Friday, November 10, 2017

In a Nutshell Reviews

In a Nutshell Reviews are my version of mini-reviews, because sometimes, you just want the highlights.

Offsetting Penalties
Ally Mathews
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars
Isabelle Oster has dreamed of being a prima ballerina her entire life, so when the only male dancer backs out of the fall production, she’s devastated. Without a partner, she has no hope of earning a spot with the prestigious Ballet Americana company. Until hot jock Garret practicing stretches in one of the studios gives Izzy an idea, and she whips out her phone. But does she really want this badly enough to resort to blackmail?

All-state tight end Garret Mitchell will do anything to get a college football scholarship. Even taking ballet, which surprisingly isn’t so bad, because it means he gets to be up close and personal with the gorgeous Goth girl Izzy while learning moves to increase his flexibility. But Izzy needs him to perform with her for the Ballet Americana spot, and he draws the line at getting on stage. Especially wearing tights.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a bit of blackmail, a lot of sarcasm, and an ending guaranteed to melt your heart.
I utterly love when a romance forms between an unlikely pair, and when I saw football and ballet thrown into the mix, I knew I wanted to read this book. I am happy to report, it did not disappoint!

  • Pro: Izzy was full of spunk and sass and I really admired her determination to make this one dream happen without her father's influence or money. 
  • Pro: Garret was the type of hero I love. He did so many things right until he did something wrong, but he really did a lot of things right, and I loved him for all those things. 
  • Pro: I liked that Mathews gave Izzy's dad some dimension. I thought he was going to be a villain, but then he did some things and said some things that showed me there was more to him than met the eye. 
  • Pro: I am a fan of books featuring family dynamics, and we get to see inside both Izzy and Garret's families. 
  • Pro: There are actual peeks at football and ballet in this book, and I am a fan of sports romances having some sports in them. 
  • Pro: The romance was very sweet between these two. I loved the build, and their mutual thoughts made me grin. 
  • Pro: I can never say no to a fauxmance romance. 
  • Pro: Both Izzy and Garret were reaching for their stars, and it was quite touching how they wanted to help each other get there. They didn't have a ton of support from their fathers, so it was even more important that they had each other. 
  • Pro: Izzy loved one of my favorite bands of all time - The Cure! That made me a little nostalgic, and who doesn't love a does of nostalgia every once in a while.  
  • Pro: The ending made me very happy. I love endings that point my couple towards a future, and an epilogue will always land in the positive column for me. 

Overall: An adorable, feel-good romance, which made me laugh, smile, and swoon.

The First Kiss Hypothesis
Christina Mandelski
Series: n/a
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Sports
Publisher: Entangled: Crush
Rating:  4 out of 5 stars

Nora Reid believes scientific laws control everything, even love. With her grandparents’ epic first kiss story cemented in her brain, Nora develops a hypothesis she’s determined to prove:for each person in the world, there is exactly one other person, and at first kiss, they’ll experience an immediate and intense reaction.

But after four years of zero-reaction kisses, she comes up with a new theory: maybe that pesky crush on her stunningly hot best friend Eli Costas is skewing her results.

She needs to get rid of him, and fast.

Eli Costas is an injury-prone lacrosse star with a problem—the one chance he had at winning over the girl next door resulted in the most epically sucktastic first kiss ever. And now she’s…trying to get rid of him? Hell no. It’s time to disprove her theory and show her exactly what she’s missing. Game. On.

Disclaimer: This book contains a stunningly hot lacrosse player who isn’t above playing dirty to win over the stubborn girl-next-door of his dreams.
    When I saw a science term in the title, I jumped at the opportunity to read this book, and I was really glad I did, because this one gave me miles of smiles.
  • Pro: First and foremost, this was a friends-to-more story, and I love those. 
  • Pro: These two had soooooo much history, ten years worth, to be exact, and Mandelski gifted us with lovely flashbacks that were meaningfully woven into the story. 
  • Pro: Of course I liked Nora. Any girl that in love with science will always rate high on my list. 
  • Pro: I was immediately cheering for Eli to succeed in his plot to win Nora's heart and get out of the friend zone. He committed some very sweet and adorable acts that had some swoon. How could I not want him to get the girl?
  • Pro: Eli's friend, Koviak, actually grew on me. At first, I thought he was a total meathead, but as I saw him interact with Eli more, I realized he had a little depth, and he was a really good friend to Eli too. 
  • Con: I cannot say the same for Nora's friend, Abby. She sort of disappointed me.  
  • Pro: The "Hail Mary" plan was one of my favorite parts. It was classic and rom-com worthy. I think I almost squealed, I enjoyed it so much. 
  • Pro: There were a lot of great family moments. Between Nora's grandma, Eli's adorable little brother, their moms, and Eli's dad, who sort of reminded me a little of my own, I felt like Nora and Eli were in good hands with such an awesome support system. 
  • Pro: I am always elated to see an epilogue, but this one really made me happy. I loved the symbolic thing they did together, and that's all I am saying, because it was so sweet. 
  • Pro: Did I mention what a large role pie plays in this story? Yes, because "PFE - pie fixes everything". 

Overall: An adorable and sweet friends-to-more story, filled with sports, science, memories, and lots of pie. 

**I would like to thank the publisher for the advanced copies of these book.

Have you read any of these books?
Let us know in the comments!


  1. Both of these romances sound really sweet. I do love friends to lovers in a book. Thanks for sharing these reviews!

    1. All three of the Entangled books I read were friends-to-more, and I was happy with them all. It's one of my favorite tropes.

  2. These both sound great, Sam! I like the idea of football meets ballet and friends to more is always a favorite.

    1. It was a rocky road to their friendship, but once the fauxmance started, I was all in.

  3. Now I'm wishing I had requested The First Kiss Hypothesis. Such cuteness! And friends to more is trope I find hard to resist. :)

    1. It was probably my favorite of the three I requested. It was a precious and sweet story, and even though I was like "kiss HIM!!!" and sort of frustrated at times, I was smiling, laughing, and rooting for these two.

  4. I do like romances between unlikely pairings. It's cute! Glad you enjoyed both of these. :)


    1. I guess the whole opposites attract thing makes it more interesting, and if I have that and it's fun and adorable, bonus.