Category Archives: Something New

Review: The Name of the Game by Jennifer Dawson

name of gameTitle: The Name of the Game by Jennifer Dawson
Something New Series Book Three
Publisher: Zebra
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Some people follow the rules. . .

A professor of forensic anthropology, James Donovan is the reasonable sibling among the passionate, impulsive Donovans. But there’s nothing reasonable about his reaction to baker Gracie Roberts. She’s all wild curls and mouth-watering curves, as deliciously tempting as the sugary treats she’s famous for–and twice as irritating. But before long, James decides that getting a taste of her is one indulgence he can’t pass up. . .

Some people play to win. . .

Independent, smart, and sexy, Gracie’s year-long dry spell has her itching for a man. Responsible, health-obsessed James? Not in a million years! She needs a guy who knows how to let loose! But when James sets out to show her just how satisfying a disciplined man can be when pleasure is at stake, she learns just how sweet–and spicy–he really is.

Have James and Gracie found the recipe for love?


The Name of the Game is the newest addition to Jennifer Dawson’s delightful Something New series. This incredibly charming antagonist to lovers romance positively sizzles with sexual tension as James Donovan and Gracie Roberts try to put aside their animosity for the sake of the friends and family. Old and new fans of the series are going to absolutely love watching this mismatched couple try to figure out their surprising relationship.

Gracie and James are complete opposites and they have been at each other’s throats right from their very first meeting. Gracie is a self-taught baker whose scrumptiously delicious desserts are a huge hit with everyone. James is a tenured professor of forensic anthropology at a prestigious college and occasional police consultant. Gracie is allergic to exercise whereas James is long distance marathon runner and health food nut. Gracie is exuberant and chaotic while James thrives on control and calm. Gracie’s lush figure and outgoing personality make her the center of attention. James, on the other hand, is more of an observer who hates to be in spotlight. Neither of them believes they have anything in common but their lives are intertwined through the relationships of their friends and family and both know it is time to stop making everyone uncomfortable with their nonstop hostility. However, Gracie and James are about to discover what everyone else already knows: their enmity hides a mutual attraction.

Gracie is unfailingly cheerful, flirtatious and incredibly stubborn. She has never lacked for male companionship but her relationships never seem to last. Since meeting James, she has gone a few lackluster dates that ended after one or two dates. She is genuinely pleased her friends have found love, but lately, she cannot help but feel a little jealous of their happiness. Once she and James overcome their loathing for one another, Gracie eagerly agrees to explore their mutual desire, but her fears make it impossible for her discuss their future.

James is absolutely wonderful and impossible not to love. Although he is very close to his brothers, they share little in common. His tight control often makes him appear aloof and his matter of fact, straight forward approach to life sometimes causes him to overlook subtle social cues. James is quite caring and compassionate but he too is afraid to admit he wants a lasting relationship with Gracie.

Gracie and James are reluctant to acknowledge their mutual desire but once they do, their sex scenes are blistering hot. Quiet, unassuming James definitely seizes control in the bedroom and surprisingly, this is just what Gracie needs. Their interludes slowly begin to take on a Dom/sub vibe and by the end of the novel, Gracie has to come to terms with this previously unknown aspect of her personality.

Once they agree to date, Grace and James settle fairly easily into their new relationship. For the most part, their romance is long distance and while they do not spend a huge amount of time together, they do get to know one another through daily phone calls. They find it easy to confide in each other about their pasts but they suffer from a serious lack communication about their future. Conflict arises when James takes the initiative to help Gracie solve an ongoing business issue. Needless to say, Gracie is not at all pleased with him and her reaction reflects her displeasure. Her response was a little over the top and she essentially uses this to prove her point that they are not destined to be together for the long haul. Thankfully, this conflict is solved rather quickly in a somewhat unorthodox fashion.

The Name of the Game is a heartwarming addition to Jennifer Dawson’s fabulous Something New series. James and Gracie are multi-faceted, sympathetic characters and while they are flawed, these imperfections are easy to relate to. Their relationship is a fantastic blend of blazing hot sex and tender, heartfelt moments that perfectly showcase their deepening emotions. An overall entertaining and engaging love story that fans of contemporary romances are sure to love.

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Filed under Contemporary, Jennifer Dawson, Rated B, Review, Romance, Something New, The Name of the Game, Zebra

Review: Take a Chance on Me by Jennifer Dawson

takeTitle: Take a Chance on Me by Jennifer Dawson
Something New Book One
Publisher: Kensington
Imprint: Zebra
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Gorgeous runaway brides. . .

When Maddie Donovan runs out on her high school sweetheart moments before walking down the aisle, she ends up at a bar in the small town of Revival, Illinois, with only the wedding dress on her back, fifty dollars to her name, and her “good girl” reputation in tatters. Not ready to return to Chicago and face the music, she accepts hot bartender Mitch Riley’s offer to stay at his place. But sharing such close quarters is driving Maddie insane with desire.

Always drink for free. . .

Mitch thinks he’s seen it all–until Maddie strides into his bar in full wedding attire and downs three shots of whiskey. Though the gorgeous knockout seems tough as nails, he also senses her vulnerability. With a troubled past of his own, Mitch has no interest in ties of any kind–yet he can’t help falling for Maddie. Now he’s got to find a way to convince her to give love a second chance.

The Review:

Debut author’s Jennifer Dawson’s Take a Chance on Me is a sweet and very sexy runaway bride romance. The premise is cute but I was pleasantly surprised to discover this is not just a fluffy love story. Lead characters Maddie Donovan and Mitch Riley have real problems to work through and the fact that they fall in love along the way is just an added bonus. I adored Maddie and Mitch, but I also fell for the secondary characters as well so I was delighted to learn it is the first installment in the Something New series!

Maddie is in her late twenties, but in some ways, she seems much younger. She has lived a pretty sheltered life and she has fallen into the habit of letting everyone make her decisions for her. In the beginning she sometimes annoyed me with her immaturity but once her past is revealed, it is easy to overlook. It also helps that Maddie is aware her behavior is immature and that she is serious about taking charge of her life. Running away from her wedding is just the first step along the road to independence and although Maddie sometimes falls back on her old habits, she does a pretty decent job of finding her way.

I loved Mitch right from their first meeting. He is very charming with a fantastic sense of humor. Despite his intense desire for Maddie, he is also quite chivalrous which of course just adds to his appeal. Although at first, his life seems like an open book, Mitch too has a past he has been trying to escape. In the end, he is the character with the most to overcome and even though he is resistant to Maddie’s efforts to help him, her perseverance eventually pays off.

I am a hard sell on the love at first sight plot device, but I have to admit, I did not have any problem with that part of the storyline. There is a lot of chemistry between Maddie and Mitch and their connection is deeper than just desire. They enter into the relationship with a clean slate and they get to know each other before they reveal who they used to be. No expectations to live up to makes it easy for them (but Maddie especially) to not only figure out what they want, but it helps them become who they want to be as well.

A well-written story with a well-developed and likable cast of characters, Jennifer Dawson’s Take a Chance on Me is an easy to read and engaging romance. There is plenty of heat between Maddie and Mitch and their sex scenes are super hot. But it was the sweet, get to know you moments that convinced me this couple has what it takes to made it in the long haul.

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Filed under Contemporary, Jennifer Dawson, Kensington, Rated B+, Review, Romance, Something New, Take a Chance on Me, Zebra