean.

Five stars.

(Disclaimer: I was provided a digital Advanced Reader Copy (e-ARC) from the publisher for an honest and unbiased review.)

About the Author

Julie Brannagh has been writing since she was old enough to hold a pencil. She lives in a small town near Seattle, where she once served as a city council member and owned a yarn shop. She shares her home with a wonderful husband, two uncivilized Maine Coons and a rambunctious chocolate Lab. When she’s not writing, she’s reading, or armchair-quarterbacking her favorite NFL team from the comfort of the family room couch. Julie is a Golden Heart finalist and the author of contemporary sports romances.

Contact Julie:

Website |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads


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