ARC Review: Power Plays and Straight A’s (June 27)

Hello friends! Bringing you an (original) release day blitz review for Eden Finley and Saxon James’ new book, Power Plays and Straight A’s! This book was initially scheduled to be released today, but the authors pulled a power play (haha) on us and surprise dropped it on Saturday! You can check it out on Kindle Unlimited and add it to your Goodreads.

So first things first, I’m a huge fan of Finley’s Fake Dating series, so when I got the opportunity to review this book, I jumped. This is a new universe co-written with James Saxon, and is a fun, steamy college sports romance featuring the nerd/jock, opposites attract, friend of the brother tropes. It’s written in a dual POV format, with chapters alternating between Foster, captain of the hockey team, and Zach, nerdy best friend of the Foster’s fraternal twin brother. It was an enjoyable and quick read with low-angst, interesting characters, and lots of sweet romance.

Unfortunately, the book and I started off on the wrong foot; I hate the “don’t touch (person)!” trope. That is a real person you’re talking about, not a stuffed animal! Seth tells his twin brother Foster to stay clear of Zach, his best friend. While this introduces the initial conflict into the story, it came off as caveman-y and annoyingly possessive. Later in the book, we find that Zach enjoys Foster acting like an alpha male around him, but is frustrated by Seth’s overbearing nature, which only soured the “hands off” rule. Additionally, Foster is introduced as a typical sports bro and his first interaction with Zach is rather rude. But he turns it around, apologizing quickly and sincerely, and proceeds to dazzle Zach and the reader with a series of surprisingly soft and heartfelt scenes as he encourages Zach to live out the “true college experience”. He never pressures Zach into doing anything he’s uncomfortable with while still helping him broaden his horizons.

The conflicts in this book are quickly resolved, thanks to Foster’s patience and encouragement to always talk things out with Zach, who tends to get lost inside his own head and make up worst case scenarios (which was definitely relatable). Ultimately, there is minimal plot and no sudden reveals or shocks, but I found that I didn’t miss it during this book. The two main characters work well together, rounding out each other’s rough edges, and the book is casual journey through the beginning of their relationship together, ending on a hopeful note for the future. I would definitely recommend this to anybody looking for a sweet read with a side of heat, and I look forward to the next installation in the series!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Enjoyment: 4/5
Execution: 4/5

Thank you to Foreword PR and the authors for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!

What do you think of this month’s picks? Have you read any of the books? Let me know in a comment below or find me on social media (Twitter, Instagram, Goodreads)!

With love, Pei

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