12/04/2015

ACED by Jennifer Lane ~ Guest Post + Review


My Book Snack is pleased to be part of the Aced review tour!
Today I'm featuring a special guest post from Jennifer Lane, my review, an excerpt and tour giveaway!


Aced, Pinterest, Food, Ethnicity, and Holidays

Thanks to Grace for inviting me to My Book Snack to celebrate the release of ACED (Blocked #2)! Books and food make the perfect marriage.

I adore Pinterest. In addition to my fascination with Wentworth Miller (http://www.pinterest.com/jenlanebooks/wentworth-miller/) and cute kitties (http://www.pinterest.com/jenlanebooks/kittehs/), I love Pinterest for all things bookish and foodish.

I’ve created Pinterest boards for college sports romance Blocked (https://www.pinterest.com/jenlanebooks/blocked-by-jennifer-lane/) and Aced (Blocked #2) (https://www.pinterest.com/jenlanebooks/aced-blocked-2/).

Aced explores race/ethnicity, including yummy Mexican food like tamales and fajitas. Dane, the hero from Blocked, decides to make a Valentine’s dinner for Lucia to highlight his Danish, Scottish, and French ethnic heritage:

Dutch: Smoked Salmon Appetizer (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/175710822939928948/)

Scottish: Scottish Eggs Entrée (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/175710822939928935/)

French: Chocolate Soufflé Dessert (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/175710822939928966/)

It’s also a blast for me to try cute Pinterest recipes for the holidays. My friend Eric calls me “The Pinterest Assembler Chef”.

Here’s a veggie turkey for Thanksgiving

And Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Christmas Trees (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/175710822937912689/)

Did you visit the Blocked and Aced Pinterest boards?
What are two of your favorite Pinterest holiday recipes?

Thank you for a yummy guest post, Jennifer!

Title: ACED
Series: Blocked #2
Author: Jennifer Lane
Release Date: December 2, 2015
Genre: New Adult Sports Romance 
Length: 80,000 words
Cover Artist: Coreen Montagna

Synopsis:

Volleyball wonder Lucia Ramirez found her love match in Blocked despite the glaring political spotlight aimed on her family. In Aced, the second book in Jennifer Lane’s Blocked series, it could be her brother Alejandro’s turn to get lucky in love.

Medical student Alejandro’s hot Latin looks get him plenty of attention, but his deep faith and admiration for his father keep him on a righteous path, with no time for something as frivolous as love. He strives to do the right thing—study diligently, take care of his siblings, represent the family well—so why does he feel so unfulfilled?

Enter Lucia’s friend and teammate Maddie Brooks, who shines at blocking the ball and acing the serve. Too bad this graduating senior isn’t so confident about her life off the court. Her longtime boyfriend has just bailed on her, and med school applications loom large. Oh, and a nerve-wracking tryout for Team USA also approaches.

Maddie meets Alejandro when he visits Lucia at school, and she’s soon drawn to his sharp mind. Alejandro is similarly intrigued by Maddie’s talent and strength. But will personal biases and family politics smother the slow burn of their attraction? Unless Maddie can learn to believe in herself, and Alejandro can become his own man, their kindling romance hardly stands a chance.

Will either of them be bold enough to try something new? Find out in this emotion-rich story that refuses to shy away from life’s hardest questions. Because love is worth the risk.

Source: Review copy from author
This is my honest review.
Rating: 5 Stars ~ Excellent

Oh, Hotajandro!
(a non-spoiler review)

After reading Blocked there was no question that I wanted to read Aced; however, I was surprised that Maddie was going to be paired with Alejandro, Lucia’s overprotective older brother. I adored Maddie in Blocked, Alejandro not so much, so I wasn’t convinced initially that they would be compatible. You know what? Jennifer Lane aced it in Aced!

Blocked ended in a cliffhanger. Part of my excitement of reading Aced was to see the result of that little cliffhanger. I honestly couldn’t wait to find out what happened! Don’t worry I won’t spoil it for you.

