Saturday, 25 January 2020
Book Review: Huddle With Me Tonight (New York Sabers #1) by Farrah Rochon
Huddle With Me Tonight is an adult contemporary romance (please note, it's significantly steamier than most books I discuss here, as mentioned recently the blog is no longer really focusing on YA!) about two protagonists who start off on the wrong foot but quickly give in to their attraction while trying to hide it from the city who thinks they're rivals. Paige Turner is a blogger and entertainment columnist becoming well-known for her forthright views, so when she reads a cookbook by NFL player Torrian Smallwood full of cheesy puns as titles for recipes, she doesn't hold back when reviewing it. Torrian is a family man devoted to his sister, who's about to launch their own restaurant. Desperate for success, especially since an eye condition he's barely revealed to anybody means his career on the pitch could be nearly over, he's furious when he sees what he considers to be an unfair review which he thinks could jeopardise everything he and his sister have worked for. A hasty blog comment has things escalating and fascinated New Yorkers picking a side as the couple clash in a series of charity cook-offs. But the heat in the kitchen is nothing compared to that between the pair...
Romance was one of the few areas where my reading actually improved last year - despite my slump overall, I found a bunch of authors I really loved (Emily Larkin, Alisha Rai and Tessa Bailey, to name just three) and I'm definitely trying to read more of the genre this year. I was reminded I'd been meaning to try Farrah Rochon for a while when I saw the fundraiser for a church organ in memory of her sister, who tragically died a few weeks ago, and I realised I had one of her books, the first in her New York Sabres sport series, on my Kindle, so decided to give it a try.
I'm really glad I did - it's a fun read with awesome chemistry between the main pairing, and their flaws feel realistic. (Hey, given how strongly I'm against authors responding to reviewers, if even I can sympathise with Torrian for his actions after reading the review, it's a sure sign he's portrayed as a good guy!) I love the loyalty he has towards his sister and her son, and towards his teammates, particularly Theo, one of the only people who knows his secret. Meanwhile, Paige is a fun heroine who's not afraid to stand her ground, even against one of the city's most popular stars.
I thought the way that the pair of them got over their initial animosity and quickly developed into friendly banter on camera rather than either hating each other or even pretending to hate each other for the sake of TV ratings was an interesting one which paid off really well - it's easy to see why viewers were enjoying the witty repartee between the pair of them, and I loved the way they were both honest with each other about the way they'd each been at fault for the initial conflict. That said, the later conflict in the book was well set-up, but the speed at which it finally happened took me slightly by surprise. However, it brought us to a really sweet HEA, which is definitely what I'm looking for when reading a romance!
One of the standout aspects of the story for me is just how much a part football, and the cameraderie between the hero and his teammates, plays in the book. Even though due to a separate injury, Torrian doesn't get on the field of play much during the novel, it's clear how much he loves his job and how devastating the thought of not being able to do it again is to him, which really fleshed out his character well. Similarly, Paige's drive to succeed and her refusal to back down from posting things she knows her fans will enjoy, however harsh they are, is very believable.
Overall this is a strong recommendation and I'm glad there are so many other Farrah Rochon novels for me to move onto, starting with the next in the Sabres series!
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