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  • 2 person found this review helpful

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    Cute 2nd chance love story

    The Total Package is a stand alone novel by Stephanie Evanovich. This is a funny, romantic second chance love story that can easily be read in one sitting. Tyson Palmer always dreamed of becoming a star football player and living his life in the limelight. What he didn't count on was the life turing him into a drug addict and alcoholic. Soon he finds his life on a downhill sprial, losing his contract with his team and unemployed. Luckily he found a team willing to take a chance on him and to help him get clean. Dani was Tyson's tutor in college and had secretly been in love with him. After Tyson abondons here after a steamy night together she decides to rebuild herself and focuses on a career in sports broadcastings. When an offer brings her face to face with Tyson years later he doesn't even recognize Dani. She is no longer the girl with just a pretty smile but a drop dead gorgeous woman who changed her looks and her name. These two have their ups and downs along the way but when secrets are revealed it will teast their binds as they head towards their HEA. I received an eARC compliments of the publisher in exchange for my honest review and opinion. All ratings and opinions stated are my own.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    Second chances on everything

    Favorite Quotes: “I’m a weed-smoking, pill-popping alcoholic. No crack or smack. I had to draw the line somewhere.” “Sometimes I don’t know what was harder, straightening out my head or my heart.” “One look at her in this outfit and the most memorable gift her father got this Christmas would’ve been a stroke. She pulled at the tags under her arm and caught sight of the designer – Tart Collections. Never was a garment so aptly named.” “Her dreams and reality had finally merged, and she was still reeling (although maybe that was thanks to her first, well several, orgasms that had nothing to do with batteries). Now Dani fully understood what all the fuss was about.” “Sweetheart. I would sit with Satan and present a united front if it helped you. That’s just what mothers do.” “For way too long now, I’ve kept my distance from people. Not because I didn’t think they were worthy, but because I didn’t think I was.” My Review: I wasn’t sure what to expect but I enjoyed this endearing story of second chances and redemption. The writing was emotive, insightful, and entertaining and the plot was generally well paced although the characters did go back and forth in their timelines as they recalled their memories and histories. Toss in a bit of intrigue, clever humor, and some steamy sensual scenes and you have an interesting read on your hands. This was my first Stephanie Evanovich read but it certainly will not be my last.
  • 1 person found this review helpful

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    QB finds love & redemption

    *I received an ARC of this book in exchange for my honest review* The Total Package takes a look at the destruction instant fame and imposing expectations can have on someone, especially without the proper support. Quarterback Tyson Palmer was raised to be a sports star, coddled and groomed by his father and coaches, he never really learned personal responsibility. When his classes proved a challenge because of his time on the football field, his college arranged a tutor to see him through, Daniella “Ella” Carrino, who late becomes a sports reporter who goes by the name Dani Carr professionally. Ella loved football almost as much as she loved Tyson Palmer. The opportunity to help him and befriend him changed her life, although not always in a positive way. Tyson’s easy-going demeanor and genuine friendship held an undercurrent of sexual tension. A steamy kiss and an awkward conversation about relationships put the brakes on any further intimacy — until a fateful night years later. By the time Tyson reenters Ella’s life, he has hit rock bottom. His professional football career imploded thanks to his drinking, painkiller addiction, and disastrous personal life. Ella believes she can save Tyson from himself and offers him her comfort — and her body. After Dani and Tyson's reunite, it only takes one up close and emotionally honest encounter for Tyson to recognize Dani as his friend Ella, and he is flooded with regret. Through the same perseverance and dedication he showed in his recovery, Tyson sets out to win Dani’s respect, forgiveness, —and hopefully— her heart. As much as she may try to ignore it, Dani is still drawn to Tyson. His innate kindness and generosity of spirit soon have her wondering if maybe there isn’t a chance for them. Much of the first half of The Total Package deals with Tyson’s rehab and recovery. Within the first time chapters there is really only one interaction between Tyson and Daniella, their ill-advised one night of passion. By the time Tyson recognizes Dani in present day, the book was almost half over and the emotions behind their reunion and reconciliation felt rushed. I would have felt a stronger connection between Tyson and Dani, and their sense of fated love, if there had been more about their time in college. I would have liked to have seen what they were like together before Tyson fell from grace. He later says he loved her back in those days but his claim wasn’t backed up by real evidence for the reader.
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    With love

    Tyson Palmer and Dani Carr go way back. College was a place where they had a friendship, when she was his tutor. Until things changed, that is. His addiction and anger took their casual hook up to another level. Now, having to work together, in a way - feels impossible. Dani hates him and goes out of her way to avoid him. After all he has worked for, can he be patient with the one that counts? He wants to be known as the man he is today. Dani is hiding secrets from the past and being face to face with Tyson only makes this more real. Can she come clean and make everything better? Will it be only a matter of trust? Seems that both of them will have to meet the other halfway. In a true redemption book, this one has it all. We read all about it, so to speak. I found the characters to be real. The insight and banter made this book a great read. This is an author who always brings her "A" game. ***This ARC was given by Edelweiss and its publisher, in exchange for an honest review.
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    Not what I expected

    A different kind of sports romance, with unique plot line, intriguing characters, realities of the other side of the glamourous life of professional sports. What makes this story's romance different than most, is that after the first chapter, the hero and heroine, don't meet again for several years, and until a third of the story has gone by. Because Tyson's drug and alcohol abuse, he has to go into an intensive, secluded rehab, to get his head cleared, sober up, and then get back into a shape, to be able to return to the limelight. The author has a detail oriented style of writing, but those details are often in the physical or material matters, not so much in the emotions and feelings. So even though there are details of Tyson's stay in the rehab, and of the training to get back on the field, the story doesn't dwell on the drama and angst of the situation Tyson is in. It rather shows how he finds an inner peace, how he is determined, to succeed once again, to find a way to have a life and a future. During the years gone by, Dani has also gone through a transformation, but more on the physical side, superficial looks, than growing up as a person. Her college girl crush, has turned into nearly a career obsession towards Tyson, as she is battling the attraction she has for him, against the anger she would love to hold on to. And then, Dani ends up making choices in her career and personal life, that she later question. The secrets are kept surprisingly long, and seems to be accumulating. The choices that Dani keeps making left me perplexed several times, since it was easy to forget how young, she still was, despite everything that has occurred during the story. Dani and Tyson have a connection, the attraction that keeps pulling them towards each other. Events keeps proving them, that they might not be perfect for each other, but that pull is there, and stronger each time. If only they could be honest with each other, then all the misunderstandings would be cleared as well. The plot is alluring, I read this at once, after starting it. Dani comes across as little immature, but the characters are fascinating and engaging. Serious issues, like substance abuse, and recovery, are handled well. I liked the story. I did want to get more emotionally involved with the characters and events. I wish the story would have revealed a little more on that front with Tyson and Dani, dug a little deeper. A sports hero who battles his demons, and get's a second chance, not only on the ball field, but in life, love and future as well. ~ Four Spoons
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