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Ratings and Book Reviews (19 71 star ratings
19 reviews
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4.8 out of 5
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  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Rough start, but winner ending

    I have seldom difficulty rating books, but Love Hard is one of those stories that managed to constantly change my opinion. Throughout the book I have gone from rating it three stars, then two, then three, then four. The story had very good potential and in many ways it reached it. It’s just ... it got sidetracked a lot with a lack of a better explanation and it made it difficult for me to fully understand and fall in love with it immediately. The beginning of the story was rough. However, that was not necessarily the book’s fault by any means since I kind of consciously jumped into the middle of this series without having read any of the previous books. Love Hard started with a wedding between Charlotte and Gabriel and went far into detail of how amazing this was, how happy everyone was and how perfectly detailed the whole shebang was. I assume this was an absolute dream start to the book for anyone who have read the previous book, but to me it was very dragged out and a bit too sappy for my taste, probably since I had no emotional attachment the the couple who the wedding was for. It was also very confusing and a lot to take in at once with so many names and characters involved immediately. So to summarize, it was a rough start, but I can only really blame myself for that since I decided to read this without having read the first two books. One thing though that I feel would not have changed, whether I had read the previous books or not, is the slow introduction to the main characters, Jake and Juliet. Since the first few chapters was so focused on the wedding and the happy couple both the characters were kind of out of the spotlight even though it was their POV. I mean, they did have introductions with who they were, their family ties and their history, but it took a good while for the main characters to catch my interest just because they weren’t the center focus until after the wedding was over and done with. That’s when I finally started to really get into the book. Jake and Jules had some intriguing and intense interactions before that that I enjoyed, however when they became the sole focus of the book I got a deeper look at both of the characters and a much more compelling build up between them. I am actually quite pleased with the originality to how they knew each other, having not only been nemesis in school but tied together by the same girl who they both tragically lost. That with them coming from such different backgrounds and with polar opposite personalities made it a recipe for a addictive romance. While I felt that their interactions felt a bit off sometimes and the story lost me some places with the whole training and rugby aspect, for the most part I very much enjoyed the story til the end, especially when the attention seeking ex got into the picture. What Reid did and how it affected Jules was probably what I loved most with Love Hard. Because I like drama in books it drew me in like a moth to a flame. It was also so satisfying seeing how it brought out Jakes protectiveness and brought them closer together as a couple. Although I might have liked there to have been a bit more drama to the whole ordeal I can’t really complain either since it was still so enjoyable and there was so much else making up for the extra drama I missed. Esme being one. I’m not usually much for kids taking room in romance stories but she was a treat, especially her interactions with Juliet. Even that gave the romance something extra, bringing them all together as a family. One thing I missed though, that would have made the relationship absolutely perfect, was the guilt of Callie. With that I mean that neither one of them showed any guilt over getting with the other when Callie had had such fundamental parts in both their life, being his first love and mother of his child and being Jules best friend. I think it would have strengthened both the realism and the connection in the relationship if they had to work through and struggle with the loss and guilt of moving on with each other and leave Callie in the past. I am not super upset by it though since the book still had so much else to offer. All in all Love Hard had a lot of beautiful elements to it that I believe draws in a broad audience. There was enemies to lovers, second chance (in a sense), troubled upbringing and finally finding a family, sports theme, widower with a kid, a powerful businesswoman, celebrities and drama. At some point I felt like it might have gone a bit overboard with everything it contained, but for the most part I could get behind most of the themes. It all worked well together and never felt forced or messy. It just flowed naturally throughout the story making it in the end absolutely deserving of four stars. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Made me want to read the other books!

    I received a free copy of LOVE HARD (Book 3 of the Hard Play series) by Nalini Singh in exchange for an honest review. Jake Esera works hard to balance his life as a rugby player with his responsibilities as a stable, loving, and responsible single father. When a family wedding brings back a blast from the past, Juliet Nelisi, former high school bad girl and best friend of Jake’s high school love is back in Jake’s life. Jake has always been the responsible good guy and was perpetually confounded by Juliet. Will their mutual love for his daughter’s mother and grief over her death be something that can bond them together or will it be something that will keep them apart? I really liked this book. It’s about two good people who have their differences but who are never nasty about it. This was my introduction to the Esera brothers. Over the weekend, I went back and read the first books in the series. #LoveHard #NetGalley
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    Good story

    Love Hard by Nalini Singh is part of the series Hard Play featuring the Bishop Brothers. It is set in New Zealand about brothers who play or played soccer. This story is about Jacob Esera, a young, single father. The love of his life passed away after giving birth to their daughter Eseme. He is absolutely dedicated to this child, which is good. While at his brother Gabriel’s wedding (his story is in the book Rock Hard) he meets his old nemesis from high school (and his lost loves best friend) Juliet, who has grown up very nicely, but is a magnet for the tabloids due to who she was previously married to. Wham, Bam, there is instant attraction between them, but they don’t like it…or do they? Hmm…let’s read and find out! Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for an advanced copy of this book for an honest opinion.
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    Another great read!

    I just love this book - a wonderful addition to a fun and heart warming series. I look forward to Danny’s story next!
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    4.5⭐ An engrossing, family filled romance.

    This is my first book in the Hard Play series so, I did find it a little difficult to get into but once I got a sense of the family dynamics, and who was who I was sucked in, and quite frankly, I'm a bit of a sucker for a single parent romance, especially when it's a single dad and this was a great one, as Jake's relationship with his daughter Esme was adorable, and the circumstances as to how he became a single parent were a little different to anything I've read before. Furthermore, I loved getting to know Jake and Jules, who were sort of friends in school and I particularly loved the dynamic between the pair, especially with the way they started having preconceived ideas based on what they were both like in school. Still, that all changed as they got to know each other properly and learned what made each other tick, and I genuinely liked all the different facets these characters had. And with a great supporting cast, plenty of hot rugby players, not to mention plenty of heat I was easily hooked throughout and Love Hard genuinely was an engrossing, entertaining, and family filled romance that was extremely hard to put down, which is why I would happily recommend it to others. **I was kindly provided with an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review**
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