Series: Blocked, #2
Author: Jennifer Lane
Publication Date: December 2, 2015
Publisher: Psyched Publishing
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary Romance, Sports Romance, Political Fiction
Note: I received this book from the author in exchange for an unbiased review.
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
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.
Almost a year ago I read and reviewed Jennifer Lane’s Blocked. It was different from any other sports romance I had read before. Blocked was a forbidden romance filled with not just sports, but politics and psychology. I enjoyed the way the author weaved all these different elements together, so when the opportunity arose to read Aced I was excited to see what was going to happen next in the Blocked world.
Aced begins right where Blocked left off. (For those of you who read Blocked, we get to find out who won the race!) This time, we get Lucia’s brother Alejandro’s story. He’s a med school student, a devout Catholic and a Republican. Alex had strong views on how he and others should live their lives and he isn’t afraid to share them. His views are challenged when he meets Lucia’s volleyball teammate Maddie, whose beliefs do mirror his.
Maddie may dominate on the court, but she’s also on the med school track. Lately, Maddie’s life has been drifting out of control. First, her boyfriend broke up with her. Then she begins to feel the pressure of getting good grades and making the national volleyball team. It’s more than she can handle. The only bright spot is Alejandro.
Maddie and Alejandro know there’s a spark between them, but they can’t deny how different they are. They’ll have to decide if their differences outweigh the possibilities of a beautiful relationship.
Aced continued Blocked‘s tradition in being a well written, complex romance novel. There were so many different aspects to this book. This slow-burn romance combined love, sports, psychology, religion, social issues, and politics all into one story. (Pretty amazing, right?) While I enjoyed everything it touched on, I do have to admit that I got overwhelmed with how many different things were going on at times. Everything was very relevant to today’s society, but I was more interested in Maddie and Alex’s developing relationship.
Maddie was an excellent female main character. She was physically strong, smart and a genuinely nice person. The only thing slowing her down was her emotional stability. It had been compromised by several events in her life and she was having a hard time dealing. I really appreciated the way Jennifer Lane used her psychology background to write about Maddie’s issues. She created a way to deliver important information and advice to her readers. There were so many great things for young women (and men) to learn from Maddie’s story.
Alex wasn’t my favorite character to start off with. His dedication to his parents’ beliefs was a little tough for me to swallow. As the story went on, I warmed up to him. I loved watching him question and challenge himself. I also loved his relationship with Maddie and the care he took of their relationship. Maddie and Alex’s relationship and the moments they spent together were my favorite parts of Aced.
Another great part of Aced was getting to see how Dane and Lucia’s relationship had evolved. It was really fun to catch up with them and the rest of the supporting characters. I loved what their influence brought to Maddie and Alex’s relationship as well.
Aced was a satisfying addition to the Blocked series. It was filled with sweet moments and thoughtful issues. I enjoyed reading. I’m really excited to see what’s next in for the Ramirez family in Spiked (Blocked, #3). I would highly recommend Aced to romance readers who enjoy stories that examine issues that affect today’s society.