Foolish Games by Tracy Solheim: Review

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Title: Foolish Games
Author: Tracy Solheim
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: December 2013
Length: 320
Series: Out of Bounds #2
Reason for Discovery: ARC

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

This book meets the COYER requirements, because I received this e-book for free!

From GoodReads:
Bridal gown designer, Julianne Marchione knows better than to lose her head at a client’s wedding. But, much to her embarrassment, a mix of migraine medication and a smoking hot football player lead to a steamy one night stand resulting in a surprise pregnancy. Julianne has every intention of leaving her NFL hookup far in the past until her son, Owen, is born with a life-threatening blood disorder that requires a transfusion—and Julianne is not a match.

Will "William the Conqueror" Connelly grew up tough, shouldering the stigma of being a bastard child born on the wrong side of the tracks. He refuses to let any child face the same discrimination. When he finds out about Owen, he’s furious that Julianne kept his son a secret. But when he sees her again at the hospital, he realizes that his feelings for her go far beyond anger.

Will insists that Owen recuperate at his home in North Carolina, and he’s adamant that Julianne become his wife—even if it’s only a temporary marriage in name only. But will their simmering attraction ever lead to a real connection?  Or are they just playing foolish games?

Julianne and Will had a one-night fling. Nine months later, unbeknownst to Will, Julianne gives birth to little baby Owen. Julianne had planned never to tell Will, but Owen is sick and needs Will's blood for his medical treatment. Will is angry that Julianne did not tell him that he was a father. Julianne agrees to marry Will and live with him, so Owen gets a chance to know his father. Julianne and Will struggle to find common ground, while Julianne's brother investigates Will and Will's former football coach for intentionally harming opposing football players on the field.

This is another contemporary romance that is perfect for fans of the alpha male protagonist. At one point, Will thinks to himself that he wants to hit Julianne but he knows that he can't do that, so he is going to kiss her instead. A few times, Will does put his hands on Julianne. During one of these moments, Will's mother sees him do this and kicks him out of the house. I know this is the MO for alpha males, but this just sends up red flags for me. Fortunately for me (maybe not for the alpha male fans), most of the fighting ends about halfway through the book as Julianne and Will begin to trust each other.

I must admit that I liked the secondary characters more than Julianne and Will. In fact, I felt that the secondary characters like Will's teammates and Will's mother were written more consistently and were more believable. Will's teammates and mom were like a breath of fresh air, because they seemed more realistic about Julianne and Will's situation (they didn't think jumping into a marriage was the best idea) and more grounded (they didn't think yelling at Julianne first and asking questions later was a good plan). Unlike these secondary characters who sent the same message time and time again, Will and Julianne seemed to change their minds on a regular basis. The change in their opinions and attitudes seemed to come from the need to keep the anger or love making going. For example, a few times, Will starts psychoanalyzing Julianne in an effort to just be cruel. This behavior didn't feel right for who Will was as a character, but it helped keep the fighting (and crying) going. 

This book has a secondary romance that I thought was quite sweet. Will's mom and his team manager end up falling in love. In "real life," I don't see this type of relationship working. I think it would be a bit awkward for everyone; however, in these type of serial romances, everyone falls in love, so I am okay with it. This romance has a tiny bit of fighting, but these two characters are able to share their feelings and talk openly. It was sweet, and I wish I got to see more of their romance.

Overall, this book is better suited for romance readers who like alpha male heroes. Will's behavior worried me, and I wouldn't want a friend of mine dating him. Of course, this is a romance novel, and with the love of a good woman, Will won't be cruel to her ever again. I really liked several of the secondary characters, and I need to see if Brody Janik (one of Will's teammates) has his own book in this series. He seemed a bit more thoughtful than Will.

For me, this book was just okay, so it receives a 2 out of 5. If you have different feelings on alpha males, you might like this book better than me.



Linda @ (un)Conventional Bookworms said...
November 22, 2013 at 5:08 AM

Too bad you didn't enjoy this one... One of my COYER books this week was the same way - I just couldn't get into it at all, and thought it was pretty boring :(

Have a fantastic Friday! Good going on the challenge.

Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

Tressa @ Wishful Endings said...
November 22, 2013 at 11:12 PM

I actually like alpha males, but not ones that can be physical or abusive, especially to women. Just not my thing. Thanks for the review! Looks like you're doing good with the challenge. :)

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer said...
November 22, 2013 at 11:23 PM

Ok no, my alpha males never hit a woman, if anything they are over protective of their woman..but violence..nope. Hard sex..oh yeah but this would have turned me off completely. Wonderful review Pamela.

Unknown said...
November 23, 2013 at 9:56 PM

I am finally getting into the grove of it! I have a few more COYER book reviews to post, but I want to wait until after Thanksgiving, because they are Christmas/holiday books.

Unknown said...
November 23, 2013 at 9:58 PM

The guy never hits the woman in this book, but he keeps getting close. I like a strong guy and he can be in charge in the bedroom, but thinking "he wants to hurt her so he better kiss her instead," no way. This is not an okay message to be sending out.

Unknown said...
November 23, 2013 at 9:59 PM

I have one of those books too! I am reading Ancillary Justice, and I am just not getting into it. I keep hearing amazing things about it, but I keep finding other books to read instead!

Lark @ The Bookwyrm's Hoard said...
November 24, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Good review! No, this isn't for me. I absolutely agree that it sends the wrong message. And I agree with Kimbacaffeinate: the alpha males in the romances I enjoy are never abusive, physically or emotionally. They are fiercely protective, even overprotective, and while they may not have an easy time acknowledging or expressing their softer feelings (the one thing about them I find annoying), they would never do anything to harm a woman, particularly one they are involved with, and they find the idea of violence toward women abhorrent.

So no, I won't be reading this; thanks for the heads-up.

Unknown said...
November 24, 2013 at 11:12 PM

I agree. I like a protective male, but not a domineering male lead in my romances. This has been a bad week for female characters in books that I read. I read two romances with icky alpha males and A Feast for Crows by GRR Martin. I need to read something happy!

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