I absolutely was smitten with Maddie and Alejandro! I found Alejandro to be passionate, charming, and more likeable in this sequel. They’re indeed compatible in more ways than one. These two are really into sports and want to become doctors. Alejandro’s faith is tested and Maddie has to deal with past issues, but I love that they also accept each other’s differences and have intelligent, fun banter when they’re together. I was so delighted that there’s also more of Dane and Lucia! If you were a fan of them in the first book, you will definitely enjoy them in Aced.

I have now read all of Jennifer Lane’s published romance fiction stories to date. I know she likes to incorporate pieces of her career as a psychologist into her stories. Her characters often attend therapy sessions at some point in the story in order to work through problems. There’s so much going on in Aced that I found the therapy sessions to be nicely balanced out along with the sports theme, politics, and romance building. There’s even a bit of suspense along the way, and my eyes got a little watery at some point. Things aren’t easy for Maddie and Alejandro and the situation they’re in, but these two made me root for them from the beginning. They share a slow-simmering romance with delicious chemistry. No wonder Maddie calls him Hotajandro!

Aced is all about dealing with emotional roadblocks, acceptance, friendship, family, taking risks, and truly falling in love for the first time. I thought Jennifer Lane handled certain subjects delicately and realistically. I was thoroughly engrossed in Aced and found it to be quite enjoyable. This is my favorite read from Ms. Lane, thus far!

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Get ACED!

Granted, Maddie had come down here to bawl me out, not hit on me, but still, it was welcome. “Rez?” I smiled. “That was my team nickname, too.”
She perked up. “What sport did you play?”
“Baseball.”
“In college?”
I nodded. “Texas Christian University.”
“The Horned Frogs! They have a great baseball team.”
A spark of happiness fired in my chest, and I leaned in closer. “How’d you know that?”
“I’m a huge sports fan.” She grinned. “My grandfather taught me everything about baseball.”
I inched nearer to her.
“What position did you play?” she asked. “Wait.” Her arm shot out to clasp my wrist. “Let me guess.”
Her touch was warm, and I breathed in her soothing, minty scent.
She ran her tongue across her lower lip. “Pitcher?”
“Wow. I started as a pitcher, but then I got injured.” My eyebrows arched. “You’re good.”
“Ah.” She studied me. “Was it a shoulder injury?”
“Almost.” I pointed to a different body part. “Elbow.”
“Gotcha.” She smiled. “So then you transitioned to…first base?”
My eyes widened. “You do know the game! You figured my height would help me snag wild throws from the shortstop.”
“Plus, first basemen tend to be pretty cute.” Her eyes grew big, and she took a step back. “Ah, um, I mean…”
I wasn’t sure which was more attractive—her thinking I was cute, or her mortification at saying so out loud.

~*~ TOUR GIVEAWAY ~*~
Prizes: $20 gift card, a signed print copy of Aced, an ebook of Blocked
a Rafflecopter giveaway


About the Author
Get psyched for romance with psychologist/author (psycho author) Jennifer Lane! By day she’s a therapist, and by night she’s a writer. She can’t decide which is more fun.

Jen adores creating sporty heroines and hot heroes in her college sport romances. Volleyball wonder Lucia Ramirez found her love match in Blocked despite the glaring political spotlight aimed on her family. In Aced, the second book in the Blocked series, it’s her brother Alejandro’s turn to get lucky in love. Aced launches in December 2015.

A swimmer and volleyball player in college, Jen writes swimming-based romances as well: Streamline, a military mystery, and the free New Adult novella Swim Recruit.

Stories of redemption interest Jen the most, especially the healing power of love. She is also the author of The Conduct Series, a romantic-suspense trilogy that includes With Good Behavior, Bad Behavior, and On Best Behavior.

Ultimately, whether writing or reading, Jen loves stories that make her laugh and cry. In her spare time she enjoys exercising, attending book club, and visiting her sisters in Chicago and Hilton Head.

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