REVIEW: Hail Mary by Nicola Rendell

captureRelease Date: November 26, 2016
Rating: 4/5
Kindle // Bought from Amazon
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At a boxing gym in Chicago, Mary Monahan accidentally knocks out the most handsome man she’s ever met. After she wakes him up with a few slaps and some smelling salts, the very first thing he does is ask her out for ribs and beer. His name is Jimmy. He looks like a Gillette model. And he’s just too hunky to resist.

Jimmy “The Falcon” Falconi is mystified that Mary has absolutely no idea who he is. Mystified and refreshed. He is, after all, not your everyday NFL quarterback. He shops at Costco, has a soft spot for Pinterest, and is in the midst of an epic losing streak.

Jimmy falls for Mary fast and hard, the way he does everything—balls out and like it’s fourth and long. And he realizes he’s finally met his match. That stamina he’s so proud of? Doesn’t stand a chance against her Kegels.

But what they don’t know is she’s also his new physical therapist, recently hired by the Bears to work on his rotator cuff…and groin injury. If she can’t help him, he’ll be traded faster than they can say “offensive penetration.”

In spite of the thousands of internet memes featuring Jimmy’s face with captions like: “HEY GIRL, WANT TO TOUCH MY BALLS?” Mary finds herself falling for him and his unrelenting desire to make her his.

Until a toddler shows up at Jimmy’s door.

And throws their lives into total chaos.

***

To the reader: Contents includes love, sweetness, naughtiness, honey, champagne, and an HEA. Safe. Featuring a feisty little dog named Frankie Knuckles. Other tasters’ notes: Hints of honey and champagne.

So Hail Mary pretty much put me in states of perplexity. As to how? Let me count the ways. First, this is a whirlwind romance. Whirlwind-est if there is such a word. And if you are not used to reading insta-love then it might not be for you. Magically, this being such in paper, didn’t feel like it because Mary and Jimmy’s love connection felt so utterly right and blissfully real! I for one had that growing perception that I’ve known them for so long as a couple and I was rooting for them from the beginning. What made the chemistry burning was how the major characters displayed humility and vulnerability as individuals and as a couple who’s trying to weave their pasts and weaknesses with the underlying motivation to get to know each other, find and keep love.

Jimmy Falconi’s quarterback to the Chicago Bears, has been playing for so many years and at that point where it’s now or never. Make it or break it. His worst enemy is his pessimism and cracking under pressure. The author didn’t present him as a QB superstar instead showed the realities of athletes in the weakest moments of their career. Jimmy is grounded, thoughtful, utters the sweetest and most passionate words and for me the killer – loves his niece to death. Not your typical alpha star athlete right? Mary Monahan came barreling in his life with a sucker punch (that first encounter was so hilarious and different getting me hooked immediately). Mary had a quite violent relationship in the past that made her a strong female character yet at the same time had anxieties and fears she can’t shake off even if she tried. Abandoned at an early age by her parents made her independent but also made her slash out the want to have kids of her own in the future. I loved her moments of steadiness despite her struggles and supports Jimmy for who he really is not because of his athlete status. Clearly she was the Zen he’s always needed. They carried each other’s little crosses through small and big loving gestures. I think the interconnection amongst their personalities, past and present experiences made Mary and Jimmy fit so perfectly.

This ain’t all swoon and safe honey and let me go straight to the point. The sexiness of this book is over the top. Some might find some parts too hot to handle but for me, turned out to be tastefully narrated. I think what’s debatable is how essential they are to the story. The blazing teasing and tricks, and the chemistry were already staggering to begin with. I find that those haphazard moments needed doses of sweetness just so to add more emotions to the love scenes. Another burning concern was the gap in Jimmy’s change in temperament during those parts. From being tender, gentle, uncomplicated then suddenly shifting to this primal, aggressive and controlling man in the bedroom. I’m not sure if this was connected to Jimmy’s family history or if Nicola Rendell merely wanted to add dashes of erotica. Either way, I think it could likely be a hit or miss to some readers of romance.

Overall, Hail Mary was one entertaining sports romance. I loved Nicola Rendell’s engaging and interactive style of writing. The woman is quick witted and hysterical, with an animated tone that’s so much fun to read. Being a fan of sports romance, her knowledge of football was undeniable yet didn’t appear snobbish. The games leaped out of the pages and were show-stoppers and exhilarating. Oh God, it was like watching a do-or-die, live and in slow motion! Again, I will categorize Hail Mary as insta-love but the author still found ways to mesh the storyline, the conflicts and the little surprises smoothly. The last few chapters didn’t feel like it was a blur. A well-paced ending. Hail Mary was a conundrum sometimes but felt so right in so many ways. I’d say its Mary and Jimmy. Their charm and the instant connection between them that radiated to the reader. Their authenticity and their capacity to make you feel so close to them even in that short span of time. Never a dull moment with these two, I promise. I wish there’s more for them in the future and I would love to see them crazily tackle love on a deeper level. Something to jiggle their relationship up or something whole lot different than the early stages of romance.

If there is such a thing as true love, trust yourself to know it. Do not doubt it when you feel, in your heart, that you have found the one who can heal you, and laugh with you, and teach you. Believe in what you feel, first and always. Let the light of your lover’s eyes guide you home.

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