RELEASE REVIEW: Downed by Jen Frederick

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Blurb

He’s the guy no one likes…

Despite winning two national championships, JR “Ace” Anderson was sent packing from his old school after losing the trust of his coach. At Southern U, he has a second chance to prove that his college legacy isn’t endless debauchery and selfishness. But his reputation precedes him, and his teammates offer a chilly welcome in the locker room. The one person who is willing to accept him is the very woman he should stay away from—his new coach’s daughter.

She’s the girl everyone loves…

Bryant Johnson’s only goal in life is to make others happy, even at her own expense. One look at her father’s new star quarterback, and she knows that Ace is her next project. With a reputation for being a “jerk whisperer”, Bryant has spent her last three years at college reforming sorry behavior and turning bad boys into the best boyfriends ever. In Ace, though, she’s met with surly resistance and a sizzling attraction she doesn’t expect. Fixing this wounded warrior will be her biggest challenge yet. Not falling for him will be even harder.

Between her big heart and his damaged one, a battle is ensuing. In this game of love, every defense will crumble.

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Review

JR “Ace” Anderson might be the leader on the field as the quarterback for the Southern U Renegades, but in life, Bryant Johnson is one hell of a defender, and she ends up sacking Ace and turning his world upside down from the very start of the story.

There are two things that Bryant knows extremely well: football and bad boys, and while she’s forced to know the game because her father’s the head coach for the Renegades, her other expertise centers around a catch and release program that she designed in order to turn douchey guys into stellar boyfriends and make-up for a loss she feels Every. Single. Day.

But the game between Bryant and Ace goes way beyond her project mentality when Bryant finds herself taking a more hands-on approach with Ace, leaving her to wonder who’s schooling whom and what’s going to happen to her heart when JR aces his studies?

Heading into Downed, I really didn’t know what to expect from Ace. He seemed to have a mile long chip on his shoulder in Jockblocked, and the way he handled things with Lucy left me feeling like there was no way he would be able to redeem himself in the eyes of his best friend or readers of the series. And, even though he’s still quite the asshole in Downed, with Bryant’s help and his need to prove himself, both on and off the field, Ace finds a way to set things right, or as right as he can make them, with his new team, his new coach, his best friend, and a few of his old teammates, but most important, with himself.

One thing I appreciate about how Jen Frederick wrote Ace’s character is the fact that he owns his mistakes; he understands why he’s the outcast and why his new teammates have pretty much frozen him out. Don’t get me wrong, it hurts Ace greatly, and he’s constantly torturing himself with thoughts of never being accepted, but he also acknowledges that there’s not much he can do about his current situation if he doesn’t give a little…if he doesn’t show his team, Bryant, and himself that he knows what it means to be part of a team and he sure as hell knows how to lead his team to victory. And what Ace also learns along the way is that he might just be willing to be downed by Bryant, even if it means planning routes to traverse a field he’s never played – an actual relationship.

Bryant is quite the dynamic heroine; some readers may find her over-the-top and a bit too sweet for the bad boys she reforms, but Bryant is tenacious as well as extremely headstrong, so when she sets out to do something, especially when it deals with something that honors her sister, she refuses to back down, which is interesting since that’s the first thing she wants to do with Ace because of her feelings for him.

Both Ace and Bryant become works-in-progress as the story continues, and I found that as much as Bryant was teaching Ace about life, commitment, and love, he teaches her just as much about how to truly live even with the fear she feels about getting hurt.

Downed is the perfect story for who Ace and Bryant were and for what they become with each other’s assistance. It’s humorous, sexy, sassy, as well as sweet and it’s a great addition to Jen Frederick’s Girdiron series.

4.5 Poison Apples

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About the Author

Jen Frederick is the USA Today bestselling author of Unspoken, part of the Woodlands series, and Sacked, part of the Gridiron series. She is also the author of the Charlotte Chronicles and has had several books on the Kindle Top 100 list. She lives in the Midwest with a husband who keeps track of life’s details while she’s writing, a daughter who understands when Mom disappears into her office for hours at a time, and a rambunctious dog who does neither.

jensfrederick@gmail.com

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